Nasir al-Fahd’s May 2003 ruling on WMD has been making the rounds on Ekhlaas as part of the general hubbub surrounding the nuke video. It’s worth a review since Jihadis refer to it often not only to justify their quest for WMD, but to justify indiscriminate killing of noncombatants in general.
Fahd, a Saudi cleric who was put in jail soon after writing this ruling, argues that Jihadis can use WMD if they have no other way to repel the evil of their enemies. The scriptural proofs for this position are of two types:
The first type of scriptural proof (mainly from the Qur’an) says that you can strike your enemy with what they use to strike you. There is no need for other proof in this situation. Since the infidel enemy has killed ten million Muslims through direct and indirect means, then Muslims can kill ten million of them. This is a non sequitur (if we didn’t kill them with WMD, then how does this fall under Fahd’s principle of tit-for-tat weaponry?), but there it is.
The second type of scriptural proof are hadith (words and deeds of the Prophet not found in the Qur’an) that indicate it is legitimate to use WMD, even if the enemy hasn’t used them against you. These proofs are of three kinds:
- Hadith which demonstrate that killing noncombatant women and children unintentionally is acceptable
- Hadith that justify burning the land and homes of your enemy
- Hadith that justify the use of a mangonel (a type of catapult), since it causes indiscriminate damage
Fahd then cites rulings from the four Sunni law schools on the legitimacy of the medieval versions of WMD, like poisoning a water supply.
Finally, Fahd goes through the anticipated objections to his ruling:
- Muslims are prohibited from killing women and children
- Rebuttal: you can do it if it is impossible to distinguish between them.
- Muslims cannot commit evil
- Rebuttal: you can if you are preventing a greater evil, like allowing the infidel to live and spread his unbelief
- WMD will inevitably kill some Muslims
- Rebuttal: the potential of killing Muslims cannot delay a jihad if it is necessary. Also, if the enemy is hiding behind some Muslims, using them as human shields, they can be killed if necessary.
Document (Arabic): nasir-al-fahd-ruling-on-wmd (حكم استخدام أسلحة الدمار الشامل)