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Quranic Term Fasad Covers Terrorism and Extremism That Needs to Be Fought with the Same Vigour with Which Muslims Fought Kharjites

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam 

17 April 2021

The Mayhem perpetrated by Modern Terrorist Organisations Clearly Comes Under the Islamic Definition of Fasad Which Quran Considers worse than Slaughter and worthy of being fought with full vigour.


1.Quran has clear verses denouncing terrorism and extremism.

2. Terrorist groups are modern day Kharijites that Muslims fought against and excluded from their communities throughout their history.

3. Quran asks Muslims to fight terrorists till they come back to God's command.

4. Quran asks Muslims to fight terrorism and extremism of all kinds to the best of their ability.


The holy Quran not only preaches Tawheed but also principles of harmonious living and envisages a society where its members will pursue the policy of 'preaching good and negating evil' in a peaceful manner. On a number of occasions, the Quran stresses the fact that God does not like transgression and tyranny, injustice, persecuting the members of other communities on religious, sectarian, ethnic or linguistic grounds. The Quran does not support violence in the name of preaching or propagating Islam among non-Muslims. It declares those who perpetrate violence in the name of propagation of Islam transgressors and warns them of severe punishment in the Hereafter.

Religious extremism is a form of transgression which leads believers to committing violence not only against non-Muslims but also against Muslims who follow the path of moderation and tolerance. This extremism gradually turns into violent way of interpreting Islam.

Religious extremism had started rearing its head during the life of the Holy Prophet pbuh. A group among Muslims who were pious and strictly followed religion would often express extremist views in matters of religion. There is a hadith according to which the holy Prophet pbuh was distributing war booty among the warriors when a Kharijite had accused the Holy Prophet pbuh of distributing war booty unjustly. Hadhrat Umar wanted to kill him over his temerity but the holy Prophet pbuh had forbidden him because it might create rift among Muslims.

Over the years, this group became a prominent sect among Muslims who were known for their extremist views on religious matters and issues. They became so extremist and violent that during the caliphate of Hadhrat Ali r.a. they even criticised him for not taking the right decision on religious or political issues. Hadhrat Ali had to fight a battle in Nahrawan (in Iraq) to wipe out this group of violently pious Muslims called Kharijites.

As has been said, this group had started to take shape even during the life of Prophet pbuh and so we find a few verses in the Quran that give a hint of the extremist behaviour of this group and disapprove them. That the verses are not about non-Muslims but about this extremist group among Muslims becomes evident from the fact that some of these verses are Madani verses when most of the area around Madina had become Muslim. Therefore, the people addressed in these verses are arguably Muslims and not non-Muslims. For example, here are some verses from the Quran:

"Of the people, there are some who say, "We believe in Allah and the Last Day", but they do not really believe",(Al Baqarah:8)

"In their hearts is a disease and Allah has increased their disease and grievous is the penalty they incur because they are false (to themselves). (Al Baqarah:10)

"When it is said to them, “Make no mischief on land", they say, “Why we are only the reformers."(Al Baqarah:11)

"Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief but they realise not."(Al Baqarah:12)

Not only that, in the latter part of Surah Al Baqarah, the Quran describes this group of extremists more vividly.

"There is the type of men whose speech about this world's life may dazzle thee and he calls Allah's witness about what is in his heart, yet he is the most contentious of enemies. When he turns his back his aim everywhere is to make mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But Allah loveth no mischief. When it is said to him, "Fear Allah," he is led by arrogance to crime. Enough for him is Hell, an evil bed indeed."(Al Baqarah:204-206)

From the diction and the period (Medinan) of the revelation of the aforesaid verses it can be argued that these verses may be about the non-Muslims but they also address the extremist group among Muslims that had become recognisable by that time. Polytheists did not believe in the Last Day (see Baqarah:8); the polytheists did not bother about reforming tge society, neither did the Jews of Madina or Makkah (see Baqarah:11); the polytheists did not call Allah to witness (Allah Ki Qasam Khana)(See Baqarah:204-206).

Therefore, these verses seem more related to the extremist Muslims of the prophetic era than to non-Muslims).

In the later Islamic period, religious extremists gained ground and were the cause of a lot of bloodshed. They considered themselves more pious than the rightly guided caliphs and the senior Sahaba. Things came to such a passé that Hadhrat Ali had to fight a battle against them and eliminate them.

However, their extremist ideology could not be eliminated and in the twentieth century, this ideology gave birth to terrorist organisations like Al Qaida, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, ISIS etc. They are the modern day Kharijites who believe in violence and bloodshed in the name of reform or establishment of an Islamic state.

Thus the Quran has clear cut injunctions on terrorism and extremism. When it mentions Fasad (mischief) it also means extremism and terrorism because the activities and behaviour of the members of the modern terrorist organisations clearly come under the definition of Fasad. That is, they cause bloodshed but think that they are doing this to bring reform in the society. They claim that they believe in Allah and the Last Day and call Allah to witness but destroy crops and lives on earth though they speak with reference to Quran and Hadiths to sound pious.

The Quran prescribes severe punishment for them in this world and promises them a severe torment in the Hereafter:

"Those who fight against Allah and the Messenger and run about trying to spread disorder on the earth, their punishment is no other than that they shall be killed, or be crucified or their hands and legs are cut from different sides or they be kept away from their land. That is a humiliation for them in this world, and for them there is a great punishment in the Hereafter."(Al Maidah:33)

The Quran prescribes different punishment for the extremists according to the severity of their crime: death, or amputation or banishment. They are banished from the land and so live in forests and hills like outcastes and from there they launch attacks on crops and cattle and on residential areas killing innocent people.

However, to prove that they are not the group the Quran addresses or hints at, they quote the war time verses in which the Quran allows Muslims to fight non-Muslims of Makkah and Madina and try to create the impression that they are like the Muslims of the Prophetic era who fought to establish the word of Allah and the modern day Muslims are Kafirs and Mushrik but they can not explain why they live like outcastes in forests and in hiding if they are well wishers of Muslims and why they kill Muslims including children.

The fact is that they are the mischief-makers mentioned in the Quran. The Quran has made it clear that Allah does not like mischief-makers and killers of innocent people or perpetrators of injustice.

"He does not like the transgressors":(Al Araf:55)

"And do not kill one another. Indeed Allah is to you merciful. And whoever does that in aggression and injustice then we will drive them into a Fire."(Al Nisa:29-30)

There can not be a clearer verse against the terrorists of modern times than this:

"If two groups of the believers fight each other, seek reconciliation between them. And if one of them commits aggression against the other fight the one that commits aggression until it comes back to Allah's command."(Al Hujurat:9)

The Quran enjoins on Muslims to seek reconciliation between the violent or warring groups of Muslims and if a group does not make peace and continues its aggression, Muslims are asked to fight it until they surrender. Therefore, fighting against these terrorist and extremist groups had been mandated for Muslims. Hadhrat Ali first offered amnesty to the Kharijites. 1200 of the 4000 Kharijites abandoned their extremist views and came back to the mainstream. The rest 2800 Kharijites did not repent and were killed in the battle of Nahrawan.

Therefore, Quran has clearly mentioned the extremist and terrorist groups and prescribed punishments and ways to deal with them: invite them to the mainstream society to live according to the Quran and Sunnah and if they do not abandon their extremist ideology and violent behaviour, fight them till the end.


S. Arshad is a columnist with


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