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With Growing Threat of ISIS to India, What Can We Muslims Do To Protect Our Youth from ISIS Radicalisation and Thus Strengthen National Security?

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

30 May 2019

With the rise of merciless terrorist groups—ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, a call was given to mainstream Muslims worldwide, either to join their ranks or get ready to be killed as “apostates”. In the wake of these terror groups using ostensible Muslim appearances, titles, slogans and cunning tricks employed to hijack and have a monopoly on Islam, some naive and gullible Muslims got trapped in their web of terror games and reached the height of crimes wherefrom there was none to bring them back to the world of peace.

Out of 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, though only an estimated one hundred thousand to two hundred thousand individuals rushed to join ISIS, it is still a matter of great concern. The very small number of 30,000 from 86 non-Arab countries joining ISIS in one year was enough to incite non-Muslims to blame Islam for what the entire Muslim community abhors as acts of terrorism. In other words, the very few individuals were enough to earn a bad reputation for Islam and the mainstream Muslims who did not wish to join the ‘Islamist’ terror groups.

Moreover, the mainstream Muslims remained loyal to the law and order of their own countries, despite facing cases of accusations that they would not expect from a section of their fellow citizens or from a group of what can be called national brotherhood or pluralist country.

The biggest factor that did not allow Muslims to join the ‘Islamist’ terror groups lies in their belief that the acts of these terror groups are antithetical to Islam. Numerous Fatwas, from religious guides of almost all sects of Muslims, have been issued worldwide to condemn ‘Islamist’ terror groups and term their acts anti-Islamic. This is good and has been influential for mainstream Muslims but not better in bringing full results, as there are still a section of hidden sympathizers and die-hard supporters of ‘Islamist’ terror groups, who might blow themselves up anytime, anywhere.

We should not forget that the terror group ISIS and its likes are themselves the enemies of Islam and religious persecutors but they utilize not only ‘Islamist’ narratives but also narratives of persecutions and oppressions to win the support and sympathy of Muslims.

Mainstream Muslims will never fall prey to any such narratives of ISIS but we should still be concerned about the terror sympathizers in our midst. For them, such narratives have worked well playing a successful role in disrupting the peace and security of a country. Take for instance, the destruction of countries like Syria and Iraq. Such countries will have to wait perhaps for the next two generations to restore peace, security and economic stability in their land.   

We should not deny any possible threat posed by ISIS to India. Initially India was not a primary focus for terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS as their Wahhabi ideologues regard majority of Indian Muslims such as Sufis/Barelvis as “heretics” and “Mushrik” (polytheist or idolator). However, with the rise of Wahhabism and the reason being that more than 350 million Indians are connected to the internet, it is likely that ISIS succeeds in luring some individuals through their online propaganda and using deepening communal fault-lines within India.  

Two things are indispensable at this tumultuous time and should continue till the time of complete elimination of terrorism and until the security is fully established. One points to the responsibility of religious guides and the second lies on the shoulders of national security leaders.

Religious guides of India should repeatedly declare that the rulings of war-related Quranic verses and Ahadith are contextual and can’t be applied today. For instance, the Quranic verse “kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them” (9:5)should be rightly interpreted in the same way as a renowned classical scholar Abu Bakr al-Jassas (d.370H) wrote while interpreting the same verse, "صارقوله تعالى: {فَاقْتُلُواالمُشْرِكِين َحَيْث ُوَجَدْتُمُوهُمْ} خاصّاً في مشركي العرب دون غيرهم" Translation: “The verse (Kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them) was particular to the Mushrikin of Arab and does not apply to anyone else” (Ahkam al-Quran lilJassas, V. 5, p. 270, Arabic edition- English translation mine). Read my article “Did War-related Madani Verses Abrogate Makki Verses in the Sense of Not Allowing Peaceful Coexistence between Muslims and Non-Muslims?” to get some details concerning the same verse.

Like the war-related Quranic verses, the Ahadith such as the one discussed in my article “The Misunderstood Hadith - 'I Have Been Commanded To Fight the People Until They Say There Is No God but Allah’ - misused by terrorist ideologues and Islamophobes” should be interpreted more loudly and clearly in harmony with the narratives of Islam which strongly encourage peace and harmony with the people, nations, countries and groups which do not harm you.

The religious guides should read out the warnings given in the Quran and Sunnah with regard to violation of human rights of non-Muslims, such as the warnings mentioned inthe following Quranic verses and Sunnah to adherents of Islam.

A Quranic verse says, “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)

“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (60:8)

“Beware, if anyone persecutes any peaceful non-Muslim citizen [Mu’ahid], or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Please see Sunan Abi Dawud – Book 20, Hadith 125- Arabic reference).

Even during the state of war these injunctions were given, “Do not kill any child, any woman, or any elder or sick person.” (Sunan Abu Dawud), “Do not practice treachery or mutilation. (Muwatta Malik), “Do not destroy the villages and towns, do not spoil the cultivated fields and gardens, and do not slaughter the cattle.” (Sahih Bukhari; Sunan Abu Dawud), “Do not kill the monks in monasteries, and do not kill those sitting in places of worship. (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal).

These injunctions should be propagated repeatedly to clarify in the minds of Muslims that the objective of Islamic fighting in the Prophet’s time was to prevent religious persecution and promote religious freedom and security for all religious communities whereas the modern “Islamist” terror groups are the strict violators of such injunctions; they persecute religious communities themselves and are thus among the Zalimoon upon whom is “the curse of Allah and the angels and of men, all together.”Surah Ale Imran (3): verses 86, 87)

The Quran tells us: “And who is more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah? These shall be brought before their Lord, and the witnesses shall say: These are they who lied against their Lord. Now surely the curse of Allah is on the Zalimoon (the unjust and oppressors).” (Q: 11:18). This surely applies to ISIS ideologues, the Zalimoon who have virtually invented a new religion in the name of Islam, whose basic purpose is to defame Islam.

These are just few examples among many by which the religious guides can and should increase their influence in a wider public space. More significantly they should keep an eye on the “Islamist” narratives made by ISIS and refute them point by point. Furthermore, Islamic teachings of peace and pluralism, the likes of which were quoted above, are the proper demand and appropriate requirement of our age. Thus, the religious guides should make these teachings acceptable even to hidden sympathizers of ‘Islamist’ terror groups, apart from being influential simply for mainstream Muslims.

As for the national security and powerful leaders of the country, they have been doing well and should continuously adopt so many more good causes to strictly uphold all-round law and order in order to practically ensure peace, justice, religious freedom, equally for all citizens—Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs, or to say, for majorities and minorities. They should make all possible efforts to prevent cases of persecutions such as lynching, be it of any Muslims or non-Muslims. As a part of Indian nationality, this is how we should do for the good of our nation and our country.

A regular Columnist with, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar), with a Sufi-Sunni background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He has also done B.A (Hons.) in Arabic, M.A. in Arabic and M.A in English from JMI, New Delhi. He is Interested in Islamic Sciences; Theology, Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Hadith and Islamic mysticism (Tasawwuf).


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