Saturday, February 27, 2016

Faith, Freedom and Public Order

"ISLAMIC STATE" spreads Terror

In the context of the besiegement by the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) of some Muslim states by proclaiming a caliphate which has not been mandated neither by Allah, nor the truly pious people, both the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds now see themselves facing a real danger. 

After Al-Qaeda and other terrorist cells, the ISIS is doing havoc in Iraq and Syria and is trying by force and terror to make people succumb to their command. According to them, the first objective of the Ummah must be the seizure of secular power so as to be able to reign in supremacy. And so, without referring themselves specifically to the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), these people spread terror in both Muslim and non-Muslim camps. 

The world is facing a real crisis. That is why in this century, the Caliph of Allah, the Reviver of Faith of this century has been raised by Allah to thwart the purpose of any other false caliphate which is just like a flame blazing and burning further the fragile state of Islam.

We are in a state of emergency. 

Muslims must refer themselves first of all to the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of our beloved prophet (pbuh). What these so-called Muslims and defenders of the Ummah are doing has nothing to do with the practice of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). The latter (pbuh) had established the Quran first; long before he even gained political power. The teachings (of the Quran) were observed/ put into practice even if the political powers of the time opposed them. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) remains verily our only source of light. His ascension to political supremacy was primarily free of all injustice and coercion.

Freedom of Conscience and Faith

The Holy Quran clearly states: “There is no compulsion in religion.” 

Faith cannot be established by making use of coercive force. Several verses of the Holy Quran are clear on this. Addressing the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the Quran, Allah says:

“Innama Anta Muazakkir; Lasta alayhim Bimusaytir”

Therefore do give admonition, for you are one to admonish; You are not over them a controller.
(88: 22-23)

There is a difference between Muzakkir (the one to admonish/ Warner) and Musaytir (controller/ guardian). If one were to interpret the current situation: first taking over political power and then force people, especially non-Muslims to apply the Quran in their day to day lives, imposing it on them, this would mean giving strength to the cruel voices (people) who are trying to expose our beloved prophet (pbuh), the Saviour of mankind as a barbaric and vulgar person and who thus perceive Islam as a threat and not as good news.

Freedom of Religion and the State 

Besides, those who impose the laws of the Quran on a nation without their approval and without respect to their own religious values ​​cannot be true Muslims. However there is a difference between imposing the laws of the Quran on a completely unresponsive people to the divine message, and the establishment of Quranic and prophetic laws in a Islamic country or state where non-believers are called to live in peace in those places while practicing their faith freely, but are called to pay the Jizya (tax that non-believers have to pay on Islamic territories) because they live in a state/ country governed by the laws of the Quran, by the Shariah, by an Islamic Government.

So the words of Allah: Muzakkir and Musaytir suggest opposing movements; one granting him (the prophet) a certain authority, the other removing it. These verses make us understand that there is a situation where the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is in authority, but it is clear that he is not a guardian of the people; he is not a controller (over their affairs) or dictator. This situation corresponds in fact to the administration of state affairs. Being at the top of the state, he had no right to inflict the practice of the precepts of the Quran (in respect to faith) to anyone. 

To put it more clear before you: There is in the Holy Quran verses about spiritual purification of people, their relationship with God, morality and various other religious aspects. In this respect, no form of coercion is permitted. There is also another category of verses that relate to government/ management of state affairs, including those relating to justice, public order etc. It should be understood that in the latter case, a form of coercion should be exercised. In fact, it exists in all countries of the world, Islamic or not. To summarize: In religious matters, any form of coercion is not permitted. In state affairs, some forms of coercion are permitted.

Coercion only to Preserve Public Order

To appreciate the logical necessity of that kind of coercion, one should understand the concept of freedom. Freedom must be put into perspective when applied to two individuals. These two are apparently free to do whatever they want, and so if the first hit and injure or kill the second, then the rights of the second are violated. Therefore, the state/ government should intervene to maintain order, to address this deficiency which there is in the perception of freedom that people have. This form of state coercion of freedom is not affected by the Quranic teaching: “There is no compulsion in religion.” Its nature is different. It is in the interests of freedom, to maintain order that a form of coercion is normally applied by all States/ countries. This is the fundamental principle of any state. Individual or community rights are fundamental rights. Each individual or community should be free to exercise his rights. If someone violates the rights of others, it is necessary that he be stopped. In such a situation, coercion becomes an obligation. It is a common fact of all States/ countries. It is not a distinctive feature of Islam.

When and if Islam (the REAL Islam, without the brand of terrorism) comes to power, its responsibilities require it to apply state (and not religious) coercion to maintain public order and establish the law. There is to be no confusion between this aspect of Islam and that which is religious in nature.

Mistaken notions on Coercive Force 

Without coming to power, the application of these principles is not possible. In fact, the confusion surrounding the issue of coercion has resulted in completely erroneous dogmas. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) never used the state apparatus to establish Islam. Islam was established through the nature of Islam itself, purely and naturally religious. After taking office, he has not changed his way of doing things concerning the religious aspect of Islam. Whether in Medina or Mecca, he was the same. Those who claim otherwise are wrong. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) had never used repressive methods when it came to predicting his religious views, doctrine or Islamic philosophy. 

Religion can be described as a lifestyle, a way of life, and to impose it as a philosophy or a series (chain) of belief to someone is not allowed in Islam.

Lakum Deenakum Waliya Deen – 

“For you is your religion, and for me is my religion” was proclaimed, either Medina or Mecca.

As for the relationship between man and God, it falls into the category of Deen (religion / way of life), and therefore subject to the requirement: There is to be no compulsion in religion. Again, we note no difference in the attitude of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) occurring between Medina and Mecca. He always intervened/ judged according to the Quranic prescriptions on the subject. If any individual wanted to perform the rites of prayer, he was free to perform it whether in Mecca or Medina. If he did not do it, he was not coerced into accomplishing it, and no sanctions would be taken against him; same for fasting, and the pilgrimage.

Regarding the Zakat (obligatory tax), a form of coercion was applied. The practice of Zakat was an obligatory act for all citizens because the common goodwill of all was concerned. This is similar to taxes collected by all governments, even nowadays like the Income Tax, with people liable to be sanctioned in case they do not pay.

We must understand that when Islam allows a form of coercion, it does not have a monopoly of this action. Other states also do the same. This is a common practice recognized as human rights and state rights. Those who blame Islam to impose faith by force are wrong. Islam as a complete code of life is also interested in affairs of the state, mainly to safeguard human rights. Coercion intervenes to restore rights and to put the concept of freedom into perspective.

So, one cannot accuse Islam of coercion in matters of religion or that its Quranic verses are loaded with command to kill people because the contents of the Quran were revealed according to the context of the situation prevailing at the time and which still serves today (and that till the Day of Judgement) as guidance for us, in case we are attacked/ harmed or that our rights are trampled. But we are by no means ordered to attack first; only when we are attacked. This is similar to self-defence that all Muslim states and even non-Muslims advocate because even though Jesus had preached to give the other cheek when one receives a slap on one cheek, but on the other hand, governments in general give preference only to the imposition of laws as passed and agreed upon by the country’s constitution. So Christian teachings in these cases give place to state laws. Therefore, why blame Islam which just came as the restorer of human rights, both religious and secular, and also to shape man physically, morally and spiritually for his meeting with his Creator? If the Muslim, the individual, the human ONLY kills in self-defence, why blame Islam or the UNIVERSAL prophet for it?

Moreover, in every war, ISLAM in the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and even at the time of the rightly guided caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman and Ali) as an Islamic state fought against the opposing army in a fair and equal battle. The conquest of lands/territories was common at the time. Sometimes the Persian or Roman rose against other peoples to claim/ seize their land, and so on. The Islamic State, the true one in the heart of time was ever there to restore the rights of men, and invite people to Islam. If they agreed, it was for their own good, and if they refused, they were free to do so, but as their territories fell into the hands of Muslims who then established the Islamic state, therefore they had to comply with state laws, not Islamic (religious) ones. Besides the Quran came as a guide in both areas, religious and state and reserves itself for the reform of man, to shape him as a model worshiper of God. 

As for the other countries or peoples who fought against Muslims, let us not forget that even other people, even Christians who were supposed to give the other cheek in response to violence, were seen in the bloodthirsty role. A great illustration of this fact is The Crusades which they operated against the Muslims to recapture the Holy Land (Jerusalem) under the leadership of the Popes and others.

Today we see on them the same bloodthirsty look they accuse the Muslims and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) of having, and instead of making war against terrorism, they are indeed doing war against Islamism, against Islam and what it represents as dogma. And in the process, this has also given rise to Muslim extremists who want to thwart modern Christianity and to conquer through their (wrong) interpretation of Islam, without any faith or real law, especially not that of the Quran! US politicians, Jews and Christians such as Donald Trump (especially with his remarks that Muslims should be banned from the United States of America and who has more recently even alluded to the fact that to thwart attacks of Islamic terrorists, pigs blood may be used on bullets to kill these people because Muslims dislike pork and see it as unclean and therefore he has in mind to use the FAITH of Muslims to show disrespect to the tenets of Islam) and others, such as the French Government, are doing everything to destroy Islam and its ideology, but they are most unfortunate because Islam has come to bring peace and harmony and not to divide brothers of the same blood because for we are all in the end, the children of Adam. But it is only Islam which has come as a unifier of all the original religions to guide mankind towards a merciful God.

Therefore, the Islamic State as introduced by Allah and His noble prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through the guidance of the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) will materialise at the hands of the caliphs of Allah and not those thirsty of temporal powers. Our weapon in this century as I have told you my brothers, sisters and children is our prayers and our internal reform to attract God Almighty so that He may guide us through divine revelation how to end the attacks of the enemy and restore the glory of Islam. Allah has sent His caliph to you in the new century, such a caliph and prophet of Allah who has come as an obedient follower of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and that of the Promised Messiah of the past century also Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), and together, Oh Muslims thirsty of the pleasure of Allah, we will march to victory. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

---- Friday Sermon of 26 February 2016 ~(16 Jamad’ul Awwal 1437 Hijri) delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.