Learning about Islam the embarrassing way

Have you ever wondered whether a Muslim could serve in the military of a non-Muslim country (like Australia)?

Well, now we know the answer to that. Yes, they can, but only if it is of benefit to Islam, such as allowing Muslims to learn military secrets. This is the ruling issued on this very question by the website ‘Islam Question and Answer’.

What is the ruling on Muslims serving in the military of non muslim country ? What is the evidence for its permissibility or prohibition?

And lastly, what is the status of a Muslim working to help those in the military to fulfill their obligations to Allaah while serving in the Army, Navy, or whatever?

Praise be to Allaah.

We put this question to Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, may Allaah preserve him, who answered as follows:

“Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds. Military matters are problematic, because they involve helping these kuffaar to wage war against the Muslims or those who have entered into a treaty with the Muslims. If no such thing is involved, it may be advantageous for Muslims to work in these armies so as to learn their secrets and be aware of their potential evil. In other words, if working in these armies could be of benefit, it may be permissible, otherwise it is not allowed.”

On this basis, if a person works as a preacher or daa’iyah or imaam or muezzin, serving the Muslims and calling non-Muslims to Islam, then there is nothing wrong with this.

Those who understand Islam will not be surprised at this answer.

What they may be surprised about is how this answer came to light. It was found by following the links included in the Guide to Religion and Belief in the Australian Defence Force. I must give credit at this point to Michael Smith who uncovered this debacle in January and lifted the lid on yet another embarrassing failure of the hierarchy of the Australian Defence Force to understand Islam.

Before I get into that, however, I would just like to let the Chief of Navy speak about the Guide to Religion and Belief in the Australian Defence Force.

This is what he had to say at the Australian War Memorial last year. At a Ramadan Dinner. Right after he announced that he had fasted in solidarity with the Islamic community.

Guide to religion and belief in the ADF

Last year the then Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, released a document, entitled: Guide to Religion and Belief in the ADF. It brings together in one place a clear guide for all ADF commanding officers on the implications of faith as it is practised by permanent serving members and reservists when in uniform.

This guide makes clear what a supervisor or unit commander’s duties and obligations are when attending to the religious needs of those in his or her chain of command.

It provides a great deal of information on the beliefs and practices of all the religions represented in the ADF. It provides clear guidance on the following matters: 

– Religious observances at work, the facilitation of prayer and leave for religious festivals.
– Bereavement leave
– Uniform regulations and permissible variations in dress
– Medical Treatment
– Dietary needs and fasting
– Worship and in the worst case Death in service.

In the section of this ADF guide dealing specifically with Islam the five pillars of the faith, the daily rituals of the practicing Muslim and the significance of Friday prayers are all respectfully and carefully explained.

Religious and service obligations are compatable (sic) in the ADF

I have spoken about this Guide at some length to underline the point that ADF and Navy has acknowledged its multi-faith future.

The Service Chiefs and the Secretary of Defence and the Government are hoping that the leaders of faith communities will now encourage members to see the ADF for what it has become and will continue to be; not what it once was.

The Navy I lead is a work place where men and women of all faiths should be able to offer service to Australia and meet their religious duties, without compromising either obligation. Please take that message with you and pass it on to those in your community who may want to know more about a career in the ADF.  We welcome and need their talent and their commitment to serve.

I guess the first thing to note is that the Chief of Navy’s speechwriter can’t spell ‘compatible’, which is less of a problem than the fact that no one in the military’s hierarchy appears to have any idea what the word means anyway.

In this world of hazy logic and words without meaning, it can be difficult working out what’s going on. As best I can make out, the Australian Defence Force is hoping to increase recruitment from the Islamic community by promoting a website in its glossy feel-good brochure about Islam that encourages Muslims to steal classified military information. And, at the same time, it is at war with those who fight on the basis of their Islamic beliefs.

It’s the kind of thing you’d expect to see in a Monty Python skit. It’s not the kind of thing you’d expect from an organisation charged with protecting our nation.

And it’s certainly not what you’d expect from any organisation that understood the concept of compatibility, or that had the slightest clue about the implications of faith as practised by those who adhere to Islamic ideology.

This ‘guide’ really is nothing more than a bad joke. The Chief of Navy reckons it ‘contains a great deal of information’ about Islam. That’s a very charitable way for the Chief of Navy to describe this military document. After all, it is strangely silent on Mohammad’s military expeditions.

None of them get a mention, even though I’m even prepared to admit that they were brilliant tactical accomplishments. One can only wonder why the Australian Defence Force is not prepared to admit that Mohammad commanded an army.

Anyway, here’s the proof of this latest bungle.

This is the front cover of the Guide to Religion and Belief in the Australian Defence Force.

ADF Guide front cover

The front cover of the Guide to Religion and Belief in the Australian Defence Force.


On page 32, this guide listed these links for Islam in the section titled, ‘Religious References’.

Islam links

The links provided in the Guide to Religion and Belief in the Australian Defence Force to be used as resources for further information on Islam.


If you click the second link, you find this webpage.

Islam webpage

The webpage, http://islam.iinet.net.au/, provided as a resource in the Guide to Religion and Belief in the Australian Defence Force.


On the left hand side is a menu, including a link to ‘Learning Islam’.

Webpage menu

The menu of the website, http://islam.iinet.net.au/. It contains a link titled, ‘Learning Islam’.


If you click on ‘Learning Islam’, you will be given a list of resources.

Learning resources

The link of resources to learn more about Islam provided by the website, http://islam.iinet.net.au/.


And if you click on ‘Islam Questions and Answers’, you will be taken to this website.

Islam Q&A

The home page of ‘Islam Question & Answer’. It is a resource to learn more about Islam contained on the website, http://islam.iinet.net.au/, which is listed in the Guide to Religion and Belief in the Australian Defence Force.


Luckily, it has an English section where you can ask any question you want.

Like, ‘can Muslims serve in the military of non-muslim country’?

And, as we have already seen from above, yes, they can. But only if it derives some benefit for Islam, such as gaining access to military secrets.

Oh, and by the way, it’s also fine and dandy for Islamic chaplains to serve if they can call non-Muslims to Islam.

Considering the military’s imam supports Hizb ut Tahrir, believes Sharia law should be introduced into Australia’s legal system, opposes military support for Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State and condemns new counter-terrorism laws that prohibit the advocation of terrorism, there can be little doubt about what kind of calling he’s going to do.

Just in case you want to use this Australian Defence Force-promoted website to learn a little more about Islam, please feel free to go ahead. Here are some handy links you may find of most use:

Finally, according to Michael Smith’s website, the Australia Defence Force recently removed its Guide to Religion and Belief in the Australian Defence Force. However, it is now up again, minus the links to Islamic websites. That’s a good start. Unfortunately, the section on Islam remains unchanged when it really should be updated to reveal the truth about this ideology.

And this is really the strangest part of all in this saga. It shows the wilful denial by the hierarchy of the Australian Defence Force of all that Islam is. Its own document links to crystal clear proof issued by Islamic scholars that Islam is violent, misogynistic, brutal, and that it even promotes sexual activity with young girls. And the Australian Defence Force has responded by pretending it all away.

You can find the new politically-updated, but woefully inaccurate Guide to Religion and Belief in the Australian Defence Force here.

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of eight children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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