Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Muslim leaders reject Baghdadi's caliphate // Juan Cole: Alarming Developments in Iraq
Muslim scholars and movements from across the Sunni Islamic spectrum have rejected the caliphate declared by the Islamic State group, with the fighters receiving scathing criticism from both mainstream religious leaders, and those associated with their former allies, al-Qaeda. Assem Barqawi, also known as Abu Mohamed al-Maqdesi, who was released from a Jordanian prison in June after serving a sentence for recruiting volunteers to fight in Afghanistan, called fighters loyal to the Islamic State group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, "deviant".
Maqdesi, a supporter of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, hit out at the Islamic State group for its brutal methods. "Is this caliphate a sanctuary for the vulnerable and a refuge for all Muslims, or a sword hanging over those Muslims who disagree with them," Maqdesi said. In rejecting the self-proclaimed caliphate, Maqdesi, a Salafi, has found himself on the same side as Sufi leaders, such as the Syrian Muhammad al-Yacoubi. In a post on his Twitter account, the Syrian exile similarly described the followers of the group, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as "deviators".
"[The] Khilafah state (ISIL) declared is illegitimate," Yacoubi said. Adding that supporting it is "haram", or forbidden.
The view was echoed by Qatar-based Egyptian religious leader, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who said the declaration was "void" according to Islamic law. "A group simply announcing a caliphate, is not enough to establish a caliphate," Qaradawi said in an open letter published on the website for the International Union of Muslim Scholars, which he heads. There was similar admonishment from the pan-Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir, which believes it is a religious obligation for Muslims to work towards establishing a caliphate. "The issue of the Khilafah is too great for its image to be distorted or for its reality to be changed merely by an announcement here or an announcement there," the group said in a statement on its website. Speaking during Friday prayers, Rachid Ghannouchi, the founder of the Ennahda Party, Tunisia's main Islamist party, added to the chorus of criticism, calling the declaration of a caliphate by followers of Baghdadi a "reckless" act, which gave a "deceptive message". "Nations do not arise in this ridiculous way," he told his followers... read more:
Dr. Ibrahim al-Badri of Samarra, who has convinced himself he is a medieval caliph named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, gave a Friday sermon last Friday. He said he was humble and asked for advice and corrections of his behavior. Twitter advised him not to sport a $7000 watch in the midst of the economic depression into which his group has thrown much of Syria and Iraq. Also, he might want to give up the serial killer and mass murderer gigs, which aren’t really appropriate to a holy man. There was other ridicule among the tweeps.
Although the so-called “Islamic State” has destroyed several Sunni, Sufi and Shiite shrines and places of worship in the past month, probably the most significant is the tomb of medieval saint Ahmad al-Rifa`i (d. 1183 AD). The Rifa`i Sufi order claims him as its founder. Sufis practice meditation and chanting and they seek mystical union with God. There are plenty of Rifa`is in Syria and the order is popular in Egypt, and still has adherents throughout the Muslim world,from Bosnia to Gujarat. IS is not making a good reputation for itself in most of the Sunni world, where there is still respect for mystics like Rifa`i. One of its allies of convenience is the Naqshbandi Sufi order in Mosul, members of which won’t be happy about all this shrine-bashing... read more: