It is not a subject of dubiety and uncertainty that terrorism has become one of the most crucial problems and issues of the world today. Moreover, the fact is that most of the world population associates the terrorist activities prevalent in the present era to the religion of Islam. This is a well-planned strategy that includes media, communication, politicians and promoters of hate, in concatenation, to propagate myths and misconceptions about a specific community of people spread across the globe. People need to know the authentic teachings of Islam and the false propaganda about Islamic Terrorism.
The word ‘terrorism‘ is exceedingly used by the media, politicians and commoners worldwide in the contemporary times. In most aspects of the media and society, terrorism is commonly portrayed as related to Islam – whether it be Hollywood, Bollywood, written journals, magazines, books and even governments. However, it is a certitude that leave alone the definitions, even the literal meanings of the words ‘Terrorism’ and ‘Islam’ unequivocally contradict each other.
The word ‘terrorism’ is made up of two parts, ‘terror’ meaning extreme fear, followed by the suffix ‘ism’, meaning act or practice. On the contrary, ‘Islam’ is an Arabic word, whose root word is ‘silm‘ with its literal meaning as safety, security, reliability and certainty. Moreover, ‘Imaan’ or faith, the most important fundamental aspect of Islam, lacking which one never remains a Muslim, has its root word from the Arabic language as ‘Amn‘, literally meaning peace.
It is an underlying fact that one has to contemplate and consider a certain set of fundamental rules and laws, which function as the base to understand the theories, research and problems of any subject in academics or experiment, ranging from physics, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, law to any other discipline. Correspondingly, to explain the teachings and message of Islam, some sources act as dictum or mandate detailing the provisions, regulations, orders and commandments of Islam to the entire mankind. The sources are: The Holy Quran (the God’s word for mankind), Hadith (Prophet Muhammad’s sayings [Peace Be Upon Him]), Ijma (consensus), and Qiyas (analogical deduction). Any claim, assertion or allegation on Islam will at first be checked on grounds of the aforementioned sources and, if it is confirmed, then only any imputation or claim can be related to Islam, otherwise not. Consequently, blaming Islam to be an authority on terrorism, should hold references from the preceding sources.
Swami Laxmi Shankaracharya, a world renowned Hindu scholar, writes in his Hindi book ‘Islam: Atank Ya Adarsh’ that he too, for long, associated Islam with terrorism because of percieving many Ayats or verses of Quran in the wrong context. He admitted that he was confused and mistaken; and in his misconception, wrote a book in Hindi, whose English translation was published under the name ‘History Of Islamic Terrorism’. Recognizing his culpability, he ameliorated his fault and wrote another book ‘Islam: Terror or Ideal’ when he learnt the truth. He mentions it veraciously that the verses which were taken in the wrong context were revealed for some particular circumstances during the life of Prophet Muhammad. Further, he teaches the ideal, just and peaceful reflections of Islam and advices the people who confuse Islam with terrorism to understand and learn the Quran and Islamic teachings from authentic Islamic scholars, rather than believing in what the media and detractors falsely propagate about it.
It should be heeded among the masses that a religion which starts its core religious book by associating God with (the attributes of) being beneficent, merciful and compassionate can not promulgate terror, fear and hatred. The religion that commands its followers to never transgress limits even during a fight with enemies, to not let the aversion of people prevent the followers from being just, to not cause disorder and mischief on earth, to let there be no compulsion in religion, to make settlement between factions, to act justly, and many such rules, can never be an advocate and promoter of dread, apprehension, terror, fright and abhorrence.
In relation to the beliefs and moral system of Islam, it is clear from the foregoing analysis that Islam does not tolerate terrorism and terrorist activities. In fact, the Islamic way of life frees man from all those animalistic tendencies, mental confusion and economic rivalry which are present in today’s era. It is the imaginations of modern materialism, psychology and economics which, based on the nature and needs of man, have divided man into groups and classes on the basis of labour in such a way that instead of harmony and cooperation among themselves, tension and conflict are a part of human society. Every person and community is fighting with another only for the fulfillment of their selfishness and profit. Today, due to the mistrust and selfish gluttony, there is a constant conflict between individuals and groups and countries.
Islam, by espousing the truth of One Creator, and the creation of all human beings as the children of one man and one woman, and by making this vehicle the only criterion of honour and prestige, ends the justification of the motivating elements of war and conflict in the human world, and also puts a mark on the eternal and universal reality of compromise and peace.
Syed Ilham Jafri is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Farzan Ghani