In the days of 9/11, the whole Western media were of the opinion that the perpetrators were termed “Islamic Terrors” and now here comes series of terror attacks within the country. Nigeria is known to be a peace loving nation that harbour and cater for so many ethnic and diverse cultures cut across its geopolitical zones.
Before coming up with this piece, a friend, who is Christian, called me. After our discussion, he eventually said this to me: “Mr. Ciroma, what is it about the Boko Haram? Since you are also a Muslim, my parents kicked against my coming to Nigeria because they were told that Muslims in your country don’t spare anybody except that person converts to their religion.” I remained startled for some minutes before responding. I had to console myself so as to gain courage and counter what I just heard from my dear friend. The issue is this, one of the major principles that Islam advocates is peace in its entirety.
Therefore I had to convince my Mr. Leifer what my religion propagates. Islam is peaceful so also those who practice its concepts and conducts. What amazes me is that whenever the issue on terrorism is seen or witnessed in my locality, all focus will be on Islam and Muslims. Instead of judging the case according to how it happened and/or clutch up the perpetrators independent of their faiths, even if they went out of their ways to say they practice XYZ system of faith.
It will be recalled that in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on targets in New York and Washington which caused the death of thousands of innocent civilians, this concept has once again returned to the top of the international agenda. As Muslims, we completely condemn these attacks and offer our condolences to the American people.
This piece aims at explaining vividly that Islam is by no means the source of this violence and that violence has no place in Islam.
Even though the hijackers of the 9/11 were said to have Muslim identities, the terror they perpetrated cannot be labeled “Islamic terror”, just as it would not be called “Jewish terror” if the perpetrators were Jews or “Christian terror” if they were Christians.
That is because, as we will examine, murdering innocent people in the name of religion is unacceptable. We need to keep in mind that, among those who were killed in Washington or New York, there were people who loved Jesus (AS) (Christians), Prophet Moses (AS) (Jews) and Muslims. According to Islam, murdering innocent people is a great sin (Kaba’ir) that, unless forgiven by Allah (SWT), brings torment in Jahannam (Hell fire).
Thus, a religious person who has fear of Allah (SWT) can never commit such an act. In fact, the aggressors can commit such violence only with the intention of attacking religion itself.
All the three Theistic religions command love, mercy and peace. Terror, on the other hand, is the opposite of religion; it is cruel, merciless and it demands bloodshed and misery. This being the case, while looking for the perpetrators of a terrorist act, its origins should be sought in disbelief rather than in religion. For this reason, “Islamic terror” is quite a erroneous concept which contradicts Islam’s message. That is because; the religion of Islam can by no means concur with terror. The holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him and his purest progeny) preached peace throughout his lifetime and commanded his Ummah to dessiminate same. Above all, the Prophet (SAW) said, “I am commanded by Allah to fulfill and impart good moral conducts.”
Therefore, this Hadith clearly shows that Muslims are suppose to be peaceful and of course good ambassadors of the Holy Prophet (SAW) on earth thereby preventing terrorist acts and bringing peace and justice to the world.
Allah (SWT) said in the holy Qur’an that:
“O ye who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to you.”
The values of the Qur’an hold a Muslim responsible for treating all people, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, kindly and justly, protecting the needy and the innocent and preventing the “dissemination of mischief”. Mischief comprises all forms of anarchy and terror that remove security, comfort and peace. As God says in a verse, “God does not love mischief makers”. (Surat al-Qasas: 77)
Murdering a person for no reason is one of the most obvious examples of mischief. God repeats in the Qur’an a command He formerly revealed to Jews in the Old Testament thus:
So We decreed for the tribe of Israel that if someone kills another person - unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth - it is as if he had murdered all mankind. And if anyone gives life to another person, it is as if he had given life to all mankind. Our Messengers came to them with Clear Signs but even after that many of them committed outrages in the earth. (Surat al-Ma’ida: 32)
As the verse suggests, a person who kills even a single man, “unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth”, commits a crime as if he had murdered all mankind on earth.
All these reveal that organising acts of terror against innocent people is utterly against Islam and it is unlikely that any Muslim could ever commit such crime. On the contrary, Muslims are responsible for stopping these people, removing “mischief on earth” and bringing peace and security to all people all over the world. This being the case, how did the popular term “Islamic terror” emerged?
The assessments above reveal that terror has no place in Islam and clearly, we may view it that the Western world, especially the United States, will surely take the most dissuasive measures to cope with terror and it has the right to do that. However, it has to state explicitly that this is not a war waged against Islam and Muslims but, on the contrary, a measure serving the best interests of Islam.
Another point worthy of digestion is that support should be provided for the spread of “True Islam”, which is a religion of love, friendship, peace and brotherhood and for its true understanding by Islamic societies. The solution for radical factions in Islamic countries should not be “forced secularisation”. On the contrary, such a policy will incite more reaction from the masses and feed radicalism. Then the source of terrorism is ignorance and bigotry and the solution is education. The United States’ support to such an education policy will yield very positive results.
Our hope is that these measures will help to the world get rid of terrorism and all other bigoted, brutal, barbarous structures. Allah (SWT), in the Qur’an, draws attention to this fact and informs us that Christians are those who are “most affectionate to those who believe.” (Surat al-Ma’ida: 82)
By and large, every Muslim today is of the opinion that violence in Nigeria today is being mastermind by a small minority group of people who are ignorant of the concepts of Jihad. Also, non-Islam practicing nations and folkes should not stigmatise the whole Muslims and Nigerians for example as suspects in the crime committed by an individual or group of people. It is my believe that we can join hands together in fighting cruelty and bloodshed of innocent people in our society.