By Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
17 December 2014
A woman in Peshawar asked yesterday: Is This Islam? She was crying over the blood-spattered dead bodies of her school-going children. The proud killers of 132 innocent children and scores of female teachers were the Pakistan Taliban. The Taliban are student of Islamic madrasas, supposedly well-versed in the teachings of Islam. They proudly kill in the name of Islam; to glorify Islam, they claim; to help establish the domination of Islam in the world, to establish the sovereignty of God over the planet, they say. So the question was natural. Is this Islam, indeed?
India’s Muslim clerics have decided to answer the question. According to a report in the Indian Express, they called the Peshawar attack an act against the very tenets of Islam. Perpetrators of such violence, they said, have nothing to do with religion and there is no justification for the killing of children.
Former MP and Jamiat Ulama-e Hind general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani told Express correspondent: "The way young children have been slaughtered needs to be condemned in the harshest words. Neither Islam nor society has any place for such people because this is anti-Islamic.”
Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, said in targeting children the terrorists have not only denigrated the religion in whose name they did it but also scarred the survivors for life. “Such incidents keep happening in Pakistan periodically. This is an attack against humanity, against Islam… There is something more vicious this attack may have done. I saw a child injured in hospital, saying on TV, ‘If I survive, I will take revenge all my life’. They are sowing the seeds of violence, the place has become a citadel of terror. Taliban have defamed Islam,” Bukhari said.
People who think Islam permits such dastardly acts are mistaken, said Jalaluddin Umri, chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. “Revenge is a natural response. But what wrong can possibly be avenged by killing so many little children? If your brother was killed by somebody, what revenge is it that you go out and kill somebody’s child — so many of them? They misunderstand Islam.”
“They have violated Islam and should be condemned,” said Maulana Arshad Madani, a teacher of Darul Uloom Deoband who also heads a faction of the Jamiat.
Unexceptionable sentiments. I couldn't agree more. But the question doesn't go away. How come if such dastardly violence is a violation of Islam, why are Islamic madrasa students, well-versed in Islamic tenets, perpetrating such atrocities almost every day for years now practically wherever they can. More importantly, how come maulanas like Abdul Aleem Islahi of Hyderabad justify indiscriminate violence of civilians and continue to be revered members of the maulana community. Will the maulanas now come together and expel this man from the pale of Islam?
I am giving below a translation of some selected portions from an essay Maulana Abdul Aleem Islahi wrote in reply to Dr Nejatullah Siddiqi's essay on Islam and violence in which he essentially expressed the kind of sentiments that the maulanas quoted above are now expressing following the Peshawar terrorist violence. Maulana Islahi's refutation of Dr Siddiqi's essay amounts to justification of Talibani violence.
None of the above quoted maulanas or even Dr Siddiqi himself, to the best of my knowledge, has rebutted Maulana Islahi yet, not to speak of turning him out of the pale of Islam. Indeed, there has been no dilution in the respect and reverence he commands in the community of clerics. He continues to run his madrasa and indoctrinate his Taliban, many of them girls. He has inspired a generation Indian Muslim terrorists in the meantime. He is now known as the ideological father of Indian Mujahedeen. Will the maulanas care to explain why they have no opinion in the matter of Maulana Islahi's Jihadi literature. Are they waiting for an Indian version of Peshawar to happen to condemn the Indian Taliban who are being inspired by Maulana Alimuddin Islahi?
Use of Force in the light of Quran by Abdul Aleem Islahi:
A critique of essays by Dr Nejatullah Siddiqi and Dr. Fazlur Rahman Afridi
Published by Maktaba Al-Aqsaa, Saeedabad, Hyderabad
Page No. 4
The summary of whatever Dr Saheb (Dr Nejatullah Siddiquee) has written is that no matter what actions the US is taking and no matter what the gravity of these actions, taking steps against them is neither permissible nor in the interests of the Muslims.
Similarly, no matter what the flag bearers of Hindutva may do, taking any step against them or confronting them with the use of force will be wrong from the point of view of Shariah and harmful for the Muslims.
Page No. 10-11
Jihad is not violence
In the light of the Quran and hadith, calling punishment for crime violence is very wrong. It is an un-Islamic idea. In fact, the punishment that is given for preventing the criminal from committing crimes is not violence and atrocity but a benevolent act and a blessing. However, whatever meaning the word ‘violence’ may convey, calling violence permissible only in two situation by Dr (Nejatullah Siddiqui) Saheb is also extremely erroneous and is akin to striking a hard blow at the purpose of the prophethood of the holy Prophethood. Please see Surah Tauba verse No. 29:
“And fight against those who do not have faith in God and in the Day of Judgment and declare haram what God and his prophet have delared halal, and among those people of the Book do not accept the true faith until they pay the Jizyah with their own hand and are subdued."
In this verse, fight has been ordained against those under three conditions until they pay jizyah:
They do not profess faith in God and Day of Judgment
Do not accept as haram what God and his prophet have declared haram
Do not accept Islam as their religion.
“La ikraha fiddin”. There is no compulsion in religion (Deen). This is an established fact. But it is related only with accepting or not accepting the belief. This does not mean that ahl-e-Kufr, (infidels) should be left totally free on earth with their un-belief and should not be made accountable. If this were true, what do we mean when we say that the religion (Deen) of God has been revealed to dominate the world?
"It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam) to make it superior over all religions even though the Mushrikoon (polytheists, idolaters, etc.) hate it." Surah at-Tawbah 9: 33
What will this verse mean then and what relevance will the obligation of jihad have?
Page No. 12
It is the duty (of Muslims) to struggle for the domination of Islam over false religions and subdue and subjugate ahl-e-kufr-o-shirk (infidels and polytheists) in the same way as it is the duty of the Muslims to proselytise and invite people to Islam. The responsibility to testify to the Truth and pronounce the Deen God has entrusted with the Muslims cannot be fulfilled merely by preaching and proselytising. If it were so there would be no need for the battles that were fought.
"And fight them until there is no fitnah (mischief) and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah. And if they cease - then indeed, Allah is Seeing of what they do." Surah Anfal 8:39)
Jihad has been made obligatory to make the Deen (religion) dominate and to stop the centres of evil. Keeping in view the importance of this task, the significance of Jihad in the name of God has been stressed in the Quran and Hadith. That’s why clear ordainments have been revealed to Muslims about fighting all the Kuffar (infidels).
“United, fight the polytheists as they fight against you.” (Surah Tauba:36)
Page No. 17
Let it be known that, according to Islamic jurisprudence, fighting the infidels (kuffar) in their countries is a duty (farz-e-Kifayah) according to the consensus of ulema.
And farz-e-kifayah means that if only a group of people suffice to carry out a duty, the entire community will be spared the responsibility but if all the people shun jihad, all will be sinners.
Limitation to the use of force
Dr (Nejatullah Siddiqui) Saheb says: “Still, it must be noted that in Islam the use of violence, whether for punishment of crimes or for the protection of Islam and Muslims or for upholding the right of people to freely choose their faith, is allowed only to the limit necessary for the purpose, because violence more than that required for a particular purpose is impermissible.”
It is being said that qital (killing, violence, armed struggle) and use of force were confined only to “survival and protections and restoration of human rights” whereas the main purpose of qital is rooting out mischief and making Deen of God an effective force. In a sense it can be said that the jugular vein of the philosophy of jihad has been slashed and fighting and killing and armed struggle with the purpose of attaining the domination of Islam has been called atrocity and transgression and it is claimed that it has been strictly prohibited.
I can say with full conviction that qital (killing, violence, armed struggle) to uphold the Kalimah (declaration of faith) has neither been called atrocity or transgression nor has it been prohibited. Rather, qital (killing, violence, armed struggle) has not only has been ordained for the purpose of upholding the Kalimah (declaration of faith) but also stressed and encouraged in the Book (Quran) and the Sunnah (Hadith). Muslims have indeed been encouraged and motivated to engage in qital and they have been given good tidings of rewards for this.
This is such a common knowledge that even the illiterate Muslims know this but the intellectuals of the present time try to falsify it.
The reason for this wrong assertion is a superficial study of the verses No. 191, 192, 193 of Surah Baqarah (Sura No. 2). It would be appropriate here to explain the verses.
“And fight in (the) way (of) Allah those who fight you and (do) not transgress. Indeed, Allah (does) not like the transgressors..” (Baqarah 2: 90)
Superficially, the verses seem to convey the meaning that Muslims have been ordained to fight only those who fight them and fighting those who do not fight has been called transgression and has been prohibited.
Some people consider this verse obsolete because it is proved from various verses like Surah Baqarah (2:193), Surah Anfal (8: 39), Surah Tauba (9: 29) that the last ordainment that was revealed was that it was obligatory for Muslims to fight against Mushrikeens (polytheists).
Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah . But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors. Surah Baqarah (2:193)
And fight them until there is no fitnah and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah . And if they cease - then indeed, Allah is Seeing of what they do.
Surah Anfal (8: 39)
Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.
Surah Tauba (9: 29)
But some others say that this verse is not obsolete (revoked). ‘Do not transgress’ does not mean what has been understood on face value. Actually, by ‘Do not transgress’ (La ta’tadu) is meant that ‘Do not make the first move in fighting within the confines of Kaabah’. If you make the first move, it will be a transgression. Or it can be said that ‘Do not transgress by fighting those with whom you have an agreement (of peace), or that ‘Do not fight without giving an invitation (towards Islam) or that ‘Do not kill women and children in a battle.’
In short, nobody has called fighting for the purpose of upholding the Kalimah (declaration of faith) a transgression or oppression. On this basis, La ta’tadu (Do not transgress) has been regarded as revoked or has been interpreted in way that it does not clash with the ordainment of qital (armed struggle, fighting).
Violence and Terrorism
Page No. 28/29
Under this heading, "Violence and Terrorism," Dr (Nejatullah Siddiqui) Saheb says that whenever any action will be taken against established governments, Muslims will have to do what Islam has prohibited and Muslims will have to tread the thorny path Muslims have been told to abstain from. For example, a distinction cannot be made between a combatant and a non combatant. Women, children, the old and the disabled of the adversaries will also be killed. Property and wealth will be destroyed. Trees will be cut. Populated land may be destroyed whereas Islam prohibits all this and calls this mischief on earth (fasad fil ardh).
Activists will have to commit all these acts because the governments have police and the army and fighting them head on is not possible. They have arms and ammunition while the fighters don’t even have ordinary weapons, leave aside armaments as much as the governments have. Due to these reasons, the fighters are compelled to launch secret operations whenever and howsoever they find an opportunity to strike at the enemy. That’s why they cannot adhere to the limitations Islam ordains for them. Therefore, whenever force is used against the state violence and state terrorism, it will naturally take the form of terrorism that is considered by Islam mischief on earth and is prohibited. Therefore, actions of some Muslim groups against their governments or against the US, the UK, Russia, France etc during the last 20 years were based on clear transgressions on the limits set by Islam.
If today, any group establishes its den in any forest, mountain or any other place and targets the enemies of the Deen and the Millat (Muslim community), how can it be wrong?
A group of Muslims can form a front against the enemies anywhere in the world. For this, a government based on Sharia headed by an Amirul Mumineen or Caliph of Muslims is not necessary.