The recent attacks in Paris—or any other place in the world such as Lebanon, Mali and the ongoing war in Syria etc., which result in innocent lives being lost—are extremely barbaric and categorically against the teachings of Islam. The Holy Qur’an clearly teaches that to kill even one innocent person is akin to killing all of mankind.
The fourth Supreme Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wrote in his book ‘Murder In The Name Of Allah’:
“As far as Islam is concerned, it categorically rejects and condemns every form of terrorism. It does not provide any cover or justification for any act of violence, be it committed by an individual, a group or a government….. I most strongly condemn all acts and forms of terrorism because it is my deeply rooted belief that not only Islam but also no true religion, whatever its name, can sanction violence and bloodshed of innocent men, women and children in the name of God.”
Thus, if someone claims to represent Islam and acts in contradiction to the true and peaceful teachings of Islam, then the educated people of society would know that such people are only representing their evil desires and agendas. Some people would argue that Islam promotes violence, and to support their argument they would present the Islamic concept of Jihad. The Islamic concept of Jihad is one of the most misunderstood concepts , not just by non-Muslims, but also by certain Muslims “scholars”. Prophet Muhammad claimed prophethood in 610 CE. He spent the next 13 years in Mecca, suffering extreme persecution at the hands of the people of Mecca for the sole “crime” of believing in one God. After 13 years, when this brutal persecution did not come to an end, he migrated to Madinah, where he was unanimously accepted as the leader of Madinah by Muslims, Jews and all the other inhabitants of Madinah.
Frustrated by the success of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the people of Makkah launched an attack on Madinah. They decided to follow and persecute Prophet Muhammad and his followers in a city several hundred kilometres away. Muslims believe and the Qur’an testifies that this was the time when God granted Muslims permission to physically defend themselves for the first time. Permission to defend not just themselves, but to defend Christians, Jews and religion in general.
“Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged – and Allah indeed has power to help them – Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ – And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated. And Allah will surely help one who helps Him. Allah is indeed Powerful, Mighty.” (Holy Qur’an, Ch. 22:40-41)
Jihad is an Arabic word, which means to make an effort, to endeavour and to strive for a particular cause. There are three categories of Jihad.
1. The greatest Jihad – The process of striving within one’s own self, the effort of purifying oneself, the struggle against one’s evil tendencies, the struggle to be moral, modest, humble, kind, loving, helpful and all other good attributes one can think of.
2. The great Jihad – To spread the true message and teachings of Islam. However, the Qur’an clearly teaches that there is no compulsion in the matter of religion (Holy Qur’an, Ch. 2:257). Everyone is free to choose whether to believe or not to believe, there is no compulsion.
3. The lesser Jihad – The lowest form of Jihad, the physical Jihad. However, Islam only grants this permission in order to “defend” oneself in certain circumstances, not to “offend or hurt” anyone.
If a person was to attack you, destroy your home, hurt or even kill your children and your loved ones, would you stand by and watch him do so? Surely, you would defend yourself. In the same way, Islam teaches to be patient first and to turn to self-defence as a last resort.
This is the hypocrisy found in the actions of these terrorists who are attributed to Islam, yet, their actions could not be further from the true teachings of Islam.
In the present times, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the community that has the longest running caliphate since 1908. It is the most united Muslim Community in the world at the hand of one caliph, with branches in over 200 countries and membership exceeding tens of millions. The founder and caliphs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have always condemned terrorism and always promoted interfaith dialogue, mutual understanding and co-existence, whilst respecting the beliefs of others and this is the only way forward. The true message of Islam defends other faiths and their places of worship, and has no room for those who are ever ready to destroy others.
Mansoor Ahmad Malik is Imam & National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Iceland