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Terrorism is Antithetical to Islam

Part I
It is with a sad and broken heart that we have witnessed the events of the
last few weeks in Bangladesh. Innocent people have been killed, many of
them foreigners guests in this country, all in the name of Islam. We are
shocked and stunned by the cruelty of the perpetrators, and each of us are
asking, if this can actually be the work of Muslims wholive among us. We are
asking, if they are the followers of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SWS)
who is Rahmatallil Alameen or Mercy of Allah to all creation. The answer
is :no, they are not Muslims. They are enemies of Islam, imposters and
hypocrites.In fact, if one died in the course of these heinous acts, he could be
denied Islamic burial rites, according to someschools of Islamic thought.
There is a theory that the persons, who are conducting these brutal acts, are
doing it in the name of the Islamic concept of Jihad. But,Jihadtranslated
simply as struggle or striving in English is diametrically opposed to
terrorism in any form. Jihad, in Islam takes two forms. The first form is
personal Jihad, which means to fight and struggle against the suggestions of
the Shaitanor the Devil to ones base desires, also known as the nafs. Nafs
means, the animal-like instincts of man, e.g. greed, anger, lust, ego, laziness,
impatience, etc. Personal Jihad also includes the restraint of the tongue, the
denial of excesses, the control of wayward thought, the pursuit of morality,
the acquisition of knowledge, the suppression of evil, etc. Personal Jihad is
advised in the Quran :
Truly he succeeds that purifies it (the soul) - 91:9 (Y. Ali)
Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right,
forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. - 3:110 (Y. Ali)
Seest thou such a one as taketh for his god his own passion (or impulse)?
Couldst thou be a disposer of affairs for him? - 25:43 (Y. Ali)
Jihad denotes improving ones personal character or nature. Fasting in the
month of Ramadan is an example of personal Jihad, and so is the system of
saying daily prayers.Defending oneself or ones family from an aggressor
also falls under this category of Jihad. The second form of Jihad is to conduct
lawful war in the name of Islam, which is permissible for 2
purposesonly:defending the state and its population against the aggression

of an enemy, and secondly for the purpose of delivering the message of

Islam to non-Muslims.
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;- 22:39
(Y. Ali)
If then they run away, We have not sent thee as a guard over them. Thy
duty is but to convey (the Message). - 42:48 (Y. Ali)
Say thou: "This is my way: I do invite unto Allah,- on evidence clear as the
seeing with one's eyes,- I and whoever follows me," - 12:108 (Y. Ali)
It must be noted that the purpose is only to inform the message of Islam to
non-Muslims, but not to impose it forcefully. Muslims cannot unilaterally
impose their law on other peoples.
Let there be no compulsion in religion; - 2:256 (Y. Ali)
If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on
earth! Wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe! 10:99 (Y. Ali)
Participating in a lawful war is an act of glory in Islam, and death in such war
makes a person a shaheed or martyr in the way of Allah, guaranteeing him
a place in heaven. Shaheed is a spiritual station to be coveted. This station of
honor must be earned in a lawful way.Lawful war can only be conducted by
the state and the state authority which must have the public recognition to
act as the representative of the Ummah (the Muslim public). Individuals,
groups or single leaders cannot wage war under any circumstances. If a
crime is committed, only the state has the power and authority to punish
anyone for wrong doing. While, self-defense, and the prevention of manifest
injustice is permissible and even encouraged, Islam does not permit the
taking up of the law in ones own hand. Justice is delivered by judges and the
judicial system. Anyone transgressing these fundamental principles can be
treated as common criminals.
Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress
limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. - 2:190 (Y. Ali)
Even if lawful warfare is conducted by an Islamic state, for example, when a
true Islamic state existed during the time of the Prophet, and for possibly a
few hundred years after that, there are clear rules of engagement as
enumerated in the Quran and the Hadees. These are :

1. No women, children, civilians and non-combatants can be harmed, if

they are not direct participants in the war.
2. No priests or worshippers of any religion can be attacked, if they are
3. No churches, synagogues or mosques can be destroyed.
4. No diplomats or ambassadors can be attacked.
5. No trees can be cut, orstanding crops be destroyed, if not of strategic
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 ; - 22:40 (Y. Ali)
So, it is apparent that, even at the time of war, Islam sends the message of
peace and security. It is therefore also apparent that no person acting as an
individual or a group can conduct attacks, suicide missions, acts of terrorism
or threatening, revenge killings, or any act of violence, under any pretext or
excuse, and if he does that, he shall be treated as a criminal subject to the
full force of the law. All such acts are antithetical to Islam, and Islam cannot
take responsibility for these pervertedindividuals or groups. Additionally, as
per Islamic principles he shall find no mercy from Allah in the hereafter, as
per the following Ayat (verse) of the Quran :
On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew
a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it
would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it
would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.- 5:32 (Y. Ali)
Muslims are expected to be kind even to animals as per the narrations of
many Hadees. The Prophet has said, There is a reward, for charityto every
living being (Sahih Bukhari 5663, Sahih Muslim 2244).The Prophet reported
forgiveness from Allah for a prostitute who offered water to a dying dog
(Sahih al-Bukhari 3143, Sahih Muslim 2245). He forbade the killing of birds
without just cause (Sunnan Al Nasai), or the taking of baby chicks from birds
nests (Abu Dawood), or the ill treatment of beasts of burden (Abu Dawood)
or to be cruel to animals (Sahih Muslim, Hadith 1047).
Islam also deals with the idea of fitna which simply translated means
temptation, seduction, or lure, but in the wider sense means, unrest,
upheaval, lawlessness etc. Muslims are specially cautioned about falling into

fitna. The condition of fitna develops when the Muslim Ummah lacks
leadership, loses direction, or becomes corrupt.
They said: "In Allah do we put our trust. Our Lord! make us not a trial
(fitna) for those who practice oppression; - 10:85 (Y. Ali)
"Our Lord! Make us not a (test and) trial (fitna) for the Unbelievers, but
forgive us, our Lord!- 60:5 (Y. Ali)
This said, it is important to analyze the general context of what has
happened in Bangladesh, vis a vis the rise of extremists. There seems to be
two streams of restlessness that has merged into a general atmosphere of
despair. One springs from the traditional schools or madrasas where religious
learning is the foundation of education. This draws its numbers from the
lower disenfranchised classes of society, who are supported by local political
and social functionaries, supplemented by sponsors from the Middle East
who serve their religious and geo-political ambitions by supporting them. The
other stream comes from families of the well to do, who constantly goad
their children to excel in advanced fields of knowledge, with no sympathy for
the strained state of mind it produces. Their sole purpose is to escape the
country to join the workforce abroad. The first group finds themselves
unwanted and ostracized in a modern secular world, while the second group
is driven more and more towards a world of alienation and isolation.
It is in this context that the madrasahtrained activists drawing strength from
a glorious past and the confidence of numbers try to organize themselves for
the establishment of a cure-all social and political order which derives it
appeal from the Word of Allah. Their simplistic,idealistic minds justify the
achievement of immediate power in the hope that all social problems would
be surmounted once an Islamic state is declared. They believe no sacrifice is
big enough for that end. They think that terrorizing the public, giving the
impression of power to the greater population would garner them the
support of the entire population who are ever-ready to join them. They fail to
understand that their strategy is diametrically opposed to the fundamental
teachings of Islam as enumerated in the QuranicAyats above and their
designs are bound to fail both in this world and in the eyes of the Almighty.
As for the wayward children of upper class families, they are drawn into
extremism, some desiring to fill a spiritual void in their lives and others
through the need to vent out their frustrations from too much homework,
work load, and in some cases, the hardships of having to live in a corrupt
society where the parents are honest. Some want to die as shaheeds in fits
of religious idealism. Religious extremism gives them a moral reason to rebel

against their families, their schools and their society and to glorify
themselves in front of their peers. Being small in number, they sometimes
collude with the madrasah activists and cause the type of mayhem that we
witnessed in the Holey Artisan killing.
Adding to the local mess of wayward youth, the element of foreign
intervention in our country has raised its hideous head. Country after country
in the Middle East has been plunged into chaos. A few countrieshave almost
been obliterated after the invasion of Iraq. The social structure has almost
collapsed and revenge killings have become a fact of everyday life. The
Muslim world has been thrust into topsy-turvy and local youth is being drawn
into those conflicts, some out of idealism, some out of frustration, and some
for adventure.

It must be understood that a large number of vested interests of various

denominations all over the world stand to gain or lose from all these
conflicts. Some are agents of international business cartels, some are
protagonists of special religious doctrines, whilesome arepowerful
governments playing games of geo-politics. Islam with its antiquated rigid
structure has had to bear the brunt of these power struggles. In its effort to
rediscover itself in the face of a powerful secular world, one sect started to
propagate Wahabism mainly in Saudi Arabia which started to question the
purported present role of even the Prophet of Islam. Another sect, mainly in
the Indian Sub-Continent, propagated Moududiism which wanted to give
Islam the shape of a modern political ideology with a cadre based
organizational structure. The Jamaat e Islami party is a direct product of that
philosophy. Yet another sect became proponents of Salafiism which preached
the return to the days of the first 3 generations from Muhammad (SWS). This
group is active in the Middle East. Then again are the Tablighis who aim to
convert the converted. Devoid of the zeal and spirit of saints and holy men
who once brought Islam to the land years ago, these shallow men who only
teach the Sharia only bring ridicule upon themselves. Aside from the age old
Shia-Sunni split, thesedoctrines have torn into the very fabric of Islam by
challenging the established order of the 4 major Sunni mazhabs (Hanafi,
Shafiee, Hambali, Maliki) of the preceding centuries. Of particular interest is
Dr Zakir Naik, the prima donna champion of Islamic superiority, while at the
same time promoting his own brand of Wahabism through his foreign funded
Peace TV, mesmerizing the minds of millions in the Indian Sub-Continent.

It is worthy of note that a major source of the corruption of young minds is

the absence of proper literature and spiritual understanding which can reveal
the real inner understanding of Islam. Books of the Hadith have been
corrupted beyond measure. No standard compilations, approved by the
proper authorities exist of the 6 major sources of the Hadith and the
narrations sometimes vary creating more divergence than agreement.
Unauthorized translations have left their marks. This is one reason why a
section of educated youth who are bombarded with books, writings and web
based unfiltered knowledge have chosen to shun knowledge of the Hadith
altogether rather than accept unauthenticated versions. They only choose to
rely on the Quran which has remained unaltered through the centuries. Even
the readings of the Quran is from translations and done only in the literal
sense. Deep spiritual discourses of religious masters of the past are all but
forgotten.This is also one reason for the rise of Wahabismwhich emphasizes
the Oneness of Allah, butdeliberately downplays the vitally
importanthumanistic yet spiritual role of the Prophet and other luminaries in
the flowering of Islam.
Part II
Allah sent to mankind through Muhammad (SWS) not one but two Blessings :
the Book of Allah i.e. the Quran, which is the basis of the Sharia, along with
the actions and teachings of the Prophet, and a Light, a word chosen by
Allah to describe His Own Nature :
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. .. Light upon
Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: - 24:35 (Y. Ali)
O Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings,
and Warner. And as one who invites to Allah's (Grace) by His leave, and as
a lamp spreading light. - 33:45-46 (Y. Ali)
O mankind! verily there hath come to you a convincing proof from your
Lord: For We have sent unto you a light (that is) manifest. - 4:174 (Y. Ali)
We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures. - 21:107 (Y. Ali)
There hath come to you from Allah a (new) light and a perspicuous Book,- 5:15 (Y. Ali)
It is to be noted that in the Ayat above (5:15), light has been mentioned as
separate from the Book which contains ilm or knowledge. It is obvious that
light as used in the context does not refer to physical light but the light of

inspiration rather than pure knowledge, that leads man to a higher plane. It
would be highly improper for Muslims to ignore this precious blessing that
was also sent through Muhammad (SWS), a blessing no less than the Book.
In fact, those well versed in the deeper meaning of the religion would
contend that the Book would be incomplete without the light. Since the
Book of Allah has survived through the ages through the intervention of
Allah, it would be altogether fitting that Allah would also preserve the
propagation of the Light of Allah to all mankind, as mentioned in the Quran,
even after the physical demise of the Prophet.
We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly
guard it (from corruption). - 15:9 (Y. Ali).
To believers who dig deep into the soul of Islam, Allah has not only preserved
the Message of the Book, but also the light sent to the Prophet through
chosen ones among the Family of the Prophetwho are known as the Ahle
Bayet(translated family of the allegiant) or those who were or are nearest to
him in flesh and spirit.
The Shariah is the outer form which deals with an almost all encompassing
functional socio-religious and governing system of Islam. The inner form is
known as the Tariqa or the method or the way followed bySufis,that
deals with achieving Haqiqat or ultimate truth, or even deeper, into
Marefator the way to achieving union with the ultimate inner Light of the
Creator and His creation. If the Sharia is the system, then the Tariqa is the
system of the system. To thetrue believer, there is a vital purpose why Allah
has included suggestive and mystical verses and stories in the Quran. It is as
if Allah has extended an invitation to Man to venture into the mysteries of
Moses said to him: "May I follow thee, on the footing that thou teach me something of the
(Higher) Truth which thou hast been taught?" - 18:66

(Y. Ali)

"The Quran possesses an external appearance and a hidden depth, an

exoteric meaning and an esoteric meaning. This esoteric meaning in turn
conceals an esoteric meaning so it goes on for seven esoteric meanings
(seven depths of hidden depth)." Imam JafarSadiq (AS)(Wikipaedia)
It is therefore strange and regrettable, that although much attention is
reserved for the Shariavery little attention is paid today to the Tareqa which
is the way of the Sufis and the Holy Men who teach the inner ways whilst
maintaining the tenets of the Shariah. Symbolically speaking, the Shariah
without the Tareqa tantamount to having a body without its soul. The

question to be asked today is whether this is the root cause for our wayward
journey into extremism and disharmony, where the body of the Ummahis
functioningwithout its soul.
It is imperative that the past traditionsconcerning the persona of the Prophet
be revived. The spiritual concept of Hayatun Nabi which says that the
Prophet is still alive.and must be shown respect through the celebrations of
Milad Mahfils and Eid e Miladun Nabi (remembrance, and thanks giving for
the Birth of the Prophet)cannot be allowed to be challenged by so-called
Muftis who only revolve around the Sharia. The soft words of the Sufis, the
repositories of Muhammads (SWS) Light from Allah, the vehicle of Allahs
Blessings to mankind, must once again be reignited tofill the void in our
And say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah. "They are dead."
Nay, they are living, though ye perceive (it) not. - 2:154 (Y. Ali)
Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live,
finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord; - 3:169 (Y. Ali)

Authored by :
Syed Mujtaba Quader

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