By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
The Quran tells us that the Cain, son of Adam, killed his own brother, Abel, because of some personal reason. After this, the Quran (5:32) declares:
That was why We laid it down for the Children of Israel that whoever killed a human being—except as a punishment for murder or for spreading corruption in the land—shall be regarded as having killed all mankind, and that whoever saved a human life shall be regarded as having saved all mankind. Our messengers came to them with clear signs, but many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.
From this Quranic verse we learn that killing human beings has always been considered a heinous crime according to the Divine law, although, owing to their disobedience, in every age human beings have violated this law. There is, however, a distinction as far as this is concerned between the past and the present. In the past, people would kill others generally for their personal interests or in revenge. That is why in the past, such killings were limited.
In present times, in contrast, killing of fellow humans has assumed a new form. This is what can be called ‘ideological murder’. That is to say, killing people on the basis of a particular ideology, or shedding human blood on the basis of some supposed ideological justification. This notion of ideologically-justified violence has made it possible for people to blindly and indiscriminately kill others, ignoring the distinction between culprits and innocents. And this does not prick their conscience at all, because, based on their imaginary beliefs, they think that they are killing for the Truth.
This method of ideological violence was invented in the mid-20th century by the Communists. They believed in the theory of ‘Dialectical Materialism. According to this theory and belief, the only way that ‘Revolution’ could come about was through one class violently wiping out another. This belief-system led to the massacre of some 50 million people in different parts of the world.
A second, even more frightening, form of ‘ideological violence’ was that which emerged in parts of the Muslim world. In the first half of the twentieth century, this extremist ideology got a major boost. Two Muslim parties were particularly responsible for developing and spreading this ideology—the Ikhwan ul-Muslimeen or ‘Muslim Brotherhood’, in the Arab world, and the Jamaat-e Islami, in the non-Arab world.
Based on its ideology, the Ikhwan invented the following slogan: al-Quran Dasturnuna Wal Jihadi Manhajana or ‘The Quran is our Constitution, and Jihad is Our Way’. ‘Through jihad [in the sense of violence]’, they insisted, ‘we will enforce the Quran over the whole world.’ This sort of sloganeering became so popular in the Arab world that people began shouting on the streets: Haluma Nuqatil, Haluma Nuqatil Fa Inal Qitala Sabilar Rashadi (Come, let us wage war! Come, let us wage war! Because war is the path to success!)
From Palestine to Afghanistan and from Chechnya to Bosnia, wherever violence was resorted to in the name of ‘Islamic Jihad’, it was all a product of this ideology.
In the same way, the Jamaat-e Islami developed the thesis that all the systems prevailing in the world today are ‘false’ (Taghuti). It claimed that it was the duty of each and every Muslim to struggle to destroy these ‘false’ systems and enforce the ‘Islamic system’ in their place. It claimed that this work was so very necessary that if this was not possible through dialogue, the followers of Islam should resort to violence to snatch the keys of power from the upholders of ‘falsehood’ and establish a Government based on Islamic law over the entire whole world. The violence that is tearing apart Pakistan and Kashmir in the name of Islam today is wholly a result of this fabricated ideology.
The horrific violence in the name of Islam, both before and after 9/11, is, directly or indirectly, a result of these two self-proclaimed ‘revolutionary’ movements. The origin of the deviant thought of the founders of these movements lies in their not understanding the difference between a party (Jama’at), on the one hand, and the state, on the other. They considered that which is the responsibility of an established state to be the duty of the jama‘at or party that they had formed. According to Islamic teachings, the declaration and conduct of jihad, in the sense of Qital or physical warfare, and the enforcement of Islamic laws related to collective affairs are solely and entirely the responsibility of a Government. It is completely forbidden in Islam for non-state actors to form outfits and agitate for this purpose.
The limits or scope of a Jama’at or party in Islam is illustrated in the following Quranic verse (3:104):
Let there be a group among you who call others to good, and enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong: those who do this shall be successful.
According to the Quran, non-state actors can establish a Jama’at or party only for two purposes. Firstly, for peacefully inviting people to goodness and, secondly, for peacefully guiding and exhorting people. The former refers to conveying the message of Islam to non-Muslims. And by ‘enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong’ is meant the fulfilling of the duty of advising Muslims to walk on the right path. But forming jama‘ats for political agitation is completely forbidden. It is an impermissible and condemnable innovation (Biddat), something utterly contemptible and which has no sanction whatsoever in Islam.
The ideology that the founders of the Ikhwan ul-Muslimeen and the Jamaat-e Islami invented was against the Islamic Shariah as well as against Nature. And such an unnatural ideological construction always begins with violence and ends in hypocrisy. As long as people are hypnotised by their own romantic ideas, they remain so mad in the cause of their imaginary ‘Revolution’ that they even go to the extent of branding suicide-bombing in the name of seeking martyrdom as legitimate. But when the hard rock of reality forces their fervour to cool off, they resort to sheer hypocrisy: that is, at the intellectual level and in terms of belief, they continue to cling to their ideology, but in practical terms they fully adjust to reality in order to protect their own worldly interests.