The Statement issued by the Council of Senior Ulema of Saudi Arabia condemning the aggression of Wahhabis
Translation Of The Statement By The Council Of The Senior Ulema [Religious Scholars] Of Saudi Arabia
All praise is due to Allah, and may the blessings and salutations be upon God's Messenger (S) as well as his kin and companions and those who were guided by them, thereafter:
The council of the "the senior scholars" in its forty ninth assembly which took place in Ta'ef on the 2nd of Rabi u Thani 1419 AH, examined the incidents taking place in the Islamic countries and other places involving ex-communications, explosions, bloodshed and destruction of institutions. In view of the importance of this matter and its consequences, the killing of the innocent, the destruction of property, causing fear amongst people and creating insecurity, instability and precariousness in society, the assembly has decided to clarify the ruling regarding this matter for the sake of divine benevolence for the servants of God and fulfilment of duty, in order to eliminate any misunderstanding of Islamic concepts.
On this basis the following points are mentioned and success from Allah in their fulfilments is pleaded:
1) Ex-communication (regarding one as an infidel [Kafer]) is a religious ruling which requires certain criteria to be appointed by God and His messenger, just as the permissible, the prohibited and the compulsory rulings must be set by Allah. Moreover, ex-communication and the sayings and deeds which are sometimes considered as blasphemy (Kufr) are not equivalent to the greater blasphemy which will cause expulsion from the religion of Islam.
Therefore – since the ruling to ex-communication must be on behalf of Allah and His messenger – it is not permitted to ex-communicate someone unless a clear proof from the book and tradition witness his blasphemy, hence, suspicion and presumption is never sufficient, because very heavy rulings will be laid on this judgement. While we believe that according to the principle that asserts "legal punishments are repudiated through doubts" we must not act without certainty, in the case of "ex-communication", due to the significant impact that it incorporates, it is even more important than the fixed penalties and thus the Holy Prophet (S) forewarned everybody of ex-communicating someone who is not really an infidel, and stated:
"If somebody addresses his Muslim brother as: O Kafir! (Infidel) and is speaking the truth, the opposite side will be ensnared in divine retribution, but if he is lying this will return to him."
At times certain phrases are seen in the Book and traditions which reveal that a certain word or deed or belief will result in blasphemy, while there are certain obstacles which prevent this ruling. This is similar to the other rulings which are not ascertained without the assemblage of all legal causes and conditions and the elimination of the obstructions. For instance, heritage is one of the divine rulings which comes with kinship but at times certain obstacles prevent this ruling to materialize, like disparity in religion. Also, there are instances when somebody is forced to utter blasphemous statements but it does not make him an infidel (as he has been compelled); at times one might utter a blasphemous statement in a state of excessive joy or anger (when one is not in control of his emotions) and it would not lead to his infidelity. This is much the same as the famous story where somebody said in a state of extreme bliss: "Oh God! You are my servant and I am your Lord!"
Significant and threatening consequences proceed from haste in ex-communication, amongst which are declaring a person's life and property as permitted for offence, preventing his inheritance and declaring his separation from his wife, which are amongst the consequences of apostasy. How can a Muslim be allowed to accuse another Muslim without being absolutely certain and not having the smallest of doubts (and take the responsibility for all these?)
Hastiness in excommunication has great dangers, since Almighty God states:
"Say [O, Messenger] The things that My Creator and Nurturer has forbidden are: Shameful deeds whether committed openly or secretly: and sins and unjust Rebellion and considering partners for Allah for which Allah has not sent down any authority; and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge." 1
According to this Holy Verse any kind of indecent act, aggression, polytheism and undeserved accusations and baseless statements about God are considered as forbidden.
2) The outcome of this false ideology (accusing Muslims of polytheism), that is regarding lives as permitted for offence, dishonouring and disgracing other people and plundering their properties, and exploding buildings, vehicles, business and trade centres, according to the consensus of all Muslims are forbidden and sinful acts, as they will lead to the dishonouring of lives and possessions and will destroy the peace and security of the people who make journeys every day morning till evening from their houses to their work places. These dreadful deeds will also dismantle the public interests of society without which life will become unbearable.
Islam has honoured the properties, belongings and lives of Muslims and allows no one to trespass their inviolable sanctuary, and among the last issues that the Holy Prophet (S) announced to all Muslims in his farewell pilgrimage was that he stated: "Your lives, property and belongings must be honoured by all of you, just as you honour this month (prohibited month) and this Holy Land (Mecca). He then repeated: Oh Lord! Be witness that I said (that which I had to say)!"
This tradition is approved unanimously by the narrators.
And he stated further: "A Muslim is prohibited to dispossess another Muslim of his belongings; his life, property, women, and reputation". He also said: "Refrain from injustice since an unjust person wil be alone in darkness on Judgement day."
Moreover the glorified Lord has threatened those who shed the blood of the innocent, with the severest punishment:
"Should anyone kill a believer intentionally, his requital shall be hell, to remain in it [for ever]; Allah shall be wrathful at him and curse him and He shall prepare for him a great punishment." 2
And also with regards to the inadvertent killing of a non-believer who lives under the refuge of Muslims, he said: "Must pay blood money and award compensations to his family."3
In view of all these, what would be the ruling for his deliberate killing? For sure this crime would be greater and its punishment more severe.
In an authentic tradition from the Holy Prophet (S), it has been mentioned that he who kills a non-Muslim who is in treaty with the Muslims will never smell the scent of heaven!
3) This council announces to all the people of the globe that Islam repudiates these sorts of invalid beliefs and regards all that is being carried out presently in some countries, like the killings of the innocent, exploding of houses and vehicles, city centres and private property and destruction of work places, as a heinous crime.
Similarly, every Muslim who believes in God and the day of judgement is weary of these acts. These acts are performed by those whose thoughts have deviated and gone astray, so the blame for these crimes falls solely on them and should not be aligned with Islam nor the Muslims who are guided by Islam and adhere to the Holy Quran and the traditions.
These are obscene acts of corruption and ruthless homicide which are not accepted by Islamic divine law and basic human nature.
Thus the Islamic traditions have strictly prohibited these actions, and have forbidden companionship with these kinds of people….
This statement ends with several verses and traditions that demonstrate Islam as the religion of love, friendship, cooperation in goodness and virtue, logical faith and wise dialogue, the religion of abstinence from any sort of violence and aggression.4
This statement was signed by the highest ranking religious scholar of Saudi Wahhabism,Abdul-Aziz ben Abdullah ben Baz, and twenty other high ranking scholars and was issued shortly before the demise of ben Baz. It consists of several important points, some of which are presented as follows:
1) Though this statement should have been published prior to all the bloodshed and wastage of precious lives, property and reputations, and is like the cure that arrives too late, but, at whatever stage of danger, preventing it is gain and benefit, and so worthy of gratitude and appreciation. Finally, a very strong and expressive ultimatum was issued against the hard-liners who claimed to be admirers of the divine legislator, yet they made it clear to all that they didn’t accept this statement, and followed their own desires and aspirations not the Islamic rulings.
2) This statement has in practice paved the way for criticising the thoughts and beliefs of Sheikh Mohammad ben Abdulwahhab and even the Wahhabis can criticise him respectfully, and arrive at a more moderate outcome in the their creed so that they can work in cooperation with other Muslims.
3) This carefully worded statement, announced to the hard-liners that the era of excommunicating Muslims had now ended, and they could not accuse anyone who did not agree with their thoughts, of blasphemy and destroy their lives, wealth and reputation because this act might lead to the infidelity of its doer.
4) This statement improved the detestable and aggressive picture that this group had sketched of Islam to the world and demonstrated that the real Muslims were weary of these actions, especially since those acts granted a very good excuse to the lords of the church and the Zionists, to introduce this ugly sketch as the real face of Islam and frighten the world by it. We seek refuge in God from the detriment of the ignorant, and pray that God guides everyone towards the straight path and relieves them from the traps of Satan.
We offer our friendly and humble advice to all Wahhabi scholars who seek the path of moderation; do not lose this precious opportunity to re-examine the principles of Wahhabism and vigilantly fill the huge gap between them and all other Muslims, which the enemies are currently making the most of.
We make the following friendly suggestions:
1) Condemn accusing Muslims of polytheism and blasphemy for matters that are highly jurisprudential and advise their followers to abide by this holy Quranic command: "Do not say to someone who offers you peace, 'You are not a believer'".
2) Strongly condemn any religious aggression which has resulted in horrendous terrors in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and even in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the world. Those aggressions that defame the glorious religion of Islam, which is for sure the future faith of the whole world, and offers the best means of propaganda to the enemies of Islam, and ruins all the efforts that the Islamic thinkers, missionaries and informed Islamic writers have carried out in the way of propogating Islam. Condemn all that injustice and regard it as an example of the extinction of a race and generation5 which is mentioned in the Quran.
3) To make way for friendly and logical dialogues on the basis of mutual respect without affront (disrespect) and accusations of polytheism and ignorance, with the other Islamic scholars and accept that which they find true according to this verse "those who listen to the word [of Allah] and follow the best [sense] of it".
To open their ideological and geographical borders to the scientific and logical books of the Islamic creeds and to feel no danger for themselves in doing so, and to exchange students and learners with the seminaries of other Islamic countries.
To remove the walls of distrust, suspicion and bad intention between themselves and other Muslims and to be in touch and visit each other's seminaries and be prepared to participate in the conferences on different Islamic matters in any part of the Islamic world.
4) To warn their friends against considering their exegesis of divine law on the major and minor matters as the reality of Islam and regard other than that as blasphemy, wrong-doing and forbidden innovation, and to hear the message of the Holy Verse that states: "We do not grant you knowledge, except a little."
Whenever these six principles are put into practice it is hoped that unity amongst the ranks of Muslims will prevail and the reaching out for Allah's cord will be desired and Islam’s objective to "prevail over all religions" will be accomplished.
Muharram ul-Haram 1426
Nasir Makarim Shirazi.