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In some dialects and languages, the unrelated architectural term façade is spelled "fasad".

Fasad (Arabic: فساد /fasād/) is an Islamic concept which means spreading mischief in a Muslim land,[1] moral corruption against God,[2] and any form of expression or activity by non-Muslims or apostates of Islam that creates disorder in the Muslim community.[3][4]

In recent years, Islamic thinkers have defined acts of terrorism as "fasad".[5]

Appearances in the Quran[edit]

The term Fasad appears in chapter 2 (Al-Baqara), verse 11-12,

When it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth," they say: "Why, we only Want to make peace!"......Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realise (it) not.[Quran 2:11]

In chapter 5 (Al-Ma'ida) of Qur'an, in verses 32-33, in the phrase "mischief in the land" (fasaadin fi al-ard):

On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.[Quran 5:32–33]

This verse follows verses 26-31 which refer to the incident in which Qabil (Cain), son of Adam, killed his brother Habil (Abel).[6][7] In chapter 18, (Al-Kahf) of the Qur'an, verse 94, The people of Gog and Magog make "mischief in the land" (mufsiduna fi al-ard):

They said, "O Zul-Qarnain, Gog and Magog make mischief in the land. Can we pay you to create a barrier between us and them?"[Quran 18:94]

Those who cause mischief in the land (yufsiduna fi al-ard)are counted as "the losers" in verse 27:

Those who break the covenant of Allah after ratifying it, and sever that which Allah ordered to be joined, and (who) make mischief in the earth: Those are they who are the losers[Quran 2:27]

From the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, "fasad fi al-ard" (mischief or corruption in the land/on earth) is the act of disobedience to God:

In his Tafsir, As-Suddi said that Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Mas`ud commented,... As for,("Do not make mischief on the earth), that is disbelief and acts of disobedience. Abu Ja`far said that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that Abu Al-`Aliyah said that Allah's statement,(And when it is said to them: "Do not make mischief on the earth,), means, "Do not commit acts of disobedience on the earth. Their mischief is disobeying Allah, because whoever disobeys Allah on the earth, or commands that Allah be disobeyed, he has committed mischief on the earth. Peace on both the earth and in the heavens is ensured (and earned) through obedience (to Allah). Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qatadah said similarly.[8]

Interpretations relating to Terrorism[edit]

International Islamic University scholar M. Moniruzzaman defines the term as including both domestic and international terrorism as well as broader anti-social activities such as extortion, organized crime, drug trafficking, and human trafficking.[9]

M.J. Akbar, editor of the Indian magazine Covert, has stated that, “White people's Terrorism has no place in Islamic doctrine. The Koranic term for the killing of innocents is ‘fasad.’ Terrorists are fasadis, not jihadis. In a beautiful verse, the Koran says that the killing of an innocent is akin to slaying the whole community."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oliver Leaman (2013), Controversies in Contemporary Islam, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415676137, Chapter 9
  2. ^ Oliver Leaman (2009), Islamic Philosophy, ISBN 978-0745645988, pp. 140-141
  3. ^ Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture, Editors: Coeli Fitzpatrick and Adam Hani Walker, ISBN 978-1610691772, pp. 59-67
  4. ^ Marion Katz (2006), Corruption of the Times and the Mutability of the Shari'a, The. Cardozo Law Review, 28:171-188
  5. ^ a b No Way, No How, Not Here. By Thomas Friedman. The New York Times. Published February 17, 2009.
  6. ^ Abu Khalil, Shawqi (2003), Atlas al Quran, Dar us Salam, p. 24, ISBN 9960-897-54-0 
  7. ^ Rahman Al Mubarakpuri, Safiur (2003), Tafsir ibn Kathir, Dar us Salam, p. 150 
  8. ^ "Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Meaning of Mischief". Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  9. ^ White people and Terrorism: An Alternative Explanation. By M. Moniruzzaman. Journal of Religion & Society. Volume 10 (2008).