The so-called Islamic State (IS) continues to demonstrate the most barbaric and heinous forms of torture, killing of innocent people for the world to witness in horror. The recent killings of Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto of Japan, the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Moaz Kasasbeh and the cold-blooded killing of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya highlight the new lows of brutality to which the so-called Islamic State has sunk.
The following op-ed piece appeared in Huffington Post on 5 March 2015. The author is Seidu Malik, a molecular microbiologist by profession with and special interest in religious studies.
I say “so-called” as it is absolutely clear that ISIS is in fact a criminal organization perverting the true teaching of Islam in unstable countries in the Middle East. How could a religion, which teaches its followers to refrain from killing innocent souls (see Quran 5:33) be accused of inciting terrorism? How could someone blame Prophet Jesus in advanced Christian countries for poverty among the low-income community despite the fact that he taught us to look after the poor and destitute to become a true follower of him (see Mathew 19:21)?
The blame should be directed towards those people who have perverted religious teachings for political and monetary gains and not the religion as rightly emphasized by President Obama. Every religion in the world with no exception has its own fanatics with dubious interpretation of scriptures to suit their political and economic interest. It is thus absolutely unfair and very hypocritical on our part to project the religious fanatics such as ISIS as true representation of Islam.
We do not blame food, an indispensable item for human survival for making us fat but ourselves for not looking after our diet. Similarly, we cannot blame science and technology, which has revolutionized our modern way of living but at the same time produced the most destructive weapon in the annals of human history in the form of the atomic bomb which can annihilate the entire human race on earth. In this scenario, the blame should fairly lie with the individual or organization that has perverted the good use of nuclear energy for electricity into weapons.
God “has created mankind in the best make” (Quran 95:5) and as a free agent. That is, man has been endowed with the best natural powers and qualities of which proper use can result in infinite progress. However, improper use of these abilities and qualities can also result in complete destruction of man himself as we often see in everyday life situations. The onus of responsibility for man action lies with the individual or organization that has misled or brainwashed man to deviate using his God given talent in a positive manner but not the religion, which is helping him find its creator.
ISIS or any other terror groups have a twisted ideology far removed from the true teachings of any religion they claim to represent. ISIS is seeking political and economic dominion in the affected countries while religion does not. The Prophet of Islam never sought political dominion even when Mecca, the political seat of Arabia at the time, lied at his feet.
Just as we cannot blame Christianity for not looking after the poor in advanced Christian countries simply because there is clear separation of church and the running of state affairs, we should use the same yard stick to judge the actions of fanatics in Islam. Lack of separation of religion and states affairs in most of the Arab world and organizations such as ISIS should not be used to blame Islam as a religion. It is only when we use the principle of fair and absolute justice as emphasized by the teaching of Islam that we can win the war against ISIS.
The Islamic solution to the havoc created by ISIS has been outlined by the leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, in many of his keynote addresses. He has emphasized that human life is very sacred and needs to be protected at all costs. ISIS and any violent organization that kills in the name of Islam need to be rooted out from society. He purports that as this battle is currently taking place in Muslim countries, it is important that neighboring countries take note of the following Quranic injunction: “And if two parties of believers fight each other, make peace between them; then if one of them transgresses against the other, fight the party that transgress until it returns to the command of Allah. Then if it returns, make peace between them with equity, and act justly. Verily, Allah loves the just” (49:10). Thus, the neighboring Arab countries need to recognize their societal and religious obligations of restoring peace to the region. Only then can we hope for an end to the crisis that is ISIS.
Source: Huffington Post