The Charter of the Syrian Islamic Front

Below is a translation of the charter of the Syrian Islamic Front, a coalition of Islamist brigades working to topple the Assad regime. (Original document here, posted January 21.)

Most immediately evident is that the Front is essentially fighting a two-front war: it’s looking to topple the Assad regime, but it’s also aiming for the establishment and reform of Islamic morals in Syria. In that sense, the Front is fighting with one eye on what will follow the collapse of regime authority.

Among (many) other noteworthy points is the Front’s envisioned place for religious minorities. Non-Muslims are nominally accorded equal rights, but those rights are strictly circumscribed by Islamic shari’a. By my reading, the status of Shi’ites and Alawites is ambiguous. The document makes clear (largely through omission) that the scope of acceptable diversity in Islamic thought and practice is limited to variations on Sunnism. As non-Sunnis perceived as heretics, then, Shi’ites and Alawites exist outside that Sunni consensus. It is unclear if they would be accorded the same baseline protections as Christians or if they would instead be dealt with more harshly.

Translation Note: The word “reform” is used throughout this document. It should be understood in the religious sense, i.e., the repair of general morals and religious belief. It should not be understood as political reform.

Charter of the Syrian Islamic Front 

Introduction:

Praise be to God; we thank Him and ask His forgiveness and guidance. Prayers and peace be upon God’s servant and messenger, our Prophet Muhammad, and on his family and companions.

To accomplish the righteous duty with which God most high has tasked us, consensus has been reached between the movements, groups, and brigades listed below in this Charter on the formation of an Islamic front to be called the “Syrian Islamic Front.” It is to undertake Islamic activity of all kinds and in all fields in Syria.

What follows is the Charter of the Front, which is considered – along with its explanatory materials and organizing regulations – the principal reference and determinant of the direction and work of the Front.

Section One: The Definition of the Front and Its Goals

[The Front is] an Islamic, reformist, comprehensive front that works to build an Islamic, civilized society in Syria ruled by the law of God, with which He graced mankind. To that end, it embraces the organizational work that brings about solidarity and coexistence among the elements of Syrian society. This includes various means, including military action, which aims to topple the regime and establish security. It also encompasses civil action, including da’wa (proselytization), educational, humanitarian, media, political, and service work.

1) The Principal Headquarters of the Front: In Syria.

2) The Goals of the Front:

  • Toppling the regime and establishing security throughout beloved Syria.
  • Working to empower religion on the individual, society, and state level.
  • Preservation of society’s Islamic identity and the building of a comprehensive Islamic character.
  • Rebuilding Syria on the sound bases of justice, independence and solidarity in accordance with the principles of Islam.
  • Active participation in societal development.
  • The preparation of expert leadership in all areas of life.

3) Vision:

Building a civilized Islamic society in Syria ruled by the law of God, with which He graced mankind.

4) The Message:

We are a comprehensive Islamic front working to liberate the land and people [of Syria] and to build, through organizational work, a civilized Islamic society in Syria.

Section 2: Principal Focuses

  1. The reference for this Charter is based on the principles of sharia, as well as its complete rules and general aims (maqasid). No one in an Islamic society is above accountability, whoever he may be. This principle needs to be embodied in all constitutional and legal formulations, as well as in the freedom of the judiciary to enforce it.
  2. Whenever we turn to principles and overarching issues, we find that dispute is rare or minimal. Whenever we turn to secondary issues or details, we find that agreement is rare or minimal. The divisions among those involved in military or civil work are principally rooted in differences in their view of reality and the means and approaches that should be used to address it, in addition to differences on the ordering of priorities. All these are difficult to resolve, and so we resort to general principle.
  3. The Syrian Islamic Front is considered one of the Islamic forces at work in Syrian society, so we work to maintain the unity of our message and coalition and to avoid division. We work to reach understanding with all those working on behalf of Islam with whom it is possible to cooperate according to a common understanding of righteousness, piety, and rightly guided vision. We try to avoid antagonizing them or treating them harshly to no benefit.
  4. We believe in the importance of a comprehensive review of our previous assumptions and methods insofar as it helps to avoid the repetition of mistakes and realize greater successes, both military and civil. This civil work includes da’wa and reform of morals.
  5. The Front’s convictions spring from the approach of the ahl al-sunna (Sunnis), drawn from the Book of God and the confirmed sunna (actions and sayings) of the Prophet, peace be upon him. It is also based on the understanding of the righteous forefathers among the Companions and followers [of the Prophet] and respected (followed) imams.
  6. The exercise of good behavior and morals and the calling of people to embrace them (da’wa) are among the authentic approaches of the righteous forefathers. We adhere to that approach in word and deed.
  7. Our approach is one of centrism and moderation. It is far from religious fanaticism and its resulting deviation of creed and action. It is also far from a neglect [of religion] and the resultant weakening of the role of religion in governing public life.
  8. [The Front] focuses on building correct thinking and the proper methods. It also focuses on the adoption of a gradual, controlled approach, bearing priorities in mind.
  9. The Front, in its makeup and activities, springs from organizational work and adopts the principle of shura (consultation) as a means of arriving at decisions.

Section Three: The Relationship between the Members of the Front

  1. The relationship is based on Islamic brotherhood and the adherence to counsel and propriety in the case of any division.
  2. Priority [shall be given] to the principle of forgiveness and pardon in any dispute, as well as the mending of relations between the two parties.
  3. [There shall be no] fanaticism or closed-mindedness in favor of a single view.
  4. Shura is a principle in which we believe, and it is binding in decision-making that is not administrative or military. In this way, we aim to avoid the dominance of a single view.
  5. The reference for all the actions of the Front is the Leadership Council (majlis al-qiyada). The Legitimate Body (al-hai’a al-shar’iya) is the legitimate governor of all the actions of the Front and its decisions are binding for the Front.

Section Four: The Relationship between the Elements of Syrian Society

Muslims:

  1. The unification of Muslims in righteousness and the condemnation of division, dispute, and extremism.
  2. The enlargement of the sanctity of the Muslim. The avoidance of rule over him through unbelief, wantonness, or heresy (bid’a); rather, rule only through the guidance and evidence of the ’ulama (ahl al-’ilm).
  3. The recognized schools of Islamic thought (al-madhahib) among ahl al-sunna are a great intellectual wealth left to us by the umma’s (Islamic nation) scholars. We adhere to them but do not cling to them fanatically. We always work to achieve compromise between those advancing and working for Islam and to unite them in goodness, as that is considered among the best acts of worship of God most high.  This is coupled with generally assuming the best of Muslims and the avoidance of snooping and hunting for mistakes and lapses.
  4. Thinking the best of Muslims and overlooking their faults. Bearing their words and actions with as much forbearance as possible, coupled with advice to them.
  5. Distinction in instances of da’wa between friendliness to people with the goal of lenience and reform, and between hypocrisy and silence about the truth, to say nothing of saying illegitimate things.
  6. Concern with the state of Muslims throughout Syria and efforts to aid them and defend them. Administrative and financial integrity, transparency, the flow of information, the fighting of corruption, purifying society of bribery, and the protection of government jobs from personal exploitation are the basis of right-guided governance. We will work with everything at our disposal to make these principles part of public life.
  7. Attention to everything that addresses the interests and needs of the people, standing with their just demands, and the rejection of any injustice that compromises their legitimate rights.
  8. Women have rights like those of men, and they have responsibilities like those of men. The relationship between men and women is complementary. The crucial factor in men and women’s actions is integrity and competence, taking into consideration the legitimate particularities that distinguish women from men. This comes with affirmation of the necessity of liberation from the customs and norms that restrict the role of women in public life and that do not rely on the definitive rulings of shari’a and its general aims (maqasid). It also comes with affirmation that the West’s actions to westernize women and remove them from the framework of Islam with which God blessed them are rejected.

Non-Muslims:

  1. Islam is the religion of the state, and it is the principal and only source of legislation. We will work through all legitimate and possible means to ensure that there is no law that contradicts the set and confirmed principles (al-thawabit al-mu’tamada) of Islamic shari’a.
  2. The preservation of the geographic unity of Syria and the rejection of any plan to divide it on an ethnic or sectarian basis, bearing in mind that all Syrians enjoy the rights required for them by [religious] law.
  3. Coexistence between the sons of one nation, however their schools [of thought] or creeds might differ. That entails mutual responsibilities and rights. It makes the principle of the sanctity of blood, money, and honor something shared by all and something upon which there can be no infringement except according to the rulings of Islamic shari’a and through [its] conclusive judicial rulings.
  4. Justice and fairness are the basis of the relationship in dealing with non-Muslims. Difference of religion is not a justification for injustice against anyone.
  5. All members of society can participate in realizing its general interest, however their schools [of thought] and creeds might differ.
  6. The call for the integration and mixing of religions and sects is rejected according to [religious] law. Moreover, it contains a kind of aggression against those religions and communities and is a sort of religious and cultural adulteration.

Introduction to the Syrian Islamic Front:

Why the Front?

  • To undertake the responsibility and carry out the charge with which God has commanded us in terms of furthering His religion and instituting His law.
  • The Islamic current must have a unified voice to clearly articulate its demands and rights in order to guarantee that the just demands of the Muslim people are realized.
  • The importance of an organized institutional effort to unite the brigades on the ground, develop the aid effort, and correctly place funds insofar as that accomplishes the Front’s present and future goals of building an ideal Islamic society.
  • People’s need to spread the correct teachings and unerring rulings of religion, based on the Book [of God] and the sunna; their thirst for knowledge of the truth and how it can be followed, as well as righteousness and its application,  especially after oppressive regimes implemented a state of intellectual terror and suffocation in the name of security that resulted in intellectual, dogmatic, and behavioral disfigurements. All this makes it imperative that there be good, upright models distinguished by their adherence to the Book [of God] and the sunna in word, deed, conviction, and labor to spread God’s message (da’wa). This is to address the sickness and correct the path.

Our Vision:

Building a civilized Islamic society in Syria that is ruled by the law of God with which He blessed us.

Our Message:

We are a comprehensive Islamic front that works to liberate [Syria’s] land and people and build a civilized Islamic society in Syria through institutional work.

Our Goals:

  1. Toppling the regime and establishing security throughout beloved Syria.
  2. Working to empower religion on the individual, society, and state level.
  3. Preservation of society’s Islamic identity and the building of a comprehensive Islamic character.
  4. Rebuilding Syria on the sound bases of justice, independence and solidarity in accordance with the principles of Islam.
  5. Active participation in societal development.
  6. The preparation of expert leadership in all areas of life.

Our Means:

The Front works in the following areas and along the following axes: military, political, media, intellectual, da’wa, educational and aid.

These fields are organized and joined by a number of general methods considered a shared basis for engaging them. Among these are:

  1. Establishing the principle of shura through the participation of all those disposed to solutions and reason in the making of critical decisions.
  2. Appealing to all Islamic brigades to join the Front and participate in decision-making and defining the future of Syria.
  3. Cooperation and coordination with all forces working on the ground to topple the regime.
  4. Disseminating the teachings of Islam in Syria society through da’wa and intellectual activity which the Front will undertake.
  5. Putting forward programs and specialized courses in a number of areas, including: military training, Muslim personal training, training of Islamic evangelists (du’at), as well as other courses and important development programs.
  6. Consultation and engagement with the Islamic institutions working according a clear, legitimate vision.

All fortune through God.

The Names of the Founding Entities of the Syrian Islamic Front

  1. Ahrar al-Sham (the Free Men of Syria) Brigades (all governorates of Syria)
  2. Al-Iman (Belief) Combat Brigades (Damascus governorate and the surrounding countryside)
  3. Al-Hamza bin Abdul-Mutallab Brigade (Damascus governorate and the surrounding countryside)
  4. Suqour al-Islam (the Hawks of Islam) Brigade (Damascus governorate and the surrounding countryside)
  5. Saraya al-Maham al-Khassa (the Special Operations Brigades) (Damascus governorate and the surrounding countryside)
  6. Liwa’ al-Haq (Banner of Righteousness) (Homs governorate and the surrounding countryside)
  7. Harakat al-Fajar al-Islami (The Islamic Dawn Movement) (Aleppo governorate and the surrounding countryside)
  8. Mus’ab bin ’Ameer Brigade (Aleppo countryside)
  9. Jama’at al-Talee’a al-Islamiya (The Islamic Vanguard Group) (Idlib countryside)
  10. Ansar al-Sham (Supporters of Syria) Brigades (Lattakia governorate and surrounding countryside)
  11. Jeish al-Tawheed (The Army of Monotheism / Unification) (Deir al-Zour governorate and surrounding countryside)

 

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9 Responses to The Charter of the Syrian Islamic Front

  1. imlob99 says:

    I thank for the translator and the issuer very much..

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