Refutation of Raymond Ibrahim’s Article ‘Islamic State Beheads, Mutilates, As the Quran Instructs’ – Part 3: Associating Terrorism With Islam Is Complete Distortion Of The Religion; Evidence from Qur’an

Refutation of Raymond Ibrahim’s Article ‘Islamic State Beheads, Mutilates, As the Quran Instructs’ – Part 3: Associating Terrorism With Islam Is Complete Distortion Of The Religion; Evidence from Qur’an

By Ghulam Ghaus, New Age Islam

02 December, 2014

In his article, Mr. Raymond Ibrahim has added some gory images portraying ISIL terrorists’ merciless crimes; mutilations and beheadings of those Muslims who the ISIL members considered ‘infidels’. By doing so, he wants to provoke fear of Islam as a religion and all Muslims as a community. He says: “Obama, Cameron etc all say Islamic State are just a bunch of barbarians, not real Muslims. But as they behead and mutilate “infidels” they’re only doing what the Koran and the Prophet instructs”. As such, he clearly supports the ISIL terrorists’ view of Islam that all so-called infidels, Muslim or non-Muslim, should be killed.

There is not an iota of doubt that such crimes — beheading, killing of innocent people including Muslims and non-Muslims, bombing public places, suicide attacks or disfiguring the dead bodies—are all anti-Islamic acts. Such acts never had and do not have any approval of the classical and widely approved jurists, scholars and majority mainstream Muslims. However, you can simply find terrorist outfits —ISIL, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Boko Haram etc — do such inhumane, anti-Islamic acts. And of course Saudi government too carries out beheadings of those it considers criminals regularly.

An open letter to ISIL also refutes Mr. Ibrahim force-fitted and totally mis-contextualized arguments

Recently more than 120 widely approved Muslim scholars from around the world approved an open letter to the head of ISIL, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, denouncing his terrorist group as anti-Islamic. The letter based upon the irrefutable references taken from the Qur’an and Hadith and released on Sep. 24, 2014 refutes the fanatical ideas of Mr. Ibrahim and the extremist ideologies of ISIL members committing the larger and more sweeping barbarism that has so far engulfed two Muslim countries, Iraq and Syria.

The letter can be summarised in the following paragraph: it is forbidden in Islam to kill innocent lives including Muslims, non-Muslims, emissaries, ambassadors, diplomats, journalists, aid workers, priests etc. Ignoring the reality of contemporary times is forbidden when issuing legal rulings. Jihad in Islam is merely a defensive war. It is not allowed in Islam to label any Muslim with Kufr unless he or she openly declares disbelief. All these acts—forcing people to convert, denying women, children of their rights, torturing the people, disfiguring the dead and attributing the evil and terrorist acts to God Almighty and demolishing the shrines and graves of any one of the holy Prophets and companions—are strictly forbidden in Islam.

Acts of terrorism that ISIL and Mr. Ibrahim associate with Islam are nothing but complete distortion of Islam:  Evidence from the Qur’an

Acts of terrorism practiced by ISIL or any of its allied groups in the name of Jihad are anti-Qur’an and Hadith. But Mr. Ibrahim says, “Islamic State beheads, mutilates as the Koran instructs”. Therefore, it is necessary to rebut his force-fitted and falsely-related ideas so that Muslims and non-Muslims may not adopt radical attitude towards one another.

Evidence from the Qur’an: 1

“Indeed, Allah enjoins justice and benevolence (towards everyone), and giving away to the kindred, and forbids indecency, evil deeds, defiance and terrorism (Baghya). He admonishes you so that you may remember with concern” (16:90)

The Arabic word ‘Baghya’ used in the verse above takes multiple meanings like terrorism, transgression, oppression, aggression, injustice, unfairness, tyranny and offense etc; each one of them has been declared forbidden or Haram, according to the Qur’anic verse.

Evidence from the Qur’an: 2

“Say: ‘Come, I will recite to you those things which your Lord has forbidden to you: Do not set up anything as a partner with Him; be morally excellent with parents; and do not kill your children owing to poverty. We alone give you sustenance and (will provide for) them as well. And do not draw near to shameful deeds (whether) open or hidden. And do not kill the soul whose (killing) Allah has forbidden, except when it is rightfully due (according to law in self-defence against disruption and whilst combating terrorism). It is these (injunctions) He has enjoined upon you so that you may apply reason.” (6:151)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 3

“And if any of the idolaters (caught in an armed encounter) seeks asylum with you, provide him with protection until he listens to the Words of Allah. Then escort him to his place of safety. This is because these people do not possess the knowledge (of the truth)” (9:6)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 4

“Say: ‘My Lord has declared unlawful only (all) the indecent acts which become known and which remain hidden, and sins and unjust excesses” (7:33)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 5

“On account of this, We prescribed (this commandment in the Torah sent down) to the Children of Israel that whoever killed a person (unjustly), except as a punishment for murder or for (spreading) disorder in the land, it would be as if he killed all the people (of society); and whoever (saved him from unjust murder and) made him survive, it would be as if he saved the lives of all the people (of society, i.e., he rescued the collective system of human life). And indeed, Our Messengers came to them with evident signs. Yet, even after that, the majority from amongst these people are certainly those who commit excesses in the land” (5:32)

Historically, it is irrefutable fact that during the earliest period of Islam of about twelve years in Makkah, the Muslims were savagely tortured, beaten, persecuted and even many of them were killed. The holy Qur’an testifies to this fact:

Evidence from the Qur’an: 6

“And remember when (numerically) you were small (i.e., in the minority, in the Makkan period,) and oppressed in the country (i.e., economically unstable and victims of exploitation). You were (also) afraid that (the powerful) people would snatch you away (i.e., socially too you were neither free nor secure). So, (after migration to Medina,) He (Allah) provided for you a free and secure abode, and strengthened you with His help and supplied you with sustenance of pure and wholesome things  so that you may give thanks to Allah (by means of absolute submission to Allah’s commands)” (8:26).

Evidence from the Qur’an: 7 (Eliminating the evil i.e. Terrorism, Violence, oppression etc. by means of good i.e. love, mildness, tolerance, moderation etc.

Nowhere the Qur’an says to repel good with evil deeds like terrorism, radicalism, extremism, fanaticism, barbarism, violence, unjustness, oppression and aggression etc. Rather it commands to eliminate the evil by means of good.

“And who remain steadfast in seeking the pleasure of their Lord, and establish Prayer, and spend (both) secretly and openly out of the sustenance We have provided, and continue eliminating evil by means of good; they are the ones for whom there is a (beautiful) home in the Hereafter” (13:22).

Evidence from the Qur’an: 8

“Repel evil in such a way as is best of all. We know best (the things) they say” (23:96)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 9 (Treating enemies in such a way they become the most warm-hearted friends)

“And good and evil cannot be equal. And remove the evil in a better (way) with the result that the one with whom you had rivalry becomes your most warm-hearted friend” (41:34)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 10 (During the Medinite period, Muslims were commanded to forgive their past enemies)

During the Medinite period (622-632), when the Muslims were safe from all kinds of oppression, aggression and terrorist activities of militant Arab pagans, they were commanded to forgive their past enemies. The following verse points out to this fact:

“And never let the enmity of a people incite you to aggression (against them) since they barred you from the Sacred House (i.e., visiting the Ka’bah). And always support one another in (the works of) righteousness and piety, but do not become accomplices in (works of) sin and transgression. And fear Allah persistently. Indeed, Allah awards severe punishment (to those who disobey and defy)” (5:2)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 11 (The balanced Approach of Islam towards every community)

“And, in the same way, (O Muslims,) We made you the best Ummah (Community—fair to all with a tolerant, moderate and balanced outlook) so that you may bear witness to the people, and (Our exalted) Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) bears witness to you. And We appointed the Qibla (the direction of Prayer), which you used to face before, only to bring to light (by trial) who would follow (Our) Messenger and who would turn back upon his heels. And this (change of Qibla) was indeed a hard task, but not for those whom Allah blessed with guidance (and gnosis of spiritual truths). And it is not Allah’s Glory to void your faith (without any reason). Allah is surely Most Clement, Ever-Merciful to mankind.” (2:143)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 12

“And from amongst you there must be a community comprising the people who invite mankind towards piety, enjoin righteousness and forbid evil. And they are the successful people”. (3:104).

Evidence from the Qur’an: 13

“And who can be more pleasing in speech than one who calls towards Allah and does pious work and says: ‘Surely, I am of the obedient servants (of Allah and the Holy Prophet)’?” (41:33).

From the verses above it is very clear that Mutilations, beheadings, and killings of innocent lives, citizens including Muslims and non-Muslims—done by ISIL militants who are being supported by Islamophobes like Mr. Ibrahim in matter of forcefully linking such terrorist activities to Qur’an—are strictly forbidden, forbidden, forbidden (Haram) in Islam. Thus, by associating the Quran with such crimes, as ISIL and Mr. Ibrahim did, they should not inject further pain into sentiments of the oppressed, victimized Muslims of Iraq and Syria in particular, and the rest of majority mainstream Muslims in common.  Besides, Mr. Ibrahim should always remember that no matter ISIL or his Islamophobia industry stipulate those conditions which are in fact not meant in the holy Qur’an; these conditions will be invalid in Islam and hence it will remain the religion of peace.

Evidence from the Hadith

The prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said: “What about the people who stipulate conditions which are not present in Allah’s Laws? Whoever imposes conditions which are not present in Allah’s Laws; these conditions will be invalid for him, even if he imposed these conditions a hundred times. Allah’s conditions (Laws) are the truth and are more solid.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2561, Book 50, Hadith 2)

As for the majority mainstream Muslims of peace, harmony, liberal attitude, they should keep on disseminating peace around the world and repelling every kind of terrorism, extremism and violence from the entire world. Apart from that, they ought to preach true spirit of Islam i.e. tolerance, peace, mutual harmony, love, requesting all not to trade revelations of Allah Almighty for a small (worldly) price, as the holy Qur’an says:

Evidence from the Qur’an: 14

“And believe in (the Book) that I have revealed (to My Messenger Muhammad [blessings and peace be upon him]), whilst it confirms (originally) that which you possess. And do not be the first to deny it, nor trade My Revelations for a small (worldly) price. And fear Me alone” (2:41).

Summing Up

Having analysed a number of arguments and Qur’anic evidences mentioned in all the three parts of the article, there should be no hesitation in believing that the Qur’an does not allow beheadings, mutilations and killing of any human being. It is equally forbidden to kill any innocent, Muslim or non-Muslim.

To say to Mr. Ibrahim, it is doubly distressing that he is blaming the entire community or the holy Qur’an for the actions of a crazy few. From a theological and moral point of view it is completely unfair to put the entire community in the dock. Undoubtedly, some evil-natured people make flawed interpretations of Islam. However it does not behove any good man to blame the Qur’an or all the real Muslims for the heinous actions of terrorist groups. He must have heard many times why Muslims don’t speak out against terror? Well, they do, but nobody pays attention, though their number, I believe, needs to increase. Not only Islam but also according to overwhelming majority of mainstream Muslims, beheadings and mutilations of any innocent human being  are a million miles away from Islam’s teachings.

Mr. Ibrahim, We Muslims have been refuting violent ideologies, taking every possible initiative to eliminate every kind of injustice, violence, terrorism growing in our multicultural societies across the world. Here, we should know we cannot eradicate such heinous crimes as a whole, but we can do it, even though a bit, at any level; social, cultural, national, international etc. No matter whatever way you, Mr. Ibrahim, adopt in order to foment hatred among Muslims and non-Muslims, Islam will remain forever to teach justice, tolerance, patience, peace and forbid what and how you say ‘beheadings’ and ‘mutilations’.


A regular columnist and English-Arabic translator for New Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background. He has completed the classical Islamic sciences from a Delhi-based Sufi Islamic seminary Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Zakir Nagar, New Delhi with specialization in Tafseer, Hadith and Arabic. He completed his Alimiat and Fazilat respectively from Jamia Warsia Arabic College, Lucknow and Jamia Manzar-e-Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He has graduated in Arabic (Hons) and is pursuing his M.A in Arabic from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

URL of Part 2:’s-article-entitled-‘islamic-state-beheads,-mutilates,-as-the-quran-instructs’—part-2–the-dreadful-story-of-abu-jahl’s-torture-of-early-muslims/d/100166


Refutation Of Raymond Ibrahim’s Article Entitled ‘Islamic State Beheads, Mutilates, As The Quran Instructs’ – Part 1: Don’t Ignore The Context Of Quran’s Verses Or The Asbab Al-Nuzul

By Ghulam Ghaus, New Age Islam

20 November, 2014

The Islamophobia industry is viciously attacking Islam from all possible angles. It has in a way joined hands with the so-called Islamist terrorists in thrusting the world into the fire of hatred and prejudice. One of the senior workers in the Islamophobia industry is Mr. Raymond Ibrahim who overnight turned from “research librarian” into an “Islamic-scholar,” though completely bereft of true spirit of Islam.  He recently penned an article titled “Islamic State beheads, mutilates as the Quran instructs” posted in the renowned website “The Commentator”. (link below).

Did Mr. Raymond Urge Mr. Obama And Cameron To Kill All Real Muslims?

His ideas based on totally distorted version of Islam vividly seem to ask Mr. Barak Obama and Cameron to eliminate not only the ISIL barbarians but also mainstream, moderate Muslims.  At the very outset of his article, he says: “Obama, Cameron etc all say Islamic State are just a bunch of barbarians, not real Muslims. But as they behead and mutilate “infidels” they’re only doing what the Quran and the Prophet instructs”.

Associating the ISIL and its like-minded terrorist outfits with true Islam and majority mainstream Muslims has been one of the founding principles of Islamophobes. This is only due to the evil intentions of such so-called “counter-terrorism humans”. They pretend to fight against terrorism but I see their literatures are creating another kind of extremism, terrorism, radicalism, barbarism etc. Mr. Raymond’s article can be taken as an example.

The US and Arab allies are united to eradicate the terrorist outfit ISIL. Islamic scholars from around the world have issued a number of fatwas condemning all of the ISIL atrocities—mutilation, beheading, merciless killing of innocent lives etc. But what Mr. Raymond exactly wants, a man of even the slightest intelligence can easily understand from his violent article. He is asking US President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron to kill all Muslims as he says, “(when) they behead and mutilate “infidels” they’re only doing what the Quran and the Prophet instructs”.

Islamophobes and Terrorist Organizations Fomenting Radicalism

Before refuting his force-fitted arguments, it should be noted that Islamophobes like Mr. Raymond Ibrahim are distorting the true spirit of Islam, and same is true of terrorist organizations like ISIL, Taliban, al-Qaeda etc. Thus, in matter of fomenting extremism and radicalism, there is a huge similarity among Islamophobes, ISIL and its like-minded terrorist groups.

Like ISIL and Taliban Mr. Raymond quoted the Qur’anic Verses Totally out of Context

To prove his Islamophobic point, Mr. Raymond has quoted the Qur’anic verses 9:14- 15 out of context, without understanding the reasons and circumstances (Asbab al-Nuzul) of these verses. This process, no matter who started it for the first time, is injecting evil virus into about all societies across the world. In his article, though Mr. Raymond says, “to understand the significance of any Quran verse, one must turn to the Sira and Hadith—the biography and anecdotes of Muhammad, respectively—for context”, he has fully ignored the relevant context while mentioning the two verses 9:14, 15 and abruptly jumped out of context to describe the state of Abu Jahl. By doing so, it seems he wants to provoke Mr. Obama, Cameron and all non-Muslims to eradicate Muslims from the world, because these Muslims will never disbelieve in the Qur’an and Hadith.

Unlawfulness of Misquoting or cherry-picking the Qur’anic Verses in the Qur’an

The significance of the context to understand the Qur’an and Hadith can and should be seen in the principles of Islamic jurisprudence and exegesis. In accordance with the methodology established by the Qur’an and Hadith, it is strictly prohibited to cherry-pick an extract from the Qur’an without understanding it within its full context. Allah Almighty says:

“Do you believe in some parts of the Book and deny some others? So he who does so from amongst you, what can be his punishment but disgrace (and humiliation) in the worldly life? And (also) on the Day of Resurrection, (such people) will be returned to the most ruthless torment. And Allah is not unaware of your deeds” (2:85)

“Then We laid Our curse on them because of their breach of promise (i.e., they were deprived of Our mercy), and We made their hearts callous (i.e., they were deprived of guidance and susceptibility. So,) they change the Words (of Allah’s Book) from their (right) places, and have forgotten a (major) portion of that (guidance) which they were urged upon. And you will continue being informed about one or the other of their treachery, except a few of them (who have embraced faith). So pardon them and forbear. Indeed, Allah loves the benefactors” (5:13)

“Those who divided the Qur’an into pieces (and split it, i.e., accepted the favourable Verses but rejected the others)” (15:91)

The verses mentioned above guide people to understand verses in context. Thus, to understand any Qur’anic verse or Hadith, every exegete should ponder over the relevant context in its entirety, and not depending on only parts of it. Having gathered all the relevant scriptural texts, he should distinguish the ‘general’ from the ‘specific’, the ‘conditional’ from the ‘unconditional’ and the ‘unequivocal’ from the ‘allegorical’. Besides, it is essential for him to consider the reasons and circumstances of revelation (Asbab al-Nuzul) and all the other interpretive conditions specified by the classical Islamic jurists and scholars.

Widely Approved Reasons and Circumstances (Asbab al-Nuzul) of the Qur’anic verses 9:14-15

The exact context of the verses 9:14, 15, which Mr. Raymond quoted to incite extremism and fanaticism among Muslims and non-Muslims, basically starts from the verse 9:12. Before quoting these verses within full context, we should take into consideration their reasons and circumstances (Asbab al-Nuzul).

According to the widely renowned and unanimously accepted books of exegesis—Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Tafseer al-Tabari, Tafsir al-Baghawi (also known as Ma’alim at-Tanzeel), Tafsir Al-Tahrir Wal Tanwir’ (also known as Tafsir Ibn ‘Ashur), Tafsir ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Kabir (The Large Commentary, also known as Mafatih al-Ghayb), Tafsir al-Jalalayn—, these verses (9:12, 13, 14, 15) were revealed after the then pagans of Makkah broke the treaty of peace known as Sulh al-Hudaibiya and restored the state of war. Taking into consideration Asbab al-Nuzul, these verses can now be understood well as follows:

“And if after making a promise (for peaceful bilateral relations), they break their oaths, (and restore the state of war,) and taunt you with sarcasm in your Din (Religion), then wage (defensive) war against (those) chieftains of disbelief (to eliminate any chance of mischief, violence and revolt). Surely, their oaths are not worth any regard, so that they may desist (from their mischief-mongering). (9:12)

“Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths (violating the peace treaty and restoring the state of war), and decided to banish the Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) whilst the first time it is they who initiated war against you? Do you fear them? But Allah has more right that you should fear Him, provided you are believers. (9:13)

“Fight against them (to establish peace). Allah will torment them at your hands and will humiliate them, and will help you (in your defensive fight) against them, and will heal the breasts of the believers. (9:14)

“And He will remove the distress and fury in their hearts, and will accept repentance of whom He wills. And Allah is All-Knowing, Most Wise. (9:15)”

It has been clear from the verses above that fighting was ordered only against those who broke the treaty of peace (Sulh al-Hudaibiya) and restored the state of war. There was no option left for the then believers other than defending their lives and rights to freely practice their religion. The situation in which these verses were revealed is entirely different from today’s bloody events taking place in Iraq and Syria. Innocent emissaries, journalists like James Foley and Steven Sotloff, citizens including Muslims and non-Muslims living in Iraq and Syria or elsewhere being killed by ISIL or its allies are not in any way like those Arab pagans who had compelled the then believers to either defend themselves or be killed. So, from the Islamic perspective, it is a great injustice to forcefully attach today’s situation to that of the early period of Islam. But Mr. Raymond did not care about this injustice and quoted such verses out of context to defame Islam and incite fanaticism among Muslims and non-Muslims. He is clearly following the behaviour of ISIL, though he may pretend to oppose it.

A regular columnist and English-Arabic translator for New Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background. He has completed the classical Islamic sciences from a Delhi-based Sufi Islamic seminary Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Zakir Nagar, New Delhi with specialization in Tafseer, Hadith and Arabic. He completed his Alimiat and Fazilat respectively from Jamia Warsia Arabic College, Lucknow and Jamia Manzar- e- Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He has graduated in Arabic (Hons) and is pursuing his M.A in Arabic from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

(To be continued)

Link of Mr. Raymond’s article: