Top religious scholars from Deobandi school of thought have issued a unanimous edict against terrorists and terrorist activities, clarifying that declaring war against the police and security forces defending an Islamic state is “Haram” and defiance of the state according to Islamic Sharia.
The edict, or fatwa – a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune – further states that the police personnel and military men giving up their lives in defence of the country are “martyrs”.
It came two days after the chief of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, said in a video message that his group is “open to guidance” from Pakistan’s religious scholars if they believe “the direction of our jihad” is wrong.
Citing multiple hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and teachings of Islamic Sharia, the religious scholars expounded key points.
Firstly, they decreed that only the ruler of an Islamic state can declare “jihad” under the permitted circumstances. “Individuals cannot declare jihad. Defying the rule of law is un-Islamic,” reads the edict. “Picking up arms against the rulers of an Islamic state is rebellion – and the rebel should be punished as per law.”
The fatwa has referred to a Hadith which quotes the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as saying: “Whoever obeys the emir, obeys me… and one day’s vigil in the way of Allah Almighty is better than everything in the world.”
Secondly, the 16 top signatories of the fatwa state that any kind of sedition and rioting in an Islamic state, or any kind of confrontation with the state, or inciting violence and spreading chaos on linguistic, regional, religious, sectarian, and ethnic basis is also not allowed as per the teaching of the Sharia.
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“Whoever does this will rebel against the Constitution of Pakistan and whoever does so will deserve punishment,” states the edict while referring to Surah Hujarat, Verse 9, of the Glorious Quran, which states, “fight the rebel group until it returns to the commandment of Allah Almighty.”
Thirdly, they unanimously declared that those who die defending the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, such as police and army personnel, are Shaheeds (martyrs) – there is not even an iota of doubt about it.
The fatwa carries the signatures of prominent Islamic scholars, including Sheikh-ul Hadith Maulana Qari Ehsanul Haq (Darul Uloom Sarhad, Peshawar), Mufti Subhan Ullah Jan (Darul Afta Madrassah Darvishan Imdad Uloom, Peshawar), Dr. Maulana Attaur Rehman (Administrator Jamia Tafheem-ul Qur’an, Mardan, Maulana Hussain Ahmed (provincial director of Al-Madaris Al-Arabia), Maulana Dr. Abdul Nasir (President of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tanzeemul Madaris), Mufti Mukhtarullah Haqqani (Darul Ifta, Jamia Darul-Uloom Haqqaina, Akora Khattak), Maulana Tayyab Qureshi (Chief Khateeb, K-P), Maulana Salman-ul Haq Haqqani bin Maulana Anwar-ul Haqqani (Jamia Darul Uloom Haqqaniyyah, Akora Khattak), Maulana Rehmatullah Qadri (Provincial Nazim-e-Aala of Wafaqul Madaris), Maulana Omar bin Abdul Aziz (Provincial Nazim-e-Aala Wafaqul Madaris (Salfia), Allama Abid Hussain Shakir (Administrator Jamia Arif Hussaini, Peshawar, Provincial Nazim-e-Aala Wafaqul Madras Al Shia), Mufti Merajuddin Sarkafi (Jamia Amania, Peshawar), Mufti Raza Muhammad Haqqani (Jamia Al Qur'an, Peshawar), Mufti Khalid Usmani (Jamia Islamia, Kohat), Muft Sheikh Ijaz (Jamia Masjid Ahl Hadith, Fawara Chowk, Peshawar) and Maulana Abdul Kareem (Ulama Council K-P).
The fatwa came days after TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, who also uses the nom de guerre of Abu Mansour Asim, sought to justify his group’s violent campaign against “the international agenda of infidel forces” which started in the region after the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
“If you find any problem in the jihad that we waged [against this global infidel agenda], if you believe we have changed our direction, that we have gone astray, then you’re requested to guide us. We’re always ready to listen to your arguments happily,” he said in a video message addressed to Islamic scholars of Pakistan who he called “our elders, our teachers, and our religious guides”.
“But if you agree that our direction is right but don’t want to speak up in our support due to expediencies, then I request you not to call us terrorists or misguided,” said Mehsud, who has been hiding in TTP’s safe haven across the border in Afghanistan. “We will consider your silence as our support.”
Mehsud’s video statement came amid an uptick in terrorist violence in the country with the government ruling out resumption of negotiations with the TTP which publicly tore up a ceasefire agreement in November, last year, to step up its bloody campaign.