Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America Cautions Muslims Against Participating in American Legal System; Urges Them to “Hate It in Their Hearts”

[Update 14-Mar-2012:  Added the names of additional prominent Muslim leaders in the United States who are affiliated with AMJA, including Muhammad al-Majid of the Adam Center in Virginia, Hussein Hamed Hassan, director of financial consultancy firm which advises Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and other large American banking institutions, and Zulfiqar Ali Shah, former president of Islamic Circle of North America and current executive director of the Fiqh Council of North America. Updates to post are in italics below.]

Below is my translation of an Arabic-language paper published by the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) in 2007, and presented at their 2008 careers conference in Houston, which provides guidelines for American Muslims on what they can and cannot do vis-à-vis infidel legal systems. The paper makes clear that according to Islam, the only legitimate law is that which comes from Allah, and in fact authority to make laws rests with Allah alone. This renders every other legal system—including the American system—illegitimate.

Since the fact nevertheless remains that many Muslims do live under such ‘infidel’ legal systems, the paper provides guidelines for how they should act under these systems, specifically addressing issues such as Muslims studying man-made law (i.e. non-Islamic law), Muslims governing under infidel legal systems, Muslims working as judges or lawyers or prosecuting cases in infidel courts, and Muslims granting powers of attorney to non-Muslims in disputes. Throughout the paper it is made abundantly clear that Muslims should view the American and other non-Muslim legal systems as infidel systems, and that they are only to participate in them in specific circumstances in order to benefit Islam and Muslims generally. They are specifically instructed to feel hatred in their hearts toward such infidel legal systems, and to do everything within their power to make the Islamic Shari’a supreme, even if that means engaging in deception in certain cases.

It is important to note that AMJA--whose stated purpose is to "clarify the rulings of the sharia which are relevant for those who live in America"--is not just a fringe organization with no influence. The Islamic scholars involved with this group occupy influential positions in universities, Islamic centers, and mosques throughout the United States. Below is a list of some of their prominent members and experts, along with the names of universities and other organizations with which they're affiliated, as accessed from AMJA's website (Arabic name spellings as listed by AMJA):
  • Hussein Hamad Hassan (Chairman of the Board at AMJA), Director of Dar al-Sharia Legal and Financial Consultancy (Dubai) (firm which advises Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and others);
  • Mohammad AlMajid, Imam of Adam Center (Virginia);
  • Mohammad Naeem AlSael, University of Texas, American Open University (AOU) (Virginia);
  • Waleed Basyouni, North American Imam Federation (NAIF) (Arizona), Texas Dawah Convention, AlMaghrib Institute (Texas);
  • Ahmad Al Soway'ey Shleibak, Professor at AOU;
  • Al Sayed Abd Al Halim Muhammad Hussein, President of Al-Eman Islamic Association of New York;
  • Hatem AlHaj, Sharia Academy of America (Florida), Albert Lea Medical Center (Minnesota), NAIF, Islamic Jurisprudence Council of Minnesota;
  • Abdel Azim AlSiddiq, Professor at Islamic American University (IAU), Imam/Director of Aqsa Islamic Society;
  • Deya-ud-Deen Eberle, Lecturer at AOU;
  • Ahmad Al Sherbiny Nabhan, Professor at AOU;
  • Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq, Imam of the Islamic Center in New Jersey;
  • Gamal Helmy, Chairman of Religious Affairs in the Muslim Association of Virginia (MAV);
  • Gamal Zarbozo, Islamic writer and researcher in Denver, Colorado;
  • Haitham Abu Ridwan Barazanji, Imam of the Islamic Center in San Pitt, Tampa, FL;
  • Ibrahim Dremali, Imam of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, Florida;
  • Ibrahim Zidan, Imam of Al-Huda Islamic Center (New York);
  • Mohammad Faqih, Khateeb and Lecturer in Columbus, Ohio;
  • Mostafa Tolbah, Imam of Islamic Center in Detroit, Michigan;
  • Muhammad Abo Al Yosr Al Beyanony, Imam of Islamic Center in Raleigh, North Carolina;
  • Muhammad Sayed Adly, President of Imams and Duat Association of South and North Carolina, Imam of Masjid Al-Muslimeen in Columbia, South Carolina;
  • Muhammad Muhammad Musa, Imam of Islamic Center in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan;
  • Mukhtar Kartus, Member of Board of Trustees and Daia in Islamic Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan;
  • Mustafa Shahin, Lecturer at IAU;
  • Mustafa Balkhir, MA student at AOU;
  • Mustafa Al-Turk, Chairman of Islamic Organization, Michigan;
  • Omar Shahin, President of Executive Committee of NAIF, Lecturer at AOU;
  • Sadeq Muhammad Al Hassan, Director of Masjid Annur, Sacramento, California;
  • Samy Muhammad Masaud, Imam of Aleman Mosque in New York City;
  • Tho Al Fokkar Ali Shah (variant: Zulfiqar Ali Shah), President (Former) of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Executive Director of Fiqh Council of North America, Religious Director of Islamic Society of Milwaukee;
  • Yassir Fazaqa, Imam of Islamic Center of Orange County, California;
  • Waleed Al-Maneese, Dar-al-Farooq Islamic Center (Minnesota), Vice President of Islamic University of Minnesota, AOU, NAIF;
  • Muwaffak Al Ghaylany, Islamic Center in Grand Blank City (Minnesota), Shari`a Academy in America (Florida), NAIF;
  • Main Al-Qudah,  MAS Katy Center (Texas), AOU, Islamic American University (Minnesota), Al-Yarmook University (Iraq);
  • Salah Alsawy, Institute of Arabic and Islamic Sciences (Virginia), AOU, Sharia Academy (Florida), Al-Azhar University (Egypt), Umm Al Qura University (Saudi Arabia); and
  • Muhammad Adam Alsheikh, Al Rahmah Mosque (Maryland), Sudanese courts.
Credit goes to the Center for Security Policy for discovering this paper and bringing it to me for translation, and providing the background information to give it context.

(Note about the translation:  This is a gist, and not a verbatim translation, of the 47-page Arabic-language paper produced by AMJA. Certain sections of the paper are gisted in more detail than others simply due to Translating Jihad’s assessment of their relative significance. All Qur’an quotes included in the translation are taken from Yusuf ‘Ali’s English translation of the Qur’an, accessed from quran.com. Page numbers included below are taken from the original Arabic-language paper, which can be seen here.)

The gisted translation follows:
Page 1 (Title Page): 
Published By: Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) 
Title: “Judicial Work Outside the Lands of Islam—What Is Permitted and What Is Forbidden” 
By: Dr. Walid bin Idris bin ‘Abd-al-‘Aziz al-Manisi, Member of the Permanent Fatwa Committee for AMJA; Member of the Faculty of American Open University; Imam and Speaker at the Dar al-Faruq Islamic Center in Minneapolis 
Date: November 2007 
Page 2 (Introduction): 
Millions of Muslims have had to live outside the lands of Islam, or have been forced to do so, and many of them are persecuted in their religion. Muslims are permitted to reside in Dar al-Kuffar (i.e. The Land of the Infidels) under two conditions: