Egyptian Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has said that the declaration of a so-called Islamic caliphate by extremists operating in Syria and Iraq violates the sharia (Islamic law).
Last Sunday, the terrorist group ISIL declared a caliphate in areas they control in Iraq and Syria and ordered Muslims worldwide to pledge allegiance to their leader. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, under the name “caliph Ibrahim”.
The Qatar-based Qaradawi, seen as a spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in his native Egypt, said in a statement issued on Saturday that the declaration “is void under sharia.”
“We look forward to the coming, as soon as possible, of the caliphate,” Qaradawi said, of the form of government last seen under the Ottoman Empire.
But the declaration issued by the Islamic State is void under sharia and has dangerous consequences for the Sunnis in Iraq and Syria, he added.
The influential cleric said the declaration and nomination of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by an extremist group “known for its atrocities and radical views” fail to meet sharia conditions.
The title of caliph, he said, can “only be given by the entire Muslim nation” not by a single group.
A caliphate is fundamentally a universal Islamic state ruled by a single leader with both political and religious authority.
Al-Azhar, the top authority of Sunni Islam, “believes that all those who are today speaking of an Islamic State are terrorists,” senior representative Sheikh Abbas Shuman said earlier this week.
“The Islamic caliphate can’t be restored by force. Occupying a country and killing half of its population… this is not an Islamic state, this is terrorism,” he said.
In Saudi Arabia, the daily al-Riyadh ripped the caliphate as being “no more than one person heading a terrorist organization.”
Militants in Syria, who have been battling the extremists who have infuriated many by their brutality, have branded the caliphate announcement as “null and void”.
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