MEMRI: Fatwa On Qatari Government Website: Execution By Burning Is Permitted Under Certain Circumstances


MEMRISpecial Dispatch | 5976 | February 26, 2015 The Middle East Media Research InstituteLike Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter YouTube

Fatwa On Qatari Government Website: Execution By Burning Is Permitted Under Certain Circumstances

On February 4, 2015, the Egyptian news website Akhbarak.net reported that the Qatari Fatwa Center, a body belonging to the Qatari government, had removed from its website a fatwa permitting execution by burning. The Fatwa Center is part of Qatar’s Religious Da’wa and Guidance Authority, which belongs to this country’s ministry of religious endowments and Islamic affairs. According to Akhbarak, the Fatwa Center removed the fatwa from its website, Islamweb.net, a few hours after the burning of the Jordanian pilot, Mu’adh Al-Kasasbeh, by the Islamic State (ISIS) became known. However, a search of this site reveals that the fatwa, issued in June 2009, is still available on another part of the Qatari website, as well as two earlier fatwas that make a similar point.The June 2009 fatwa was issued in response to a query by a reader who asked whether it was permissible to execute a Muslim by burning, adding that someone had told him about such cases. The fatwa issued in reply stated that, as a rule, the shari’a forbids burning people alive, but that some scholars were inclined to permit this as part of the principle of “measure for measure.” This fatwa is similar in its content and conclusion to the fatwa issued by ISIS in the Syrian city of Raqqa to justify the burning of the Jordanian pilot, though ISIS’s fatwa was issued in response to a question about the burning of infidels, not Muslims. ISIS’s fatwa stated that the burning of the pilot was justified because he had carried out airstrikes on Muslims, thereby causing them to be burned alive.

The following are excerpts from the three fatwas on the Qatari website.


The June 2009 fatwa on the Islamweb site

Some Religious Scholars Were Inclined To Permit This

“Question: Is it permissible to punish a Muslim, Sunni or Shi’ite, by burning him? Please inform me, because I received an email about a Muslim being burned, and I answered the person who sent me the email [with a quote from the hadith]: ‘only the God of fire may punish with fire.’ But he opposed my position to the point that I started to doubt its correctness.’

“Answer: According to the shari’a, punishment by fire is forbidden, regardless of a person’s status, for it is written in the hadith: ‘only the God of fire may punish with fire’… [So] this deed is a sin that is forbidden because of the injustice it involves. As for a punishment imposed by the Muslim leader on criminals, it is better for one who is deserving of death to be punished with an appropriate death, according to the hadith that says, ‘if you must kill, then kill in the best manner’…

“[However,] some scholars advocated killing [a murderer] in the same way he killed [his victim], as written in the book Mukhtasar Khalil [by 14th century scholar Khalil ibn IshaqAl-Maliki]: ‘He must be put to death in the way he killed, even by fire.’ In the Al-Sahihain collection of hadiths [it is said] that the Messenger of Allah ‘crushed the skull of a Jew with two stones, just as [that Jew] did to the slave girl he killed.'”

Caliph Abu Bakr Punished A Man With Fire

At the end of the fatwa, links to two other fatwas are provided. One of them, titled “The Burning of Iyas bin ‘Abd Yalil by the Righteous [Caliph] Abu Bakr,” was issued in February 2006 in response to the following question: “How can we reconcile the Prophet’s ban on burning with fire with [Caliph] Abu Bakr’s burning of Iyas bin ‘Abd Yalil during the Ridda Wars?…”

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