Letter to Baghdadi

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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.[1] It is signed by numerous Muslim theologians, lawmakers and community leaders.[2]


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.[3]


In September 2014, the letter, initially signed by 122 Muslim scholars[4] 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:[5]

"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."[5]


  • Islam forbids the issuing of fatwas without all the necessary learning requirements. One must consider the entire Qur’an and Hadith, when delivering them;
  • It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic language;[6]
  • It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic sciences.
  • It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.
  • It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.
  • Islam forbids killing of the innocent, emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.
  • Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose and without the right rules of conduct.
  • It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares disbelief.
  • It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat—in any way—Christians or any ‘People of the Scripture’.
  • It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as People of the Book.
  • The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.
  • It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.[6]
  • Islam forbids to deny women and children their rights.[6]
  • Enacting legal punishments without following the correct procedures that ensure justice and mercy.
  • It is haraam to mutilate the dead and to torture people.[5]
  • It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to Allah.
  • Armed insurrection (baghy) is forbidden in Islam for any reason other than clear disbelief by the ruler and not allowing people to pray.
  • It is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.[5]
  • Loyalty to one’s country is permissible;
  • After the death of the Prophet, Islam does not require anyone to emigrate anywhere.


Principle signatories include:

Other signatories include Shabir Ally, televangelist and founder of Imam of Islamic Information and Dawah Centre International, Toronto, Canada and Sheila Musaji editor of The American Muslim.[7]


Huffington Post said that the open letter is "meticulously blasting its (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) ideology."[6]

The MuslimMatters.org website endorsed the letter but questions the inclusion of Ali Gomaa, who supported the August 2013 Rabaa massacre and Ed Husain, proponent of the Iraq War and an adviser to Tony Blair's controversial Faith Foundation as signatories.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Letter to Baghdadi". Letter to Baghdadi. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  2. ^ Hussain, Murtaza (20 February 2015). "The Atlantic Ignores Muslim Intellectuals, Defines "True Islam" As Isis". The Intercept. The Intercept. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  3. ^ Ioannou, Filipa (25 September 2014). "Scholars' Open Letter Adds to Chorus of Muslim Leaders Condemning ISIS". The Slate. Religion News Service. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b S, Amad (1 October 2014). "Muslim Scholars Letter to Al-Baghdadi of ISIS or ISIL— a Missed Opportunity". MuslimMatters. MuslimMatters. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Smith, Samuel (25 September 2014). "International Coalition of Muslim Scholars Refute ISIS' Religious Arguments in Open Letter to al-Baghdadi". The Christian Post. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d "Muslim Scholars Release Open Letter To Islamic State Meticulously Blasting Its Ideology". Huffington Post. Huffington Post. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Letter to Baghdadi". Letter to Baghdadi. Retrieved 25 March 2016.