December 4, 2015
The terrorist serial strikes in Paris on that Black Friday of November 13 sent shockwaves the world over. Once again they showed how precariously close to disaster stands this globalized world of ours. Even as the IS lost no time in owning up responsibility for Paris, the Middle East has been a burning cauldron of terror for quite some time, and over the last couple of years it has turned into a virtual war zone.
Post-Paris world leaders seem to have woken up to the need for chalking out a fresh global strategy to exterminate this menace once and for all. Paris has invariably drawn comparisons with 7/7 of London (2005) and 26/11 of Mumbai (2008) but in fact the cut-off date should be 9/11 when the al-Qaida desperadoes felled the Twin Towers in New York (2001).
Then came the invasion of Afghanistan followed by the Bush misadventure in Iraq leading to the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003. This paved the way for al-Qaida terror to engulf the entire region in an unending war of attrition between the US-led coalition and terror outfits of varied hues. The ‘Islamic State’ may be correctly defined as the ultimate byproduct of those collective sins.
Even as the savagery perpetuated on unaware and innocent Parisians stands out as an act of barbarity, it has at least woken up the world to rethink the policy of drift followed so far. President Hollande of France has proclaimed a state of war while a shocked President Obama exhorted Muslims to ask themselves some tough questions vis à vis the rise of Islamic extremism in their fold.
Before doing so one must first clearly understand the nature of the challenge that IS and its affiliates pose to the Islamic Ideal itself, and the fitna (civil war) that these self-styled jihadists have let loose on the entire region – this is neither a civilisational clash nor a crusade. What is being touted as ‘jihad’ is the very antithesis of the Quranic injunction that specifically equates the killing of a single innocent person with the killing of entire humanity. There is no place for suicide squads in its schema either since committing suicide is a cardinal sin (haram) in the eyes of Islam. And the ‘warriors of Islam’ in this ongoing killing spree have murdered more Muslims than Christians.
IS has been successful in finding recruits for its ranks from western countries. In contrast, al-Qaida and Taliban both drew a blank from the Muslims in India. IS too has so far met a similar fate inasmuch as the youths responding to its call can be counted on fingers.
This is because of both India’s culture and its historical legacy. Muslim heritage is part of a larger tradition of multiculturalism and mutual tolerance. The 200 million Muslims in India are the legatees of magnificent contributions made by the Ulema and Sufis, over centuries of fraternal coexistence and heroic patriotism. No sacrifice has been too great for them to preserve this tradition. This was particularly so during the 1857 uprising and subsequent struggles against colonial onslaughts.
The Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind fought side by side and shoulder to shoulder with their compatriots of the Indian National Congress. While waging their political battles they never forgot the lessons taught by leaders like Maulana Azad and Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani. There were also the sagas of the Reshmi Rumal movement of Shaikh-ul-Hind, Maulana Mahmood-ul-Hasan (Prisoner of Malta), Ubaidullah Sindhi and others.
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in Kashmir and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in NWFP too made significant contributions in the political education of the Muslim youth in their regions. Contrary to what is often made out, the Sufis and Ulema played complementary roles in spreading multicultural and pluralistic messages.
It was the madrasa-educated homespun-looking youth who stood and lived by the ethos of multiculturalism and pluralism much more than the modern looking western-oriented youth of the elitist institutions. One may also assert that the humble-looking madrasas became computer savvy much earlier than is generally recognised.
More so, the point to remember in today’s context is that they learnt their lessons of non-violence from the teachings of the Quran. So the all-round outrage over the terror in Paris is no surprise. From the country’s top seminary of Darul-Uloom Deoband to others, the condemnation has been total and absolute.
As to the advices to the Muslims from the West, one can only say that soul searching on all sides is the need of the hour. One may in turn legitimately ask western leaders to subject themselves too to some soul-searching and introspect about what paved the way for al-Qaida terror to make its entry into post-Saddam Iraq and who allowed the hydra of IS and its Daesh ideal to spread out its wings from the Middle East to Nigeria, Somalia and indeed the African arc.
Both sides are in fact fighting their wars in the 21st century with a 19th century approach both politically and militarily – countering might with greater might, conventional bombs with super bombs. Also, one finds a strange harking back to colonial methodologies: regime change, containment, balance of power on the one hand and caliphate, villayat, jihad on the other. Military prowess is no answer to the present malaise. Dialogue and diplomacy are needed. This underlines the imperative of evolving steps, however small, to rethink the reordering of the present world order.
Source: TOI Edit Page
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