The increasing extremism within the Islamic State

This is the fifth Q&A of the interview series with Ahmed Al Hamdan (@a7taker), a Jihadi-Salafi analyst and author of “Methodological Difference Between ISIS and Al Qaida“. Al Hamdan was a former friend of Turki bin Ali, and a student of Shaykh Abu Muhammad Al Maqdisi under whom he studied and was given Ijazah, becoming one of his official students. Also, Shaykh Abu Qatada al Filistini wrote an introduction for his book when it was published in the Arabic language. The interview series contains contains five themes in total and will all be published on Jihadica.com. You can find the first Q&A here, the second here, the third here and the fourth here. This is the fifth and final part. Tore Hamming: A recent interesting development is the dismissal of Turki al-Binali from the IS Sharia Council [still not confirmed] allegedly due to his ‘moderate’ view on the ‘excuse of ignorance’ and Takfir al-Adhir. This could

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Fatwa on the Permissibility of Killing an Ambassador

I have to admit that it makes me feel rather uneasy choosing a title like this and writing a post about last week’s death of four staff members of the American embassy in Libya, including the ambassador himself, Christopher Stevens. Yesterday, however, a fatwa was published on the permissibility of killing ambassadors that I think Jihadica readers should know about. Three questions The fatwa, published by Abu l-Mundhir al-Shinqiti, is in response to three different questions by three different people. The first question deals with the permissibility of killing an ambassador who doesn’t approve of insults against Islam and has a positive attitude towards Muslims. For those readers thinking this is a direct reference to ambassador Stevens, who was apparently known for his affection for the Libyan people, think again. The person asking the question adds that he’s not talking about the American ambassador since “targeting American embassies in all

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A Note on Usama Bin Ladin’s 1998 Declaration of War: al-Kisa’i vs. al-Kasani

[Editor’s note: I am very pleased to introduce a new guest contributor, Sayeed Rahman, a Yale PhD and a fellow with the Truman National Security Project.] A number of translations analyze and annotate Usama Bin Ladin’s 1998 statement declaring war against the United States and her allies (see here, here, here, here and here). The original Arabic source for this declaration is the February 23, 1998 edition of the London based newspaper al-Quds al-`Arabi.  After citing Qur’anic verses and hadith to support the legitimacy of his call to arms, Bin Ladin and the other signatories cite four well-known post-formative Sunni Muslim jurists to bolster their claim that jihad is an individual duty (fard al-`ayn) when Muslim countries are attacked.  Among the scholars cited is an individual named “al-Kisa’i” and his work al-Bada’i`.  The identification of this al-Kisa’i has eluded American translators.  For reasons I discuss below, I believe this individual to be the Hanafi

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Qaradawi on Jihad (3 of 3)

Read part 1 and part 2 What does Youssef al-Qaradawi say about Jihad as an individual duty (fard ‘ayn), i.e., the kind of jihad that allows all Muslims, including women and minors, to take up jihad without seeking anyone’s permission? This aspect is of particular interest for those of us interested in jihadi ideology. Jihadi ideologues believe that the classical defensive legal doctrine of jihad, i.e., jihad as an individual duty, applies today. In their minds, Muslims are being oppressed not just by ‘unbelievers’ but also by their own ‘apostate’ Muslim rulers. It is the Muslims’ duty (and right), they hold, to defend themselves against both. That jihad today is an individual duty was pioneered by Muhammad ‘Abd al-Salam Faraj in his book al-Farida al-Gha’iba (The Neglected Duty [of Jihad]), it was later developed into a transnational agenda by ‘Abdallah ‘Azzam to mobilize Muslims to fight in Afghanistan and eventually

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Qaradawi on Jihad (2 of 3)

Read part 1 What does Youssef al-Qaradawi say about waging war against non-Muslims at least once a year as part of fard kifaya, a task some classical jurists believed was incumbent upon the ruler? Al-Qaradawi does not believe that the classical jurists reached a consensus on this matter. Instead, he believes that their opinions were dictated by the circumstances of their time, namely ‘the relationship between the Islamic state and its neighbors that were constantly threatening it, especially Byzantium.’ Muslims then had to ‘engage in skirmishes along their borders every once and a while, to ensure the security of their borders and assert their presence.’ This, he believes is akin to ‘what scholars today call “preemptive war”, which they consider to be justifiable and lawful.’ (issue 7) Preemptive war is more controversial in international law than al-Qaradawi implies. Some Israeli and US military strategists though might agree with al-Qaradawi that

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Qaradawi on Jihad (1 of 3)

(Editor’s note: I have the pleasure of introducing Nelly Lahoud, a political theorist working on Islamism. She has published several books and has a new one on jihadi ideology coming out next year. Nelly is on my wish list for guest bloggers, but she has not yet been able to join us for a more extended period of time. She has nevertheless taken the time to write the following piece for us. To my knowledge Nelly is the first scholar to have looked closely at the substance of Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s new book on Jihad). Youssef al-Qaradawi’s recent book Fiqh al-Jihad (Jurisprudential Reasoning and Jihad), excerpts of which are available here, has received considerable attention in the Arabic press and for good reason.  Al-Qaradawi commands significant influence among Sunni Muslims in the Arab world and beyond, not least because he reaches a wider audience through his television shows on al-Jazeera (“Huda

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