Islām by Force – Case of Pakistan

Badr Hashemi (BH)

Paper presented at the Rasool-e-Wahdat Conference under the auspices of Al-Quran-el-Hakeem Research Foundation,
01st March 2014, International Islamic University, Islamabad...

 

  1. The Qur’ān is a spiritual and literary masterpiece from Allāh, the All Mighty. He revealed it gradually to the Seal of the Prophets, Muĥammad , to share it with the Faithful and ‘explain its purpose for them so that they may reflect’ and act . It is a living text as it enables to guide the Faithful in their everyday lives and to connect everyday life to a much broader perspective on life.
  2. The Qur’ān has been diversely used as a source of inspiration, carried as a banner, employed instrumentally by politicians, and turned into a Jihādi manifesto and a book of law by others. Thus, these partisan and skewed approaches to interpret the Qur’ān, is causing to eat away the body of Islām like termites eat away wood. It is like a battle going at the heart of Islām
  3. At Badr , the weak humiliated the mighty. Three years later at Ĥudeybiyah, the Prophet seized the opportunity for peace and accepted conditions that he would have rejected had his Message been based on sword, since these conditions were not pleasing to the Companions RAA, especially when they had not engaged the enemy and encountered a defeat. The Prophet realized that his Message could not be disseminated by the sword if it were to be welcomed; he knew that his Mission would conquer only through peace, thereby asserting that peace is the backbone of Islām.
  4. The Message of Q.02:256 resounded high and loud that there is no compulsion, no intimidation, and/or no coercion in matters of Faith . The truce at Ĥudeybiyah was a triumph, because of it Islām spread, and its call was heard and responded to all over the Arabian Peninsula and beyond.
  5. In Islām, peace is the rule; war is exceptional. The Āyāt relating to war encourage patience, self sacrifice and strength during a war that is already in progress, a war to be concluded when an assuring peace is insight . This conduct, therefore, is a consequence and not a cause of war.
  6. What Islām aims to do is establish a climate of peace. This can be established by diplomacy and dialogue. However, when push comes to shove, it can also be a religion of the Sword. But even when it resorts to situations like this, it is defensive , as opposed to offensive and aggressive, and return to peace is obligatory when the objective is achieved. It serves the purpose of protection: to counter the attacks of the enemies and to liberate the oppressed. Thus, Islām presents a highly-developed theory of ‘Just War’, and sets clear ethical rules and moral guidelines .
  7. The Qur’ān uses two explicit expressions to imply striving in the Cause of Allāh: jihād and qitāl. Jihād is a macro concept; it is general. It may entail struggle, effort, endeavor - utilizing all spiritual, intellectual, financial and physical faculties to suppress tyranny, ensure the right of an individual to home and freedom, prevent persecution in religion and guarantee freedom of belief to all people. It is a non-violent activity . The expression is also applied to an individual’s struggle against one’s baser human desires. And it may end up in the last resort - Qitāl. Qitāl is a micro concept; it is specific. It means fighting: a skirmish, a battle, or a war.
  8. Act of Intaĥār, i.e. suicide, is not a part of Islamic culture and teaching, and so are not the related acts of terrorism and suicide bombing, etc. In fact, there are strict penalties for such acts leading to massive killing, loss of human lives , loss of private property and national assets. Muslim Scholars of all shades consider the death of suicide bombers as Harām - not worthy of funeral prayers, but worthy of the hellfire .
  9. There are also other expressions used in the context of both Jihād and Qitāl to emphasize commitment: Ru’ab and Rahib . Yet another couple of expressions denote a situation caused by absence of peace, i.e. anarchy, persecution and violence: Fasād and Fitnah. Islām does not allow any one of these in a Muslim society in view of the grave consequences and negative social repercussions .
  10. In case of situations where diplomacy, dialogue and negotiations – fails to lead to reconciliation and peace, then Qitāl becomes an option. The decision to trigger this option is an institutional decision by a Muslim Government. It is not triggered by an individual, or a group of individuals, or a party, or a council of religious scholars, and not the least at the behest of a foreign entity.
  11. Furthermore, Qitāl is not permissible against a Muslim – be it an individual, a group, or a country . Any degree of disobedience to this Divine Injunction entails severe penalties in this life as well as in the Afterlife. The Prophet underlined the gravity of this crime by asserting that ‘anyone of us who raises a weapon against us is not one of us’ .
  12. Islām also does not allow Muslims to declare Qitāl against those non-Muslims who disagree with them regardless of their belief system; instead it urges the Faithful to treat such people kindly .
  13. Islamic scholars agree that Qitāl should neither be undertaken to gratify one’s whims nor to obtain wealth and riches. Many also consider that it must also not be undertaken to conquer territories and rule them or to acquire fame or to appease the emotions of communal support, partisanship and/or animosity. On the contrary, it should be undertaken only in the Service of the Cause of Allāh.
  14. Most scholars consider it an eternal directive and believe that all types of oppression should be considered under this directive. Similarly, if a group of Muslims commit unwarranted aggression against some of their co-believers and does not desist from it even after all attempts of reconciliation, such a group should be engaged in Qitāl and subdued to the Command of Allāh.
  15. And if two parties or groups or nations among the believers start fighting, then make peace between them. But if one of them outrages against the other, then fight against the one which outrages till it complies with the command of Allāh. Then if it complies, make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Indeed, Allāh loves those who are the equitable. The believers are brothers to one another. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allāh that you may receive mercy .
  16. According to one accepted view most of the Āyāt about Qitāl are meant to be about defending people, or reacting to an aggression , and according to another view all of them are. This is not to say that ‘Islām is always peace’, that ‘Islām is always passive,’ and that ‘Islām is always non-violent.’ If someone is killing ones kids and pushing one out of the homeland, one would not restrain and remain non-violent.
  17. Not only did the early Islamic State protect Muslims, it even came to the defense of non-Muslims. Muslims went to war in al-Andalus to liberate the Jews and Catholics from the oppression of the Visigoths. Muslims went to war in Armenia to free the Christians from the oppression of the Byzantines. Muslims fought against the Axis during World War II, not to support British Imperialism, but to oppose a greater evil .
  18. Millions of indigenous people died as a result of the European invasion of the Americas and millions of Aboriginal people were killed in the name of Christ ‘as infidels worthy of death.’ Slavery, a scourge that killed an equal number of Africans, was also justified in the name of Christ. Between 1882 and 1968, nearly 3,500 African Americans were lynched by white supremacists. This was torture and murder, but it is always portrayed as ‘political violence.’ This terrorism was committed by Christians, in the name of Christ, with crosses burning in the background .
  19. The Irish Republican Army used to kill civilians for the greater glory of the Catholic Church. The terror committed against the Muslims in Bosnia and continuity of the same terror against the Muslims in Chechnya is a Christian phenomenon. Terror and persecution of the Palestinians is a Jewish phenomenon. Murder and occupation of Kashmiris is a Hindu phenomenon. Lately Taliban’s proclamation to establish Islām in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan over 180 million Muslims through suicide attacks is not a Muslim phenomenon. It does not find credence with Islām, the Qur'ān and the Sunnah.
  20. Pakistan Taliban is a mindset; it is a phenomenon. Many of their brands are a product of our Socio-Political and Education System – a socio-political system that is heavily skewed towards the privileged, and an education system that is loaded with partisan religious sentiments. The socio-political-cum-economic system has delivered a life of misery, hardship and frustration. It has widened the width and deepened the depth of the sea of poverty. The education system in general and Madāris in particular have delivered a mass of partisan maslak-oriented religious youngsters thereby making the sectarian divide visibly conspicuous across the country.
  21. Notwithstanding the Afghān Talibān under the leadership of Mullah Omar, the religious groups of exploiters have succeeded in mixing jehād with political motives by promising an Afghān-Talibān type government in Pakistan, which they idealize as ‘The Rule of the Righteous,’ ‘The Rule of the Poor.’ This package has been made so lucrative and put forth so convincingly that it became difficult for the simple people to turn away . Slogan of ‘Do and Die for Islām’ carries a load of weight: either establish a governing system based on Afghān-Talibān Model, or give life to the cause that promises eternal salvation and Paradise through acts of martyrdom. Thus, the religious exploiters dub suicide attacks, acts of terror, death, kidnapping and destruction as acts of martyrdom - Jihād. Thereby making a mockery of the Religion of Allāh!
  22. Today some, if not many, of the Talibān groups are the playing puppets of international puppet-masters: the anti-Muslim forces buckled together to make Muslims and Islām bleed to non-existence. They have taken for patronage those whom Allāh and the Prophet declared as ‘Enemies of Allāh,’ and ‘Enemies of Muslims.’ These international puppet-masters profit from the blood-shed of Muslims. The presence of peace is not profitable for them as they wish to assert supremacy over the Muslim World.
  23. Pakistan, as a nation, should rise in unison to work for and to make the presence of peace profitable. We need to salvage the situation quickly and urgently. The following are a few goalposts along the way to sustainable and profitable peace:-
    1. Leaders of all Muslim Schools of Thought should unite against suicide bombing and terrorism and issue Fatwā that it is not Jihād, and it is contrary to the Teachings of the Qur’ān and Sunnah. The Fatwā should be structured per the template proposed at the end of this paper. It should be read out in all Masājid during every Jumu’ah Prayers and posted on all print, electronic and social media.
    2. The Parliament should pass a bill ‘Against Hate Teaching, Literature, Speeches and Propaganda’ and specify punishments for violation. The Government should enact the bill into a law, and do diligent execution and monitoring of its implementation.
    3. Provincial Governments should scrutinize the curricula of all Madāris, government/private schools to ensure that there is no Hate Teaching. All Madāris should have one unified curriculum besides inclusion of science, sociology and development studies as additional subjects to bring them in the mainstream of education.
    4. Funding sources of all Madāris should be investigated and monitored. Sources of foreign funding, regardless of the source of origin, should be stopped immediately.
    5. Imāms of Masājid, Heads of Madāris, and ultimately all teachers of Islamic Studies should be offered periodic refresher courses during the summer vacation on integrating the Qur’ānic wisdom and teachings with modern world in respect of science, sociology, economics and human development.
    6. In resonance with the practice in vogue in Saudi Arabia and other countries of the Middle east, all Religious Speeches in public and Sermons in Masājid should be approved by appropriate authorities prior to deliverance. Or follow the practice of the Armed Forces where a book of sermons is provided.
    7. Universities and Research Institutes should take up the intellectual task of Ijtihād, i.e. re-interpretation of the Islamic Injunctions in the light of 21st Century challenges with emphasis on social justice.
    8. National Leaders and Heads of political, religious and ethnic parties should refrain from manipulating the situation for political mileage and self-interests. They need to stand united before internal threats and external pressures.
    9. Media needs to demonstrate greater care for social responsibility and refrain from over-projecting differences between/among leaders of opinion and publicity-hungry Talibān.
    10. Government should consider an Emergency Development Plan for the affected areas with special emphasis on (i) developing basic infrastructure, (ii) creating self-employment opportunities supported by (iii) free-of-cost skill development, and (iv) generation of small businesses with (v) benevolent financial support.
    11. Role of INGOs and NGOs with foreign funding should be restricted in these areas say for ten years.
    12. Full focus without consideration of political expediencies on (a) fortification of Internal Security, (b) disengaging Talibān by bringing them into the mainstream of social and economic life, and (c) reviewing International Relations and Foreign Policy – including consultation and coordination with neighbors, NATO and USA - to ensure that new terrorists are neither created locally nor imported.

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Proposed Template for Fatwa Against Terrorism

All Muslims ought to be united against all those who terrorize the innocents, and those who permit the killing of non-combatants. Allāh, the Qurān and the Prophet saws have declared the spilling of blood and the destruction of property as absolute prohibitions until the Day of Judgment. … It is necessary to apprehend the true perpetrators of these crimes, as well as those who aid and abet them through incitement, training, financing and/or other support. They must be brought to justice in an impartial court of law and punished appropriately. … It is a duty of Muslims to participate in this effort with all possible means.