Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi on Thursday welcomed guests of the conference on “Extremism and Takfiri Movements in Today’s World” and expressed hope that this conference being useful for Muslims around the world.
The following is the full speech of Grand Ayatullah Nasir Makarem Shirazi:
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful
All praise belongs to Allah, who guided us to this, and we would have never been guided had not Allah guided us. [Holy Qur’an, 7:43]
Before anything else, I feel duty-bound to sincerely express my gratitude to you – the scholars, the thinkers, the esteemed ambassadors of different countries and the foreign and local guests, for having accepted our invitation and assembled together from areas, distant and close. We anticipate that this conference, under the shade of Divine Attention, will be beneficial and constructive for the Islamic world in particular and for humanity in general. Indeed He alone is able over everything, and worthy in responding.
In the beginning of my speech, I feel it is imperative to mention the following important points:
1. This conference is totally academic and not political, and hence matters related to politics are beyond its scope.
2. We seriously respect all the sanctities of all the sects of Islam and reckon this as a fundamental principle.
3. We endeavor to achieve two important aims through this conference:
Firstly, to acquire a better understanding of the roots of the Takfirism, and respond to them with logical proofs, so that the simple youth are not deceived by the ambitious leaders of the takfiri groups nor get attracted to them.
Secondly, the Islamic scholars should unanimously express their condemnation and detachment from takfiri groups, and purify the garment of Islam from the taints of the takifiri ideologies. We must openly announce that those who reckon Islam to be a religion of hard-heartedness, bloodshed, murder, and destruction do not belong to us. They are those who provide the enemies of Islam with the best excuse to further spread Islamophobia in the world, whereas Islam is a religion of mercy and love.
We praise Allah daily in our prayer several times with the attributes of Rahman and Rahim, which refer to the all-comprehensive and the special mercy of Allah respectively. The Most Noble Messenger of Allah (upon whom and whose progeny be peace) likewise according to the verse “And We did not send you but as a mercy to all the worlds.” [Holy Qur’an, 21: 107] is the agent of Divine Mercy to all the inhabitants of the world, contrary to the demeanor of the takfiris who are examples of “dread for the inhabitants of the world”
The Holy Qur’an says “And He ordained love and mercy between you” [Holy Qur’an, 30:21]. Allah has blended all the human beings with love and mercy, and not fear, misfortune, and crime.
And in another place it says: “And speak kindly to people” [Holy Qur’an, 2:83], which means that the Qur’an is commanding all of us to say good to all the people of the world and behave well with them, save those who show enmity to us.
Consequently we can say the following to all the people of the world: the Islam that Muhammad, the chosen one, brought is the same that is presented in conferences like these and their like, and not what the deviant takfiris ignorant of Islam, speak about and do.
Having presented this introduction, let us now discuss some pivotal principles with the hope that the forthcoming speakers will expound more on them, analyze their dimensions, and present practical solutions for them.
1. The losses brought about by this deviant community and ill-omened tree of takfir are beyond comprehension. On the one hand they carry out merciless acts of murder on Muslims and non Muslims in the worst possible manner such as how a sheep is slaughtered, locking people in cages, burning them alive, and worst of all is that while they carry out such heinous crimes they shout Islamic slogans and say Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greater!).
On the other hand, they have made millions of oppressed Muslims homeless, a group of which got drowned in the ocean, and another had to seek refuge in foreign countries with humiliation, while the Qur’an says: “Yet to Allah belongs honor, and to His Messenger, and to the believers, but the hypocrites do not know.” [Holy Qur’an, 63:8]
The third loss incurred is the demolition of mosques, graves of great Islamic personalities, and ancient artifacts, each of which have been extremely valuable.
The fourth loss incurred was the destruction of cities and economic foundations, a destruction of such proportion, that perhaps for another fifty years one will not be able restore the situation.
The fifth issue is the cooperation of takfiri groups with the enemies of Islam such as Israel and some Western countries and getting their support for the destruction of Islamic countries.
And finally killing a group of non Muslims in Iraq, Syria, and Nigeria who had no war or quarrel with Muslims and lived among them peacefully. Furthermore they (the takfiris) sold non Muslim women as captives in market places, and as a result left another mark of shame in the garment of Islam and Muslims.
All this is while the Holy Qur’an in verse 8 of chapter al-Mumtahinah clearly gives the following advice: Do not transgress those who are not at war with you, but rather do good to them and observe justice with regard to them, for Allah loves those who observe justice: “Allah does not forbid you from dealing with kindness and justice with those [polytheists] who did not make war against you on account of religion and did not expel you from your homes.” Therefore not only should we not transgress them, but rather, according to the exolicit import of the Noble Qur’an, one can establish friendship with them [as well].
In addition to the aforesaid, unfortunately this takfiri community have brought about a feeling of insecurity in the entire world, since they do not adhere to any law or ethical and human program, and have no mercy on the old and the young.
Perhaps some would liken them with the [well-known] group of the Renegades (Khawarij) during the advent of Islam and say that the Takfiris, Da’ish, etc. in reality are the Khawarij of our time, although the Khawarij had never committed such atrocities. They had not committed all this murder and frightening destruction, nor did they demolish mosques and graves of great personalities. Nor did they take the non Muslim women to the marketplaces and sell them, nor did they commit the extremely shameless sin called jihad al-nikah (the war of marriage).
The Khawarij of our time cannot be compared with the Khawarij of the advent of Islam. They are much more dangerous and destructive.
The duty that we the Islamic scholars of all the Islamic sects have is to come hand in hand and do something that the root of these deviant thoughts is burnt through logical and intellectual demonstration.
2. This point is also very important that the enmity of takfiris is not only against the Shi‘ahs and the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) school of thought; rather they oppose all those Islamic sects that are against their deviant beliefs, and reckon them all as disbelievers, and also consider their blood and wealth to be lawful for them. A vocal witness of this issue is a document that we hereby reproduce:
Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab addressing his followers in a letter says the following:
The polytheistic scholars (meaning the scholars of Makka and Madina) have confessed that the people of the Holy Precincts of Haramayn, Basra, Iraq, Yemen, and other Muslim countries have been polytheists so far. (Narrated from the Complete Works of Muhammad Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, p. 270)
In other words, they confessed that that which would transpire in the two holy precincts, Basra, Iraq, and Yemen was polytheism, and all deserved to be e x e c u t ed.
As were are aware, when the Wahhabis after a bloody battle took over Makkah and Madina, they wrote a declaration and made all the Sunni scholars of these two cities sign. The scholars coercively also confessed that the monotheism brought by Muhammad Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab is the pure monotheism and that the people of Makka, Madina, Egypt, Syria and other Islamic countries have been disbelievers and polytheists until that day and added the following: ‘Indeed it is that kind of disbelief that allows the shedding of the disbeliever’s blood and the confiscation of his wealth and results in his eternity in the Hell Fire.
It is clear that this letter was signed by the Sunni scholars of Makka and Madina under the duress of the sword for the purpose of their self-protection. Similar is what Yusuf Kamal Hannana says in page 11 of his book al-Mas’alah al-Hijaziyyah: “The Hijazis paid their oath of allegiance to the sovereign of Najd in the state when the sword was over them and the leather mat [used for execution] was beneath their feet.
They were at least oblivious of the Islamic reality that even if we suppose that they were authorities of Islamic law, no authority of Islamic law, can enforce his beliefs on others, let alone the case when one person wants to enforce his beliefs on all the authorities of law in Makka and Madina.
Hence, we conclude that their takfir (excommunication) includes Muslims of all the Muslim countries (and not Shi‘ah Muslims in particular), the same takfir that gives the verdict of the permissibility of shedding their blood and confiscating their wealth.
Obviously, the non Muslims, more suitably come under this verdict of takfir, because the founder of the sect of Wahhabism in the same document says: “One who does not enter in to the fold of this religion, meaning Wahhabism, then to us he is a disbeliever in Allah and the Last Day, and it is compulsory on the Imam of the Muslims as well as the Muslims to wage a holy war against him and fight against him. In this way, they declared war against all the peoples of the world as well as those Muslims who had not accepted the sect of Wahhabism.
3. The third pivotal issue is their mockery of scholars of material sciences
Among the most weird things is what the previous highest authority of Islamic law of the Saudis mentioned in a treatise and explicitly said: all those who believe that the sun is static in the solar system must repent, and if they do not do so it is legal for their blood to be shed. In his book of laws, he clearly declares the following: “In this statement of mine I reckon the blood of one who says that the sun is static, after seeking his repentance, to be lawful (meaning it is allowed for one to shed his blood).
Dear brothers and sisters, consider carefully to what level has the problem of takfir transcended. It is even worse than the age of the investigation of one’s beliefs in the middle ages.
In actual fact, this high level Saudi mufti of the Wahhabis is giving the verdict that all the scholars, university students, school pupils throughout the world who have accepted that the sun is static in the solar system must be told to repent, and if they do not do so, it is lawful to shed their blood. Imagine how great a blow can such frightening verdicts which are full of mistakes strike on the esteem of Islam and Muslims!
Not having sufficient information about contemporary issues, misinterpreting the verse “Neither it behooves the sun to overtake the moon, nor may the night outrun the day, and each swims in an orbit” [Holy Qur’an, 36:40] and being oblivious of the Qur’anic verses that clearly speak of the movement of the earth, all have resulted in such a frightening verdict!
4. Now let us look at the fundamental proof and pretext of the takfiris. Basically, the origin of takfir is a grave mistake they have made in the subjects of monotheism and polytheism. This mistake is what has driven them to the cliff of excommunicating all the Muslims. They speculate that any kind of mediation and request of need from prophets, close servants of Allah, and great personalities of religion, despite that being a kind of intercession before Allah, is polytheism and disbelief. They are also oblivious of the fact that disbelief (kufr) itself has multiple meanings.
Here I would like to draw your attention, dear brothers and sisters, to an extract from the book al-Durar al-Saniyyah fi Ajwibat al-Masa’il al-Najdiyyah, which is one of the well-known works of the Wahhabis, wherein all the letters of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab and other scholars of Wahhabism have been collated.
In page 144 of this book, the following has been said by Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab:
That which we reject and due to which we excommunicate the people, is polytheism, such as if a person calls a prophet from among the prophets of Allah or one of the Divine Angels and says for example “Ya Rasula Allah” (O Messenger of Allah!) or if he carries out a sacrifice or performs a vow on behalf of the prophet, or seeks the religious seclusion (i‘tikaf) near the grave [of a great personality], or expresses humility and bends down before him or prostrates before him or seeks his need from him or seeks the removal of his difficulties from him. These are acts of polytheism that the Quraysh were afflicted with, and due to this very reason the Holy Prophet (s) excommunicated them and fought against them.
Consequently, they consider all the above-mentioned deeds as a permission for killing the Muslims, while this is a sheer mistake on their part.
They are oblivious of the Islamic Teaching that shirk (polytheism) means to ascribe someone to be a peer of Allah, meaning that one reckons another [beside Allah] to control the world of existence, bestow provisions, and heal the sick.
However, if someone asks the prophets and the great personalities of religion to intercede on his behalf before Allah, and for example says: “O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah to cure this sick person or to bring an end to this destructive war or to make a traveler return back to his hometown safe and sound” then it is sheer monotheism. This is because the fundamental point is attention to the Impeccable Essence of Allah.
Likewise. in verse 49 of Surat Aali ‘Imran Prophet ‘Isa (‘a) says: “I heal the blind and the leper and I revive the dead by Allah’s leave.” Certainly the people will ask for the fulfillment of their needs from one who claims this. Therefore, by doing this, did Prophet ‘Isa (‘a) call people towards polytheism, as a result of which all the people became polytheists?
Furthermore, if according to verse 12 of Surat al-Ma’idah, the close companions of Prophet ‘Isa (‘a) asked him to pray so that a heavenly banquet comes down for them, and the prophet accepted their request, did all the close companions turn in to disbelievers?
From 1400 years ago until now, all the Muslims respect the graves of the great personalities of religion, visit them from places both distant and close, and seek their intercession before Allah for the fulfillment of their needs. Does that mean that all of them in all these years have become disbelievers and it is allowed for one to shed their blood or confiscate their properties? Does any human being of sound intellect say such a thing? Aren’t such beliefs superstitions?
For this very reason, the great scholars of the Islamic world and men of merit who have gathered here or those to whom our message will be later communicated, must fight against such superstitions. Enlighten the Muslims and all the people of the world concernign the true teachings of Islam and hamper this merciless bloodshed and make the teachings of Islam transparent.
Obviously these discussions are academically very comprehensive and thus beyond the scope of this gathering. However, in the end I would like to present some suggestions as a summary and conclusion of our discussions:
1. Today the calamity of takfir is the most critical problem of the Islamic world, or rather that of the entire human world. Everyone also admits that a military solution is not the only answer. There must be cultural, intellectual, and media activity so that the roots of takfir can be dried out.
The ‘ulama and scholars of the Islamic world must burn down the root of these dangerous ideologies through logical thinking and intellectual demonstration, and must realize that if political, military and economic activities do not come hand in hand with the cultural activities of the Muslim scholars there would be no result, and everyday new people would be attracted to this dangerous group.
That is why last year, after having held the first conference on the danger of takfiri trends successfully in the city of Qum, we decided to establish a permanent secretariat for it and embark upon the publication of books and journals in different languages and thereby [practically] fight against the thoughts of the takfiri trends. We hope that scholars and esteemed ambassadors of the other countries of the world can draw greater benefit from this office.
2. We kindly wish to advice the Wahhabi scholars, especially those of Saudi Arabia, that before it is not too late, to sit together and remove from their books and source texts of education those thoughts that lead to the takfir of Muslims, and absolutely refrain from excommunicating the people of the qiblah whose Islamic identity the Prophet of Islam (s) emphasized. We also advice them to as soon as possible remove the takfiri teachings that presently exist in the seminaries and schools of their country, and completely condemn takfir in their public announcements. They should also purify their libraries from misleading works.
3. We request all the political leaders of the world to place sanctions and pressure on all those countries who support the takfiri groups politically and economically. This is because most certainly the sedition of this group touches them as well, as its effects are apparent.
4. We request the esteemed ambassadors of Islamic countries as well as the local and foreign media to convey the message of this conference and the previous conferences that have been held in Iran and other places, to their countries and to all the places of the world, so that we should not witness more cases of murder, destruction, and insecurity in the world. We in our country, thanks be to Allah, have witnessed rare instances of takfiri activities. However we feel duty-bound to struggle for the entire Islamic world.
5. The subject of how to intellectually and culturally encounter the takfiri currents must be taken more seriously. Thus we wish to make an important suggestion here: a television channel in the living languages of the world must be established to intellectually and rationally encounter this dangerous phenomenon, so that it removes the virus of takfir from the minds of the Muslim youth. The real nature of the apparently attractive slogans of these groups like “Migration, Holy War, and Martyrdom” must become clear for everyone and the ground of the misuse of such sacred terms by them must be destroyed. We are ready to cooperate and assist in the formation of this global television channel.
6. In the present conditions we consider embarking on any kind of sectarian differences between the Muslims to be a great sin. All the Muslims must respect the sacraments of one another, and if some mercenaries linked to the enemies of Islam reckon their duty to be the vilification of others, they must not pay attention to them but instead condemn them and express their detachment from them. This is because such people are either insignificant in number and unaware or mercenaries who struggle to benefit the needless enemies. Islamic scholars must sit down together closely and discuss matters of Islamic belief with one another, so that they realize that many of the attributions given to the different Islamic sects are mere lies and accusations.
In the end, we raise our hands in supplication and express the following in humility: O Lord, bestow more success to the alert politicians, powerful warriors and Muslim scholars, so that they j o i n hands and extinguish the sedition of takfir, which is a critical sedition of our time, and build a world of peace and security. May Allah accept our prayer, for He is the Lord of the Universe.