Saturday, August 20, 2016

'Terrorism' Knows No Religion

Islam means submission and peace, and it altogether signifies the religion and the way of life of man. Someone who sincerely says that he belongs to Islam will make it a must to make his life an embodiment of peace. He will strive to obey all the commandments of Allah, the Overpowering Lord, the Unique God. He will find himself surrounded by noble teachings, and as a responsible human being filled with the innate willpower to spread goodwill everywhere, he strives to establish securely the bond between man and Allah, between man and man, and between man and the rest of Allah’s creation.

Islam reflects the true nature of the soul of man. When he is born in this temporal world, he is Muslim. He has no religion, no creed whatsoever except being intrinsically and extrinsically devoted to Allah. While the magnet of the earth pulls him to connect with the material, yet his soul is ever thirsty of the spiritual, of the great divine love which has enable for him this journey to earth. Thus his soul strives to soar high above everything material and flimsy, i.e., all mundane connections to connect with the True Reality, i.e. Allah.

Islam reinvigorates the individual, giving him the necessary baggage to last a lifetime on earth whilst being only a temporary traveller. Islam is the true religion of all mankind; it is their true identity and it is that belongingness which ultimately connects him to His Maker, Allah (swt). It is only with the touch of this material world, that man temporary loses his true sense of direction. Some progress further into Islam, while some get beguiled by the attractions of this world and lose the aura of their purpose of being born on earth. As such, man devises several gods of their own making to fill the gap of their lost touch with the true Maker, unable to recall their promises made to Him before their advent on earth.

To guide peoples or nations aright, Allah sent thousands of prophets and messengers among them to re-establish that lost bond which they once had with their Creator. While the accursed one (i.e. Satan) and his army strive to “honour” his word to misguide man and remove him from the righteous path, the purpose of every Adam, in the capacity of Representative (Caliph) of Allah is to preach the word of Allah to the people, to wake up their consciousness and revive the essence of their Islam which has been concealed deep within by layers of worldliness.

From Adam to Muhammad (pbuh), Allah perfected the identity of man by defining once and for all the true name for his creed, faith and religion. Allah consolidated His word, His promise to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), by making him the Seal of all Prophets and by revealing to him his true status of Muslim, and for all his true followers and giving him the perfect book, the Quran so that he, and the rest of Muslim believers till the Day of Judgement abide by it in a true way. But Allah knows that man is weak and falls prey from time to time to the attractions of the satans. That is why, He already revealed that whenever religion will be in danger, he shall send His elect, a truthful guide to lead the people out of the darkness of the world into the divine light. If Islam is the first and foremost religion and identity of man, yet man is beguiled from time to time by his abased desires/ passions which make him cut connection with Allah. Sometimes again, he interprets the Holy verses of God, without the support of a man of God and acts upon them according to his own thoughts and thus ruins the real commandments of Allah. Such is the case concerning Terrorism.

Terrorism in itself knows no religion. It is not specific to any religion. Anybody, whatever his creed and faith may fall prey to terrorism. Terror, the act of terror belongs to the field of the malicious Satan. Islam, being peace cannot refer to the domain of terror. Peace and terror – except of course the FEAR OF ALLAH – cannot cohabit, then how and why did Islam earn the title of ‘Religion of Terror’?

First of all, what is terrorism? More specifically, who is a terrorist? A terrorist is one who uses violence and intimidation to achieve political ends; he is one who controls and forces others to do something by violence, fear or threats.

In the Holy Quran, God deals with the issue of terrorism by teaching Muslims never to become terrorists in the first place. Allah says:

“Tumult and oppression (i.e. Al-Fitnah) are worse than slaughter.” (2: 192).

Al-Fitnah comprises many meanings. It means tumult and oppression, as well as persecutions, unrest, discord, and temptation. All these are detestable in the sight of Allah especially without a valid reason. Indeed, Islam strictly forbids the killing of innocent, non-aggressive people:

“…there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.” (2: 194)

Allah instructs Muslims only to fight back when all limits of persecutions on their persons are exceeded, but at the same time He warns His servants not to transgress, and to remain just even during the battle. We have been ordered by Allah and His Holy Messenger Muhammad (pbuh) that material interests should not be the motivation for fighting, that we should not take up arms against those who are not in opposition to the true faith, that we should not resort to unscrupulous methods or to the indiscriminate killing and pillage which characterized the other wars. The excesses are acts such as taking up arms against women and children, the old and the injured, mutilation of the dead bodies of the enemy, uncalled for devastation through the destruction of fields and livestock, and other similar acts of injustice and brutality.

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) prohibited all these acts. The real intent of the purpose of fighting is to stress that force should be used only when its use is unavoidable, and only to the extent that is absolutely necessary.

Protection of one’s life, family, property and community is different from forcing people to share the same faith as ours. Even before and during the lifetime of the Prophet of Allah (pbuh), wars were current occurrences among the other nations and sullied religions for they used to capsized lands, territories, kingdoms in order to seize them and take all the riches for their own use and pleasure.

With the revelation of the Holy Quran, Allah has taken great care in well defining how and why and when exactly should Muslims fight. It should not be for the sake of fighting and ruin civilizations and force people to integrate Islam, but to protect the growing religion of Islam and the believers from being murdered by the enemies and in some cases, to take back what was rightly theirs in the first place but never ever to force anyone to Islam. The matters of faith should always come from the heart, with the consent of the person/ persons.

Verily, Allah says: “There shall be no compulsion in religion.” (2: 257).

Thus, no one has the right to force others into complying with their demands or compelling others to follow their line of thinking.

Allah (swt) repeatedly warns the believers that they should always abide to His commandments and never draw away from Him. If they do so, they would lose all kind of goodness and favours, for Allah is the Source of all goodness and favours. Allah (swt) has specified that it is only those who keep away from Him, who love power and thirst for this world who shall be stripped of every shred of human decency, and thus, it is those kinds of people who shall eventually resort to terrorizing others, forcing them into complying with their demands. The true believers are repeatedly reminded that they would lose all divine favours as well as His love if they ever began to behave in that way. Thus, religion, i.e. the matters of faith and politics are to be dealt in different ways. The realm of faith must be untouched by any kind of violence or coercion.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has said (on addressing Aisha):

You must be gentle. Verily, gentleness is not in anything except that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from anything except that it disgraces it.” (Ahmad).

“Verily, Allah is kind and He loves kindness. He rewards for kindness what is not granted for harshness and he does not reward anything else like it.” (Muslim).

Islam strongly forbids Muslims from ever becoming terrorists. It makes sure that the believers are carved into highly moral people who excel in good conduct and behaviour. To this end, Allah sent the best of mankind, the best teacher and prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) to teach the essentials of faith, of the true Islam to man. The prophet of Allah (pbuh) succeeded in inculcating these lofty human values and thus turned a once barbarous people into people who sincerely love mankind without distinction of religion, race or social status. And to preserve this Islam, these vitals teachings, to revive them in the hearts of mankind, He sends to them from time to time, whenever the hour needs a Revivalist, a Reviver of Faith from His essence and spirit to revive the true faith in them, to awaken their Islam which is somewhere lost under the heavy weight of materialism and ignorance.

So the only Jihad permitted in Islam is the war of the oppressed against the oppressor, the war waged to protect the peace of all people irrespective of their religion or creed. Tactics used today such as suicide bombing, etc. are absolutely out of the question for true followers of Islam. 

Allah (swt) says:

“And do not kill yourselves. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.” (4: 30)

“…do not cast yourselves to perdition with your own hands, and do good (to others); surely Allah loves the doers of good.” (2: 196).

These teachings alone are sufficient to prevent Muslims from bombing others in the name of religion. Verily, Islam encourages the logical and rational discussion of views/opinions and sharing of knowledge with people of all creeds in a calm and dispassionate way, with the only aim that truth prevails over error and falsehood. Once a Muslim and most importantly a prophet and caliph of Allah or Reviver of Faith preaches the truth and warns against wrongdoings, then tremors and punishments as warning signs for man to reform come only from the One who sends the prophets. Allah is the Ultimate Judge in those matters for He is the One who knows what every heart conceals. Some may proclaim to be Muslims while their acts speak otherwise, while their comprehension of the Book of Allah is otherwise, while their perception of humankind is all but Islamic.

Thus, it is clear that the true believers and all other good, honest people are always on the receiving end of terrorism, never on the delivering end. Whenever such tendencies appear in society by which peace is disturbed and people cannot live their lives peacefully, but with the full blow of terror again and again, therefore true Muslims are enjoined to counter them first of all by reasoning with those responsible for the disturbance, and if all licit Islamic means does not work, to leave their plight to the divine wrath and punishment, for it is only Allah who can either reform or chastise them.

Therefore, Islam, as I’ve demonstrated throughout this sermon, is peace. The teachings of Allah (swt) from Adam to Muhammad (pbuh), from the very first divine scriptures till the Holy Quran abhor violence and bloodshed of innocent men, women and children in the name of Allah (swt). Terrorists may use religious or political labels, but no one should be deceived by their distorted and treacherous acts, for their acts are against the very precepts of Islam, and of Allah. They have nothing to do with the religion of Allah. They are the enemies of peace. They must be fought back at every level as advocated by Islam, the religion of peace, in order to maintain law and order in the land of man and in his life as a devoted soul to God.

May Allah (swt) enable us, the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam to uphold the true Islam and instil in the hearts of people through the help of Allah love for Islam and recognition for it as the excellent way of life of man, and help to eradicate the stigma of any kind of terror or violence attached to it. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

----Friday Sermon of 19 August 2016 ~ (15 Dhul Qaddah 1437 AH) delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.