It can be easy to generalize about policies the Islamic State pursued and presume that the same policies were implemented in all the areas over which it exercised control and administration. One example is the issue of 'repentance'. The idea behind 'repentance' is that Sunnis who work in the security forces and administration of 'apostate' governments are apostates, but they can 'repent' of their apostasy and return to the fold of Islam in the Islamic State's eyes and be treated as the rest of the Muslim population.
However, the evidence shows that the Islamic State did not implement such a policy of 'repentance' absolutely in all areas of its control. The matter was explored in part in the testimony of one Abu Muslim al-Iraqi, a former 'amni' (security official) in the organization who worked in the al-Ba'aj area of Wilayat al-Jazeera (western Ninawa province, near the border with Syria). He complained that policies of 'repentance' pursued in the Ninawa province area amounted to breaking of pacts and covenants. Most notably, he pointed out that orders were issued to arrest officers of the security forces and council members even though they had repented. Those arrested were then referred to the judiciary and executed.
Abu Muslim al-Iraqi's essay was published by al-Wafa' media foundation, one of the three 'dissident-turned-opposition trend' outlets. This trend, as noted previously, now sees Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the problem.
Continuing on the theme of seeking to discredit the Baghdadi-led Islamic State, Sheikh Abu Eisa al-Masri, a scholarly luminary of the 'dissident-turned-opposition trend' writing for the al-Turath al-'Ilmi media foundation, has leaked an internal report on the Islamic State policies of 'repentance' pursued in Iraq. The report was issued by the 'main security court' of the Islamic State's Diwan al-Qada wa al-Madhalim (Judiciary and Grievances Diwan) and addressed to the General Supervisory Committee (which later became the 'Delegated Committee') in al-Sham, asking for clarification on policies on 'repentance' pursued in parts of Iraq (the 'eastern wilayas' of the Islamic State) and asking for the matter to be raised with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the documents leaked, which partly corroborate Abu Muslim's testimony. In short, the report makes the following points:
- As understood from the words of Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, repentance could be taken from anyone sincerely repenting from 'apostasy'. This was the policy initially followed in areas conquered by the Islamic State.
- Around 20 days after repentances began to be accepted, a new orally-transmitted decision was issued: the 'exception decision', which forbade the acceptance of repentances from certain types of people. For example, repentances would not be accepted from people who were MPs, people who were members of provincial councils, and people who worked in the Swat forces or the intelligence services. However, repentances had already been accepted from many people who came under the categories from whom it was now forbidden to accept repentance. In response to this problem, it was affirmed (again, orally and not in the form of an official, detailed written document) that such people are apostates anyway and it is permissible to betray them and kill them.
- Some wilayas in Iraq (e.g. Wilayat al-Fallujah and Wilayat al-Ramadi/al-Anbar) refused to go along with the 'exception decision'. In three wilayas however- notably Ninawa, Salah al-Din and Dijlah- the policy was not only implemented but came to ensnare further categories of people who had not been mentioned in the original 'exception decision', such as all officers of the Interior and Defence Ministries, members of district and sub-district councils, people who had presented themselves as candidates for parliamentary and local elections from 2009 onwards (subsequently revised somewhat too late for candidates from 2012 onwards), and 'officers' of the Sahwa forces and Saddam's 'Jaysh al-Quds'.
- The consequences of these policies led to a lack of a unified approach as well as damage to the Islamic State's reputation, for many lost trust in the credibility of the Islamic State.
Diwan al-Qada wa al-Madhalim
Main security court
[in handwriting: Abu Bakr]
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Report about the issue of repentances in the eastern wilayas
Praise be to God and prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions and whoso follows them and their footstep and goes on their direction to the Day of Judgment. As for what follows:
This is a detailed report about the issue of 'repentance', which occurred in the wilayas of Iraq after the clear conquest and included the apostates present in the land of the Caliphate after the beginnings of the conquest and tamkin, and what it entailed from matters, rulings and circumstances.
And this report has been written according to a request from the General Supervisory Committee in al-Sham- may God Almighty protect them all- and that was when a discussion was raised about the issue of the apostates and fighting them and the rulings of their repentance and its conditions. And it was contravened and a portion of it was violated. And I was surprised by the responses that I heard from the mashayakh in the General Supervisory Committee about these matters, for I found there to be a clear difference between the rulings followed in al-Sham and the rulings followed in Iraq, despite the fact that the ruling is one and the situation is one.
And since I was entrusted in the security judiciary in the main security court with supervising the security judiciary in the rest of the provinces of the Islamic State, and through meeting with the mashaykh in the Committee, I noticed some things about the wilayas in Iraq regarding this issue, and on beginning to consider it, I was asked to write a detailed report about this matter so that it could be reviewed and discussed. And then the stage could be assessed and the aspects of disturbance and rectifying them and the aspects of success and spreading them could be made clear. So I say and in God is success:
Means of implementation
The beginning of the issue of amnesty and accepting repentances from the apostates was directly after the conquest. And working on this matter depended on the means of implementing it on the basis of what came in the statement that came on the tongue of the official spokesman in the name of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham 'Sheikh Adnani (may God protect him)' that was entitled 'Let their religion that He has approved for them grant them tamkin.' In this he said the following regarding this matter:
"Oh Ahl al-Sunna in Iraq, you have seen our might and force, so you should know that this force and might are a treasure for you for we are of you and you are of us. So if you see good from us it is for you and if you see something besides that, advise us...We only want glory and dignity for you in this world and salvation and happiness in the Hereafter. And you will only see mercy from us for you and sympathy for you. Do you not see that we accept the repentances of your sons even if they killed a million of us? Do you not see that we do not ask them for payment or fairness except that they should throw down their arms from our face and cease supporting the Tawagheet and Rafidites and return to their religion? Oh tribes of the Ahl al-Sunna in Iraq, what harm is there for you to support the religion of God and rally around the mujahideen? Seize the opportunity this time under the leadership of Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and you will never regret it by God's permission."
This statement came as a general comprehensive statement in its apparent meaning, without mentioning any details. Therefore it was understood on this basis- by the sons of the Islamic State in all their formations and in all the conquered wilayas- that there is no objection from accepting the repentances for the one who comes as a repenter feeling regret. And therefore a unified means in implementing the matter of amnesty and acceptance of repentances from apostates was adopted. It was as follows:
1. In the beginning of the entry into some of the conquered areas in some of the wilayas, the people were asked to sit in their homes and hand over their weapons, on the basis that they should secure themselves and their wealth, so he weapons and government cars were brought together in the government centres and bases, and confiscated by the brothers.
2. Repentances were taken from all the apostates in all their types and ranks- without exception- in the beginning, as committees were formed in the wilayas and sectors for this purpose, and there was no followed program or mechanism in organizing this matter.
Rather, registers were established in which the names of the repenters were recorded, along with the nature of their work, and their military ranks, and the type of weapons they had if found, and these repentances were taken- most of the time- in mosques or other places, which were adopted as bases later on.
And after that a card called a 'repentance document' was devised for every person whose name had been recorded and whose repentance had been taken from him. On it his name, rank and type of weapons- if found- were recorded on it.
And work in this fashion continued in all the wilayas, without any central instructions or directives, and that was for around 20 days approximately, and more than that in some of the wilayas. After this instructions were issued speaking about carrying out modifications to this 'repentance', in which types of the apostates were mentioned and exception was made for them regarding repentance and taking repentances from them would be stopped. And they are as follows:
1. Judges and prosecutors.
2. MPs and members of the provincial council.
4. Heads of kufr parties.
5. Heads of the 'Sahwat' leadership.
6. 'Swat' forces absolutely.
7. 'Counter-terrorism' forces absolutely.
8. Mukhabarat and istikhbarat.
9. Directors of police directorates.
10. Commanders of some regiments of the army, whose malice has been proven.
. And we note here some points about the exception decision mentioned above:
1. This decision came late. For it was issued around 20 days after repentances began to be taken. Indeed its issue was delayed in some wilayas for longer than that.
2. This decision was not issued as an official detailed document or statement and stamped by a specific party. Rather it was transmitted orally. Therefore the decision entailed some shortcomings from the aspect of the matter or from the aspect of the speed of conveyance. As the types of people for whom exception from the repentance should be made were not conveyed in an organized manner, and likewise it was not conveyed to all sectors comprehensively and especially the brothers who take and record repentances. This resulted in much acceptance from those for whom exception was made even after the date of the issuing of this decision.
3. There are types not mentioned in the demands for repentance or the exception decision in the beginning of the matter: because these people as understood in some of the wilayas did not have repentance upon them originally like the district and sub-district councils and members of the municipal council and the administrative councils affiliated with these offices and the ordinary employees in these offices. Indeed some of them and until recently have been laying claim to their salaries because they have not been informed of any instructions.
. And therefore we can divide these aforementioned people according to the mechanism of demanding repentance and after the issuing of the decision of exception as follows:
a) A portion from whom repentances were taken and their names were recorded in the lists of demand of repentance: and they are not mentioned in the exception decision, and they represent the general masses of the members of the army, police and Sahwat: 'soldiers and officers'.
b) A portion from whom repentances were taken and their names recorded in the lists of demand of repentance, but they are included in the exception decision, and they are represented in the aforementioned types in the exception decision.
c) A portion from whom repentances have not been taken in some of the provinces and they have not been recorded in the lists of demand of repentances, and they have not been mentioned in the exception decision. So it has been understood from this matter in some of the sectors that these people do not have repentance on them originally, and they are mentioned in clause no. 3.
d) The last portion are those from whom repentances have not been accepted because they are included in the exception decision.
After many of the wilayas were conquered, and the sectors in some of the other wilayas, and the extent of the lands that the Islamic State rules in these wilayas was extended, security, military and other types of bases were established, affiliated with every wilaya and all of the sectors of the wilaya, and these bases were managed by the wali or deputy wali, and likewise by agreement with the qadi of the wilaya in what concerns establishing the Shari'i rulings or otherwise, for some of the incident matters and matters of disputes.
So the security work in the beginning was limited to tracking everyone who did not repent and did not accept the demand for repentance and fled outside the wilayas or remained concealed inside them. Then after a time came new orders to arrest all who came under the exception decision, even if the person had repented and was recorded in the registers of demand of repentance, and even if he was of those who had handed over their weapons and sat in their homes. And indeed this order began to be implemented in the wilayas and sectors but this decision created confusion among many of the brothers, and especially the qadis and Shari'i officials. For how could these people be arrested and killed by the brothers in the Islamic State after repentances were taken from them, and handed over their arms, and sat in their homes, and secured themselves and their wealth?
Indeed this securing and pact were in the sight and hearing of the masses of the people, as this matter occurred and was announced in the mosques, tribal councils and elsewhere and the matter became well-known and publicized and divulged among the masses of the people.
And this procedure was considered by many of the brothers- and especially the Shari'i officials and qadis- to be violation of the pact and aman, and this was considered to be of the forms of treachery, and therefore the implementation of this decision was halted in some of the wilayas. Subsequently a Shari'i order was issued about this matter, and there came the response in this form, but it did not come in a detailed written official document, but rather this order was transmitted orally, and it was as follows:
"These people mentioned in the exception to amnesty and acceptance of repentance are apostates. And the apostates have no pact, and no aman. And therefore it is allowed to betray them, and kill them after securing them and demanding their repentance."
And indeed all of these people mentioned in the exception were arrested, including those whose repentance had been demanded and lives secured. And all of these people who were arrested were killed, and especially in Wilayat Ninawa and Dijla and Salah al-Din, but this order was not completed or implemented in some of the wilayas, like WIlayat al-Fallujah and Wilayat al-Anbar and Wilayat al-Furat and Wilayat Kirkuk. This remains the case until now- according to my knowledge- after visiting these wilayas. For they mentioned that the matter is agreed on and that all who have repented among us, or have been asked to repent by any side, we deal with them as they appear so long as they have not committed one of the nullifiers of repentance, proven upon them with lines of evidence or connections condemning them, and no one is to be arrested without these Shari'i restrictions, and by direct order of the qadi. As for the rest of the wilayas- I mean in particular Ninawa and Salah al-Din and Wilayat Dijla- the work in them came according to the decision issued against the people for whom exception from the repentances was made, and according to the Shari'i ruling issued against them: "They are apostates and they have no pact and aman and it is permitted to betray them and kill them." And the matter did not stop at this extent, but developed into something more than that, to include another number of the repenters, not of those for whom exception had been made, but rather exception was made for them subsequently.
And after not a short time, and relying on the same previous Shari'i fatwa, which stipulated the apostasy ruling upon them and that they have no pact or aman, the following categories were included:
1. All the officers of the Interior and Defence Ministry without exception or any detailing. This even included nationality officers and installations protection f.p.s. and traffic and others. Indeed the matter exceeded that, to include some of the officers who had repented before power was gained over them, who came repenting from some of the provinces of the centre and south, asking for aman and repentance from some of the brothers in the Islamic State so they came as repenters and entered their houses secure over themselves and their wealth. And after a short time they were arrested and killed. And these cases occurred specifically in Wilayat Dijla- according to the affirmation of the qadi of the wilaya Sheikh 'Abu Maajid' which was the main reason he left work in the field of security judiciary, according to what the security qadi of the wilaya Sheikh 'Abu Ruqayya' told me.
2. Including also the members of the district and sub-district councils and the municipal councils and some of the administrative councils, and even some of the employees in these offices, as happened in Wilayat Dijla, for all of the guards in the courts were killed, after they repented and registered in the registers of demand of repentance, despite the fact that these types of people were not touched upon in the beginning, but rather it was understood by some that these people do not have repentance upon them originally, as we have made clear in point no. 3 above. Indeed some continued laying claim to their salaries without any reckoning or warning, in accordance with this principle. And after this they were all arrested and killed.
3. And this decision also included all those who presented themselves as candidates to the parliament or provincial council for year 2009 and after, whether or not the candidate was successful. So all proven to have submitted their names to any of the lists would be arrested and killed, whether or not they repented. And after this a late modification came to this decision, to include the candidates from the year 2012 and after. As for the one who was a candidate before this year, that person's repentance would be accepted, despite the fact that a number of these people were arrested in the beginning, and they were killed.
4. And the matter finally developed and the decision also broadened to include the officers of the Sahwat entirely and officers of the so-called 'Jaysh al-Quds' in the dissolved Ba'ath regime. And it is well known that these two aforementioned types in truth are not officers at all. For they and the Sahwat are equal in classification, and there are no differences or distinctions between them. But rather these ranks that they bear are honorary ranks, which they circulate among themselves, and howsoever it might be agreed. And there is no reliance on any decision or any instructions, because they are not registered at all in the kufr ministries within classes and ranks. As for the so-called Jaysh al-Quds, these people were granted honorary ranks by the Ba'athist regime with the name of officers of rank lieutenant. And after the Ba'athist government fell, the Rafidite government filled its place and cancelled these ranks. So they are recorded among them in the ministry with the ranks of policeman without any distinctions. Despite that, they were arrested and killed on the pretext that they are officers.
5. As for the repenters and those not included in the decision of exception regarding repentance and represented in the general mass of army and police personnel: 'the soldiers'. Months after their repentance and the request for them to repent, new conditions were issued regarding them, and they were obliged to carry out and implement them. And they represent a document issued by 'south' Wilayat Ninawa, titled 'conditions of repentance' including 11 conditions to accept the soundness of repentance. And all who violate one of these conditions, their repentance is not accepted, and their repentance is considered annulled. This is made clear in condition no. 11 from this document, a copy of which we will attach for you to review.
As for the consequences resulting from these procedures regarding the aforementioned, according to the aforementioned division and classification in the report: these consequences were one. That is, all of those killed were apostates and dealt with as apostates. And their wealth was confiscated, and likewise many of these people fled, after they learnt that they have no repentance, and that their repentance is annulled and not accepted.
Indeed some of those included in the amnesty and whose repentance had been sought fled outside the wilayas of the Islamic State, as they did not trust in this aman (repentance). And even some of the families of these people fled from the wilayas, and thus they were also dealt with as being apostates, and dealt with as muharibeen apostates, and also their wealth was confiscated.
Writing this report and the details mentioned in it in this organization came through our witnessing of the events through which the Islamic State has passed, going through the decisions that were issued and the procedures that were adopted in what concerns this matter. And that was also so through visits we undertook to all the wilayas of the Islamic State, after we were entrusted with the security judiciary, which had a direct link with the issue of repentances and the rulings that follow on it, and in particular concerning blood, wealth and other rulings, as we faced some obstacles and problems in this matter. Of which we mention:
1. These decisions and procedures were not dealt with in all the wilayas in the same way, but rather each wilaya had a specific policy, as we found through our visits to the wilayas that these decisions were not implemented in the aforementioned form, except in the wilayas of Ninawa and Salah al-Din and Dijla. As for the rest of the wilayas like al-Ramadi, al-Fallujah, al-Furat and Kirkuk, this decision was not implemented, and the instructions issued after the amnesty were not obeyed regarding the exceptions that were mentioned regarding the amnesty. But rather they considered that implementing these exceptions is something not permitted in law, and they embraced dealing with these people on the basis of what is apparent, and that their repentances should be considered acceptable, unless they nullify it with another nullifier. As for the other wilayas that implemented this decision- 'Ninawa, Salah al-Din and Dijla'- some confusion occurred there also.
In particular: after another order for exception was issued, which included another number of those not mentioned in the first exception order, as they were implementing these decisions bashfully, because they implemented them and were not sure about them- according to what they told us. Despite that they implemented them, and this is a matter in which there is great problem, from the judicial realm, as is well-known.
2. Implementing these decisions and in this form opened doors to evil and corruption in some of the wilayas: I mention in particular Wilayat Salah al-Din. For we found that there are people who were killed and their wealth confiscated on the pretext that they are not included in the amnesty. And we did not find names for these people, or interrogation files or any other information. But even the general qadi for the wilaya- who was considered the security qadi at the same time- did not know anything about them, and their affair did not reach him. Indeed there is no inventory about their confiscated wealth, and what was hidden was greater: and God is higher and knows best.
3. Other incidents of killing occurred in Wilayat Dijla for members of those included in the amnesty. And this occurred more than once, on the pretext that these people are apostates and have no repentance, so it is permitted to kill them. So a grievance arrived from Wilayat al-Janub to Wilayat Ninawa regarding this aspect, for a man was killed- who had repentance from Wilayat al-Janub- in Wilayat Dijla. He was killed by Sheikh 'Abu Talut', the wali of Wilayat Dijla and its security qadi at the same time.
4. The implementation of this decision in this aforementioned form caused a great objection on the part of many of the brothers and in particular those of them overseeing the issue of repentances and its related things in particular before families, clans and tribes. These people who were asked to repent, and then arrested and killed, without even their relatives being informed of their fates or the reason for their killing or provided with a clear judicial ruling. This was so after these people were granted aman and repentances were taken from them, and they handed over their weapons and sat in their homes. This made them lose trust in the credibility of the sons of the Islamic State, and the decisions of the Dawla. Therefore many of the families fled from these wilayas, in fear for their sons, for whom exception had been made in the decision, contrary to what happened in the other wilayas, as the families began to return to them after they felt trust and assurance, as a result of the firmness of the decisions of the Islamic State in those wilayas.
Indeed those who apostasised and took their families are now striving to return the families to the lands of the Islamic State through connections to accept the return of their families, as they have affirmed that they cannot secure their families and property except with the Islamic State, despite the fact they fought the Islamic State. And praise and thanks be to God.
The purpose in writing this report is not for the historical record or to affirm a phenomenon that happened and passed. But rather it is to affirm what is in this experience from matters related to Shari'i rulings, on which they were built and from which consequences followed in the spilling of much blood and seizing of much wealth, not to mention policies resulting from the issue. These things damaged the reputation of the Islamic State and led to a lack of trust in its credibility and the credibility of its statements and decisions transmitted on the tongue of its amirs, and other matters. This was so among a great group of the sons of the Sunna, to whom the speech of Sheikh Adnani mentioned above had been directed.
Therefore I refer this report to the General Supervisory Committee in al-Sham, fulfilling my duty first, and putting this matter on their shoulders and pact second. This is so that they may undertake their Shari'i obligation and fulfill the trust they have borne and been entrusted with. And I do not suppose them to be falling short in that regard. We reckon them as such and God is their reckoner. Therefore we ask them to make clear two things and they are:
First: Stating the truth of these decisions and their ruling from the Shari'i realm and assessing it. And mention in particular:
1. Is this proclamation that was issued regarding the apostates an amnesty, or repentance, or a grant, or is it a pact and aman? And is there a difference between the two from the Shari'i ange in terms of description and Shari'i ruling?
2. Making clear the ruling of the Shari'i fatwa according to which it was decided how to deal with the repenters, which affirmed: "On the basis that these people are aposates and have no pact or aman or treaty, and it is permitted to betray them and kill them"- as actually happened.
3. Is there a difference from the Shari'i angle between those whose repentance was demanded and their repentances accepted from those for whom exception was made, and others besides them? How is the soundness of their repentances or otherwise determined after they have been taken from them?
4. What is the ruling on those who have been killed after their repentance has been sought and their weapons handed over from the people for whom exception was made? And what is the ruling on the one killed who is not of the people of exception originally? And what is the ruling on their wealth that has been confiscated?
Second: We ask the General Supervisory Committee after stating the Shari'i truth of this matter to raise a special statement concerning this matter to the Amir al-Mu'mineen directly, and issue a statement of clarification making clear how the likes of these decisions were issued, and who was responsible for them, and on what Shari'i basis these decisions were built?
We ask the Lord- Exalted He is in His Loftiness to protect you with His protection, guide you with His guifance, and making you guided guiders, not astray and not misleading. And we ask Him to make you a just retinue for the Amir al-Mu'mineen. Ameen, ameen, ameen.
Surely You have been informed? Oh God bear witness.
Surely You have been informed? Oh God bear witness.
Surely You have been informed? Oh God bear witness.
Oh God, grant peace and blessings on Your Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions.
Published in Raqqa on Saturday 23 Jumada al-Awla 1436 AH corresponding to 14 March 2015 CE.
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Caliphate on the Prophetic Methodology
Subject: conditions of repentance
1. The repenter must have a kafil from the notables of the tribe.
2. The repenter must not move from residence except by knowledge of the Islamic State.
3. He is absolutely forbidden from possessing or bearing arms inside and outside the home.
4. He cannot travel from the liberated areas affiliated with the same district except for necessity and by agreement with the district's amirship.
5. In the event that the repenter changes the place of his residence or goes out from the area and the kafil does not inform about him, the kafil is to be referred to the Islamic court.
6. If the repenter alters his prior work address or conceals a portion of the address and that is proven against him in law, his repentance is annulled even if he does not know of the nullifier.
7. In the event he changes his phone number established in the information form, he must inform the security apparatuses of the Caliphate state.
8. His confiscated wealth is only to return to him after his repentance.
9. The policeman must hand over a Glock pistol, and the soldier must hand over a new rifle.
10. If he is caught committing any crime, he is to be killed without honour.
11. If he violates any of the aforementioned conditions, his repentance is annulled, his wealth confiscated and he is to be killed without honour.
Note: this document must be preserved by the repenter, and his repentance is annulled if it is not filled.