Open Letter to Shaykh Bin Baz on the Invalidity of his Fatwa on Peace with the Jews
|Open Letter to Shaykh Bin Baz on the Invalidity of his Fatwa on Peace with the Jews (1994)
|Written December 29, 1994 while bin Laden was in the Sudan.
Translated by the CTC at West Point Military Academy; minor errors that resulted in poor English, at the fault of the translators themselves, have been corrected to prevent giving an unfairly skewed view of the author.
:Dear Shaykh 'Abd-al-Aziz bin Baz (May God have mercy on him):
Peace be upon you, and God's mercy and blessings. We praise God who sent down the book of clear verses, and who raises up those who bring knowledge. God who makes with them a pact to execute truth and its proof, and who warns them against using it to deceive, or concealing it. Prayers and peace be ypon our master Muhammad who said "The best Jihad is the word of truth in the presence of the unjust Sultan." (A sound Hadith which Imam Ahmad al-Tabarani, Ibn Majah and al-Bayhaqi related).
It is well known to you how God has granted to the People of Knowledge a great place and given them an honourable position.
It is no wonder that the Ulema are the heirs of the prophets and that this religion has been bequeathed to them. They kept from it the distortion of the stupid, the plagarism of the liars, the interpretation of the ignorant and the dilution of the profligate tyrants. They represent the good example and ideal model for the Ummah in taking up the burden of victory for truth and arousing it for high standards.
The true Ulema of the pious ancestors of this Ummah, and their good successors undertook this mission. What was the position of Sa'id bin Jubayr in the face of the tyranny of al-Hajjaj but to proclaim the truth? Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal challenged the tyranny of the rulers and the sultan, and he endured the discord over the creation of the Quran. Was not Ibn Taymiyah and his suffering in prison a victory for the Sunnah and a model for carrying out the duty of helping the truth and its people. These learned Imams made truth triumph and were zealous for the religion. May God have mercy on all of them.
Dear Shaykh: We want to reiterate our previous admonishments about your duty towards the religion, reminding you of your great responsibility, for remembrance benefits believers. We want to remind you at this time in which the liar struts about, and evil prattlers make noise, and the truth is buried alive, and preachers imprisoned and reformers silenced. It is strange that you do not know of this and are silent, especially since your Fatwas and positions have dealt with these matters. We remind you, dear Shaykh, of some of these Fatwas and positions to which you do not pay attention, although the Ummah has persisted for a long time in error, in order that you perceive with us even partially something of the danger of this matter and the bad effects resulting from it.
Some examples for you:
1. No one can be unaware of the extent to which tremendous corruption has spread, including all aspects of life, so that various abominations of which likewise no one can be unaware are diffused everwhere. The advisory notice that the elite Ulema and the preachers of reform presented gave details of this. The most dangerous thing they revealed was the attribution of partners to God represented in legislation and the introduction of positive laws that make forbidden things permissible. Among their most abominable acts is allowing the practice of usury, which is spreading throughout the land. This is done through state institutions and their usurious banks whose towers crowd out the Minarets of the two holy places and the length and breadth of the country swarms with them.
- It must be well-known that the organizations and usury laws under which these banks and institutions conduct business are legitimsed by the ruling regime, and authorised by it. Still, all we have heard from you is that usury is haram! You end up deceiving the people by not making a distinction between rulers who merely tolerate usury and rulers who legitimise and legalise usury.
- The distinction between the two is very clear. He who tolerates usury is committing one of the greatest of mortal sins. As for one who legitimises interest, he is an apostate and infidel who thereby departs from the religion, because he makes himself an equal to God and a partner with him in allowing and disallowing. We go into further detail in a future study that will be published soon, God willing.
- God and his messenger have proclaimed war against the one who tolerates usury without putting an end to it. "If you do it not, take notice of war from God and his Messenger"
- Yet we continue to hear your expressions of praise and commendation for this regime which is not satisfied merely with tolerating usury, but has legitimised, legalised and permitted it. He, may God bless him and grant him peace, said "Usury is seventy three doors the least of which is like a man marrying his mother.", sound, al-Hakim related it.
- Ibn 'Abbas, may God be pleased with him, said "He who lives upon usury, and continues to do, it is the duty of the Imam of the Muslims to call him to repentance. If he ceases, do not behead him." (Related from Jarir, going back to Ibn 'Abbas). This applies to whoever tolerates interest. What can you say about someone legitimises interest and makes it halal.
- The country is struggling through economic and political crises, and crimes of various sorts are incredibly widespread. This can only be a punishment from God and part of the war he, praise him, has declared upon those who will not end their tolerance of usury and similar abominations, and eliminate it, for he has ruled against interest. "God will deprive blessings for usury but will give increase for deeds of blessing."
2. When the king hung the cross upon his chest and appeared with it before the world, happy and smiling, you justified his action and permitted him his abomination, and permitted him although this act is clearly infidelity. This is plain from the condition of the one who did it freely.
3. When the attacking Crusader and the Jewish Alliance - in collusion with the regime - decided in the Gulf War to occupy the country in the name of liberating Kuwait, you allowed this with an arbitrary Fatwa which justified this abominable action. This insulted the honour of the Ummah, sullied its dignity, and defiled its holy places, on the grounds of assisting the infidel in a case of necessity, disregarding the restrictions on assistance and the rules on necessity expressed in Islamic law.
4. When the ruling Saudi regime aided and supported the chiefs of Communist, Socialist apostasy in Yemen against the Muslim Yemeni people in the recent war, you kept silent. When these Communists suffered setbacks, you issued - on the recommendation of this regime - a word of advice! Summoning everyone to reconcile and shake hands, considering them all Muslims! Making people think that the Communists are Muslims means sparing their blood. When were the Communists ever Muslims? Aren't you the one who previously issued a Fatwa on their apostasy and the necessity of killing them in Afghanistan? Or is there a difference between Yemeni Communists and Afghan Communists? Are the concepts of the faith and the precepts of Tawhid lost and confused to this extent?
- The ruling regime continues to lodge these infidel nations in different cities of the country. We have not heard you disapproving. He, may God bless him and grant him peace, said "God curses those who shelter an innovator." Muslim relates it.
5. When the regime decided to attack Shaykh Salman al-'Awdah and Shaykh Safar al-Hawali who proclaimed the truth and suffered for the sake of God, it obtained a Fatwa from you allowing all - the attacks and maltreatment to which the two Shaykhs and the preachers, Shaykhs and youth of the Ummah had been subjected. May God release them and save from them the wrong of the wrongdoers.
- There are some other examples that we did not intend to omit, but it would take too much space to mention them. We have in our hands your recent Fatwa about something called slandering peace with the Jews. This is painful to Muslims, since you responded to the political wish of the regime which decided to present to the public a comedy of surrender to the Jews it had previously entered into. Therefore, you issued a Fatwa allowing peace both unrestrictedly and conditionally with the enemy. Who are the Prime Minister of the Zionist enemy and his parliamet that they can be dealt with, and praised, when the Saudi regime announced the result of its intention for further normalisation with the enemy?
It is as if you were not content to open up the land of the Two Holy Places to the Jewish and Crusader occupation forces. You added a third Holy Place by giving a veneer of legitimacy to the surrender documents that the treacherous and cowardly Arab tyrants signed.
These words are a great danger, and a general calamity in that they deceive people and mislead the Ummah in a number of ways, including:
- (1) The present Jewish enemy is not an enemy dwelling in his original country, warred on from outside so that peace is permitted with him. Rather he is an enemy desacrating honour and usurping sacred Muslim land which God blessed, and which the Companions irrigated with their blameless blood. They are an attacking enemy, one which corrupts religion and the world.
- The words of Shaykh-al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, may God have mercy on him, are appropriate. "The attacking enemy who corrupts the religion and the world must, in keeping with the faith, be repelled. There are no limiting conditions. Rather he must be repelled if at all possible." The Ulema, our Companions, and others have stipulated this."
- It is religiously required toward Palestine and our oppressed Palestinian brothers, men, women and children who are not able to escape and are not guided. It is Jihad in the way of God, and urging the Ummah to it until Palestine is liberated completely, and returns to Muslim control.
- Such Fatwas that forsake Jihad and incline towards the ground dispense with Palestine. These Fatwas acknowledge the enemy's occupation of the holiest of holy places, after the two noble holy places. These Fatwas also apply a veneer of legitimacy to the occupation and forcibly support the efforts of the enemy to strike Islamic efforts that seek to liberate Palestine through Jihad. The operation of the stone-throwing heroes and the Muslim youth of Jihad in Palestine is the only useful way to confront the enemy and guarantee the liberation of Palestine, God willing.
- Here we remind you of your previous Fatwas in this regard. When you were asked about the way to liberate Palestine, you said, "I think that it is not possible to solve this issue except by considering it an Islamic issue, and by Muslims standing shoulder-to-shoulder to rescue it. Jihad against the Jews is a Muslim Jihad until the land is returned to its people, and until these Jewish foreigners return to their country."
- (2) Assuming that this Jewish enemy is an enemy with whom peace may be made, and there are conditions for it, should the false alleged peace that tyrannical, defeatist governments and organisations make with the Jews be considered a peace which can be made with the enemy?
- Everyone is aware that this is not the case. This alleged peace which broken-down rulers and tyrants have stumbled into with the Jews is nothing but a grand betrayal. This is represented in the signing of the surrender documents and the surrender of Jerusalem and all of Palestine by these governments to the Jews, and the recognition of their perpetual control over them.
- (3) These apostate rulers who wage war on God and his Messenger have neither legitimacy, nor sovereignty over Muslims. This contrasts with your well-known past declarations that they are infidels. The elite Ulema and preachers have made this clear to you in their earnest appeals to you in the past to refrain from this Fatwa. We will attach a copy of this appeal to remind you and make you aware.
- Your Fatwa deceived people with its disgraceful summary and misleading generalization. The Fatwa did not correctly deal with a a just peace, let alone this false peace with the Jews which is a major betrayal of Islam and Muslims. Even an ordinary Muslim would not allow this false peace, let alone a scholar like you who is supposed to be vigilant for the religion and the Ummah.
For any Fatwa that deals with great and serious matters, it is necessary for the Ummah to have knowledge of it in all its dimensions, including the harm and danger which might result. This knowledge is an indispensable part of the conditions for a Fatwa. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim - may God have mercy on him - says "Neither a Mufti nor a judge can reach a correct ruling without two kinds of understanding. The first is understanding of the situation and how jurisprudence relates to it, and learning the facts of what is happening, by evidence, signs, and indications until he comprehends it. The second thing is understanding of the obligation, which is understanding of God's decree by which it is ordained in his book or upon the tongue of his Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace. Then he applies one to the other". A. H.
Since these conditions are necessary for a Fatwa in general, it is certainly so for a Fatwa related to Jihad and peace and the like. Imam Ibn Taymiyah - may God have mercy on him - says "Obligation is to be considered in matters of Jihad according to the opinion of upright men of religion who have experience in what people of this world do, rather than those who mainly look at a matter from the viewpoint of religion. Do not adopt their opinion - not the opinion of religious men who have no experience in the world." A.H. 
If the previous Fatwas were issued by someone other than you, let it be said that whoever issued it did so on false pretenses. But if it was issued by you, deficiencies due to gaps in your Sharia knowledge are not the cause of faults in it, but rather a lack of awareness of the true nature of the situation, and of the effects of such Fatwas. If the Fatwa at that time did not take into account the condition, then it was not correct to issue it. This requires the Mufti then to void the Fatwa or transfer it to specialists with knowledge of Sharia, and of the facts of the situation. It is clear that Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal did not proceed with many questions as did Imam Malik when he was asked about readings, he turned to Imam Nafi', may God have mercy on all of them.
Dear Shaykh, our great concern for the condition of the Ummah and Ulema like you is that which impels us to remind you that we consider you and those like you to be above being exploited by the ruling regime so detestably. They threw you into the face of every preacher and reformer. Your Fatwas and positions silenced every word of truth and true Dawah. Our reply was also discussed by the "Advisory", the Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights, and others.
Dear Shaykh, you are advanced in years and you were skilled in the service of Islam previously. Fear God and keep your distance from these tyrants and wrongdoers who have proclaimed war on God and his Messenger. Be with the speakers of truth. You have in the pious ancestors of the Ummah and their righteous successors a good example. Among the most prominent characteristics of the true Ulema was keeping distant from Sultans. Imam Abu Hanifah - may God have mercy on him - and others fled from working with the rulers of their age despite the rulers' great probity in religion when compared with the rulers of today, who do not conceal the corruption of their religion and their evil condition. In our time, when the learned Shaykh 'Abdallah bin Hamid - may God have mercy on him - perceived the danger of the path along which the ruling Saudi government was proceeding, and the danger and harm attendant upon it for anyone who participated or became mixed up in it. He immediately escaped with his religion and resigned from the Presidency of the Supreme Court. Imam al-Khatabi - may God have mercy on him - said concerning calling on these rulers, "I wish I knew who calls upon them today and does not correct their lies and who speaks of justice when he sees their councils and who gives andvice and is advised by them?" An authentic hadith states "Who comes to the door of the Sultan is subject to temptation". Beware, dear Shaykh, of inclining to these people in word or deed, "And do not incline to those who are unjust, lest the fire touch you and you have no guardians besides God, then you shall not be helped."
Those who could not proclaim the truth and speak it openly, are not less than those who refrain from speaking other than the truth. He, may God bless him and grant him peace, said "He who believes in God and the last day, let him speak good or let him be silent". (al-Buhayri related it)
Finally we ask that you do find in yourself these words and consider them polite advice. Do not require them to be made secret and not announced. The problem is that there are serious faults, some of them great, for which silence is not allowed nor is disregard permitted.
What we have mentioned to you is well known to the people of knowledge. The elite Ulema and preachers of the Ummah have previously made you aware of this when they presented to you with numerous urgent appeals in this regard. This includes their appeal to you a while ago to refrain from issuing a Fatwa permitting this alleged surrender peace with the Jews, pointing out that it does not fulfill the condition required under Islamic law. They warned of the numerous religious and worldly dangers as a consequence of it. Among the signatories of this urgent appeal were the esteemed Shaykhs 'Abdallah bin 'Abd al-Rahman bin Jabrin, 'Abdallah bin Hasan al-Qu'ud, Hamud bin 'Abdallah al-Tuwayjiri (may God have mercy on him), Hamud bin 'Abdallah al-Shu'aybi, 'Abd al-Rahman bin Nasir al-Barrak, Salman al-Awdah, Ibrahim bin Salih al-Khudayri, 'Abd al-Wahha al-Nasir al-Turayir, Ibrahim bin Muhammad al-Dubian, 'Abdallah bin Hamud al-Tuwayjiri, 'Abdallah al-Jalali, 'A'id al-Qarni and other great men, may God keep them all. You will find the text of their urgent appeal with this letter, God willing.
In the recent Yemen War when the previously mentioned statement was issued by you, fifteen Ulema issued a Fatwa opposing it, explaining the Shari'ah justification in this matter. Among these esteemed Ulema were: "Abdallah bin Sulayman al-Mas'ari, Hamud bin 'Abdallah al-Shu'aybe, 'Abdallah al-Jalali, Salman al-Awdah, Dr. Safar al-Hawali, Dr. Nasir al-'Umar, Yahya bin 'Abd-al-Aziz al-Yahya, Dr. 'Abdallah bin Hammud alTuway jiri and other great men, may God keep them all.
In conclusion, we ask God, may he be blessed and exalted, to show us the truth as truth, and give us the grace to follow it. Show us falsehood to be falsehood, and give us the grace to avoid it. May he establish for this Ummah guidance by which people who submit to him may be honoured and the people who disobey him be debased. May the good be commanded and the bad forbidden. May deception come to an end, and may they be ruled with justice and speaking the truth openly. May the rippling flag of Jihad be raised high so that the Ummah may restore its honour and dignity. May the flag of unity be raised above all the stolen land of Islam beginning with Palestine and continuing to Andalusia, and other lands of Islam lost due to the treachery of rulers and helplessness of Muslims.
We also ask God to look over us and keep evil from us. We ask him to help us to speak correctly and to do right, and to succeed in doing what he loves and what pleases him so that we may be satisfied in life and come to a good end in death. He controls this and has the power to do it. Finally we pray, "Praise be to God, the Lord of Worlds".
- Dated: 27/7/1415 AH
- On their behalf,
- Usamah bin Muhammad bin Ladin
- On their behalf,
- During an event with the British Royal Family, King Fahd was seen wearing a white decoration in the shape of a cross
- Juridical Selections, pp 209-210
- The Collected Fatwas of Shaykh 'Abd-al-Aziz bin Baz, 1/281
- Teaching of Signers, 87/1
- Juridical Selections, pp. 211
- Book of Seclusion
- This is a bit of Arabic wordplay, "Do not require them to be israr, and not ishhar"
- More Arabic wordplay, "There are khatir faults, some of them kabir".
|This is a translation and has a separate copyright status from the original text. The license for the translation applies to this edition only.|