Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI

PopeAn excellent article by actual Muslim leaders and scholars that are recognized by other Muslims and not just by the media. So if you are one of those people that are forever asking where are the voices of Muslim leaders, here are a few.

The names of the scholars that signed the letter are listed at the end of the document so if one does not know or recognize many or any of the names then he or she would do well to look more deeply into their collective works before asking the next time where are the voices of Muslim leaders.

And if you haven’t heard about this letter before now, you just might need to broaden your sources of information. It’s a shame about the timing because this story has now moved off the front pages.

Open Letter to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI by 38 Leading Muslim Scholars and Leaders.

Islamica Magazine Press Release:
In an unprecedented move, an open letter signed by 38 leading Muslim religious scholars and leaders around the world was sent to Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 12, 2006. The letter, which is the outcome of a joint effort, was signed by top religious authorities such as Shaykh Ali Jumu‘ah (the Grand Mufti of Egypt), Shakyh Abdullah bin Bayyah (former Vice President of Mauritania, and leading religious scholar), and Shaykh Sa‘id Ramadan Al-Buti (from Syria), in addition to the Grand Muftis of Russia, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Slovenia, Istanbul, Uzbekistan, and Oman, as well as leading figures from the Shi‘a community such as Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Taskhiri of Iran. The letter was also signed by HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal of Jordan and by Muslim scholars in the West such as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf from California, Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Professor Tim Winter of the University of Cambridge.

All the eight schools of thought and jurisprudence in Islam are represented by the signatories, including a woman scholar. In this respect the letter is unique in the history of interfaith relations.

The letter was sent, in a spirit of goodwill, to respond to some of the remarks made by the Pope during his lecture at the University of Regensburg on Sept. 12, 2006. The letter tackles the main substantive issues raised in his treatment of a debate between the medieval Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an “educated Persian”, including reason and faith; forced conversion; “jihad” vs. “holy war”; and the relationship between Christianity and Islam. They engage the Pope on an intellectual level concerning these crucial topics—which go well beyond the controversial quotation of the emperor—pointing out what they see as mistakes and oversimplifications in the Pope’s own remarks about Islamic belief and practice.

The Muslim signatories appreciate the Pope’s personal expression of sorrow at the Muslim reaction and his assurance that the words of the Byzantine emperor he quoted did not reflect his personal opinion. By following the Quranic precept of debating “in the fairest way”, they hope to reach out so as to increase mutual understanding, reestablish trust, calm the situation for the sake of peace, and preserve Muslim dignity.

Christianity and Islam make up more than half of humankind in an increasingly interconnected world, the letter states, and it is imperative that both sides share responsibility for peace and move the debate towards a frank and sincere dialogue of hearts and minds which furthers mutual understanding and respect between the two religious traditions. Indeed, the scholars point out, both religions teach what Christianity calls “the two greatest commandments”. The commandment that “the Lord our God is one Lord” and that we shall love Him with all we are is enshrined in the first testimony of faith in Islam, “There is no god but God.” The second commandment “to love thy neighbor as thyself” is also found in the words of the Prophet, “None of you believes until he desires for his neighbor (in another version, his brother) what he desires for himself.” The signatories also point out the positive contacts the Vatican has had with the Islamic world in the past, with a hope that they will continue and even grow in the future. [end]

The official and full English version of the text along with the complete list of signatories is available now on the Islamica Magazine website (

Read Full Letter

Shaykh Jaafar Idris’ Response

Imam Zaid Shakir’s Response 


  1. Asalamu aleykum wa rahmat Allahi wa barakatuhu,

    What the enemy of Allah said in his speech was not due to misunderstanding nor due to his ignorance about specifics of Islam, what he only said is the general trend coming out of Europe, general remarks, in fact I suggest that he was only trying to round up the west behind a banner against muslimeen.

    His Holiness??? What’s so holy about him!

    As long as muslimeen are so apologetic they will never have any honor…nor will Allah make them victorious.

    I mean we can look at those who signed it.

    Wallahi, enough degrading and making fools out of us and fooling ourselves, I am not talking about this specific letter but about a general trend from various western figures.

    Those people who engage with the non-Muslim world in such apologetic tones, are the exact same ones fostered by the State Department in America. The same kind the Rand Coporation advices the U.S. to foster, who don’t only compromise on the way of spreading deen, but on the message they spread itself. Who always stab muslimeen and never stand for them and make them faulty at all times.

    Da3wa is important and great, perhaps the intention of this letter is not for the (benny?) but for others to read, there are indeed many in the west who are objective and plenty just waiting to become muslimeen if one makes them understand, yet when we degrade ourselves so much we look cheap, and our hearts start to change before we change anything else..sliping out of eman, and intentions changing is not so difficult to happen.

    The kuffar do sense it, having pride and standing for our rights without apologetic tones, they will have more respect for us, and we will have respect for ourselves.

    Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein (forever). Allah will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Truly it is the Party of Allah that will achieve Felicity. [Al-Mujadala 58/22]

    I know the tone is kind of harsh, but it becomes very obvious when one looks from away, from dar al Islam!

  2. Asalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

    “Do not contend with the people of the Book except in the fairest way” – [The Holy Quran, Al-Ankabut 29/46]

    This ayah was cited at the beginning of the letter and sets the tone for the dialogue. The ayat of this nature may sometimes be overlooked when people living in Muslim majority lands speak about those who live in non-Muslim majority lands because the former does not actually have much interaction with the people of the Book. And so we see much harshness and rhetoric but often missing is the compassion and mercy also in our teachings. It can be challenging to find the correct balance.

    We can see from the example of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in the letters sent inviting the leaders of other lands to Islam that he sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam addressed them with their titles. Such is the case in this letter, when formally adressing the Pope he is referred to as His Holiness.

    If one takes into consideration the entire list of 38 scholars that signed the letter despite any disagreements one has with certain individuals, each one does have a wide following amongst the Muslims. This is unlike some that are held up in the media as role models for Muslims but do not actually have much influence, creditability, or respect in the larger Muslim community.

    Your response Q8ibloger has been edited because it violated the rules for comments and to correct a few grammatical issues. Please refer to the guidelines now posted on the Muslim Apple’s House page before you post.

    Wa salaam

  3. I read the letter through a couple of times. The intent and the tenor of it seem to me to be honorable and straightforward.

    Conversation between the sides is a start.

    Take care.

  4. AsSalaam Alaykum,

    To just clarify a comment made by Q8ibloger. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf does not deny jihad. He says that jihad has more than one meaning. The greatest jihad according to Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam, is the jihad against our ownselves (the nafs). Also, from a speech that Shaykh Hamza Yusuf interpreted by Allamah Abdullah Bin Bayyah:

    …”The Shaykh said that jihad has a broader meaning than fighting, and it shouldn’t be limited to that meaning. Ibn Taymiyya’s definition for jihad was any good action, any action that was virtuous. That was actually his definition for jihad and it’s mentioned by the ‘ulema. When it talks about war, the Qu’ran says, specifically, “harb.” It says, “Until the war sets down all of its burdens.” That’s talking about an actual physical conflict. So the word in Arabic, when it’s used for the conflict of war, is qital, not jihad. Jihad has a broader meaning, and all of its full meanings should be incorporated when we say the word jihad instead of specifically meaning it to be some martial event because that’s not correct.”…

    As the scholars in the letter to the Pope pointed out, in Islam we are never allowed to be aggressors; if we must fight it has to be in defense or against oppression in the earth.

    I think people like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Allamah Abdullah Bin Bayyah, and Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, all signatories of the letter, are doing a great service to Islam and Muslims in the west. They are clearing up the misconceptions that not only non-Muslims have about Islam, but also many Muslims.

  5. asalamu aleykum

    i know he doesnt deny jihad,, he just denied it on 60 minutes and said that the pleasures of jannah are not real but metaphoric so when the rasool sallah Allahu 3alayhi wa sallam said that there will be 72 hoor ein for mujahideen
    thats not literal but metaphoric,,

    i read the original transcript, you can return to it,,
    i do not deny that he did great things for islam,, but he does a lot of damge too that cant be overlooked especially when it comes to the understanding of religion and belief

    and may Allah guide us all to the best of knowledge

  6. walaikum assalaam,

    Q8ibloger, I did a search on the internet for the 60 minutes interview, and no where does Sheikh Hamza Yusuf deny jihad in the interview. Also, I didn’t find any discussion of hoor ein and whether the pleasures of jannah are metaphoric or not. I found the transcript to the interview. I will include the complete link to the interview at the bottom of this post. Here’s a quote from the part of the interview where he talks about jihad with Bradley:

    “Bradley: Imam Hamza Yusuf of California:

    Yusuf: it’s prohibited in Islam to torture animals. It’s prohibited to kill animals without just cause. So the idea of killing human beings, innocent human beings, is anathema to Muslims. They’re deeply shocked by it.

    Bradley: while Islam forbids the killing of innocents, in this 1998 interview, bin Laden justified the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa, saying every American man is our enemy, whether he is a soldier or a taxpayer. As for the women and children who died, he says women and children die every day in Palestine. In a statement last week, bin Laden called for a jihad or holy war in the name of Allah.

    Yusuf: I would say that he has no legitimate authority, that an Islamic Jihad can only be declared by legitimate state authority. And this is accepted by consensus. There is no vigilantism in Islam. Muslims believe in state authority.

    Bradley: you think he’s a vigilante?

    Yusuf: absolutely, absolutely. All Muslims are guided by the words of Islam’s holy book, the Koran, which is believed to be the word of God, and explains how Muslims should lead their lives. It also says fighting should only be in self-defence, a fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but be not aggressive. And the Koran forbids suicide. They cannot bring any textual evidence from the Koran, from the traditions of the prophet, to prove anything that justifies what they’ve done.

    Bradley: so then it’s outright aggression?

    Yusuf: it’s outright aggression.

    Bradley: it has nothing to do with Islam?

    Yusuf: that’s my belief.

    Bradley: so if the people who are followers who are responsible for this are followers of Islam, how do they justify this?

    Yusuf: there is no justification. But how do Christians have to justify Christians who kill people at abortion clinics? Many of the terrorist activities in this country are actually done by extremist Christian elements, and I don’t think anybody in the mainstream Christian world would see that as anything other than a serious aberration. Unfortunately, becauseof our ignorance in this country of Islam, we see these type of things, and there is an assumption that somehow Islam condones this thing.

    Bradley: it is the Islamic belief in the afterlife that could be an incentive to die in the name of Islam. According to the Prophet Mohammed, the next life is paradise, offering forgiveness.

    Faisal: in the Islamic belief system, the next life is the primary life. The next life is more real, more intense, and more vivid.

    Yusuf: I think that there are people that do these things that believe that we have a noble end, and the noble end is to bring about some kind of conflict to wake up the Muslim world, to start a global jihad against the evil west.”

    Here’s a link to the complete interview: 60 minutes transcript

  7. just like to point out, what exactly..
    but you can read the whole thing
    I still wonder if you trust him with your deen after you read this

    Michael: Well we know now it was more plunder than religion.

    Shaykh Hamza: Well, that’s true. And unfortunately a lot of religious wars tend to be for other than religion. But the word jihad is probably one of the highest concepts that the Arabs and the Muslims have. It represents really the best of humankind. In the Qur’an it is never once used to express a military meaning. Not once


    Michael: When you read the coverage in some of the more fulminating columnists and commentators, it comes up time and time again, this business about the Qur’an promising the martyrs or the suicide bombers that if they die in the course of their mission they will go immediately to heaven where they will be greeted by ten or fifteen or sixty-eight or something or other, virgins. You must have seen that. What is that?

    Shaykh Hamza: You know, again this is the problem with religious language for the modern mind. The Qur’an, just to give you an example, says that there is nothing like God and immediately after that – it’s in a chapter called Shura (The Council) – and immediately after that it says and He is the All-Seeing, the All-Hearing. So here’s a verse that says there’s nothing like Him and then it’s immediately followed by saying He hears everything and He sees everything.

    Well, how do we know what seeing and hearing is if we don’t have a likeness in this world of it. So on the one hand there’s pure transcendence and on the other hand there’s the imminent aspect of God’s manifestations, his attributes in the world. If you look in the Qur’an about the pleasures of paradise, the definitive verse in the Qur’an is that the pleasures of paradise are those which no eye has seen, no ear has heard of, and has never occurred to the heart of a human being. So that is the definitive verse about the pleasures of paradise. Now, there are some hadiths, it’s not in the Qur’an, there is mention of beautiful youths as well as beautiful women, and that’s more metonymy in rhetoric.

    Michael: It’s an allegory.

    Shaykh Hamza: Exactly, it’s an allegory, exactly. And the thing about it is that our scholars say that the highest sensual experience in the world is orgasm and it’s quite literal. I mean this is a traditional opinion; Imam al-Ghazali, one of the early theologians said that the orgasm that a human being experiences in sexual intercourse is the closest sensual experience that one can taste of what the delights of paradise are like. The Muslims traditionally saw it as almost – and the Hindus have this concept as well – that there’s almost a mystical experience. Now, the vast majority of human beings do not have profound mystical experiences. The mystic has experiences that transcend sexuality and in fact, it’s well known that a lot of mystics lose their appetite for those types of things because of their own internal experiences.

    Michael: They’re celibate.

    Shaykh Hamza: Exactly. So the idea being is that it’s really an approximation, it’s a way of describing. The number used is 70 and the idea of 70 in the Arabic language is that it just means an untold amount of pleasure and that’s really what it’s about. And unfortunately literalism is a danger in every religion and I think there are definitely people who look at these things in very literal terms and this goes with religion and with human understanding.

    Michael: It’s like trying to explain in my faith the concept of the guardian angel or something like that, I think.

    Shaykh Hamza: Well, exactly, what is an angel? An angel is an old debate in theology.

  8. Assalaam Alaykum,

    Brother I see nothing wrong with what Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is saying. It is correct that in the Qur’an when speaking of war the word “harb” or “qital” is used, not jihad. That’s what he’s saying. He’s saying the word jihad is used in the Qur’an, just not in a military sense. That is not denying jihad. In many more speeches he explains in detail what jihad is. Muslims have lately categorized jihad into just one meaning: war. This is not correct. Of course, he doesn’t deny that Muslims can defend themselves or fight against oppression. There are verses in the Qur’an that tell the believers to fight against those who fight against them, or fight to help the oppressed people, and to fight to stop persecution. The distinction is that the Qur’an tells us we can’t be aggressors ever.

    This is a speech that Shaykh Hamza translated of Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, and it is his view on the matter:

    …”The Shaykh said that jihad has a broader meaning than fighting, and it shouldn’t be limited to that meaning. Ibn Taymiyya’s definition for jihad was any good action, any action that was virtuous. That was actually his definition for jihad and it’s mentioned by the ‘ulema. When it talks about war, the Qu’ran says, specifically, “harb.” It says, “Until the war sets down all of its burdens.” That’s talking about an actual physical conflict. So the word in Arabic, when it’s used for the conflict of war, is qital, not jihad. Jihad has a broader meaning, and all of its full meanings should be incorporated when we say the word jihad instead of specifically meaning it to be some martial event because that’s not correct.…

    ..One of the problems that we have is that we have a misunderstanding of jihad. Our concept of jihad has to be rectified. If you look at the verses that came down about jihad, you’ll find the first one revealed, called Ayat-ul-jihad, granted permission for
    those who were oppressed. These were people who were being religiously persecuted. We could say in the parlance of the modern era that their freedom of religion was not being allowed and so they were given permission to defend themselves.
    The second verse that was revealed was a verse that called into question people’s lack of defense for other people that were being oppressed. It said, “What’s
    wrong with you that you don’t defend and struggle (fi sabilillah, fight; fi sabil illah, to defend) those who are oppressed amongst the men, women, and children, and asking Allah to give a guardian or a protector?” Finally, the verse was revealed to fight in the way of Allah against those who fight you, but do not be the aggressor. “Allah reminds us, even within these verses,” the Shaykh said. “If you look at them, you’ll find, for instance, that there is no blame on people who fight to defend themselves. But, the verses immediately following, about those who forgive and rectify, that Allah loves the
    people that do that, we find that that’s a good thing to do. Also the Prophet(s.a.w.s.), when given permission by Allah (s.w.t.) for parity in battle, was told, “Just as they oppose you, you may oppose them,” but immediately it’s followed up by saying, “but
    if you show patience, and if you overlook and forgive, that is betterfor those who do that.”…
    Now I ask you: How is saying that jihad has more than one meaning, denying jihad?
    I think in the west because of Osama Bin Laden and his “fatwas” many non-Muslims have taken the idea that Islam is a religion that is trying to force the whole world to convert by force, and that jihad is mainly used to do that. What these scholars are doing is showing the non-Muslims and Muslims that according to traditional Islam, Osama bin Laden is wrong. Jihad has a more stronger meaning than just fighting.

    Consider this from another one of the signatories of the open letter to the Pope. This is from Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad:

    “…This debate juggles two intimately related themes. First, the established leaders of the religion are aware that the radicals are not listening to them. Each Muslim country has its authoritative scholars, often led by a mufti, who will rule on controversial issues. To become a mufti, a scholar must have received an ijaza, an elaborate certification of teaching competence, from a comparably certified figure. The radicals, like the London bombers, and Osama bin Laden, have no such qualifications. According to the traditional system they should be bound by the rulings of the muftis; yet they refuse to submit.
    The classically authorised scholars denounce terrorist acts, which they generally stigmatise as hiraba. However over the past decade, these men have been increasingly denounced by the radicals as weaklings and stooges. From al-Qaida’s perspective, the religion’s leaders have failed to realise that America’s “evil empire” can only be halted when Western civilians, terrified by urban mayhem, vote against their governments’ expansionist policies.

    There is a second crisis that is now distressing the traditional leadership. This takes the form of a profound doctrinal disjuncture.

    Al-Qaida sympathisers regard the traditional Sunni muftis and imams, not only as politically spineless, but as heretical. Mainstream imams, including those trained in the UK’s 16 Muslim seminaries, follow traditional Sunnism, while al-Qaida is rooted in Wahhabism, the eighteenth-century reform movement of central Arabia. Strict Wahhabis consider the theology and piety of mainline Sunnism to be kufr (disbelief). Hence Wahhabi radicals have not hesitated to kill Muslims, including senior scholars; indeed, Muslims have always been al-Qaida’s principal victims.

    Wahhabism represents a sort of Islamic Reformation: scripturalist, literal-minded, hostile to the veneration of saints and to philosophical theology. Hence Wahhabi zealots are no more likely to heed the voice of the muftis than, say, Cromwell would have been responsive to the entreaties of the Pope as his Puritan armies laid waste to Ireland.

    A revealing example of this dysfunctional Islam is supplied by Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa, where he urges Muslims to “kill the Americans and their allies, military and civilians, in any country where this is possible”. The fatwa lacks any reference to the classical methods of Islamic law, and simply takes its cue from a Quranic verse that runs “slay the idolators wherever you find them”. Classically this passage is taken to refer to Arab idol-worshippers, a category now extinct; but the Wahhabi method allows bin Laden to disregard the views of the classical schools, and impose his own meaning on the text. The sanctity of civilian life, affirmed by orthodox jurists, is not even mentioned. The fatwa stands in flagrant violation of the orthodox consensus (ijma). But from his drastically reformed perspective, his followers alone are the true believers, and the consensus may simply be disregarded…”

    As far as his explaining that Paradise is something that no eye has ever seen or ear has ever heard, this is Qur’an you know. And many scholars have the view that some of the imagery spoken of in the Qur’an is allegorical, he’s not the only one. This viewpoint doesn’t take you out of Islam.
    Take this verse from the Qur’an for example:

    47:15″ [And can] the parable of the paradise which the God-conscious are promised [13] [a paradise] wherein there are rivers of water which time does not corrupt, and rivers of milk the taste whereof never alters, and rivers of wine delightful to those who drink it, [14] and rivers of honey of all impurity cleansed, and the enjoyment [15] of all the fruits [of their good deeds] and of forgiveness from their Sustainer -: can this [parable of paradise] be likened unto [the parable of the recompense of] [16] such as are to abide in the fire and be given waters of burning despair [17] to drink, so that it will tear their bowels asunder?”

    This verse uses the word “parable” to describe paradise. Here’s the definition of parable according to

    1. a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.
    2. a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like.

    Of course Paradise is real and Hell is real, no one can deny that from reading the Qur’an. It’s just to me it makes perfect sense that Paradise will be something much more higher and sublime than anything that we could ever experience in this earthly realm. Given that we are in this worldly life, our understanding of the spiritual world and hereafter would be limited, so many times it could be that Allah uses parables to describe things that we have no conception of. That doesn’t make it any less real. It’s just maybe the nature of things could be a little differently in the hereafter compared to this earthly life.

    And finally, I’ll like to say that I understand that you follow the salafi way of Islam and I follow traditional sunni Islam. That being the case, we probably will continue to disagree about many things, not just Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, who I pray that Allah will protect him and his family, and reward him for his service to the truth.

  9. Asalamu aleykum wa rahmat Allahi wa barakatuhu
    glad to see some muslimeen keen on the deen, ands try to present what they believe as truth…

    what sheikh Hamza implies is that jihad never means qital, to be blunt, since you claim to be traditional.
    i think its quite clear for a traditional that his claim is false,, please sister bare with me as you read references from the 4 math-hib which i see as obligatory to follow one least for students of knowledge.

    and of course this by nature repels his bizarre claim that jihad is only defensive

    1. Al-Hanafiyah:

    It has come in Fath al-Qadeer by Ibn Humaam 5/187: “Al-Jihad: calling the disbelievers to the religion of truth and to fight them if they do not accept.” Al-Kaasaani said in al-Badaa’i’, 9/4299 “To sacrifice ones strength and energy in Fighting in the way of Allah ‘Azza wa-Jal with ones life, property and the tongue and whatever besides.”

    2. Al-Maalikiyah:

    “For a Muslim to fight against a disbeliever who is not under oath, to raise the word of Allah, or if he (disbeliever) is in his (Muslim’s) presence (in order to attack him), or upon his (disbeliever) entering his (Muslim’s) land.” (Haashiya al-‘Adawi/as-Sa’eedi 2/2 and ash-Sharh as-Sagheer/Aqrab al-Masaalik by ad-Dardeer 2/267)

    3. Ash-Shaafi’iyah:

    Al-Baajawari said, “Al-Jihad means: al-Qitaal (fighting) in the way of Allah”, Al-Baajawari / Ibnul-Qaasim 2/261. Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani said in Al-Fath 6/2, “…and legally Jihad means sacrificial striving in fighting the disbelievers.”

    4. Al-Hanbaliyah:

    “To Fight the disbelievers” see Mataalib Ulin-Nuha 2/497. “Al-Jihad is al-Qitaal (fighting) and to sacrifice all strength in it to raise the Word of Allah”, see ‘Umdatul-Fiqh p.166, and Muntahal-Iraadaat 1/302.

    Ibn Rushd said in his Muqadamaat 1/369: “…and Jihad of the Sword: to fight the Mushrikeen for the Deen. So whoever tires himself for the sake of Allah, he strove in the way of Allah. Except that when Jihad Feesabeelillah is spoken, then it cannot be applied (to everything) in general except striving against the disbelievers with the sword until they enter Islam, or pay the Jizya with willing submission and they are under humiliation”.

    Ibn Hajr said in his explanation of Sahih Al-Bukhari, Fath Al-Bari 6/29: “…and by the phrase Feesabeelillah, Jihad is implied”

    Hamza Yusuf is clearly being swayed, how can you be an advisor to a man who wages war on muslimeen and is responsible for endless lives being lost.
    Jaffar Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Alhussain Ibn Ali Ibn Abi talib said : Fuqaha are the trusted protectors of prophets, if you see them leaning towards the sultans then condemn them. ( Siyar A’alam anubalaa’ 6/262)

    you have talked about wahhabis and al qeida and trying to make the fallacious link,
    At the course of this argument you have jumped into a completely different topic out of the focus presented. Trying to demonize a methodology is not healthy for an objective debate. Regardless of me disagreeing with you I wont engage in such debate.

    Regarding the Hamza Yusuf denying the huor al ein and acknowledging that is allegory as an orgasm is the highst sensation man can experience in this world .
    The words of our beloved nabi salla Allahu 3alayhi wa sallam are suffice.

    Saheeh-al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 53:
    Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, “A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah’s Cause in the afternoon or in the forenoon is better than all the world and whatever is in it. A place in Paradise as small as the bow or lash of one of you is better than all the world and whatever is in it. And if a houri from Paradise appeared to the people of the earth, she would fill the space between Heaven and the Earth with light and pleasant scent and her head cover is better than the world and whatever is in it.”

    And Imam Tirmidhi adds in his narration: and he marries 72 of the hoor al ein and intercedes for 70 of his close relatives. (tirmidhi: v4 p 187 number 1663)
    (Also in Musnad Imam Ahmad 166553.)

    So how can He deny what the prophet sallah Allahu 3alayhi wa sallam said
    Hamza Yusuf does not only adhere to the traditional sunnism as you call it, he goes beyond that too, not even asharites or maturudis say what he says perhaps jahimi mutazilites.. and they too do not deny jihad to be offensive

    And its even more ridiculous that he hints that firefighters who died in 9/11 are martyrs in
    Another interview,,

    Anyway,, its very clear his tones are so apologetic he never stands up for muslimeen, and makes excuses for kuffar, al qeida are even more notorious for killing innocent muslimeen and claiming people to be outside the fold of Islam when they are not

    As you said we could disagree on tones of things not just Sheikh Hamza Yusuf
    As you said veneration of saints! And philosophic theology which has not root in Islam

    Muhammad ibn Sireen said (as in the introduction to saheeh Muslim): indeed this knowledge is religion, therefore ensure who you take your religion from

    I would also like to apologise to sister MuslimApple for using her blog as a ground for debate without her permission, inshaAllah she s fine with that.

    All I have to say in the end is that I ask Allah to make us of those who hear the the saying and follow the best of its advice, may Allah guide us to the way of the prophet salla Allahu 3alayhi wa sallam
    And may Allah guide all our scholars to give the best advice to this ummah..

    Wa salamu aleykum wa rahmat Allahi wa barakatuhu

  10. Walaikum Assalaam waRahmatuAllahi Wabarakatuhu

    MuslimApple, I also would like to apologize for getting carried away with using your blog without your permission for this debate. That is why here is my final say on the subject and brother, if you have anything else to say, I will not be responding.

    I will go back to the original letter that was posted, and show you the traditional sunni Islam position on Jihad. Since Shaykh Hamza Yusuf signed this letter, he agrees with this position. Remember that all four sunni madhabs are represented in this letter. These are scholars who have spent their lives studying the deen. So if you think you know more than they do, what can I say. Elhamdullilah.
    To Quote from the letter:

    What is “Holy War”?

    We would like to point out that “holy war” is a term that does not exist in Islamic languages. Jihad, it must be emphasized, means struggle, and specifically struggle in the way of God.This struggle may take many forms, including the use of force.Though a jihadmay be sacred in the sense of being directed towards a sacred ideal, it is not necessarily a “war”.Moreover, it is noteworthy thatManuel II Paleologus says that “violence” goes against God’s nature, since Christ himself used violence against the money-changers in the temple, and said “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword…” (Matthew 10:34-36). When God drowned Pharaoh, was He going against His own Nature? Perhaps the emperor meant to say that cruelty, brutality, and aggression are against God’sWill, in which case the classical and traditional law of jihad in Islam would bear him out completely.
    You say that “naturally the emperor knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war.” However, as we pointed out above concerning There is no compulsion in religion, the aforementioned instructions
    were not later at all. Moreover, the emperor’s statements about violent conversion show that he did not know what those instructions are and have always been.
    The authoritative and traditional Islamic rules of war can be summarized in the following principles:
    1. Non-combatants are not permitted or legitimate targets.This was emphasized explicitly time and again by the Prophet, his Companions, and by the learned tradition since then.
    2. Religious belief alone does not make anyone the object of attack.The original Muslim community was fighting against pagans who had also expelled them from their homes, persecuted, tortured, and murdered them.Thereafter, the Islamic conquests were political in nature.
    3. Muslims can and should live peacefully with their neighbors. And if they incline to peace, do thou incline to it; and put thy trust in God (al-Anfal 8:61). However, this does not exclude legitimate self-defense and maintenance of sovereignty. Muslims are just as bound to obey these rules as they are to refrain from theft and adultery. If a religion regulates war and describes circumstances where it is necessary and just, that does not make that religion war-like, anymore than regulating sexuality makes a religion prurient. If some have disregarded a long and well-established tradition
    in favor of utopian dreams where the end justifies the means, they have done so of their own accord and without the sanction of God, His Prophet, or the learned tradition.God says in theHoly Qur’an: Let not hatred of any people seduce you into being unjust. Be just, that is nearer to piety (al-Ma’idah 5:8). In this context we must state that the murder on September 17th of an innocent Catholic nun in Somalia—and any other similar acts of wanton individual violence—‘in reaction to’ your lecture at the University of Regensburg, is completely un-Islamic, and we totally condemn such acts.

    Forced Conversion
    The notion thatMuslims are commanded to spread their faith “by the sword” or that Islam in fact was largely spread “by the sword” does not hold up to scrutiny. Indeed, as a political entity Islam spread partly as a result of conquest, but the greater part of its expansion came as a result of preaching and missionary activity. Islamic teaching did not prescribe that the conquered populations be forced or coerced into converting. Indeed, many of the first areas conquered by the Muslims remained predominantly non-Muslim for centuries. Had Muslims desired to convert all others by force, there would not be a single church or synagogue left anywhere in the Islamic world.The command There is no compulsion in religion means now what it meant then. The mere fact of a person being non-Muslim has never been a legitimate casus belli in Islamic law or belief. As with the rules of war, history shows that some Muslims have violated Islamic tenets concerning forced conversion and the treatment of other religious communities, but history also shows that these are by far the exception which proves the rule. We emphatically agree that forcing others to believe—if such a thing be truly possible at all—is not pleasing to God and that God is not pleased by blood. Indeed, we believe, andMuslims have always believed, that Whoso slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the land, it shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether (al-Ma’idah 5:32).

  11. Asalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullah,

    Eid Mubarak!

    Alhamdulillah, no worries, it’s ok. At one point, I thought of closing the comments section on this thread but I didn’t want to interrupt your conversation and I did learn quite a bit from reading your posts but I’m glad it is finished.

    Wa salaam.

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