It’s painful when this all is being done in the name of Islam, the religion that upholds peace and respects human dignity comments Hassan Zainagiree
Islam, religion of peace, today is being portrayed the world over as religion of “terrorism”. One that breeds intolerance, nibbles at “plain reason”, spews venom, speaks aggression, advocates hatred, squeezes spaces for co-existence, clots hospitality and blots the doors of “dialogue” from within.
That veils women to “ignorance” and “subjugation”. Goes for kill and glorifies killers. Is at “clash of civilization” with the West, its values and democratic norms. Aims to throw the world back to “dark ages”. Wears “fundamentalism” on its cheeks.
World we may blame for cultivating this stereotyped image of Islam. To theirs being “grossly ignorant” or “mis-interpreting” it, we may have reasons to deflect criticism at their doors. Even an “orientalist bias” we can smell at what they speak or write. All these might give us pleasure of innocence but like snow cakes melt at the palm of heat, our make-believe world crumbles when we see ourselves besieged from all corners. And more pains-inflicting is the harsh reality that it is we who have provided the world with everything stinking they can heap at the face of Islam. From us they get the coal-tar to paint black shining face of Islam. From us they bring prosecution and witnesses to put Islam in the dock. From our blood-stained hands and killing fields they read pages of Islam. From our wallowing in impoverishment and backwardness they value Islam’s contribution. Looking at the stranglehold of dictatorships they ridicule at Islam’s claim of bringing in social justice and democracy. And are they wrong?
When from abodes of peace and Allah’s houses, mosques, world gets traumatized to see human flesh blown to pieces and roads and lanes drenched in blood, who on earth would believe that Islam and peace are inseparable? Who would listen to Qur’anic admonition which declares that one who slays an innocent human being it is as if he slays entire human kind and one who protects an individual that tantamount to protecting entire humanity. See what is happening in Iraq and other places. True Americans have committed naked aggressions and, in flagrant violation of International Law, occupied Iraq. True law and order maintenance is the foremost responsibility of occupying power. But who are the elements that perpetrate sectarian and ethnic violence? Who are those setting to fire mosques and slaughtering innocent people? Who are the people who have put their country on the volcano of civil war and dismemberment? From where fatwas (edicts) of Kuffar emanate? Not from Washington. Not from London. From holy places of Baghdad, Kofa, Sadar city, Najaf. And against whom? Against Muslims. A Muslim decks a fatwa of murder against Muslim legitimizing his killing!
Intoxicated on the performance-enhancing steroid “hate” we are seeing our youth exploding into fatal bomb splinters on places where maximum damage of life and limb are ensured. Martyrdom is greatest tribute to a Muslim warrior but only when committed against oppressors. When a suicide bomber stretches it to the malls, bazaars, schools, hospitals, homes and offices, trains and planes creating horror and havoc, he is guilty of out stepping the confines of Jihad and maligning the mission of Islam which dislikes mischief, not to speak of mayhem and bloodshed.
This is the situation that helps to reinforce the opinion of those who perceive a visceral connection between Islam and terrorism. Pray tell us, who can believe us when we say Muhammad (PBUH) was and is and will ever remain Sariour of Humanity when from our actions image of a Muslim today has become that of an ogre and poltergeist. When slit throats of persons like Daniel Pariel go on display on websites we prop up west’s aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan but kill Islam from your own hands.
Of late we have seen on an Indian news channel some famous religious heads taking bribes for issuing fatwaas in favour of willing parties. Akin to tehleqa.com it has unmasked those delivering sermons of austerity and piety from the pulpits of mosques. Much as they may try to attribute it as a muck-raking attempt of “wicked” media personal to tarnish image of these Ulemas, fact is their credibility stands dented heavily today. A few months before inhabitants of Aharulla village (Moradabad, U.P) had to face this idiosyncratic wrath of religious clerics. Some 200 couples had to redo their nikah (wedding) after a top cleric from Barailwee sect issued a fatwa dissolving their marriage. These Barailwee Sunni Muslims had committed the “crime” of attending the Nimaz-e-Janaza (funeral prayer) led by a cleric from rival Deoband sect. Tahab (Pulwama) had not yet faded from our memory. A grenade attack on some Moulvee Dawoodee near the mosque left four innocent Muslims, including children and women, dead and scores others wounded. Sallahudin, Hizb chief, blames Indian agencies for carrying the dastardly attack but they throw it at Militant’s doors. Without getting involved in the blame game, the point to note is who provided the opportunity? The sectarian differences between Baraelvis and Ahli Hadees had queered the pitch and put the village on embers of fire. The two sects were so heavily fed by semi-literate Maoulvees on the diet of intolerance and narrow-mindedness that both were entering mosque to re-enact Jange-Jamal.
In Imrana case, we evoked nothing but ridicule. A women raped by her father-in-law was declared in a fatwa to have now become “wife” of the rapist, ending his conjugal life with his husband!
Ridiculously fantastic was the religious acumen and prudence of cleric leadership witnessed in Imrana case. The woman (in India) was raped by her father-in-law. The clerics declared she has now become “wife” of rapist father-in-law and her conjugal life with her husband ended. Pray tell me; is there any worst form of vilifying Islam more dreaded than this? Expecting complaints of rape (in Pakistan) to produce four pious male eye witnesses to prove their complaint is to ask for moon and bolt the doors of justice for them. How unfortunate that a reformation on this very particular point should raise eye-brows. What wrong is there to take help from science (DNA tests) to bring the culprits to book?
What kills is this all is done in the name and in defense of Islam. We kill, we bomb, we purge, we do cleansing, we issue Fatwaas of hate and murder, we oppose and accuse, we build political careers and collect fortunes all in name of Islam, which, however, has nothing to do with what we do. That others too do it is not question. They do it in name of “national interest” or in “defense” of their “values”.
When a man sitting next to me in a bus, train or plane smells phosphorous from me and becomes restless and feels unsafe, then no pain is more fathomless and no punishment severer for a true follower of Islam. Caught in this miserable situation and robed of all we once prided for, the fall of Dacca or loss of Undlos (Spain) and Ottoman Empire or occupation of Baitul-Maqdus look minor tragedies that visited Muslim world. And in between when Islam asks with a grimace, “what is that?”, choked I become in breath, suffocated in reason. And when my tears beg the world to make a distinction between Islam and Muslims, none listens. Cry my Islam cry, for I stand as an impediment between you and the world. Others not I maligned you. I disfigured your attractive face. I smudged your innocence. I played the Brutus. I am guilty before you and the world. I confess.
(The author can be e-mailed at Zainagiree@yahoo.co.in)