ISLAM & TERRORISM

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Prohibition of Targeting Innocent & Unrelated Persons:

According to Islamic Shariah, whether it is the matter of an individual, group or ideological difference, persons who are not concerned or related to a particular action, cannot be held respon­sible for the action of others. For example, if the communal elements suppress or victimize members of Muslim minority of India, destroy the mosques and madrasas, it is not incumbent on the people of Muslim-majority areas to ill treat the Non-Muslim minority or destroy their places of worship. It is injustice and atrocity to blame someone not concerned with an act, for the act committed by others.

However, legitimate possible methods may be adopted for opposition to oppression and excesses. Holy Quran makes it clear, "Namely, that no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another. " (AI-Qamar, verse 38)

Before the advent of Islam, the custom of "Saar" was prevalent. If someone was killed, the members of the tribe of the victim had their revenge by killing a member of the tribe of the assassin. It was not necessary that the assassin be killed for revenge. In that process, several innocent persons got killed merely due to their affiliation with a particular tribe.

The Prophet (pbuh} strictly prohibited the practice as it belonged to the era of ignorance and darkness. As in the case of 'Saar' persons were killed due to their tribal affiliation, likewise killing persons on account of their religious, linguistic or national affiliation also is a crime. In the Age of Great Caliphate and subsequently, the just rulers did not interfere in the religious matters of their enemies, even during the battles.

During the crusade, Salahuddin Ayyubi did not victimize the Christians of Syria, Palestine and other places although he was at war with their co-religionists. Instructions in detail have been given in the books of Islamic jurisprudence & Sunnah about the treatment of Non-Muslim subjects and those under contract.

Islamic jurisprudence allows punishment of the culprit accord­ing to the gravity of the crime, permitting revenge equal to the injury caused. Pardon is preferred to punishment.

Holy Quran has several verses, elaborating the point, "And so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then anyone transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves." (Surah Al Baqarah, verse 194) .

"And if ye punish, let your punishment be proportionate to the wrong that has been done to you: but if ye show patience, that is indeed the best (course) for those who are patient. "(Surah Al Nahl, verse 126)

It means that if you suffer injuries and if you are competent, you may take revenge of the same degree. Revenge is permitted but self-restraint or forbearance is preferable. If you are patient that would be better for you and those who are witness. (Fawaid-e-Usmani).

"Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. "          (Surah Al Baqarah, verse 190)

Refraining from committing excesses in this context implies that during the battle, children, aged persons and women should not be killed. Revenge against a tyrant should be of defensive type, limited to the degree of injury suffered. The intention is to dissuade the tyrants and oppressors from committing further atrocities and excesses.

The orbit of suppression should not grow wider. Vindictive action against persons belonging to the tribe or the community of the assassin, but who have nothing to do with an atrocity, leads to further enlargement of the area of hostility. Accordingly Islamic Shariah permits action directly only against the culprit.

That covers all terrorist activities, which affect innocent persons, or others not directly or indirectly connected with the cause of hostility. There is no clear direction or instruction applying to kidnapping innocent persons for the acceptance of certain demands or slow torture with the intention of killing in the most inhuman and brutal manner.

However the principles laid down, prohibiting killing or tar­geting innocent persons are applicable to such cases also. Arson, racial cleansing, atrocities on people worshiping according to the practices laid down for their creed, rampage and destruction have no place in the teachings of Islam. Islam has strictly forbidden arson and murder of an envoy even in the course of battle.

The Prophet (Pbuh) has strictly forbid assassination in a brutal and painful manner. Likewise animals too should not be killed in that manner. Passengers of hijacked planes and persons taken hostage too, suffer in the same manner. Hijacking too is a threat to peace and freedom so it has no support in the Islamic Shariah. Such acts done, even with the most noble and great cause in mind have no justification under Islamic jurisprudence.

Concept of Divine Compassion and Peace in Islam:

Any terrorist activity, which targets innocent persons, is against the concept of Divine Compassion and peace, which are synonyms in Islam. That point has been elucidated from different angles. Islam views any human act that violates Divine Compassion or peace with great contempt and derision. According to Holy Quran the Prophet (Pbuh) is the instrument of Divine Compassion for the whole world.

"We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures. " (Surah Al Anbiyaa, verse No. 1 07). Holy Quran has described the Prophet (Pbuh) as 'very compassionate.'

According to a famous tradition of the Prophet (Pbuh) he has described all creatures as the 'family of Allah' and has instructed that they should be treated well. 'He is the most beloved of Allah, who treats His family well. (Mishkat Shareef, Chapter about Good Behaviour). The Almighty has emphasized that aspect of Divine Compassion. One who is kind to others is qualified for Divine Compassion. The Quran makes it very clear, "My Mercy extendeth to all things. " (Surah Al A 'raf, verse 156) Evidently, that points to world peace and not to atmosphere of terror or lawlessness. A climate of anarchy violates Divine Compassion and blessings of the Prophet (Pbuh).

Eradication of Anarchy:

Islamic Shariah has emphasized adoption of every possible step for promotion of peace and checking anarchy. In the verse No.56 of Surah Al Aaraf, it has been made very clear:

"Do not mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order, " The Holy Quran has further elaborated the point at another place; "That Home of the Hereafter we shall give to those who intend not high-handedness of mischief on earth: and the End is (best) for the righteous. " (Verse 83 of Surah Al Qasas). Accord­ing to Islamic Shariah, peace should be a priority. Even in the course of battle, the opponent proposes peace, that offer should be im­mediately accepted. It recommends strict punishment for murderers and aggressors, because they disturb peace. The aim is to ensure respect for human life. The books of Sunnah and Islamic jurisprudence contain elaborate instructions for curbing terror and fear in social life.

The Holy Quran states "0 ye who believe! The law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: The free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission is made by the brother of the slain, then grant any reasonable demand, and compensate him with hand­some gratitude. This is a concession and a Mercy from your Lord. After this whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave chastisement. In the Law of Equality there is (saving of) Life to you. 0 ye men of understanding; that ye may restrain yourselves. " (Surah Al Bakarah, verse 178-179)

That provision carries great wisdom. If the assassin knows that he shall receive capital punishment for unjustified murder, he will not dare commit murder pf an innocent person. The fear of the imposition of capital punishment, checks bloodshed, rampage and destruction. Due to that, there is peace and tranquility in social life.

Islamic Shariah provides stringent punishment for highway robbery, because the bandit destroys the trust, security and mental peace of the traveler. Quran describes it as battle against Allah and the Prophet (Pbuh). (For details please refer to Surah al Maidah, Verses 32 & 33). Causing fear and terror in peaceful social atmo­sphere has been held as a crime, Even if that is of minor type, Islam recommends every possible step for checking it for an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

Concept of Tolerance in Islam:

Islam presents the best practical model of tolerance. It is a baseless fabrication that Islam is not disposed to tolerating people belonging to other creeds, ideologies and religions. The history of Islam offers models of religious tolerance and best treatment of persons belonging to different faiths. Islam certainly claims to be the right religion, but doesn't teach that the persons holding different creeds and different ideas should be eliminated by forte. It aims to create suitable atmosphere for the principle "live and let live." While emphasizing and preaching truth, it stands opposed to eliminate 'untruth' by force or suppression.

Surah Al Kafiroon makes it clear, "To you be your Way, and to me mine." "Let there be no compulsion in religion. " (Surah Al Baqarah, verse 256).

The great authority on the interpretation of Islam, Ibn-e-Kaseer may be cited in support of the view. He said that none should be forced to embrace Islam. The logic in support of Islam is crystal clear; the arguments in its support do not require that anybody should be compelled to adopt Islam. He has expressed the view while explaining the verse from Surah Al Kafiroon. According to Islam blasphemy, infidelity, and paganism are heinous and unpardonable crimes. However, reviling the practices and worship of anything other than Allah has been forbidden. Verse 108 of Surah Al-Inaam makes it clear, "Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah. " Besides infidels Islam advocates co-existence with the Christians and Jews in an atmosphere of peace and tolerance. Several important points have been laid down to ensure that. If those are observed and put into practice, social and religious conflict of every type may be avoided. The most important among them is adoption of agreed and unanimous approach about common issues.

In the. Verse No. 64 of Surah Aal-e-Imran, the Holy Quran states, "O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah. "Islam equally respects all prophets and messengers of God. Discrimination among them in respect of their being prophet is regarded as blasphemy. Faith requires belief in all those who have preceded our Prophet. Without the acceptance of that faith remains incomplete. Difference and distance among the followers of different religions arises, when one starts differentiating among the leaders of mankind. For sanctity of Faith belief in the unity of prophet hood is necessary.

"The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith, each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His Messengers.

"We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of his Messengers. "            (AI Baqarah. verse 285)

Islam has invited attention to another important point, "The concept of unity of mankind"

"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most rightenous of you." (Surah Al Hujurat, verse 13)

From the human angle there is no impediment to the treatment of persons belonging to other religions and ideologies in a fair and equitable manner. The Holy Quran guides in the matter.

"Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: For Allah loveth those who are just. "(Surah Mumtahina, verse 8)

Justice and fair play are pre requisite for a healthy and peaceful society. Disruption of peace is the reaction of terror, injustice and atrocity. In view of that Islam has placed great emphasis on adhering to justice and fair play irrespective of distinction of creed and community. Islam has prohibited partiality in the matter of justice, even if it concerns your blood relation.

“O ye who Believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah. even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: For Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. " (Surah Al Nisaa, verse 135)

"O ye who Believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fiar Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. "            (Surah Al Maidah, Verse 8)

According to Islamic ideology all human beings stand equal for respect and kind consideration.

"We have honored the sons of Adam. " (Surah Bani israel, verse 70)

Therefore a human being who is respectable should not be subjected to atrocity and unjust treatment because that is disrespect and dishonor to him. The Prophet (pubh) declared that the protest of the victim of atrocity, irrespective of his creed and religion has the prospect of being heard by Allah. Discrimination among human beings is against humanitarian considerations.

According to Imam Mohammad when there was famine in Mecca, the Prophet (Pbuh) sent goods for their relief, although he knew that the people of Mecca were not Muslims. (AI Sharh-ul-sair-I-Kabeer, Part I, pp144)

According to Shariah, the Prophet (Pbuh) has urged the help of neighbors. It is not necessary that the neighbor be a Muslim. It is enough that he is neighbor. The Islamic State assures the security of life and property. It also guarantees religious, economic, commercial and educational freedom for Non-Muslim subjects. Islamic Shariah does not permit discrimination between Muslim and Non-Muslim in the matters of security of life and property. According to Imam Abu Yusuf, harassing a Non-Muslim of Islamic State invites Divine Wrath. (Kitab-ul-Khiraj, pp125)

If a Muslim borrows money from a Non-Muslim subject of an Islamic State, and does not pay back, the Qazi may imprison him till he returns the amount. It is the obligation of an Islamic State that it should redress the grievances and sufferings of its Non-Muslim subjects. Speaking against them also is prohibited.

According to Allama Shami, oppression of Non-Muslim subjects is a grave and serious crime.

(For details please refer to Durre Mukhtar ma-al-Shami Volume III pp344 t0346)

If the Non-Muslims subjects of an Islamic State are poor and needy, they should be supported and helped from the funds of Islamic Bait-ul-Mal.            (Kitab-ul-Khiraj pp144)

Under the regime of Hazrat Umar a treaty was executed with the people of Quds that provided for security of life and property as well as protection of the church, the cross and other religious symbols. Assurance was given that there shall be no interference in the affairs of the Church. The churches will not be demolished or desecrated, the cross shall not be taken away or the funds seized. There shall be no force or compulsion in the affairs of religion. Nobody shall be harassed. (Tarikh-e-Tabari, Part IlL pp 609)

The treaty executed by Hazrat Khalid bin Valeed with the people of Aanaat, provided for the freedom to ring bells any time throughout day or night whenever they liked and move about with the crosses during their festivities. (Kitab-ul-Khiraj, Imam Yusuf. pp146)

The authorities of Islamic jurisprudence have discussed in detail, the commercial freedom of Non-Muslim citizens under Islamic regime. Only trade in liquor is forbidden because it leads to disorder in society. Excluding that they have complete freedom to carry on any other trade or industry. That totally refutes the allegation that Islam or Muslims do not believe in co-existence with Non-Muslims, or under Islam there is no scope of tolerance of persons professing other religions. The false propaganda, carrying such series of al­legations is regrettable and is based on ignorance of facts.