The Call of Is­lam: Peace and Mod­er­a­tion, Not In­tol­er­ance and Ex­trem­ism


Is­lam is salaam (peace) and tasleem (sub­mis­sion to the Divine). In Is­lam Peace is the stan­dard, it is the prin­ci­ple, and each per­son of faith has the moral obli­ga­tion to main­tain peace, with­out com­pro­mis­ing on jus­tice and truth. Is­lam in­vites to the subul as­salaam (path­way of peace); peace of mind, peace of con­science, peace in the fam­ily and so­ci­ety, peace with one’s Cre­ator and His cre­ation. One of the at­tributes of the Divine is As-Salaam (The Source of Peace) and Mus­lim greet­ing uni­ver­sally, upon meet­ing and de­part­ing, is as-salamu ‘alaykum or “peace be unto you”. The fi­nal and ul­ti­mate re­ward for hu­man en­deavor is Par­adise, re­ferred to in the Qur’an as Dar-us-Salaam (Abode of Peace) The Be­liev­ers were in­tended to be an ummah (com­mu­nity) that serves as a stan­dard/model for oth­ers; what the Qur’an de­scribes .”...And we have made you (um­matan wasata) a me­dian com­mu­nity / a peo­ple of mod­er­a­tion/ a bal­anced medium in or­der that you may be a tes­ti­mony or model for hu­man­ity.” [Qur’an 2:143] It is the ab­sence of the bal­ance pro­vided by wasatiyyah (mod­er­a­tion) that ex­trem­ism creeps in. Wasatiyyah is an an­ti­dote to ... ghu­luww (ex­ces­sive­ness), tanattu’ (harsh­ness), tashad­dud (sever­ity), tatar­ruf (ex­trem­ism) ... in all its forms. In­tol­er­ance Whence? How is it then that some Mus­lims are so in­tol­er­ant of other faiths, in­volved in atro­cious and heinous acts of vi­o­lence and sense­less killing? Are they obliv­i­ous to the his­toric ex­am­ple of how the Prophet en­gaged those of dif­fer­ent Faiths? It seems that some among Mus­lims seem to have lost sound un­der­stand­ing of the teach­ings of our Faith and are sub­sti­tut­ing the sub­lime mes­sage of Is­lam by a dis­course of anger and the rhetoric of rage. There is no com­mand or teach­ing in Is­lam that can beb ref­er­encedf d as theh di di­rect rea­son b be­hind an ex­treme act, and killing. Those who are plan­ning and or­ches­trat­ing any sense­less killings are the worst rep­re­sen­ta­tives of their re­li­gions and en­e­mies of their com­mu­ni­ties. Those who are per­pe­tra­tors acts of wan­ton vi­o­lence in the name of Is­lam are do­ing a most griev­ous dis­ser­vice to Is­lam. Oth­ers take pride in be­ing Mus­lims how­ever un-Mus­lim their stance may be. Then there are those who cheer acts of vi­o­lence be­cause they too have de­gen­er­ated into a hate­ful peo­ple.

Zealots are a plague upon re­li­gion

Ex­trem­ists, whether re­ac­tionary or rad­i­cal are a bane to re­li­gion. Re­ac­tionary ex­trem­ists do not want any plu­ral­ism; they view the world in black and white, good and evil terms. They are good and any­one who op­poses them is evil. From among the Mus­lims th­ese are peo­ple who ‘ex­com­mu­ni­cate’ any Mus­lim who fail to share their in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the Qur’an and their un­der­stand­ing of the faith. They use tak­fir (de­nounc­ing a Mus­lim as an un­be­liever) and char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion as a tool for marginal­iz­ing any crit­i­cism di­rected at them. Rad­i­cal ex­trem­ists dif­fer only in that they will use vi­o­lence to fur­ther their cause and that the end jus­ti­fies the means. They see any act as ac­cept­able if it will fur­ther their ‘cause.’ This i si bl bla­tantly lanti-Is­lamic.ili In Is­laml th eh means must re­flect its no­ble ends. Any means that does not em­body the core truths and ethics of Is­lam is not from Is­lam and thus de­nounced as aber­ra­tion. Is­lam is not a se­cret so­ci­ety of con­spir­a­tors who no one knows what they are plan­ning. Is­lam de­clares openly its aims and ob­jec­tives and th­ese are rec­og­nized by good peo­ple ev­ery­where as pure and con­gru­ent with their own wis­dom and tra­di­tions. Is­lam never al­lows a Mus­lim to kill the in­no­cent and the help­less

La­bel­ing some­thing Is­lamic does not make it jus­ti­fi­able

Re­al­ize, that just be­cause you are re­li­gious does not mean that you are right. De­sir­ing to im­ple­ment Is­lamic val­ues is al­ways no­ble, but hav­ing a mean­ing­ful and ef­fec­tive strat­egy is in­deed most sig­nif­i­cant. Forc­ing other is never an ac­cept­able re­sort and cer­tainly not the first re­sort; es­pe­cially since our deen/way of life com­mands us not to usec­om­pul­sion as a tool. Just be­cause some­thing needs to be done does not mean that any­thing that is done is okay; and just be­cause some­thing is done in re­li­gious fer­vor does not in any way prove that it is Is­lam­i­cally cor­rect. Ac­cord­ing to the Qur’an [5:32]; Mus­lims have in­her­ited the com­mand from that pre­scribed to the Chil­dren of Is­rael “who­ever takes a sin­gle life with­out jus­ti­fi­ca­tion is as if he has killed the en­tire hu­man­ity.” Fur­ther­more we are re­minded, If Al­lah had not re­pelled some peo­ple through oth­ers, monas­ter­ies, churches, syn­a­gogues, and mosques; all in which Al­lah’s name is much cel­e­brated, would have been de­stroyed. Al­lah will cer­tainly help those who help His cause and surely, Al­lah is Al­lPow­er­ful, All-Mighty’ [Qur’an, 22:40] If we do not abide by th­ese prin­ci­ples es­tab­lished in the Qur’an, then we are un­der­min­ing the very spirit of our Deen. We must heed the Qur’anic warn­ing against ex­trem­ism in re­li­gion. ... do not be ex­treme in your re­li­gion [Qur’an 4:171] The Prophet fur­ther warned, My in­ter­ces­sion will not be availed two cat­e­gories of my com­mu­nity; an op­pres­sive/un­just ruler and a re­bel­lious ex­trem­ist [Ti­brani] I warn you re­gard­ing ex­trem­ism, be­cause com­mu­ni­ties be­fore you were de­stroyed due to ex­trem­ism [Nisa’i]

In­jus­tice of the self-right­eous

Some de­viant peo­ple/groups are com­mit­ting acts in the name of Is­lam which are con­trary to the fun­da­men­tal of our faith, while not enough seem coura­geous enough to openly stand up to th­ese bul­lies who are den­i­grat­ing the name and im­age of Is­lam. Re­mem­ber the words of Prophet Muham­mad (pbuh):”A Mus­lim (one who pro­claims faith) is that per­son from whose hands and tongue other Mus­lims are safe; A Mu’min (one who man­i­fests faith) is that per­son in whom hu­man­ity find safety and se­cu­rity re­gard­ing their lives, prop­erty and honor.” [Bai­haqi] The Prophet (pbuh) fur­ther ad­vised ...Al­lah is kind and loves kind­ness in ev­ery mat­ter, and kind­ness has been granted ca­pac­ity which vi­o­lence could never at­tain. [Sahih Mus­lim] May Al­lah pro­tect the in­no­cent from the in­jus­tices of the self-right­eous.

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