Fatwa: Islamic State Justifies Burning Pilot Alive

Once again, the Islamic State (IS) performs an atrocity that boggles the Western mind, and once again the Islamic State points to its namesake—Islam—to justify its depravity.

IS has released a video showing captive Jordanian pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh in a cage being burned alive (image above).  It also posted a fatwa on various jihadi websites that permits the immolation of human beings.

The brief fatwa argues that “the Hanafis and Shafi‘is [two of Sunni Islam’s four orthodox schools of jurisprudence] permit burning” people.  It also cites the tafsir, or exegesis, of Muhalab ibn Safra (d. 702) concerning a statement attributed to the prophet of Islam:  “Only Allah torments with fire.” According to the tafsir, Muhammad’s assertion is not meant to ban jihadis from using fire to torment people but is rather a reflection of “humility”—pointing out that Allah alone can truly torment.

Next the fatwa quotes the eminent Hafiz ibn al-Hajar (d. 1449) who comments that “the deeds of the companions [of Muhammad] evince the permissibility of burning, and the prophet put out the eyes of the men of Urayna with heated iron [he also cut their hands and feet off], and Khalid bin al-Walid burned some of the people who apostatized.”

As for Khalid—the revered “Sword of Allah”—I wrote about him here, including how he once beheaded an “apostate,” raped his beautiful wife, and then set the man’s severed head on fire before cooking his dinner on it.

None of this is surprising.  As discussed in “The Islamic State and Islam,” every atrocity IS has committed—whether beheading, crucifying, raping, enslaving, or now immolating humans—has precedents in Islam, whether in the deeds of Muhammad, that most “perfect” and “moral” man (Koran 33:21, 68:4) or his revered companions.

First humiliated, then burned alive: IS posted this image soon after downing Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh’s plane.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Middle East and Islam specialist and author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow, David Horowitz Freedom Center; a CBN News contributor; a Media Fellow, Hoover Institution (2013); and a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum . Ibrahim’s dual-background — born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East — has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.

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