Every side in every conflict in the Middle East has its own mufti who will interpret Islam and hand down fatwas, religious injunctions, favorable to that side's interests. Using one approach or another to exploit Islam's complex, often contradictory, religious laws, every sheikh can find justification for the need and duty to carry out any act.
Any sheikh, acting as the mouthpiece for a Middle Eastern regime, will be able to provide an Islamic seal of approval, according to the whim of the regime's leaders, for the use of chemical and nuclear weapons. The muftis issue these fatwas relying on traditions handed down from the days of the prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.). Readers of Arabic who follow blogs and Internet sites are aware that for the most part, Islam authorizes the use of WMD against infidels and the Crusaders of the West -- that is, anyone who is not a Muslim.
Selected examples include the following: According to the Algerian sheikh Hir a-Din Mubarak Oueir, the prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) was sent armed with a sword to ensure that people would only worship Allah as Muslims; he achieved his aims using his lance, the relevant weapon at the time. The sheikh claims that since the time of the prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) and his ancient sword, humanity has made great progress in weaponry, including weapons with long-term destructive effects. Nations have had such military capabilities, the fruit of scientific and technological development, only since the last century. Thus, according to the heritage of the prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.), if the Islamic nation aspires to control the globe in this world and reach paradise in the next, it has to grasp the fundamentals of modern deterrent force, otherwise it will never restore its lost honor, land and rights.
Other radical ideologues, such as Muhammad bin Nassr Al-Jaa'wan, in his book War in Islam, Its Rulings and Laws; Ahmed Nar in Battle in Islam, and Muhammad Hir Haykal in Jihad and Fighting in Religious Politics, all claim that Muslims can and should use WMD, basing their declaration on Qur'an Verse 60 from the Surah Al-Anfal:
"And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war [that is, bombers, tanks, missiles, artillery, whatever] to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides, whom you may not know but whom Allah does know. And whatever you shall spend in the Cause of Allah shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly."
It is not my intention to teach readers the Qur'an, but in light of the fact that the Iranian nuclear bomb project is almost finished, it would be wise to be acquainted with the main concepts of the radical ideologues. According to their interpretation, Verse 60 permits the use of any and every weapon a Muslim can acquire, all types of industries, all types of weapons that can frighten and deter an enemy of Islam. As to the Verses of the Qur'an itself, there is no difference between Sunni and Shi'ite. They base their desire to use WMD also on Qur'an Verse 133 from the Surah Al-A'raf:
"So We sent upon them the flood and locusts and lice and frogs and blood as distinct signs, but they were arrogant and were a criminal people."
According to these Islamist interpreters, Allah sent upon Pharoah and the Egyptians punishment very similar to modern biological and chemical weapons, thus it is permissible to use such weapons against infidels, including their women and children. The Egyptian Imam Al-Khatib Al-Sharbini Al-Shafi'i is also of the opinion that fire and catapulted projectiles can be rained upon the houses of the infidels to destroy them, and they should be denied water, and scourged with snakes and scorpions -- all metaphors for biological and chemical weapons.
These honored sheikhs are convinced that because the prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w) burned the date plantations of the Jews of Bani Nazir, Muslims are at liberty to destroy everything, including plants and animals. According to that tradition, the prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w) used catapults to attack the residents of the Arabian Peninsula city of Taif. As the use of catapults resulted in the total destruction of the city, WMD are equated with them. According to these interpreters of Islam, it is imperative for Muslims to prepare for jihad and to defend the Muslim nation from its enemies; it is therefore also imperative to avail themselves of modern, technological destructive force. If there is no other way to overcome the enemy, the use of WMD is entirely permissible.
Sheikh al-Maqdisi justifies acquiring biological and chemical weapons and their use against the civilian population, along with psychological warfare conducted by both word of mouth and through the media. He claims that to overcome an enemy, the ancients made use of projectiles, fire, drowning, deforestation and the destruction of crops and animals, razing buildings, capping and poisoning wells and spreading disease and pollution.
Relying on the Qur'an Verse 5 from the Sura At-Tawba, he claims that in ancient battles, the enemy was attacked with poisonous insects, snakes and scorpions, which he likens to the use of chemical and biological warfare: "Kill those who share [polytheists] wherever you can find them, take them and lay siege on them."
He interprets this as meaning that Allah commanded all polytheists be killed, but as Allah did not limit the ways they could be killed, any and all means are acceptable. Under such circumstances it is difficult to condemn the Israelis for refusing to cede the high ground of the Golan Heights, from which the Syrians shot at farmers down in the valley before in the 1967 war, or for the Israelis' destruction of the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007. It was not by chance that the Syrian rulers filled their warehouses with chemical weapons. Assad now claims that he would never use them, not even against Israel, which is represented as the most the dangerous enemy of Islam, the Palestinians and Syria. In view of signs that he has not hesitated to use chemical weapons against his own people, it is hard to believe he is telling the truth,
Unfortunately for the Syrian regime, and fortunately for the West, the Israelis destroyed both the Iraqi and Syrian nuclear reactors, thereby saving the world at the time, especially the United States, from the humiliation now suffered at the hands of Iran. The Israelis recently struck Syrian army targets and weapons, used by order of Bashar Assad, protégé of Iran and Russia, to kill Syrian civilians. Thus the Israelis serve American interests, especially, for example, last month, when they struck Syrian regime's targets from the air, showing the West that there was no need to hesitate to attack. The Israeli message was also received by Hezbollah and Iran.
The Islamist sheikhs must not be allowed to get their hands on nuclear weapons. The developing Israeli-Turkish detente, the multinational naval exercise in the Persian Gulf and the Israeli strike on Syria all show that the countdown regarding Iran is approaching its end.