Controversy on Prof Kippenberg's Paper on Islam -

Islam Does Not Allow any Individual to Declare War

Actually, the paper of Prof Hans Kippenberg is unfair to Islam. By any stretch of imagination; it cannot be said to be an academic paper. He has directly blamed the violence of 9/11 in the United States on the conduct of the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SM) and on the Quranic teachings.

In the first para he said, “The document (claimed by the FBI to have been found in three locations) shows that violence is justified by emulating meticulously the moment in early Islamic history, when Mohammad cancelled all contracts with non-Muslims in order to establish in Medina Islam as a political order”.

Prof Kippenberg, in fact, the FBI document (alleged to have been found from the cells of the perpetrators of September 11) shows that those who committed the violence emulated the Prophet, followed the Prophet who cancelled all contracts with Non-Muslims in order to establish Islamic state in Medina.

In fact, the state of Medina was established by peaceful agreement with the people of Medina, the Jews and the Muslims. It is about eight years or nine years after the establishment of Medina that Prophet cancelled some contracts (not all contracts) with the Beduin, Mushriks or idolaters because they repeatedly were violating the contracts. So this is not true that Prophet established the state of Medina after canceling all contracts.

He also said in his first paragraph that “The Manual explicity prescribes recitations, prayers and rituals, by which member of the four cells prepares of the ghazwa (war or battle), purifies his intention and anticipates in his mind the stages of the struggle to come.” That means by implication he had said in the whole paper that because they made intention, they had mentioned about Quranic verses and because they spoke about the sahadah or martyrdom, so this must be Islamic.

Just by niya, zikr, prayer things do not become Islamic. He forgot the phrase “devil quoting the scripture.”

In this paper he accepts the truth of the FBI document. He clearly said, “Only recently a scholarly edition, translation and analysis of the Arabic text have been published in Germany. And the few serious studies of the documents contradict the assumption of forgery.”

Many people have said the document is a forgery. It cannot be the basis of any study. But he strongly says that this is not forged. He has taken the position of FBI and he has neglected the other views.

He has quoted some verses from the Quran’s Sura Tauba. He mentions that Prophet abrogated the agreement with the Musrikun and then said the Prophet has asked to kill the Musrikun whenever you find them.

He did not take into account the international policy of the Prophet, or the policy towards the Murikun or the Maccan people or Jews, Persians, Romans. All these depend on the context of the situation. Prophet’s policy was not static, it was a dynamic policy. In the battle of Badr, he forgave the persons and he released them. In Hudaybiah he entered into contract with a very unjust opponent. After victory of Macca, he forgave all of them. So, the policy of the Prophet was dynamic and contextual.

If you read through Sura Tauba you will find that he did not cancel all agreements. He only cancelled agreements with those Musrikun, who were repeatedly violating the contract, who were treacherous, who were trying to disturb the state.

So Prophet cancelled their agreements. The Islamic Jurists agree that this is only for Arab Musrikun of that time. The Quran did not say this is applicable to Ahlal-Kitab, that is Christians and the Jews. It was not applied on the Hindus or Buddhists by later jurists because they were civilised and had religious books. But Prof Hans applied this against all. He did not know that this is not applicable to Ahle Kitab. The Americans are basically Ahle Kitab and it is not applicable to them.

I am quoting the book, “Towards an Islamic Theory of Internaional Relations” by Abdul Hamid A. Abu Sulaiman, (P-110) about this matter. He said, “The issue of all-out war against the pagan Arab tribes unless they turned to Islam cannot be understood as ideological oppression. This decision came after the establishment of the Muslims state at Medina and after the Muslim had undergone about twenty-two years of persecution and war.” (IIIT Publication, Virginia, USA).

So, Prof Hans Kippenberg was very unfair to Prophet (SM). He did not understand the Islamic International Theory.

In this seminar I was present. I explained there that the FBI document cannot be basis of any academic studies. At the least it is doubtful, at the worst it is to be rejected. Any doubtful material cannot be basis of any investigation, research and any academic work. It shows the German Professor willingly or unwillingly only served the interest of the enemy of Islam.

There, I also said he should not forget that all Islamic scholars are agreed, and this is recorded in all books of Islamic law, that innocents, civilians, women, children cannot be killed, temple cannot be destroyed in war according to the Islamic law.

That is the reason, all the Islamic scholars have said attack on Twin Towers by whosoever (we do not know) is unlawful in the eye of Islam. Islam is against the killing of civilian and women (there was 30% women there).

So, how can it be justified in the name of Islam? Islam also does not allow any individual to declare war, only the state can do it.

Now, I would conclude that I think whatever had happened only the paper writer is responsible, nobody else BIISS. BIISS is not responsible in any way. In fact, BIISS gave us an opportunity to explain the Islamic position. I would also say that the seminar had good papers also.

For example, the paper of Prof Dr Shamsher Ali. He clarified that religion is for peace and the militancy is more political. Justice Mostafa Kamal also explained that the West need not advise us. Their own record is very bad in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and many other places.

However, such incidents are not uncommon in scholarly discourses. We should take it in an academic spirit.