But what does ISIS say for itself? Here is testimony gathered by the Guardian on what is taught in the training camps:
Unlike previous incidents of stoning adulterers and crucifixion, throwing people from high buildings [for homosexuality] did not even inspire criticism of sharia in the Middle East because many did not realise it was a sharia penalty in the first place.
But it is the obscurity of the punishment that makes it particularly valuable for Isis. The purpose is not to increase the volume of violence but also to raise eyebrows and trigger questions about such practices, which Isis is more capable of answering than mainstream clerics, who prefer to conceal teachings that propound such punishments.
Many Isis members were eager to emphasise they were impressed by such obscure teachings, and were drawn to the group by the way Isis presents Islam with absolute lucidity.
Similar is the question of whether or not Islam spread by the sword:
We spread our message by proselytisation and sword. Ibn Taymiyyah said ‘the foundation of this religion is a book that guides and a sword that brings victory’. We guide and the sword brings victory.
“If someone opposes the message of the prophet, he faces nothing but the sword. As the prophet spread the message across the Earth, we are doing the same.”
Another member echoed Abu Moussa’s reasoning. “The prophet said: ‘I have been given victory by means of terror.’ As for slaughter, beheading and crucifixion, this is in the Qu’ran and Sunna [oral sayings attributed to prophet Muhammad].
“In the videos we produce, you see the sentence ‘deal with them in a way that strikes fear in those behind them’, and that verse speaks for itself. One more thing: the prophet told the people of Quraish, ‘with slaughter I came to you’.”
The article claims that mainstream clerics prefer not to address these more sordid matters. But here is very thorough counter-tract, called an Open Letter to Baghdadi, with a 24-point refutation of the Islamic State and its practices.
It is signed by Muslim leaders around the world, exposing either the ignorance or agenda of those who rail against ‘moderate Muslims’ for not condemning ISIS. The punishment of throwing from the rooftops is not mentioned, but here is an excerpt from their section on jihad:
The reason behind jihad for Muslims is to fight those who fight them, not to fight anyone who does not fight them, nor to transgress against anyone who has not transgressed against them. God’s words in permitting jihad are: ‘Permission is granted to those who fight because they have been wronged. And God is truly able to help them; those who were expelled from their homes without right, only because they said: “Our Lord is God”. Were it not for God’s causing some people to drive back others, destruction would have befallen the monasteries, and churches, and synagogues, and mosques in which God’s Name is mentioned greatly. Assuredly God will help those who help Him. God is truly Strong, Mighty.’ (Al-Hajj, 22: 39-40).
Thus, jihad is tied to safety, freedom of religion, having been wronged, and eviction from one’s land. These two verses were revealed after the Prophet ﷺ and his companions suffered torture, murder, and persecution for thirteen years at the hands of the idolaters. Hence, there is no such thing as offensive, aggressive jihad just because people have different religions or opinions. This is the position of Abu Hanifa, the Imams Malik and Ahmad and all other scholars including Ibn Taymiyyah, with the exception of some scholars of the Shafi’i school.
And for the benefit of Egypt’s reputation, here is a list of her signatories, many of whom are affiliated with the Azhar:
4. Prof. Salim Abdul-Jalil, Former Undersecretary for da’wah at the Awqaf Ministry, and Professor of Islamic Civilization at Misr University for Science & Technology
5. Sheikh Wahid Abdul-Jawad, Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’)
6. Dr. Mustafa Abdul-Kareem, Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’)
7. Prof. Ibrahim Abdul-Rahim, Professor of Shari’ah, Dar al-Ulum College, Cairo University
8. Prof. Jafar Abdul-Salam, Secretary-General of the League of Islamic Universities
11. HE Prof. Sheikh Shawqi Allam, The Grand Mufti of Egypt
13. Prof. Mohammad Mahmoud Abu-Hashem, Vice-President of Al-Azhar University and member of the Centre for Islamic Research at Al-Azhar Al-Sharif
16. Prof. Mohammad Al-Amir, Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies for Girls, Al-Mansoura University
17. Dr. Majdi Ashour, Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’)
18. Prof. Dr. Abdul-Hai Azab, Dean of the Faculty of Shari’ah and Law, Al-Azhar University
21. Prof. Bakr Zaki Awad, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Al-Azhar University, Egypt
23. Dr. Sheikh Osama Mahmoud Al-Azhari, Islamic Preacher
35. Dr. Mohammad Abdul Sam’i Budair, Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’)
41. Prof. Jamal Farouq Al-Daqqaq, Professor at Al-Azhar University
44. Prof. Mohammad Nabil Ghanayim, Professor of Shari’ah, Dar al-Ulum College, Cairo University
45. Sheikh Dr. Ali Gomaa, Former Grand Mufti of Egypt
55. HE Prof. Mohammad Al-Hifnawi, Professor of Usul al-Fiqh at the Faculty of Shari’ah and Law at Al-Azhar University, Tanta branch
56. Prof. Sami Hilal, Dean of the College of the Holy Qur’an, Tanta University
57. Prof. Sa’d al-Din Al-Hilali, Head of the Department of Comparative Jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University
63. Dr. Khaled Imran, Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’)
71. Sheikh Ahmad Wisam Khadhr, Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’)
72. Sheikh Muhammad Wisam Khadhr, Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’)
74. Sheikh Mohammad Yahya Al-Kittani, Preacher & Imam
76. Sheikh Amr Mohamed Helmi Khaled, Islamic Preacher and Founder and President of the Right Start Global Foundation
81. Prof. Dr. Abdul Hamid Madkour, Professor of Islamic Philosophy, Dar al-Ulum College, Cairo University
83. Prof. Mohammad Mukhtar Al-Mahdi, Professor of Islamic Studies, Al-Azhar University and President of the Shari’ah Society
85. Sheikh Ahmad Mamdouh, Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’)
89. Prof. Mohammad Abdul Samad Muhanna, Advisor to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif
90. Sheikh Mukhtar Muhsen, Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’)
91. Professor Fathi Awad Al-Mulla, Pundit and consultant for the Association of Islamic Universities
96. Mr. Abdul Hadi Al-Qasabi, Grand Sheikh of the Sufi Tariqahs in Egypt
97. Prof. Saif Rajab Qazamil, Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence, Al-Azhar University
99. Sheikh Ashraf Sa’ad, Muslim Scholar
102. Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Sharif, Head of the Association of Sherifs in Egypt
107. Prof. Ismail Abdul-Nabi Shaheen, Vice President Al-Azhar University and Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Islamic Universities
113. Prof. Nabil Al-Smalouti, Professor of Sociology and former Dean of the Department of Humanities, Al-Azhar University
121. Dr. Amr Wardani, Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta’)
126. Prof. Zaki Zaidan, Professor of Shari’ah, Faculty of Law, Tanta University
At the time of this writing, Prof. Zaidan is the last of 126 signatories. I am not aware of why it is arranged in this order, but high-ranking Egyptians are listed throughout.
Deeper analysis and further study is needed to either rebut or prove the claim that ISIS is Islam, but these scholars are certain it is far from the religion.