By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
(Co-author (Jointly with AshfaqueUllah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009)
15 September 2015
Over the last three decades, many European and Western politicians, academics, writers and intellectuals have been pouring invectives against Islam and the Muslims. But the sight of thousands of helpless refugees fleeing mostly the ISIS controlled territory or Syrian civil war has achieved what not one single political analyst would have imagined. Thousands of people are gathering at different transit stations in European cities and towns to welcome the emaciated refuges – who are predominantly Muslims.
If a broad based live material proof of the evil and anti-Islamic character of the ISIS were needed, it is in the exodus of the predominantly Muslim refugees from the lands ISIS wrenched away by shear brutality. The plight of these refugees is truly indescribable: they fled their homes in panic leaving all their belongings behind with no provisions, no security, no transport, no food or water, no destination except where their feet or vehicles took them and risking untold miseries that lay in their paths. While none may dare to openly call the ISIS as antithesis of Islam as the Muslim mind is overwhelmed by its (ISIS’s) cloak of religiosity, if Caliph Umar, the son-in-law and the fourth among the Rightly Guided Caliphs were to come alive this day, he would have surely declared the leaders and activists of ISIS and other terror outfits operating in the name of Islam (Boko Haram, al-Shibab, Taliban and al-Qaida) as renegade-apostates of Islam (Kharijite) who lost any claim to the faith of Islam and deserved to be killed without any trial . But in the absence of Caliph Ali, who is going to bell the cat?
This writer has done two critical articles [1, 2] and followed up with four reminders [3-6] as part of his literary crusade against ISIS and its other terror affiliates. These articles failed to make any impact for the obvious reason that no Muslim scholar, Imam or intellectual has any courage to put his signature to a campaign outlawing the ISIS and its affiliates both for fear of life and fear of God: the ISIS sword that beheads humans in the name of God and with cry of jubilation and the lack of spiritual conviction to expunge any group that recites the Shahadah from the pale of Islam even if this group epitomized evil in its worst form.
This article is prompted by the U-turn in the attitude of a tacitly hostile Europe/ West and is probably his penultimate move in his literary crusade against the ISIS and other terror groups operating in its style. If the common people of the West can break the deeply entrenched fear and hatred of Islam – a feeling that has been waxing and waning with time for over a millennium, the Muslim Religious leadership of this era must muster courage to call a spade a spade – even if has to go break deeply entrenched notions.
There is a deeply entrenched notion in Islam that Caliphs may commit all kinds of crimes including murder, plunder rape, forced conversion and genocide as divine mandates. Thus, if somebody creates a geographical identity and declares himself as a Caliph, and unleashes a reign of terror upon common civilians many Muslim Ulema of the world are tongue-tied in declaring him an outlaw, though they condemn his acts as un-Islamic in no uncertain terms. Thus, while there has been no dearth of condemnation and denouncement of ISIS and other terror outfits of this era, none has openly challenged the ISIS ideology as an antithesis of Islamic faith and none has called upon the Muslim Umma to boycott it as an evil and un-Islamic outfit and warn the Muslim youths at grass roots level to shun it.
The truth is, the protagonists and ideologues of terror in today’s Islam are far worse than the hypocrites of the Prophet’s era who schemed to kill the Prophet and destroy Islam and create a new creed with a new mosque of its own. The Qur’an refers to them as Rijz (spiritually unclean) (9:95) curses them (9:68, 33:73) calls them liars (9:42 , 9:107, 58:18, 63:1) and deviants (Fasiqun) (9:96, 9:67), charges the nomadic Arabs among them to being intense in Kufr and hypocrisy (9:97, 9:101), condemns them as the most despised among the Prophet’s followers for opposing God and His Messenger, singles them out as the comrades of Satan (58:19/20) and relegates them to the lowest depths of the hellfire (4:145).
Now our Religious Leadership has not uttered such words against Abu Bakr Baghdadi and the leaders of other terror-outfits operating under the umbrella of Islam. They have issued strong denunciation and condemnation of their deeds but not condemned them the way the Qur’an condemned the hypocrites of its era – who were, no doubt, immeasurably better than the terror champions and ideologue of this era in their moral character. So they continue with their carnage and the sharp and unequivocal castigation of this writer falls in deaf ears. Even the follow Muslims are afraid to post any comments.
The author believes that in the wake of the just unfolding refugee Crisis that shatters any credibility of an Islamic state, it is time that Islamic Religious Leadership issues a religious decree calling upon activists and fighters and passive supporters of ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Shibab, Taliban and their affiliates that the terror ideology of their groups as well as their aspiration to form a pan-Islamic state by murder, rape, plunder, and creating anarchy represents the antithesis of Qur’anic message and has run out its course in history. So it must be eliminated once and for all. Since it uses its captive population as human shield and source of suicide bombers, it will be impossible to eradicate it by invasion or occupation without decimating the captive population – a non-starter in the first place. The only way to achieve it could be by way of an internal uprising by the saner elements of their forces, who may then form democratic governments or give up arms.
The only way to achieve this could be launching of massive campaign of a magnitude and weight never undertaken since the birth of ISIS such as issue of a proclamation or decree from the Custodian of the Sacred Mosques calling for an overthrow of its leadership by its own followers. Whether this is going to happen or not in the short/ middle term, time will show. But the greater time it takes, the greater the stakes and the graver the consequences. Muslims will only console themselves with diverse conspiracy theories but their masses will bear the fatal consequences for the inaction of their religious leadership – the Custodian of the Sacred Mosques.
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. KhaledAbou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.