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Islamic Ideology ( 2 Dec 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Refutation of Raymond Ibrahim’s Article ‘Islamic State Beheads, Mutilates, As the Quran Instructs’ - Part 3: Associating Terrorism With Islam Is Complete Distortion Of The Religion; Evidence from Qur’an



By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

02 December, 2014

In his article, Mr. Raymond Ibrahim has added some gory images portraying ISIL terrorists’ merciless crimes; mutilations and beheadings of those Muslims who the ISIL members considered ‘infidels’. By doing so, he wants to provoke fear of Islam as a religion and all Muslims as a community. He says: “Obama, Cameron etc all say Islamic State are just a bunch of barbarians, not real Muslims. But as they behead and mutilate "infidels" they're only doing what the Koran and the Prophet instructs”. As such, he clearly supports the ISIL terrorists' view of Islam that all so-called infidels, Muslim or non-Muslim, should be killed.

There is not an iota of doubt that such crimes — beheading, killing of innocent people including Muslims and non-Muslims, bombing public places, suicide attacks or disfiguring the dead bodies—are all anti-Islamic acts. Such acts never had and do not have any approval of the classical and widely approved jurists, scholars and majority mainstream Muslims. However, you can simply find terrorist outfits —ISIL, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Boko Haram etc — do such inhumane, anti-Islamic acts. And of course Saudi government too carries out beheadings of those it considers criminals regularly.

An open letter to ISIL also refutes Mr. Ibrahim force-fitted and totally mis-contextualized arguments

Recently more than 120 widely approved Muslim scholars from around the world approved an open letter to the head of ISIL, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, denouncing his terrorist group as anti-Islamic. The letter based upon the irrefutable references taken from the Qur’an and Hadith and released on Sep. 24, 2014 refutes the fanatical ideas of Mr. Ibrahim and the extremist ideologies of ISIL members committing the larger and more sweeping barbarism that has so far engulfed two Muslim countries, Iraq and Syria.

The letter can be summarised in the following paragraph: it is forbidden in Islam to kill innocent lives including Muslims, non-Muslims, emissaries, ambassadors, diplomats, journalists, aid workers, priests etc. Ignoring the reality of contemporary times is forbidden when issuing legal rulings. Jihad in Islam is merely a defensive war. It is not allowed in Islam to label any Muslim with Kufr unless he or she openly declares disbelief. All these acts—forcing people to convert, denying women, children of their rights, torturing the people, disfiguring the dead and attributing the evil and terrorist acts to God Almighty and demolishing the shrines and graves of any one of the holy Prophets and companions—are strictly forbidden in Islam.  

Acts of terrorism that ISIL and Mr. Ibrahim associate with Islam are nothing but complete distortion of Islam:  Evidence from the Qur’an 

Acts of terrorism practiced by ISIL or any of its allied groups in the name of Jihad are anti-Qur’an and Hadith. But Mr. Ibrahim says, “Islamic State beheads, mutilates as the Koran instructs”. Therefore, it is necessary to rebut his force-fitted and falsely-related ideas so that Muslims and non-Muslims may not adopt radical attitude towards one another. 

Evidence from the Qur’an: 1

“Indeed, Allah enjoins justice and benevolence (towards everyone), and giving away to the kindred, and forbids indecency, evil deeds, defiance and terrorism (Baghya). He admonishes you so that you may remember with concern” (16:90)

The Arabic word ‘Baghya’ used in the verse above takes multiple meanings like terrorism, transgression, oppression, aggression, injustice, unfairness, tyranny and offense etc; each one of them has been declared forbidden or Haram, according to the Qur’anic verse.

Evidence from the Qur’an: 2

 “Say: ‘Come, I will recite to you those things which your Lord has forbidden to you: Do not set up anything as a partner with Him; be morally excellent with parents; and do not kill your children owing to poverty. We alone give you sustenance and (will provide for) them as well. And do not draw near to shameful deeds (whether) open or hidden. And do not kill the soul whose (killing) Allah has forbidden, except when it is rightfully due (according to law in self-defence against disruption and whilst combating terrorism). It is these (injunctions) He has enjoined upon you so that you may apply reason.” (6:151) 

Evidence from the Qur’an: 3

 “And if any of the idolaters (caught in an armed encounter) seeks asylum with you, provide him with protection until he listens to the Words of Allah. Then escort him to his place of safety. This is because these people do not possess the knowledge (of the truth)” (9:6)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 4

 “Say: ‘My Lord has declared unlawful only (all) the indecent acts which become known and which remain hidden, and sins and unjust excesses” (7:33)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 5

 “On account of this, We prescribed (this commandment in the Torah sent down) to the Children of Israel that whoever killed a person (unjustly), except as a punishment for murder or for (spreading) disorder in the land, it would be as if he killed all the people (of society); and whoever (saved him from unjust murder and) made him survive, it would be as if he saved the lives of all the people (of society, i.e., he rescued the collective system of human life). And indeed, Our Messengers came to them with evident signs. Yet, even after that, the majority from amongst these people are certainly those who commit excesses in the land” (5:32)

Historically, it is irrefutable fact that during the earliest period of Islam of about twelve years in Makkah, the Muslims were savagely tortured, beaten, persecuted and even many of them were killed. The holy Qur’an testifies to this fact:

Evidence from the Qur’an: 6

“And remember when (numerically) you were small (i.e., in the minority, in the Makkan period,) and oppressed in the country (i.e., economically unstable and victims of exploitation). You were (also) afraid that (the powerful) people would snatch you away (i.e., socially too you were neither free nor secure). So, (after migration to Medina,) He (Allah) provided for you a free and secure abode, and strengthened you with His help and supplied you with sustenance of pure and wholesome things  so that you may give thanks to Allah (by means of absolute submission to Allah’s commands)” (8:26).

Evidence from the Qur’an: 7 (Eliminating the evil i.e. Terrorism, Violence, oppression etc. by means of good i.e. love, mildness, tolerance, moderation etc.

Nowhere the Qur’an says to repel good with evil deeds like terrorism, radicalism, extremism, fanaticism, barbarism, violence, unjustness, oppression and aggression etc. Rather it commands to eliminate the evil by means of good. 

“And who remain steadfast in seeking the pleasure of their Lord, and establish Prayer, and spend (both) secretly and openly out of the sustenance We have provided, and continue eliminating evil by means of good; they are the ones for whom there is a (beautiful) home in the Hereafter” (13:22).

Evidence from the Qur’an: 8

“Repel evil in such a way as is best of all. We know best (the things) they say” (23:96)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 9 (Treating enemies in such a way they become the most warm-hearted friends)

 “And good and evil cannot be equal. And remove the evil in a better (way) with the result that the one with whom you had rivalry becomes your most warm-hearted friend” (41:34)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 10 (During the Medinite period, Muslims were commanded to forgive their past enemies)

During the Medinite period (622-632), when the Muslims were safe from all kinds of oppression, aggression and terrorist activities of militant Arab pagans, they were commanded to forgive their past enemies. The following verse points out to this fact:

 “And never let the enmity of a people incite you to aggression (against them) since they barred you from the Sacred House (i.e., visiting the Ka’bah). And always support one another in (the works of) righteousness and piety, but do not become accomplices in (works of) sin and transgression. And fear Allah persistently. Indeed, Allah awards severe punishment (to those who disobey and defy)” (5:2)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 11 (The balanced Approach of Islam towards every community)

“And, in the same way, (O Muslims,) We made you the best Ummah (Community—fair to all with a tolerant, moderate and balanced outlook) so that you may bear witness to the people, and (Our exalted) Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) bears witness to you. And We appointed the Qibla (the direction of Prayer), which you used to face before, only to bring to light (by trial) who would follow (Our) Messenger and who would turn back upon his heels. And this (change of Qibla) was indeed a hard task, but not for those whom Allah blessed with guidance (and gnosis of spiritual truths). And it is not Allah’s Glory to void your faith (without any reason). Allah is surely Most Clement, Ever-Merciful to mankind.” (2:143)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 12

“And from amongst you there must be a community comprising the people who invite mankind towards piety, enjoin righteousness and forbid evil. And they are the successful people”. (3:104).

Evidence from the Qur’an: 13

“And who can be more pleasing in speech than one who calls towards Allah and does pious work and says: ‘Surely, I am of the obedient servants (of Allah and the Holy Prophet)’?” (41:33).

From the verses above it is very clear that Mutilations, beheadings, and killings of innocent lives, citizens including Muslims and non-Muslims—done by ISIL militants who are being supported by Islamophobes like Mr. Ibrahim in matter of forcefully linking such terrorist activities to Qur’an—are strictly forbidden, forbidden, forbidden (Haram) in Islam. Thus, by associating the Quran with such crimes, as ISIL and Mr. Ibrahim did, they should not inject further pain into sentiments of the oppressed, victimized Muslims of Iraq and Syria in particular, and the rest of majority mainstream Muslims in common.  Besides, Mr. Ibrahim should always remember that no matter ISIL or his Islamophobia industry stipulate those conditions which are in fact not meant in the holy Qur’an; these conditions will be invalid in Islam and hence it will remain the religion of peace.  

Evidence from the Hadith

The prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said: "What about the people who stipulate conditions which are not present in Allah's Laws? Whoever imposes conditions which are not present in Allah's Laws; these conditions will be invalid for him, even if he imposed these conditions a hundred times. Allah's conditions (Laws) are the truth and are more solid." (Sahih al-Bukhari 2561, Book 50, Hadith 2)

As for the majority mainstream Muslims of peace, harmony, liberal attitude, they should keep on disseminating peace around the world and repelling every kind of terrorism, extremism and violence from the entire world. Apart from that, they ought to preach true spirit of Islam i.e. tolerance, peace, mutual harmony, love, requesting all not to trade revelations of Allah Almighty for a small (worldly) price, as the holy Qur’an says:

Evidence from the Qur’an: 14

“And believe in (the Book) that I have revealed (to My Messenger Muhammad [blessings and peace be upon him]), whilst it confirms (originally) that which you possess. And do not be the first to deny it, nor trade My Revelations for a small (worldly) price. And fear Me alone” (2:41).

Summing Up

Having analysed a number of arguments and Qur’anic evidences mentioned in all the three parts of the article, there should be no hesitation in believing that the Qur’an does not allow beheadings, mutilations and killing of any human being. It is equally forbidden to kill any innocent, Muslim or non-Muslim. 

To say to Mr. Ibrahim, it is doubly distressing that he is blaming the entire community or the holy Qur’an for the actions of a crazy few. From a theological and moral point of view it is completely unfair to put the entire community in the dock. Undoubtedly, some evil-natured people make flawed interpretations of Islam. However it does not behove any good man to blame the Qur’an or all the real Muslims for the heinous actions of terrorist groups. He must have heard many times why Muslims don't speak out against terror? Well, they do, but nobody pays attention, though their number, I believe, needs to increase. Not only Islam but also according to overwhelming majority of mainstream Muslims, beheadings and mutilations of any innocent human being  are a million miles away from Islam's teachings.

Mr. Ibrahim, We Muslims have been refuting violent ideologies, taking every possible initiative to eliminate every kind of injustice, violence, terrorism growing in our multicultural societies across the world. Here, we should know we cannot eradicate such heinous crimes as a whole, but we can do it, even though a bit, at any level; social, cultural, national, international etc. No matter whatever way you, Mr. Ibrahim, adopt in order to foment hatred among Muslims and non-Muslims, Islam will remain forever to teach justice, tolerance, patience, peace and forbid what and how you say ‘beheadings’ and ‘mutilations’.        


A regular columnist and English-Arabic translator for New Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background. He has completed the classical Islamic sciences from a Delhi-based Sufi Islamic seminary Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Zakir Nagar, New Delhi with specialization in Tafseer, Hadith and Arabic. He completed his Alimiat and Fazilat respectively from Jamia Warsia Arabic College, Lucknow and Jamia Manzar-e-Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He has graduated in Arabic (Hons) and is pursuing his M.A in Arabic from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

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