Islam, Violence and Woolwich

By Damir Rafi

As the whole of Britain held its breath in the hope that reports of a terror attack were misreported, it soon became clear that two murderers savagely killed Drummer Lee Rigby, a British soldier, in broad daylight. Unfortunately, this murder took place as the perpetrators shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘Allah is the Greatest’), as if in some twisted way it was God’s desire that an innocent human being – one of His own very creation- should be brutally murdered. Inevitably, one of the consequences of this act have in general been a renewed public mistrust and fear of Islam, and in particular of Muslim extremists.

Interestingly, the current and devolving state of today’s Muslim world was in fact foretold by the Holy Founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) himself. In one of his sayings (commonly referred to as hadith, pl. ahadith) he is reported to have stated:

“There will come a time upon the people when nothing will remain of Islam except its name only and nothing will remain of the Quran except its inscription. Their mosques will be splendidly furnished but destitute of guidance. Their divines will be the worst people under the heaven and strife will issue from and avert to them.” (Mishkat, Kitab al-‘Ilm; Kanz al-‘Ummal, 6:43)

And so in many ways, it is not surprising that 1400 years after the advent of Islam and the above statement, many people, particularly religious leaders, have forgotten the very essence of what they supposedly believe and practice. This is not only true of Muslims, as the same could be argued regarding the followers of all faiths and belief systems. For example, one need only glance over Europe during late antiquity and the medieval period to find multifarious examples of human sacrifice, such as individuals being burned at the stake, and even mass murder, all committed in the name of someone’s understanding or political moulding of Christianity. It would, however, be illogical to assert that such acts were the result of Biblical teachings purely because the perpetrators behind them were so-called ”Christians”.

To truly assess a religion necessitates that one studies its scriptures, teachings, and the behaviour of its founder and earliest adherents who lived at a time when the faith was pure and uncorrupted. For example, on the subject of murder the Holy Quran is clear and unequivocal in stating: ‘“Whosoever killed a person…it shall be as if he had killed all mankind.” (Chapter 5:33). The very essence of this verse is sharply juxtaposed to the ideology of extremists who ruthlessly murder the innocent.

With much of the Muslim world engulfed in either physical or political conflict, it begs the question that if Islam is a true religion, would God not have supported it and brought about the seeds of global reformation instead of leaving the faith in a desperate position of disarray – divided and in disunity? Ahmadi Muslims, who are known to many by their slogan ‘love for all, hatred for none’, have a clear answer to this question. That is: With the advent of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him), whom the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believe to be the Promised Messiah and reformer for all major world religions as was foretold by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God upon him), and by means of the books he published, the faith of Islam in its true purest light of peace is once again revealed. In his own words he wrote:

Ignorant Maulavis (a reference to Muslim religious leaders – author) , may God guide them, have grievously misled the common people and have told them that such action which is sheer wrong and cruelty and is opposed to all moral values is the key to paradise. Can it be a good action to shoot down an utter stranger who is walking through the street on some errand and who has done us no harm? If this kind of thing is virtuous, wild animals possess more virtue than such men. Glory be to God, how righteous were those and how truly were they inspired by the spirit of the Prophets who, when they were commanded in Mecca not to resist evil though they might be cut to pieces, behaved like humble and weak suckling babies as if their hands and their arms possessed no power at all….

How grievous and shameful it is that an utter stranger who has done us no harm and who is occupied with some lawful errand should be shot down without any cause and his wife made a widow and his children made orphans and his dwelling turned into a house of mourning? Which Hadith and which verse of the Holy Qur’an authorises such an outrage? Can any Maulavi furnish an answer to this question? Ignorant people who have only heard the word Jihad make it an excuse for the fulfilment of their selfish desires.” (Essence of Islam,2:331-332)

Therefore, as we mourn the death of Drummer Lee Rigby, and our thoughts and prayers lie with his grieving family, we should all be aware that the true essence of all religions, including Islam, is not to divide but to unite, and to provide pure teachings of morality, peace, justice, pluralism and freedom. One hopes that this horrific event will bring people of all cultures, backgrounds and faiths together, and that people ultimately remember that it is not religion that corrupts people, it is people that corrupt religion.



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