Fatwa on whether Hamas is allowed to take Iranian funds or not...
I found this interesting fatwa by a pro-Hamas author writing under the pseudonym “Abu ‘Abdullah al-Hanbali,” which was posted a couple of days ago on a Palestinian discussion forum (www.palestinianforum.net) where Hamas radicals and others are active. It deals with the issue of accepting aid from Shi'a Iran (the fatwa employs the derogatory word rafidha and its derivatives to describe Shi'as) and under what conditions that accepting such aid would be permissible. Iran has recently pledged another 250 million dollars in aid to the Hamas government, after making an earlier payment of 120 million dollars, but this benevolence does not seem to be currying too much favor with Hamas’ rank and file like this al-Hanbali fellow.
Iran has been a longtime patron of Hamas, although the Islamic Jihad is the organization that is most closely affiliated with Iran among Palestinian fundamentalist groups due to the influence of Khomeini’s revolution on its founder, Fethi al-Shikaki (gunned down in 1995 in Malta).
The fatwa author seems to fear the spread of Shi’a sympathies among Palestinians via Iranian financial aid. Some members of Islamic Jihad have allegedly converted to Shi’ism—a creed that does not exist among modern Palestinians. A thousand years ago there were Shi'a populations in the towns of Nablus and around Lake Tiberias but most vanished over time. There are a couple of ‘Alawite (non-mainstream Shi'as) villages in Galilee.
It should be noted that Hamas is considered ‘soft’ by other jihadist organizations when it comes to doctrine. Most recently, Al-Qaeda’s Aymen al-Zawahiri criticized Hamas to partaking in the non-Islamic ‘ritual’ of elections—which is how Hamas got to control the Palestinian cabinet in January 2006.
Isma’il Haniya, Hamas’ PM, refused to pray alongside Shi'as during his latest trip to Iran in early December 2006.
So if the ‘softies’ in Hamas are having a hard time swallowing and justifying the much-needed aid coming from Iran (…when the Iranians are more than willing to oblige them) then it just goes to show how much of taboo such an association with Shi'a Iran has become. The Iranians would be more than happy to help jihadists hurt America and Israel; I just don’t think the jihadists would be amenable to receiving such aid from ‘heretics’ whom they believe to be in league with the ‘Crusaders and Zionists.’ This assertion is most pertinent to Iraq and to the recent allegations of Iranian support for Sunni jihadist insurgent groups there. It also addresses the logistical issue of a need for a state-sponsor (…in Iraq’s case that would either be Shi'a Iran or ‘Alawite Syria) to support insurgent activity. What if the jihadists, in the post-Zarqawi era, are leveraging technology, small-scale fundraising and networks of sympathizers in such a way as to do away with the need of a state sponsor?
Here is my translation, and I’ve left out all the cumbersome Koranic and religious references that are usually the language of fatwas. The full text (in Arabic) is posted in the comments section:
Is is permissible for Hamas to take aid from Iran?
By Abi-Abdullah al-Hanbali
Thanks be to Allah, and Peace and Prayers Upon the Messenger of Allah:
I say, and through Allah comes accomplishment, that:
It is impermissible for Hamas to take aid from Iran but for these conditions being met and the legal injunctions don’t stand against it:
1) There being a legal necessity [for that]…Because the Prophet (PBUH) had rejected seeking the aid of idolaters in some cases, and accepted them in others, and that shows that it is permissible when necessary…
2) The alternative to this aid becomes meager, because to take aid from [the Iranians] would achieve one of their interests, and we shouldn’t give them that except in the case of a mutual interest.
The legal injunctions against [receiving aid] are greatly perilous, and the damage due to ignoring them would be grave, and they are, generally:
-That it [is not done] at the expense of religious doctrine, and accepted principles, because any interest at the expense of religious is an illusion, and cannot be contravened by arguing that necessities sanction the impermissible, because religion is the principal of these necessities…, and the forms it may take:
a) The Iranians may exploit [the aid] by showing the leaders of Hamas, may Allah preserve them, praying with the rawafidh, or visiting the graves of their tyrants like the grave of the extinct (Ed.: 'alhalik,' does anyone have a better translation?) Khomeini, because the intent of the rawafidh is to show the leaders of Hamas as supporters of their false religion, and their faded symbols, [in order] to confuse Sunni laypersons, and to embellish the religion of the rafidha and I don’t think that the leaders of Hamas would accept that, because why else would the rafidha be determined to photograph the leaders of Hamas undertaking such rituals?
b) If it means that the leaders of Hamas would be silent over the crimes of the Shi'a in Iraq and Iran, and this runs counter to the verses of the Koran, and the illuminated hadiths of the Prophet, that beseech [us] not to let down [other] Muslims, and the need to empower them, even though with words.
c) If this aid is provisioned upon the establishment of cultural centers spreading Shi’ism and rafdh in Palestine.
d) To deflect the people of Hamas from understanding the doctrine of Sunnism, especially as it relates to the companions [of the Prophet], for whatever major support was given by Abu Taleb (Ed.: Muhammad’s paternal uncle) to the Prophet, PBUH, the Prophet never ceased to understand the fake doctrines of the idolaters, even though his uncle was an idolater.
And here one may ask:
“What then is Iran’s interest in supporting Hamas after all that?”
I say [Iran’s] interest is to increase the harm done to its enemies and the enemies of Hamas, [those are] America and Israel, on the assumption that the Shi'a are indeed hostile to them, and if it has any other interest like spreading Shi’ism then [Iran] should look for a devil in human form to help her do that, because Hamas is a Sunni jihadist movement that will never accept that…