Review of Religions: Oct/Nov 2001 3 There is no place for terrorism in Islam The terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon has been committed by people calling themselves Muslims. Despite the fact that U.S. President George W. Bush and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair clearly stated that Islam was not responsible for this vicious attack on innocent civilians, there is no doubt that a large number of people in the world have always thought that terrorism forms an integral part of the Islamic religion; and the attack on America has only reinforced their doubts. There is no place for terrorism in Islam. Suicide bombings are a flagrant contradiction of the Qur’anic injunctions: ‘And kill not your own selves. Surely Allah is Merciful to you.’(Chapter 4, part of verse 30) ‘And do not cast your own selves into ruin’ (Chapter 2, part of verse 196). Islam strictly forbids the killing of innocent people: ‘No hostility is allowed except against the aggressors.’ (Chapter 2, part of verse 194). These three verses alone are s u fficient to prevent any Muslim from crashing aeroplanes into any building, or from sending suicide bombers to blow up innocent men, women and children. In every part of the world there are extremists who try and justify their cause in the name of religion. Catholics and Protestants regularly make the headlines in the West. Hindu fundamentalists often come under the spotlight in the East. But public opinion rarely condemns their respective religions for the crimes they commit in the name of those religions. It is most unfortunate for Islam that every time madmen commit violence in the name of Islam, the religion of Islam is blamed by the world. The cry of Jihad is sadly so widespread throughout the Muslim world today that it is now commonly understood by non-Muslims to mean the violence practiced by Muslims against humanity. It is time for the world to understand the true nature of Islamic Jihad. The Holy Founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of God be upon him) defined the most sublime Jihad as the struggle of man to overcome evil within himself. The lesser Jihad is the struggle to combat evil around oneself. This second form of Jihad is what is erroneously called ‘Holy War’ by the media today. In Islam, Muslims are forbidden from becoming aggressors. They are permitted only to defend themselves after they have been unjustly treated by others: ‘Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged.’ (Chapter 22, part of verse 40). Thus, in Islam, only defensive wars are permitted. In Islam, every effort is made to protect the peace of not only the Muslims, but also the followers of other faiths: ‘And if Allah did not defend some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques wherein the name of God is oft remembered.’ (Part of verse 41, chapter 22). So Muslims are expected to go to the extent of fighting in order to protect Christian monasteries and churches, Jewish Notes and Comments Notes and Comments Review of Religions: Oct/Nov 20014 synagogues and Muslim mosques. Even in defensive wars, the instructions of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of God be upon him) are clear: ‘You will meet those who remember God in their houses of worship. Have no dispute with them, and give no trouble to them. In the enemy country, do not kill any women or children, nor the blind, nor the old. Do not pull down any tree; nor pull down any building.’ (quoted in Halbiyyah, Vol. 3). So the only Jihad permitted in Islam is the war of the oppressed against the oppressor, the war waged to protect peace of all people irrespective of their religion or creed. The Holy Qur’an clearly declares that if the enemy expels the Muslims from their homes and forcefully prevents them from freely practising their religion, then the Muslims can take up arms to defend themselves and to protect freedom of conscience: ‘Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made…those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly, only because they said: “Allah is our Lord”…’ (Parts of verses 40 and 41, chapter 22). So how can any true Muslim in the world claim that the violence of terrorists is Jihad? Theirs is a political war. It is no surprise that the Taleban are supporting people who stand accused of terrorism. They are rigid extremists who call themselves Muslims, but who have not the slightest regard for Qur’anic teachings or for the human decency contained in the Holy Book of Islam. In Islam, it is forbidden to even make fun of the gods of other faiths, and no one can force another to abandon his faith: ‘And if Allah had enforced His will, they would not have set up gods with Him. And We have not made thee a keeper over them nor art thou over them a guardian. And revile not those whom they call upon beside Allah, lest they, out of spite, revile Allah in their ignorance…’ (Chapter 6, verses 108 and 109). Many people of the Muslim world today chose to follow a clergy whose idea is rigid and often extreme. The irreligious ideas of these extremists have often led Muslims to fall into the trap of terrorism all over the modern world of Islam. To find the true Islam today, one has to go to the writings of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of India, whose community, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, stands alone in the world today in propounding the actual teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of God be upon him) and thereby showing that Islam truly is the religion of peace. Muslims around the globe would be well advised to learn their basics from the Ahmadiyya understanding of Islam, if they sincerely want to be freed from the evil of terrorism and extremism. Abdul Ghany Jehangeer Khan – UK