The Islamic world and specialists don’t know what to do with ISIS. For them, the Non-Islamic Islamic State, just like “Schrödinger’s cat,” positions itself between being Islamic and non-Islamic at the same time.
Non-Islamic Islamic State?
The Polish fact-checking website Oko.press is accusing archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of lying. During a service in Poznan, held in memory of Coptic Christians murdered by Islamic terrorists, the cleric said, “It is high time to stop claiming that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam.”
According to Anna J. Dudek, the statement is a dangerous falsehood expressed by a high-ranking authority in the Catholic Church.
Anna J. Dudek puts forth a contradicting thesis claiming “ISIS to be an aberration of Islam.” To support her statement, she enumerates many condemnations expressed by Muslim clerics and Islamic organizations, which are factual. But this is not enough to prove that the terrorist organization has nothing to do with Islam.
Ms. Dudek omits many connections between ISIS and Islam and the evidence she cites to support her theory is insufficient. Accusing the archbishop of “mistaking concepts” when calling ISIS a branch of Islam, Dudek limited her critique to an academic discussion toying with semantics. In fact she doesn’t prove that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam.
Just like Dudek wrote, the Muslim community condemned ISIS but unfortunately only to a degree. The terrorists from the Islamic State were never excommunicated from the religion, which is exercised in Islamic practice by declaring them to be a non-believer or “takfir.”
Non-Islamic Islamic Clerics
The University Al-Azhar in Egypt is renowned as the most authoritative institution in the Muslim world. It is also known to be without centralized authorities. The university stated that as long as ISIS will not renounce the only God Allah and the prophet Mohamed, we cannot recognize this organization to be non-Islamic. Even if they “commit various deeds that contradict Islam.” Thus the same organizations cited by Dudek to prove her point recognize ISIS to be Muslim.
If the journalist wanted to exclude ISIS from Islam, she should have asked if the drastic and shocking actions of this organization find justification in Islamic scripts, Islamic history, in the opinions of the mainstream modern authorities of Islam, or simply in the practice of other Muslim countries. However, Dr. Katarzyna Górak-Sosnowska quoted by Oko.press is afraid of such comparisons. She claims, “Most of the readers would most likely draw an immediate conclusion that ISIS is a branch of Islam which legitimates the actions of this organization.”
But would it be inaccurate to draw these immediate conclusions?
The first thing that was left unsaid by Dudek is the violence of the founder of Islam. He is the example of conduct for Muslims. From the life stories of Mohamed, written by Muslims themselves, the Prophet was ruthless to those whom he suspected of treason. For example we see that in the story about murdering of the Jewish tribe Banu Qurayza. We know that he treated poets slandering him in Medina just like the Islamic State treated the cartoonists from the French satirical journal “Charlie Hebdo.”
The Koranic verses known as “The Repentance” also condone violence towards unbelievers. It is impossible to deny that verse 9:29, commonly used by ISIS recruiters, is taken from the historical or Koranic context.
Surah At-Tawba [9:29] – “The Repentance” -“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.”
Some of the commentators claim however, that this verse was in response to an attack. But in the verse itself we don’t find any traits linking it with Byzantine aggression.
Moreover, the classical jurists of the four main schools of Islam were in agreement that the rejection of a call to convert to Islam must be followed with a Muslim duty to force the religion on them. Therefore in the historical context it is clear that ISIS aligns itself with Islam.
Even today, these actions of Mohamed are not negated and are the basis of different religious analysis of scholars. Not that long ago, clerics in Morocco issued a fatwa that apostasy should not be punished with capital punishment because it is not necessary anymore as Islam is strong and not threatened. Such a statement makes us happy but directly proves the point, that previously “the cruelty was a necessity.”
However, the Moroccan point of view is isolated among the scholars of the Sunni mainstream.
Non-Islamic Islamic States
Two weeks after launching a dialog with the Vatican in televised appearances during Ramadan, Ahmed el-Tayeb upheld the death penalty for apostasy when converting from Islam to Christianity. He is the grand Imam of al-Azhar University and distances himself from ISIS.
Westerners are appalled by death penalties in conquered Syria and Iraq but indifferent toward the death penalty for adultery, witchcraft, and homosexuality in Saudi Arabia. The world was outraged by ISIS throwing gay people off buildings. The same world probably doesn’t know that Yusuf al-Qaradawi who is broadcasting to the whole Muslim world on Al-Jazeera and is considered to be one of the most important Muslim clerics has recommended such actions.
We are dealing with a situation where mainstream Islamic organizations and clerics are propagating the same actions and interpretations of the Islamic doctrine as the Islamic State. However, nobody claims them to be un-Islamic.
Non-Islamic Salafi and Wahabi Islamists
Additionally, the debunking of the “falsehoods” of archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki is self-contradicting; it embraces the Salafi and Wahabi movements in Sunni Islam, from which in fact ISIS springs. She is partially right that the organization itself doesn’t establish any separate intellectual trend in Islam; therefore it is difficult to call it a branch of Islam. But as I mentioned at the beginning, the crux of the problem is whether ISIS is within the frames of Islam. The question is not whether ISIS forms a separate branch within Islam.
As a result we are in a situation where the Islamic world and specialists don’t know what to do with ISIS. For them, the Non-Islamic Islamic State, just like “Schrödinger’s cat,” positions itself between being Islamic and non-Islamic at the same time.
Dudek is quoting Dr. Górak-Sosnowska saying that “these Muslims are extremely radical therefore what they represent is radicalized Islam” just to follow up in the next sentence claiming that “classification of ISIS to be part of Islam is a falsehood.”
To sum up, according to Oko.press, the archbishop is graded negatively for “mistaking some basic concepts” and ISIS is not a branch of Islam. Still Dudek neither relates to the given life stories of Mohamed nor to actions and declarations of mainstream Islam, which exactly correlate with actions of ISIS. Her fact checking is not factual, but only a post-truth of a different political color.
The whole situation and its context fit in the frame of the Polish proverb: “The devil dresses in robes, and calls for a mass.”