By Belinda F. Espiritu, New Age Islam
25 February 2019
The differences between “radical” and “moderate” in the Muslim world are potentially dangerous for the non-Muslim world, particularly the Western world. This is the main point of Raymund Ibrahim in one of his articles that was originally published in 2016 in Middle East Forum website. It seems that these two categories of Muslims are worlds apart. Here are some of the differences between the radical and moderate Muslims, according to Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Khadr (2011) who was cited by Ibrahim (2016):
• Radicals accept the duty of waging jihad in the path of Allah; moderates reject it.
• Radicals oppose the idea of religious freedom and apostasy from Islam; moderates agree to it.
• Radicals see the people of the book [Jews and Christians] as dhimmis [barely tolerated subjects]; moderates oppose this [view].
• Radicals reject the idea that non-Muslim minorities should have equality or authority over Muslims; moderates accept it.
• Radicals reject the idea of religious equality because Allah’s true religion is Islam; moderates reject it.
• Radicals support Jihadi groups; moderates reject them.
• Radicals accept killing young girls who commit adultery or otherwise besmirch their family’s honour; moderates reject this [response].
• Radicals accept those laws that punish whoever insults or leaves the religion [apostates]; moderates recoil from these laws.
I would like to argue that if radical Muslims do three things that are in accord with their being Muslims, their radical Islamic ideology will be debunked. First is that if radical Muslims would contemplate or meditate on the names and person of Allah, then they would see that their radical ideology is very much opposed to the very person and names of God. Some of Allah’s names that oppose the intolerance, violence, and harshness of radical Islamic ideology are the following:
Ar-Rahmaan, the Beneficent, He who wills goodness and mercy for all His creatures
Ar-Raheem, the Merciful, He who acts with extreme kindness
Al-Ghaffaar, the Great Forgiver, the one who forgives the sins of His slaves time and time again
As-Salam, the Embodiment of Peace, the One who is free from every imperfection
Al-Wahhab, the Supreme Bestower, the One who is Generous in giving plenty without any return
If Allah is the Beneficent, He who wills goodness and mercy for all His creatures, (take note, for all His creatures) – whether they are Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, infidels, or fellow Muslims, then they will see that doing violence and harm to God’s human creatures contradict the very name and person of Allah.
If Allah is the Merciful, He who acts with extreme kindness, then waging jihad against non-believers and the West contradicts the very nature and name of Allah, which is Ar-Raheem. They will also see that being intolerant of other religions and considering them inferior goes against the Beneficence and Generosity of God. If Allah is the Embodiment of Peace, then doing violence and harm to other people, just because they are not Muslims or they belong to a different sect of Islam, is plain bigotry and brutality – something that goes against the very name and person of God.
Along with contemplating Allah’s names and person, especially those listed above, radical Muslims will see the folly and contradiction of their beliefs and actions if they follow the teachings of Jesus, whom they consider a prophet, on loving one’s enemies and loving one’s neighbours as one loves one’s self. If Jews, Christians, and polytheists are considered enemies and infidels by radical Muslims, they will do well to love these “infidels” and do good to them, instead of killing them and waging jihad against them. If the Western powers have done wrong to them, then they should love them even more, for Jesus their prophet told them to love their enemies and do good to them.
Furthermore, if they will follow Jesus’s teaching of loving their neighbours as they love their own selves, - whether their neighbours are Jews, Christians, polytheists, or atheists and secularists, they will not be doing any harm or violence to them but instead treat them lovingly and generously as they do to their own selves.
These prescriptions may sound simplistic, but complex ideologies that harm others are debunked by the simplicity of following the law of loving one’s enemies and one’s neighbours as one’s self, and contemplating the names and very person of Allah, who is all-Merciful, all-Beneficent, all-Peaceful, and all-Loving.
The prescription applies, too, to misbehaving Christians, who do not live up to their identity, but rather blatantly show their sinful nature and violation of Jesus’s teachings, thus besmearing Christianity. It also applies to all misbehaving human beings – whether Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or people with no religion – for even people who belong to other religions or to no religion will do well to consider and contemplate the Divine Force or Divine Being, and consider following the teachings of the itinerant preacher who lived more than 2,000 years ago in the land of the Jews and the Palestinians.
Belinda F. Espiritu teaches at the University of the Philippines in Cebu and is a sustainability and peace advocate.
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