The Egyptian media, specifically al-Wafd and al-Ahrar newspapers issued on 27/8/2003, reported that the Fatwa Committee of al-Azhar issued a fatwa stating, “Recognizing the interim ruling council in Iraq is Haram because it lacks legitimacy.” The Sheikh of Azhar, Sheikh Muhammad Tantawi, rejected this fatwa and rejected the committee’s right to issue such a fatwa. But he did not stop at this, he issued a decree suspending Sheikh Nabawi Mohammad al-Ish and ordered that he be investigated, considering that he was behind the fatwa and claiming that; “He acted on his own behalf and propagated his own personal opinion to the public.” The Sheikh -ul-Azhar stressed that this fatwa does not ‘represent al-Azhar’. He added to his statements (reported by Middle East Agency) that, “It is not the right of any Egyptian scholar (‘Aalim) to speak about the affairs of any State other than Egypt”. Then he continued speaking about the role of al-Azhar by saying that its role is restricted to Egyptian affairs only. He said; “I am the Sheikh of al-Azhar for Egypt”, and added, “If the Iraqis themselves asked me about the Hukm Shar’i (Sharee’ah ruling) regarding the current Ruling Council of Iraq I would say to them ask the Iraqi scholars.” He told Reuters that; “the one who gave this fatwa has no right to do so”, and that the Fatwa Committee is, “not authorized to issue judgments about other sates”.
Here we would like to ask:
Does the Sheikh ul-Azhar not know that the highest obligation of a Muslim scholar is to enjoin the good and forbid the evil in any matter linked to Islam and the Muslims?
Does the Sheikh ul-Azhar not know that the clarification of the Sharee’ah rule is not specific to a particular part of the world as long as this is an Islamic land?
Also, does the Sheikh ul-Azhar not know that the Iraqi Ruling Council is a creation of the American occupier? And it does not possess the self autonomy on where to hold its meetings except by the permission of the American occupier? It is the American occupier who holds and dismisses their meetings, thus the Council is there to carry out the orders and prohibitions of the American occupier. Consequently, recognition of this Council means recognition of the American occupation. Does the Sheikh ul-Azhar not know that recognition of the American occupation over a Muslim land means acceptance of their authority over the Muslims; and this is a grave matter in Islam;
((ولن يجعل الله للكافرين على المؤمنين سبيلا))
“And never will Allah grant to the disbelievers a way (to triumph) over the believers” [TMQ 4:141].
Is this not strange and astonishing? Especially when the near and far know that the transitional ruling council in Iraq has no legitimacy. Also, is it not strange that the Sheikh ul-Azhar did not dare to accept this fatwa or at least refrain from rejecting it when anyone who has a mind, who hears or sees this fatwa recognizes its validity and its agreement with the reality?
However, the fact that the American ambassador to Cairo, David Welch, visited the Sheikh ul-Azhar on the morning of 27th August (i.e. the day after the fatwa was given) and the aforementioned statements of the Sheikh ul-Azhar which followed, all explain why the matter should not be strange or astonishing! The ambassador expressed his dismay to the Sheikh regarding such fatawa and stressed that Washington considers the Ruling Council to be a ‘legitimate authority’, so how can the fatwa consider it illegitimate? So the Sheikh had only to announce al-Azhar’s renunciation of the fatwa. As for the claim of the Sheikh and the ambassador after their meeting that they did not discuss the fatwa, although the chain of events establishes that the subject of the fatwa was the heart of the meeting.
If the Sheikh ul-Azhar does not give any weight to himself, then let him give due weight to the title that he carries. Indeed, al-Azhar is an institution highly regarded by the Muslims, holding it in high esteem and respect. They will not accept anything other than this position to be firm and severe in opposing the Kaafir occupiers of Muslim lands as it was in the past centuries. Indeed, the Sheikh’s distortion of the role of al-Azhar and his separation of its work from Islam and the Muslims is highly dangerous. Also, how can he receive the ambassador of a state that is actually fighting the Muslims and occupying their lands? The Muslims do not accept al-Azhar, this Islamic fortress, to be anything other than great due to the greatness of Islam to speak the truth and fearless of reproach from anyone, for the sake of Allah. It was incumbent upon the Sheikh ul-Azhar to fear Allah regarding al-Azhar and uphold it as the bedrock on which oppression, oppressors and the Kaffir colonialists are destroyed. And to account the rulers, especially the ruler of Egypt who does not rule by what Allah has revealed and does not fight the enemies of Allah; rather he allies himself with America and makes peace with the Jews. He should have expelled the American ambassador instead of receiving and pleasing him with the repudiation of the correct fatwa, which he knows to be correct before anyone else does.
The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said;
«إني أخاف على أمتي من ثلاث: من زلة عالـم، ومن هوىً مُتَّبَعٍ، ومن حكم جائر»
“I fear three things for my Ummah: The lapse of a scholar, the whim that is adhered to and the rule of a tyrant.”
Thus how is it when the issue is not a scholarly lapse but the intentional and deliberate error of a scholar who knows the haqq but forbids it? And what about the fact that these lapses and errors are being made by scholars at the same time as tyrannical and oppressive rulers who fight the laws of Allah, suspend Jihad for the sake of Allah, arrest dawah carriers? And they see the Kuffar occupying Muslim lands but do not lift a finger to oppose them, but rather assist them in their occupation? Thus, the corruption of the ruler and the scholar has gathered against us for this is a widespread evil. We realize that the tyranny and oppression of the rulers and the stance of the government scholars and their misguiding of the Ummah all of which had an effect on a section of the Ummah, who have distanced themselves from the truth. However, the greater majority of the Ummah are on the goodness (khayr). It is not valid for the Ummah to remain silent about the injustice and oppression of the ruler and or over the misguidance of the government scholars. For Allah Subhanahu does not perish the oppressor only, but also the one who remains silent over the oppression as well;
((واتقوا فتنةً لا تصيبن الذين ظلموا منكم خاصةً واعلموا أن الله شديد العقاب))
“And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial, etc.) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people), and know that Allah is Severe in punishment…” [8:25]
Allah does not perish the corrupt ones only, but also the pious ones who are with them if they leave the corruption to spread without opposing it outright.
«أنهلك وفينا الصالحون؟ قال نعم إذا كثر الخبث»
“Will we be destroyed while we have amongst us pious people? He said; yes, when the evil becomes widespread.”
Indeed, Hizb ut Tahrir Wilayah of Egypt faces the Muslims who are dignified by their Deen and strengthened by their Lord, to restrain the hands of the tyrant rulers who are the helpers and agents of the Kuffar. And who restrain the tongues of misguided Shayukh who obscure the Deen in the eyes of the people, and to work with us to re-establish the Hukm of Allah on earth by establishing the righteous Khilafah State that will restore the honour for the Muslims, inflict humiliation on the Kafireen, and perform Jihaad, the pinnacle of Islam. The State that will carry its Message to the entire world and liberate the land of Islam from the filth and surrogate of the Kafir colonialists that is the Jewish state, and to spread the goodness to the four corners of the world.
((ويومئذٍ يفرح المؤمنون بنصر الله ينصر من يشاء وهو العزيز الرحيم))
“And on that Day, the believers will rejoice in the victory given by Allah, He helps whom He wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful” [TMQ 30:5].