By Milena Faustova
17 December, 2013
Radical Islam, which today is growing in numbers all over the world, could ruin traditional Islam. The “Jihad for the purity of faith” proclaimed by the fanatics is trying to destroy not only the non-Muslim population of the planet, but even Muslims themselves. Radicalism has nothing in common with the Prophet Muhammad's religion and is founded on political ideology of people far from faith, experts are convinced.
A few days ago Syrian Islamists executed 15 peaceful residents of the town of Arda, located 40 km away from Damascus, which they seized. The bloodbath lasted for several hours. All people killed were Muslim. Such events today take place in many countries considered as purely Muslim. The Taliban, members of al-Qaeda, the followers of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as of a dozen of other radical religious organizations shamelessly kill their own brothers in faith while considering them to not be sufficiently religious. They call their battle for the purity of Islam to be Jihad. However, the term itself means something else. The extremists purposefully substitute the meaning in order to solve their own tasks that are far from religious, thinks Mufti Albir Krganov, first deputy chairman of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate of Russia:
“The fact that radical groups purposefully use the terminology of the religious books and the ignorance of people, thus turning them into cannon meat and pushing them to kill their brothers in faith, in no way reflects the high ideals of Islam. They are nothing else but bandits who have overstepped the commandments of the Almighty. Unfortunately, today religious teachings are used for antihuman purposes increasingly often. For example, Jihad is primarily not a war against the unfaithful and defectors, but a fight against oneself, against one's lowly feelings in order to perfect oneself, to be a decent, cultured and good person”.
It is beneficial for the radical fanatics to get rid of their brothers in faith, who are strong in traditional canonical theology. Because the less their followers know about the basics of their own faith, the easier it would be to manipulate them. Today in modern Islam there is not only a war between the confessions, but also a war between the civilizations, thinks Mufti Farid Salman, chairman of the Ulema Council of the Russian Association of Islamic Consent (RAIS).
“There are many nations which follow Islam, but are not completely in the same era that we are in today. For example, the Pashtun tribes in Afghanistan or the tribes that populate the pre-desert Africa. The same can be said of the current situation in Syria. It is a clash between civilization and non-civilization, a fight of different ideologies. Unfortunately, ordinary people cannot always differentiate between traditional Islam and those movements which call themselves Islamist, but which in fact are far from Islam”.
The Holy War today is waged not only against the living, but also against the dead. In Syria the Islamists shamelessly destroy the monuments of the Muslim culture, many of which are included in the UNESCO list of cultural heritage sites. In 2001 the Afghani Taliban destroyed two giant statues of Buddha, which had been cut out of a mountain in the province of Bamiyan. In February 2006 tombs that dated back to the IX century were erased from the face of the Earth by the Wahhabists. In 2009 radical rebels in Somalia took apart the Sufi mosque and desecrated the grave of Sheikh Ali Ibaar. The Muslim sacred objects of the Mali town of Timbuktu are under the threat of disappearing. Salafi rebels of the Ansar ad-Din group tried to erase the graves of ancient Sufi religious leaders from the face of the Earth.
One of the fundamental serious problems of modern Islam is all those different movements and streams which exist in today's world. The Sunni, the Shia, the Wahhabi and others have historically interpreted the basics of the Holy script differently, explains Leonid Syukiyaynen, a Russian specialist in Islam.
“All these movements appeared a long time ago. There were various reasons for their appearance. There are purely ideological issues, for example, various interpretations of the Quran's Ayats and the Sunnahs of Prophet Muhammad. But often various political interests are disguised behind those movements. Also one can single out social and cultural reasons. Sometimes their interaction with each other leads simply to disputes, which end in armed standoffs. Sometimes bloodshed takes place”.
Another issue that in the near future could become the main problem of Islam's existence – i.e. the lack of a common translation or interpretation of the Quran. Islamists skillfully use that fact, continues Mufti Farid Salman.
“Today billions of copies of books are distributed all over the world in various Muslim languages – the Turkish, Azerbaijani, Arabic, Persian, the languages of India and Indonesia. That literature is distributed free of charge due to the oil dollars received by Saudi Arabia. All that leads to the creation of a false impression that everything around is not good, that Islam itself is not pure, that it needs to be purified, while all the unfaithful and those who betrayed their faith need to be killed”.
Perhaps, if a common interpretation of the Quran appeared in the world of Islam, radical Islamists would have a much more difficult time manipulating the consciousness of the followers of Islam. Russia has already started working on such a canonical interpretation.