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Of late Islam has been in focus for altogether, albeit, undesirable reasons in the media world over. And that is for the alleged terrorist activities of the so-called ‘Muslim Mujahideen’ or ‘Fundamentalists and Extremists’. Without debating the merits and demerits of the case, or deciphering the successful vilification & smearing anti-Islamic campaign by the powerful vested interests of the world, who have total control on the media, let first this plain fact be known to one and all that Islam has nothing to do with this blood shed, spree of kidnappings / hijackings and killing of the innocents. Nor the unruly behavior of Muslim masses in general has any Islamic sanctions what so ever. In most clear and unequivocal terms Islam disapproves and condemns all such activities.

There can be nothing more ironical than the fact that Islam meaning ‘Religion of Peace’ has come to be associated with terrorism. A mere cursory glance at the Holy Qur’an and the life of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), the two only and most authentic sources to understand Islam; would reveal to any unbiased reader that, what is being projected as ‘the produce of Islam’ is most contradictory to it’s teachings.

How important peace is in the Islamic scheme of things can be gauged from this verse of the Holy Qur’an:

"Al-Fitna is worse than killing.”(2:191)

Whereby Allah declares Fitna meaning conspiracy, instigation or any act of provocation; leading to violence and disturbance of peace of land as a bigger crime than murder. And what stand does Islam take about killing & murder itself can be understood from the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:

"Whoever kills an (innocent) human being, except (as a punishment) for murder or corruption (spreading mischief) in the land, it will be as if he had killed all mankind.”(5:32)

And mind well, this is irrespective of faith or religion of the person concerned. Said, Prophet Mohammed (pbuh):

"One who kills a zimmi (the non-Muslim subject of an Islamic state) will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise."

How can Muslims terrorise others and still remain in the pale of Islam, when their beloved Prophet has vehemently decried such people, saying:

"He is not a believer (Muslim) whose neighbors are not safe from his mischievous and injurious conduct."

What proof for the status of peace and mercy in Islam, one needs other than the entire life of the Prophet, which was an epitome of patience and tolerance of the highest order. Despite worst persecution and provocation by his enemies, his attitude towards them remained one of benevolence and mercy.

Along with his companion, he quietly migrated to a new city, without confronting his wicked enemies. Even in the new set up, it was he who enacted a ten year NO-WAR peace treaty with his sworn enemies at Hudaibiyah on terms that were entirely unfavourable to Muslims. And finally, at the conquest of Mecca, when he stood at the zenith of his power, whereas his tormentors, who even attempted to kill him, and who killed his beloved uncle and mutilated his dead body in front of his very eyes, were at his mercy the Prophet (pbuh) pardoned them all when by the law of war he could have justly avenged all the cruelties inflicted on himself.

The religious tolerance exhibited by Islam is both, unique and un - paralleled. The Holy Qur’an very explicitly declares:

"There is no compulsion (force) in religion."(2:256)

It asks its followers to peacefully co-exist with people of other faiths by saying

"you be your way, and to me, mine."

Islam not only allows complete freedom of worship to non-Muslims but also permits them to set up their own courts to settle disputes as per their personal laws. Can there be a better example of religious tolerance than one set by the prophet himself, when he allowed the members of a Christian delegation from Najran to offer prayers in their own way in his mosque?

But remember, Islam is not a theoretical religion confined to the books. If it is, a valid code of life for all the people of all the times to come, then it has to be practical. And our own experience tells us that, if peace has to prevail, then some stern and tough measures, however harsh they may sound or look, need to be taken against those who are up to harming humanity for their own vested interests. It is as desirable for the health of the society as an amputation of the cancerous cells is for the survival of the patient. This is where Islam permits it’s followers to fight in self-defense; in defense of religion and honor. The Holy Qur’an says:

"To those against whom war is made, permission is given to fight, because they are wronged; and surely Allah is most powerful their aid. They are those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right" (2:39-40).

And Islam also exhorts its follower to wage a war against oppression and injustice of all kinds. In another verse Allah says,

"nd what is wrong with you that you do not fight in the cause of Allah and for those weak, ill treated and oppressed among men, women and children, whose cry is: ”Our Lord !Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors."

War? Yes…but not the inhuman attitude and principles that go with the modern day war in today’s so called civilized human society. The prophet of Islam humanized the battle-field itself, by issuing strict notices such as

  • Not to embezzle
  • Not to cheat
  • Not to break a trust
  • Not to mutilate
  • Not to kill minors or women or old people
  • Not to cut down or destroy trees and crops
  • Not to molest monks and persons engaged in worship.
If despite what ever has been said about Islam vis-a vis terrorism, someone still continues to harbour grudge against this religion of peace, we can only say what Esposito Professor of Religion and International Affairs said in his book, entitled ‘The Islamic Threat, Myth or Reality’:

"Selective and therefore biased analysis adds to our ignorance rather than our knowledge, narrows our perception rather than broadening our understanding."

But my learned reader must know the root cause of this evil. He must know that the genesis of this problem lies elsewhere. As rightly pointed out by Mr. Satish Kumar in his book ‘Global sharing of power’

"Clash of civilizations is not so much over Jesus Christ, Confucius or Prophet Mohammed as it is over unequal distribution of world power, wealth and influence."

And it also lies in unnecessary interference and intervention of internal matters of smaller (read Muslim) countries by the powerful of the world. It lies in the injustice and oppression meted out to the weaker societies of the world. It lies in the exploitation of undeveloped countries by the rich & powerful ones in order to become more rich and powerful. The only solution to this ever-increasing menace lies in redistribution of power through peaceful means for a stable world order, and a change in attitude towards legitimate differences. In the words of the famous Psychologist F.L.Ruch,

"A tolerance for legitimate differences must be achieved if conflicts between nations are to be avoided.” (Psychology and Life, page 682)

Unless something is done about this, terrorism will continue to be a threat to all peace loving people like us the world over.
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