By Khurshid Imam
Dad – “Albert! Don’t go out for playing. It’s raining heavily.”
Oh! So Albert’s dad told “Don’t go out for playing”. It means his dad has prohibited playing for him forever. It means Albert can never play any game because of his father’s order.
Readers: Please don’t get angry at me because of my wrong conclusion. You understand very clearly that I am quoting out of context, without providing the complete background and situation. My above conclusion is wrong. The correct conclusion should be – “Albert’s father has asked him not to play in rain (obviously; because he might catch fever then). In normal days he can play.”
Somewhat similar is the case where Islam is accused of promoting terrorism or violence.
Let’s have a look at the subject with unbiased mind. Let’s rely on the text rather what we learn from our surroundings.
A. Islam means peace
Islam is nothing but Arabic name for religion of God. Almighty God has guided human being through several revelations. Quran is the last in the series. One who follows religion of God is called a Muslim in Arabic language. Purpose of Islam is to spread peace. Islam not only spreads peace but also establishes peace. Islam aims to remove tyranny, oppression and falsehood. Unfortunately due to N number of reasons people are having wrong idea that Islam spreads oppression or violence.
B. Islam gives full freedom for faith
Islam believes that every human being is free to accept or reject the teachings of God. In no way one can force anyone to believe in Islam. Human beings have God intellect and wisdom – they can ponder over their surroundings and believe or disbelieve in Islam.
“.. There is no compulsion in religion….” Quran : Chapter 2, verse 256
“Say: (It is) the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve…” Quran : Chapter 18, verse 29
“Verily, this is an admonition: therefore whosoever will, let him take a Path to His Lord! Quran - Chapter 73:verse 19
So there is no place for forcing Islam on anyone. It’s against Islam to force anyone to believe in Islam.
C. Life is sacred – Killing an innocent is crime against humanity
Life of human being is considered extremely sacred in the house of Islam. It is crime against humanity to take even a single innocent life.
..”if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind”. Quran : Chapter 5, verse 32
D. War in the house of Islam
Islam is a complete system of life. It is not the name of few rituals or formalities. It covers all aspects of life viz. spiritual, personal, economical, political. In order to establish and maintain peace in the society sometime use of force becomes inevitable. That is why we have Army, police system, judiciary, prison etc. If we don’t stop wrong things, oppression, tyranny then it will lead to disaster and loss of human life.
Not everybody is interested in establishing and living peaceful life. There may be people who want to use wrong means to get worldly gains. Murder, robbery, loot, invasion of countries is some of the crimes committed by human beings. What is the solution? If we don’t stop then oppression will continue. Human life is sacred, it must be saved. War becomes inevitable in these cases.
We see in our time states/countries going for war due to oil, gold, natural gas, occupation, expansion etc but in an Islamic system of state there are only 3 scenarios when state can go for war.
1. Defensive war
It’s very natural that if one is oppressed then he/she has all right to stop this oppression and fight for his/her rights. In the same fashion – if a nation or state attacks an Islamic state and indulges in oppression, aggression and brutality then this state has all right to defend. War is permitted in this case. Any country will go for war in this scenario. The purpose of this war is to stop oppression and establish peace.
“Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against, because they have been wronged;” Quran : Chapter 22, verse 39
2. Offensive war
If people of some region are being attacked, killed, tortured and oppressed then in this case also war is permitted in order to stop their persecution. Here also end result that needs to be achieved is peace and justice.
“what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of God, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.” Quran:Chapter 4,verse 75
3. To stop upcoming aggression
If an Islamic nation is at peace treaty with some other nation; and treaty is broken by the other side with an intention to wage war and spread brutality then also it is permitted to go for war. Here also – war is necessary evil that is required to stop upcoming tyranny and oppression.
Quran, chapter 9 in beginning talks about this kind of war.
Above mentioned scenarios are the only scenarios in which war is permitted and any just and peaceful nation will agree that in these situations war is inevitable.
Though war is disliked, yet it’s permitted in exceptional situations ONLY for establishing peace. But that is not the end. There are lot of checks and balances within the war.
1. During the war one has to attack ONLY those who are fighting.
2. One can not attack ladies, children, and elders.
3. Religious places can not be destroyed.
4. Trees can not be burnt and animals can not be hurt.
5. If the opponents offers peace (even though they don’t want peace actually, they just want time then also you resort to peace) then war should be stopped.
6. If enemy wants asylum then escort them to place of safety so that they are not harmed.
7. Quran is full of reference where time and again God commands that one should not cross limits even during the war. It means that purpose of war was to stop oppression and establish peace only.
Some people intentionally or unintentionally quote ayah (verse) of Quran out of context, without specifying the situation and project as if Islam promotes terrorism or unwanted violence. All such ayah fall under one of 3 categories of war as mentioned above. By quoting out of context people arrive at wrong conclusion as I arrived in the beginning, about albert’s father’s instruction.
1. By quoting out of context one can give entirely another color to a picture.
2. Islam aims to promote and establish peace and justice.
3. There is no scope of using force in order to spread Islam.
4. Islam considers life as extremely sacred. Killing a innocent is crime against humanity.
5. War is permitted in Islam in only exceptional situation in order to stop oppression, tyranny and murder and to reestablish peace and justice
6. Anyone not following above injunctions is not following Islam as per Quran.
* If you don't agree with the mail then instead of giving fatwa of deviation / kufr / shirk / biddat - have faith in Allah and leave it to him to judge.
* Author: Khurshid Imam is software engineer at Bangalore, India. For any criticism / feedback / suggestion feel free to mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
The article can be found at: http://khurshidimam.blogspot.com