Acts of terrorism are un-Islamic acts; this applies to all acts of terrorism, such as the recent attacks in France, Australia, and Pakistan.
There has been a claim that extremists or terrorists justify their acts using Islamic text like the Quran (Words of God, as believed by Muslims) and Sunnah (tradition of the Prophet Muhammad ). This short article should help dismantle such a claim.
I believe acts of terrorism that we see committed against innocent civilians violate Islamic principles in three major ways.
Terrorism doesn’t distinguish between combatants and non-combatants
Terrorists might use some passages in the Quran that talk about combat to justify their murder of innocent civilians. The Quran very clearly made the distinction between those who fight you and those who don’t fight you. There are two key verses in this regard that we find in the Chapter 60 of the Quran:
Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly [60:8]
Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion – [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers. [60:9]
These two verses make a clear distinction between those who directly fought you and drove you out of your land and those who didn’t. Some people might claim that all verses like these were abrogated. But according to major Muslim exegesis scholars like Tabari and Qurtubi, these verses were NOT abrogated.
Terrorism is treacherous and treachery is absolutely forbidden
When you accept to live in a country, there is an implicit or an explicit contract that you will not wish harm to the country or its citizens. Guarding contracts is a very sacred duty in Islam [5:1].
Even in times of war, one has to abide by treaties and contracts. If one fears betrayal from the enemy, then you have to inform them first that you’d like to end the treaty. This is so that both sides are on equal terms and no one side is surprised by the other attacking while they felt secure from their harm. If you don’t do that, God calls you a traitor. Read Quran 8:58.
Unfortunately, now we have some people, Muslims and non-Muslims, claiming that Islam teaches treachery or deception? It’s very explicit in the Quran that “God does not like traitors” 8:58
Terrorism violates the rights of neighbor
The people we live with are people who feel safe from our harm. Those are people who live with us in the same neighborhood, same city, and same country. Those are the people who go to the same grocery stores and send their kids to the same school. Those are people we call neighbor and who deserve our best treatment.
There is a very important narration from Prophet Muhammad , that I don’t see quoted often, that’s key in this regard. It carefully depicts the behavior of an extremist who will turn against his neighbor. Yes, one of the most telling trait of an extremist or a terrorist is that they turn against their own neighbor. Here is the narration:
عن حذيفة بن اليمان قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم “إنما أتخوّف عليكم رجلا قرأ القرآن حتى إذا رُئي عليه بهجته وكان ردءا للإسلام، اعتزل إلى ما شاء الله، وخرج على جاره بسيفه، ورماه بالشرك” هذا لفظ البزّار في مسنده
From Hudhaifah , he said the Prophet said, “what I fear on you is a man who read the Quran until when its beauty was seen on him he went to seclusion for however long God wills, then he came out with the sword against his neighbor and accused him with heresy” this is the wording of al-Bazzar in his book al-Musnad.
There are several narrations for this Hadith, I just selected the shortest version. But a lot can be learned from the other versions as well.
What is very interesting about this narration is that the Prophet himself feared that such people will later appear in his community. Those are people who are religious, who will read the religious text, but who will have a drastically different understanding of the text. So we have a direct statement from the Prophet that those people cannot possibly have the correct understanding of Islam. In the contrary, those will be bad news for everyone, hence the fear of the Prophet .
Finally, I don’t believe that the problem of terrorism, just like any other crime, will be totally eradicated. But I hope that whoever reads this article, especially the youth, will see that terrorism is the antithesis of what Islam asks for.
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