In a recent article titled "Sodomy 'For the sake of Islam'," Raymond Ibrahim, an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum, reported that Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri, who plotted to assassinate Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Nayef in 2009 with a bomb hidden in his rectum, had apparently relied on a fatwa by an obscure cleric permitting sodomy to "widen" his anus to accommodate the explosives.
Benjamin Doherty of The Electronic Intifada website denounced the Ibrahim article, claiming that he fell for a vulgar hoax.
The Middle East Forum has looked both into this criticism and Mr. Ibrahim's rebuttal. We find no evidence to substantiate the charges and, accordingly, the Forum stands by Mr Ibrahim.
Not only did the original "underwear bomber" Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri hide explosives in his rectum to assassinate Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Nayef—they met in 2009 after the 22-year-old Asiri "feigned repentance for his jihadi views"—but this "holy-warrior" apparently had fellow jihadists repeatedly sodomize him to "widen" his anus to fit the explosives—and all in accordance with the fatwas of Islamic clerics.
A 2010 Arabic news video that aired on Fadak TV gives the details. Apparently a cleric, one Abu al-Dema al-Qasab, informed al-Asiri and other jihadis of an "innovative and unprecedented way to execute martyrdom operations: place explosive capsules in your anus. However, to undertake this jihadi approach you must agree to be sodomized for a while to widen your anus so it can hold the explosives."
Others inquired further by asking for formal fatwas. Citing his desire for "martyrdom and the virgins of paradise," one jihadi (possibly al-Asiri himself) asked another sheikh, "Is it permissible for me to let one of the jihadi brothers sodomize me to widen my anus if the intention is good?"
After praising Allah, the sheikh's fatwa began by declaring that sodomy is forbidden in Islam,
However, jihad comes first, for it is the pinnacle of Islam, and if the pinnacle of Islam can only be achieved through sodomy, then there is no wrong in it. For the overarching rule of [Islamic] jurisprudence asserts that 'necessity makes permissible the prohibited.' And if obligatory matters can only be achieved by performing the prohibited, then it becomes obligatory to perform the prohibited, and there is no greater duty than jihad. After he sodomizes you, you must ask Allah for forgiveness and praise him all the more. And know that Allah will reward the jihadis on the Day of Resurrection, according to their intentions—and your intention, Allah willing, is for the victory of Islam, and we ask that Allah accept it of you.
Two important and complementary points emerge from this matter: 1) that jihad is the "pinnacle" of Islam—for it makes Islam supreme (based on a Muhammad hadith); and 2) that "necessity makes permissible the prohibited." These axioms are not limited to modern day fatwas, but in fact, were crystallized centuries ago, agreed to by the ulema, or Islam's leading doctrinaires.
The result is that, because making Islam supreme through jihad is the greatest priority, anything and everything that is otherwise banned becomes permissible. All that comes to matter is one's intention, or niyya.
From here one may understand the many ostensible incongruities of Islamic history: lying is forbidden—but permissible to empower Islam; intentionally killing women and children is forbidden—but permissible during the jihad; suicide is forbidden—but permissible during the jihad, called "martyrdom."
Indeed, the Five Pillars of Islam—including prayer and fasting—may be ignored during the jihad. (So important was the duty of jihad that the Ottoman sultans, who often spent half their lives on the battlefield, were not permitted to perform the obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca.)
More recently, these ideas appeared in different form during Egypt's elections, when Islamic leaders portrayed voting as a form of jihad—leading to the abuse and even killing of those not voting for the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to these two doctrines—which culminate in empowering Islam, no matter how—one may expect anything from would-be jihadis, regardless of how dubious the effort may otherwise seem.
Even so, this uncompromising mentality, which is prevalent throughout the Islamic world, especially along the frontlines of the jihad, is the same mentality that many Western leaders and politicians think can be appeased with just a bit more respect, well-wishing, and concessions from the West.
Such are the great, and disastrous, disconnects of our time.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.