»Der Islamische Staat misinterpretiert den Islam als Religion der Härte, Brutalität, Folter und Mord«

Offener Brief von islamischen Theologen an den Islamischen Staat, 19.9.2014 (engl. Übersetzung)

To Dr. Ibrahim Awwad Al-Badri, alias ‘Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’,
To the fighters and followers of the self-declared ‘Islamic State’,
Peace and the mercy of God be upon you.

During your sermon dated 6th of Ramadan 1435 AH (4th July 2014 CE), you said, paraphrasing Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq: ‘If you find what I say and do to be true, then assist me, and if you find what I say and do to be false, then advise me and set me straight.’ In what follows is a scholarly opinion via the media. The Prophet said: ‘Religion is [rectifying] advice.’ Everything said here below relies completely upon the statements and actions of followers of the ‘Islamic State’ as they themselves have promulgated in social media—or upon Muslim eyewitness accounts—and not upon other media. Every effort has been made to avoid fabrications and misunderstandings. Moreover, everything said here consists of synopses written in a simple style that reflect the opinions of the overwhelming majority of Sunni scholars over the course of Islamic history.


It is forbidden in Islam to issue fatwas [jurisprudence of islamic scholars] without all the necessary learning requirements. Even then fatwas must follow Islamic legal theory as defined in the Classical texts. It is also forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Qur’an—or part of a verse—to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Qur’an and Hadith [reports about Muhammad] teach related to that matter. In other words, there are strict subjective and objective prerequisites for fatwas, and one cannot ‘cherry-pick’ Qur’anic verses for legal arguments without considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.

It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic language.

It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic sciences.

It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.

It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.

It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent.

It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.

Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose and without the right rules of conduct.

It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares disbelief.

It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat—in any way—Christians or any ‘People of the Scripture’.

It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as People of the Scripture.

The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.

It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.

It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.

It is forbidden in Islam to deny children their rights.

It is forbidden in Islam to enact legal punishments (hudud) without following the correct procedures that ensure justice and mercy.

It is forbidden in Islam to torture people.

It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.

It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God.

It is forbidden in Islam to destroy the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions.

Armed insurrection is forbidden in Islam for any reason other than clear disbelief by the ruler and not allowing people to pray.

It is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.

Loyalty to one’s nation is permissible in Islam.

After the death of the Prophet, Islam does not require anyone to emigrate anywhere.


God has described Himself as the ‘Most Merciful of the merciful’. He created man from His mercy. God says in the Qur’an: ‘The Compassionate One has taught the Qur’an. He created man’ (Al-Rahman, 55: 1-3). And God created man for His mercy: ‘Had your Lord willed, He would have made mankind one community, but they continue to differ, except those on whom your Lord has mercy; and that is why He created them ...’ (Hud, 11: 118-119). Linguistically, ‘that’ refers back to the closest noun, which is ‘mercy’, not ‘differ’. This is the opinion of Ibn Abbas, who said: ‘He created them for mercy[1].’

The soundest way to attain this mercy is the worship of God. God says: ‘And I did not create the jinn and mankind except that they may worship Me.’ (Al-Dhariyat, 51: 56). Worshipping God is not a favour that one bestows upon God, but rather, sustenance from Him: ‘I do not desire from them any provision, nor do I desire that they should feed Me. Indeed it is God Who is the Provider, the Lord of Strength, the Firm.’ (Al-Dhariyat, 51: 57-58). Furthermore, God revealed the Qur’an as a mercy from Him: ‘And We reveal of the Qur’an that which is a cure, and a mercy for believers …’ (Al-Isra’, 17:82). Islam is mercy and its attributes are merciful. The Prophet, who was sent as a mercy for all the worlds, summarized a Muslim’s dealings with others by saying: ‘He who shows no mercy, will not be shown mercy[2]’; and: ‘Have mercy and you will be shown mercy[3].’ But, as can be seen from everything mentioned, you [the Islamic State] have misinterpreted Islam into a religion of harshness, brutality, torture and murder. As elucidated, this is a great wrong and an offence to Islam, to Muslims and to the entire world.

Reconsider all your actions; desist from them; repent from them; cease harming others and return to the religion of mercy. God says in the Qur’an: ‘Say [that God declares]: “O My servants who have been prodigal against their own souls, do not despair of God’s mercy. Truly God forgives all sins. Truly He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”’ (Al-Zumar, 39:53).

[1] Cf Mafatih Al-Ghayb, Al-Razi (Vol. 18, p. 412).

[2] Narrated by Bukhari in Kitab al-Adab, no. 5997, and by Musim in Kitab al-Fada’il, no. 2318.

[3] Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad (Vol. 2, p. 160).  

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