What Do You Know?

by | Opinion

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There are younglings and young adults who believe that ISIS is fighting for a right cause. There is the need to go and join their cause, because this, in their mind, is Islam, this is what Muslims do.

Using short scale, there are around 1 Billion and 700 Million Muslims in the world. There are news reports stating there are between 32.000 to 100.000 active fighting ISIS members (at the current time decreasing) and there is some unknown number around the world that believe in the ideals of ISIS.
Hypothetical claim; even if there were 10 million supporters of ISIS, there would be still 99,41% of all Muslims who would not believe in the ideals of ISIS.

Reuters, Elsevier, The Huffington Post
In 2014 126 representatives of the Muslim community (the 1.7 billion) send a 22 page open letter, addressed to the self-anointed leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and the fighters and followers of the self-declared “Islamic State”.
(Scroll to the bottom for The Executive Summary of the letter and the 2014  list of representatives who signed the letter).

The letter denounces the “Islamic State” militants and refutes their religious arguments.
Considering who have signed the letter, the letter gives a “wagging finger” on behalf of the remaining plus one and more than a half Billion, Muslims of the world.

For the ones wondering;
‘how do you calculate the hypothetical claim?’

10.000.000 / 1.700.000.000 x 100 = 0,59%
10 million supporters of ISIS out of 1 Billion 700 Million Muslims times 100 = 0,59% ISIS supporters.

thus

100% – 0,59% = 99,41%
All Muslims 100% minus ISIS supporters 0,59% = 99,41% NON ISIS supporters.

It is an important letter,
Among the 126 representatives, who signed the letter and are from various different countries, there are 5 former and current Grand Muftis (highest official of religious law in a Muslim country) and 8 Scholars from Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the highest seat of Sunni learning. Currently there are more representatives adding their names and supporting the letter on the ‘letter to baghdadi‘ website (for “unknown” reasons sometimes the website is very hard to reach).

If you are interested, read The letter, but be aware that the letter is not meant for a liberal audience, ‘even mainstream Muslims might find it difficult to read’, ‘it’s aim is to offer a comprehensive Islamic refutation, “point-by-point,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (quotes from ‘The Huffington Post’), although ‘The Executive Summary’ should make the content clear.

As we know, unfortunately Al Baghdadi did not listen to the 126 Scholars and as far as we know, continues to indoctrinate his believes.
But at least in 2014 a message was send out into the world that 99,99% of the Muslims in the world are against ISIS,… right?

So 99,99% Of The Muslims In The World Are Against ISIS And Their Ideals?

The two major branches within the Muslim community (the 1.7 Billion) are Sunni (87%-90%)  and Shia (10%-13%).
And within those branches there is an unknown % of liberal, conservatism and ultra conservatism.

  • The difference between Sunni and Shia were initially stemmed on political views and later included also the views and teachings of the Hadith (will be explained later on).
  • ISIS came up with their own unique view and interpretations. Asking the question why, is a good start.

So, What Do Muslims Deal With?

Quran – ‘word of God delivered by the Angel Gabriel to Muhammad (S)’
Highly respected scripture in the Muslim community, it has been forbidden to change or add words since it was delivered to Muhammad (S).
Sunni: Muhammad (S) received the words from God through the Angel Gabriel, over the course of 23 years and recited the verses to his companions.
Shia: Muhammad (S) received the words from God through the Angel Gabriel in 1 night and recited the verses, over the course of 23 years, to his companions.
After the death of Muhammad (S), the first Caliph in the Muslim community ‘Abu Bakr’, ordered the companions to gather all Quran verses.
The third Caliph ‘Oethman’, ordered to bundel the Quran in the right order and distribute it to the Muslim countries.
The Quran is the reason why Muslims feel there is unity, every Muslim can at least recite one verse or chapter from the Quran and it is deemed to be the only religious scripture that has not been changed in 1400 years.

Quranism – ‘rejects Hadith literature’.
Describes any form of Islam that accepts the Quran as revelation, but rejects the religious authority and or authenticity of the Hadith collections.
Quranists only follow the Quran
Currently this is assumed to be a small unknown % of Muslims.

Hadith – ‘reports that contain the sayings acts or tacit approvals, validly or invalidly, ascribed to Muhammad (S)’.
The literal meaning is ‘statement’ or ‘talk’, plural is ahaadith.
Written 200/ 250 years after the death of Muhammad (S).
Within Sunni, there are 6 books written by 6 different Scholars,
Within Shia, there are 4 books written by 4 different Scholars,
The Scholars received the reports from several layers of authorities of several tribes, tribes with different (political) views.

An indication of the amount of ahaadith (reports)

Al Bukhari (who wrote the first book) received up to 600.000 ahaadith out of which  7397 ahaadith with repetition and 2602 ahaadith without repetition remain, the remaining +/- 592.000 ahaadith that were left out, were deemed not authentic, meaning the authority of the person who reported was questioned while the subject itself may or may have not been false.
It should be understood, that when one speaks of 600,000 ahaadith, one does not mean the number of separate items of information. Each Hadith has two parts, the isnad (chain of authorities through which it is transmitted) and the matn (text). If one would find the same text with, say, three different isnads, that would be considered to represent three traditions.

Knowledge:
The Muslim community expects that the diverse types of Scholars can be consulted when there are questions about the religion.

Past and Current Situation, Opinions Of Scholars (Shia & Sunni):

  • The Hadith is not obligatory.
  • The Hadith is obligatory.
  • Not all of the ahaadith were written  200 / 250 years after the death of Muhammad (S).
  • The Hadith was prohibited by Muhammad (S).
  • The Hadith was not prohibited by Muhammad (S).
  • Muhammad (S) allowed for the Hadith to be written after the Quran was finished.
  • Since the Hadith has been written there have been debates about the authenticity of certain ahaadith.
  • The Quran message is clear and complete, it can therefore be fully understood without referencing the Hadith.
  • It is not possible to have a Quran only Islam, because the concept of five pillars of Islam are from the Hadith and are not described or defined in the Quran in any way.
  • On Individual ahaadith (reports) isnad is performed in the form of sahih (“authentic”), hasan (“good”) or da’if (“weak”). However, there is no overall agreement: different groups and different individual Scholars may classify a hadith (report) differently.
  • The Shia does not perform isnad, all ahaadith are considered authentic.
  • Mohammad(S) appointed a successor before he passed away (Ali, Shia).
  • Mohammad(S) did not appointed a successor before he passed away (Sunni).

(The points are few of the (many?) reasons why there are (big) differences in the history about Muhammad’s(S) life and spoken statements).

A Scholars Research and Analysis:
There are four sources from which Muslim Scholars extract religious law or rulings and upon which they base their *fatwa (the word will be explained in a moment).

  1. The Quran
  2. The Sunnah, which incorporates anything that the Prophet Mohammad (S) said, did or approved of (the Hadith).
  3. The consensus of the Scholars, meaning that if the Scholars of a previous generation have all agreed on a certain issue, then this consensus is regarded as representing Islam.
  4. If no scripture is found regarding a specific question using the first three sources, then an Islamic Scholar performs what is known as ijtihad. Ijthad means that the Scholars use their own logic and reasoning to come up with the best answer according to the best of their ability. A scholar who is qualified to perform jitihad is called a Mujtahid.

Historical Sunni & Shia;
Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (Senior companion, friend and father in law of Muhammad(S)).
Ali ibn Abi Talib (Cousin and son in law of Muhammad(S)).
The word ‘Sunni’;
Comes from a word meaning ‘one who follows the traditions of the Prophet’.
The word ‘Shia’;
means a group or supportive party of people. The commonly-known term is shortened from the historical ‘Shia-t-Ali,’ or ‘the Party of Ali’.

After the death of Muhammad (S), Abu Bakr was appointed the first Caliph of the Muslim community, however the supporters of Ali did not agree with the appointment of Abu Bakr. They were of the opinion that the Caliph of the Muslim community was not supposed to be chosen, but that the leadership needed to be inherited by a family member of Muhammad (S) see also Fatwa Shia 10-15%. The Sunni Muslims rejected this theology and are of the opinion that believing in God and his Messenger(s) are not related to family or blood ties.
This brings great differences in the way Sunni and Shia study and experience Islam.

So, What Does This Mean In Practice?

Knowing from experience, in the west not all Muslims read the Quran or consult the Sunni 6 or Shia 4 Hadith books. Most Muslims, from child to elder people, learn about their religion through their parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, Imams or go on the internet and ask around. If there are developments or society questions need to be answered, the Scholar provides those answers, the quality of the answers depends on if the Scholar keeps up to the current status quo, does proper research, keeps in touch with multiple Scholars and how the Scholar sees the relation between religion and human.

This is off course one way for a person to experience religion, there is nothing wrong with listening to parents, family members, Imams or other type of scholars, but it does mean that one has to have a certain level of sensibility when one has never read the Quran or ever consulted the Hadith. Knowledge has an important role.

An example of, how some Muslims with limited knowledge are influenced.
In past years (maybe since 1989 – Salman Rushdie), the word *fatwa has been used in west media to indicate death sentence.

*Fatwa, Sunni 85-90%:
The arabic word Fatwa literally means ‘opinion’,
A fatwā is an Islamic legal pronouncement, issued by an expert in religious law (Mufti), pertaining to a specific issue,
usually at the request of an individual or Qadi (judge) to resolve an issue where Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), is unclear.
The fatwa is not legally binding or final, it is a respected interpretation by a Mufti on a particular case.
If the individual has second thoughts about the fatwa given he/she can seek out another Scholar for a second opinion (for the reason why see ‘A Scholars Research and Analysis‘ and ‘Past and Current Situation, Opinions of Scholars‘). If a fatwā does not break new ground, then it is simply called a ruling.
Example:
If a Qadi (judge) or individual or group would like to have advise or has a question on a new issue (e.g. is Pokemon Go gambling/ blasphemy?), they might ask a Mufti for a fatwa.

Above definition is not necessarily a formal position since many Muslims argue that anyone trained in Islamic law may give a fatwā (opinion) on its teachings.

In Saudia Arabia only a selected few Scholars are authorized to issue fatwa, because there were contradicting statements and fatwas issued by different Scholars and Imams. The website IslamQA.info, who provides answers to questions in line with the Salafi school of thought (ultra conservatism, one example is the Burqa), was banned in Saudia Arabia because they were issuing fatwa while they were, and still are, not authorized to do so.

*Fatwa Shia 10-15%;
To understand the Shia Fatwa one must know the history a little bit.
Note: The titles Ayatollah, Marja al-taqlid (Ayatollah Uzma, Grand Ayatollah) do not exist with Sunni Muslims.

The Marja al-taqlid has the lead of the (Shia) Muslim community in *absence of the Imam
*The Twelver Shia community is the largest branche of the Shia muslims.
One believes in the twelve Imams. The Imams were descendants of Muhammad(S). Starting with Ali and ending with Imam Mahdi. The Imam has the central teaching authority on (Shia) Islam and he has a close relationship with God through which God guides him, and the Imam in turn guides the people.
Since all descendants via Ali are deceased, there is no Imam anymore. However the believe is that Imam Mahdi wil return at the end of time. Meanwhile the Marja al-taqlid leads the Shia Muslim community.

When a Shia has reached the age of shar‘ī (puberty), one can start making a choice as to who is going to be the Marja al-taqlid for him or her. This is called taqlid (following) of a Mujtahid (it is not obligatory to follow only one) who at a certain point can be called an Ayatollah by his peers, who then can be chosen to be Marja al-taqlid (Ayatollah Uzma, Grand Ayatollah)

Mukallaf:
Person who is obliged to act in accordance with God’s orders and to perform worshipping (religiously responsible or accountable).

Mujtahid:
An individual, who is qualified to perform ijtihad when evaluation religious law.
The Shia conditions to be qualified differ with the conditions of the Sunni.

Ayatollah (means: sign of God):
There is no official ceremony to become an Ayatollah, if a person is found worthy and learned enough by his peers, on is called an Ayatollah.

Marja al-taqlid (source of following), also known as Ayatollah Uzma (Grand Ayatollah):
A council of Shia elders decide if an Ayatollah can become a Marja al-taqlid.
Among the conditions necessary for assuming the position Marja al-taqlid six are judged indispensable: maturity (bulugh), intelligence (akl), faith (imam), justice (adalat), being of legitimate birth (taharat-i mawlid) and of the male sex (dhukurat)

  • Those who carry the title Ayatollah are experts in the Shia Islamic studies of jurisprudence, ethics and philosophy.
  • Only the Ayatollah is allowed to give/issue a fatwa.
  • Only a fatwa given by the highest rank of Ayatollahs (Marja al-taqlid, Ayatollah Uzma, Grand Ayatollah) is binding, this can be only unbound by the same Ayatollah or an Ayatollah with the same rank.
  • Only Ayatollahs can become Marja al-taqlid.

On the website of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei (Iran) there is an Q&A section where the question is asked:
Q: Is it obligatory to act on an opinion with respect to the identification of a subject on which a rule is determined?
A: The responsibility of identifying the subject rests with the mukallaf. Therefore, he is not obliged to follow the identification of his mujtahid.

For example, if one determines the rule;
Everthing that is steel may not be touched and adds his opinion, one might as well destroy all steel.
One is not obliged to act on the opinion.

Currently there are -/+ 43 Marja al-taqlid (Ayatollah Uzma, Grand Ayatollah) of which
22 are in Iran, 10 in India, 5 in Iraq, 3 in Pakistan and 2 in Afghanistan, 1 in Canada.

Below table is an estimate of the Shia population per country rounded up to the highest count.

Country

Total

Population

Shia Population

Shia % of the country

Shia % of all Muslims Worldwide

Iran

80.043.146

70.000.000

87,45%

4,12%

India

1.326.801.576

50.000.000

3,77%

2,94%

Pakistan

192.826.502

40.000.000

20,74%

2,35%

Nigeria

186.987.563

25.000.000

13,37%

1,47%

Iraq

37.547.686

22.000.000

58,59%

1,29%

Turkey

79.622.062

11.000.000

13,82%

0,65%

Yemen

27.477.600

10.000.000

36,39%

0,59%

Azerbaijan

9.868.447

7.000.000

70,93%

0,41%

Afghanistan

33.369.945

4.000.000

11,99%

0,24%

Saudi Arabia

32.157.974

4.000.000

12,44%

0,24%

Syria

18.563.595

3.500.000

18,85%

0,21%

Tanzania

55.155.473

2.000.000

3,63%

0,12%

Lebanon

5.988.153

1.600.000

26,72%

0,09%

Indonesia

260.581.100

1.000.000

0,38%

0,06%

Bahrain

1.396.829

900.000

64,43%

0,05%

Germany

80.682.351

600.000

0,74%

0,04%

Kuwait

4.007.146

480.000

11,98%

0,03%

Tajikistan

8.669.464

400.000

4,61%

0,02%

United Arab Emirates

9.266.971

400.000

4,32%

0,02%

United States

324.118.787

400.000

0,12%

0,02%

United Kingdom

65.111.143

300.000

0,46%

0,02%

Oman

4.654.471

300.000

6,45%

0,02%

Qatar

2.291.368

100.000

4,36%

0,01%

Total Shia Population

254.980.000

15,00%

Moslims Worldwide

1.700.000.000

The Leader of ISIS: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi:
There is not much known about the leader of ISIS, except that he has changed his original name and claims to be a descendant of Ali via Hosayn, Hosayn is the Grandson of Muhammad(S) and third Imam of the twelve Imams in Shia Islam. There is the opinion he is trying to (mis)use the religious leadership system of Shia Islam to gain Shia followers besides Sunni Muslims.
The journalists Harald Doornbos en Jenan Moussa have published a research report on the site of Foreign Policy about the creation of ISIS. An excerpt of the report in which a ISIS militant says; ‘A state would offer a home to Muslims from all over the world. Because al Qaeda had always lurked in the shadows, it was difficult for ordinary Muslims to sign up. But an Islamic state, Baghdadi argued, could attract thousands, even millions, of like-minded jihadis. It would be a magnet’.
By quoting and pulling out of context of (adjusted) Quran verses and ahaadith and by claiming to be a descendant, he managed to attract foreigners with limited to no knowledge about the faith. These foreigners are commanders in his army, these foreigners were named the ‘crazies’ by the militants.

So, What Happens?

Since not all Muslims are Scholars and Scholars don’t always agree, it is not so wise to assume that all Muslims know everything about their religion or even agree with each other. And it is proven to be dangerous and embarrassing for a Muslim to blindly believe (un)known diverse type of Scholars, people or websites, without asking questions or doing proper research if one has doubts about the reasoning behind a fatwa or statement.

As long as media and politicians report and focus on one (unique) branche of Islam, you might find (unfortunately not inconceivable) that along side the non Muslims, west Muslims with limited knowledge start also believing that, that one (unique) branche represent the whole of Islam.

But, one also might think, the media should ask a reaction or comment from the Muslim community.
Who should the media ask,… the representatives of Sunni? Shia? Or the ultra conservatives of both sides? Where would they find these representatives? Which organization speaks for all of them? Should the media ask the opinion of all the branches? Should the media grab a person from the street?

What about The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) ?
The position of OIC after the Cartoons of Muhammad (S) in a Danish Newspaper (2005) and the not so well researched word ‘fatwa’ use by the media and the lack of knowledge of some west Muslims and multiple other factors, resulted in violent demonstrations and deaths.

So it is not strange that we do not hear much about OIC in the Media.

Besides the news about the war or the atrocities there are also the opinion pieces.
Opinions stating that although the general Muslim community says that ISIS is not Muslim, they are Muslims.
For the Muslim community it is very simple.
One can be a Muslim and perform non Muslim deeds, meaning, one can be a Muslim and steel something, but steeling is not what makes you a Muslim. Therefore the actions and believe system of ISIS are called non Muslim, by the Muslim community.

Something comparable to indicate how most Muslims think about ISIS. If someone would pick up the Harry Potter books and called that the promotion of Witchcraft and Satanism, I am sure that many, if not most people who have read the books or saw the movies, would find that completely ridiculous, because people know what the epic story is about (making choices, friendship, love, adventure, loss, growing up, jealousy, sacrifice, loyalty, good versus bad, heroism). But nonetheless there always will be people who would find that it make sense. Even without reading the books or having seen the movies, just because someone with conviction, who puts full focus on a few moments in the books, says it is so.

What Do You Know?

I think you have understood by now, that all is not as clear cut as some people try to make you believe. There is a level of complexity that one has to consider before making judgements. As long as non Muslims and west Muslims, ‘with limited knowledge’, do not know the diversity of the Muslim community, there will be fear (spread?).

Sources are available at the bottom of the page

The Executive Summary Of The Open Letter:

Excerpt from ‘A Scholars Research and Analysis’:
3. Concensus of Sholars, If the Scholars of a previous generation have all agreed on a certain issue, then this consensus is regarded as representing Islam.

1  It is forbidden in Islam to issue fatwas without all the necessary learning requirements. Even then fatwas must follow Islamic legal theory as defined in the Classical texts.

It is also forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Qur’an or part of a verse to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Qur’an and Hadith teach related to that matter. In other words, there are strict subjective and objective prerequisites for fatwas, and one cannot ‘cherry pick’ Qur’anic verses for legal arguments without considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.

2 It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic language.
3 It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic sciences.
4 It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.
5 It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.
6 It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent.
7 It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.
8 Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose and without the right rules of conduct.
9 It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares disbelief.
10 It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat —in any way—Christians or any ‘People of the Scripture’.
11 It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as People of the Scripture
12 The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.
13 It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.
14 It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.
15 It is forbidden in Islam to deny children their rights.
16 It is forbidden in Islam to enact legal punishments (hudud) without following the correct procedures that ensure justice and mercy.
17 It is forbidden in Islam to torture people.
18 It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.
19 It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God.
20 It is forbidden in Islam to destroy the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions.
21 Armed insurrection is forbidden in Islam for any reason other than clear disbelief by the ruler and not allowing people to pray.
22 It is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.
23 Loyalty to one’s nation is permissible in Islam.
24 After the death of the Prophet, Islam does not require anyone to emigrate anywhere.

List Of 126 Signatures

Name Title
1 HE the Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Ababakar The Sultan of Sokoto, Head of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs
2 Prof. Abdul-Rahman Abbad Prof. of Islamic Studies at the College of Al-Qur’an Al-Karim,  and Secretary of the Body of Scholars and Preachers, Jerusalem
3 Mr. Omar Abboud Secretary-General of the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue, Buenos Aires, Argentina
4 Prof. Salim Abdul-Jalil Former Undersecretary for da’wah at the Awqaf Ministry, and Professor of Islamic Civilization at Misr University for Science & Technology, Egypt
5 Sheikh Wahid Abdul-Jawad Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’), Egypt
6 Dr. Mustafa Abdul-Kareem Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’), Egypt
7 Prof. Ibrahim Abdul-Rahim Professor of Shari’ah, Dar al-Ulum College, Cairo University, Egypt
8 Prof. Jafar Abdul-Salam Secretary-General of the League of Islamic Universities and Prof. of International Humanitarian Law, Egypt
9 HE Dr. Sheikh Hussain Hasan Abkar Chairman of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and Imam of the Muslims in the Republic of Chad, Chad
10 HE Prince Judge Bola AbdulJabbar Ajibola Islamic Mission for Africa (IMA) and Founder of Crescent University, Nigeria
11 HE Prof. Sheikh Shawqi Allam The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Egypt
12 Prof. Sheikh Abdul Nasser Abu Al-Basal Professor at Yarmouk University, Jordan
13 Prof. Mohammad Mahmoud Abu-Hashem Vice-President of Al-Azhar University and member of the Centre for Islamic Research at Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, Egypt
14 HE Prof. Sheikh Mustafa Cagrici Former Mufti of Istanbul, Turkey
15 Sheikh Mohammad Ahmad Al-Akwa’ Senior Sunni Scholar, Yemen
16 Prof. Mohammad Al-Amir Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies for Girls, Al-Mansoura University, Egypt
17 Dr. Majdi Ashour Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’), Egypt
18 Prof. Dr. Abdul-Hai Azab Dean of the Faculty of Shari’ah and Law, Al-Azhar
19 Azhar Aziz President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), USA
20 Prof. Mustafa Abu Sway The Integral Professorial Chair for the Study of Imam Ghazali’s Work, Jerusalem
21 Prof. Bakr Zaki Awad Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Al-Azhar University, Egypt
22 Nihad Awad National Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), USA
23 Dr. Sheikh Osama Mahmoud Al-Azhari Islamic Preacher, Egypt
24 Dr. Jamal Badawi Executive Director of the Fiqh Council of North America, USA
25 Dr. Ihsan Bagby Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky, and Council Member of the Fiqh Council of North America, USA
26 Naeem Baig President of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), USA
27 Prof. Osman Bakr International Centre for Islamic Studies, Malaysia
28 Sheikh Abu Bakr Baldi Head of the African community in Portugal, Portugal
29 Dr. Hatem Bazian Chairman of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), USA
30 Dr. Mohammed Bechari Member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, and President of the French National Federation of Muslims, France
31 HE Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah Leading Muslim Scholar and President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, Abu Dhabi
32 HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Jordan
33 Al-Habib Muhammad Luthfi bin Ali bin Yahya Islamic Preacher, Indonesia
34 HE Sheikh Dr. Ra’ed Abdullah Budair Member of the Body of Scholars and Preachers, Jerusalem
35 Dr. Mohammad Abdul Sam’i Budair Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’), Egypt
36 Dr. Sameer Budinar Muslim Scholar and Director of the Centre for Humanities and Social Studies, Morocco
37 Dr. Zahid Bukhari Executive Director of the Center for Islam and Public Policy (CIPP), USA
38 HE Prof. Mustafa Ceric Former Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
39 HE Mr. Ibrahim Chabbouh Tunisian Scholar, Tunisia
40 Prof. Caner Dagli Professor of Islamic Studies, USA
41 Prof. Jamal Farouq Al-Daqqaq Professor at Al-Azhar University, Egypt
42 Seyyed Abdullah Fadaaq Islamic Preacher and Scholar, Saudi Arabia
43 Sheikh Wahid Al-Fasi Al-Fahri Head of the Federation of Italian Muslims, Italy
44 Prof. Mohammad Nabil Ghanayim Professor of Shari’ah, Dar al-Ulum College, Cairo University, Egypt
45 Sheikh Dr. Ali Gomaa Former Grand Mufti of Egypt, Egypt
46 HE Dr. Ahmad Abdul-Aziz Al-Haddad Head of the Fatwa Department, Dubai, UAE
47 Dr. Abdullah Hafizi Secretary-General of the International Association for Idrisid Sherifs and their Cousins, Morocco
48 HE Sheikh Mustafa Hajji The Mufti of Bulgaria, Bulgaria
49 Sheikh Ali Al-Halabi Author and Islamic Preacher, Jordan
50 Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson Founder and Director of Zaytuna College, USA
51 Sheikh Farouq Aref Hasan The Integral Professorial Chair for the Study of Imam Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi’s Work, Jordan
52 HE Sheikh Ali bin Abdul Rahman Aal Hashem Advisor to HH the Head of State for Judicial and Religious Affairs, UAE
53 Dr. Ahmad Hassan Professor of Da’wah and Irshad, Yemen
54 Sheikh Musa Hassan Secretary-General of Majma’ al-Ummah, Sweden
55 HE Prof. Mohammad Al-Hifnawi Professor of Usul al-Fiqh at the Faculty of Shari’ah and Law at Al-Azhar University, Tanta branch, Egypt
56 Prof. Sami Hilal Dean of the College of the Holy Qur’an, Tanta University, Egypt
57 Prof. Sa’d al-Din Al-Hilali Head of the Department of Comparative Jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, Egypt
58 Ed Husain Senior Fellow in Middle Eastern Studies, (CFR), UK
59 Imam Monawar Hussain Founder of the Oxford Foundation, UK
60 HE Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein Mufti of Jerusalem and All Palestine, Palestine
61 HE Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh Al-Husseini Head of the Supreme Council for Fatwa and Islamic Affairs, Nigeria
62 Dr. Jabri Ibrahim Head of the Preaching and Guidance Department at the Yemeni Awqaf Ministry, Yemen
63 Dr. Khaled Imran Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’), Egypt
64 Prof. Salah al-Din Al-Ja’farawi Assistant Secretary-General of the European Islamic Conference, Consultant for the Ibn Sina Institute in France , and Consultant to the Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charitable Foundation, Germany
65 Dr. Omar Jah Head of the Sheikh Abdullah Jah Charity Foundation, Gambia
66 Oussama Jammal Secretary-General of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), USA
67 Sheikh Muqbil Al-Kadhi Islamic Preacher, Yemen
68 Prof. Muhammad Hashem Kamali Founding Chairman and CEO of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies, Afghanistan
69 Prof. Enes Karic Bosnian Scholar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
70 Yusuf Z. Kavakci Prof. Dr. (Emeritus), USA
71 Sheikh Ahmad Wisam Khadhr Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’), Egypt
72 Sheikh Muhammad Wisam Khadhr Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’), Egypt
73 Sheikh Abdul-Majeed Khayroun Union of Mosques, the Netherlands
74 Sheikh Mohammad Yahya Al-Kittani Preacher & Imam, Egypt
75 Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Al-Kumein Professor of Da’wah, Yemen
76 Sheikh Amr Mohamed Helmi Khaled Islamic Preacher and Founder and President of the Right Start Global Foundation, Egypt
77 Prof. Judge Maher Alyan Khudair Supreme Shari’ah Court Judge and member of the Body of Scholars and Preachers in Jerusalem, Palestine
78 Shaykh Prof. Ahmad Al-Kubaisi Founder of the ‘Ulema Association, Iraq
79 Prof. Joseph E. B. Lumbard Professor at Brandeis University, USA
80 HE Sheikh Mahmood As’ad Madani Secretary-General of Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, India
81 Prof. Dr. Abdul Hamid Madkour Professor of Islamic Philosophy, Dar al-Ulum College, Cairo University, Egypt
82 Sheik Mohamed Magid ADAMS Center, USA
83 Prof. Mohammad Mukhtar Al-Mahdi Professor of Islamic Studies, Al-Azhar University and President of the Shari’ah Society, Egypt
84 Imam al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi Chairman of the National Umma Party, Sudan
85 Sheikh Ahmad Mamdouh Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’), Egypt
86 Prof. Bashar Awad Marouf Iraqi Scholar, Author and Historian, Iraq
87 Mr. Bakkay Marzouq French National Federation of Muslims, France
88 Sheikh Moez Masoud Islamic Preacher, Egypt
89 Prof. Mohammad Abdul Samad Muhanna Advisor to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, Egypt
90 Sheikh Mukhtar Muhsen Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’), Egypt
91 Professor Fathi Awad Al-Mulla Pundit and consultant for the Association of Islamic Universities, Egypt
92 Sheikh Hussein Al-Obeidi Sheikh of the Al-Zaytuna Grand Mosque, Tunisia
93 Dr. Yasir Qadhi Professor of Islamic Studies, Rhodes College, USA
94 Dr. Muhammad Tahir Al-Qadri Founder of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International, Pakistan
95 Sheikh Mohammad Hasan Qarib-Allah Muslim Scholar, Sudan
96 Mr. Abdul Hadi Al-Qasabi Grand Sheikh of the Sufi Tariqahs in Egypt, Egypt
97 Prof. Saif Rajab Qazamil Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence, Al-Azhar University, Egypt
98 Sheikh Faraz Rabbani Islamic Scholar and Founder of SeekersGuidance, Canada
99 Sheikh Ashraf Sa’ad Muslim Scholar, Egypt
100 Sheikh Dr. Hmoud Al-Sa’idi Islamic Preacher and Undersecretary at the Yemeni Ministry of Awqaf, Yemen
101 Sheikh Hasan Al-Sheikh Head of Religious Affairs at the Salah Mosque, the largest mosque in Yemen, Yemen
102 Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Sharif Head of the Association of Sherifs in Egypt, Egypt
103 HE Sheikh Abdullah Al-Sheikh Sae’eed Head of the Association of Islamic Scholars in Kurdistan, Kurdistan
104 Dr. Mohamad Adam El Sheikh Executive Director of the Fiqh Council of North America, USA
105 Dr. Mohammad Sammak Secretary-General of the National Committee for Christian-Muslim Dialogue, Lebanon
106 Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah Secretary General of the Fiqh Council of America, USA
107 Prof. Ismail Abdul-Nabi Shaheen Vice President Al-Azhar University and Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Islamic Universities, Egypt
108 Dr. Omar Shahin Secretary General of the North American Imam Federation,
109 Imam Talib M. Shareef President of the Nation’s Mosque, Masjid Muhammad, USA
110 Dr. Ahmad Shqeirat Member of the North American Imams Federation, USA
111 Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America, USA
112 Dr. Muddassir H. Siddiqui Council Member of the Fiqh Council of North America, USA
113 Prof. Nabil Al-Smalouti Professor of Sociology and former Dean of the Department of Humanities, Al-Azhar University, Egypt
114 HE Prof. M. Din Syamsuddin President of Muhammadiyah, and Chairman of the Indonesian Council of Ulama, Indonesia
115 Dr. Mohammad Tallabi Muslim Scholar and leader in the Tawhid and Islah Movement, Morocco
116 Eng. Salmann Tamimi Founder of the Muslim Association of Iceland, Iceland
117 HE Sheikh Na’im Ternava The Mufti Kosovo, Kosovo
118 Dr. Muhammad Suheyl Umar Director of Iqbal Academy, Pakistan
119 Mr. Mohammad Wadgiri Head of the Muslim community in Belgium, Belgium
120 HE Dato’ Wan Zahidi bin Wan Teh Former Mufti of Malaysia’s Federal Territories , Malaysia
121 Dr. Amr Wardani Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’), Egypt
122 HE Prof. Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Wuld-Abah President of Chinguitt Modern University, Mauritania
123 Sheikh Muhammad Al-Yacoubi Islamic Preacher, Syria
124 Sheikh Mohammad Mustafa Al-Fakki Al-Yaqouti Minister of State in the Sudanese Ministry of Awqaf, Sudan
125 HE Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq Muhammad Yusuf Former Grand Mufti of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan
126 Prof. Zaki Zaidan Professor of Shari’ah, Faculty of Law, Tanta University, Egypt

Sources:
(note: wikipedia sources are on the wiki page itself)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-crisis-islam-scholars-idUSKCN0HK23120140925

http://www.elsevier.nl/buitenland/article/2014/09/moslimgeleerden-lezen-is-leider-al-baghdadi-de-les-1607798W/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/24/muslim-scholars-islamic-state_n_5878038.html

http://www.lettertobaghdadi.com/

http://lettertobaghdadi.com/14/english-v14.pdf

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-crisis-islam-scholars-idUSKCN0HK23120140925

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/09/25/muslims_scholars_open_letter_to_isis_baghdadi_caliphate_s_actions_against.html

https://southfront.org/the-isis-militants-how-many-are-they/

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/136455700405163

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_by_country

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shia_Islam

https://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/15855543/154033984/name/2010+World+Muslim+Population.PDF

http://www.pewforum.org/2009/10/07/ mapping-the-global-muslim-population/

http://www.islamicweb.com/begin/population.htm

http://www.letmeturnthetables.com/2012/01/huge-number-hadith-bukhari.html

The Total Number of Authentic Hadiths

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/population-by-country/

http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Hadith/bukhari.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quran

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http://www.irfi.org/general/history_of_hadiths.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quranism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadith

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunnah

What are Matn, Sanad and Isnad?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Hadith

http://www.islamicsupremecouncil.org/understanding-islam/legal-rulings/44-what-is-a-fatwa.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatwa

www.islamicsupremecouncil.org/understanding-islam/legal-rulings/44-what-is-a-fatwa.html

http://www.questionsaboutislam.com/shariah-islamic-law/what-is-a-fatwa.php

http://islam.about.com/od/law/g/fatwa.htm

https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2016/5/12/misinterpreting-the-word-fatwa

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7032140.stm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanent_Committee_for_Islamic_Research_and_Issuing_Fatwas

http://cdn.preterhuman.net/texts/religion.occult.new_age/Islam/The%20Origins%20of%20the%20Sunni-Shia%20split%20in%20Islam.pdf

http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/21/news/pokemon-go-saudi-arabia/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-16047709

https://www.al-islam.org/shiite-encyclopedia-ahlul-bayt-dilp-team/major-difference-between-shia-and-sunni

http://islam.about.com/cs/divisions/f/shia_sunni.htm

https://books.google.nl/books?hl=nl&lr=&id=kztVCAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT1&dq=shia+islam&ots=KsYcnjalop&sig=75w6MtKSLUDyPo9YBmQ4xe8aLjY#v=onepage&q=shia%20islam&f=false

http://www.leader.ir/en/book/23

http://www.katinkahesselink.net/islamnl/terminologie.html

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayatollah

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/topic/234989450-difference-between-ayatullah-marja-mujtahid/

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2004/04/so_you_want_to_be_an_ayatollah.html

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-an-ayatollah.htm

http://www.encyclo.nl/begrip/Mardja%20%60taqlid

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ijtihad

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ijtihad#Qualifications_of_a_mujtahid

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_Maraji

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_Maraji

http://www.islam-laws.com/articles/Identifying_the_Most_Learned.pdf

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3424601774.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelve_Imams

The encyclopedia of islam volume 6 page 564

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Abu_Bakr_al-Baghdadi

http://www.memrijttm.org/in-new-audio-speech-islamic-state-isis-leader-al-baghdadi-issues-call-to-arms-to-all-muslims.html

http://www.tijd.be/opinie/column/Het_briljante_idee_van_Al_Baghdadi.9800099-2337.art?ckc=1

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – a Short Biography of the ISIS Sheikh
Present at the Creation
How the Islamic State Seized a Chemical Weapons Stockpile
The Greatest Divorce in the Jihadi World
Blue-Eyed Jihad

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