An Open Letter to Baghdadi

Letter to Baghdadi is an open letter to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as a theological refutation of the practices of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It is signed by numerous Muslim theologians, lawmakers and community leaders.The letter includes a technical point-by-point refutation of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s actions and ideology based on the Qur’an and other classical texts, using a style that is unfamiliar to liberal or even uninformed Muslims.

In September 2014, the letter, initially signed by 122 Muslim scholars from around the world and was presented at Washington, D.C. by Nihad Awad of the Council on American Islamic Relations. Stating that the purpose of the letter was not to warn Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi but to dissuade potential radicals from joining the ranks Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, he said:

“You have misinterpreted Islam into a religion of harshness, brutality, torture and murder”. “This is a great wrong and an offense to Islam, to Muslims and to the entire world.”


1- It is forbidden in Islam to issue fatwas without all the necessary learning requirements. Even
then fatwas must follow Islamic legal theory as defined in the Classical texts. It is also
forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Qur’an—or part of a verse—to derive a ruling
without looking at everything that the Qur’an and Hadith teach related to that matter. In other
words, there are strict subjective and objective prerequisites for fatwas, and one cannot ‘cherrypick’ Qur’anic verses for legal arguments without considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.
2- It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic
3- It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic
4- It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of
religion that all Muslims must know.
5- It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.
6- It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent.
7- It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to
kill journalists and aid workers.
8- Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose
and without the right rules of conduct.
9- It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares
10- It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat—in any way—Christians or any ‘People of the
11- It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as People of the Scripture.
12- The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.
13- It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.
14- It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.
15- It is forbidden in Islam to deny children their rights.
16- It is forbidden in Islam to enact legal punishments (hudud) without following the correct
procedures that ensure justice and mercy.
17- It is forbidden in Islam to torture people.
18- It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.
19- It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God
20- It is forbidden in Islam to destroy the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions.
21- Armed insurrection is forbidden in Islam for any reason other than clear disbelief by the ruler
and not allowing people to pray.
22- It is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.
23- Loyalty to one’s nation is permissible in Islam.
24- After the death of the Prophet, Islam does not require anyone to emigrate anywhere.

Principle Signatories:

a) Abdullah bin Bayyah, Maliki jurist and President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, Abu Dhabi;
b) Prof. Sheikh Shawki Allam, The 19th and current Grand Mufti of Egypt.
c) Sheikh Dr. Ali Gomaa, the former and 18th Grand Mufti of Egypt.
d) Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, founder and Director of Zaytuna College, United States.
e) Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founder of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International, Pakistan
f) Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi, Professor of Islamic Studies, Rhodes College, United States;
g) Faraz Rabani, Islamic Scholar and Founder of Seekers Guidance, Canada;
h) Sultan Sa’adu Abubakar, The Sultan of Sokoto, Head of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs;
i) Prince-Bola-Ajibola, Islamic Mission for Africa (IMA) and Founder of Crescent University, Nigeria.
j) Ibrahim Saleh Al-Husseini, Head of the Supreme Council for Fatwa and Islamic Affairs, Nigeria.
k) Prof. Din Syamsuddin, President of Muhammadiyah, and Chairman of the Indonesian Council of Ulama.

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