By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
September 24, 2013
There is a sharp contrast between what Islam is and what Islamists do. Islam is that spiritual path which any person can achieve by submitting his will to God; while Islamists are those so-called devout Muslims who believe that their spirituality is to convert other non-Muslims and “deviant” Muslims (like Sufi-saints etc) into their version of Islam and they act upon this belief, mostly by using terror tactics. 1
I believe that anyone can be a Muslim, even if he or she does not say the Shahada (i.e., there is no god but God and Muhammad is His Messenger). A person becomes Muslim by his deeds and not by dress or words. The Quran is filled with verses which say that those who submitted themselves to God attained felicity and their destination is Heaven. Doing is more important than saying; similarly if you say that there is but one God and Muhammad is His Prophet, you then enter into the religion of Islam, but if your actions belie your words, then you are still not a Muslim.
Islam talks about: purifying oneself internally, Hijab of the soul is more important than the Hijab of the body, and “inviting all to the ways of God with beautiful preaching”; but the Islamists act upon: external purification, focus is more on the external Hijab and instead of “beautiful preaching”, they terrorise people into accepting their version of Islam, which is totally exclusive, superior and individualistic (i.e., non-pluralistic).
The biggest threat to Islam is not from the West and their “conspiracies” but it is from the these Islamists, who not only malign the face of Islam but they also make life miserable for the common Muslims, who face the reaction of the non-Muslims.
Although the Quran clearly is against terrorism, yet the number of Islamic terrorist attacks is on the rise. In recent years the number of terrorist attacks has increased many folds.2 The Quran says:
"Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors. (The Quran, 2:190)"
"And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for God. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers. (The Quran 2:193)"
"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things. (The Quran, 2:256)"
"If thou dost stretch thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear God, the cherisher of the worlds. (The Quran, 5:28)"
"But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things). (The Quran, 8:61)"
"If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe! (The Quran, 10:99)"
"Again and again will those who disbelieve, wish that they had bowed (to God's will) in Islam. Leave them alone, to enjoy (the good things of this life) and to please themselves: let (false) hope amuse them: soon will knowledge (undeceive them). (The Quran, 15:2-3)"
"Say, 'The truth is from your Lord': Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it):......(The Quran, 18:29)"
"Say: 'Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger: but if ye turn away, he is only responsible for the duty placed on him and ye for that placed on you. If ye obey him, ye shall be on right guidance. The Messenger's duty is only to preach the clear (Message). (The Quran, 24:54)"
“God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (The Quran, 60:8)"
"Say : O ye that reject Faith! I worship not that which ye worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. To you be your Way, and to me mine. (The Quran, 109:1-6)"
The other thing that needs to be kept in mind is that all the verses in the Quran which talk about fighting in self defence against the non-believers were only meant for those people and that time and they are obsolete in today’s time period.
Since 2010 till current times there have been over 35 deadly terrorist attacks perpetrated by militant Islamists. Pakistan, India, USA, Egypt, Russia, Philippines, Germany, Thailand, Nigeria, Morocco, Iraq, UK, Israel, Bangladesh, Libya, Mali, France, China and many more countries have faced these terrorist attacks. And if we take into account only the numbers of terrorist attacks since 2001, then it is way over 300. Around 5000 (and way over 10,000 if we take into account terrorist attacks since 1970) people have been killed only because these innocent people did not believe what the militant Islamists wanted them to believe.3, 4 And these are official reports; unofficial ones are almost just double.
I believe there are two types of Islamists: first, are those who sincerely believe that Islam is the best religion and it is superior to other ways of life; second are those Islamists which believe the same but they go a step beyond, they can and will kill others those who do not subscribe to this ideology. While the former merely says and believes; the latter not only says and believes but they also act upon their twisted belief. Both are dangerous.
Recently I was at my uncle’s house and his friend came to meet him. And as usual the topic was Islam and western conspiracy and Indian politics etc. The issue of traffic was raised (that day was Friday) and I said that because of people offering prayers also on the road due to over population in mosque, many commuters face problem and this also leads to traffic problem. My uncle’s friend first gave me an angry look and said “tab to saare Hinduon ka sab cheez to road hi pe hota hai,woh bhi nahi hona chahiye” (then every ritual of Hindus are performed on road, that also should not be allowed).
If we shelter this kind of thinking, how can we march ahead? No wonder Muslims are on the back foot. They don’t want to mix with others; in Hinduism there is caste system and Brahmans will not mix and match with the Shudras etc, but sometimes I feel that in Islam there is “religious” system i.e., Muslims should not mix and match with non-Muslims. But there is a difference; if you meet them then your duty is to somehow try to convert (yes, I know it is revert!) him into Islam.
The Quran, no doubt says, “The religion acceptable in the sight of God is Islam” (3:19). But Islam does not mean one who follows Muhammad (pbuh), its meaning is very broad and inclusive. In the next verse, i.e., 3:20, God says even “pagans are rightly guided if they submit to God but if they turn away then your (Muhammad’s) duty is only to preach. And God is ever seeing”. All the prophets taught nothing but Islam (submission to God’s Will), names may have changed and some scriptural changes may also have taken place but in all the major religions His basic message is still there.
1. The Encyclopaedia of Political Science, George Thomas Kurian
(Note- All the Quranic verses have been taken from the Quran search software and Saheeh International Translation)