Unfortunately more and more often, Islam has been associated with
terrorism and violence due to the actions of a few extreme individuals who’ve
taken it upon themselves to do the most heinous crimes in the name of Islam.
Tragic events such as the attack on the twin towers in New York, the bombings of Bali, Madrid and London are assumed to be justified by Islam in the minds of some people. This idea has been fueled further by many media channels which defame Islam by portraying these bombers as ‘Islamists’ or ‘Jihadists’, as though they were sanctioned by Islam, or had any legitimate spokemenship on behalf of Muslims. The actions of a few fanatical individuals who happen to have Muslim names or ascribe themselves to the Muslim faith should not be a yardstick by which Islam is judged. For the same reason, that one would not do justice to Christianity if it where perceived as sanctioning the genocide of the Native Americans, the atrocities of world war II or the bombings of the IRA.
To understand Islam’s stance on
terrorism, one must refer to its original sources, the Quran and the teachings
of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,which
are explicit in their prohibition of any form of injustice including that of
wanton violence which seeks to instill fear, injury or death to civilians.
Quran turns our attention to the high value of human life, whether it is Muslim
or Non-Muslim and makes it absolutely forbidden to take an innocent life
unjustly.The gravity of such a
crime is equated, in the Quran, with the killing of all humanity.
“On that account: We
ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be
for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the
whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life
of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear
signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the
only is human life sacred in Islam but the property, wealth, family and dignity
of all individuals in society are to be respected and protected.Those who transgress these rights and sow fasad (corruption) as
the Quran describes it, incur the wrath of Allah.
"…and seek not
corruption in the earth; lo! Allah loveth not corrupters " (28:77)
in another verse
“The blame is only
against those who oppress men and wrong-doing and insolently transgress beyond
bounds through the land, defying right and justice: for such there will be a
penalty grievous” (42:42)
Islam goes further than just
prohibiting oppression and safeguarding rights, it commands its faithful to deal
kindly and compassionately to all those who seek to live in peace and harmony
"Allah forbids you
not, with regard to those who fight you not for your faith, nor drive you out of
your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: For Allah loves those who
are just" (60:8)
In times of war and conflict,
where enmity can obstruct an individual’s judgement to act morally, Islam
commands that justice be upheld even towards one’s enemies.
"O ye who believe!
stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred
of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that
is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye
Centuries before the Geneva
Convention was drawn up, Muslims were bound by a code of conduct which the
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, set.He
forbade the killing of women, children and elderly in war. In an authentic narration the
Prophet (pbuh) warned that he who kills anyone who has a covenant
of peace with the Muslims will not smell the scent of
Paradise. In fact, he taught
that justice is not only to humans but must be shown to animals and all living
things.In a narration the Prophet (pbuh)
informed us about how a lady was sent to hell because of a cat she had locked up
until it starved and died.If such
is the sanctity which Islam places on the soul of an animal, how much more grave
is the killing of hundreds of innocent humans?!
Abu Bakr the first Calipha of
the Muslims reflected these prophetic teachings when he advised his general
Yazid, who was confronting Roman armies,
"I advise you ten things, Do not kill
women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing
trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels
except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the
booty, and do not be cowardly."
The message of the Quran is clear as we have
seen, that the sanctity of any human life is to be respected and any violation
in that regard is paramount to the worst crime. Mercy is at the heart of
the Islamic call, “We sent thee (O Muhammad) not save as a mercy for the
peoples” (21:107); a totally different message to what the terrorists are
sadly imparting to humanity.