Terrorism Has No Religion
By Abdallah el-Kurebe
Holy war, suicide bombings, fighting for reasons of faith, and killing in the name of God - from Crusaders to terrorists, from sacred shrines to New York City, history is tainted by a grave disease afflicting humankind. While all the known religions of the world call for love, peace, tolerance, freedom of belief and mutual understanding, many of the terrorists’ acts are committed in this world by people who see themselves as religious and attribute their horrendous and evil acts to the religion, which they profess.
However, God condemns their acts in the scripture. The true religion of Islam forbids the killing of innocent people, irrespective of the cause - religious, political or social beliefs. This is stated in the Qur’an, the holy book of Muslims.
[Qur’an 6:151] “...You shall not kill - GOD has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. These are His commandments to you that you may understand.”
The laws of the scriptures that apply to the Christians and Jews are repeated and emphasized for the Muslims also.
[Qur’an 5:32] “...We decreed for the Children of Israel that anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all the people...”
[Qur’an 2:84] We made a covenant with you, that you shall not shed your blood, nor shall you evict each other from your homes. You agreed and bore witness.
[Qur’an 2:85] Yet, here you are killing each other, and evicting some of you from their homes, banding against them sinfully and maliciously…”
All religions condemn terrorism. The religion of Islam is not an exception and should not be confused with what these terrorists are doing. The terrorist organizations such as Al-Qa’ida who kill innocent people are actually, by the definition of the Qur’an, not Muslims but plain murderers. Who would like to describe Hitler or the likes of Ku Klux Klan as good Christians? We should not let our emotions overcome our logic and understanding. There is no religious scripture that does not condemn terrorism. Every righteous person in any religion would condemn such actions regardless of the terrorist’s race, country or religious background.
So, what is the ideal of Islam? Islam is not a name that defines you as better than your neighbor or rewards you with a special status with God. It is an Arabic word the meaning of which is to ‘surrender or submit’. Islam is absolute submission to God’s will. It is a way of life that guides one’s actions and forms one’s character. Islam is a state of awareness and appreciation of God’s boundless attributes. As one’s soul submits, he is able to practice with peace, compassion, love, forgiveness and charity that originate from one source. The shades of superiority, prejudice and judgment fade as the world comes into focus with the eyes of one’s soul. In Islam, the best among the people in the sight of God is not the white or the black, the male or the female, a person who calls himself or herself Christian, Jew, or Muslim, but rather the one who is the most righteous.
Islam or Submission to God alone is a way of life encouraged from the time of Abraham and advocated by Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad as messengers who obediently followed the path of Abraham. The one who is able to surrender his soul and actions to the dictates of divine laws is called a Submitter or ‘Muslim’, in the Arabic language. There are ‘Total Submitters’ to the Creator in every faith. They are those who place no limits on their belief in the Unseen and impose no judgments on the different forms of striving towards attaining God’s mercy.
This common striving encourages unity within a diverse group of people who advance their personal strides by learning from one another.
Therefore, the love of God is not reserved for people of religious sects or denominations that cling to an exclusive belief for guaranteed “salvation.” God’s infinite love flows to the charitable, righteous, benevolent, equitable and the just; those who recognize their accountability and work towards being good. Righteous people are found in all religions and would receive their definite recompense from God.
[Qur’an 2:62] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the Christians, and the converts; anyone who believes in GOD, and believes in the Last Day, and leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.”
There is no contradictory verse in the Glorious Qur’an to the above statement made by God Almighty. Submission is the only religion for the righteous. Therefore, anyone who submits absolutely to the laws of God is a ‘submitter’ or ‘Muslim’. Therefore, of what importance is it to proclaim Islam without an iota of righteousness? Islam is not in the attendance to the mosques for prayers. God has defined righteousness thus:
[Qur’an 2:177] Righteousness is not turning your faces towards the east or the west. Righteous are those who believe in GOD, the Last Day, the angels, the scripture, and the prophets; and they give the money, cheerfully, to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the travelling alien, the beggars, and to free the slaves; and they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat); and they keep their word whenever they make a promise; and they steadfastly persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and war. These are the truthful; these are the righteous.
[Qur’an 2:112] Indeed, those who submit themselves absolutely to GOD alone, while leading a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord; they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
Striking against innocent people as in the case of terrorism is a condemnable offence in Islam. The promulgation of laws, which support capital punishment even against murderers, is not encouraged in Islam. The Qur’an clearly discourages capital punishment. Every kind of excuse is provided to spare lives, including the life of the murderer. The victim's kin may find it better, under certain circumstances, to spare the life of the murderer in exchange for an equitable compensation. Also capital punishment is not applicable if, for example, a woman kills a man, or vice versa.
[Qur’an 2:178] O you who believe, equivalence are the laws decreed for you when dealing with murder - the free for the free; the slave for the slave and the female for the female. If the victim’s kin pardons one, an appreciative response is in order, and an equitable compensation shall be paid. This is alleviation from your Lord and mercy. Anyone who transgresses beyond this incurs a painful retribution.
[Qur’an 2:179] Equivalence is a life saving law for you, O you who possess intelligence, that you may be righteous.
All fighting is regulated by the basic rule in 60:8-9. Fighting is allowed strictly in self-defense, while aggression and oppression are strongly condemned throughout the Qur’an. In at times of war, God Almighty has set out rules both of attack and defense. Women, children and the weak must not be attacked in whatever circumstances.
[Qur’an 2:190] You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors.
[Qur’an 2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.
[Qur’an 2:192] If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
Finally, Islam means absolute submission to God Almighty. But where would it mean peace if unjust killings in the name of terrorism is employed by ‘so-called’ Muslims to purportedly justify the tenets of Islam?