Frederick P. Isaac

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Articles and book information on Assyrian issues including contemporary history, experiences under Islamic rule, leadership and Assyrian aspirations to nationhood.


Indigenous Peoples

Under the Rule of Islam

 

by Frederick P. Isaac

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PART IV - Global Struggle - The Khalipha - Successor of Mohammad  

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Turbulent Waters

 

 

The Religious Edict (Fatwa)
 

 

In the Islamic states of the Abode of Peace (Dar Al-Silm), the Grand Mufti heads the Islamic Religious Court. He exercises a large concession of power by the hereditary right of his title. His legitimacy to power stems from the fact that he is the official expounder of the Islamic law. In the absence of a recognised Khalipha, the Grand Mufti gains the legitimacy of the custodianship of the title, interpretation of the Koran and the Hadeeth that helps to formulate Islamic law. His sectarian edicts overrule any other civil law.

The teachings of the Koran and the Hadeeth, throughout the ages, has led to the conservative elements in Islam to a narrowed and radical interpretation, which see the use of violence as a normal and acceptable means to attaining their Umma Nation’s global dominance. Their quest for global dominance, through Jihad, resembles the struggle of a stray man in a desert running about in empty circles, in an effort to finding his way out of his wilderness to quench his thirst. Yet, his attempts are all but a wasteful effort in chasing a mirage.

In an Islamic state, a decree issued by a civil court is secular judgement. A decree issued by a religious court is a religious edict (fatwa). This religious pronouncement is issued by the Religious Shari’ah Court made up of the theologians: expounders of the Islamic law (Ayatollahs, Ulama, Fuqaha’, Mojtahidoun, Muftis and Imams). They are jurisprudents, scholars and religious legists, versed in Islamic law. By virtue of the title of the Grand Mufti and the power vested in him as the legal interpreter of the Koran and the Hadeeth, the decisions issued by him stand.

The Mufti is also able to exercise this Fatwa as a judicial decision for or against a person or event. Because of the religious nature of the religious shari’ah court, any fatwa that the religious court pronounces becomes official and binding. Depending on the circumstances and the elements involved, a fatwa may absolve or convict a committed act, and the person implicated in the act, is judged accordingly. Once issued, the fatwa must be enforced.

The fatwa decree, more often, shackles the person against whom it has been issued. It imposes restrictions on the will and the freedom of individual choice. In other words, he cannot express himself freely or choose the way of life he wants to pursue. Since such (fatwa) edict emanates from religious teachings, it becomes irrevocable.

When the clergy, headed by the Grand Mufti, pronounces a fatwa against an offender, an apostate or a marked target, it becomes binding and enforceable. The life of the person in question hangs in the balance. The religious authority working with the state ostracizes him. He becomes a marked person, condemned and doomed. If the condemned is married, the clergy dissolve his marriage. He loses his spouse, his children and his wealth. Everything he owns is transferred to his wife and family. He loses all his assets. He is left with nothing except the clothes on his back. He loses his civic rights. More frighteningly, he loses custodianship on his life and the right of police protection, a risk to his personal safety, in public.

In the case of a marked target, the Islamic organisation concerned, in coordination with its member network, scheme discreetly to attack and destroy the marked target, without warning, to inflict maximum damage and loss of life in execution of the Fatwa. The mujahideen and their supporters pride themselves on such barbaric acts by parading in the streets, expressing satisfaction for the execution of their fatwa and in jubilation of the success of their destructive mission.

If the person against whom a fatwa has been issued happens to be living within the realm of the Abode of Peace, he will be arrested on sight. He will be held under custody, in isolation of interns, for his own personal safety. Government authority, under the guidance of the religious shari’ah court, will give him every chance to forgo beliefs that stray from the interpreted Islamic teachings, or repent of his misdeed. The authority will make every effort to point out to him that he has made a grievous error and try to convince him to reconsider and return to the religion of Allah and his prophet. He is repeatedly warned that his refusal to repent will lead to severe punishment or execution. Should he persist in his refusal, he will be put in complete isolation, barred from being visited by anyone. His family will eventually be obliged to deny him and distance themselves from him. While still in custody, very little will be heard about him and eventually be forgotten. How and when the sentence would be carried out, is decided between the state and the clergy. In most cases, rarely a third party is allowed to intervene.

If living in the Abode of War, in a non-Muslim country, outside the Islamic realm, in hiding or under an assumed name, the order for his execution becomes direct. Depending on the circumstances, his elimination will be carried out overtly or in clandestine. The call, by the Islamic clergy, would be for any “good” Muslim who chances the person against whom the edict has been issued is to be killed on sight.

Being marked by the clergy as an apostate, killing such a person is not considered homicidal. The killer’s action is in response to the religious call for enforcement of the (fatwa) edict. It is the duty of every “good” Muslim to purge such a person from amongst them. A blasphemer or apostate, by pursuing another religion, demeans and repudiates the Islamic faith. It is an unpardonable insult to the religion and the prophet.

Some fatwas remain binding and enforceable indefinitely, until fulfilled. The executioner is exonerated. He is absolved from crime and from all acts of sin and guilt. He is vindicated and venerated by his community. The (Fatwas) religious edicts issued against British author Salman Rushdie and the Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen are two living examples.

Depending on the interpretation and classification of the acts, pronounced fatwas vary in their degree of severity. Some are very lenient and humane, others exceedingly harsh. Some are pardonable while others are not, and carry the death sentence even if the offender shows remorse and repents.

Fatwas are pronounced anywhere in the world and for any reason or against persons of any religion, that has insulted Islam. Members of the Islamic clergy act as the defenders of Islam, and their word is final.

Like the Spanish Inquisition of the Medieval Ages that controlled the secular life of the public, and suppressed intellectual freedom of expression, the religious edict (fatwa) restricts the individual Muslim to a certain code of ethics. It makes sure that he or she remains in the fold, observe the Islamic rites and rituals and at no time steps out of line, else he or she would be meted out with corporal punishment, regardless of age and gender. The religious edict (fatwa) is not only a constant reminder but also a threat to those who might dare break away and choose a different way of life. Without the religious edict (fatwa), the clerics would have difficulty controlling Islamic society. Pluralism and democracy are seen as enemies and a threat to Islam.

 

 

<<

PART IV - Global Struggle - The Khalipha - Successor of Mohammad  

Table of Contents

>>

Turbulent Waters

 

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