(20) Practical Islam: Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam

Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam

But saving even one life is like saving the whole mankind

All Muslims condemn terrorism and terrorist dogmas.  Many innocent lives have been lost as a result of extremist ideologies and radicalism. Numerous individual Muslims and Muslim organisations all over the world as well as Muslim countries have voiced their abhorrence to radical militant groups and their atrocities:  Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.

The Qur’an says that the saving of even one human being life from death is like saving the whole mankind.

The essence of Islam is believing in God and doing righteousness.  And saving of lives of human beings or animals is an act of righteousness.  Cruelty and torture to even animals are haram (forbidden) acts.

In Islam, torturing or killing of animals for entertainment or sports, like in cock-fight, bull-fight and rodeos as well as cruelty to animals in whatever way, like depriving them of food or keeping them in a small and confined place, are haram (prohibited).  No animal ought to be abused for fun or killed for entertainment.  In Islam, even when one kills a permitted animal for food, the animal must be killed in the Islamic way (without making the animal suffer or go through fright and pain) for the meat to be deemed halal (permitted for consumption).

Islam considers all life forms as sacred but the life of human beings is even more precious. Thus, the killing of any human being, except by the decision of the court of law of the country concerned, is a hideous act; it is un-Islamic and is a crime.

The killing of an innocent person by a member of the public or by members of any militant or radical group, is often carried out, in its core, due to societal or political animosity and vengeance or religious hate or misguidance; and is not based on the teachings of Islam.  In this respect, if a person who called himself a Muslim and killed any human being, Muslim or a non-Muslim, by any method, he ought to be condemned as a murderer and due punishment by the law of the country meted out to him when arrested. God says: “If any one kills a person, it would be as if he had killed the whole mankind…” (Maida, 5:32)

Members of terrorist groups who call themselves Muslims have killed innocent people, both Muslims and non-Muslims, in public places and even while they were doing their prayers in churches and mosques.  This is appalling. They had clearly gone against the basic rules of Islam.  The Qur’an instructs: “Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He (God) command you, that you may learn wisdom.” (An’am, 6:151)

In Islam, the sanctity of human life is so special and sacred that the Qur’an gives a vivid and serious emphasis, thus: “If any one kills a person, it would be as if he had killed the whole mankind: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he had saved the life of the whole mankind.”  (Maida, 5:32)

Show restraint and patience

Violence is against Islam.  Islam wants Muslims to show restraint, patience, fortitude and piety in the face of provocation and humiliation.  This is evident from the moral character of our Prophet, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).  He was a living exponent of the Qur’an.  Indeed he showed restraint, courage, patience, fortitude and piety when people insulted and humiliated him. .

Despite all the provocations and insults, our Prophet never retaliated the provokers; instead he advised his followers, who were ready to die to defend his honour, to restrain and be patient. Our Prophet was abused and even physically attacked.  He was stoned and he bled.  But he and his followers, though angry, did not retaliate.

Islamic teachings advocate the saving of lives and the Prophet had to restrain to be an exemplar to his followers, himself following what he had been sent to teach: Save lives.  He was sent as a mercy, not restrictive to Muslims only, but to all mankind (Rahmahtul-Alameen).

So, what happened to our Prophet and Islam for observing and fortifying the principle of restraint and patience to save lives?  Our Prophet became victorious, his followers increased and Islam flourished – all in a period of 10 short years during his stay in Medina after being driven away from Mecca, the city of his birth and growth, by his enemies.

Then, (a decade later), when the Prophet re-entered Mecca with 10,000 followers, he could have easily demolish his enemies but he did not.  His bitter enemy, Abu Sufyan, was spared.  Abu Sufyan’s wife, Hindon, dad engaged an assassin to kill the Prophet’s beloved uncle, Hamza, and when he was killed, she even cut open the deceased’s chest and pulled out his heart and abused it. Still, the Prophet saved her life.  The lives of many others who had a hand in driving away the Prophet from Mecca and who had humiliated and provoked him and killed his followers were all spared.

Muslims, from any part of the world need to follow the moral example set by our Prophet.  Indeed more and more unbiased people are embracing Islam through the efforts of Muslims in portraying Islam through their admirable behaviour, conduct and speech.

The Prophet is near and dear to Muslims

Insulting and demeaning religious founders, especially by educated people, is highly deplorable.  In the case of Muslims, Prophet Muhammad is near and dear to them. Insulting and demeaning the Prophet would certainly anger Muslims.  But Muslims ought to emulate the character of their beloved Prophet in observing restraint and patience.

Muslims must do their part to reduce, even eliminate, racial and religious tensions.  They need to portray a good image of Muslims and the beauty of Islam indirectly through good behaviour, conduct and speech; and friendliness.

Also, what both Muslims and non-Muslims should seriously act upon as from now is to take the recent (January/February 2015) incidents in Paris, Syria and North Carolina as lessons and banish hate, prejudice, bigotry, ignorance, provocation, vengeance and intolerance from their hearts and souls, and instead come forward to establish rapport and bonding with one and all and learn from each other’s way of life for enrichment and appreciation.

God, addressing all people of any race or religion, says:  “O mankind! We created you from (a single pair of) a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you.” (Hujurat, 49:13)

Insulting religious founders are definitely unrighteous.  Killings are certainly unrighteous.

There are black sheep among people of every religion and people; but the good ones are certainly overwhelming in number.  So, we must not let the handful of the bad people hijack the religion and image of the good people.  Also, islamophobia needs to be ousted.  Indeed, there are many broad-minded non-Muslims who understand Islamic practices and principles and have lend support to Muslim aspirations.

Build a harmonious and peaceful world

With understanding and tolerance, we can make the earth a safe place to live and dwell for us, our children and future generations. Save lives, and promote humanity and humanitarian endeavours to build a harmonious and peaceful world.

Perhaps some countries need to take a leaf from the success of Singapore in maintaining peace, harmony and togetherness among its multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural citizens, where freedom of speech does not mean that anyone can poke fun or ridicule other religions or religious founders and leaders, where freedom in their religious and cultural practices are allowed and where possession of fire-arms are outlawed.  Protection of people and religious places is paramount.

Basically, Islam instructs all people, irrespective of race or religion, not to kill but save lives: “…if any one saved a life, it would be as if he had saved the life of the whole mankind.”  (Maida, 5:32)

Shaik Kadir

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