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Lunacy in the Levant: Deconstructing the ISIS Crisis




by Imam Luqman Ahmad

Genocide, murder, rape, mass executions, beheadings, the persecution of Christians, the persecution of Muslims, the persecution of Yazidis, a religion that most of us have heretofore never heard about, and a level of Muslim extremism that sends chills down your spine. This is the perceived reality of the ISIS phenomena which many people call a crisis. Despotic, bloodthirsty leaders, foolish followers, whole families slaughtered, and the image of a prepubescent Muslim boy holding up a decapitated head as if it were a fish that he might have caught in the local creek. Such are the workings of people who claim to be the puritans of Islam, sanitizing the path. Babies, shot point blank in the head, and scenes of outright savagery, all in the name of Islam. Thanks to world-wide (and largely controlled and censored) broadcast and social media, this is part of what makes up the images of Islam and Muslims in the 21st century.

The ISIS crisis in the Levant is not the only episode of Muslim ideologues run amok, or of Muslim on Muslim fratricide or of tribal wounds flared into full scale civil war; it’s going on in many places, and it just didn’t start during this century, or the last century for that matter; this is centuries old behavior and a chronically diseased spiritual and mental state that has always plagued parts of the Muslim world, and which traditionally has largely been ignored by the rest of it. The gruesome scenes of bloodshed that we are witnessing today are just individual examples of a much larger issue, which is total lack of regard for the most sacred things of our faith by people who claim to act in the name of our faith.

It seems that the most prominent casualties in all of this carnage, specifically in the case of ISIS, are the very things that our Prophet ﷺ had declared sacred on the day of Arafat during his Farewell khutba (sermon); Innocent blood, honor, and wealth and property. The very things that we were commanded to hold dear, are the very things that have become casualties of sacrilege. This is not to dismiss the carnage that recently took place in Gaza or the sectarian violence of Muslim on Muslim killing and strife that is going on in Syria, Libya, in the Mali, and in Northern Nigeria with Boko Haram.

There are so many theaters of violent and visceral discord going on in the Muslim world that if you were to pay attention to or weigh in on any one of them, you run the risk of being accused of ignoring the other. Some of it is Muslim against non-Muslim and some of it is Muslim against Muslim. If you talk about the carnage in Iraq, then someone will say; well what about the Palestinians in Gaza (another tragedy), and if you talk about the civil war going on in Libya, that seems to be engineered by the West, then someone will say well, what about BOKO Haram, and their kidnappings and murders, and so on.

The sad reality is that there is a very deep rooted mindset in parts of Muslim world, and even amongst Muslims living in the West, that is prone to dismiss the sacredness of blood, honor and wealth, in favor of your group, your sect, your spiritual leader, your race, your ethnicity, or your nationality, or your profit margin. There is a pandemic culture of sectarianism that drapes the Muslim world and that has extended well beyond its borders. It represents itself as racism, tribalism, nationalism, regionalism, terrorism, sect, sub-ideology, and political aspirations, all with the same result; Muslim killing, violence, savagery and butchery, all in the name of Islam, in the name of Allah, or in the name of, of all things, justice. People make, break, and change alliances and allegiances all the time in the Muslim world, so many times, we don’t even know the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. We’ll cheer on one group one moment and demonize them the next. We never really know who is paying who, to do what, who is supplying who, who’s selling out to who, who is lying and who is telling the truth, who it is that are simply misled, who it is who are profiting, and who is it that are just plain evil.

Most of us are just online, and media driven spectators to all of this, for various and sundry reasons. Some of us are drawn to the sensationalism but indifferent to the underlying problem, others are truly concerned and looking for answers and still others have given up, and see no hope to the problem of widespread Muslim on Muslim killing and what it means to our civilization. Still, this confluence of spectacularly violent, and unconscionable incidents of Muslim savagery, all converging at once in real time, is leaving its mark of death, trauma, suffering, anger, and confusion. Yes, it is enough to make your head spin and propel you into a complete state of apoplexy. In the middle of it all, some of us are concerned, and rightfully so, about the image of Islam and Muslims in the world. On this point, I got news for you; what we need to be really concerned about is not just our public image; but about the people that we have become, and the state of our collective morality. This is not about public relations here; what we are dealing with is a severe and seemingly growing moral dysfunction in our ranks.

I’m not ignoring the horrendous acts of violence, aggression, and political manipulation directed at Muslim groups and countries by non-Muslim actors, states, and military corporations; the bombs, bullets, grenade launchers, armored personnel carrier, flak jackets, goggles, boots and uniforms, and all the instruments of war and mass destruction cost money, and their non-stop use is making some people very wealthy. Some of these instances of violence going on in the Muslim world is simply a matter of pre-orchestrated warfare engineered and financed by outside entities, where they supply all the tools of carnage and sit back and watch as Muslims kill each other, while wealthy financiers, greedy contractors, and unscrupulous weapons manufacturers count their profits.

Network and cable television is replete with political analysts opinions about which Muslim group should be armed to fight which other Muslim group, and with what kinds of weapons, for how long, and how many advisors, and at what level of technical assistance. Knight to King’s rook four; like a chess game with the Muslim people as pawns. After the destruction of homes, towns and infrastructure, they send in contractors to profit again at the expense of poor indigenous Muslim populations. Why so many of us fail to see the pathetic irony in that, is beyond me. But that’s a topic for another article.

The bottom line is that there are more Muslims killed, maimed, and made homeless refugees by other Muslim than by anyone else. There is absolutely no justification for rape, the killing, torture and maiming of the innocent, for murdering women, children, and elderly men tending to their farms, no matter what their race, religion, nationality, or ethnicity.

There is no moral justification for forced conversion to Islam; not ever. We have become almost completely desensitized and nearly oblivious to our own moral failings as a Muslim civilization. Muslims certainly are not the only people with modern moral challenges. However, as Muslims, we are responsibly for our own moral condition. I’m relatively certain that these sad but news worthy events we are talking about will soon fade into history and will be all but forgotten about in our short term memory, but the diseases of violent, Muslim on Muslim sectarianism, and the unhealthy penchant for massacre and the taking of innocent lives, will remain, only to raise its ugly head again in the near future. I don’t claim to have the solution to all of this but I will say this; things will not change for us, until we change. And Allah knows best.


Imam and Executive Director of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento CA, Shaykh Luqman graduated from the language and usool ud-deen program at Omdurman Islamic University in Sudan and received his ijaazah in Hafs Quran recitation from the Quranic village of Wad al-Faadni in the Jazeerah Province of Sudan. Shaykh Luqman also studied at Umm Al-Quraa University in Saudi Arabia and at the Haram al-Makki. While in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, in addition to the teachers at Um al-Qura, the Imam studied with Sheikh Suleiman al-Hazmi, Sheikh Sayyid Sabiq who was his sheikh of tafseer al-Quran, and Sheikh Muhammad al-Ghazaali. Shaykh Luqman learned usool al-hadith from Sheikh Muhammad bin Humayad a classic era Az’harian trained in the Ottoman period. Imam Luqman also took lessons from the late African American Shaykh; Muhammad Ghulaam Al-Haarith, one of the first indigenous American Muslims to attend Azhar University. Other Shuyookh of Imam Abu Laith Luqman: Sheikh Abdul-Karim MuhammadAhmad , Tajweed, Fiqh, Aqeeda, Hadeeth Umm Luqman – Aqeedah, Fiqh, Adab, Seerah Sheikha Fareedah Umm Hannaan,-Aqeedah, Fiqh al-Mu’aamalaat Sheikha Aminah Abdullah-Aqeedah, Seerah Sheikh Ameer Saab-Aqeedah, Usool al-Eemaan Sheikh Sulaimaan Abdul-Haadee-Language, Modern Urban logic and Expression, Sheikh Muhammad As’lam-Fiqh Sheikh Abdullah bin Baaz-Aqeedah Sheikh Muhammad Ghulaam al-Haarith-arabic Language, Seerah, usool al-Fiqh Sheikh Zainul Aabideen al-Costi- Fiqh, Usool al-Fiqh, Usool al-Hadith, Qiraa’tul Hafs Sheikh Daf’ Allah Hajj Yusuf-Arabic Grammar, al-matan al-Ajroomiyyah Sheikh Muhammad Hadeeya al-Umdurmaani-Fiqh, Tafseer, Usool al-hadith, Aqeedah Sheikh Muhammad Taqlaawi- Aqeeah, Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Humayd, Hadith Sheikh Sayyid Saabiq- Tafseer, Fiqh Sheikh Ridda Mu’tee-Aqeedah Sheikh Sulaimaan al-Hazmi- Hadeeth Sheikh Muhammad Mutaphah Bilaal-Hadeeth, Sahih Muslim Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Fad’Allah-Usool al-Fiqh, Sheikh Abdullah Ali al-Mekki, Aqeedah



  1. Avatar

    Aaron Hamm

    August 19, 2014 at 1:00 AM

    Fantastically insightful article. I’m glad i managed to wander my non-believing self here.

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    Faris Mee

    August 19, 2014 at 6:09 AM

    The man is an echo chamber for the kuffaar. No civvies have been killed by the Islamic State. The executions r of enemy combatants in accordance with the sunnah. Same for Hudd punishment straight down the line Qur’an & Sunnah. This is what this munafiq truly hates. Full-on Islamic sharia. Forced conversions? U liar. Kiddies executed. u liar. All propaganda by your beloved arab amerikan christians. If this munafiq really cared he would have spotted instantly all their footage was stolen from Syria 2012-3 where Assad killed sunnis. One scene his christian brothers used was of buddists in burma killing muslims. If this munafiq cared he would have spotted it. Same with a scene from Egypt which they said was Iraq.

    Rasoolallah SAW said the Khilafah will return on the way of prophethood. That means full-on Islamic Sharia. This hadith negates the munafiqeens’ chance to cry “We r in Makkah time”.

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      John Howard

      August 19, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      I thought this web site was for reasoned discussion by rational people who could talk in a reasoned manner We may not necessarily agree with all points of view but act in a polite way It seems the fanatics are coming here as well

      • Avatar

        Aly Balagamwala

        August 20, 2014 at 2:57 AM

        Dear John

        We get comments from people with all viewpoints. We try to allow all comments as long as they comply with our Comments Policy. Our purpose is to have a dialogue in a civilized manner with as little intrusion from Comments Team as possible.

        Thanks for being polite. :)

        Best Regards
        CommentsTeam Lead

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        Ali Abdul Rahman

        August 20, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        I thought freedom to express thought was something you guys cherished. Does it only apply when you want to draw a cartoon of the Prophet(SAW)?

        Or maybe you didn’t get OPs point.

        So let me explain. He is suggesting the writer’s knowledge of the ISIS/IS’s aqeeda/ fiqh comes directly from CNN/BBC/NBC/FOXNews. As well as the knowledge of IS’s actions in Iraq and Syria.
        This is like learning about the Palestinian hardships in Gaza from the IDF spokesperson.

        However the writers armchair analysis is hardly surprising, when you take it to account that he is in a country where he pays taxes to a government whose army is directly or indirectly oppressing almost every Muslim land on the face of the earth.

        These armies kills, murders, burns, decapitates babies, steals land, robs Muslim wealth, commits “collateral” genocides on a regular basis with hardly anyone batting an eye. Those who do are labelled extremist sympathisers void of “proper” Islamic knowledge.

        One the other hand the “house Muslims” only wishes this would all go away so that he/she can enjoy that new Halaal Angus beef restaurant that just opened.

        The writers long and impressive educational credentials while being blissfully ignorant of these obvious truths seems to suggest he is no more than a glorified Orientalist.

        I know I am coming across as overly harsh and I apologise for it. But we Muslims deserve better leaders who can stand up for the dheen of Allah. Not the cowards we have now.

        Maybe these cowards are the reason that we have groups such as ISIS, Boko Haram, and others.

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      August 20, 2014 at 1:09 PM

      Ridiculous. Your claim of ‘no civilians’ killed is simply a lie. You define anyone you want as an ‘enemy combatant’ including people who are acting in self defense against your friends ISIS and then kill them. Such people do not count as ‘enemy combatants’ if you are on the offensive against them. You and your ilk are not part of this Ummah, and you are certainly not obeying any legitimate Khilafa.

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    August 19, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    Very well written article. I agree with the whole of it. It seems that the intrusion of the Western powers is, or has, created a cancer in the Umma today. We only have ourselves to blame for adopting certain western methods and ways-of-life into ours. But I do believe that this is a trial from Him and that we all need to change who we are and we urgently need to refresh our faith so that we stick ONLY the the values of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

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      John Howard

      August 19, 2014 at 8:56 PM

      I am more than a little tired of the blame that keeps being placed on the west for Islam’s disasters. Most certainly the majority of Islamic nations leave a lot to be desired in the areas of justice liberty and freedom. In fact one of the recent articles on this site has stated that 8 out of 10 of the most corrupt nations on this planet are Islamic and if you extend that further I suspect that it would include the majority of them. The reality is that the west has played and supported many of the so called secular dictatorships in the Muslim world not only because of self interest (which is normal in all nations regardless of religion / philosophy) but because there has been no alternative in those countries. When we have interfered as in Iraq which was an unmitigated disaster we have ended up with a more than bloody nose. But really can anyone state that Saddam Hussain was a shining example of democracy or even tolerance? And after that invasion when there was an opportunity to start afresh and create a nation that could have been a shining example of Islamic standards as well as a modern Islamic society its own people reverted to tribalism and began massacring each other. The Arab spring was supposed to bring a new enlightenment to Islam but it has only allowed the fanatics to rise to the fore and begin their “final solution” to the minorities in these countries whether they are branches or sects within Islam or other minorities such as the Christians. I have to say that I yearn for the secular dictatorships to come back where at least everyone was suppressed more or less equally. Islamic fundamentalism has not brought peace to the middle east it has brought anarchy and death on a scale not seen since the 2nd world war.

      As regards to the Palastinian issue I cannot but look on the Muslim rage as more than a trifle confected. This issue has been in continuance since 1948 with the birth of the Israeli state and yet in the main most Muslim nations have at best paid lip service to the Palestinians and at worst done business with the Israelis. The fact is that Israeli Arabs are far better off than their brothers and sisters in any Muslim country. They have representation in Parliament by their own people and in welfare, education health etc don’t seem to be discriminated against. I may stand corrected on this but at least there have not been anywhere like the massacres or murders seen in Iraq Libya Syria etc. Even those murders of the Arab lad in Israel are now in jail awaiting trial for that horrific crime.

      The biggest failure as an outsider I see in your religion is that the tribalism has never been attended to It has been suppressed under the the secular dictatorships but never dealt with in a logical and civilised manner. And when the fundamentalists rise to the top as they have in Iran Iraq etc we see this maniac butchery that defies imagination.

      Islam claims it is not a racist but again articles on this site have laid testimony to the fact that what is practiced is opposite.

      You blame the west for interference and we have but in reality is there an option ? None of your countries have shown that they are capable of treating their peoples fairly or with dignity. Why else have tens of millions of you fled to the west ? It is only here in the west that you have the freedom from persecution and death that you can voice opposition to what you see as persecution of Muslims. We have had our failings in dealing with Islam that is for certain but it would seem to many kuffars that before you can give us a lecture you need to get your own house in order. Until then many of us will treat Islam with not unreasoned distrust and fear.

      Finally I would commend the Imam Luqman Ahmad for his article he shows great insight and understanding of the political aspect of what is today’s modern Islam It is not easy for anyone from any faith to openly critique his beliefs and his own people like this. He seems to me a man of integrity and honesty and I am afraid to say this one of the few in your religion prepared to say so

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        Aly Balagamwala

        August 20, 2014 at 3:18 AM

        Thank you John for this comment that gives us a look at the Muslim community as viewed by an outsider. I may not agree with everything you say but there are some points we need to understand and reflect on.

        *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

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        Riaz Quadir

        August 22, 2014 at 6:34 PM

        Sir the sheer simple-minded naivete of your comment could mean only one of two things: 1: you are totally ignorant of the history of the Middle-East since the fall of the Ottoman Empire (which is forgivable on the basis of ignorance, a common enough disease); or much worse, 2) that you are and Orientalist playing the same old card and blaming the Muslims, as orientalist having always done; blaming the subject race.
        The Islamic world spreads over a very large geographic area covering many cultures, people and ethnicities. The European colonisers have simply been dividing them (the Muslims) further and further (and it becomes easier and easier to do so) till we have the chaos that we have today. It has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the religion of Islam.
        Your obeservation about the West supporting “secular dictatorships in the Muslim world not only because of self interest (which is normal in all nations regardless of religion / philosophy) but because there has been no alternative in those countries” is a joke considering the very best friend of the West in the Arab muslim world is Saudi Arabia for the last 70 plus years. Need I say more? On the other hand the West drove Gamal Nasser; a true secular leader to the Russians.

        The West has had only one interest: to secure the wealth and power of the world to itself. Just like The Berlin Conference of 1884 that divided Africa between the European powers, modern West has divided the world between themselves. Anyone who opposes them is in for a regime change. And who can challenge them on the narrative; they own the media globally. Sorry, I forgot North Korea, Cuba and Iran… but who read or listens to them…

        Sir, like the occassional disgruntled postman in the USA who suddenly loses his sanity and goes on rampage killing as many people as he can before he is mowed down, some of the jihadist are showing similar symptoms because people like you have taken away their voice, their freedom, their very right to exist in their own lands away from them. But rest assured that the law of Universe that guides our lives on Earth will not let the real perpetrators of such evil get away. Or to use the words of your own celebrated bard, Shakepeare:
        “But in these cases
        We still have judgment here, that we but teach
        Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
        To plague th’ inventor: this even-handed justice
        Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice
        To our own lips”.

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          John Howard

          August 23, 2014 at 8:33 AM

          Your comments re Egypt have some merit but look at the other fact that are also in the the mix regarding this benighted country. The Suez crisis of 1956 had a lot to do with this as much as anything else when France Britain and Israel attacked Egypt over the Suez Canal nationalisation. Because of the Americans along with the USSR threatening to sanction both France and Britain over this act lead them being forced to pull out of this affair.
          Also in that period islamism was not strong anywhere with the possible exception of Egypt where the Brotherhood was attempting to reach some sort of status. Fundamentalism really began to take shape with the fall of the Shah in Iran in 1979. This was exported by the Iranians all over the middle east as well as being taken up by others as you obviously well know The islamic fervour had no real substance until then.
          Regarding the Saudis you may call it a kingdom but it is a despotic one which makes it very similar to the dictatorships It has never been a democracy and like all states it will ally itself with the devil to keep the status quo. The fact that Saudi and Iran are as hostile to each other as much as Palestine versus Israel hasn’t surley escaped your attention has it? Did I mention tribalism ? Arab versus Persian is that not tribalism Wahhabi versus Shia versus Sunni and all have the same “faith’ but all dedicated to their own agendas which don’t include each other.
          As for Saudi Arabia being the west’s best friend some friend its ultraconservatism that it exports to the west is as much to fear as your friends in ISIS. They are just not as violent and are a lot more subtle. Their intentions are still the same and represent the extremes of Islam.
          Your sarcasm of my remarks makes you arrogant sir and the trite comparison between a post office worker gone mad and the madness that is now happening in Iraq is at best ridiculous and at worst seeks to trivialise the savagery that is occurring. You talk of the frustration of these jihadist demanding freedom and justice? Where is the justice to the muslims Christians and others they are slaughtering? As I said the west has made many many mistakes due to arrogance, greed and many other things. but to say we want all the wealth for ourselves is as ludicrous as it is peurile. The rise of the BRIC nations gives lie to that The huge muslim immigration to the west also asks where all the wealth is going. I don’t claim to be an expert at all in muslim affairs as you but what I have written is what we see today occurring in muslim lands You can keep blaming the west for all your religion’s problems but that is scant consolation for the muslims and christians lying dead in the ditches

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      August 20, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      I don’t agree with this. If we Muslims actually do what we say we do, then any interference from western powers should not have thrown the entire Muslim world out of wack. As far as I’m concerned, about 95% of the people on this earth are barbarians, whether in the east or west. About the only people I have any respect for left are small children, who are innocent of any crimes.

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        August 20, 2014 at 6:18 PM

        I know what you mean but I think that the problem really is that power tends to be concentrated in the hands of people who are prepared to fight for it – either in the ballots or in the battlefields. Most ordinary people in the west, sitting at home, watching the TV or reading the news, probably consider themselves ‘good’. The trouble is that ‘good’ people don’t really want to go out and kill or campaign. Being born in a place where there is no war is a matter of luck – in other places, the same people would be dying from their inability to fight back. Switching channels or turning the page is their only response to the actions of others they don’t understand and have no idea how to overcome. I’m one of them and I’m lucky, more good than bad on an average day I hope, and helpless.

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    Mujahid in Shaam

    August 19, 2014 at 8:51 PM

    I read 50% of the first paragraph, and stopped there. The author is just sitting on his comfy couch and doesn’t have a clue what on Earth is going on in the Shaam, and is just slandering the mujahideen, and promoting the fake Western fairy tales that these filthy governments encourage in the media. [text removed] You better keep quiet if you have nothing good to say.

    *This comment was edited by the MM Comments Team in order to comply with our Comments Policy*

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      John Howard

      August 19, 2014 at 9:01 PM

      I hope you don’t live here in the west You will do more disservice to your fellow Muslims than can be imagined

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      August 20, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      There is no need for anyone to ‘slander’ you with lies. When you yourselves continuously post pictures of decapitated bodies on twitter (and yes, I have seen them from your army and supporters), innocent children holding up heads and smiling as you teach them it’s fun to kill, and essentially take slave women to have sex with since you guys got horny, then forgive me if we do not embrace you as saviors of this Ummah. Noone else needs to defame you, you are doing a great job of it yourselves.

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    August 20, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    In India the renowned Darul Uloom’s top Nadwa scholar Maulana Salman Nadvi has written an open letter greeting ISIS Baghdadi and accepting him as Capliph, and writtten to the Saudi govt offering 500000 muslim youth to join ISIS,to mitigate Shias and other minorities. One cannot blame the Indian govt if they decide to ban the Darul Uloom next or US designates the age old school as a terrorist organization.The rest of Ummah needs to censor such scholars to save our schools and Ummah.Why not debate with such scholars? I do not get why there is no intra-sunni-scholar debates at all within the Ummah? Muslim youth need to be taught how to think with diversity,weigh pros and cons, see perspectives of both sides.Today kafirs and muslims are simply 2 sides of the same greedy coin, the print on both being different does not matter.That even other scholars within Darul Uloom are too scared to speak up openly, shows the level of cowardice that has seeped in.Beheading innocents is
    not masculinity,its just bad adrenalin, restraint and self control,is true courage.

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala

      August 21, 2014 at 8:48 AM


      See Yahya Ibrahim’s post yesterday


      *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

    • Avatar


      August 26, 2014 at 8:43 AM

      Everyone is talking about “behading” like this was never done in Islamic history. Did you know that the sahabah beheaded people? Did you know that our Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him ordered sometimes heads to be brought to him? I suggest you read the seerah to get more informed. fyi: by no means do I agree with the isis group however; that disagreement is not around pitty things that most Muslims complain about them.

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    August 20, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    These so-called ISIS guys completely disregard the Sunnah of combat and of general behavior. They have no religious legitimacy, and think they can make up their own rules (or lack thereof).

    Where in the Prophet’s (SAW) Blessed Sunnah is it sanctioned to go on killing sprees of non-combatants? The gruesome execution of sojourners in the Muslim lands will earn them severe punishment on the Day of Judgment if they don’t repent and change their ways. Islam prohibits abuse and murder of prisoners. Why do these so-called religious people know the basics of their religion? There is a reason that none of the Ulema support these psychos. They only know how to kill kill kill. Where is the mercy? Where is the humanity? Where is the hikmah?

    Islam spread in large part due to the upright behavior of the Muslims, even in times of war. Posting beheadings of civilians online is causing the kuffar to run away from Islam and leading them to believe that we are a savage and unmerciful ummah.

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      August 20, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      I meant: “Why do these so-called religious people not know the basics of their religion?”

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        Riaz Quadir

        August 22, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        Simply because they are not who they pretend to be. They are the creation of the people who want to discredit Islam and the true muslims. They are the enemies of Islam. They are a propaganda against Islam.

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      August 26, 2014 at 8:47 AM

      More non-muslims run away from Islam due to our poor adhab (manners) than anything else. After 9/11 more non-muslims came to Islam than due to any dawah project in the West. What does that tell you? Allah guides whom He wants, and nothing will deter those whom He wants to guide.

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        John Howard

        August 27, 2014 at 5:07 PM

        Are you implying that by killing non believers more will join Islam? Because if you are then you are portraying a course that will lead to a war between the civiliations.

        • Avatar

          Aly Balagamwala

          August 28, 2014 at 8:04 AM


          Actually no he is not implying that from what I can understand from his comment. He is saying that sometimes negative news leads to people investigating more about the truth and accepting it.


          *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

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    August 21, 2014 at 1:59 AM

    Isis the hottest topic of de year… Can anybody remember the previous hot topic of the decade called alqaeda…?same beheadings,same mass murders? After the sudden death of Mr.laden or the performance of alqaeda is fading away, another bunch of barbaric monstrous murderers pop up from nowhere to take that place…ring any bells..?? Where does all these groups get funding,weapons, men…??who is the biggest beneficiaries of a war,..???
    the west clearly needs an enemy to justify their presence in middle east…Israel needs a threat to justify the occupation..the enemy was alqaeda,and now its isis and who knows wat in the future…?


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    Riaz Ahmed

    August 21, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    Assalaamualaikum brother I agree with you on many points, today many Muslims are going back to jahiliya period for which Islam was introduced, Islam which means peace in other words is now framed as barbaric, intolerant and violent religion now bcoz of the few jahiliya in our community, middle east is always an interest place for elites to control it, by any means, they want to control it. The war on terror created more terrorists than it was when they started it, Muslims are being killed by non-Muslim and Muslims too, may be this is the day which Prophet Muhammad prophesied that a day will come when the killer will not know why he is killing and the person who getting killed also won’t know why he is getting killed.

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    August 24, 2014 at 2:02 AM

    Salam Alaikum dear brother,
    Thank you for the eloquent and touching article.
    Yesterday, the imam of our Southern California masjid mentioned after the Isha prayer the murder of Muslims in a masjid in Iraq’s Diyala province. “This is what’s really going on in Iraq. They are trying to rid the country of Sunnis,” he said before making an emotional prayer for the dead and against the perpetrators.
    It was saddening news, certainly, and a touching prayer, but it pained me further to suddenly realize that in the past ten years, I have never heard any imam mention the many other Muslims killed in mosques by suicide bombers whether in Iraq and elsewhere (Muslims who just happen to be “shia”). Could it have been because the mosques I frequent happen to identify as “sunni” and not “shia.”
    I am just speaking from my own experience – and certainly there are exceptions. I’m praying God willing to someday experience that freedom from the tribalism made prohibited to us.
    When the “Arab Spring” broke out, I heard high ranking “sunnis,” who so passionately supported the Egyptian people against Mubarak, dismiss the popular movement in Bahrain as a “shia” ploy. And then I heard “shias,” who also supported the Egyptian people, throw their support behind Assad despite his brutality against the Syrian people. Today, in addition to the monstrous situation in Iraq and Syria, we also have a fractured Palestinian people under constant bombardment, and no nearby Muslim nation willing to lift a finger. Could we expect anything else from our own tribalism? I’m afraid to say, we have only ourselves to blame.

    • Avatar


      August 26, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      This article is partially informed and biased. Yes, there are actual facts in this article that most people read somewhere else or saw pictures posted on some social media outlet. Now, not to completely discredit some of the facts in the article, but let us be fair, first ask yourself what is my source of information and why is this happening to begin with? Did you know that when the houses of Muslims were burned during the Balkan wars some media used this as propaganda tool to recruit more non-Muslims by telling them that those houses were their orthodox Christian brethren? Why are we quick to label a group of Muslims khawaraj (whether it being true or not) yet when the “Muslim” governments imprison, torcher or kill Muslims and their scholars we are staying silent? Has anyone but a few mentioned to us about the killing and torturing of Muslims and their scholars? Isn’t that the primary reason for militarized extremism in the Muslim groups fighting? Nobody, teaches the fiqh of engagement but everyone of those “scholars”, “da’ii” are quick to scream “khawaraj”. Is it fair to give your student a test and grade it without even teaching him? Wake up ummatul Muhammed, learn your history. Beheadings are not our problem, they are a part of our history.

  10. Avatar


    August 26, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Thank you brother Aly.On a personal capacity, I believe the problem lies in the way islamic scholars teach the concept of justice.
    Justice is not simply laying out the laws of the sharia,
    Because sharia is codified laws, just like any legal constitution is.
    The reason why we have been given a Quran and Sunnah,is so that we have laws and we are shown a process of implementation.
    I mean a process because being Just requires being Merciful also. Both are not contradictory, just like the way Allah has given us
    Destiny and a Free Will. A righteous muslim’s journey is to balance both.
    If we do not have taqwah, it will look like they are contradictory and the muslim then picks one side of the
    Balance, some resign to fate and some simply think they can do anything as there is free will.
    Similiarly, we have muslims who enforce harsh and brutal punishments in the name of Islamic justice
    while others let the basest of criminals get away in the name of mercy for their own brethren or community etc.
    For example, Sunnis support of Saddam Hussein, while he was brutal with the minorities like Kurds and used chemical weapons.
    It was brethren mercy there,that he did not have an ISIS to oppose him from the Sunni ranks then against his injustices.
    Same goes to Shia Iran and some Palestinians supporting Assad in Syria. Even the Egypt conundrum is-who is the worst,
    Sisi or Morsi? How are the 2 different,when they do exactly the same autocratic crap when they come to power?

    Even when we learn Tawheed we must not forget humanity.Our love for our Creator is best exemplified in our love for His creations after all.
    We need Islamic classes on true justice and mercy. Families need to learn justice, where both mother and wife are treated with respect in balance,
    not enough to say your Jannah is at your mother’s feet – what about justice to your wife?

  11. Avatar

    Abdullah Khan

    August 27, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    I think nowadays the majority of muslims believe anything they hear without verifying with evidences and this includes people of knowledge.
    I have heard all sorts of conspiracy theories and also claims of killing innocent civilians, making takfir on muslims etc.. The images that IS places on twitter are enemy combatants.

    O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful. Quran 49:6

    Most muslims among those of knowledge are ignorant these days about the world and what is going on in it and how to relate their knowledge of the deen to it. The non-muslim have think tanks with their own agendas trying to finds ways to further them. I don’t see the same in the Muslim world for the Islamic agenda among those who have knowledge.

    What I see and here from muslims and those of knowledge reminds me of Kidhr and Musa in suratul Kahf, and how Musa (a.s) reacts to Khidr.when he sinks the ship, kills the youth, and builds the wall for the two orphans.

    Also, remember Musa(a.s) had more knowledge than Khidr over all, but Khidr was more knowledgeable than Musa in a particular area.

    Similar to scholars today and IS (how they deal within event in their localities they are in).

    Yes, we as muslims have compassion for the victims of the events that are shown if they are really the total story, but most likely there are events we are not shown, which makes us short sighted to the realities on the ground and the long term out comes.

    I’m not saying IS is Khidr, but the events between Musa(a.s) and Khidr are very symbolic to what we are seeing happening in the world today.

    Don’t rush to judgment on partial information about what is happening in different places around the globe, and I’m referring to those people of knowledge.

    We need to be patient and just wait and see how things play out in the end.

    That is why the messenger of Allah said if only Musa (a.s) had been a little more patient we would have found out so much more.

    This is my own personal view when I read suratul Kahf.

    There are some who have been on the ground within the state i.e Vice News and others to reveal what is happening, it all on YouTube, but still not even that is the whole story.

  12. Avatar

    Daniel Ray Jones

    September 4, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    I have my own religion….

    I respect the efforts made by others in my behalf who expected no rewards in return…..

    When we take Love from others for granted and then elevate the material above the spirit so we can view them as
    not worthy of our Love in return we begin to view a place in Hell that holds us in one place in ourselves and we become a slave to sin.

    ISIS is and will always be people who no longer follow their heart and instead walk the path of power. To be with Allah one needs to resist as much as is possible in this top layer of Hell, Evil in all its forms.

    This means being kind to others even when it is the most difficult thing to do.

    The iSIS terriorist are lost in Hell to Hell’s delight and when they die they will be claimed by the Evil they sowed while they lived.

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What Does Sharia Really Say About Abortion in Islam

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice, Islam recognizes the nuance.

Reem Shaikh



The following article on abortion is based on a research paper titled ‘The Rights of the Fetus in Islam’, at the Department of Sharia at Qatar University. My team and I presented it to multiple members of the faculty. It was approved by the Dean of the Islamic Studies College, an experienced and reputed Islamic authority.

In one swoop, liberal comedian Deven Green posing as her satirical character, Mrs. Betty Brown, “America’s best Christian”, demonized both Sharia law as well as how Islamic law treats abortion. Even in a debate about a law that has no Muslim protagonist in the middle of it, Islam is vilified because apparently, no problem in the world can occur without Islam being dragged into it.

It is important to clarify what Sharia is before discussing abortion. Sharia law is the set of rules and guidelines that Allah establishes as a way of life for Muslims. It is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which is interpreted and compiled by scholars based on their understandings (fiqh). Sharia takes into account what is in the best interest for individuals and society as a whole, and creates a system of life for Muslims, covering every aspect, such as worship, beliefs, ethics, transactions, etc.

Muslim life is governed by Sharia – a very personal imperative. For a Muslim living in secular lands, that is what Sharia is limited to – prayers, fasting, charity and private transactions such as not dealing with interest, marriage and divorce issues, etc. Criminal statutes are one small part of the larger Sharia but are subject to interpretation, and strictly in the realm of a Muslim country that governs by it.

With respect to abortion, the first question asked is:

“Do women have rights over their bodies or does the government have rights over women’s bodies?”

The answer to this question comes from a different perspective for Muslims. Part of Islamic faith is the belief that our bodies are an amanah from God. The Arabic word amanah literally means fulfilling or upholding trusts. When you add “al” as a prefix, or al-amanah, trust becomes “The Trust”, which has a broader Islamic meaning. It is the moral responsibility of fulfilling one’s obligations due to Allah and fulfilling one’s obligations due to other humans.

The body is one such amanah. Part of that amanah includes the rights that our bodies have over us, such as taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally – these are part of a Muslim’s duty that is incumbent upon each individual.

While the Georgia and Alabama laws in the United States that make abortion illegal after the 6-week mark of pregnancy are being mockingly referred to as “Sharia Law” abortion, the fact is that the real Sharia allows much more leniency in the matter than these laws do.

First of all, it is important to be unambiguous about one general ruling: It is unanimously agreed by the scholars of Islam that abortion without a valid excuse after the soul has entered the fetus is prohibited entirely. The question then becomes, when exactly does the soul enter the fetus? Is it when there is a heartbeat? Is it related to simple timing? Most scholars rely on the timing factor because connecting a soul to a heartbeat itself is a question of opinion.

Web MD

The timing then is also a matter of ikhtilaf, or scholarly difference of opinion:

One Hundred and Twenty Days:

The majority of the traditional scholars, including the four madhahib, are united upon the view that the soul certainly is within the fetus after 120 days of pregnancy, or after the first trimester.

This view is shaped by  the following hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن أحدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما ثم يكون في ذلك علقة مثل ذلك ثم يكون في ذلك مضغة مثل ذلك ثم يرسل الملك فينفخ فيه الروح..

“For every one of you, the components of his creation are gathered together in the mother’s womb for a period of forty days. Then he will remain for two more periods of the same length, after which the angel is sent and insufflates the spirit into him.”

Forty Days:

The exception to the above is that some scholars believe that the soul enters the fetus earlier, that is after the formation phase, which is around the 40 days mark of pregnancy.

This view is based on another hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مر بالنطفة إثنتان وأربعون ليلة بعث الله إليها ملكاً، فصوره، وخلق سمعها وبصرها وجلدها ولحمها وعظمها…

“If a drop of semen spent in the womb forty-two nights, Allah sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones.”

Between the two views, the more widespread and popular opinion is the former, which is that the soul enters the fetus at the 120 days (or 4 months) mark, as the second hadith implies the end of the formation period of the fetus rather than the soul entering it.

Even if one accepts that the soul enters the fetus at a certain timing mark, it does not mean that the soul-less fetus can be aborted at any time or for any reason. Here again, like most matters of Islamic jurisprudence, there is ikhtilaf of scholarly difference of opinion.

No Excuse Required:

The Hanafi madhhab is the most lenient, allowing abortion during the first trimester, even without an excuse.

Some of the later scholars from the Hanafi school consider it makruh or disliked if done without a valid reason, but the majority ruled it as allowed.

Only Under Extreme Risks:

The Malikis are the most strict in this matter; they do not allow abortion even if it is done in the first month of pregnancy unless there is an extreme risk to the mother’s health.

Other Views:

As for the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought, there are multiple opinions within the schools themselves, some allowing abortion, some only allowing it in the presence of a valid excuse.

Valid excuses differ from scholar to scholar, but with a strong and clear reason, permissibility becomes more lenient. Such cases include forced pregnancy (caused by rape), reasons of health and other pressing reasons.

For example, consider a rape victim who becomes pregnant. There is hardly a more compelling reason (other than the health of the mother) where abortion should be permitted. A child born as a result in such circumstances will certainly be a reminder of pain and discomfort to the mother. Every time the woman sees this child, she will be reminded of the trauma of rape that she underwent, a trauma that is generally unmatched for a woman. Leaving aside the mother, the child himself or herself will lead a life of suffering and potentially neglect. He or she may be blamed for being born– certainly unjust but possible with his or her mother’s mindset. The woman may transfer her pain to the child, psychologically or physically because he or she is a reminder of her trauma. One of the principles of Sharia is to ward off the greater of two evils. One can certainly argue that in such a case where both mother and child are at risk of trauma and more injustice, then abortion may indeed be the lesser of the two.

The only case even more pressing than rape would be when a woman’s physical health is at risk due to the pregnancy. Where the risk is clear and sufficiently severe (that is can lead to some permanent serious health damage or even death) if the fetus remained in her uterus, then it is unanimously agreed that abortion is allowed no matter what the stage of pregnancy. This is because of the Islamic principle that necessities allow prohibitions. In this case, the necessity to save the life of the mother allows abortion, which may be otherwise prohibited.

This is the mercy of Sharia, as opposed to the popular culture image about it.

Furthermore, the principle of preventing the greater of two harms applies in this case, as the mother’s life is definite and secure, while the fetus’ is not.

Absolutely Unacceptable Reason for Abortion:

Another area of unanimous agreement is that abortion cannot be undertaken due to fear of poverty. The reason for this is that this mindset collides with having faith and trust in Allah. Allah reminds us in the Quran:

((وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا))

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty, We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (Al-Israa, 31)

Ignorance is not an excuse, but it is an acceptable excuse when it comes to mocking Islam in today’s world. Islam is a balanced religion and aims to draw ease for its adherents. Most rulings concerning fiqh are not completely cut out black and white. Rather, Islamic rulings are reasonable and consider all possible factors and circumstances, and in many cases vary from person to person.

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice. These terms have become political tools rather than sensitive choices for women who ultimately suffer the consequences either way.

Life means a lot more than just having a heartbeat. Islam completely recognizes this. Thus, Islamic rulings pertaing to abortion are detailed and varied.

As a proud Muslim, I want my fellow Muslims to be confident of their religion particularly over sensitive issues such as abortion and women’s rights to choose for themselves keeping the Creator of Life in focus at all times.

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#Current Affairs

Faith Community Stands With Peace And Justice Leader Imam Omar Suleiman During Right Wing Attacks

Hena Zuberi



In a follow up to the right-wing media platforms attack on Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists, as well as criticism of Israel policies, Faith Forward Dallas issued a statement.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanksgiving Square – Faith Leaders United for Peace and Justice is a Texas-based interfaith organization that has worked on many initiatives with Imam Omar Suleiman.

The statement reads:

“Imam Omar Suleiman a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice!!!!!

Time after time in our city, in the United States and around the world, Imam Omar Suleiman has been a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice. When others seek to divide, he calls for unity. Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square works to unite faith leaders for justice and compassion. Imam Suleiman has been a trusted leader among us. In the wake of his beautiful prayer to open the House of Representatives on May 9, he has received threats of violence and words of vilification when instead he should have our praise and prayers. We call upon people of good will everywhere to tone down the rhetoric, to replace hate with love, and to build bridges toward the common good.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square”

Commenters on the Faith Forward Dallas statement have left comments of support.

The group has invited locals and other leaders to endorse and share the statement. “Endorsed! I love and fully you Imam Omar Suleiman!” wrote Karen Weldes Fry, Spiritual Director at Center of Spiritual Learning in Dallas (CSLDallas), commenting on the statement.

Some commentators do not understand the manufactured controversy.  Heather Mustain writes, “What people are writing is so vile. They obviously didn’t even listen to his prayer!” Imam  Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives on May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas, TX.

“I’m grateful for the faith leaders with whom I’ve built relationships with and served with for years that have shown full support throughout this process. Together we’ve stood with one another in solidarity in the face of bigotry, and in the support of others in any form of pain. We will not let these dark forces divide us,” said Imam Omar Suleiman in response to the outpouring of love from the people he has worked with on the ground, building on peace, love, and justice.

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#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan



Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source:

Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News

Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc

Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center

Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN


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