Muhammad Saalih Al-Munajjid
|Born||June 7, 1960|
|Notable work(s)||Founder of IslamQA.info fatwa website|
Muhammad Saalih Al-Munajjid (محمد صالح المنجد) (born June 7, 1960) is a Saudi Salafi scholar known for founding the website IslamQA.info, which provides answers to questions in line with the Salafi school of thought. Al Jazeera indicates that Al-Munajjid is considered a respected scholar in the Salafi movement. IslamQA.info is one of the most popular websites providing the Salafi perspective and is (as of November 2015) according to Alexa.com the world's most popular website on the topic of Islam generally (apart from the website of an Islamic bank).
Towards the end of September 2017, Al Munajjid was arrested by the Saudi Government along with other famous scholars, causing an outrage in the Muslim world. Currently he is still under their custody and nothing was ever heard from him since his arrest.
Early life and education
Al-Munajjid was born to Palestinian refugees in Aleppo, Syria in 1960, and raised in Saudi Arabia. He graduated from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, with a bachelor's degree in Industrial Management. Al-Munajjid studied Islamic law under the scholars 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn Baaz, Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, Abdullah Ibn Jibreen, Saleh Al-Fawzan, and Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak. He is the imam at the Umar ibn Abd al-'Aziz mosque in the city of Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia and was the first person to launch a website representing Islam in Saudi Arabia.
In 1996, Al-Munajjid launched a question and answer Islamic website, IslamQA.info. The website states that "All questions and answers on this site have been prepared, approved, revised, edited, amended or annotated by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, the supervisor of this site." IslamQA.info was banned in Saudi Arabia due to the fact that it was issuing independent fatwas. In Saudi Arabia, the kingdom's Council of Senior Scholars has sole responsibility and authority for issuing fatwas. The Council was granted this sole authority to issue fatwas by a royal edict issued in August 2010 (while restrictions had been in place since 2005, they were seldom enforced); this move was described by Christopher Boucek as "the latest example of how the state is working to assert its primacy over the country's religious establishment."
Al-Munajjid believes that "The crime of homosexuality is one of the greatest crimes, the worst of sins and the most abhorrent of deeds, and Allah punished those who did it in a way that he did not punish other nations." Homosexuals should be executed although the method has been disputed including burning, having a wall dropped on them, being detained until death in the "foulest place", being stoned, or being thrown from the highest building. Those who are forced into the act or were minors are exempt from punishment.
Al-Munajjid states that Muslim women are required to cover their entire body including the face (only showing eyes) and hands. This ruling is obligatory and does not vary depending where you are. Women are required to stay in their houses unless they are in the company of a mahram and are forbidden to drive cars as "it leads to evil consequences" such as being "alone with a non-mahram man, unveiling, reckless mixing with men, and committing haraam actions because of which these things were forbidden."
Statues and images
Al-Munajjid believes that the Mu`tazila, the Ash'ari, and Maturidi schools of Islamic theology are wrong in applying Ilm al-Kalam (reason or rational discourse) to explain the Quran and are contradicting both the Quran and the Sunnah. Attributes that Allah ascribes to Himself require neither explanation or interpretation instead a Muslim should neither deny the divine attributes nor liken Allah to His creation but accept the statements of Allah in the Quran without questioning.
In a January 2016 fatwa, Al-Munajjid stated that a man is allowed to have intercourse with a slave that he owns whether he is married or not; and that his wife or wives has no right to object. A Muslim wife "has no right to object to her husband owning female slaves or to his having intercourse with them [...] The scholars are unanimous in this assessment, and no one is permitted to view this act as forbidden, or to forbid it. Whoever does so, is a sinner, and is acting against the consensus of the scholars."
Al-Munajjid states that slavery necessarily came about because of Jihad against the kuffar (non-believers) and the need to determine what to do with those who have been taken prisoner and thus become property; noting that "In principle, slavery is not something that is desirable" as Islam encourages the freeing of slaves for the expiation of sins. Slaves are to be treated in a "just and kind manner" including: the provision of food and clothing the like of which is given to family members; preserving their dignity; and allowing them to lead their masters in both religious and worldly matters if they possess the ability.
Freedom of religion
Al-Munajjid states that Muslims who support the building of churches in Islamic countries in response to mosques being allowed to being built in non-Islamic countries are "ignorant" as Islam does not permit the promotion of anyone worshipping other than Allah.
- On the cause of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami: "The problem is that the [Christian] holidays are accompanied by forbidden things, by immorality, abomination, adultery, alcohol, drunken dancing, and … and revelry. A belly dancer costs 2500 pounds per minute and a singer costs 50,000 pounds per hour, and they hop from one hotel to another from night to dawn. Then he spends the entire night defying Allah. "Haven't they learned the lesson from what Allah wreaked upon the coast of Asia, during the celebration of these forbidden? At the height of immorality, Allah took vengeance on these criminals. "Those celebrating spent what they call 'New Year's Eve' in vacation resorts, pubs, and hotels. Allah struck them with an earthquake. He finished off the Richter scale. All nine levels gone. Tens of thousands dead. "It was said that they were tourists on New Year's vacation who went to the crowded coral islands for the holiday period, and then they were struck by this earthquake, caused by the Almighty Lord of the worlds. He showed them His wrath and His strength. He showed them His vengeance. Is there anyone learning the lesson? Is it impossible that we will be struck like them? Why do we go their way? Why do we want to be like them, with their holidays, their forbidden things, and their heresy?"
- In 2008, Munajjid stated that mice are "one of Satan's soldiers" and make everything they touch impure; and that depictions of the creatures in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, and Disney's Mickey Mouse, have taught children that they are in fact loveable. Although he was quoted as saying that Mickey Mouse should be killed, he later qualified his statement stating: "What I said was not a fatwa for Mickey Mouse to be killed, no rational person would say such a thing....The true subject being discussed was harmful rodents and mice, not Mickey." Munajjid condemned the Beijing Olympics as the "bikini Olympics", claiming that nothing made Satan happier than seeing female athletes dressed in skimpy outfits.
Books written by Saalih al Munajjid
- 1. The Forbidden
- Richard Gauvain, Salafi Ritual Purity: In the Presence of God, p 355. ISBN 9780710313560
- Al Jazeera Studies: "Arab World Journalism in a Post-Beheading Era" by Thembisa Fakude 2013 |"Al-Munajjid is considered one of the respected scholars of the Salafist movement, an Islamic school of thought whose teachings are said to inspire radical movements in the Arab world, including al-Qaeda and a group called al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wal Sham (also known as the Islamic State, IS or Daesh)."
- Gauvain, Richard (November 2012). Salafi Ritual Purity: In the Presence of God. Routledge. p. 335. ISBN 978-0710313560.
...participants generally refer to the established Saudi scholars. In this case, the most common source of reference was Muhammad Salih al-Munajid's well-known website: Islam Question and Answer which provides normative Saudi Arabian Salafi responses.
- Deutsche Welle: "Women in Islam: Behind the veil and in front of it" retrieved September 2, 2016
- "Founder of world's most popular Islamic website Sh Munajjid detained in new Saudi arrest spree - Islam21c". Islam21c. 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
- Islamopedia Scholar Profiles: "Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid" retrieved January 12, 2015
- "Women in Islam: Behind the veil and in front of it" Deutsche Welle. 10.01.2016
- Brems, Eva. The Experiences of Face Veil Wearers in Europe and the Law. Cambridge University Press. p. 144.
- IslamQA.info website: "Introduction" retrieved September 17, 2016
- "Saudi Arabia blocks 'Islam Question and Answer'," Al Arabiya (in Arabic), September 2, 2010
- Xinhua: "Saudi blocks scholar website after fatwa control decree: report" September 3, 2010
- Christopher Boucek, "Saudi Fatwa Restrictions and the State-Clerical Relationship," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 27, 2010 (accessed November 18, 2013).
- Al Bawaba: "Saudi snowman fatwa scholar thaws his stance" January 14, 2015
- Alexa website: "Top Sites in: All Categories > Society > Religion and Spirituality > Islam" retrieved July 31, 2015
- McCarthy, Andrew C. (August 14, 2013). "Obama's Gay-Rights Hypocrisy". National Review.
- Nomani, Asra Q. "Islam must repeal its scarlet-letter sex laws". Washington Post.
- IslamQA Fatwa 38622: The punishment for homosexuality retrieved October 17, 2015 | "It was narrated from Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq that he is to be burned and from others that he is to be executed. It was narrated from some of them that a wall is to be knocked down on top of him until he dies beneath it. And it is said that both should be detained in the foulest of places until they die. It was narrated from some of them that he should be taken up to the highest place in the town and thrown down from it, to be followed with stones, as Allaah did to the people of Loot. This was narrated from Ibn 'Abbaas. According to the other report, he is to be stoned. This was the view of the majority of the salaf."'
- IslamQA Fatwa 21134 "Do women have to wear niqaab?" retrieved August 1, 2015 | "It is OK to cover the face with the niqaab or burqa' which has two openings for the eyes only, because this was known at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and because of necessity. If nothing but the eyes show, this is fine, especially if this is customarily worn by women in her society."
- IslamQA Fatwa 45880 Does the ruling on driving a car vary from one country to another? retrieved August 1, 2015 | "Allaah commanded the wives of the Prophet and the believing women to stay in their houses, to observe hijab and to avoid showing their adornments to non-mahrams because of the permissiveness that all these things lead to, which spells doom for society."
- Tampa Bay Times Pundifact: "Saudi Arabia is "the only Muslim country out of 47 Muslim-majority countries" where women cannot get licenses to drive" by Jon Greenberg October 7, 2014
- Fatwa 20894: Obligation to destroy idols retrieved May 26, 2015 | "This hadeeth indicates that it is prescribed to remove things that may tempt or confuse the people, whether they are buildings, people, animals or inanimate objects"..."They were unanimously agreed that whatever casts a shadow is not allowed and must be changed. Images that cast a shadow are three-dimensional images like these statues"
- Financial Times: "Isis are Modern Vandals Smashing Centuries of History" by Gerald Russell March 7, 2015
- Islam QA fatwa 205836: What are the differences between the Maturidi school of thought and Ahl as-Sunnah? retrieved May 27, 2015 ||"The Maturidis, like other kalaami (philosophical) groups such as the Mu'tazilah and Ash'aris, discussed the necessity of knowing Allah, may He be exalted, on the basis of reason before studying the texts (of Qur'an and Sunnah); they regarded that as the foremost duty of any accountable person, and said that there was no excuse for not doing that. Rather they believe that a person would be punished for not doing it, even if that was before any Prophets or Messengers were sent. Thus they were in agreement with the view of the Mu'tazilah. This is a view that is evidently wrong, as it contradicts what is proven in the Qur'an and Sunnah"
- Islam QA fatwa: 96323: The ‘aqeedah of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and the praise of the imams for him and Ibn Hajar’s attitude towards him retrieved May 27, 2015 | "The view of the salaf is one of moderation, neither denying the divine attributes nor likening Allaah to His creation. They do not liken the attributes of Allaah to the attributes of His creation, as they do not liken His essence to the essence of His creation. They do not deny that which He ascribes to Himself or that His Messenger ascribes to Him, which leads to denying His beautiful names and sublime attributes, and to displacing words from (their) right places (cf. al-Nisa' 4:46) and turning away from (Fussilat 41:40) the names and signs of Allaah. Both those who deny Allaah's attributes and those who liken Him to His creation are guilty of both errors. Those who deny His attributes failed to understand the names and attributes of Allaah except in a manner that is befitting to created beings, so they denied these concepts and thus they have combined both errors; first of all they likened Him to His creation, then they denied His attributes as a result. That is likening the names and attributes to what may be understood from the names and attributes of His creation, then they denied the attributes that He deserves to have that are befitting to Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted."
- Knipp, Kersten (10 January 2016). "Women in Islam: Behind the veil and in front of it". DW. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- "Ruling on having intercourse with a slave woman when one has a wife - Islamqa.info". islamqa.info. Archived from the original on 6 January 2016.
- Nomani, Asra Q.; Arafa, Hala (11 October 2015). "Inside the World of Gulf State Slavery". Daily Beast. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- al-Khudayr. "The difference between slaves and prostitutes". Islam Q&A. Islam Q&A. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- "Islam and Slavery". Islam Q&A. Islam Q&A. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- Middle East Forum: "The Logic of Islamic Intolerance" by Raymond Ibrahim December 1, 2015
- "Baylor University || Media Communications || Associated Press - Tsunami survivors cling tightly to faith across ravaged region". Baylor.edu. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- "Saudis and Tsunamis". The Weekly Standard. 2005-01-17. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- Daily Telegraph: "Mickey Mouse must die, says Saudi Arabian cleric. Mickey Mouse is a corrupting influence and must die, a Muslim cleric has declared" By Martin Beckford 15 September 2008 |""According to Islamic law, the mouse is a repulsive, corrupting creature. How do you think children view mice today – after Tom and Jerry? Even creatures that are repulsive by nature, by logic, and according to Islamic law have become wonderful and are loved by children. Even mice. Mickey Mouse has become an awesome character, even though according to Islamic law, Mickey Mouse should be killed in all cases."
- Middle East Media Research Institute (2008). Saudi Cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid: Mickey Mouse Must Die (Video). MEMRI.
- USA Today: "Arabs denounce cleric's fatwa on 'immoral' TV" September 19, 2008
- Saudi Gazette: "Recent ‘Death fatwas’" 12 January 2015
- Middle East Media Research Institute (2008). Al-Munajid Responds to Media about Killing Mickey Mouse (Video). MEMRI.
- Middle East Media Research Institute (2008). Saudi Cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid Slams Beijing Olympics (Video). MEMRI.
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