During the last ten days of this Ramadhan I managed to treat myself with a thorough and complete read of the Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings. The fatwa is written by Shaykh-ul-Islam, Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri. Dr. Qadri is an eminent Muslim scholar and his book is an attempt to guide Muslims in particular, and rest of the humanity in general, on as to why terrorism is wrong when seen through the central teachings of Islam. The book is more or less 450 pages long and contains narrations from Quran, hadith and examples from the conduct of early Muslim rulers and caliphs. The central aim of the book is to address the confusion that lurches within the minds of young Muslims viz a viz terrorism and jihad. According to Dr. Qadri the current intensity and magnitude is becoming a great cause of atheism in the world. Another reason is that the wave of terrorism that has persisted for more than a decade has been a great cause for bringing disrepute to the Muslim Ummah in general and Pakistan in particular, where Dr. Qadri is originally from. He argues that while majority of the Muslims condemn terrorism in all forms, a minority of Muslims give it a tacit approval. It is worth remembering that Dr. Qadri was one of the first Muslim scholars who condemned the world trade center tragedy extremely vociferously.
In almost the first three quarters of the book Dr. Qadri has argued against terrorism and rebellion in a painstaking manner. In reality, this portion of book is dedicated to arguing against internal rebellion within a Muslim state. The matters concerning rights of non-Muslims living in Muslim countries have also been discussed thoroughly. Dr. Qadri argues that devout Muslims should not revolt against their unjust rulers even if they are unjust, cruel and tyrant, as it is forbidden. On the other hand, they should acquire lawful and constitutional means for getting their matters resolved by the state. Dr. Qadri argues that the people who abandon peaceful routes, such as adoption of democracy or a peaceful constitutional struggle, and rebel against the state are outlaws and should be dealt with severely accordingly.
Dr. Qadri also argues that according to the central teachings of Islam it is the duty of the Muslim state to protect the rights of the non-Muslims who live in their country. It is the duty of the state to provide security for their life, family and property. They should have proper privileges to practice their religious chores while not coming in conflict with the tenets of Islam.
The last part of the book is dedicated to Muslims living in non-Muslim countries. Dr. Qadri argues that Muslims living in non-Muslim countries should abide by the rules and regulations of the country they reside in. Muslims should not become a source of mischief for the country they reside in. Instead they should pray and wish well for their country of residence.
In order to strengthen his argument regarding the conduct of Muslims living in non-Muslim countries he quotes the classical event of migration of early Muslims to Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia). He quotes that the early Muslims who migrated to Ethiopia were received well by the Negus who was a Christian. The Negus treated them with humility, honor and respect. In return Muslims who lived there were also extremely loyal to the Negus. So much so that in one of the conflicts of the Negus with one of his rivals the Muslims prayed to Allah for his victory and even vowed to help him in time of need. Dr. Qadri argues that such should be the conduct and intentions of Muslims while living in non-Muslim countries.
Dr. Qadri ends the book by suggesting a few peaceful alternatives to violence and unrest. For instance, he proposes Muslims to acquire modern education, make effective use of print and electronic media to convey their concerns, stage peaceful demonstrations and rallies, and learn from other societies about how to live and coexist with peace, harmony and nonviolence. Every Muslim and non-Muslim should read this book.
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