With the intensifications of sectarian strife in Iraq, the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) undertook an initiative with a view to stop the bloodshed in Iraq and try to put an end to the sectarian killing there.
The OIC initiative was based on the premise of associating Iraq’s Muslim (Sunni and Shiite) scholars and religious establishments to issue a document, which, clearly, stipulates the ruling of Islam with regard to the extra-judicial killings of Muslims. The initiative had the approval of senior Muslim scholars and leading religious establishments.
A preparatory meeting was held on October 19, 2006 in Jeddah. It was attended by prominent Sunni and Shiite scholars from Iraq at the headquarters of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, an affiliated organization of the OIC to draft the document ‘Makkah Declaration’. The meeting was opened by the OIC Secretary-General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who said: “Today is one of the blessed and historic days. It is a day when eminent Muslim scholars have strived to reach an agreement to end the bloodshed of people in Iraq. We offer our thanks and prayers to Almighty God that He has made this auspicious meeting possible on this sacred soil and graced our mission with success. That is why, we in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), decided to make a determined effort to stem the tide of sedition in Iraq before it is out of control by initiating an act purely dedicated to Almighty God and motivated by the quest for His blessing of our endeavors to seek the prosperity of Iraq and its people.
He added that as one of the root-causes of security destabilization in Iraq is the propagation of erroneous ideas about our faith, particularly by casting as infidel, Muslims who have professed their faith, bearing witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His Prophet. It has become clear that religious scholars are the most qualified to refute the allegations. He said, “We offer our thanks to God that our endeavors at the QIC in this direction have succeeded in a way that senior Muslim scholars and religious authorities - have been able to meet and agree on the text of a document which spells out the facts about the rulings of Islamic Shari’ah on the bloodshed in Iraq. This endeavor and this document have been accepted and endorsed by senior scholars from different religious schools as well as politicians in Iraq and elsewhere. Today, at this blessed hour and day, on this sacred land, this august gathering of eminent Muslim scholars and religious authorities is trying its best to put an end to bloodshed.”
Makkah Declaration was signed and issued by these scholars and representatives of the religious establishments who met in Makkah Mukarramah on Friday 28 Ramadhan 1427H (20 October 2006) to officially launch it from Makkah’s Holy Mosque during the blessed month of Ramadan. Prominent among the 28 signatories of the Declaration are Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Ghafour Al-Samarai, Sheikh Jalaluddin Al-Saghir, Sheikh Salah Abdul Razaq, Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abdul Jabbar Abbas, Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Samidai, Syed Muhammad Al-Haideri, Syed Muhammad Bahrul-Uloom. The signing was witnessed by Sheikh Muhammad Habib Ben El-Khoja, Secretary-General of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, Sheikh Muhammad Ali Al-Taskhiri, a member of the Academy and Dr. Muhammad Saleem Al-Awa, Advisor to the QIC Secretary-General
The Declaration was publicized by all the print and electronic media in Iraq as well as through other means such as mosques, schools, universities, etc. Following is the the full text of the Declaration:
In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
Praise be to Almighty God Peace and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad and all those who followed his way of guidance
In view of the present situation in Iraq, where bloodshed is widespread, and where aggression on assets and property, perpetrated under the guise of Islam, is daily occurrence, and in response to the invitation of the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and under the umbrella of the OIC International Islamic Fiqh Academy (UFA),
We the scholars of Iraq, from both the Sunnis and the Shiites, having met in Makkah Mukarramah and deliberated on the situation in Iraq and the disastrous plight of Iraqi people, issue and proclaim the following Declaration:
1. Muslim is he who professes his faith by bearing witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His Prophet. These fundamental principles apply equally to the Sunnis and the Shiites without any exception. The common grounds between the two schools of thought are many times more than areas of difference and their causes. Any difference between them is merely difference of opinion and interpretation and not essential difference of faith or on the substance of the pillars of Islam. From the Islamic Shari’ah viewpoint, no follower of one school may excommunicate, hereticate or in any other way cast aspersions on the faith and fidelity of a follower of other school, as God’s Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘If any one of you calls his brother: You infidel, one shall come out as infidel and bear the onus thereof!”
2. The blood, property, honour and reputation of Muslims is sacrosanct on the grounds of the noble verses of the Holy Qur’an, in which Almighty God says: “And whoever deliberately and with premeditation kills a believer, his recompense is Hell to abide therein, and the Wrath and the Curse of God are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him.”’ and Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in which he says: “Everything pertaining to Muslim is sacrosanct, including his blood, property, honour and reputation.”
Therefore, no Muslim, whether he or she is Sunni or Shiite, be subjected to murder or any harm, intimidation, terrorization, or aggression on his property; incitement thereto; or forcible displacement, deportation, or kidnapping. Moreover, no member of his family be held hostage on grounds of religious or sectarian belonging. Whoever perpetrates such acts shall fall from the fold and grace of the whole Ummah, including all Muslim authorities, scholars and all believers.
3. All houses of worship are sacrosanct, including mosques and the non-Muslim houses of worship of all faiths and religions. Therefore, these places of worship should not be attacked, appropriated or in any other way used as a haven to perpetrate the acts which are in contravention of our magnanimous Shari’ah. Instead, they should remain entirely at the disposal of their owners who should regain total and unfettered access to them in application of the Muslim jurisprudential rule adopted by all Islamic schools; that ‘All religious endowments (Awqaf) shall be subject to the terms and conditions established by their owners.” that “A condition stipulated by the donor shall be treated just as a Shari’ah rule”; and that ‘What is part of practice and custom shall be deemed as a contractual provision.’
4. The crimes committed on grounds of sectarian identity or belonging, such as those now being perpetrated in Iraq, fall within the ambit of ‘mischief on the earth’, which was prohibited and proscribed by Almighty God when He said: “When he turns his back, His aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But God does not love mischief.
The espousal of a school of thought, whatever it may be, is not a justification for killing or aggression, even if some followers of that school commit a punishable act since: “A bearer of burdens cannot bear another’s burdens”.
5. Any provocation of sensitivities or sectarian, ethnic, geographical or linguistic strife should be shunned and averted. Similarly, any name-calling, abuse or vilification and invectives uttered by any one party in attack on another should be avoided in view of the clear-cut prohibition by the Holy Qur’an, which labelled such conduct as ‘blasphemy’: “Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by offensive nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness used of one after he has believed: And those who do not desist are indeed wrong doers.”
6. Certain things and principles should never be forfeited, including in particular the unity, cohesion, cooperation, and solidarity in piety and righteousness, which should all be preserved and protected against any attempt to tear them asunder, for Almighty God said: “The Believers are indeed a single brotherhood.” He also said: “Truly! This Ummah of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me.”
Necessarily therefore, it is incumbent upon all Muslims to adopt caution and vigilance against all attempts to sow division among them, break their ranks or incite sedition, strife and hate to corrupt their divine spiritual bonds with each other.
7. Muslims, both Sunnis and Shiites all in unison champion the cause of the persecuted and unite against the oppressor and the unjust, as they act in application of Almighty God’s words: ‘’’Verily, God enjoins justice, righteousness and good deeds, chanty and assistance to kith and kin and He forbids all shameful deeds, injustice, and oppression. He admonishes you, that you may take heed.”
Accordingly, our endeavours should seek to put an end to all injustices, including most particularly by ensuring the release of all innocent prisoners and hostages, whether Muslims or non-Muslims and return of the displaced to their original homes.
8. The scholars remind the Iraqi government of its duty to provide security, protection and means of decent livelihood to all categories and sections of the Iraqi people and to uphold justice among them, principally, by ensuring the release of innocent detainees, by bringing them to speedy and fair trial, and executing the ruling against those indicted in the crime, while observing strictly the principle of equality among all citizens.
9. Sunni and Shiite scholars support all efforts aimed at achieving comprehensive national reconciliation in Iraq in accordance with the words of the Almighty God: “Reconciliation is best.” and “Help one another in righteousness and piety.”
10. Muslims, whether Sunni or Shiite, will thus stand united in protecting the independence, unity and territorial integrity of Iraq; realizing and consecrating the free will of the Iraqi people, contributing to the military, economic and political capacity building of their country in order to put an end to occupation and restore and reinstate Iraq’s Arab-Islamic and human cultural role.
The scholars who have signed this Declaration appeal to all Muslim scholars to support its provisions and urge Muslims of Iraq to pledge adherence to it. They pray to Almighty God, on this sacred soil and blessed grounds to protect and preserve the faith of all Muslims, ensure the safety of their homeland, and bring the Arab-Muslim country of Iraq out of its plight, end its trials and tribulations and reinstate Iraq as a fortress and pillar of Muslim Ummah in the face of its enemies. Our final prayer is always that all praise be to Almighty God.
After the Makkah Declaration was issued, the OIC Secretary-General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsa-noglu in a press conference said: “At the outset I would like to state that what was done today is the outcome of earnest efforts which we at the Organization of the Islamic Conference began a long time ago, A delegation of the OIC held contacts with Iraqi politicians.
Contacts were also made with Iraq’s neighbouring states that participated in many of our meetings. Our initiative to stop the bloodshed in Iraq was also well received by Iraqi politicians and religious authorities. Proceeding from this positive orientation, we decided to commence the preparations to implement this initiative whose outcome is the signing today of this Declaration by the representatives of Iraq’s Sunnis and Shiites, the aim of which is to halt the drift towards anarchy and prevent the bloodshed of Muslims.”
He added that the issue of implementation and the political will to implement is a decisive factor for the success of this initiative. “We are grateful to Almighty Allah that after we have passed the stage of acceptance, response and signing, we feel that we all will play our parts in this regard such as to achieve a gradual tangible improvement of the security situation in Iraq with regard to the sectarian strife.
He thanked the scholars who contributed to this historic work which will be of benefit to all. He also expressed his gratitude to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the huge assistance and support it extended to the Organization of Islamic Conference for the good preparation and organization of this meeting.
He expressed his hope that this initiative would contribute to reducing the security tension in Iraq in general and sectarian strife in particular, and it would serve the interest of all Iraqi people regardless of their sects.