Not Mere Lip Service;
Not Mere Lip Service;
The Joint Responsibility
By: Aftab Ahmad Khan
The terrorism appears to be an uncontrollable threat, weakening the foundations of Pakistan. Although the government, political, religious leadership and media condemn the acts of terrorism, specially the suicide bombing, but it appears to be just a ritual, nothing more than lip service, lacking in substance. There is need to do something more than mere condemnation. The main motivational factor to prepare the suicide bomber is the brainwashing of simple people through the religious indoctrination. The ordinary ignorant Muslims are prepared to be martyrs in Jihad, claimed to conducted for the cause of Allah. There are many questions which need to be emphasized by the scholars through media, specially the print and electronic media, in the language of potential suicide bombers (Pushto, Punjabi, Urdu) like; What is Jihad? What is the cause of Allah? Who is competent to organize and declare Jihad? How it is to be conducted? What are the rules, laid down by Qur’an and Hadith for conduct of Jihad? What is the role of government of Islamic Republic in this regards? What is the role and responsibility of seminaries (Madaris) and religious scholars? [Some of these questions have been addressed in may article; ‘JIHAD – Then and Now, The Myth and Reality’, published in Defence Journal, October 2006 Issue]. Unfortunately there is a small section of society which explicitly, while the others are tacitly sympathetic with the fanatics and their methodology of conduct of militancy under the influence of negative propaganda, considering it to be legitimate religious obligation in the service of Islam. Though we find many scholars giving balanced views in TV talk shows, but I have yet to listen from the mouth of a Khateeb, ‘in a mosque’, highlighting the real aspects of Jihad, related with the existing scenario in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah. Generally they talk of hatred not love, finding solution to all the evils of society using brute force and coercion to enforce their version of Islam, they do not talk of preaching, motivation to win the hearts. [There may be exceptions but it is rare to listen to a Khateeb, talking of peace, love and tolerance in its true sense]. There is no quick fix solution, a lot is required to be done on long term basis. Some solutions are well debated in the media like; mass education, Madaris reformation, economic development to reduce economic disparity, Justice , political stability through democratic traditions and so on. In short the national objectives for progress could be achieved through implementation of basis of ideology of Pakistan, the vision of founding fathers in progressive and balanced way, the Taliban model was neither envisioned nor is the remedy to present impasse. Very clear guideline and instructions of Qur’an and Hadith exist, some mentioned below, which are blatantly being violated by the so called extremists, but the society is either ignorant or silent under fear, in either case guilty of tacit approval:
The true believers have mutual responsibility, as they are protectors of one another:Allah says: “The true believers, both men and women, are protectors of one another...”(At-Taubah;9:71). Mischief on land is condemned by Allah:Allah says: “.. and do not seek mischief in the land, for Allah does not love the mischief makers.”(Al-Qasas;28:77); Allah says: “When it is said to them: "Do not make mischief on earth," they say: "We make peace. Be aware! They are the ones who make mischief but they do not realize it.”(Al-Baqara;2:11-12 similarly also at 2:60, 206, 3:63, 7:56). Killing of innocent human (Muslim or non Muslims) not permitted:Allah says: “..whoever kills a person, except as a punishment for murder or mischief in the land, it will be written in his book of deeds as if he had killed all the human beings and whoever will save a life shall be regarded as if he gave life to all the human beings..”(Al Maidah,5:32); Allah says: “You shall not kill anyone whom God has forbidden, except for just cause under the law. If anyone is killed unjustly, We have granted the right of retribution to his heir, but let him not carry his vengeance too far in killing the culprit through taking the law in his own hands, as he is supported by the law.”(Al-Israa;17:33). The fighting permitted in self defense with in limits:Allah says: “Fight in the cause of Allah with those who fight against you, but do not exceed the limits. Allah does not like transgressors.”(Qur’an, Al Baqarah;2:190). Kindness to non combatants is advocated:Allah says:“As for such of the unbelievers who do not fight against you on account of your faith, and neither drive you forth from your homelands, Allah does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave toward them with full equity.”(Qur’an, Al Mumtahana;60:8). Suicide is not permissible in Islam :Allah says: “.. do not cast yourselves into destruction by your own hands…” (Al-Baqarah,2:195). Allah says: “..do not kill yourselves by adopting unlawful means….”(An-Nisa,4:29).Narrated Thabit bin Ad Dahhak: The Prophet said; “whoever commits suicide with something, will be punished with the same thing in the (Hell) fire”.(Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith Numbr:8.126). Narrated Jabir ibn Samurah: (The dead body) of a person who had killed himself with a broad-headed arrow was brought before the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him), but he did not offer prayers for him.(Sahih Muslim Hadith. Number.486). Killing by burning not allowed: Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said: It is none but Allah Who punishes with fire, so, if you find them (enemies), kill them (in combat).(Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith, Number.4.259). Narrated Ikrima : Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.'...(Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith, Number.4.260). Islam prohibits mutilation of the dead bodies : Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) prohibited to mutilate the dead bodies. (Sahih Muslim Hadith.804).
Islam forbade killing of innocents like religious people, women, children, aged, sick people, animals and cutting trees in military expeditions: Narrated Abdullah: During some of the ghazawat of the Prophet a woman was found killed. Allah's Apostle disapproved and forbade the killing of women and children. (Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith, Number.4.257,258). Abu Bakr advised Yazid, the commander of Muslim Military Expeditionsto Sham (Syria): "You will find a people who claim to have totally given themselves to Allah. Leave them to what they claim to have given themselves. You will find a people who have shaved the middle of their heads, strike what they have shaved with the sword. "I advise you ten things: Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the booty, and do not be cowardly." (Al Muwata Hadith, Number;21.10). Islam laid down the rule guarantee freedom of belief. Allah says: “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from the (way of ) error: hence, he who rejects the powers of evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is all-hearing, all-knowing.”(Qur’an;2:256). The menace of sectarianisms is totally rejected: Allah says: “Surely those who divide the religion into sects and identify themselves as a sect, O Muhammad, you have nothing to do with them. Their case will be called to account by Allah Himself, He will inform them as to what they did.”(Al-An’am;6:159);“Be not like those who became divided into sects and who started to argue against each other after clear revelations had come to them. Those responsible for division and arguments will be sternly punished” (Al-i Imran;3:105);“In fact, your religion is one religion, and I am your only Lord: so fear Me Alone. Yet people have divided themselves into factions and each faction rejoices in its own doctrines - well! Leave them in their heedlessness for an appointed time. Do they think that, in giving them wealth and children, We are eager for their welfare? By no means! They do not understand the reality of the matter.”(Al-Muminun;23:52-56);“those who divide their religion into sects and become separate groups, each group rejoicing in its own circle. When an affliction befalls the people, they turn in prayer to their Lord in repentance. But when He let them taste a blessing from Him, lo! Some of them begin to ascribe other powers a share in their Sustainers divinity, showing no gratitude for What We have given them. Enjoy yourselves; soon you will find out your folly.”(Ar-Rum;30:32-34). Reconciliation among Muslims brothers is to be done with fairness and Justice:Allah says:“If two parties among the believers fall into mutual fighting, make peace between them. Then if one of them transgresses against the other, fight the one who has transgressed until he returns to the commands of Allah. Then, if he returns, make peace between them with justice and be fair; for Allah loves those who are fair and just. The believers are brothers to one another, therefore, make reconciliation between your brothers and fear Allah, so that you may be shown mercy.”(Al-Hujurat;49:9-10). Hell fire for those, disobeying Allah and His Messenger : Some of the commands of Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) have been mentioned above, whose ever, whosever disobeys, stands humiliating punishment of hell fire. Allah says: “But those who disobey Allah and His Messenger and transgress His limits will be admitted to a fire, to abide therein: and They shall have a humiliating punishment.”( An-Nisa; 4:14.)
Conclusion/ Recommendations:It is important that, mere condemnation of terrorist acts and suicide bombing, carried out in the name of Islam in total violation of commands of Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) is not enough. The whole society has to do more to discharge their obligations in creating awareness of Truth among the masses as well as simple minded potential suicide bombers and terrorists. While the long term measures are undertaken by the government, clergy and the civil society, on the short term basis need to create public awareness, through publicizing the self explanatory verses of Qur’an and Hadith on basic issues, (some mentioned above) to general public. It will help to reduce the public sympathy for terrorist, maligning the name of Islam for their heinous crimes against humanity and to enable the common people to get involved to contribute in the efforts against the menace of terrorism in some way. Hence it is suggested that, all news papers, magazines, radio and TV channels, political rallies should voluntarily display/mention the relevant Qur’anic verses (Arabic and translation) and Hadith frequently, specially the media, while reporting the news of any suicide bombing or terrorist act. The government and others should widely publicize verses through bill boards, hoarding, banners and other means. The words late Pakistani intellectual Eqbal Ahmad are eye opener: ‘We are chasing an Islamic order ‘stripped of its humanism, aesthetics, intellectual quests and spiritual devotions…. concerned with power not with the soul, with the mobilization of people for political purposes rather than with sharing and alleviating their sufferings and aspirations .’