The following article is based on extracts from the Fatwa On Terrorism and Suicide Bombings by Dr Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri. The full version of the book is available on the following link:


The heartbreaking and ghastly scenes of terrorism will no doubt disturb the minds of all decent and common folk around the world, and will prompt some perplexing questions that demand satisfactory answers.


Is it lawful for a group or organization to use force to promote and implement its own doctrine and beliefs in the name of reforming others, presuming itself to be on the right path? Does Islam in any way allow the killing of people because of doctrinal differences, and does it permit the usurpation of their wealth and properties and the destruction of mosques, religious sites and shrines?


Islam is a religion of peace and safety and champions love and harmony in society. According to Islamic teachings, a Muslim is one from whose hands the lives and properties of all Muslims and non-Muslims remain safe. The sanc-y of human life and its protection occupies a fundamental place in Islamic law. Taking anyone’s life is an act that is forbidden and unlawful, and in some cases amounts to disbelief. These days, the terrorists who, in a futile attempt to impose their own ideas and beliefs, ruthlessly and indiscriminately, kill people in mosques, marketplaces, governmental offices and other public places, are in fact committing a clear act of disbelief. They are warned of a humiliating torment in this world and in the Hereafter.

Terrorism in its very essence symbolizes disbelief and is a rejection of what Islam stands for. When the forbidden element of suicide is added to it, its severity and gravity becomes even greater. Scores of Qur’anic verses and prophetic traditions prove that terrorism is unlawful in Islam and that it is an act of disbelief. This has been the opinion of many Islamic scholars through the 1400 years of Islamic history, including the eminent Imams of Qur’anic exegesis and hadith and the authorities on logic and jurisprudence.

Islam has kept the door of negotiation and discussion open to convince others by reasoning, instead of taking up arms to denounce the viewpoints of others and to enforce one’s own opinion. Only the victims of ignorance, jealousy and malice take recourse to attacks against public. Islam declares them as rebels who will abide in -.


What are the rights of the non-Muslim citizens of a Muslim state?


Islam not only guarantees the protection of the life, honour and property of Muslim citizens of an Islamic state, but also guarantees the equal protection of the life, honour and property of non-Muslim citizens, as well as those with whom it has entered into a peace treaty. The rights of non-Muslim citizens in an Islamic state are just as sacrosanct as those of Muslim citizens. There is no difference between them as human beings. That is why Islamic law metes out equal treatment to both parties in the matters of blood money and legal retribution (qi|¥|). Non-Muslims have complete personal and religious freedom in a Muslim society and their properties and places of worship also enjoy complete protection.

In addition to the non-Muslim citizens, even the amb-adors of non-Muslim countries and others working on diplomatic -ignments have been guaranteed complete protection. Likewise, the protection of the lives and properties of non-Muslim traders is the responsibility of the Islamic state. Islam forbids the use of vio-ce against peaceful and non-combatant citizens. Those who attack peaceful non-Muslim citizens, kidnap them for ransom and torture them mentally or physically, or keep them under unlawful custody are in fact committing major violations of Islamic teachings.


Does Islam offer clear commands regarding the sanc-y of human life? Is it lawful to kidnap and --inate foreign delegates and peaceful non-Muslim citizens in order to avenge injustices and disrupt the non-Muslim global powers?


The importance Islam lays on the sanc-y and dignity of human life can be gauged from the fact that it forbids indiscriminate killing even when Muslim armies are engaged in war against enemy troops. The killing of children, women, elderly people, religious leaders and traders is strictly prohibited. Similarly, those who surrender their arms, confine themselves to their homes and seek shelter cannot be killed. The general public must not be targeted, and likewise, places of worship, buildings, crops and even trees must not be destro-.

On the one hand, there is a clear set of Islamic laws based on extreme discretion, and on the other hand, there are people who invoke the name of Islam to justify the indiscriminate and wanton killing of men, women and children everywhere. It is a pity that such barbaric people claim that their activities are jihad. In no way is it permissible to hold foreign delegates under unlawful custody and murder them and other peaceful non-Muslim citizens in retaliation for the interference, injustice and aggression of their countries. The one who commits these acts has no relation to Islam or the Prophet Muhammad a.


Is armed struggle permissible against Muslim rulers in order to remove their governments because of their un-Islamic policies, or to bring them to the right path or to force them to give up their impious activities? Is rebellion against the cons-utional government and its authority Islamically mandated? What should be the legitimate way to change the rulers or make them mend their ways?


Islam is not merely a religion; it is a complete dÏn, or code of life. It provides a complete set of principles for every aspect of life, and has also made arrangements for the protection of society as a whole. The rights and duties of state ins-utions have been clearly detailed. All citizens of a Muslim state are duty-bound to abide by its laws, rules and regulations. One of these principles is that a Muslim state and society should be a paragon of peace and coexistence. For this reason, Islam strictly prohibits taking up arms against it, chal-ging its authority and declaring war against it. Islamic law considers such actions as rebellion. - forbid if such conditions are created, then it is the primary responsibility of the Islamic state to take urgent measures to decisively eliminate rebellion and terrorism so that no individual or group can dare destroy the harmony of society, ruin peace and shed blood. Islam holds the peace and tranquillity of society in general, and of the Muslim state in particular, so dear that it does not allow people to raise the banner of revolt in the name of confronting injustice, oppression and other vices committed by the ruling elite. The banner of rebellion against a Muslim state cannot be raised unless the rulers commit explicit, declared and unequivocal disbelief, and use force to prevent the performance of religious rituals, like prayer.

The evidence for the prohibition of armed rebellion is explicitly outlined in the Qur’an, the prophetic traditions and the expositions of the cl-ical jurists. If reference is made to the -le Companions of the Prophet a, their successors, as well as Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam al-Shafii, Imam A^mad b. ¤anbal and other leading jurists, consensus would approve to exist that it is totally forbidden to rebel against the Muslim state—and there is no difference of opinion between any schools of thought on this matter. Any armed rebellion that chal-ges the authority of the state is nothing but a civil war, a blatant act of terrorism and a clear act of strife. Under no cir-stances can it be called jihad. As for the struggle to reform an impious Muslim ruler or state, that is not at all prohibited.

The prohibition of rebellion and armed struggle does not imply that an evil should not be called an evil and that no effort should be made to stop its spread or that the religious obligation to enjoin the good and forbid the evil should be abandoned. The act of upholding the truth and rejecting falsehood is mandatory for all Muslims, and seeking to reform society and fight off evil forces is a religious obligation. The adoption of all cons-utional, legal, political and democratic ways to reform the rulers and the system of governance and prevent them from the violation of human rights is not only lawful but a binding duty upon Muslims. Indeed, it is from the obligations of faith to strive at the individual and collective levels—through the appropriate means—for the establishment of truth, abolishment of terror and oppression and restoration of justice.


The sect of the Kharijites has left behind an indelible mark in the history of terrorism. The question arises: Who were the Kharijites? How are they judged in Islamic Revealed Law? Are the present-day terrorists a continuation of the Kharijites of old?


The Kharijites were rebels and apostates from Islam. Their initial appearance was during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad a, and their intellectual gro-h and emergence took place during the caliphates of ¢Uthm¥n b. ¢Aff¥n and ¢AlÏ b. AbÏ >¥lib k. The Kharijites were so punctual and regular in the performance of religious rituals and acts of worship that they would appear more pious than the Companions of the Prophet a; however, according to the clear statement of the Prophet a, they were absolutely out of the fold of Islam.

The Kharijites regarded the killing of Muslims as lawful, rejected the Companions for their disagreement with them, and, with the slogan of ‘there is no rule but for -’, considered it lawful to wage armed struggle against ¢AlÏ g. The Kharijites were in fact the first terrorist group to chal-ge the authority of the Muslim state and raise the banner of armed struggle against it. The hadith texts clearly establish that the elements of the Kharijites will continue to emerge and reappear in every age.

The term Kharijite is not restricted to the group that took up arms against the Rightly Guided Caliphs, but it encomp-es—from then until the Day of Judgement—every group and individual who possesses their attributes and beliefs and who commits terrorism in the name of jihad. Despite being compulsive and obsessive in their performance of the outward religious rituals, the Kharijites are considered out of the fold of Islam for their mistaken and erroneous beliefs.

A Muslim state cannot be allowed to give them any concession in the name of dialogue, or stop military actions against them until they are eliminated—and this is according to the explicit instructions of the Prophet a. The only time they can be spared is when they willingly lay down their arms, repent of their actions and vow to honour the authority of the Muslim state.


What are the measures that a government should take to end terrorist activities and armed strife?


The government and the law enforcement agencies should, at the outset, remove all factors and stimuli that contribute to making the common man a victim of doubts regarding the impermissibility of terrorism as a method of change. The ringleaders and supporters of terrorism are able to snare impressionable youth and lead them to militancy due to these doubts and misgivings. They are easily able to groom them for terrorist activities by exploiting their emotions and sensibilities. The policies, events and cir-stances the terrorist elements use as fuel for their evil agenda must be remedied and set right as a priority. This will certainly help eradicate the root causes of the spread of this plague. Similarly, as long as the world powers continually fail to attend to the real hardships of people and take note of their complaints, and until they abandon their deceptive policies, the restoration of real peace will remain a distant dream.


Can the atrocities of terrorism be justified and deemed permissible if they are done with the intention of promoting Islam and securing the rights of the Muslims?


Even today the Kharijites invoke Islam and raise slogans to establish the divine order, but all of their actions and steps cons-ute a clear violation of Islamic teachings. When the supporters of the Kharijites do not have a legal argument to defend their actions, they draw people’s attention to the vices and corruption of the ruling elite and the oppression committed by foreign forces. By way of this moral equivocation, they attempt to justify unlawful murder. They are content in the belief that, although the terrorists are doing wrong, their intention is good and beyond reproach. This is a major intellectual faux pas, and many people, both educated and uneducated, suffer from this doubt. An evil act remains evil in all its forms; whether it is interpreted as injustice, this principle remains the same. Therefore, no forbidden action can ever become a virtuous and lawful deed due to the goodness of intention.

Killing the common people, engaging in oppression and behaving with cruelty and vio-ce cannot become pardonable offenses due to the presence of a good intention or pious conviction. There is no place for deviation from this fundamental principle. Thus, this argument of the terrorists and their well-wishers is invalid as per the Islamic Sacred Law. Therefore, I begin my arguments with the clarification of the same issue: that an evil deed cannot transform into a pious deed due to a good intention from where it supposedly arises.

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