Terror on Islam
The present state of affairs of the Muslim world which is in turmoil, instability, anarchy as a result of war by the people within, evident form the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Lybia, Yamen & Nigeria, indicates that Muslims are biggest victims of Terror. Blaming Muslims or Islam for this self destruction is totally unfair. The political, military, economic strategic and other aspects of highly bloody War of Terror against Islam by Daesh (ISIS), Boko Haram, Al-Qaida, Taliban and other terror groups with Islamic/Arabic titles are deliberated at various forums. However the heretic religious doctrine, ‘Takfeer’ the main motivating force of the extremist Taliban is given cursory treatment. An endeavour is being made here to critically analyze their ideology and see its relevance vis-à-vis, concept of Sin, Crime, Repentance, Mercy, Forgiveness, Apostasy & Punishment .
The Dreadful Doctrine of Terror
The political, military, economic strategic and other aspects of this highly bloody oppressive non conventional warfare are deliberated at various forums. However their heretic religious doctrines, the main motivating force of the extremist Taliban is given cursory treatment only. An endeavour is being made here to critically analyze their ideology and see its relevance vis-à-vis established Islamic doctrines and practices.
Doctrine of Takfir:
The doctrine of Takfir; is being used in the modern era especially by Taliban, in sanctioning violence against leaders and simple Muslims who are deemed insufficiently religious. Takfir is a pronouncement to declare any (non practicing Muslim), to be an unbeliever (Takfir), apostate, (Murtad) hence liable to be killed. It has become a central ideology of militant groups such as those in
Design of Creation:
Thus the purpose of creation of humanity is to test the people during limited life span on earth and finally reward in hereafter (Qura’n;). If He wanted every one would have obeyed Him, like angels(Qur’an;). But God want to test the man, by granting him limited free moral will to choose between right and wrong. It is possible that some believer (Muslim) neglects a duty (prescribe through Qur’an or Sunnah). If we treat this neglect or omission on the same basis as we treat addition, we are demanding that every Muslim should be perfect, a heavy burden. Allah says: “God wishes to lighten your burdens because humans have been created weak by nature” (Qur’an;). “God does not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear”(Qur’an;2:286, 6:152, & 23:62). This further explains that God has classified the Muslims in to three broad categories i.e. the sinners, moderates and ideal Muslims (Qur’an;35:32). It is observed in a Muslim society that the majority of Muslims fall in to the 1st category. While we should always try to improve ourselves, perfection cannot be expected from anyone. Allah describes the believers with whom He is pleased as those who "avoid the cardinal of sins and gross indecencies, and are guilty of only small offence, surely for them your Lord will have abundant forgiveness…”(Qur’an53:32). Duress in the matter of faith is incompatible with Islam.(Qur’an;42:48, similarly at , , 4:80, 7:79, 93, 24:54, 2:256).
Sin & Crime:
The concept of sin has been present in many cultures throughout history, where it was usually equated with an individual's failure to live up to external standards of conduct or with his violation of taboos, laws, or moral codes. ‘Sin’ is an offense against religious or moral law, while according to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary; ‘Crime’ is an act or the commission of an act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the ‘crime’ is the intentional commission of an act usually deemed socially harmful or dangerous and specifically defined, prohibited, and punishable under criminal law. Crimes in the common-law tradition were originally defined primarily by judicial decision. Most common-law crimes are now codified. According to a generally accepted principle, nullum crimen sine lege, there can be no crime without a law. A crime generally consists of both conduct (the actus
Islam on Sin:
The breach of laws and norms laid down by Din Al-Islam, is considered as sin. The sin may be of omission or commission; though any violation of religious law or ethical norm is a sin, but one is held accountable only for those committed intentionally. “If anyone does evil or wrongs his own soul and then seeks Allah's forgiveness, he will find Allah Forgiving, Merciful. Whoever commits a sin, he commits it against his own soul. Allah is knowledgeable, Wise.”(Qur’an;4:110-111);“Surely he who will come to his Lord as a sinner shall be consigned to Hell - wherein he shall neither die nor live. While he who will come to Him as a believer and has done good deeds shall have the highest ranks”(Qur’an;20:74-75). Most of the crimes are also sin because they have adverse affects on morality and spirituality, but not all sins constitute crime. The biggest sin is to associate partners with Allah, but there is no prescribe punishment for this most heinous sin to make it crime, though such a person will suffer for ever in hell fire in hereafter. The Jews of Arabia considered Ezra to be son of God, while Christians consider Jesus Christ to be son of God, but they continued to live as subjects of Islamic State established under Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as long as they abide by the agreements. The Jews and Christians enjoy a special status as ‘People of the Book’ in Islamic states despite their transgression. Muslims are allowed to marry Jewish or Christians women, eat their permissible food, establish normal relations with the non believers who do not fight the Muslims due to their faith (Qur’an;60:7-9). Hence during last fourteen centuries, non Muslims had been living in Islamic states as peaceful citizens. If Islam is so considerate and tolerant about the non believers, then what about the believers who happen to be sinners?
The authorities punish the criminals after trial, but the sinners may get away unpunished: “They might be able to hide their crimes from people, but they cannot hide from Allah. He is with them even when they plot by night in words that He cannot approve. Allah encompasses all their actions.”(Qur’an;4:108). Islam accords very high priority in strictly meeting the requirement of clear evidence for execution of the fair justice, even at the cost of crime remaining unpunished (see Qur’an;24:6-9). Thus, the husband's accusation is to be regarded as disproved if the wife solemnly sets her word against his, Inasmuch as this procedure, which is called li'an ("oath of condemnation"), leaves the question of guilt legally undecided, both parties are absolved of all the legal consequences otherwise attending upon adultery , an unproven accusation of adultery - the only consequence being a mandatory divorce. However the liar has to bear consequences of the sin. Such people will be punished by God in hereafter if do not rescind through sincere repentance here. Similarly for example, murder of an innocent human is a crime as well as sin. The murdered may getaway form punishment in the court of law due to lack of evidence, but he can not escape the divine justice in hereafter. In an other case: “But if anyone commits a crime and charges an innocent person with it, he indeed shall bear the guilt of slander and a flagrant sin.”(Qur’an;4:112). Punishment and forgiveness of sins, is the sole prerogative of All Mighty Allah, any human trying to indulge in such activity is guilty of grave transgression, highly detested by Allah (Qur’an;9:104). At times He partially reduces the punishment of a crime upon repentance(Qur’an;24:4-5).
Islam recognizes major and minor sins. Holding some one equal to God, or to share in His divinity is considered as the most serious unpardonable sin. Strict monotheism is the cardinal point of Islam. Islam views the whole issue of disobedience and sin in a different way. Its approach is to hold the prospect of forgiveness and reward (Qur’an;53:31-32). A good work is rewarded ten times as against a sin (Qur’an;6:160). According to Islam, a sin is an action which constitute the violation of Islamic teachings. The action may not be more than the utterance of certain words, as in the case of backbiting or perjury. Therefore, any action or word, which involves disobedience to Allah and His messenger (peace be upon him), is a sin. The Islamic law (Shari’a) deals with the sins and crimes, some punishable here and some in hereafter if not sincerely repented upon.
Categories of Sins:
Sinful actions are of two types: the first carry mandatory punishment, which is specified either in the Qur’an, or in the Sunnah; while for others punishment, (in this world) is not specified, for example if some who can afford financially and physically but does not perform Hajj (one of five pillars of Islam), or avoids Saoum (fasting) without prescribed reasons, he is committing a cardinal sin for which is entitled for divine punishment. However such person is not charged legally as long as he believe in them and does not renounce them publicly. The first type, the cardinal sins, include four certain offences, but many scholars include two or three more, so as to make the total seven. The four are homicide, adultery, accusing chaste women of adultery and highway robbery / theft. The other three are, waging war against the Muslim states, apostasy and use of intoxicants. No other offence carries a specified punishment (hadd), except for murder which carries the capital punishment, but the immediate relatives of the victim may, if they choose, pardon the offender. According to some scholars, the cardinal sins include murder, adultery, theft, using intoxicants, gambling, perjury, slandering, withholding Zakah, neglecting prayers, etc. Some modern scholars consider the major sins being the one for which strict exemplary punishments (Hadd) have been specified in Qur’an and Sunnah. It will not be overstatement that, the universally agreed bad, evil acts, crimes also fall in to the category of sin, like, cheating, killing, adultery, backbiting etc. The minor sins are readily forgiven when we pray Allah for forgiveness. Cardinal sins (kaba’ir) are also forgivable with the exception of the most serious of them, namely, associating partners with Allah (Qur’an;4:116). The repentance has to be sincere, so as not to repeat them again, followed by charity and performance of virtuous acts. The scholars agree that when a non believer renounce his previous faith, repents and accepts Islam, his previous sins are forgiven and he/she makes a new start (Qur’an;, ).
Repentance and Mercy:
Mostly people commit many sins in routine. If the feeling of guilt lingers with us for a long while, and increases day after day, then life will acquire a very gloomy aspect. Islamic outlook constantly embrace the prospect of forgiveness and reward due to Mercy of Allah [see Qur’an;, 4:116, 39:53-54, 4:110 & 28:67]. Even in the case of offences that carry mandatory punishment, Islam prefers that the offender follows the alternative course, which is to repent and make amends. Repentance means acknowledgement of one’s error, genuine regret for having committed it and a firm resolve not to do it again. It may be added here that if the sinful actions involves something due to other people, he should restore to them what is rightfully theirs. Thus a person who commits theft should combine his repentance with returning what he has stolen. Al-Bukhari also recorded that Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The person who will be the happiest due to my intercession is the one who says, 'There is no god but Allah' sincerely from his heart." [Extracted from Fiqah-us-Sunnah, volume.1, Number.77b]. The virtues remove evils.
Sins, Crimes and Shari’a:
Most of the sins, especially related with the dealings with other human beings fall in to the category of crimes punishable though courts established under Shari’a (Islamic law), those which remain undiscovered will be punished hereafter. In Islamic society, the term law has a wider significance than it does in the modern secular West, because Islamic law includes both legal and moral imperatives. For the same reason, not all-Islamic laws can be stated as formal legal rules or enforced by the courts. Much of it like sin of backbiting (Qur’an;49:12) not greeting (Qur’an;24:27) etc depends on conscience alone.
While the state can not implement every aspect of Islam through force of law, in the religious matters, the scholars think that state has the responsibility of making arrangements to: 1) establish Salah (regular prayers) and 2) system of Zakah (obligatory charity), 3) enjoining right and forbidding evil, taking inference form Qur’an;22:41, 9:5. Use of force as being done by non state groups (Taliban), forcing the men to keep beard, women to cover face, not to attend schools and colleges etc is considered as deviation. It is the responsibility of the well established government in a Muslim society which is competent to execute punishments after fair trial according to Shari’a while taking care of all the requirements of justice. Similarly to the performing Hajj and many other rituals and religious obligations are left to the individual Muslims for which they is answerable to Allah.
Killing: The Heinous Crime and Cardinal Sin:
The killing of innocent people is a major crime & sin in all the civilized societies and religions (Leviticus; 24:17, Qur’an;). The punishment fixed for major crimes (also sins) is hadd Outside the hadd crimes, both the determination of offenses and the punishment therefore lies with the discretion of the executive or the courts. While the execution of punishments is strict, highest standards of fairness, justice, evidence and clemency are applied in establishing the (hadd), but once the crimes is established the punishment is carried out without any compassion.
Apostasy; The Kernel of Takfeeri Doctrine:
Proper understanding of ‘apostasy’, the root of Takfeeri doctrine [a much later deviation, bid’at] will highlight the heinous blunder of killing innocent Muslims [men women and even children] in mosques and public places. The Arabic word ‘Irtadad’ is translated as ‘apostasy’. According to Merriam Webster dictionary ‘Apostasy’ means; renunciation of a religious faith; abandonment of a previous loyalty. Hence ‘apostate’ (murtad) is a person who has defected his (Islamic) belief. [may be called as betrayer, deserter, recreant, renegade, tergiversator, traitor or turncoat]. Apostasy has always been considered as a capital offence in all the religions and political systems of the world, because it is considered as a high treason against the established norms of society. The Bible prescribes death by stoning for apostasy: “You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the LORD your God..”(Deutrony;). The pagan Romans brutally killed the early Christians on same ground. Subsequently this practice was repeated by the Christian Church against opposing Christians, who were killed and burnt alive. Death penalty for apostasy remained in force in
Islam abhors forced conversions, the non Muslim citizens in a Muslim state have the right to freely choose to convert to Islam or keep practicing their faith. But once a person converts to Islam, he is obliged to practice his faith to be a good Muslim. In early Islam, the pagans of Makkah, and Jews of Medina used to indulge in this practice (apostasy) to gain intelligence and to demoralize the fragile expanding Muslim community of Median. Hence apostasy is considered as a cardinal sin in Islam. Whether it is punishable by Islamic law is a debatable matter among Muslim scholars. Some believe that the apostate should be punished after trial because they consider this crime as a betrayal, high treason against the community, while others opine that if someone changes his faith and does not challenge the Islamic society, it is a matter between him and Allah, Who will punish him in hereafter. However, both opinions agree that it is a major worst form of sin punishable by Allah. Non-Muslims enjoy complete freedom to preach and practice their faith among themselves.
The apostate are cursed and condemned in Qur’an, however the path of repentance remains open, but those who do not repent and die as apostate, they will be punished in hereafter. Allah says:
“How shall Allah guide those who reject Faith after they accepted it and bore witness that the Messenger was true and that Clear Signs had come unto them? But Allah guides not a people unjust. Of such the reward is that on them (rests) the curse of Allah, of His angels, and of all mankind; In that will They dwell; nor will their penalty be lightened, nor respite be (Their lot). Except for those that repent (Even) after that, and make amends; for Verily Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. But those who reject Faith after They accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of Faith, never will their repentance be accepted; for They are those who have (of set purpose) gone astray.”(Qur’an;3:86-90).
“As for those who accept the faith then renounce it, who again embrace it and again deny it and go on increasing in unbelief; Allah will neither forgive them nor guide them to the
“and if any of you turn back from their Faith [yartadd] and die In Unbelief, their works will bear no fruit In This life and In the Hereafter; They will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein.”(Qur’an;2:217).
“Those who turn back as apostates [irtaddo] after Guidance was clearly shown to them the Evil One has instigated them and buoyed them up with false hopes.”(Qur’an;47:25).
“O ye who believe! if any from among you turn back from His Faith[yartadd], soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love As They will love him..”(Qur’an;)
According to an other Hadith, killing of Muslim is only permissible under three conditions: Narrated by Abdullah; “Allah's Apostle said, "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas [retribution] for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims”[Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith;9:17].
It may be kept in view that the authority to declare any Muslim as apostate or award of punishment is the job of Islamic courts established by the legitimate state authority. Various stateless groups if allowed to take the law in their hands will result in anarchy (fasad-fil-ardh) through killing each other by declaring opponents as apostate or nonbelievers. Waging war against Allah, His messenger and to strive for mischief through the land (fasad-fil-ardh) is a crime punishable with death, crucifixion, cutting of hand and feet from opposite sides or exile, as clearly mentioned in Qur’an;5:33.
Not Offering Prayer (Salah) & Apostasy:
To suggest that a person who does not pray for three days be sentenced to death and executed straight-away is absurd, contrary to the teachings of Islam and is based upon ignorance. Imam Abu Hanifah maintains that a person who fails to offer Salah, is not to be killed, but must be given a minor punishment and confined until he prays. They say the hadith that calls such people unbelievers refer to those who deny the prayers (salah), (disbelieve) [Fiqah-As-Sunnah;1:77b]. They say that any other interpretation is contradicted by other texts.
Some scholars argue that a person who does not pray is a non-believer. If he was a Muslim and then reached that stage, then some people argue, he became an apostate and apostasy may incur capital punishment. But this line of thinking is not much different from the one which leads to the following conclusion:
‘What is white is milk; eggs are white, so egg is milk!’
Scholars have distinguished between two types of disbelief: The first is concerned only with what a person believes in or denies while the second one, relates to action or lack of it. All scholars unanimously agree that if a person denies something, which is essentially known as an integral part of the Islamic faith, he is a disbeliever [i.e. five pillars of faith]. If we are to apply this principle to obligatory prayers [salah], we say that if a person claims to be a Muslim and denies that prayers are part of Islam, or says that it is part of it but not necessarily in the number or the manner which the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught, then he is a disbeliever. If his denial has come shortly after he had been a Muslim, then he is an apostate. In a Muslim state, an apostate is given a fair hearing before Muslim judges who may order that scholars should come and explain to him the Islamic faith and argue with him about his beliefs. If he insists on maintaining his apostasy, he is given three days to recant. If he does not, then he may incur the capital punishment.
It may be pointed out that this is not a simple case, but a very complicated one. To start with, the person concerned should have publicized his beliefs, which are contrary to Islam in a way, which is likely to undermine Islamic society. If he keeps his beliefs to himself, nobody will question him about them [no one will know it]. When he is questioned about them, every opportunity is given to make him realize his mistake. Scholars of the highest caliber are brought to argue with him. In the end, if he is so stubborn, he is sentenced, but given three days to recant. He can easily escape punishment by publicly saying that he has renounced his erroneous beliefs.
It may be kept in view that a Muslim government is not at all interested in discovering who is following the right faith and who has funny ideas. It does not follow people into their homes to discover what they actually believe in. Islam granted the basic human right of individual privacy, 1400 ago once such freedom and personal liberty was unthinkable in any society: “O believers! Avoid immoderate suspicion (guesswork), for in some cases suspicion is a sin. Do not spy on one another, nor backbite one another (to say something about another behind ones back that if one hears it, dislikes it). Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Surely you would abhor it. Fear Allah; for Allah is the Accepter of repentance, Merciful.” (Qur’an;49:12). The implementation of these injunctions by Caliph Omar is a good example of moderation in implementation of rule of law. On night Omar, the second Caliph, during his routine night watch hear some singing sound form a house. He climbed up the wall and found a man with wine and a woman. He asked him that how he could hide such immoral violation of commands of Allah? The man replied that the Caliph has already violated three command of Allah; first by spying on a believer (Qur’an;49:12), secondly, by not entering a house through door (Qur’an;2:189), and thirdly by entering the house without permission of the owner (Qur’an;24:27-28). The Caliph had no answer and had to leave quietly however he took a promise from him not to indulge in such immoral activates in future. Not even the most civilized governments can grant such a freedom to their citizens even in this present era of civil liberties and human rights. Hence, a person may entertain the most preposterous thoughts and beliefs, without having any fear that anyone will question him about his ideas. The principle is clearly stated: "No compulsion is admissible in matters of faith."(Qur'an;2:256). The Prophet said, "I have not been ordered to look into the hearts of people, nor to rip open their bellies." (Abridged from al-Bukhari and Muslim).
If a person who has much deviant ideas starts to publicize them and calls on others to share his beliefs, he is actually starting a rebellion against the very fabric of Islamic society and its basic concepts. His action is likely to result in division and conflict. When this happens, Islam moves to nip such a detrimental offshoot when it is still in the bud. Its method is to give the person concerned every chance to stop his seditious action. To escape punishment, that person need not do more than to state that he withdraws his earlier statements, even if he still believes in them in his heart. What Islam achieves by this is to stop the act of sedition, which could cause public disorder. If the person still maintains his ideas but keeps them to himself, no one is going to bother about him.
The other type of disbelief is that which relates to action, or the lack of it. Certain actions of disobedience to Allah have been described by the Prophet (peace be upon him) as actions of disbelief. A person who is guilty of any of these is questioned about his actions and the Islamic position is explained to him. If he has committed an act of disobedience for which a particular punishment is prescribed by Allah and this is proven either by the testimony of the required number of witnesses or by free confession, then the punishment is carried out. No authority can stop it. In the case of a person who does not pray, there is no prescribed punishment, though he is committing a cardinal sin.
The term ‘Taliban’ [plural of Talib, (the seeker of religious knowledge, particularly the Islamic knowledge, a student) is generally used for the students of Madrisah (religious seminary). The term ‘Taliban’ was started to be used for the militant group of students and religious leaders who established the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in 1994-96 in order to end the lengthy civil war following the withdrawal of the Soviets from the region in 1989. Led by Mullah Omar, they promoted Islam as a moral, sable, and orderly alternative to civil war, ethnic divisions, and warring tribal chiefs. They followed strict, literal and conservative interpretations of Islam and rely on strict punishments and executions. Influenced primarily by Wahabi (Deobandi) teachers and Pashtun tribal traditions. The regime was denounced by international human rights organizations for absolute segregation of women and violation of human rights. They were initially welcomed by the people of
Fitnah (trial, or test), which refer to heretical uprisings, especially the first major internal struggle within the Muslim community (656-661 C.E), which resulted in both civil war and religious schism. During the reign of the third caliph, 'Uthman, certain rebellious groups accused the Caliph of nepotism and misrule, and the resulting discontent led to his assassination. The rebels then recognized the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law, 'Ali, as ruler but later deserted him and fought against him, accusing him of having committed a grave sin in submitting his claim to the caliphate to arbitration, they are called Khawarij. The word Kharaju, from which Khariji is derived, means "to withdraw" and Khawarij, believed in active dissent or rebellion against a state of affairs they considered to be gravely impious. The basic doctrine of the Khawarij was that: “A person or a group who committed a grave error or sin and did not sincerely repent ceased to be Muslim”. According to them mere profession of the faith "there is no god but God; Muhammad is the prophet of God” did not make a person a Muslim unless this faith was accompanied by righteous deeds. In other words, good works were an integral part of faith and not extraneous to it. The second principle that flowed from their aggressive idealism was militancy, or Jihad, which the Khawarij considered to be among the cardinal principles, or pillars, of Islam. Contrary to the orthodox view, they interpreted the Qur’anic command about "enjoining good and forbidding evil"(Qur’an;3:104) to mean the vindication of truth through the sword. The placing of these two principles together made the Khawarij highly inflammable fanatics, intolerant of almost any established political authority. They incessantly resorted to rebellion and as a result were virtually wiped out during the first two centuries of Islam. Although till recently Chasidism has been considered essentially a story of the past, which left permanent influence on Islam, because of reaction against it. It forced the religious leadership of the community to formulate a bulwark against religious intolerance and fanaticism.
Khwarij Taliban & Violation of Qur’an & Sunnah:
The Takfiri doctrine is not based upon any direct clear commandment or ayah of Qur’an, it is derivative, based upon analogy (taweel), which can have more than one opinions. “The fact is that most of them follow nothing but mere conjecture and conjecture is in no way a substitute for the truth. Surely Allah is well aware of all that they do.”(Qur’an;). However through their violent terrorist acts, Taliban are violating the clear verses (Ayahs) and Hadiths. No Muslim worth the name will ever dare to even think of rejecting or violating the unambiguous commandments of Allah, clearly mentioned in Qur’an and Hadith, some are:
- Disregarding the Ayahs annuls good deeds Qur’an;18:104-105.
- Killing a believer, major sin: Qur’an;4:93.
- Killing of innocent human not permitted: Qur’an;, .
- Mischief on land rejected: Qur’an;28:77,-12, 2:60, 206, 3:63, , -34. Fighting permitted in defence with in limits – No Transgression: Qur’an;2:190.
- Kindness to Non Combatants: Qur’an; 60:8.
- Suicide is not permissible in Islam : Qur’an;2:195,, Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith Numbr:8.126, Sahih Muslim Hadith. Number.486.
- Killing by burning not allowed: Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith, Number.4.259, Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith, Number.4.260.
- Safety of mosques, monasteries, churches, synagogues & worshippers: Qur’an;2:114, 22:40).
- Mutilation of the dead bodies is prohibited: Sahih Muslim Hadith.804.
- Prohibitions-of killing religious people, women, children, aged, sick people, animals and cutting trees in military expeditions: Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith, Number.4.257,258, Al Muwata Hadith, Number;21.10.
- Freedom of faith-no compulsion: Qur’an;2:256,88:21-24, 45;50,109:6.10:100.
The heretic doctrine of Takfeer; being used by the blood thirsty extremists world wide, has only worked in tarnishing the image of Islam. It is also the ideology of Pakistani Taliban, to justify indiscriminate killing of innocent Muslims including women and children even in mosques through suicide bombers. They have unilaterally declared all Muslims opposed to their brand of Islam as apostate (Murtad), to justify their killing. The doctrine of Takfir is an atrocious deviation (bid’at), weakening the unity of Muslim Ummah, when it is the urgent need of the hour against onslaught of evil (taghoot). This doctrine has been condemned and rejected by the eminent scholars including the Saudi scholars. Parallels may be drawn between, Pakistani Taliban and Khwarij due to the intolerance and militancy being employed by them against fellow Muslims on the pretext of enforcing their vision of Islam. As a first step we should stop calling them ‘Taliban’, they should be called ‘Khwarij’ or ‘Khwarji of
All the efforts of reconciliation in the light of Qur’an;49:10 remain futile so far due to stubbornness of Pakistani Taliban. It is important that the intellectuals, as well as electronic and print media should take the lead to give moral and religious ascendancy to the soldiers, fighting the enemies of Islam and
The rebellion will ultimately be suppressed militarily but the war has to be won on ideological front, which is not possible without whole hearted support from the religious scholars (Ulema) and all segments of society. It is due to the importance of acquiring deeper knowledge of Din, with a view to educate the others; that (Ulema) have been even exempted to proceed with the expedition (of war) (Qur’an;9:122). There are many authentic Hadiths to highlight the importance of learning:” Striving after knowledge is a sacred duty (faridah) for every man and woman who has surrendered himself or herself to God (muslim wa-muslimah)" (Ibn Majah); or, "The superiority (fadl) of a learned man over a (mere) worshipper (i.e., one who merely prays, fasts, etc.) is like the superiority of the full moon over all the stars" (Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hanbal, Darimi). Consequently, the obligation of the believers to "devote themselves to acquiring a deeper knowledge of the Faith" (li-yatafaqqahu fi'd-din) and to impart its results to their fellow-believers.
It is high time that Ulema should come forward in big way by dispelling the impression of their tacit sympathy for Pakistani Taliban, even as a reaction against prevalent immorality in society. The society is degenerating in spiritual and moral values at very fast pace, which can only be checked through preaching the true message of Islam by those Ulema who are selfless, men of action not mere words, possessing strong character, faith and knowledge. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the role model to be emulated, he was known as Truthful (Sadiq) and Trustworthy (Ameen) much before he started to preach. The credibility of preacher is very important, which is lost at the outset for the Ulema venturing in to the dirty field of power politics. However it does not mean to leave the field wide open to the selfish, greedy, corrupt and scrupulous elements to exploit. Acting as a strong ‘pressure group’ they can do wonders through peaceful efforts without taking the law in their hands [Lawyers movement in restoration of judges is a case in point]. Ulema can support the good politicians, political parties and educate the masses to build pressure on the rulers for fairness and justice. They have to work hard to change the moral and spiritual out look of the society so that people elect the good people. The history shows that most of the great scholars of Islam like Imam Abu Hanifa, took no direct part in court politics or power struggles, despite his obvious antipathy toward the Umayyads and 'Abbasids, the ruling dynasties of the time. This fact partly explains why Abu Hanifah steadfastly refused to be Chief Justice and also why he suffered severe persecution under both dynasties. The history is witness to the fact that persecution and atrocities of the worst kind were inflected upon opponents once clergy of a particular sect or group acquired prevailing influence upon the rulers. Once Ulema indulge in power politics they are doing it at the cost of their main role. The declining society in dire need of ‘men of knowledge’; will be deprived of it, further hastening the decline and degeneration. This is the age of specialization, advancement in science & technology puts heavy demand upon Ulema to be also well versed with the modern knowledge and techniques. This will enable them to convince the young people (the future generation) about relevance and importance of Islam in their social, physical and spiritual lives. We must critically weigh the disadvantage against benefits to be achieved through politicizing the religious scholars, students (genuine taliban) and institutions. Damage to their ‘credibility’ is just one factor that has already caused immense damage to the cause of Islam, which the enemies of Islam could not achieve even during many centuries of colonization of Muslim lands. The fact is that the society is at the lowest ebb, every field requires reformation, and the Ulema have to abandon their original job to become economist, politician, journalist, lawyer or businessmen etc, as they can’t do justice to more than one specialty at a time. The books, internet, TV and other such means can not be substitute to the genuine scholars with ‘creditability’ to teach students in seminaries (Madaris), write new books, articles on internet, newspapers, participate in TV talk shows, address congregations in Friday Prayers and so on. The scholars though knowledgeable but lacking credibility will be laughing stock at all these forums, as already being witness in some cases.
Ulema should solely concentrate in teaching and preaching din Al-Islam (Dawah). While calling the Muslim brothers deeply entangled in sins, we must not forget the universal principal of Dawah, Allah says: “Call thou (all mankind] unto thy Sustainer's path with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the most kindly manner-for, behold, thy Sustainer knows best as to who strays from His path, and best knows He as to who are the right-guided. Hence, if you have to respond to an attack (in argument], respond only to the extent of the attack levelled against you; but to bear yourselves with patience is indeed far better for (you, since God is with] those who are patient in adversity. (Qur’an;6:125-126); “--exhort one another to the truth and exhort one another to patience”(Qur’an;3:103).
It must not be forgotten that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) met with stiff resistance in Makkah when he pointed out the way to salvation, he was rewarded with abuse and persecution during initial 13 years, not only for himself but for the Truth which he was preaching. Any one with weak heart might have been disgusted at what seemed the hopeless task of reclaiming the world from falsehood, superstition, selfishness, evil, and oppression. He was consoled by Allah: “[O Muhammad!] You probably will kill yourself in grief over them, if they do not believe in this Message (The Qur'an).That which is on earth We have made but as a glittering show for the earth in order that We may test them as to which of them are best in conduct”(Qur’an;18:6-7).“And so (O’ Prophet) exhort them; thy task is only to exhort them (non believers). Thou are not a taskmaster over them”(Qur’an;88:21-22 also emphasized at 10:108, 39:41, 42:48). The Prophet (pbuh) was sent to teach and direct people on the right way. He was not sent to force their will, or to punish them, except in so far as he may receive authority to do so. Punishment belongs to Allah alone, which is certain for non repentant and rebellious people in the Hereafter, when true values will be restored.
This is a universal advice which applies to everyone who, having become convinced of the truth of an ethical proposition, is dismayed at the apathy with which the people react, one must not get demoralised, as Alalh says:“For, never would thy Sustainer destroy a community for wrong [beliefs alone] so long as its people behave righteously [towards one another]. And had thy Sustainer so willed, He could surely have made all mankind one single community: but [He willed it otherwise, and so] they continue to hold divergent views(Qur’an;11:117-118); “---If Allah had so willed He would have made you a single people but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which you dispute.”(Qur’an;).“Now if God were to take men [immediately] to task for all the evil that they do [on earth], He would not leave a single living creature upon its face. However, He grants them respite until a term set [by Him]: but when the end of their term approaches, they can neither delay it by a single moment, nor can they hasten it.”(Qur’an; 16:62).
Islam was not spread with the power of sword, but with the power of superior pragmatic ideology based upon Truth and Justice. The empire building, rise, fall and destruction of civilizations is a historic process [see; Qur’an;35:43,10:47, 15:6, 7:34, 17:76-77, 18:55, 22:40, 2;251, 36:31, 38;3]. The basic virtues of progressive Islamic society, the peaceful coexistence, tolerance, patience, justice, social & economic harmony, acquisition of knowledge, Jihad-e-Kabira, respect of human life and values are almost extinct form our public life. Mere issuing fatwa’s against Pakistani Taliban is not enough. The common Muslims need to be educated about their doctrine and urge them to practice Din-Al-Islam to progress in this world and also save them from divine punishment in hereafter. During daily and Friday prayers, special supplication (du’a) for the victims of terror be offered.
To conclude some quotations:
“We are chasing an Islamic order stripped of its humanism, aesthetics, intellectual quests and spiritual devotions…. concerned with power not with the soul, with the mobilization of people for political purposes rather than with sharing and alleviating their sufferings and aspirations.” [Eqbal Ahmad]
“I am convinced about the authenticity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do admit the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.”[Imam Shafa’i]
“Our Lord! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake.”(Qur’an;2:286).
The Creation by Aftab Khan, The Holy Qur’an, translation and commentary by; Abdullah Yousaf Ali, The Message of Qur’an, M.Asad, F.Malik. ‘Qur’anic Prism’, The index of subjects in Qur’an by Engineer Abudl Hakim Malik, Islamic Research Foundation
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