By Dr Mohammad Nejatullah Siddiqui
(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam)
Future Course of Action
It can be rightly said that even if violence is completely shunned by Muslims it will not change the conditions of the Muslims. Whether it is India or the Global society, much more should be done to restore our dignified life in both the arena. When others will shun violence is not in our hands. However, it is very important that the notion that Muslims and Islam are threat to them should be removed from the minds of the common human beings. A similar atmosphere has been created in Europe and America and much needs to be done to clear this atmosphere. The Muslims of the entire world should help the Muslim citizens and Muslims living in Europe and America in doing so. But Muslims can also improve the atmosphere by reforming their attitude. We will present three points which can be followed very easily and as a result of these the image of Muslims in the eyes of common people can improve.
Many misinformation and misunderstandings could be spread about Islam and Muslims because the people of Europe and America, rather the non-Muslims of our own country India do not know much about Islam and Muslims. It is very difficult to acquire information about the past history of Muslims and requires a lot of time but the misunderstanding about the Present of the Muslims can be removed easily. The answer to all the misleading propaganda about what is taught in madrasas, what is done inside mosques, what is taught and preached during the Tablighi tours and assemblies is that everything should be in full view of the public. It should be possible for every individual to observe the activities going on in Muslim institutions directly. Not only that, the internal well being of the Ummah also depends on the fact that finances and the management of all these institutions should have transparency and there should be no secretiveness in them. The financial affairs of these institutions should be kept transparent so that the flag bearers of Hindutva or the American hegemonists cannot make the allegation that the funds these institutions and organizations collect are spent in the execution of violent activities behind the veil of religion and education. The right process for saving our own madrasas, mosques and charitable hospitals and organizations from corruption is that the accounts of their income and expenditure is kept audited and is open to public scrutiny.
When the authority to take decisions in any Islamic organization is reposed in one person, transparency is not maintained in its management and financial affairs. For maintaining transparency it is necessary that decisions should be taken in consultation with people concerned. America and its allies accuse Muslim countries and institutions of being undemocratic. Decisions there are not taken in consultation with related people. The total authority on the expenses of their resources has been reposed in people who have not been elected by people for this job but they have got this position thanks to the hereditary kingdom or army revolution. This model is often emulated in other organizations of Muslims. Whether it is groups or other religious organizations, when a person retires after heading it for life, his heir takes the charge. It is obvious that those who come to power through undemocratic means cannot follow democratic process while taking decisions. This situation strengthens the notion that Muslim population are hostage to their rulers and their national and welfare resources are hostage to the traditional heads of Muslim organizations and they need to be freed.
It is strange that the virtue that Quran has called to be ingrained in Muslims in the following verse…
“And those who have responded to their lord and established prayer and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves, and from what We have provided them, they spend.” (Ash-Shura: 38)
…the lack of the same feature of consultative spirit has become the basis for attacks on Muslim countries and organizations!
As maintaining transparency will benefit Muslims themselves and their institutions will run more effectively, in the same way by adopting the process of consultation, these institutions will improve their performance and they will enjoy more and more public cooperation. If the method of keeping the views and suggestions of the related persons under consideration while taking decisions is adopted, it will increase their credibility. Today the situation is different because of this. On the one hand, these organisations do not enjoy the spontaneous cooperation of the Muslims and on the other; they provide the advocates of Hindutva in India and on the international level to America and its sidekicks the opportunity to attribute such intentions, activities and ideas to them that are beyond reality. It is easy to attribute anti humanity trends, intolerant treatment and violent plans to welfare organizations, madrasas and other educational institutions and groups run under non-representative leadership. Since the countries, parties, educational institutions and other organizations of Muslims all over the world are not run under democratic process; they easily become the target of doubt and suspicion. If Muslims adopt transparency, democratic culture, freedom of expression of opinion, respect of the views of others, considering the views of all while taking decisions, it will be easy for the non-Muslims to understand them. They will know when and what can be expected from them. In this way the fear of others can be removed about them which have crept in or have been created in the mind of the people because of their being a closed book.
Assimilation into Humanity
Apart from transparency and democracy, the third virtue that is needed as a preface for the execution of any comprehensive plan of reformation and development of the Ummah is promoting interaction with the common people, sharing their joys and sorrows and even trying to solve the problems of Muslims like the problems of other communities. It is a fact that whether in India or in the world, the list of specific issues of the Muslims is quite short. Most of the problems faced by us are those that are faced by others as well: poverty, disease, deprivation from suitable shelter and basic amenities for health, illiteracy, insecurity, anxiety resulting from uncertain future. These are the problems that are faced by most of the people in India, South Asia and Africa. Muslims face greater challenges. The efforts to solve the problems that Muslims make together with their neighbours or fellow countrymen or their cooperation in the efforts they make will be much more effective. Muslims do not live in a detached world but they should consider the world their own homeland and try to improve its conditions. In the present situations, in which one of the factors is doubt and suspicion among people about Muslims and a lack of trust on them, the significance of this has increased. Whether it is a neighbourhood of America and Britain or a neighbourhood of India, it is important to remove the doubt and suspicion and apprehensions towards each other and restoration of the trust and confidence between Muslims and non-Muslims. Violence is a phenomenon which has deep roots in the atmosphere of suspicion and apprehension. It is necessary to remove this atmosphere for rooting out violence.
Nowadays, establishing organizations for social welfare and charitable activities that are free of government intervention is commonplace. These NGOs often operate in a number of countries simultaneously. Some of these organizations have gained so much weight internationally that any country in the world is compelled to allow them to work independently. Some of these organizations are also given representation in the United Nations and other international bodies. Saving environment from pollution, safeguarding world peace and human rights, and removing poverty, disease and illiteracy, ensuring a honourable place for women in society, freeing bonded labourers, rooting out child labour, providing credit to self employed, preventing deforestation is being done by these NGOs. The spirit of our Deen calls for our greater participation in these activities. Moreover, it is the need of the hour that in this atmosphere we should not lose any opportunity to join hands and stand shoulder to shoulder with our non-Muslim brothers. Like other countries of the world, the Islamic financial institutions keep their doors open for all the people in India too and practically some non-Muslim persons are also associated with Islamic banks and other financial institutions. It should be our endeavour that this association is widened and deepened and this model should be emulated in other Islamic institutions.
The Last Word
Shunning violence is not a solution to all the problems Muslims are facing but by doing so many problems can be definitely rid of that are arising among Muslims because of the trend of violence or retaliatory violence among Muslims. As for when our present downfall will be replaced by our rise and how our weaknesses will be removed which have been an impediment to our progress, this has been under discussion and debate for long. Many efforts are also being made in the field of education and training, health, economy, politics etc but this task requires a long time span which needs to be accomplished with patience. Adopting the path of violence under temporary circumstances is a sign of impatience and a reflection of lack of strategy. In this article, it was our endeavour to try to save the Muslim community from the momentary mistakes and lead them onto their original path with patience and wisdom.
Dr Mohammad Nejatullah Siddiqui is a leading Indian Islamic scholar, whose specialisation is Islamic Economics. Recipient of the King Faisal Award for Islamic Studies, he has taught at the Aligarh Muslim University and the King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
URL of Part 3: http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/dr-mohammad-nejatullah-siddiqui,-tr-nai/violence,-islam-and-the-islamic-movement--can-terrorism-be-at-all-justified-in-islam?----part-3/d/99861