What are Islam's rulings regarding fanaticism and terrorism?

31 Aug

 

1. Islam is against any form of bigotry and accordingly does not urge its followers to dogmatism. Furthermore, there is no evidence of any kind in the sources of Islam, namely the Qur’an and the Traditions of the Prophet, to that effect. The call to embrace Islam as stated in the Qur’an is based on a wise and eloquent invitation, and such conduct can never be considered a manifestation of bigotry: "Invite all to the Way of Your God with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious". [16/125] The Prophet himself said to the pagans of Mecca who refused to believe in the faith of Islam: "To you be your faith and to me my faith". [109/6].
2. As regards the divine religions which were revealed before Islam, Muslims are instructed to believe in the prophets that preceded Muhammad, and this belief in them is an essential element in the faith of Islam. This is stated in the following Qur’anic verse: "Say: We believe in God and in the revelation given to us, and to Ibrahim, Isma’il, Ishaq, Ya’qoub, and the Tribes and that given to Moses and that given to (all) Prophets from their God; we make no difference between one and another of them and we bow to God in Islam". [2/136] This verse states that there is to be no discrimination between any prophets and this tolerance has no parallel in any other religion. How can such a religion be accused of bigotry and fanaticism?
3. Islam calls upon all people to become united and to live together in friendship and affection despite the differences between them: "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other" [49/13]. Similarly, Islam invites its followers in explicit terms to live in peace with Non-Muslims as is clear from the following Qur’anic verse: "God forbids you not in regard to those who do not fight you for (your) Faith, nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for God loves those who are just". [60/8].
4. Islam urges Muslims to forgive and pardon those who wrong them: "And the remission is the nearest to righteousness". [2/237] Furthermore, Islam urges Muslims to meet any wrong with kindness in the hope that an enemy may become a friend: "Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: then will he between whom and you was hatred, become as if he were your friend and intimate!" [41/34].
5. The Prophet said in one of his Sayings: Announce good news and glad tidings and do not repel or alienate people". This is clearly a call to reject bigotry, which breeds hatred, whereas the announcement of good news and glad tidings is a sign of tolerance and leniency. Since Islam condemns fanaticism and extremism it consequently condemns terrorizing and killing people. In fact Islam considers an attack on one single person an attack on all mankind: "If anyone slew a person- unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land- it would be as if he slew the whole people". [5/32].
6. Accordingly, accusing Islam of terrorism is an absolutely unfounded allegation. If some Muslims are fanatics or even terrorists that does not mean that Islam should be held responsible for their actions. It is essential to differentiate between the tolerant teachings and just principles of Islam and the irresponsible and bigoted behaviour of some Muslims. We must all keep in mind that bigotry and fanatacism are not limited to the followers of any one religion and that terrorism has become an international phenomenon and problem, and this is a fact which is witnessed by our contemporary world. How then can the faith of Islam be blamed for the universal phenomenon of terrorism, which exists among the followers of all faiths and ideologies?

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