By Tasneem Yaseen
March 16, 2017
Islam is a religion of peace and the Muslim Ummah wants to live in peace and harmony with others. It is a small percentage of so called Muslims who have been spreading terror in the name of Islam. The objective of spreading hate and fear is to make Islam seem like a radicalised religion that wants to subjugate all others. This completely negates all the good deeds and good works of all those Muslims who live peacefully and with full respect for others.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has rightly said that it is not possible to eliminate and eradicate terrorism without the support of the Ulema. To promote militancy religious justifications are sought by jihadists which should be categorically rejected by the Ulema. The true meaning of jihad is being distorted by terrorists to serve their own nefarious designs and the Ulema need to dispel this incorrect understanding of jihad. It is their duty to serve Islam in the best possible way and ensure that its message is not distorted and its spirit is not lost.
The Ulema are respected by all in Pakistani society and as such they hold a position of power. They must now utilise their influence and work to eliminate the extremist narrative of religion. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has tried to enlist clerics’ help in combating the menace of terrorism, asking them to reject the religious decrees which are contrary to Islam such as those that invoke violence. In some recent remarks the Prime Minister said, “Hate is being spread in the name of religion and it is the duty of the Ulema to free it from hate and violence. One way of doing that is to reject all those Fatwas that incite violence, [and] only the Ulema can do it.”
The government, has brought the political leadership, the army, the police and other law-enforcement agencies on the same page as far as dealing with terrorism and terrorists is concerned, now it needs the assistance of the Ulema. Religious scholars should play a proactive role in building an alternative narrative of Islam that promotes the true spirit of this great religion. Islam has been held hostage by hate-mongers and its name has been misused to spread hate and violence, while the holy concept of jihad had been hijacked. We Muslims cannot stand by and let this happen for Islam inculcates the spirit of brotherhood, unity, justice, respect for all, kindness to others, and upholds the dignity of all human beings and this is the message that must be shared.
The Ulema need to stand united in dealing with extremism; they must forget their differences and fight for the Muslims who are suffering at the hands of these few thousand miscreants who are misusing Islam for their own misdeeds. They can build an alternative, the narrative of peace and love; and when the people will no longer be misguided they will not fall in the hands of terrorists nor pay heed to their words. In this way the terrorists will lose their power and their authority. Once control is wrested back, once the true Ulema those who propagate peace and solidarity lead Muslims to the correct path, then this society will slowly return to serenity.
Ulema should have an effective role in promoting unity among society, besides trying to dispel false propaganda against Islam. Ulema can take up such challenges by utilising their pulpits to spread the true picture of religion. Madrasas have always been centres of religious education and an effective source to dispel misleading propaganda aimed at creating disharmony among the society; and now more than ever they are needed to spread the real teachings of Islam. Pakistan has been fighting war against terror for a very long time and the sacrifices of its people must not go to waste. Though attacks have still occurred in the country which were facilitated by sympathisers of certain elements, the war against these elements continues with Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. And God willing this operation just like its predecessors will also be a success.
The work of decades cannot be undone in a day but the time for standing by and doing nothing is over; we as a society need to stand united in fighting terrorism and extremism. We cannot be complacent anymore. The problem has become entrenched in our society and we need to get to the root of it and get rid of it in a way that it does not sprout back up. The future of our children is dependent on it.