7 Islamic Terms As Interpreted By Terror Ideologues and the Mainstream Muslim Scholars

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, WordForPeace.com

The 7 Islamic references and terms that the radical jihadist ideologues often use in their discourses to recruit the gullible and naive Muslims are as the following:

 Takfir, Darul Islam, Al-Wala Wal Bara’a, Ummah, Shahadah, Bay’at and Hijrah

All these eight terms have two diametrically different interpretations: (1) traditional, classical and the mainstream connotations and (2) the radical jihadist narratives.

Now, let’s distinguish between how these terms are used by the Jihadist outfits like ISIS and ISIS/al-Qaeda and how they are viewed by the mainstream Muslim scholars.

Takfir (ISIS/al-Qaeda’s View)

Takfir is the action of accusing others of being infidels or non-believers. This is considered a very serious act. ISIS/al-Qaeda, however, has regularly employed the term in an attempt to discredit or disparage other Muslims who oppose them. By doing so, fellow Muslims are now turned into enemies.

Takfir (Mainstream Islamic Scholars’ View)

Muslims are forbidden to declare takfir of others. If a Muslim does this, then that individual casts an infidelity upon him-or herself. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) warned against Takfirism: “Do not revert to takfir after me by cutting one another’s necks” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Darul Islam (ISIS/al-Qaeda’s View)

The concept of Darul Islam or an ‘Islamic state’ is a constant theme within ISIS/al-Qaeda’s propaganda. It holds that in order to establish the religion, it is first necessary to establish an Islamic state, which, in turn, will then lead to the re-establishment of the Caliphate (Khilafah Islamiyah). It is obligatory for all Muslims to contribute both financially and physically to this end.

Darul Islam (Islamic Scholars’ View)

Islamic scholars believe that the term Darul Islam is a relative term. It does not have a precise or exact meaning. There are no clear injunctions towards Darul Islam. Therefore, the justification of killing or spilling blood to achieve this vague notion is considered dangerous.

Moreover, the authoritative Indian Ulema have not endorsed the war-related concepts of Hijrah and jihad which pertain to the ‘Darul Harab’ (land of war). They rather termed the undivided India as ‘Darul Islam’ (land of peace) because it provided a peaceful environment for the Muslim citizens to freely exercise their religious rights.

This fatwa was issued by the leading Islamic jurist and founder-ideologue of the mainstream Barelwi (Ahle Sunnat) Muslims in India, Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan (also known as Aala Hazrat). He buttressed his point that ‘Hindustan is not the land of war (Darul Harb) but rather an abode of peace, in his book titled in Arabic, E’laam-ul-A’alam bi Anna Hindustan Dar-ul-Islam (declaration of the Ulema that India is an ‘abode of peace’). In his book on the subject of Islamic caliphate (Khilafat), Dawam-ul-Aaish fi Aai’matil Quraish”, Maulana laid out rigorous conditions for an Islamic caliph to be appointed.

 The Darul Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa which categorically stated India as ‘Darul Sulah’ or ‘Darul Mu’ahdah’ meaning: land of reconciliation and peace treaty. Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani, founder of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind wrote a book in Urdu, Islam Aur Muttahida Qaumiyat (Islam and Composite Nationalism). He quoted profusely from Quran and Hadith to oppose the two-nation theory. Substantiating the point that Muslims and Hindus were one nation, he argued that the faith was universal and could not be contained within national boundaries but that nationality was a matter of geography, and Muslims were obliged to be loyal to the nation of their birth along with their non-Muslim brethren (Biradran-e-Watan).

 Al-Wala’ Wal Bara’a’ (ISIS/al-Qaeda’s View)

ISIS/al-Qaeda fosters an atmosphere of “us versus them” through the use of the term Al-Wala’ Wal Bara’a. Al-Wala means “those to whom they are loyal” or simply, “their friends”. Al-Bara’a refers to those whom they hate or their enemies. This concept becomes their tool to categorize people into friends and enemies. Those they hate are their enemies and those they like, or agree with, are their friends. Going by this exclusivist belief, their enemies are not only non-Muslims but many Muslims as well. This doctrine of “loyalty and disavowal” (al-wala wal bara) encourages religious bigotry and hatred against all those who do not follow the extremist doctrines.

Al-Wala’ Wal Bara’a’ (Islamic Scholars’ View)

There is no room for “us versus them” mentality in Islam. All human beings are creatures of God and we therefore must show respect to each other. This implies a multi-racial, multi-religious society. Islam came as a Rahmah (Blessing) to the Universe. Qur’an shows Allahs’s love for man as infinite and all-embracing: “And My Mercy embraces all things” (Surah Al-A`raf 7:156). Not a single creature is exempted from Allah’s bountiful grace and divine mercy. The beloved Prophet said, “When Allah created the creatures, He wrote in the Book, which is with Him over His Throne: “Verily, My Mercy prevailed over My Wrath.” (Al-Bukhari). He also said, “Allah has divided mercy into 100 parts, and He retained with Him 99 parts, and sent down to earth 1 part. Through this one part creatures deal with one another with compassion, so much so that an animal lifts its hoof over its young lest it should hurt it.” (Al-Bukhari)

Al-Wala’ wal-Bara’ doctrine originated from the tribal Arab social customs, in which division and fragmentation were and are still prevalent in Arab socio-political life. Unfortunately, the tribal identity is being passed on to the Muslims through this doctrine.

Bay’at or Pledge (ISIS/al-Qaeda’s View)

A Bay’at is a pledge of obedience given to the Emir or leader of a group. The Bay’at to the leader of the group is the same that one would give to the Prophet Mohammed. Once a Bay’at is given, it cannot be broken. Anyone who breaks the pledge is guilty of an exceptionally grave sin. One who does so is not only guilty of sin, but then becomes a kafir (non-believer) as well. If you have not made a Bay’at, you can be considered less pious and less Muslim than those who have.

Bay’at (Islamic Scholars’ View)

The status of the permissibility of a Bay’at must be ascertained by the majority of the leaders of society, i.e. the ulama (scholars), umar’a (rulers) and other respected people. It cannot be decided by just one self-appointed leader. The self-appointed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or Emir al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, did not represent the majority of the Muslim community or its leaders. Therefore, they did not have the authority to take a Bay’at from anyone. Thus, the ISIS/al-Qaeda interpretation of a Bay’at is invalid and does not carry any religious weight.

The Ummah (ISIS/al-Qaeda’s View)

The Ummah is the collective community of all Muslims. The rules for the Ummah are those of the “rightful way.” Anyone who follows the “rightful way” is a member of the chosen community. Anyone who does not believe or follow the rules is a non-believer. Every Muslim must follow the Ummah, but if the states in which they live are run by non-believers, Muslims do not have to follow the laws of those states.

The Ummah (Islamic Scholars’ View)

No one can claim that their community is the “one and only” true community. There is no single authority in Islam that can make such a declaration; that would be an expression of arrogance. Islam calls for Wahdatul Wajud (unity of existence). It encourages the Universal Brotherhood (Ukhuwwah Insaniyah) among all Muslims and non-Muslims.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) laid out the Medina Charter (Misaq-e-Madina) which ensures completely peaceful co-existence among Muslims and non-Muslims. Islam also advocates that a good Muslim should be a good citizen as well.

Shahadat or Istishhad (ISIS/al-Qaeda’s View)

ISIS/al-Qaeda advocates attaining a Shahadat or Istishhad (martyrdom) by the act of suicide bombing. This act is also considered a part of their hirja or migration to God. They believe that they will be rewarded in heaven for this action.

Shahadat or Istishhad (Islamic Scholars’ View)

Suicide is strongly forbidden in the Qur’an and the Haddith. Allah has granted you a body. Only Allah can decide when the body will be taken back. There are no justifications for exceptions to this rule. Lives, be they human or others, are sacred, and must be honoured. Whoever commits suicide will be considered eternally committed to hellfire. Once in hell, the individual will spend the rest of eternity dying again and again in the same way they committed suicide. Therefore, suicide bombers will spend the rest of eternity having their arms, legs and head pulled off.

Hijrah or Migration (ISIS/al-Qaeda’s View)

According to the ISIS/al-Qaeda view of Hijrah, volunteers should leave their homes, properties, jobs and families for the sake of God. They do not need permission from their families to do this. ISIS/al-Qaeda also advocates that they should disregard the needs of their parents, wives and children for the sake of their struggle. They believe that the volunteers should migrate (Hijrah) from worldly inclinations to heavenly goals. They can achieve this heavenly goal and obtain beautiful virgins through suicide bombings.

Hijrah or Migration (Islamic Scholars’ View)

The concept of Migration (Hijrah) relates to the spirit of continuous life-long progress, opportunity and change. In classical Islam, those who would migrate must also take into consideration their family. Parents and children must be taken care of before Hijrah can be considered. A physical migration should only be considered in a dire situation when one fears for one’s religious freedom, personal rights, dignity and wealth. Muslims should be able to prosper in their birthplace as a sign of thankfulness to God. It is even compulsory for a Muslim to remain in his country when he can enhance the progress of the Muslim community in that country.

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