As the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia continues, there is understandably much attention on the Syrian rebel fighters sent as mercenaries by Turkey to support Azerbaijan. There has already been much lazy characterisation (including by France's president and others) of these mercenaries as 'jihadists', without any proper consideration as to what the term 'jihadist' means.
But the term 'jihadist' cannot simply be used as a synonym for someone born Muslim who goes to fight in some conflict and says 'Allahu Akbar' on the battlefield- something that reeks of prejudice. The reality is that those who can be considered to be 'jihadists' and often define themselves as part of the 'jihadist movement' (al-tayyar al-jihadi) reject participation in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, as they do not consider it legitimate to fight for a 'Shi'i state' (referring to the fact that most of Azerbaijan's population is Shi'a) in a conflict that has nothing to do with making supreme the word of God but is rather driven by ethnic/nationalist considerations and strategic interests, completely devoid of jihad in the path of God.
An illustration of this thinking comes in a treatise by 'Khayal al-Manhaj,' a jihadist thinker based in northwest Syria. 'Khayal al-Manhaj' is actually the figure behind 'Mu'assasat Ansar al-Furqan' with which I conducted an interview in August 2019. Not affiliated with any group, 'Khayal al-Manhaj' is known for declaring Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (the main faction in northwest Syria that evolved out of Jabhat al-Nusra and is no longer affiliated with al-Qa'ida) to be an apostate faction, and openly calls on jihadists to attack the Turkish presence in northwest Syria.
In this article, which I suggested 'Khayal al-Manhaj' should write, the reasons are outlined as to why it is not considered legitimate from an Islamic perspective to fight for Azerbaijan in the conflict with Armenia.
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Fighting in 'Azerbaijan': description and ruling.
Praise be to God and prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of God, his family, companions and whoso is loyal to him. Then as for what follows:
There has been much talk in the past days about the fighting in 'Azerbaijan' between one who permits and admits, the one who refrains from ruling, and one forbidding out of shame, and so on.
So I have seen that from what God has upon me is that I should make clear what I profess to God regarding this issue, and explain what has appeared to me from description of the Shari'i ruling for this deed.
And the One who is Exalted has said: 'You should make it clear to the people and not conceal' (Al Imran 187).
And perhaps God will make something of these words a cause of guifance for the one who has gone astray, for the aim of our words and warning- by the permission of God- is the desire for granting of success and guifance for the people among those who have been tainted with condemned acts, sins and acts of kufr, while we bear in mind the counsel of the Messenger of God (SAWS) to Ali bin Abi Talib (may God be pleased with him): 'So by God that God should guide through you a man is better for you than that there should be for you the red camel.'
So we will explain what follows as a clarification for those to whom the matter is dubious, and as a warning to that person and warning him against engaging in what necessitates the abhorrence of God and His anger and curse and the loss of the two abodes: this world and the Hereafter.
So I say seeking help in the Powerful and Strong:
The reality of Azerbaijan:
Azerbaijan is a Rafidite Shi'i state waging war on God and the Messenger by its kufr and heresy and from very many angles:
1. It is a state the principle in which is 'Rafidism' in terms of religious profession, and the Rafidites are a sect of heresy and disbelief by the consensus of the Muslims.
2. 'Azerbaijan' and in its official definition from its constitution is a 'secular republic' so it is a republic state, and the republic is one of the forms of the kufr democratic systems, and it increases its kufr as the republic claims affiliation with the description of civilian or secular state. Even if it is a religious state, it will only be a copy of the state of Iran and the Wilayat al-Faqih in which is the essence of Shi'i rule.
3. The 'secular republic of Azerbaijan' is a member of the 'United Nations and security council' and a member of the 'cooperation organisation for peace' which is an organisation affiliated with the 'North Atlantic Alliance, or what is known as the NATO alliance.' So it is a part of that alliance that wages war on God and the Messenger and the believers and the mujahideen.
The characterisation of the ongoing fighting between 'Azerbaijan' (Shi'i of religion, secular in rule) and 'Armenia' (Christian of religion, a republic adopting Christianity as state religion):
The ongoing fighting between the aforementioned two countries is merely a fight of interests, arising on foundations of nationalism, national interests and political considerations in which the states have been divided into two parties:
A party supporting 'Armenia' and a party supporting 'Azerbaijan', and that is merely a reflection of considerations of nationalism and politics. We cite as evidence of that some stances- for example- to make clear:
- Turkey (secular state, and one of the biggest forces in the NATO alliance): what unites Turkey with Azerbaijan is not religion, but rather nationalism, as Azerbaijan is a strategic ally that sees eye to eye with it in some strategic interests, such as the fact it is a member in an organisation affiliated with the 'NATO' alliance.
- Iran (Twelver Imamite Rafidite republic): Iran is brought together with Armenia in political interests, such as adopting contravention of the strategic policy of NATO.
So the picture is not as the pseudo-Shari'is conceive: that it is a battle of truth and falsehood, but rather it is a battle between idolaters of the People of the Book, and Rafidite Majous on solely political foundations.
Fighting in Azerbaijan in terms of reality and ruling
'Turkey' as an ally state of 'Azerbaijan' has joint interests with them that constitute supporting the Azeri battle, and likewise international commitments, political interests and nationalist principles. Therefore it has decided to support them and aid them in all types of aid (logistical and human). Moreover, so that Turkey should be distant from the conception of confrontation with the Turkish opposition and those on the lookout for something to come upon the interventionist policies of Erdogan, and for a number of other international and internal considerations, the Turks decided to use the mercenaries from the garbage of the National Army in their manpower support for Azerbaijan, through enticing the fighters with high ranks (relative to their original meagre ranks).
And with regards to the mercenaries of the National Army, they have accepted the issue of subservience to a state side that adopts them and gives them ranks, and sends them where it wants, and uses them in its interests, for they have not found the slightest problem in proceeding with the herd that is approved of by a state.
And we are not surprised at this from the heretics of the 'National Army', for this is the frankness of their accustomed action, and they know that they are going out in the path of being mercenaries, and they do not seek a reward from God.
But what is terrible: some of the misguided and immoral ones of those who claim 'Ilm misleadingly claim there is martyrdom for the one killed in Azerbaijan from these mercenaries 'in martyrdom', and seeking forgiveness for them, and patching over them with various forms of patching.
So as for seeking forgiveness for these apostate mercenaries, it is no less than being forbidden for what has been stipulated in the Book of God: 'It has not been for the Prophet and those who have believed to seek forgiveness for the idolaters even if they are relatives, after it has been made clear to them that those people are the companions of hell'- (al-Tawba 113).
As for martyrdom for them in Paradise, and claiming they are of the martyrs, that is no less than being clear misleading, and lying against God:
'And on the Day of Judgment, you see those who have lied against God and their faces are blackened. Is there not in hell an abode for the haughty?'- (al-Zummar 60).
Study on the ruling on fighting in 'Azerbaijan' in terms of the interpretation angle:
Indeed God the Exalted when He mandated the Muslims to fight, He promised them conquest from it and support and reward and martyrdom for the one killed, and imposed the condition that it be jihad in His path.
And indeed God (Almighty and Exalted is He) called jihad jihad for what is in it from sacrifice, exertion, striving and laying aside of whims and desires before everything.
The Exalted and Almighty has said: 'Fighting has been prescribed for you and you dislike it, and perhaps you dislike something that is good for you and perhaps you love something that is bad for you, and God knows and you do not know'- (al-Baqara 216).
So jihad is endurance upon the Shari'i command of God, and the divine directive with divine regulations and principles that God revealed to His Messenger and mandated for us.
And He made as condition for obtaining the reward, guidance and granting of success, that it should be jihad in His path, and to make high His word.
God- Almighty and Exalted is He- says:
'And those who have waged jihad for Us, We will surely guide them to Our paths, and indeed God is with those who do good'- (al-Ankabout 69).
So the one who does not want the face of God in his fighting cannot expect guidance.
'Oh you who have believed, fear God and leave side what has remained from interest, if you are believers'- (al-Baqara 278).
And the honest one is the one who has believed in God in his jihad, and has established that his desire is pure devotion towards God.
'And wage jihad in the path of God, the right of His jihad: He has chosen you and has placed no obstruction for you in the religion: the path of your father Ibrahim. He called you Muslims before and in this so that the Messenger should be a witness upon you and you should be witnesses upon the people, so establish the prayer and give zakat and cling to God. He is your Lord and He is the best Lord and helper'- (al-Hajj 78).
The right of jihad: waging jihad against the people of apostasy and disbelief.
And jihad is the practical life of the path of Ibrahim (loyalty to God and the Messenger and the believers, and disavowal of the enemies of God and the Messenger from the disbelievers and apostates).
And the strong rope of god is His command and law, and the one who does not cling to it has been disappointed and has lost.
And this is all as we have relayed, that it is in the legitimate jihad that the Exalted and Almighty has commanded, for as you can see this jihad requires rightness of intentions so that the one waging it can obtain reward with God, and He may reckon him of the martyrs, while He denies the reward and achievement of martyrdom for the one whose intention in fighting is not for God. So just imagine then what it is with fighting that is not legitimate from the outset- the fighting of mercenary life- indeed also fighting that is disbelief in God and the Messenger, and apostasy from the religion of God, and supporting the disbelievers, and establishing the rule of the disbelievers, and supporting those who have waged war on God and the Messenger and opposed God and the Messenger, while their war on the people of Islam is ongoing?! Just imagine what it is with the one whose fighting is in the ranks of the heretics, supporting them on their apostasy, and being content with it and deeming it correct?!
So this is the case even if he claims that he is fighting in the path of God, for his claim is false in one word, and only the one deficient in his religion and mind would accept it.
And if he is killed, he is in the Hellfire, and of the people of Hellfire, as he is killed on disbelief and apostasy from the religion of God. That is for the following reasons:
First: His wholesale military services under the apostate and Crusader alliance, and military services as the people of 'Ilm have said are the clearest of the forms of loyalty.
And God says: 'And whoso is loyal to them from you is one of them' (al-Ma'ida 51).
And the Exalted has said: 'You see many of them loyal to those who have disbelieved. How wretched is what their souls have offered, for the anger of God is upon them and in the torment they will abide eternally. And had they been believing in God and the Prophet and what was revealed to him, they would not have taken them as allies, but many of them are grossly immoral'- (al-Ma'ida 80-81).
And the Exalted has said: 'The believers do not take the disbelievers as allies besides the believers, and whoso does that, God has nothing to do with him'- (Al Imran 28).
And the One Exalted in His Majesty has said: 'Oh you who have believed, do not take as allies those who have taken your religion as play and mockery, from those to whom the book was given before you and the disbelievers. And fear God, if you are believers'- (al-Ma'ida 57).
So these military services are helping the secular apostate Shi'i disbeliever state to establish its religion of idolatry and its rule of Taghut, and this is plain loyalty and helping disbelief: 'Those who have believed fight in the path of God, and those who have disbelieved fight in the path of the Taghut, so fight the allies of Satan. Indeed the plot of Satan has been weak'- (al-Nisa' 76).
Second: fighting with the Turkish apostate and the Rafidite Azeri heretic is clear support for the apostate on his apostasy, and admitting the validity of the disbelief and being content with it are disbelief by consensus. Imam al-Nawawi transmitted that in Rawdat al-Taliveen, and al-Iji in al-Mawaqif, and al-Zamkhashri in al-Kashaf, and al-Razi in Mafatih al-Ghaib, and al-Qurtubi in al-Makhazin, and others of the people of 'Ilm.
Third: the increase of the mastery of the disbelievers and the apostates over the Muslims, and entering under their mastery is contentment with them, and this is disbelief in God and apostasy from His religion. The Sheikh of Islam Ibn Taymiyya said: 'And the like of this person should not be adopted by the Ummah as a head at all, unless it will have disbelieved.' And al-Shatibi made a similar pronouncement in pointing to the one who has been content with the one whose disbelief has been made apparent to be head and imam and has made him master.
Therefore, merely fighting in Azerbaijan as we have mentioned in this article of ours, is disbelief in God and apostasy from His religion, and whoso of them is killed before he repents, has merited the threat.
So just imagine then if the fighter is originally an apostate by his military services to the National Army?! So this is an increase in disbelief and darknesses, some upon others: 'Indeed the postponing is an increase in disbelief by which those who have disbelieved go astray'- (al-Tawba 37).
'Or like the darknesses in an unfathomable sea, covered by wave upon wave, above which are the clouds- darknesses, some upon others. If he brings out his hand, he can hardly see it. And the one for whom God has placed no light, has no light'- (al-Nour 40).
Oh God, indeed I disavow to You the Rafidite Majous, and the apostate Turks, and the heretics of the Idolatrous Army, and whoso mandates their fighting for them, and whoso attests to them as martyrs, and whoso supports them in their disbelief and apostasy entirely. Oh God, seize them with the strong and powerful seizure, and bring them to ruin. Indeed You are the mighty and wise.
And praise be to God the Lord of the Worlds.
Written by Khayal al-Manhaj
17 Safr 1442 AH.