When is the killing of non-combatants
|In 1995, Ayman al-Zawahiri argued in his book "The Rule for
Suicide-Martyr Operations" that it was not immoral to kill Muslim
non-combatants as long as the combatants were engaged in a conflict against
"the enemies of Islam."|
|Several Saudi theologians have agreed. The Qur'an calls for the
expulsion of any non-Muslim invaders. This presumably includes the mainly
U.S. and British forces in Iraq. The deaths of non-combatants are an
inevitable byproduct of this action. The
latter might even benefit from being killed. The rationale is that the
non-combatant who has led a sinful life might be headed towards Hell after
death. But if they died during the defense of Islam, their place in Paradise
would be certain.
|Other Saudi theologians expand tattarrus to a situation where no
non-Muslim troops are involved. They feel that it is acceptable that innocent Muslims in
Saudi Arabia be killed, because their deaths could eventually lead to a "truly Islamic
regime" being installed in the country.
|Abu-Musaab al-Zarqawi, an Al Qaeda operative in Iraq who has
allegedly coordinated many attacks by insurgents, has written: "Islam establishes a
hierarchy of values in all domains. In [that hierarchy], protecting the
faith is more important than protecting the self. Killing the mutumarresoun
[civilian Muslims who live under the control of the infidel] is necessary to
prevent the faith of the infidel from striking root" in Muslim
|Yussuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian sheik working in Qatar ruled that it is
morally acceptable to kill unarmed Muslims if they are:
He has since ruled that Muslim non-combatants in Iraq can be killed if necessary in order to reach the political and religious goals of the Muslim community.
Sheik Muhammad Hussein Fadhlallah, the spiritual leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah believes that combatants should refer each case to an authorized mujtahid (qualified religious guide) before implementing an action that would result in the killing of Muslim non-combatants. However, most of the leading supporters of the principle of tattarrus suggest that insurgents can proceed on their own authority.
|Grand Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Sistani, a leading Shi'ite theologian
rejects tattarrus, as it is currently being applied, because it is an bid'aah (innovation).
He has asked Shi'ites in Iraq to avoid taking revenge against Sunni
|Sheikh Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi, dean of Cairo's al-Azhar University,
states that Islamic law "rejects all attempts on human life and all
attacks on civilians." He may have based this belief on the passage in
the Qur'an which states that if one murders another human being, it is as if
one has murdered the entire human race. He has said: "Nothing in Islam
justifies the deliberate killing of non-combatants. Tattarrus applies to
collateral damage in a war between two regular armies, and not to action
perpetrated by self-styled combatants."|
|Najih al-Ibrahim, another Egyptian theologian, criticizes what he calls
"...the abuse of tattarrus....No one can use tattarrus to justify the
shedding of innocent blood. The only time that tattarrus is allowed is when
Muslim combatants have to kill a fellow Muslim who is captured by the
infidel and may, under torture, reveal secrets that could help the infidel
against the true believers. Apart from that, shedding Muslim blood is the
gravest of sins in Islam."|
|Hisham Abdul-Zahir, also an Egyptian theologian, has said that the killing of civilians in Iraq is "...totally unjustifiable under any circumstances....Tattarrus is relevant only in the case of Muslim women and children who are captured in a war by the infidel. In such a situation, it would be permissible to kill them to prevent them from being converted into other faiths by the infidel or abused by infidel soldiers."|
Sheikh Abdul-Muhsin al-Ubaikan, a Saudi theologian, has suggested that Muslim clerics hold "a theological summit" to discuss tattarrus and related issues. He asked: "Is it enough for an individual to say he is fighting for Islam in order to claim a license to kill anyone, anywhere and anytime?"
Perhaps in response to major terrorist attacks in London, England and Sharm el-Sheikh Egypt during 2005-JUL, Muslim leaders in the U.S., England and the rest of the world issued numerous condemnations against random acts of terrorists. More info.
Copyright © 2005 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2005-JUN-12
Latest update: 2010-NOV-10
Author: B.A. Robinson
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