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Islamic Society ( 5 Feb 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islam Is Not the Problem: Reject Those Clerics Who Try To Inject Xenophobia

By Mohammad Ahmad

February 05, 2016

The happenings in the last few weeks have jolted the world. The people of the world have started seeing the actions of these terrorists who claim to act in the Islam to be the teachings of the faith and this is a very alarming situation. These so-called champions of faith try to justify their inhuman acts by blaming the west for the conditions of the Muslims. These troubled times, when their faith is being maligned, calls for the Muslims to lose no time in getting involved in serious soul-searching to find the reasons that are bringing them disgrace. Putting the blame elsewhere will lead them nowhere.

Perhaps the starting point should be reading the following from their Holy Book which provides them with an example of what happens when a chosen group starts behaving wrongly. The Quran says in its verses (17:4-7), “And We had clearly conveyed to the Children of Israel in the Book: `You will surely do great mischief in the land twice, and you will surely become excessively overbearing. So when the time of the fulfilment of the first of the two warnings came, We sent against you some servants of Ours, possessed of great might in war, and they penetrated into your houses and it was a warning that was bound to be fulfilled. Then We gave you back the power against them and aided you with wealth and children and also made you larger in numbers than before. Now, if you do good, you will do good for your own souls; and if you do evil, it will be to your own loss. So when the time for the fulfilment of the latter warning came, We raised a people against you that they might cover your faces with grief, and that they enter the mosque, as they entered it the first time, and that they might destroy utterly all that they conquered. It may be that your Lord will now have mercy on you; but if you return to mischief, We too will return to punishment, and remember We have made hell a prison for the disbelievers.”

The message of the above verses is clear. God Almighty’s help is not always meant for those who claim to be the believers. If people who have been entrusted with God’s message are guilty of creating ‘great mischief in the land’, they can also be punished by the Almighty through the might of their enemies, who have been described in the aforementioned verses as “servants of Ours possessed of great might in war”. It is not to be taken for granted that the ones who were sent to punish were on the right path, but it definitely suggests is that they were allowed by God to unleash their might against the believing people of the time to punish them for their “great mischief in the land”.

When one analyses what is happening to the part of the world where Muslims are in majority, one need not be a genius to draw the obvious analogy. While Muslims are entrusted with God’s message, generally, the state of affairs in these areas is such that injustice prevails in most of its forms. Why shouldn’t God be annoyed? Therefore condemning the west for the obloquy that Muslims face today is refusing to face this truth.

For centuries now Muslims have taken the back seat when it comes to attainment of knowledge. The people on whom seeking knowledge was made obligatory chose to remain ignorant. Although the obligation required women too to seek knowledge, their societies prevented them from doing so in God’s own name.

When it came to religion they allowed their rulers to enforce it through compulsion although it was declared by the Lord in the Holy Book that “There is no compulsion in religion”. They allowed their rulers to assume the role of a warden in matters of religion and morality although their religion only allowed the role of an admonisher even to the Prophet of God. Although their Prophet set the highest example of treating the “People of the Book” in general and the Christians in particular humanely, they did not come out in numbers to defend Christian or minority rights when these minorities were mistreated by the Muslim clerics. So many incidents where the minorities were tortured could have been averted if the teachings of the religion had been followed.

While their religion gave the right of inheritance to women more than 14 centuries ago, at a time when they were treated as unequals in so many places (for instance, women in France got these in 1791, only to lose them later, when the monarchy was restored), they developed societies where women were deprived of these rights. It is indeed unfortunate that it is still denied in many places in the name of custom.

While their Prophet required of them to find reasons for the faithfulness of any individual, they chose to let their clerics pronounce heresy for so many. Sadly they followed their clerics blindfolded and rarely chose to apply their own minds. Whenever a reform movement or pacifist group emerged the clerics cunningly labelled them as heretics and made the masses distance from them. Thus they let the exclusive right of God to be usurped by men.

Unfortunately there are groups of twisted people among them, however small in proportion, who believes that the use of force and coercion in matters of religion is indeed the right path. Such people believe that circumstances deliberately created by the foes of Islam prevent these so-called true Muslims from spreading their so-called virtues to other parts of the world. That Islamic argument appeals to human nature and is potent enough to win the hearts of the people of the west eludes them. They don’t comprehend that if indeed their twisted ideology appealed to humankind its spread in the west through reason and logic would have been unstoppable. What the west rejects is not Islam but the twisted ideology of these extremists. Failing in any positive the most twisted of these so called Islamists try to export their mayhem to the west through militancy and create hatred for their religion.

The attack on USA in 2001 and the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California have done nothing but blinded the real message of Islam from the west. These attacks, and others like them, further not the message of the religion but the agenda of hate, of people like Trump. These so-called Islamists just don’t fathom that had their approach been correct, God would not have allowed their perceived adversaries to inflict incalculable damage on them or their predecessors.

It is time that the common Muslims reject the ones spewing hatred actively. It is time they take the leadership of their faith themselves and reject those clerics who try to inject in them xenophobia contrary to the teachings of the faith. It is time for them to make peace with their cousins and completely detach from these propagators of hate who are indeed the problem. When all believe in the same God all must learn to love and live in peace.