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© Ayaz Kazi
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1. Introduction............................................................. 2. Exploding the myth................................................ 3. What is Jihad?.......................................................... 4. Jihad : An Islamic perspective............................... 5. What is terrorism?................................................... 6. Do religions sanction terrorism?.......................... 7. Why people resort to terrorism?........................... 8. Are Muslims terrorists? ......................................... 9. Then who are the terrorist? .................................. 10. Can terrorism be compared to Jihad?.................. 11. Misconception : Was Islam spread by the sword?..... 12. Misconception : Is Islam a militant religion?............ 13. Conclusion................................................................ 14. Bibliography............................................................. 5 7 8 11 15 17 19 20 21 25 26 28 30 32
The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily! He, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.
(The Noble Qur'an, 41:34)
The world today is suffering from waves of organized terrorism that have cast mankind into a fiery furnace of problems and catastrophes. Hardly a day passes without news in various media about some kind of terrorist act until the recent attack by terrorists in Mumbai. Threats, acts and campaigns of terrorism remain a central concern for those responsible for domestic, regional and international security. Moreover, immediately after each incident the public feels more vulnerable and uncertain, as new threats impact the perception of their security as individuals, families, friends and communities. While people will naturally seek to return to a sense of normalcy after an attack, the next bombing, hostage taking or other form of terrorist violence will add yet another sense of physical and mental vulnerability to the next potential victims of terrorism. Terrorists also have continued to enhance their ability to intimidate a global audience. Since after September 11, 2001, religions, in particular Islam, has received a great deal of criticism due to the extremists in their midst. In reality, though for every ideology or thought, there are extreme adherents - extremists who are often violent and terrorize common masses. But the size of the problem of terrorism among the Muslims is greatly exaggerated beyond its true size by the media. Terrorism is to transgress upon people by way of unjustly striking or killing them, with no proof (to justify these actions); rather (these actions are committed) upon ignorance and dearth of insight. Thus, they change peoples (state of) security, and they cause problems between them and between their countries. Islam recognizes terrorism as a disease. It is something that the teaching of Islam cautions against. Indeed, from an Islamic 5
perspective, it is something that should be purged from society. The Muslims in every place feel sorry and sad when they hear about the affairs of these criminal activities no matter where they occur or happen upon the earth, wether done by Muslims or non-muslims, whether it takes place in the Muslim world or whether it takes place in other than the Muslim world. The Muslim scholars have clarified and clearly explained, with clear clarifications which are strong and emphatic, that these types of acts are not from Islam. This book maintains that the source of terror that we condemn is definitely not from any divine religion. On the contrary, terror (i.e. killing of innocent people) is a great sin, and Muslims are responsible for preventing these acts and bringing peace and justice to the world. Islam is established upon mercy, justice, mutual love and concern with rectifying the earth and its people. As Muslims, we strongly condemn the terrorist attacks taking place every now and then in different parts of the world. Today there is hardly any place on earth where Islam is totally unknown. More and more people have become curious enough to find out something about this much publicized religion; more often they have been pleasantly surprised. Today Islam is the religion and way of life of about one fifth of the world's population. Muslims are of diverse nationalities and cultures, but their religion teaches that all humanity is essentially equal. Ayaz Kazi
March 2009 /Rabbiul Awwal 1430 Hijri firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the major shortcomings which has arisen in the West, is judging Islam by the conduct of a minority of its followers. By doing so, sections of the Western society have deliberately played off the misguided actions of a few Muslims, and have labeled it Islam. Such behavior only seeks to distort the purity of Islam. For if such a thing was done - judge a religion by the conduct of its people - then no religion would be safe from blame of the mistakes of its ignorant followers. Then how could a religion be blamed when its teachings are pure and clear from the actions of its ignorant followers? Would one blame the car for the mistake of its driver? No, yet we find that the Western world is foremost in propagating this outlook on Islam. So what is the reality of Islam? How does one dispel the myths which have been created and spread so viciously? The only way to examine Islam is to simply examine its belief system. Look at its sources, the Qur’an and Sunnah (Prophetic Guidance), and see what they have to say. This is the way to find the truth about what Islam says about terror, terrorism and terrorists. One who is sincerely searching for the truth, will do it no other way. The very name Islam comes from the arabic root word ‘salama’ which means peace. Islam is a religion which is based upon achieving peace through submission to the will of Allah. Thus, by this very simple linguistic definition, one can ascertain as to what is the nature of this religion. One may ask if such a religion is based on the notion of peace, then how is it that some acts done by its adherents are contrary to peace? The answer is simple. Such actions, if not sanctioned by the religion, have no place in it. They are un-Islamic and should be disassociated with Islam. 7
Exploding the myth
The word Jihad sends shivers down the spines of many non-muslims and mostly the Westerners who readily equate this term with violence and oppression. Perhaps no other Islamic term evokes such strong reactions as “Jihad”. The Arabic word “Jihad”, which is almost always mistranslated as "holy war", simply means "to struggle" or "to exert one’s utmost effort". It is incorrect to imagine that Jihad is synonymous only with fighting or war, for this is but one particular aspect of the term. Jihad is a struggle to do good and to remove injustice, oppression and evil from oneself and from society. This struggle is spiritual, social, economic and political. So, the concept of Jihad is vast and not limited only to armed conflict. In the Qur’an one finds the mention of Jihad by means of the Qur’an, meaning invitation to the truth, evidence, clarification and presenting the best arguments. “Invite (mankind, O Muhammad ) to the way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the divine inspiration and the Qur'an) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. [The Noble Qur’an 16:125] Jihad of the soul, which means striving to purify the soul, to increase its faith and incline it toward good while keeping it from evil and from unlawful desires and temptations. “And I free not myself (from the blame). Verily, the (human) self is inclined to evil, except when My Lord bestows his mercy (upon whom He wills). Verily, My Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [The Noble Qur’an 12:53] 8
3J i h a d ?
W hat is
Jihad through wealth, which means spending it in various beneficial ways, including charities and welfare projects. And the Jihad through the self, which comprises of all good works done by a believer, such as propagation, teaching and finally, lawful armed struggle against aggression and oppression on the weak. “...Strive hard and fight in the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives, that will be better for you, if you but know!” [The Noble Qur’an 61:11] In the name of Jihad, Islam endeavors to teach belief in Allah, the One Supreme God, and worship of Him alone and to spread good values, virtue and morality through wise and proper methods. Allah has commanded: “Invite to the way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur’an) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. [The Noble Qur’an 16:125] In the name of Jihad, Islam calls for social reform and the elimination of ignorance, superstition, poverty, disease and racial discrimination. Among its main goals is the protection of rights for weaker members of society against the impositions of the powerful and influential. Islam prohibits injustice, even toward those who oppose the religion. Allah says, “and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. be just: that is nearer to piety” [The Noble Qur’an 5:8] And Allah told the believers regarding those who prevented their entry to the Sacred Mosque in Makkah: “and let not the hatred of some people in (once) stopping you from Al Masjid Al Haram (Sacred mosque) lead you to transgression.” [The Noble Qur’an 5:2] 9
Enmity toward any people or nation should not provoke Muslims to commit aggression against them, oppress them or disregard their rights. As mentioned in a hadith on the authority of Abu Dharr al-Ghifari (may Allah be pleased with him) Prophet (Peace be upon him) said that Allah said “O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another...” (Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah) Anyone who knows the early history of Islam, will know that all those nations and empires which came under the fold of Islam were indeed previously oppressed. When the companions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) went out for Jihad against the Egyptians, the Persians and the Romans, we find that people did not have resistance against them at all. Rather, they accepted Islam on such a scale, that it is inconceivable that the Jihad of Islam could be anything other than liberation for these people; a liberation from centuries of tyranny. This is the glorious track record of the Muslim Jihad. Compare this with the brutal track record of warfare in the Western world over the centuries. From the crusades against the Muslims to the days of colonial warfare, the Western world has killed, destroyed and plundered everything which has come it’s way. Even today this merciless killing by the Western nations goes on. While claiming to maintain world peace and security, Western nations are ready to bomb innocent civilians at the drop of a hat. The best example of this is the recent bombings of Afghanistan and Iraq, whilst claiming that were haven for Islamic terrorists. Allah says about their likes in the Qur’an: “..when it is said to them; ‘Make not mischief on the earth’, they say; ‘We are only peace makers’. Verily! they are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive it not” [The Noble Qur’an 2:11-12]
Islam emerged at a time when the entire world was governed by the law of the jungle. The strong would kill the weak, the armed would steal from the unarmed and war was a legitimate means that was recognized by all religions, nations and people, with no limits of restrictions, with no distinction made between just and unjust war. Everyone who was able to overpower a nation, would force it to give up beliefs and enslave its men and woman. But with the coming of Islam, it did not approve of this unjust way which had reduced mankind to the level of savage beasts; rather it declared that the basic principle governing the relationships between nations was mutual respect and cooperation. But unfortunately this Jihad has been very much criticized by non-muslims and the media due to their ignorance about it. War In Islam Jihad on the battlefield, in the Islamic perspective, is the last resort, and is subject to stringent conditions. It can only be carried out by an Islamic state under a Muslim leader (not individuals or groups) to defend freedom, which includes freedom of faith. As Allah says : “To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid;- (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah”. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure…” [The Noble Qur’an 22:39-40] 11
An Islamic Perspective
Moreover, Allah says in the Qur’an: “and what is wrong with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill -treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from you one who will protect, and raise for us from you one who will help.” [The Noble Qur’an 4:75] Thus the Qur’an clearly defines the conditions of Jihad.
Rules Of Engagement
With the permissibility of Jihad on the battlefield under the conditions mentioned above, the rules of engagement reflect Islam’s inherent inclination towards peace: Personal behaviour In war, as it is in peace, the instructions of Islam are to be observed. Worship does not cease in war. War is also no excuse to misbehave with troops. The prophet (peace be upon him) said “Beware of the prayer of the oppressed; for there is no barrier between it and Allah.” No aggression towards civilians Military conflict is to be directed only against fighting troops and not against civilians, as Allah says: “and fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors. ” [The Noble Qur’an 2:190] As far as the non-combatant population is concerned such as women, children, the old and the infirm, etc., the instructions of the Prophet are as follows: “Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman.” “Do not kill the monks in monasteries” or “Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship.” 12
Upholding Justice The ravages of war are not an excuse for Muslims to engage in any form of cruelty or violation of human rights. As Allah says: “O You who believe! stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is well acquainted with what you do.” [The Noble Qur’an 5:8] It is forbidden under Islamic law, to ill-treat prisoners of war or to deny them the essentials of life, including medical treatment.
Respect for religious freedom Jihad cannot be waged with the objective of compelling people to embrace Islam. Allah says: “there is no compulsion in religion” [The Noble Qur’an 2:256] “had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed, all of them together. So, will you (O Muhammad ) then compel mankind, until they become believers.” [The Noble Qur’an 10:99] Accept peace If the enemy offers peace, it should be accepted even at the risk of possible deception. Allah says: “but if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and (put your) trust in Allah. Verily, He is the all-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [The Noble Qur’an 8:61] These are the principles of Jihad in Islam and this is our attitude in war : Justice, mercy and fulfillment of treaties. But this is not sufficient to prove the superiority of Islam’s 13
peaceful ways in war. Principles alone are not a sign of a nations nobility and humanity, because how often do we see nations which proclaim the loftiest principles to people when they themselves treat in the cruelest , cheapest manner and totally lack in humanity and mercy. During the Battle of Uhud we see Prophet Muhammad who had laid the foundation and laws of Islam emerging from the battle wounded and his molar broken. Prophet Muhammad prayed “’O’ Allah, guide my people, for they do not know” Such were the words of justice and truth. Even when Makkah was conquered and Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) entered it after the Makkans had resisted their entry for twenty one long years. He said to them “No reproach on you this day; may Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy” [The Noble Qur’an 12:92] Go you are free. This was the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), the one who taught mankind good and not a murderous leader striving for his own glory and power. This is the noble Jihad that Islam permits so as to bring peace and harmony amongst the people on this earth. Unlike those wars that have been declared on poor and weak Muslim countries under the banner of “War against Terror”. The arrest of Muslims and their torture in the prisons of Abu Gharib and Guantanamo. The world has seen those wicked treatment on the prisoners of war by the so called peace loving nation.
According to The American Heritage Dictionary terrorism means, “the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often ideological or political reasons”. Therefore terrorism is the terror that is caused by those groups or individuals who resort to killing and wreaking havoc and destruction. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) mentioned with regards to the signs of the end of time, the spread of ‘al-Harj’ . The meaning of ‘al-Harj’ is killing and the increase of the spilling blood, which is all from the signs of the end of time. To the extent that the one killing will not know why he is killing and the one that was killed will not know why he was killed. Terrorism is established upon destruction of properties such as factories, farms, places of worship, train stations, airports and the likes; Islam is clearly free from such actions that are based upon corruption and not upon rectification. Terrorists usually go against the state in which they are based within. This is like the mafia or other criminal organizations that are based on killing people, causing fear and taking their wealth. Such criminal organizations have leaders, deputies and individuals that are responsible for establishing regulations for the organization and individuals responsible for carrying out attacks, and all of them are terrorists causing corruption on the earth. Unfortunately one of the major problem with the word terrorist is that one mans freedom fighter could be another mans terrorist. So one should be very careful in labeling a person a terrorist. It depends upon an individuals perception. 15
It was during the British rule in India Bhagat Singh gave the British a tough time by his revolutionary ways and was labeled as a terrorist by the British while he was considered a freedom fighter by the Indians. One man but two different labels. Nelson Mandela spoke against Racism in South Africa and he too was in the terrorist list of the United States of America until recently when he was cleared from all allegations about terrorism. The reason is easy to understand. If you have become a friend of United States and fit into their policies then you are not a threat to the world peace otherwise you are. Menachem Begin was called terrorist no. 1 by British Government. Later on after a few years he becomes the Prime Minister of Israel and few years later gets the Nobel Prize of Peace. It’s the double standards of the West that they on one hand, previously when Afghan Jihad was going on - they were projected as heroes and now projected as terrorists. So one can see how this word could be easily played by those who are powerful and with media support. I wonder why people fail to see the innocent men, women and children dying every single day in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine etc. and if they fought back to protect themselves, their lands and their families, then they are labeled as terrorists.
The ugliest face of terrorism is that which is established in the name of religion, All prophetic religions are free from such terrorism. The terrorists are in need of proofs for their methodology especially those who attribute themselves to the Prophets (Peace be upon him), they claim that the Prophets ordered them to commit such terrorism. Many of those who commit acts of terrorism from those who attribute themselves to the religion of the Jews claim that Moses (Moosa) commanded them to do terrorism or that the other Prophets from the children of Israa’eel ordered them to do terrorism yet this is a lie. As Moses (Peace be upon him) and all of the Prophets from the children of Israa’eel (Peace be upon them) never ever ordered people to commit terrorism. Likewise, those who commit acts of terrorism and attribute themselves to Jesus (Eesaa) claim that the gospel sanctions terrorism and the use of it over the enemy. The best example of this were the crusaders. The crusaders were European Christians who undertook the expedition to recover the Holy land (the area around Palestine) from the Muslims. They set out with a so-called religious goal, yet they laid waste each acre of land they entered with fear and violence. They subjected civilians to mass executions and plundered many villages and towns. Their conquest of Jerusalem, where Muslims, Jews and Christians lived under Islamic rule in peace, became the scene of immense bloodshed. They violently killed almost all Muslims and Jews. They broke children’s skulls by knocking against the wall, threw babies from roof tops, roasted men over fire and cut up women’s bellies to see if they had swallowed gold. No doubt, all this barbarism was utterly against Christian doctrine. That is because, Christianity, in the words of the Bible, is 17
a “gospel of love”. In the Gospel according to Matthew, it is said that Jesus said to his followers:
“ Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” [Matthews 5:44]
In the Gospel according to Luke, it is said that Jesus said
“ If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also” [Luke 6:29]
The important matter for us to mention is that Jesus was sent with mercy like all of the Prophets, Peace be upon them, and it is not possible that they ordered people to commit acts of terrorism. Similarly those so called Muslims who have committed acts of terrorism giving it the name Jihad and attribute it to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) then it can be said that they are miserably mistaken in understanding the true concept of Jihad in the Qur’an and Sunnah as explained before. In fact they commit a more severe crime because they malign the true teachings of Islam. Islam by no means is the source of violence or terror and that violence and terror has no place in it. Even those Hindus who by using violent means terrorise people for their personal gains in the name of religion have nothing to do with the teaching of Hinduism. In fact the Bhagwad Gita prescribes fighting but for self defense or fighting against oppression and for justice. It says: When Arjuna prefers to be killed unarmed rather than fight his cousins Kauravas, Krishna replies to Arjun by saying “how this impure thoughts has come to you which prevent you from entering heaven. Give up this degrading impotence and weakness of heart and arise, O defeater of enemy.”(Bhagwad Gita chapter 1 verse 43-46 and chapter 2 verse 2-3. ) Imagine If someone were to say that the Bhagwad Gita encourages the killing of family members to attain paradise? Won’t such a deliberate attempt sound devilish out of context? But within the context if it was said that for truth and justice fighting against evil is compulsory, even if it be against your relatives, it makes sense. 18
The more the adherents of an ideology are uncivilized, intellectually underdeveloped and “ignorant”, the more likely they are to resort to violence. This also holds true for ideologies that have nothing to do with religion. While Christianity is a religion based on love that accommodates no violence, how did Christians carry out the most violent acts of History? The major reason for this is that, Crusaders were mainly made up of ignorant people who knew almost nothing about their religion. They were completely unaware of the moral values of the Bible, which led them into barbarism under the conditioning of crusaders’ slogans as “God wills it”. Similarly we find people of such nature among other religions too - Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism etc. - who have no comprehension whatsoever the true essence of their religion be, but distorted and misinterpreted its teachings and resorted to brutality. It was their ignorant, unrefined, uncultivated nature that led them to violence which resulted from their social structure, rather than the religion to which they adhere. The other reasons that lead to terrorism are the unresolved political disputes of the world, and where Muslims are also involved. No effort has been made to resolve these issues. e.g.; Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq. It is also the ineffectiveness of UNO (formed after the second word war) to avert any other international war. It has utterly failed in doing that. The disputes if resolved in UNO, then terrorism would not prevail as it is. Globalization, another reason as it is suited to Western 19
Why people resort to
interests than the third world countries. It seeks the occupation of countries by multinational corporations (MNC's). Thus spreading poverty and unemployment in the third world countries. Lastly the Universal law of cause-and-effect “like cause will produce like effects”. If countries go about combating terrorism with terrorism, it will produce obviously much more terrorism. History shows that indiscriminate killing and destruction of innocent life only breeds anger, revenge and more killing. The ‘collateral damage’ caused by ‘weapons of mass destruction’ being dropped on the homes and children of innocents only fuels the terrorists cause, a cause that lacks direction, justice and the guidance of Islam. The question is, would you be thinking straight if it was your home or your children who were destroyed?
After “9/11 attacks”, Islam has unfortunately become synonymous to terrorism and Muslims with terrorists. Let us analyze how true is this accusation. A simple question to ask here is, what does the terrorist do? The most simplest answer that one could give is that the terrorist terrorizes people, kills innocent men, women and children, destroy towns and cities and even nations. Keeping this in mind if we take a look at the world scenario today, we without any hesitation can conclude that Muslims are not terrorists. This is because if it were Muslims who were the terrorists then it would be the Hindus who would be fighting for freedom and dying, not Muslims in Kashmir; The Christians would be fighting for freedom and dying in America, not Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq; the Jews would be fighting for freedom in Israel now, and not Muslims of Palestine. 20
All Muslims are being accused of terrorism. Although there have been Muslim names that have popped up but no solid evidence has been proved against them as yet. And even if they have been proved guilty they nowhere represent Islam and Muslims, because Islam prohibits killing of the innocent and causing terror and destruction of properties. Just as all the Christians will not be blamed for the barbarism of the crusaders and other Christian terrorist organizations and all the Hindus for looting, raping, arson and destruction of places of worship, because you cannot blame a religion for the incorrect action of its ignorant followers. Just like you wont blame a car for the mistake of the driver. Islam is truly the religion of peace, the bombing and brutal killing of innocent Muslim men, women and children around the world clearly shows that Muslims are not terrorists. If the Muslims weren’t peaceful, they wouldn’t be dying in their own lands, they would be killing non-muslims in their countries. This clearly shows that its not the Muslims who are terrorists, but they are victims of cruel terrorism instead.
“Terrorist” has been linked with Muslims, Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq etc…but never refers to the western world nor any other religion although we have terrorists that claim to profess certain religion. We have Christian terrorists, Jewish terrorists, Hindu terrorists, Buddhist terrorists, Sikh terrorists and terrorists professing various other different faiths. Then why only Islam alone is linked and blamed for the action of a few that too because they retaliate to the atrocities that is committed against them or they are being driven out of their homes? With this I do not intend to prove that terrorists who 21
Then are the
profess some religion were really practicing it. In fact they were not, otherwise they would not have done these criminal activities. It is really interesting to ask a question here, who are the terrorists? When we take a look at history to find out the people who have killed the maximum human beings profess which religion? We see that the man who is famously known to have killed the maximum number of human beings was Hitler. He is said to have incinerated 6 million Jews. He wasn’t a Muslim. He was a Christian by faith. So did we call him a Christian terrorist? Joseph Stalin (Uncle Joe) Killed 20 million human beings Including 14.5 million who were starved to death. Was he not a Christian? Mao Tse Tsung of China Killed 14 to 20 million human beings. He was a Communist. Benito Mussolini of Italy killed 400,000 human beings. Maximilin Robespierre, during French Revolution starved and tortured to death 200,000 people and executed 40,000 people. 19th April 1995, Federal building bombing, Oklahoma City (Oklahoma bombing). 166 innocent people died and more than 100 injured. Done by 2 Christians, Timothy & Terry. 20th March 1995, Aum Shinrikyo, a Buddhist cult used Nerve Gas in the Tokyo subway. It killed 12 people and more than 5000 injured and wounded. In UK, since hundreds years IRA, The Irish Republican Army are conducting terrorist attacks. They are Catholics, but they are not called as Catholic Terrorists, but as IRA. In Sri Lanka, LTTE, Tamil Tigers is the most notorious organization who are experts in suicide bombing. They are none else but Hindus. ULFA in 16 years between 1990-2006 conducted successfully 749 terrorist attacks in India. Maoists in Nepal in 7 years conducted 99 terrorist attacks. 22
Out of 600 districts in India, they are present in 150 districts. Maoists terrorists attacks in 1/3rd part of India! The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, in Amritsar, Punjab (India) where, on April 13, 1919, while Indians doing a peaceful demonstration, British Indian Army soldiers under the command of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer opened fire on an unarmed gathering of men, women and children killing thousands. How could one justify such killing of innocent unarmed people? This clearly shows how people professing other faiths have shed so much blood and caused fear and panic in the hearts of millions but still their acts are not labeled with their religion unlike how the media has done with the Muslims. From the above statistics it can be seen that even if it is proved (although no solid evidence is yet proved, instead many think that the 9/11 attacks is an inside job)that Muslims were behind 9/11 attacks or those attacks that have been blamed upon Muslims is still nothing compared to the millions killed by terrorists that profess other religions. Although the reasons for Muslims who resort to extremism and take arms is the atrocities and injustice committed against them in different parts of the world say it be Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya etc. But this still cannot be a justification for a Muslim resorting to killing innocents, because Islam condemns such acts. For example if a non Muslim man rapes a Muslim woman a Muslim man cannot rape a non-muslim Woman in retaliation, because Islam prohibits such acts. A flashback to the year 1945 near the end of world war II the nuclear attacks on the two cities of Japan by the United states of America is one of the greatest destruction that was ever done. On Monday the 6th of August 1945 the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” was dropped on the city of Hiroshima followed on the 9th of August 1945 by detonation of the “Fat Man” nuclear bomb over Nagasaki.
The nuclear bomb killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki and since then thousands more have died from injuries or illness attributed to exposure of radiation released by the nuclear bombs. The superpower countries shouting about maintaining peace but themselves have stained their hands with blood of thousands of innocent people. Creating terror and insecurity around the globe, making the world an unsafe place to live. In the name of hunting down the terrorist they have bombarded poor countries and killed thousands of innocent human beings. But even after doing so they were unable to find the No. 1 terrorist on their list. To settle scores with a dictator, the specter of “WMD” was raised and against the U.N opinion brute force was employed on Iraq, killing innocent citizens, causing anarchy and ruining lives. After so much destruction and forceful illegal occupation they say that it was a mistake and they found no WMD’s. But they still shamelessly justify their act. Are these killings and illegal occupation justified? Or is this the terrorist disguise as peace makers? A Muslim poet rightly said :
When we had power over the world, Forgiveness was our characteristic. When they had power, blood flowed freely. This difference comes as no surprise, For every vessel leaks the substance that is in it.
be compared to
No. Certainly not. As we see from what has been mentioned in the previous pages, it is clear that terrorism has no place in the noble concept of Jihad. Even Jihad that involves physical conflict is the very antithesis of terrorism, as is clear from the following differences:
1. Jihad can be launched only by an established authority as a policy in order to deter aggression. Terrorism, on the other hand, is committed by individuals or groups that have no legitimacy to speak for the majority. When terrorism is committed by states, it usually depends on misleading the masses. 2. Jihad is limited to combatants while terrorism involves indiscriminate killing of civilians. 3. Jihad is a fight for truth and justice while terrorism is for materialistic and personal gains. 4. Jihad, when the need arises, is declared openly, while terrorism is committed secretly. 5. Jihad is bound by strict rules of engagement while terrorism is not bound by any rules.
What the experts say: All Muslim scholars reject terrorism and speak out against it. Council of Saudi 'Ulama', fatwa of February 2003 : "What is happening in some countries from the shedding of the innocent blood and the bombing of buildings and ships and the destruction of public and private installations is a criminal act against Islam. Those who carry out such acts have the deviant beliefs and misleading ideologies and are responsible for the crime. Islam and Muslims should not be held responsible for such actions. (http://www.dawn.com/2003/02/08/top17.htm) Shaykh 'Abdul-'Azeez Aal ash-Shaykh, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, said Islam, which calls for the protection of a man's life, family, wealth, honor and intellect, totally rejects terrorism. He also said terrorists who cause corruption on Earth by carrying out killings and destruction deserve tough punishment as the Holy Qur'an directs. Saturday 31 January 2004, delivering his annual sermon to nearly two million pilgrims who had assembled on the plain of Arafat he emphasized that terror and violence must be "mercilessly" crushed.
Many non-Muslims, when they think about Islam, picture religious fanatics on camels with a sword in one hand and a Qur’an in the other. This myth, which was made popular in Europe during the Crusades, is totally baseless. First of all, the Noble Qur’an clearly says “Let there be no compulsion in religion”. In addition to this, Islam teaches that a person's faith must be pure and sincere, so it is certainly not something that can be forced on someone. In debunking the myth that Islam was “spread by the sword”, the (non-Muslim) historian De Lacy O’ Leary wrote: “History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever accepted.” (Islam at the Crossroads, London, 1923, p. 8.). In september 2001 Yvonne Ridley a British Journalist was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan whilst working for the Sunday Express. She was held captive for 11 days. She promised that she would read the Qur’an after her release. She was impressed by the way she was dealt with during her stay in Taliban captivity. She explained that the Taliban looked after her very well. She said, “I was horrible to my captors. I spat at them and was rude and refused to eat. It wasn’t until I was freed that I became interested in Islam.” She converted to Islam in the summer of 2003. All praise be to Allah. Thousands of such examples of non-muslims accepting this peaceful religion Islam as their choice and not by sword or force. 26
Was Islam spread by the sword?
It should also be known that Muslims ruled Spain for roughly 800 years. During this time, and up to when they were finally forced out, the non-Muslims there were alive and flourishing. Additionally, Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan all have Christian and Jewish populations. In India, Muslims ruled for more than 1000 years but still today we Muslims are a minority here. If Islam taught that all people are supposed to be killed or forced to become Muslims, how did all of these non-muslims survive for so long in the middle of the Islamic Empire? Were non-muslims forced to accept Islam? No. The existence of non-muslims in the Muslim empire is the biggest proof of Islam’s tolerance towards other religions. Additionally, if one considers the small number of Muslims who initially spread Islam from Spain and Morocco in the West to India and China in the East, one would realize that they were far too few to force people to become converts of a religion against their will.
Today, the fastest growing religion in America and Europe is Islam. The Muslims in most of these lands constitute a minority. The only sword they have in their possession is the sword of truth. It is this sword that is converting thousands to Islam. It is also interesting to note that when the Mongols invaded and conquered large portions of the Islamic Empire, instead of destroying the religion, they adopted it. This is a unique occurrence in history - the conquerors adopting the religion of the conquered! Since they were the victors, they certainly could not have been forced to become Muslims! Ask any of the over one billion Muslims alive in the world today whether they were forced! The largest Muslim country in the world today is Indonesia -- and there were never any battles fought there! So where was the sword? How could someone be forced to adhere to a spiritually rewarding and demanding religion like Islam?
In Islam, the use of force is allowed only in special situations, particularly when the Muslim community is threatened by hostile forces. This is indeed natural and logical for any nation. Then again, the use of force in a campaign of Jihad is determined by the leader of the Muslim community in a very ordered and ethical way. Islam considers all life forms as sacred, but particularly emphasizes the sanctity of human life. Allah says in the Qur'an: “And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right.” [The Noble Qur’an 6:151] Allah says: “Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain all mankind. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” [The Noble Qur’an 5:32] Such is the value of a single human life, that Allah equates the taking of even one human life unjustly with killing all of humanity. It is important to understand that in Islam, war is only permitted in specific and dire circumstances. It is despised and only permitted as a last resort when all other attempts at peace have been made. It keeps warfare at a level of mercy and respect for the enemy such as none other has been able to reach. The Prophet (Peace be upon him), sometimes had to fight for the mere survival of his mission, but once security was ensured, he immediately reverted to peace and diplomacy. 28
Is Islam a militant religion?
Even in a state of war, Islam enjoins that armies deal with the enemy justly in the battlefield. Islam has drawn a clear line of distinction between the combatants and the non-combatants of an enemy country. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) told his armies, "Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman.” And he said: "Do not kill the monks in monasteries.” Upon seeing the corpse of a woman on a battlefield, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) angrily asked his companions why she had been killed, and he strongly condemned the atrocious act. For those enemies active in combat and those taken as prisoners of war, the list of rights is lengthy. There should be no torture; no killing of the wounded or defenseless, no mutilation of enemy bodies and return of corpses to the enemy must be honored. In light of the aforementioned, it becomes crystal clear that Islam does not permit aggression, violence, injustice, or oppression. At the same time, it calls for morality, justice, tolerance, and peace. Far from being a militant dogma, Islam is a way of life that transcends race and ethnicity. The Qur'an repeatedly reminds us of our common origin: “O mankind, indeed We created you from male and female, and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Verily the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.” [The Noble Qur’an 49:13] It is the universality of its teachings that makes Islam the fastest growing religion in the world. In a world full of conflicts and deep schisms between human beings, a world that is currently plagued with terrorism, perpetrated by individuals and by states, Islam is a beacon of light that offers hope for the future.
Terrorism has no religion while Jihad is a struggle for the cause of Allah alone and must never violate Islamic principles. Terrorism is clearly rejected by Islam and can never be called Jihad. Islam is clean and pure from the terrorism that the westerners and the media portray it to be. And if what the westerners and the media say about Islam were true, then why is Islam the fastest growing religion in the world especially in the west? Why are people chosing Islam as their way of life? The answer is simple, that Islam is free from what they blame it for. This in itself is a reply to those who try to distort the true image of Islam. Islam condemns all forms of violent acts which kill innocent human beings, whether it is 9/11, 7/7/93 (Mumbai serial blast), 26/11 or any other. We also condemn the 1000’s of people that have been killed in Afghanistan. 1000’s of innocent people that have been killed in Iraq. 1000’s of people that have been raped and killed in Gujarat. 1000’s of people that have been killed in Palestine. Any terrorist activity, no matter who does it and for what purpose, is the greatest blow to all religious and humanistic values. For this reason, no one - and certainly no true Muslim - can approve of any terrorist activity. A true Muslim is not treacherous, and he is not deceitful, and he does not lie, and he does not oppress. This is what Islam teaches and this is something that is clear from the Sharee’ah (Qur’an and Sunnah). As for terrorism, it distorts the true image of Islam and it ascribes to it that which in reality is not from it. Verily the true Muslims, those who understand the reality of Islam, in every place, they hate, reject and they criticize these criminal acts and they warn against those people who call to these acts. Terrorism is nothing but evil and the act of the devil. 30
Islam means to submit ones will to Allah. It is the way of life for anyone who chooses to accept that there is One God only, and none is worthy of worship but Him. This world is temporary and no more than a trial for us, after which we will all die, and life of the hereafter is forever. Allah, for the guidance of mankind, sent us Prophets: Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, all Prophets of Islam (Peace be upon them). Allah chose Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as His final Prophet and honored him with the privilege of revealing the Qur’an through him. The Qur’an is the speech of Allah, not the word of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Allah has Preserved the Qur’an with its teachings for the whole of mankind. Islam has five fundamental pillars: 1. To bear witness that there is no deity worthy of Worship except Allah, without any partner and that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. (Shahadah) 2. To pray five times a day (Salaah) 3. To Pay the Zakah (yearly Alms ) 4. To Fast during the month of Ramadhan(Saum) 5. To Make a pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajj) Islam offers a complete legal code for humankind. It eliminates and corrects the human errors that found their way into previous religions in the realm of both belief and practice. Just as any new revised law supersedes and nullifies what came before it, Islam naturally abrogates all earlier religions. Without doubt, one will find in every religion, especially those of divine origins, such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam, noble teachings, good moral values, encouragement toward good deeds and warnings against evil. However, what distinguishes Islam from other faiths is that Islam goes beyond simply urging people to be upright and honest. Islam diagnoses illnesses and prescribes the treatment. It gives practical solutions to mans problems and provides the means of 31
achieving righteousness and eliminating evil from individual and collective lives. Islam is guidance for mankind from the Creator who knows what is best and most suitable for His creation. That is why Islam is called the natural religion of man. Finally, I call upon all Muslims as well as non-muslims to never rely on second hand information, but to study and know Islam from authentic sources. And not to get carried away by words of politicians and antisocial elements who for their own personal benefit want to cause disharmony and hatred among human beings and disrupt peace on earth by dividing us in the name of religion. Islam is a beautiful religion which teaches that each human being has a right to live in this world peacefully, regardless of their faith and beliefs.
Extremism : Its Cause,Effects and Cure, Shaykh, Dr Baasim bin Faisal al Jawaabirah. Islam against Terrorism, www.fatwaonline.com Is Terrorism a Muslim Monopoly, Dr. Zakir Naik (DVD) Jihad According to the Qur’an and Sunnah, www. muttaqun.com Jihad for Allah’s sake, Muhammad Saeed al-Qahtani. Muhammad’s Prophethood Reality or Myth, Abdur Radhi Muhammad’Abul Muhsin. Religious Extremism In the lives of contemporary Muslims Dr. Abdur Rahmaan ibn Mualaa al-Luwaihiq al-Mutairi Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-'Uthaymeen on Terrorism & Related Issues , AuthenticTranslations.com Shaykh 'Abdul-'Azeez Ibn Baaz on Terrorism & Related Issues, AuthenticTranslations.com The Evils Of Terrorism, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhaab al-’Aqeel The Freedom Of Opinion In Islam, Abdus Salam al-Basuni. With which inntellect and Religion can Suicise Bombings and Destruction be Considered Jihad? , Shaykh Abdul Muhsin Ibn Hamad Al-’Abbaad.
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