Mohamad on Terrorism

“Shall we acquaint you of the greatest losers in (their) deeds? (they are), those ye whose labor is lost in the life in this world and they deem that they were acquiring good by their deeds” Quran 18:103-104. “And when it is said unto them, ‘make ye not mischief in the earth say they, ‘Verily, we are only the well-doers’ Beware! Verily, they are the mischief-mongers but they perceive (it) not” Quran 2:11-12.

The word “terrorism” in the last few decades became notorious and synonymous with Islam. The international community does not have a consensus on the definition of terrorism. Moreover, there continues to be strenuous disagreement among states about what actions do or do not constitute terrorism. As the cliché goes, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom-fighter.” However, I believe it is reasonable to suggest that most people see the intentional killing or harming of civilians as terrorism.

Are Muslims Terrorists?

Islam is a religion of peace, and the vast majority of its followers are peaceful people. They condemn terrorism and believe the perpetrators will be punished by God on the Day of Judgment. Unfortunately, there are some Muslims who have a poor understanding of the Quran and participate in terrorism. In doing so, they mistakenly believe that they are obeying God although in Islam the killing of one single innocent soul is tantamount to the killing of all humanity without regards to their race or belief, the Quran says: “For this reason did we prescribe unto the children of Israel that he who slayeth any one without (that being for) murder or mischief in the land, (it shall be)as though he hath slain mankind as a whole; and he who saveth it (a human life), shall be as though he hath saved mankind as a whole.” 5:32

Furthermore, Islam indoctrinates that Muslims must not hold people accountable except for their deeds. The Quran says: “And no bearer shall bear the burden of another…” 35:18. Accordingly, every person is responsible for his own actions in this life and in the hereafter. Holding people liable for their country’s conduct is a taboo in Islam. If so, a question arises. Why do Muslims, who in most cases are considered “religious,” commit terrorism?

Justification and Ignorance are the Causes of Every Evil Act

            Most people do not engage in unlawful activity unless they justify it first, regardless of whether the wrongdoing is minimal or egregious. For example, a prosecutor who believes an individual should be convicted would violate his oath and misinform the court in order to convict that individual. He or she would justify this violation because of the “higher cause.” Similarly, but on a much larger scale, a devoted person would violate his or her creed and set up a bomb in a crowded district. He or she would justify this heinous crime reasoning the “higher cause” as well.

In Islam, a noble cause does not justify a forbidden method. Any method that is forbidden in Islam stays forbidden. The Quran addresses this issue and warns people of their sworn enemy, Satan, who vowed to trick them and to make unlawful acts seem sound. As a result, they would consciously accept it and transgress without a feeling of guilt because they think they are doing what is right. The Quran states: “He (Satan) said my lord! Because thou hast left me to stray, certainly will I adorn unto them the path of error, and certainly will I cause them all to go astray. Save thy (devoted) servants, of them the freed ones.” 15:39

In 2008, when the bombing in Mumbai, India occurred, I was watching the news beside “Omar”, a Muslim fanatic. He was apprehended by the federal authorities before he was able to accomplish his violent mission in America. I wondered loudly, “How could a Muslim justify murdering these innocent people? The perpetrators are not Muslims; They are the enemy of Islam!” Omar expressed dissatisfaction, and angrily defended their actions. He argued at length that it was in accordance with the Quran. He added; “When the enemy of Islam slaughters our elderly, our women, and our children, we have the right to do the same.” I sharply disagreed, and I based my argument on my understanding of the Quran and the tradition of the Prophet, which are the main authorities in Islam.

Muslims Must Be Just in All Circumstances

            In addition to the aforementioned verses of the Quran, 5:32 and 35:18, where the Quran unequivocally prohibits the killing of blameless people or charging them because of their country’s action, I added this Quranic verse: “O ye who believe! Be always upright for God, bearing witness with justice and let not hatred of a people incite you not to act equitably; act ye equitably that is nearer to piety, fear ye God; Verily God is (fully)aware of what (all) ye do.” 5:8.

This verse explicitly directs Muslims to be impartial, not only in witnessing, but in all their affairs, without consideration for any love or enmity they may feel. This is one of the unique characteristics of Islam: fairness and equity in dealing even with those who hate or are hostile to Islam.

In Islam, there is nothing more unjust than the slaying of innocent people. It is a monstrous sin. In this regard, Imam Ali, the cousin of Prophet Mohammad, said to one of his appointed governors: “Beware! You must avoid shedding blood unjustly, because nothing is more inviting of Divine retribution, greater in (evil) consequence, and more effective in the decline of prosperity and cutting short of life than the shedding of blood unjustly.”

Hence, a true Muslim does not endorse violence against innocent people because of what their country has carried out. In fact, those victims may be against their country’s war policy.

Islam Forbids Immoral Retaliation

The history of Islam is full of events depicting the banning of immoral retaliation. When the Prophet’s uncle was assassinated and mutilated, the Prophet’s companions were outraged and wanted to avenge him in a similar fashion. Although the prophet was grieving the death of his uncle, he disapproved of vengeance. He taught his companions that the malicious act of the enemy did not license doing the same. Moreover, it is reported that whenever the enemy of Islam would conquer a town, they killed the children and the elderly, raped the women, and burned the houses and the crops. The prophet did not advocate doing the same. To the contrary, every time he dispatched an army, he would exhort them to refrain from doing so, and to have high morals without regard to the situation. These two historical events dictate that Muslims are not allowed to legitimize what is unauthorized; even in unfavorable conditions. If it were permissible to seek justice by means of forbidden acts, the Prophet would have done so.

Islam Advocates Peace and Love

Islam advocates that humanity is a big family, from one father and one mother. This family can live together in peace and harmony despite their different colors and races. The superior ones are those who guard themselves against evil. The Quran states: “Verily we have created you of a male and female, and made you in nations and tribes, that ye may recognize each other: Verily the most honored of you with God is the one of you who guarded (himself) the most (against evil) verily God is All-Knowing, the All Aware.” 49:13 Furthermore, showing respect and being kind to all people is very important in the social code of Islam. The states: “And say thou unto my servants that they should utter (only) that which is best; Verily Satan, soweth dissentions among them; Verily Satan unto man is an open enemy.” 17:53 In another verse, Muslims have been ordained not only to avoid any hostility with their peaceful neighbors of other faiths, but also to be kind and equitable to them. The Quran states: “Forbiddeth not God unto you regarding those who have not made war upon you in the matter of (your) religion, and drove you not out of your homes that ye show them kindness and be just unto them; Verily God loved the just ones.” 60:8

Justice and kindness are very important in Islamic doctrine. The Prophet of Islam summarized the Islamic message as a message of manners when he said: “I was sent to perfect manners.”

However, the problem lies in those people who have misconstrued Islam and appointed themselves as the “defender” of the religion. They wrongly assume that it is their duty to defend Islam, convert the nonbelievers, and compel Muslims to their extremist teaching of Islam. Those who disagree with them are deemed to be infidels and it is lawful to shed their blood. They have ignored many verses in the Quran, which guided the Prophet on his mission to the people: as an inviter and reminder but not a compeller. The Quran states: “So thou (go on) reminding; thou art only a reminder. Thou art not, over them, a compeller.” 88:21-22 Furthermore, the Quran is specific on how to remind people of Islam: “And call thou unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and kindly exhortation and dispute with them in the manner which is the best.” 16:125

This is the Islam that I know, the religion of peace. It is not what the fanatics preach. They have damaged the name of Islam and substituted the wisdom and kindness of the above verses with messages of murder and kidnapping. They have changed the perception of Islam from a religion of peace to a belief of terror. Where once most people felt safe around Muslims, now they feel fearful, wary even to board an airplane with them.

After my discussion with Omar, he looked at me as an “infidel.” He stopped giving me the Islamic greeting, which is given to Muslims only, and probably felt I deserved death as well. Indeed, it is true what the Quran says in regards to fanatics who think they are carrying out God’s orders, where in truth, they are implementing Satan’s orders:

            “Shall we acquaint you of the greatest losers in (their) deeds? (they are), those ye whose labor is lost in the life in this world and they deem that they were acquiring good by their deeds” Quran 18:103-104. “And when it is said unto them, ‘make ye not mischief in the earth say they, ‘Verily, we are only the well-doers’ Beware! Verily, they are the mischief-mongers but they perceive (it) not” Quran 2:11-12.

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