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Terrorism - A Critique
Issa Ahmad Khalid
(A new convert from Italy)
The topic in this discourse is a somewhat continuation of the discussion in the previous discourse on Jihad. My intention here, Insha'Allah(God Willing) is to prove once again, as I feel I did in the Jihad discussion, that Terrorism is an act outside True Islamic Teachings. Whereas the Jihad document dealt with past history, this document will deal with modern history to only a small extent, as I do not wish to become repetitive.
What is terrorism exactly? The Canadian Winston Dictionary defines terrorism as follows;
...to fill with great alarm and fear; reduce to a state of terror; to govern by methods which arouse terror...
We have seen throughout history many examples of terrorists and terrorism, for instance, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the New England Witch Hunts, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, the IRA, the Ku Klux Klan, Timothy McVeigh, David Korresh and Milosovich, just to name a few. The evil actions of those mentioned speak for themselves, with the crimes they perpetrated against humanity. Sadly, today, terrorism continues at a feverish pace, with no end in sight. Another sad fact is that the word Terrorism has somehow become synonymous with the word Muslim. The religion of Islam is being presented by certain media and religious groups as a religion of war and violence. The term Islamic Fundamentalists seems to be the in vogue catch phrase when it comes to describing the actions of a misguided few. However, when one examines the true meaning of the word Fundamentalist, you will realize that the Fundamentals of Islam do not conform to the actions of terrorists. Quite the contrary, Islam is a religion whose fundamental teachings pertain to peace and understanding and it is these True Qur'anic teachings that I wish to explore here, Insha'Allah(God Willing). It is sad to think that whenever a crime is committed by a Muslim, the religion of Islam is put on trial. If we were to follow that analogy, and considering that, with the exception of Lenin, Stalin and Pol Pot, all the above mentioned individuals and groups were Christian or from a Christian background, is it right to blame all Christians and the religion of Christianity for the crimes committed by these terrorists? And considering that the fathers of communism were all Jewish or of a Jewish background, would it be proper and fair to blame all Jews and the religion of Judaism for the evils of communism? No, it is not right and just the same, to blame all Muslims and the religion of Islam for the crimes committed by terrorists is equally wrong. My wish, Insha'Allah(God Willing), is to show that terrorism is a concept that is non-conforming with The Holy Qur'an and the religion of Islam. I have no wish to get political or to discuss politics. I have no desire to become specific in regards to recent world events. My purpose here, Insha'Allah(God Willing), is to present Islam as a religion that does not preach terrorism.
Now, what exactly is a just fight? Is there such a thing as a just fight? Do we not have the right to defend ourselves in the face of tyranny, oppression and suppression? If one wishes to do you or your loved ones harm, would you not defend yourself and your loved ones? Would you not be willing to give your life in order to save the life of the one you love? Your wife, husband, brother, sister, mother, father, child and maybe even your pet. It is a natural instinct we all have, the instinct to protect those whom we love. Even to defend ones land and home is equally justified. The concept of Turn The Other Cheek is just not a practical teaching, especially in today's world. Allah(swt) knows this, He created us, so He knows what is in our hearts. Allah(swt) says in The Holy Qur'an;
Permission to fight is given to those on whom war is made, because they are oppressed. And surely Allah is able to assist them; those who are driven from their homes without a just cause except that they say, Our Lord is Allah.
Allah(swt) also says;
And strive hard for Allah with due striving. Surah Al-Hajj:78
No rational thinking person can find fault in these Words of Almighty God. It is the duty of all of us to fight for what is right and just. However, it is important that we do not transgress the bounds as Ordained by Allah(swt);
And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but be not aggressive. Surely, Allah loves not the aggressors. Surah Al-Baqarah:190
What we are Commanded by Allah(swt) is to fight only those who fight you. This is not terrorism, this is self defense. Who can argue with this? In self defense, there are also guidelines to follow. Allah(swt) tells us;
But if they desist, then surely Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful. Surah Al-Baqarah:192
And if they incline towards peace, incline thou also towards it, and put thy trust in Allah. Surely, it is He Who is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. Surah Al-Anfal:61
Allah(swt) also tells us;
So, if they withdraw from you and fight you not, and offer you peace, then Allah allows you no way against them. Surah Al-Nisa:90
Now I ask; how does this sound like the teachings of terrorism? We are told by Allah(swt) that we have every right to defend ourselves, but at the same time, we are commanded to cause no mischief. We are commanded by Allah(swt) to cause no war, for Allah(swt) hates war. Allah(swt) tell us;
Whenever they kindle a fire for war Allah puts it out, and they strive to make mischief in the land. And Allah loves not the mischief makers. Surah Al-Ma'idah:64
The act of self defense is to extinguish aggression, not add to it. We are even told by Allah(swt) not to hold any ill feelings towards those who made war against us. Allah(swt) says;
And let not hatred of a people, because they hindered you from the Sacred Mosque, incite you to transgress. Surah Al-Maidah:2
Now, how can anyone interpret these passages as the teachings of terrorism? As Muslims, we are forbidden to even take our own lives. Allah(swt) tells us;
And kill not yourselves. Surely Allah is ever Merciful to you. Surah Al-Nisa:29
In light of these passages from The Holy Qur'an, one can easily see that terrorists are acting outside the True Teachings of Islam. These suicide bombers are acting outside the Deen of Allah(swt).
The only proof text those who oppose Islam have, and I do mean the Christian Evangelists, is a passage of The Holy Qur'an taken completely out of context. It reads as follows;
...slay the idolaters, wherever you find them... Surah Al-Tauba:5
The above passage in question deals purely with the defensive battles Prophet Muhammad(saas) and his companions(ra) had to deal with in the face of the Quraysh tyranny. When read in its proper context, the message is clear and yet Christian Evangelists never cease to use this passage to spread the lie that Islam preaches violence and murder. What the Christian Evangelists fail to realize is that one can easily do to certain passages of the Bible as they do to The Holy Qur'an. I give you the following examples;
a) Deuteronomy 7:1-6 (Wholesale Genocide)
b) Numbers 31 (Slaughter of the Midianites)
c) 1 Samuel 15 (Slaughter of the Amalekites)
d) Psalms 137:9 (Blessed are the baby killers)
e) Matthew (Jesus came to "Bring a sword, not peace")
f) Luke (Jesus says he came to "Bring fire, not peace")
g) Luke (Jesus says in a parable, "All those who did not want me to rule over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence)
h) Luke (Jesus tells his followers to "Purchase Swords")
i) John (Jesus
attacks people with a whip in the
If we were to follow the same criteria as the Christian Evangelists do, as pertaining to certain passages of The Holy Qur'an, we can also do the same with the Bible and claim that all crimes against humanity committed by those who profess the Christian faith were acting in accordance with the teachings of their faith. However, it would be wrong to do so as we would be lowering ourselves to the level of these liars. As Muslims, we must set a better example than that.
No greater man to obey the commands of Almighty God than Prophet Muhammad(saas). Prophet Muhammad(saas) has been wrongly accused of acts of terrorism by certain religious leaders both past and present. They have no evidence to substantiate their false claims other than the evidence that they themselves fabricate. I would like to share with you now some examples in the form of Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad(saas) which show the compassionate nature of this True Prophet of Almighty God.
As narrated by Saheeh Muslim #1744 and Saheeh Al-Bukhari #3015, when Prophet Muhammad(saas) and his followers(ra) were defending themselves against the aggression of the Quraysh, he would prohibit the Muslims from killing women and children, as well as from causing plunder.
We also find narrated in Saheeh Muslim #1731 and Al-Tirmizi #1408, Prophet Muhammad(saas) saying, ...Do not betray, do not be excessive, do not kill a new born child. This runs in sharp contrast with what is relayed in the above mentioned Biblical passages, most notably Numbers 31.
Prophet Muhammad(saas) also said, as narrated by Saheeh Al-Bukhari #3166 and Ibn Majah #2686
the following, Whoever has killed a person having a treaty with
Muslims shall not smell the fragrance of
Prophet Muhammad(saas) had also forbidden punishment and torture as was narrated by
Narrated in Saheeh Al-Bukhari #6871 and Saheeh Muslim #88, Prophet Muhammad(saas) listed murder as the second of the major sins. The first, of course, is associating partners with Almighty God.
We also find narrated in Saheeh Al-Bukhari #6533 and Saheeh Muslim #1678, Prophet Muhammad(saas) warning us that on the Day of Judgement, The first cases to be adjudicated between people on the Day of Judgement will be those of bloodshed. This means both killing and injuring.
Now I ask; does this sound like the teachings of a
terrorist? Can anyone possibly interpret these words as condoning terrorism? Quite the
contrary, these are words that can easily be used to condemn terrorism. So compassionate
was Prophet Muhammad(saas) that he even encouraged Muslims to be kind to animals and not
hurt them. When Prophet Muhammad(saas) was marching towards
As narrated in Saheeh Al-Bukhari #2365 and Saheeh Muslim #2422, Prophet Muhammad(saas) said, A woman was punished because she imprisoned her cat until it died. On account of this, she was doomed to Hell.
We also find narrated in Saheeh Al-Bukhari #2466 and Saheeh Muslim #2244 the following by Prophet Muhammad(saas), A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well, he descended into it, drank his fill and came up. Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst. The man said, This dog is feeling the same thirst that I felt. So, he went down into the well again, filled his shoe with water and gave the dog a drink. So, Allah thanked him and forgave his sins. The Prophet(saas) was asked, Messenger of Allah, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals? The Prophet(saas) said, There is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human.
A similar story is related about a Jewish harlot who had done the same act of kindness to a dog and Allah(swt) forgave her of all her sins. Additionally, while taking the life of an animal for food, Muslims are commanded to do so in such a manner that causes the least amount of fright and suffering to the animal as possible. As narrated in Saheeh Muslim #1955 and Al-Tirmizi #1409, Prophet Muhammad(saas) said, When you slaughter an animal, do so in the best way. One should sharpen his knife to reduce the suffering of the animal.
These examples are a far cry from the portrait painted of Prophet Muhammad(saas) and true Muslims as bloodthirsty, ravenous terrorists. On the contrary, this shows the kind hearted nature of Prophet Muhammad(saas) and that he could never have preached terrorism nor acted as a terrorist.
In light of these and other Islamic texts, the act of inciting terror in the hearts of defenseless civilians, the wholesale destruction of buildings and properties, the bombing, maiming and torturing of innocent men, women and children, much like what is going on in parts of the world this very day, are all forbidden and detestable acts according to Islam and True Muslims. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy and forgiveness, as proven by the examples listed in this chapter and the vast majority of Muslims have nothing to do with the violent events some have associated with Muslims. If an individual Muslim were to commit an act of terrorism, this person would be guilty of violating the Laws of Islam.
May Allah(swt) guide us all to the truth, Insha'Allah(God Willing).
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Articles by Issa Ahmed Khalid.
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