Thursday, December 15, 2011

A week After the Peace for Humanity Conference

by Jawed Iqbal Tahiri

So now that the dust is settling on the great conference of a week ago, accompanied with a barrage of local, national and international media coverage, the question that everyone is asking is how significant was the conference in shaping the future of Islam and Muslims and the relationship between Islam and the West.
Hundreds of reports about the conference have been published in various media so rather than another report about the conference this will more appropriately be an evaluation and appraisal of the conference and the impact it will have on the wider world.

Public support

To start off with, Wembley Arena was clearly packed with 11,000 people who had all purchased tickets for the event and had travelled from across the UK. This comes to the first point which is after the launch of the fatwa, critics remarked that the views expressed by Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri did not have support amongst mainstream Muslims or there was no evidence of that in the UK. Although his annual Mawlid lecture in Pakistan attracts around a million people, and his Urdu lectures in the UK also result in packed venues such as the Madani Mosque, Bradford earlier this year, this was the first such event to be conducted in English. The result of course proves not only do British Muslims share the anti extremist position but also back the stance taken by Shaykh-ul-Islam in his presentation of Islam. It also proves that British Muslim youth and Muslims at large are fully behind Shaykh-ul-Islam. The 11,000 in Wembley Arena were not the only participants of the conference but millions around the world were viewing the conference live on the QTV channel with particular interest from the UK where the conference was extensively publicised and the Indian sub continent where the TV channel is based. QTV is part of the ARY network which extensively publicised the conference and the live broadcast. This helped take the message to millions of homes.
Beside the live TV coverage of the conference, the tsunami of media coverage ensured that the message of the conference was conveyed to all irrespective of religion and background. Whether it be live reports on BBC News or Radio 4 or reports on Sky News and national and local newspapers, it was clear that the message of the conference and the keynote speaker received blanket coverage. This fulfilled the dream of Muslims who have been upset about extremists receiving media coverage and in doing so representing Islam. This began with the launch of the Fatwa after which extremists were knocked off mainstream media following an appeal by Shaykh-ul-Islam to the media to give a voice to the mainstream Muslims and not the extremists who have no support what so ever. This conference is a final step in the work of Shaykh-ul-Islam in making sure only the true representatives of Islam are given the deserved media coverage and in doing so side-lining extremists from the media. The world now know what the true Iislam is all about and who the true representatives of the faith are.

Shirk Attacks

The blanket media coverage also made the Islamic position on interfaith relations clear to everyone. Leaders from all religions prayed for peace according to their own religions and also showed to everyone how all religions can live side by side with peace and love. These activities at the conference were fully based on the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW when he SAW allowed a delegation of Christians to worship according to their own religion in Masjid Nabawi. This of course is referenced in classical books of Hadith and seerah (1). The Prophet SAW also served a delegation of Christians from Abyssinia with his own hands with food and other needs. The point to note is that when the Christian delegation was permitted by the Holy Prophet SAW to Worship in Masjid Nabawi, that entailed worshipping Jesus and the Cross, as the Quran states that Christians at that time believed in Trinity and in Jesus being god. Those who may not be aware of this hadith of the Prophet SAW may be prone to shirk attacks, but hopefully with a jab of the above lecture clip containing fully referenced hadiths their immune systems will be able to fight off such shirk attacks in the future. It is the responsibility of scholars to teach their followers such points from the life of the Prophet SAW. True scholars can never belittle such things as they have cognition of the teachings of the prophet SAW on these matters, whereas half baked scholars or self confessed ones cause confusion due to their selective understanding of the Seerah. The conference was of course attended by great Islamic scholars from around the world and the UK, who also took part in these interfaith proceedings.

Scholars united behind the cause

The conference was attended by great scholars from around the world from various backgrounds. This included the Shuyukh from Al Azhar University Cairo Egypt, which is seen as the greatest seat of learning. Great Mashaikh from Pakistan and those based in the UK also spoke at the conference. Their support for the conference renders obsolete solitary voices who may want to oppose it. Mufakkir al-Islam Shaykh al-Sayyid Dr. Abdul-Qadir Shah al-Jilani, leader of Markazi Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a organisation, came to the conference alongside senior members of his organisation. Shaykh Muhammad Amin-ul-Hasanat Shah al-Qurashi son of the the great Justice Pir Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari (RA) spoke to the conference in Arabic. Shaykh Sultan Fiaz al-Hassan Sarwari al-Qadri the descendent of the great saint Sultan al-Arifin Sakhi Sultan Bahu (RA) attended the conference with his brother and followers. Shaykh al-Sayyid Muhammad Yahya al-Ninowy from the USA originally from Syria also blessed the conference with his talk.
There was also support for the conference from many great scholars from around the world who were not able to attend the conference. They include Shaykh al Azhar, Professor Dr. Muhammad Ahmed al-Tayyib Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University and Imam Zaid Shakir, Co-founder, Zaytuna College, U.S.A.
Many scholars and imams of mosques from across the UK attended the conference, all of whom of course could not be seated on the stage but were in the VVIP seating area.
This conference brought together many great scholars from around the world, to unite in order to safeguard the great Merciful status of the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW. The coming together of all these scholars shows that when it comes to protecting the name of the Prophet SAW and the peaceful faith of Islam, differences must be put aside and the power of unity must be utilised. This unity ensured the success of the conference. The same conduct should be followed by all Muslims no matter which background they may belong to, the wider aims of the conference should be kept in mind. Otherwise the unanimous acceptance of this conference will hold solitary voices to account.
Finally, The London Declaration for Global Peace & Resistance against Extremism 2011 was unanimously agreed upon by all delegates at the conference and is currently open for signatures.
(1) Baihaqqi, Shu'bul Iman, V6 p 518 Hadith Number: 9125;
Ibn Saad, at-Tabkat-ul-Kubra, Vol 1 p.357;
Ibn Kathir, as-Seertun-Nabaviyyah and many others.

Muslim cleric’s peace declaration demands an end to terrorism

By Emily Dugan

One of the world’s leading Muslim clerics will issue a global declaration against terrorism at a speech in London on Saturday. Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri will make the declaration at the ‘Peace for Humanity Conference 2011’ at Wembley Arena.
The peace declaration, which will call for an end to terrorism and for the protection of human rights in new Arab regimes, is expected to be signed by major religious and political leaders, including David Cameron and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Tariq Jahan, whose son was killed in the Birmngham riots, is also expected to attend.
The Pakistani scholar who lives in Canada is the founder of Minhaj-ul-Qaran International, a Sufi-based organisation that promotes moderate Islam. He issued a fatwa against terrorism last year and has since received death threats from many groups, including al-Qi’ada. A $10m bounty has reportedly been placed on his head.
The Muslim scholar has been running de-radicalisation youth camps across the UK, America and Europe for several years. He believes the declaration is urgently needed because he sees a growing number of young Muslims who could easily be swayed to extremism
He said: “We want to give the message to the whole of the Muslim world and the youths who have been brainwashed that this is Islam and what it stands for: peace, harmony, tolerance, moderation and love and compassion for humanity. This message will go out all over the world, from coast to coast.”
He said the “historic document” was needed a decade after 9/11 to combat extremism and ensure the Arab Spring became an opportunity not just for democracy but also the upholding of human rights.
Outlining the content of the declaration he said: “Number one will be the absolute condemnation of terrorism; number two the protection of complete human rights, as it is seen in the Western world and endorsed by the United Nations”.
It will also call for “support for the concept of humanity and fraternity between all cultures, religions and human beings”; “democracy and good governance in the Muslim world” and “total ecological and environmental responsibility”.
“We want to emphasise education to bring an end to extremism, violence, hatred and racism,” he said, “To educate the Muslim people and youth and at the same time educate the West so that the hatreds are removed. We will be condemning every kind of racism and xenophobia and we will support all Muslims living in Western countries to have integration and citizenship and we will condemn isolation.”
The day will include what the group claim is the first collective cross-religious peace prayer instigated by a Muslim. The last collective peace prayer was called by the late Pope John Paul in Assisi a decade ago.
“Mankind is burning now in a fire of hatred and fanaticism and aggression and terrorism,” said Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri. “The peace prayer is another way to show that all religions can come together to pray for global peace.”
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri believes it is essential to rebuild the boundaries between Islam, terrorism and politics. “I look around me and I see people are confused”, he said. “Extremists and terrorists have created a very big misunderstanding in the minds of generations. They have mixed up religion with international and political issues.
“By talking of the Palestine issue, the Israel issue, the Afghanistan issue and the occupation of Iraq, they have mixed up these political issues with the issue of Islam. They have connected their terroristic and criminal activities with the political issues of the Muslim world, making many young people confused.
“My struggle is to differentiate between the issues – to take the political issues as a totally separate agenda that has no link with suicide bombing and these crazy activities,” he said.

Muslim Scholar to Issue Peace Declaration

CAIRO – A prominent Britain-based Muslim scholar announced his plans to issue a historic global peace declaration next week in London, protesting against terrorism and educating the whole world against anti-Muslim racism and xenophobia.
“We want to give the message to the whole of the Muslim world … that this is Islam and what it stands for: peace, harmony, tolerance, moderation and love and compassion for humanity,” Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri told The Independent on Sunday, September 18.
“This message will go out all over the world, from coast to coast.”
The peace declaration would be announced during the ‘Peace for Humanity Conference 2011’ at Wembley Arena next Saturday.
It will call for an end to terrorism and for the protection of human rights in new Arab regimes.
It is expected to be signed by major religious and political leaders, including David Cameron and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The announcement celebration would also be attended by Tariq Jahan, whose son was killed in the Birmingham riots.
Qadri said the “historic document” was needed a decade after 9/11 to ensure that the Arab Spring became an opportunity for democracy and upholding of human rights.
In addition to terrorism condemnation and upholding human rights, the declaration calls for supporting interfaith relations between the Muslim world and the West.
“Number one will be the absolute condemnation of terrorism; number two the protection of complete human rights, as it is seen in the Western world and endorsed by the United Nations,” Qadri said.
It will also call for “support for the concept of humanity and fraternity between all cultures, religions and human beings”; “democracy and good governance in the Muslim world” and “total ecological and environmental responsibility”.
The influential Pakistani scholar, who lives in Canada, has issued a fatwa last May condemning suicide bombings as a brazen violation of peaceful Islamic tenets.
Known for his unequivocal condemnation of terrorism, Sheikh Qadri has issued several fatwas against suicide bombings and violence against innocent people.
He is famous for his emphasis on promoting integration and interfaith dialogue to tackle Islamophobia in the West.
End Xenophobia
Among the events planned for the day, the influential scholar would hold the first collective cross-religious peace prayer instigated by a Muslim.
“Mankind is burning now in a fire of hatred and fanaticism and aggression and terrorism,” said Sheikh Qadri.
“The peace prayer is another way to show that all religions can come together to pray for global peace.”
The last collective peace prayer was called by the late Pope John Paul in Assisi a decade ago.
These events would help in stretching new bridges between Muslim world and the West.
“We want to emphasize education to bring an end to extremism, violence, hatred and racism,” he said.
“To educate the Muslim people and youth and at the same time educate the West so that the hatreds are removed.”
These connections can only be sustained through condemning xenophobia which mars the West relation with its Muslim population.
“We will be condemning every kind of racism and xenophobia and we will support all Muslims living in Western countries to have integration and citizenship and we will condemn isolation,” Sheikh Qadria added.
Muslims in Europe and America have been suffering from bigotry and Islamophobia over the past decade.
For example, British Muslims, estimated at nearly two million, have been in the eye of storm since the 7/7 attacks.
A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.
A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.

Detractors disparage true Islamic values

By Venkat Raman 14/08/2011 03:58:00
Admirers gather at Auckland International Airport to receive Dr Muhammad Ul Qadri on August 3, 2011 (Indian Newslink Picture (c)

Despite being the world’s most egalitarian form of life and religion, Islam is perhaps the most misunderstood and misinterpreted faith, leading to confusion and consternation among non-Muslims.
Pakistan born Scholar, Philosopher and Preacher Dr Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri has dedicated his life and career to spread the right message of Islam, remove misconceptions and propagate the world’s fastest growing religion as a moderate religion dealing with moderate people.
During his visit to New Zealand last week, he proved that he was not only a man of letters but thoughts and deeds that reflected the teachings of the Holy Quran and Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon Him).
“It is unfortunate that Islam, which stands for peace, harmony and peaceful coexistence, preaching tolerance and respect for all religions, should be falsely represented by people who call themselves Muslims. Such people, who spread hatred, and falsehood about Islam as an intolerant religion should be banished from the society. They have done more harm to the religion and humanity at large than anyone else in history,” he told me during an interview.
Dr Qadri was well aware of flurry that his opinions would cause among Islamic fanatics and extremists, more so among terrorists and their abetters.

The Fatwa

He said there was a million dollar prize on his head, especially after he issued a ‘Fatwa’ against terrorists and their sponsors.
While his followers and admirers fuss over his safety and security, Dr Qadri remains unruffled, almost to the point of being indifferent.
“Almighty Allah will protect me. He knows the best for me. Why should I worry when my Protector is the Supreme and Strong?” he said, as he perused the issue of Indian Newslink (August 1) which announced his arrival and lecture.
The Lecture, delivered at the University of Auckland Business School on August 7 was an intellectual stimulant, rarely available to Non-Muslims on a subject that is so widely discussed and so widely misunderstood.

Distorted religion

According to Dr Qadri, many people, including Muslims and non-Muslims had distorted view of Islam.
“It is necessary to remove the confusion and enable people to understand the true value of Islam, which stands for peace and humanity. In fact, peace and humanity are interminably linked to Islam,” he said.
The hour-long speech, delivered impromptu, was replete with anecdotes and historic references to Prophet Mohammed.
“Reading and writing were against the social norm when our Prophet began to spread the teachings of the Holy Quran. There were no schools and the general feeling was that education led to degradation and dishonour.
“It was against such a psyche that the Prophet delivered the first message of Almighty Allah contained in the five verses of the Holy Quran. The first word was ‘Read.’ The message spoke about the importance of education, use of the pen and biological evolution, which became known to the West more than 1100 years later,” Dr Qadri said.
According to him, the Holy Quran also spoke about spiritual, cultural, social, psychological and moral aspects of human life.
The society at that time was one of intolerance, torture, brutality and warfare. There was no concept of resolving disputes peacefully and the spirit of forgiveness was absent.
“The Prophet’s message was one of love, peace, mercy, compassion and kindness for the whole of mankind. The first chapter of the Holy Quran teaches the need for kindness towards all animate and inanimate beings, love towards all and the spirit of love, give and forgive. This is the message contained in all the Holy Books of all religions including the Vedas, Upanishads (Hindus), the Bible (Christians), Buddhism and Jainism,” he said.

Promised Paradise

According to Dr Qadri, Allah did not promise Paradise to terrorists, suicide bombers and those who kill innocent people including non-Muslims.
“Allah is the Most Merciful, Most Benevolent and Most Gracious and He would never condone such people and accommodate them. In fact, terrorists and their sponsors will have no place in heaven,” he said.

A global citizen

Earlier, Labour MP Dr Ashraf Choudhary said that the Islamic Scholar had more than 1000 books, 7000 lectures (in Arabic, English and Urdu) to his credit, in addition to appearing in scores of interviews on television channels (including BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera).
He established ‘Minhaj Ul Quran International’ in Pakistan. The Organisation, with branches in 90 countries, promotes ‘true Islamic principles’ of moderation, world peace and human welfare.

Advice to Muslims

“One of his most popular books is the ‘Fatwa,’ in which he has denounced terrorism of all forms and advised all true Muslims to bring the terrorists to justice.
“He is very popular in the West and his moderate views have enabled people to understand the true meaning and purpose of Islam and its teachings,” he said.
According to Dr Choudhary, the visit of Dr Qadri to New Zealand was significant.
“He brings the message of goodwill and peace to the people of New Zealand and encourages the Muslim population (about 45,000) to integrate well into the society and serve their adopted country,” he said.

Terrorism has no place in any society

By Venkat Raman 14/08/2011 01:32:00

Terrorists and those supporting them have no place in any society and they should be banished and brought to justice, a prominent Islamic Scholar has said.
Dr Muhammad Tahir Ul Qadri, a world-renowned writer, orator and interpreter of the Holy Quran and Islamic values, said that those perpetrating violence, destruction and death in the name of Islam are not true Muslims and that they should be put away forever.
He issued his famous ‘Fatwa’ against terrorists, stating that they were responsible for spreading hatred against Muslims by people of other faiths around the world.
“The teachings of Islam are very clear. Nowhere in the Holy Quran is there a word or sanction against people of other religions and faiths. In fact, Islam specifically preaches love and respect towards all, especially Non-Muslims.
“It specifically states that Muslims can go on the warpath only in self-defence and not to destroy those leading a peaceful life. The Holy Quran prohibits use of force, coercion, torture and such other inhuman acts against any non-combatant. “Killing thousands of people in the name of Islam is the greatest disservice rendered to this religion,” he told Indian Newslink during an interview.

Mistaken Jihad

Dr Qadri said that the mindless acts of the terrorists have led to the large scale suffering of ordinary Muslims in many parts of the world.
“Extremist and terrorist acts have been taking place on Islamic concepts such as ‘Jihad.’ Extremists have misinterpreted the teachings of the Holy Quran and Hadiths to cloud the minds of Muslims in general and the younger generation in particular, leading to barbaric acts like suicide bombings,” he said.
As well as issuing the Fatwa, Dr Qadri appealed to the ordinary Muslims to shun the terrorists and those supporting them. He said his ‘edict’ has been acting as a relief and empowered moderate Muslims.
“The minds of our young people, clouded by misleading concepts have now been given clarity and understanding of moderate and peaceful teachings of Islam. The world should know that Islam does not stand for terrorism, does not condone terrorism and does not preach violence,” he said.
Dr Qadri dispelled the myth of ‘Jihad’ at a lecture that he delivered at the University of Auckland Business School on August 7.
“Jihad does not mean killing people of other faiths and religions. It is a term used to describe the efforts to achieve righteousness, struggle for equality of human being, removal of hunger, combating social evils such as corruption and other wrongdoings. Jihad is not an act of aggression. Jihad may be permissible in lawful war of defence, not offence,” he said.
The lecture was organised by the Pakistan Student Association and other senior members of the resident Pakistani community, at which Labour MP Dr Ashraf Choudhary (who presided over the meeting), National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and a number of leading businesspersons and others were present.
Throughout his hour-long speech, Dr Qadri stressed that Islam stands for peace, love, compassion, human dignity and mercy.
“I wish to reiterate that Islam does not stand for any kind of violence, militancy, terrorism and brutality. Muslims and Non-Muslims must know that the literal meaning of Jihad is exertion, struggling, striving and putting extreme efforts according to extreme abilities to counter evil, achieve good in the service of the Almighty Allah,” he said.
“The defensive struggle against your enemy, defensive struggle against your lower-self, hatred, arrogance corruption is another aspect of Jihad. This is for the safety of mankind, not for killing people.”

Defensive War

Highlighting various points about the Islamic concepts of Jihad, he said that the real meaning, as prescribed in the Holy Quran, does not ordain killing, fight and bloodshed. According to him, 31 out of 35 verses that deal with Jihad, describe it in different contexts but none of them had any reference to battle and killing.
“I have not found a single verse in the Holy Quran condoning any act that brought death and destruction, especially to non-Muslims.
“Jihad has been described to mean ‘defensive war.’ Jihad is not aggression but represents action for self-protection,” he said.
Dr Qadri said Islam had fought two wars against terrorism in the first two centuries.
But terrorism in modern times have adversely affected the economies of the developing and developed countries.
“Terrorists have no religion. The phenomenon of terrorism has not appeared suddenly out of nowhere. It has evolved through the phases of radicalism and extremism and terrorists are used as fodder for the cannons of the masterminds of this evil,” he said.
Read related stories in this Special Report

About the Scholar

Pakistan-born Dr Qadri was Professor of International Constitutional Law at the University of Punjab (Pakistan). He was the Founder-Chairman of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek, a political Party with a ‘common approach’ for the social progress and economic development of Pakistan. Dr Qadri was elected to the National Assembly at the 2002 elections from the Lahore Constituency.
Dr Qadri is the founder of ‘Minhaj Ul Quran International’ in Pakistan. The Organisation, with branches in 90 countries, promotes ‘true Islamic principles’ of moderation, world peace and human welfare.
The organisation will host a four-day youth camp in the UK next month, teaching the tenets of humanity, goodwill, respect for non-Muslims other religions.
He established the Minhaj University in Lahore to impart quality education and the spirit of universal understanding and religious tolerance among the younger members of the society.

True happiness is a journey, not destination

By Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri

Happiness has remained an elusive concept over the centuries.
Philosophers, religious scholars, sociologists and academicians have tried to define happiness, with some regarding it as a material thing for which material possessions have been identified as a means to achieve happiness.
Others are of the view that happiness has nothing to do with material pursuits and that it is a moral or a spiritual phenomenon which one can acquire by doing the right things.
Despite these definitions and explorations, the idea is as Greek as it was before.
However, if you want to be happy but are not sure where to start, I suggest you begin by being kinder. Acts of giving will boost your wellbeing as well as offer something good to the recipient and the world at large.
These acts can take many forms and so you can do something that suits you personally. For instance, you can do voluntary work for a philanthropist organisation; you can do good deeds in your neighbourhood, for friends, family, work colleagues and even strangers.
Happiness lies in giving to others. When you stop thinking about yourself, it is then that the journey to happiness starts. Our focal point is always I or me. These two words are the cause of sadness that we suffer. Whenever we run after something to achieve, it runs away faster from us. But when we decide to turn our back on our sought-after pursuits, those things would come for us.
This is the law of Nature, which is immutable and never changes.
If real happiness could be achieved by having lots of money and concentrating power, then kings would never have left their thrones in search of happiness.
Buddha, Ashoka, Ibraham bin Adham are a few examples from the history. They abandoned their exalted positions to find solace and happiness. They found happiness once they started serving the poor and the needy of God’s creations.

Childhood bliss

The happiest time of our life lies in our childhood. As we grow older, our desires grow as well. Sadness follows unfulfilled desires. In order to acquire eternal happiness, we need to get rid of our desires. That is why it is said that the best state to go back to God is the state in which you were born. That is the state of innocence with one’s soul untainted by the worldly desires.
You do not have to volunteer work to be a kinder person but carry out good deeds in your home or at work. You can do something for people you do not know.
Try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Let them make creative mistakes and learn for the sake of personal growth. Offer genuine compliments. Give small gifts. Plan something special for a loved one. Share your possessions without getting uptight about them.
Avoid gossiping in emails and on the telephone. Instead, make a conscious effort to only say good things about others. You always have something to offer.

Positive attitude

Think of ways you can share that information. Think of ways in which you might be a positive influence on someone’s life. When you see an opportunity to help, take it.
Not every act of kindness needs to be acknowledged. You are better off assuming the opposite. You are performing good deeds because you want to, not for the thanks but for the sake of happiness that springs from inside.
It’s a great way to increase your humility. Recognise that each act, no matter how small, will make a difference. It does not have to be the grand gesture.
The way to transform happiness from individual level to the collective phenomenon is to make efforts aimed at making your country and society welfare-oriented.
One can start this endeavour from the grassroots level by establishing welfare committees and keep on expanding its ambit.
It calls for establishment of systems and arrangements for doing well to people in an institutionalized manner. That is why the People of the Sub-continent rendered numerous sacrifices for their countries inspired by their leaders.
Let us resolve to make our countries modern and welfare-oriented as per the dreams of our founding fathers.
Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri is President, Supreme Council and Federal Council of Minhaj-Ul-Quran International and a member of the Board of Governors, Minhaj University, Lahore, currently in Melbourne for his PhD in Economics. He is the son of Dr Muhammad Tahir Ul Qadri, an internationally renowned thinker and scholar. Read related stories in this Special Report.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Analysing Muslims’ downfall (I)

By Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri

In our formal and informal debates and discussions on the plight of Muslims, there is always an unmistakable reference to the glorious past. In a way, past characterized by the real and supposed heroics and achievements has become a reference point and identity for the Muslims. Such is the level and depth of despondency currently ruling the roost among different strata of the Muslims that they derive their sense of worth from the past allowing it to define their present.
Today the Muslim world presents a classic picture of a house divided against itself. There are more divisions in their ranks today than was the case in the past. Rather than allowing religion to define their collective identity, Muslims have allowed sectarian, lingual, ethnic, and racial parameters to define them. Little wonder if the binding force amongst them is on the decline. Another reason which explains their present-day predicaments and is responsible for sharp divides in the Muslim world is the de-linking of religious knowledge from the secular sciences. When the Muslims were the masters of the all they surveyed in the good old days, there was no split between religious and secular sciences and both were taught at the seminaries or Madaris. The word ‘Madrussa’ referred to an educational institution contrary to what it is used to mean today. The reason why the Muslims held the sway over large continents is discernible from just this example.
During the reign of Mamoon-ur-Rashid, the Muslim empire established a grand think tank known as Dar-ul-Hikma for translation of Greek philosophy into the Arabic language for the consumption of the Arab readers. The ideas used to be modified in the light of the Holy Quran and Hadith. Such a forum presented an opportunity for sharing of ideas and exchange of views. There was no division between the religious and the secular, which defined the Muslim political thought. The experts of the Holy Quran and Hadith were also the experts of modern sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, and sociology etc. At a time when the European world was mired in darkness, Spain under Muslims was a bright star on the horizon of the world civilization. The Arabian Peninsula was known for fighting and bloodshed amongst antagonist tribes before the advent of Islam. With the arrival of Islam came emancipation of a people previously bound in shackles of exploitation.
Through Islam they entered into an unbreakable relationship of brotherhood and rendered disparate people into an irresistible and unified force. This is because of the deep and penetrating influence of Islam on the Arab psyche, culture, and ethos, that former Bedouins of Arab turned out to be the masters of one-third of the known world in a short span of three decades. Such was the overwhelming power of the Muslims that the contemporary mighty Persian and the great Roman empires chose to submit themselves before the new-found Muslim glory and prowess. In the words of Ibrahim Madkour: “In any society, culture is the offspring of many factors: human potential, creative consciousness, intellectual and spiritual vitality, real achievement and progress and freedom, among others.” Early eighth century A.D. showed that the Arab society was set for extraordinary cultural achievements unknown to the civilized world hitherto. Blessed with creative activity generated by the advent of Islam, the Arab consciousness registered phenomenal progress in various fields.
The Muslims laid the foundations of a glorious civilization in Spain which still embellishes the pages of medieval history. In the words of Philip K. Hitti: “Muslim Spain wrote one of the brightest chapters in the history of medieval Europe.” The Arabs founded astronomy during the early period of the Abbasid Caliphate. During the middle of the 10th century A.D. the Muslim rulers of Spain patronised astronomical studies in particular. Khwarizmi had written a valuable treatise on astronomy and compiled his tables (Zij) which after two centuries were revised by a Spanish astronomer Al-Majriti which was later on translated into Latin by Adelard of Bath. This remarkable work laid the foundation-stone upon which was raised the edifice of later astronomical pursuits both in the East and the West. Moreover, it replaced all earlier tables of the Greek and Indian astronomers. Al-Zarqali (Azrachel: 1029-1087 A.D.) was a renowned Spanish astronomer. Jabar Ibni Aflah was another illustrious Spanish astronomer of the 12th century, whose famous book “Kitab ul Hayat” (Book of Astronomy) was later on translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona. In the words of Philip K.Hitti: “Finally it was through Spanish channels that the Latin West found its oriental inspiration in astronomy and astrology. The leading Muslim astronomical works were translated in Spain into Latin, and the Alfonsine tables compiled under the aegis of Alfonso X in the 13th century were but a development of Arab astronomy.”
The Arabs in Spain revolutionized the field of agriculture and developed it on an unprecedented scale. According to K. Jamil Ahmed: “Hardly any country of medieval times enjoyed greater agricultural prosperity than Muslim Spain.” The Spanish Muslims made great strides in the field of Botany and developed horticulture to a high degree of perfection. According to G. Sarton: “Al Ghafiqi was the greatest expert of his time on samples. His description of the plants was the most precise ever made in Islam; he gave the names of each in Arabic, Latin and Berber.” Medicine was another area which interested the Spanish Arabs a great deal and they took to its study very assiduously. In the words of Hitti: “Most of the Spanish Arab physicians were physicians by avocation and something else by vocation.” The credit for greatest achievements in medieval surgery goes to Az-Zaharawi of Moorish Spain. This is an area, which was almost a neglected field with the Muslim physicians who did not pay much attention to it. As in the words of K. Jamil Ahmad: “It was translated into several European languages and the famous French surgeon Guy de Chauliac benefited from one of its Latin translations.” (To be concluded)

United States Institute of Peace (USIP)

Jihad: Perception & Reality

Lecture by: Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri

Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri spoke on the issue in the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in November 2010. Here we present the summary of his lecture to our readers.
The extremists and terrorists have hijacked certain terms and expressions that suit their purpose. The word Jihad is the most exploited one. They misinterpret these words to radicalize the Muslim youth in particular, and other Muslims in general. They also supply radical and extremist meanings to some of the verses of the Qur’an and traditions of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). They take them out of context, and misuse and misapply them. So those who are influenced by them parrot some verses and traditions for frequent use and employ words like Jihad, martyrdom, Khilafa, of Islam, Dar al-Harb, Dar al-Islam to assure the people of their deep affinity to Islam. And by putting these terms together, they have developed an ideology declaring it true Islam claiming that it originates from the texts of the Qur’an and the texts of the traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him). But in truth, this is the ideology of terrorists and extremists and has absolutely no link or relation with Islam and Islamic teachings and the classical interpretations of Islamic authorities. So the crux of our talk is that this concept is totally a wrong accusation against Islam.
When the word Jihad is uttered or heard, the image of fighting and killing automatically comes to mind because that is what they do and call it Jihad; their wrong actions and wrong interpretations supply this word the same meanings. This causes disrepute to Islam and distorts its identity. It must, therefore, be made clear that the term ‘jihad’ does not denote or connote any kind of fighting, combating, torturing or killing. On the contrary, it means extreme exertion, effort, and struggle for a good cause.
There are, in total, 36 verses of the Holy Qur’an, where the word ‘jihad and its derivatives such as jahada, jaahada, yujahid or yujahiduna have been used, including the commandment of jihad. Out of these 36 verses, 31 verses have absolutely no mention of fighting anywhere, neither in the text nor context. There are three ways of deriving the meaning or significance of a particular command in a verse. You understand certain commandment, teaching or prohibition either from the text of a verse, or its context, or historical context—what were the circumstances when this commandment was revealed, on what date, in which year, and the particular situation, and what was the historical background of the text, context or historical background in which 31 verses out of 36 do not make any direct or indirect mention of the commandments of jihad, not even the defensive war, or a fair or lawful war. There is absolutely no mention of fighting or combating.
I would like to explain one thing before moving ahead. Keep in mind that there is not a single verse in the Holy Qur’an, from the first chapter to the last, which contains, in the text of the same verse, two commandments, jihad and qital, together. The word qital means fighting and combating. As for ‘jihad’, it is used in a broad perspective. So jihad and qital (fighting) have never been used even in a single text anywhere in the Holy Qur’an. Meanwhile, according to the Qur’an, jihad does not necessarily mean fighting even for self-defence; it does not necessarily mean it. Unfortunately, this term has been hijacked by the radicals, the extremists and terrorists, and they have applied it wrongly for their own criminal and terrorist activities of mass killing.
Now, after giving the description of 31 verses, which do not mention fighting at all, I now explain the remaining five verses out of 36. These five verses do not contain any reference to fighting and using the word ‘jihad’ in the text, but there is a reference to lawful fighting, defensive war, and just and lawful war of defense. This is mentioned just in the context of five verses. I am very specific. Now we come to the chapter nine, Sura al-Tawba of the Holy Qur’an. There are only two places in this chapter containing the five verses where there is a contextual reference to the lawful fighting using the word ‘jihad’.
The next very important aspect in this regard is that when qital, the lawful fighting, was allowed for self-defense, the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) had spent 13 years of his life in Mecca. This period was full of cruelty, violence, militancy, terrorism, killing and persecution against the Muslims. They were a very weak minority, but in spite of all these injustices and atrocities, patience was the command of the Qur’an, and the Muslims were not allowed, including the Prophet of Islam and His companions, to take up arms against cruelty, oppression and aggression. There was no self-defense and no resistance against torture, brutality, cruelty and tyranny; it was a rock-solid display of patience for long 13 years. It was after his migration to Medina when the verses about lawful defensive fighting were revealed. In Mecca, taking up arms was prohibited. Standing up for your own defence as a matter of resistance against oppression was prohibited. There was no permission for self defense even at that particular time when the verses of jihad were there. I would just quote the reference for your further studies. The verses revealed in the Holy Qur’an in Meccan time are: al-Furqan, verse 52, al-‘Ankabut, verse 6, al-‘Ankabut, verse 8, al-‘Ankabut, verse 69 and Luqman, verse 15. I just quote as a reference one or two of them. The Holy Qur’an says:
وَمَن جَـٰهَدَ فَإِنَّمَا يُجَـٰهِدُ لِنَفْسِهِ.
And whoever strives hard (for the cause of Truth) strives for his own (benefit). (al-‘Ankabut, 29:6)
It is stated:
وَجَـٰهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا.
And launch a large-scale struggle against them by means of (logic and preaching of the Qur’an). (al-Furqan, 26:52)
You should perform great jihad. So major jihad or great jihad was the command of Almighty God in Mecca, when Muslims were not allowed to take up arms and stand up in self-defense; they were not allowed to resist against the oppression. Even then the commandments of great jihad were there in Mecca. This is sufficient evidence to establish that jihad does not necessarily include even the war of defense. Although it is included in the broader term of jihad, yet it does not necessarily mean that. Jihad was revealed much earlier than the command of the permission of war in self-defense. So if this is the case, then we have to understand what jihad means. When this is a commandment revealed in Meccan period where resistance against oppression was prohibited— that you are not allowed to raise the arms, then what was the meaning of jihad in Qur’an? The same meanings continue to date.

Kinds of jihad

As for meaning of Jihad, it has five dimensions.
The first meaning of the greatest of jihad actions connote spiritual dimension. It is known as jihad bi al-Nafs—your struggle for self-purification. It is a fight against the evil desires of your lower self, to purify your inner self, to make one a good moral and ethical personality who could work for the sake of Allah, get rid of arrogance, greed, lies, aggression, aggressive attitude, negative propensities and who could work for the betterment of human society and purify his inner self too. This is purely spiritual dimension, which has no link with arms.
The second dimension of its meaning is academic and intellectual. On intellectual plane, it is ijtihad; and mujtahid is a scholar, a great jurist, an expert of juristic sciences who can derive and deduct legal values and meanings from the bases, and can apply it in accordance with the changes and newly emerging situation of modern time. So in this dimension of jihad, mujtahid is he who connects the old with the new, and the past with the future through academic, intellectual and juristic efforts. Purely an academic and juristic work is jihad bi al-‘Ilm and jihad bi al-Fiqh.
The third one is the social dimension and this is jihad bi al-‘Aml. This can be political. This can be social. This can be cultural. This can be educational and, in a way, this is for the social reforms of society, to purify society of social evils, and to eradicate corruption. This deals with all kinds of evil attitudes individually at first level and collectively at this third level. So the work for social and political reforms, democratic struggle, political struggle, and peaceful struggle comes within the range or ambit of jihad bi al-Qawl, i.e., al-amr bi al-ma‘ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar to promote the good and to abstain from evil. This is social dimension.
The fourth dimension is jihad bi al-Mal. It is financial dimension of the word ‘jihad’ and concept jihad. This is just an act of charity and Qur’an has emphasized particularly in two areas of jihad. The first jihad bi al-Nafs, the purification of lower self, the spiritual one and the second is socio-economic and financial jihad. The Holy Qur’an has emphasized these two and there is a full-fledged chapter of the Holy Qur’an, which explains this concept and it is said that even negation of act of charity is negation of Din, the total sum of Din. It is spending money to remove economic misery of the poor, spending your own economic resources to provide ease to eliminate the poverty from the society. This is exactly the work, which is done by the charitable organizations, western countries, the Muslim countries, by the UN whatever, to help humanity and take it out of the financial crises. It is the struggle for the equal distribution of wealth and the provision of all facilities and the privileges of life as human beings. This is jihad. So the Qur’an says:
أَرَءَيْتَ ٱلَّذِى يُكَذِّبُ بِٱلدِّينِ. فَذَالِكَ ٱلَّذِى يَدُعُّ ٱلْيَتِيمَ. وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ ٱلْمِسْكِينِ.
Have you seen him who denies the Din (Religion)? So he is the one who pushes away the orphan (i.e., rejects the needs of the orphans and deprives them of their right), And does not promote the cause of feeding the poor (i.e., does not strive to end the economic exploitation of the poor and the needy). (al-Ma‘un, 107:1-3)
Those people who do not work for their economic betterment and welfare are the people who are the nullifiers of the faith. So this act of charity is jihad bil-Mal. This is one of the best jihads.
And the fifth dimension is the defensive dimension. This relates to the defensive war when you are attacked. Then there is a war of self-defense, and a defensive war. As a student of law and as a humble student of international law, I can say and declare this fact with full confidence as far as my studies throughout my life are concerned that I have not seen a minor difference between a lawful war or jihad and a war which is known as qital. According to Islam and the definitions and the conditions given by the UN charter, it is exactly the same concept and same definition with same conditions; there is no difference. The only difference is the term or the word ‘jihad’ or ‘qital’ is used in Arabic language and we say just wars and lawful wars derived from the time of Aristotle till today’s UN charter. Throughout the history, the concept of just wars and lawful wars has existed continuously in every era. This is the defensive dimension of jihad.
When the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) migrated to Medina, two verses were revealed in order to provide the permission of lawful war in self-defense. The first was revealed in the first year of migration. So these are the two verses where the commandments of fighting are available. There are further clauses and two basic articles, which provide the permission of fighting i.e. one is in Sura al-Hajj, verse no. 39; the words are:  أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَـٰتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُواْ.. It is stated that now the permission is granted to pick up the arms to fight against those who have already imposed war on you because you have been wronged and because an act of aggression has been committed against you. So, today the permission is given to you to fight a war for your self-defense. This is the first verse. Look at the words udhina, permission is granted, lilladhina only to those, yuqatiluna against whose aggression and war has already been imposed; bi annahum zulimu, because they have faced an act of aggression, militancy, terrorism, killing, and the act of attack has been already committed on them. So now they can resist the attackers for their self defense. This is the foundational article of jihad meaning of qital. I mean self-defense. This has nothing to do with the four meanings I have already explained.

War is the right of state

This is very interesting point which I have elaborated here. Very few scholars would have mentioned it. When the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was in Mecca, there was no Islamic state there. Nobody was allowed to take up arms for an armed conflict. When he migrated to Medina, Islamic state came into existence. He was the head of the state elected through the constitution. He established an alliance with the Jewish tribe, and with their support, he was selected and appointed as the head of the state and promulgated the first constitution of Medina. Since the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was the head of state, rising against the oppression was allowed and the defensive war was permitted because the state was already there. So this difference between Mecca and Medina explains the fact that, in any case, if it is a defensive war, no person, no organization and no community can take up arms individually. None of them is allowed to launch a defensive war.
War is a privilege and a prerogative or a lawful right of a state. No organization and no person has any authority or privilege to start a war and declare its terrorist acts as jihad. Since it was not done by the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) and his Companions, how can it be legalized or considered legitimate for an organization that exists nowadays and claim its criminal and terrorist activities as jihad. It is totally against the teachings, practice and the conduct of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him).
The second verse, which is the foundation of second article, was revealed. This foundational article of jihad means qital. The word ‘qital’ has been used as lawful, just and defensive war in Sura al-Baqara, the Medinan chapter verse 190. The words are: wa qatilu. Sometimes people take a few words from the verse, and sometime they take the verse out of the context and use specific words for their own meanings. They may be Muslims or some of the western scholars and orientalists who do not have full grasp and comprehensive command on the subject. So the Qur’an says:
وَقَـٰتِلُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِينَ يُقَـٰتِلُونَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوۤاْ‌ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُعْتَدِينَ.
This is the second foundation. This was revealed in 7th year of migration. It means that twenty years had already passed after the promulgation of Islam, and the commencement of the revelation of the Qur’an—13 years of Meccan and 7 years of Medinan period. 20 years had passed when the command of defensive war was revealed. At that time, only three years were left of Holy Prophet’s life. When the treaty of peace was breached by the Meccans, only as a result of the breach of treaty of peace, treaty of Hudaybiyya, which was a ten year no war agreement. The no war pact for ten years was done and signed by the Meccans and Medinans. The Meccans breached that treaty of peace within one year. This was the historical background when the war for defense was allowed for the Muslims, and whenever there was a war of defense, it was fought by the state. It was between states. The word ‘in the way of Allah’ is misused and misinterpreted and exploited; where it is said  فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ, in the way of Allah, it means for a just cause, and not for expansionist objectives. You may fight with those  ٱلَّذِينَ يُقَـٰتِلُونَكُمْ, who are already fighting against you and imposed war on you. So fight in defense.  وَلَا تَعْتَدُوۤاْ —and even in war of defense, you are not allowed to transgress the limits, for transgression is prohibited. Transgression means that even in the event of war, in the battlefield, you cannot kill women. This is categorically narrated in Bukhari, Muslim and dozens of other books of Hadith. These references can be found in my book Fatwa on Suicide Bombings and Terrorism. So you cannot kill women during war; you cannot kill children, kids, the priests, pastors, bishops, and religious leaders of the Jewish or Christian or other faiths. You cannot kill farmers, agriculturists and growers. You can't kill the business community because they are lynchpin of economy, and provide livelihood to society. You can’t kill traders, diplomats and ambassadors. They are categorical injunction of Holy Prophet, not only in one single book but in hundreds of books and hadith reports. The classical literature is full of these references and the same was the practice of the rightly guided caliphs. You cannot demolish the churches and houses; and you cannot burn houses. You cannot kill animals except for need of food even during war in the land of your enemy. You can't attack the civilian people. You can't attack non- combatants. These are the rules of the lawful war, and lawful jihad. All classical authorities whether Hanafis, Malikies, Shafi‘ies, or Hanbalies or Ja‘faries, enjoy consensus on this point during the history of 1400 years. So no one is allowed to attack the non-combatants even in war. You are not allowed to kill the non- combatant, and civilians who belong to a state or country against which you are fighting and they are fighting against you.
So there is neither any justification nor approval for suicide bombings or killing civilian population, terrorist attacks on civilian population, on embassies, and kidnapping them and killing them. All these acts are criminal acts, anti-Islamic and anti-Qur’anic acts, but unfortunately, the extremists and terrorists have hijacked the Islamic teachings. They create news and news shape minds. Then views on the news make a mindset. So concluding this aspect, fighting in self-defense or fighting against aggression and persecution is very important. That is lawful fighting in defense and should be in just proportion  وَلَا تَعْتَدُوۤا. You cannot transgress limits. There should be a just proportionality and a moral conduct of war, as I mentioned some of the things. The categorical letters and instructions were issued in written form by the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) and by the Caliphs that these things are prohibited. Fighting for the restoration of peace and harmony is what constitutes a just war. And in spite of war, truces and treaties of peace are to be honored. According to the Qur’an and Sunna, the Muslims were neither allowed then nor today to break or to breach the truces and treaties of peace in any case. These were the main conditions.

Verse of the Sword

And now a very important thing— there is another confusion which is normally and frequently used by the terrorists, the extremist people—they quote a verse from Sura al-Tawba, chapter 9, verse 5. The same verse has created some confusion in the minds of some western authors and writers too. This is  آيَةُ السَّيْف, the verse of sword. There are references from 70 to 120 verses that ban taking up arms in Meccan period when the permission of self-defense was accorded. The extremist people, the terrorist people and some of the western writers who are again confused and have no clarity on the subject, say that this verse of Sura al-Tawba, verse 5 آيَةُ السَّيْف repealed all verses which were revealed for self defense and that this enjoined just to kill the non-Muslims.
The terrorists exploit the meaning of this verse, take it out of context, and misinterpret it. So I want to clarify this misunderstanding from both the sides, the Muslims and the western side. I am analyzing this verse of sword. This is verse number 5 chapter 9. So we have to be very clear that we can't segregate or isolate a particular verse, taking it out of the context and then interpreting it in its physic situation. We have to try to understand every single verse in full context of the Qur’an and in the historical background in which it was revealed. So this is a verse in chapter 9 known as Sura al-Bara’a and Sura al-Toba. This is a chapter of renunciation, absolution and this was revealed in 9th year of Hijra. That’s why they say this is the last verse and this has repealed all verses of peace and commandments of treaties and commandments of self defense. This is the biggest misunderstanding. The terrorist are using this verse, which is the biggest silly argument used by them. This whole chapter of war was revealed in 9th year of migration and its first word is that the treaty of peace which was signed in Hudayibiyya in the 6th year of Hijrah and the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) went there with 1400 Companions and was not allowed to enter Mecca.
This situation concluded on a treaty of peace, a truce. So there was a specific condition, a written article in that treaty that neither Mecca nor Medina would attack each other nor their allies and none of these two states would be allowed to help any ally in order to attack Medina or attack the ally of Medina. In the same way, Medina would not be allowed to help their allies to attack any ally of Mecca. So this was the comprehensive treaty for ten years. What happened soon after this treaty? There was Banu Bakr, a very big tribe, among the allies of Meccans and there was a big tribe Banu Khuza‘a, it was the ally of Medinans. So Banu Bakr attacked the Banu Khuza‘a and committed a great act of killing and massacre and the Meccans provided them with arms, money and physically participated in this attack and killing. So the Meccans breached the treaty of peace by this attack and a collective act of killing of the tribe Banu Khuza‘a. So the treaty of Hudaybiyya stood nullified and came to naught as a result. This chapter 9 was revealed in this historical context to announce, till this time that the breach of treaty was committed by the Meccans.
The Qur’an is declaring annulment or renunciation that treaty of peace which was done in Hudaybiyya under which both sides were bound and held responsible not to war against each other or against their allies now  بَرَأَةٌ مِّنَ اللهِ وَرَسُوْلِهِ,. God and His Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) are announcing that the treaty has been cancelled and there is no liability on both sides. This is an announcement of no liability remaining after the breach has taken place by the Meccans. This was the whole Sura.
The next verse is important  وَأَذَانٌ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ. Then God commanded the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) since the treaty has been breached so there should be no warfare unless it should be properly and publically announced. So second verse and third verse include the public announcement of the breach of the treaty and both parties have come out of their responsibilities because the Meccans breached the treaty. Second verse is  وَأَذَانٌ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ, so it is announced that the treaty is no more in existence. It is stated that those who have breached the treaty and still there are some tribes who were allies of Meccans, they have not yet breached their allies. So Qur’an says:
إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ عَـٰهَدتُّم مِّنَ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ.
So the treaty of peace would remain intact for the tribes who are peace-loving and have not participated in the breach. Medina will honour the treaty with them. This was the third article. Then forth article was that only those Meccans and allies who initiated war against Medina and Medinan allies have particularly breached the treaty, so this renunciation and annulment of treaty would affect only their position. They would no more be under guarantee because they have breached a pact. In verse number 4 and 5 that ultimatum was given even after breach of trust that we will not fight against you in spite of your breach; four month ultimatum was given  فَإِذَا ٱنسَلَخَ ٱلْأَشْهُرُ ٱلْحُرُمُ and in Qur’an it comes  مِنْهَا اَرْبَعَةٌ اَحْرُم four months were given to them as ultimatum. Those who abuse human rights and violate the treaties of peace, ultimatum of four months was given and stated that we are giving you the period of four months so that you may return to peace. You may restore peace and revise your policy. If the treaty of peace is restored and policy of peace is again made, these four months are given for peace making. Even after four months, if you don’t revise the policy, still you prepare attacking us. Then this verse number 5, the verse of sword, revealed: then you are allowed to fight them in self-defense. Some people among the terrorists think and there is some misunderstanding in the west as well. They think that this verse repealed all verses communicated before. This is wrong. This verse did not repeal any verse. This verse just repealed the treaties which were already breached by the Meccans. All commandments of the Qur’an remain intact and this is reported by ‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Abbas. So does al-Dahhak b. Mihsan. ‘Ali b. Talha say the same thing. They say that this verse of sword elaborates that you cannot take up sword against those people who have not breached the treaty of peace.
So it was still for those who are peace loving countries and are not going to attack you; you cannot fight them in your defense. Again if there is a war going on and a state of war is restored even during warfare, it is said: if any person kills a non-combatant belonging to a state which is fighting you, and if that non-combatant comes to you, you are under obligation to provide peace and security to him. Verse number 6, immediately after the first verse 5, said that you are under the obligation to provide security and safety to all non-combatants. So this is an explicit Qur’anic commandment to provide safety and security to all non-combatants. And up to verse 12, it is again instructed to fight against those who commit aggression on you, fight you, impose war on you except those people who, as per their agreement of peace, don't fight. This is the verse no 12 of the same chapter. So this was an analysis of the whole subject of the verse known as the verse of sword.

Division of Abodes

One last point— the terrorists and extremists declare the whole world as Dar al-Harb. They say that we are under obligation to fight them irrespective of whether they are Muslims or non-Mulims. This is against the Qur’an and Sunna. The basic relationship between the Muslim countries and non-Muslim countries is not the relationship of war, it is the relationship of neutrality. The Muslim countries are neutral countries. These are known as Dar al-Hiyad,  دار الحياد, relationship of  اَلْمُحَايِدَة, neutrality. If they fight, you they become a part of war directly; if they enter into a treaty of peace, they become Dar al-‘Ahad  دار العهد; if they establish friendly relationship with you and conclude an agreement of conciliation, they become Dar al-Salm  دار السلم, the abode of conciliation. Because of a multinational treaty through UN, every state, and every single member of the UN has entered into a multinational international treaty of peace. The UN has become the treaty maker and peace maker for the whole world. So every single country, Muslim or non-Muslim, is bound by the UN charter. So all countries of the world have become Dar al-‘Ahad  دار العهد under the UN and the injunctions of the Qur’an and Sunnah and Islam of Dar al-‘Ahad are the same as Dar al-Isalm. All jurists such as Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Tahawi, Imam Sarakhsi, Imam Kasani and Hanbali and Shafi and Malki scholars even Imam Shafi agreed to this idea that the word  دار الاسلام does not mean the land of Islam. This is wrong translation. Dar al-Islam means the abode of peace.
In every county where people live their free lives and enjoy the security of life, property, wealth, religion, culture, getting benefit of freedom everywhere, those countries are Dar al-Islam. It means countries of peace. So neither any individual nor any organization has a right to declare any act as jihad or wage war. Secondly, the whole world under the UN according to the injunctions of the Qur’an and the Sunna of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) has become Dar al-‘Ahad similar to Dar al-Islam. So nobody has the right to fight against anyone unless the UN decides or the state decides as a defensive war, a matter between states and these are the things or collective resistance against an aggression. So these are the basic concepts which were misunderstood, misinterpreted and hijacked by the terrorists. We need to be clear about these concepts. I have tried to convey my message of peace and counter-terrorism and clarification of the concept of Islam and reclaiming the terms from the terrorists in respect to Islam. I hope Almighty God will help us understand one and another more and more. Thank You.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Indonesian Islamic Banking Outlook to 2013

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Russia and Islam

The Protohistory (Ninth to Twelfth Centuries): -

Russia’s position on the eastern flank of Europe has often been compared to that of Spain on the western side. Both are seen as bulwarks of Christendom facing the hostile world of Islam, of civilization facing ‘barbary’. Russia exhausted herself in a heroic struggle of several centuries, but this sacrifice was not to be in vain, for Europe was saved and could go on to develop its brilliant civilization well protected by the Russians. The price of this voluntary sacrifice was heavy, since in order to survive and finally to overcome the ‘Asia barbarians’, Muscovy was obliged to adopt their ways, such as tyranny, despotism, serfdom and lack of liberty. Such is the picture that is painted in nearly all Russian and Soviet historical works. Far-fetched as it is, there are deep reasons for defending this absurd concept. According to the Russians, ‘they have suffered more than any other people’ and have ‘played the role of protectors and saviours’, a kind of St George killing the Asiatic dragon and rescuing the European princess. This exclusive position ‘gives the Russians certain messianic rights’, in particular the right to assume the leadership over their lesser European brothers and to ‘civilize’ the world Asiatics.

The reality is of course far from this Manichaean approach to history. When the ancestors of the Russians first came into contact with Asia in the ninth century they were the ‘Barbarians’, not the highly civilized Muslims.

In the early tenth century, the borderline between ‘Civilization’ and ‘Barbary’ followed more or less exactly the frontier which today separates the Slavic ‘European’ people of the USSR from the area populated largely by Muslims: Middle and Lower Volga, North Caucasian mountains, Derbent, Syr Daria. However, ‘Barbary’ at this time was represented by the ‘Europeans’, ancestors of the Russians. (There are those who believe that the position has altered little over time.)

For the Muslims, the ‘Rus’ were wild and primitive natives, purveyors of rare blond slaves and such precious raw materials as fur and ivory. But they were dangerous neighbors and their plundering expeditions (912 and 941-4 raids in the Caspian Sea, the destruction of the Khazar Empire in 945 and 985 expedition against Bulghar) were described in gruesome detail by early Muslim chroniclers.

During 942-4 the ‘Rus’ devastated all Muslim Transcaucasia. Berdea, the most prosperous city of Azerbaijan, was completely destroyed and its inhabitants slaughtered. According to Ibn Hawkal, from the 1,200 5 remained. In 1850, a Russian historian, Grigor’ev, wrote”

When anarchy, fanaticism and barbarity were disputing the domination of Europe, the Khazar Empire was a center of law, order and religious tolerance, a refuge for all those who were persecuted for their belief. It was like a brilliant meteor over the dark horizon of Europe.

In the tenth century, when Russians were still mostly pagans, Islam had already penetrated Eastern Transcaucasia and Daghestan. It had conquered the whole of Turkestan south of Syr Darya and the King of Bulghar in the far north had adopted the religion of the Prophet, Except for the Bulghar Kingdom, all these territories had long been settled with highly developed urban societies going back to the second millennium BC. Even the nomadic Turks of the Caspian steppes – the Khazars – whose feudal nobility had adopted Judaism as their official religion, had attained a higher level of political and cultural development than the ancestors of the Russians, their vassals in the eighth and early ninth centuries.

During the eleventh and twelfth centuries political and cultural equilibrium was established between the sedentary Kievian Rus, Christianized and civilized by Byzantium and the nomadic Qypchaqs (Polovtsy) – heirs to the Khazars who ruled over the Steppe territories between the Dniepr and the Aral Sea.

Contrary to the commonly accepted but totally misleading version put forward by Russian historians, relations between sedentary Russians and nomadic Turks were not limited only to plundering expeditions and punitive counter-expeditions, but included wide cultural and diplomatic exchanges between partners who treated each other as equals. Moreover, during this period Turkic princesses often married Kievian princes. (It is a well known historical fact that the vassal seeks the hand of his suzerain’s daughter.) This happy period ended with the Mongol invasion, but not before a considerable number of Turkic, Iranian and even Arabic words synonymous with advanced societies were borrowed and have become so thoroughly Russified as to make it nearly impossible to recognize their Asiatic origins: chugun, bulat, topor, sablia, saray, bumaga, khram, terem, yazyk, ochag, cherdak, loshad’, chemodan, bogatyr, magazin, karandash, karaul, etc. In contrast, Slavic vocabulary made no impression on Turkic languages – at least until the nineteenth century.

In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the equilibrium which existed between the sedentary Kievian civilization and the steppe nomads in the Black Sea-Caspian Sea area could be likened to an outwardly similar situation between the sedentary Irano-Turkic and nomadic Turko-Mongol worlds along the line of Syr Daria. To draw any sort of parallel would, however, be wrong. In Central Asia, Bukhara of the Samanids and Empire of the Seljuqs were the great centers of world culture at that time and the defense line on Syr Daria marked the border between civilization and Barbary. There could be no borrowing of Mongol-Turkic or Manchu words from the Qara Khitay by the Persians or the Seljuqs and a Samanid king or a Khwarezm shah would never dream of marrying the daughter of a nomad chieftain roaming the Mongolian outback.

One element only was common to both: lack of any religious problem. This stemmed from the nomads’ tolerance towards religious matters and willingness to drop their ancestral Shamanism for the more enlightened Islam in Turkestan and Christianity in the West.

Islamic Ideology

 by: Ahmed Parvez

The question before us is "What is Islamic Ideology"? To me Ideology is a philosophical term meaning the ‘Science of Ideas’. Idea is again a subtle and very comprehensive term. It is unnecessary for our present purpose to go into the details of the term. But generally this means a basic concept or the basic concepts on which any ‘system’ is built constitutes its ‘Ideology’. Since Ideology pre supposes the existence of a system, the question arises whether Islam is a system?

Yes, Islam is a system. Islam is not like other conventional religions, in other words Religion is the English equivalent for the Arabic word Mazhah which does not occur even once in the whole of the Holy Quran. The Quran has used the word Ad deen for Islam which means a particular way of life. The Holy Quran points to this aspect in its own inimitable way. It says that the healthy concept of life Ideology or kaIema-e-tayyiba revealed by Quran which has the capacity to rise high towards God Almighty. In Quran’s dialect Ideology makes up what we call Faith (Imaan) and the means to give the Ideology a practical shape are termed Righteous Actions from humans. Ideology forms the objective of the Islamic Order and positive actions constitute the program for attaining the objectives of Islamic System. In the present context you can say that Ideology provides the ‘Objectives Resolution’ of an Islamic State, its constitution gives political form to the resolution and its laws prescribe the program for helping the people attain their destiny.

The final position in a nutshell is;Islamic Ideology is another name for Permanent Values or unbreakable Principles elaborated in the Holy Quran that an Islamic State is established for the sole purpose of introducing Permanent Values in life that the first and foremost duty of an Islamic State is to provide means for the growth and development of the human body as well as human personality.

The considerations set forth before you lead to the following three-fold conclusion:

1. Islamic Ideology connotes the sum total of Permanent Values or Inviolable Principles which have been preserved in their complete and final form in the Holy Quran.

2. Islamic State is a state which adopts Quranic Permanent Values as its ideal.

3. Islamic Constitution is the document which proclaims the above ideal and details the plan according to which the structure of the State will rise solid and firm on the basis of Quranic Principles.

We Muslims & Islam

by: Ahmad Parvez

Islam is a divine message from Allah Almighty for the entire humankind. The structures (Pillars) that would support the building of Islam would have to be strong, purposeful, powerful and pragmatic. This is because that Islam is not a dogma, but imaging for how long? How long will we continue to follow the paths that have leaded us collectively to absolutely nowhere? Except to immobility, stagnation, divisions, fragmentation, fighting amongst ourselves and to the absolute ruin of generations of the people that Allah Almighty created to lead Mankind to the promised land.

For God sake it is about time that Muslims took stock of their lot and realized that there is no such thing as they. For they never change. It is we who will have to change. In the words of Dr. Allama Iqbal " O! Muslims if you desire to live your life as a Momin (believer), you have no choice except to make the Quran your guiding light". We will have to cleanse our minds of the Religion (Mazhab) of Islam and return to the Deen-ul-Haq. We will have to follow the revelation given unto us by our Rabb, and follow not as friends and protectors other than Him (Quran 7:3). We will therefore, have to disregard all other books written by men and seek guidance only from the Book sent down to us in truth, that we may establish the rule between men, as guided by Allah Almighty (Quran 4:105).

We will have to demand from our respective Muslim Governments that they fulfill the promise that Allah Almighty has made to us. As Allah Almighty has said, they lose the right to our obedience. We will have to demand what is rightfully ours, the benefits of the system of Rabubiyyat (nourishment and development) which are manifest when the Salat and Zakat is established. Dear readers the responsibility is ours. May Allah Almighty grant us the wisdom, courage and the strength to claim that which is ours by right?

The Positive Impact of Islam on Europe

 by: Jim Fry

Ottoman Empire started conquering Europe in 14th century and by 15th century had most of Eastern Europe under its kingdom. Although traces of Islam have been found a long before Ottoman Empire but Islam flourished appropriately when Ottoman Empire ruled Europe. Historians are of the point of view that Islam laid the foundation of modern Europe and it is it fact the reality. History has noticed Europe dominating the world in the past centuries through its knowledge and power but if we study early invention of mathematics, physics and astronomy, not surprisingly; all the credit goes to Muslim world of seience. Muslim mathematicians worked in every field of mathematics such as Al-Jabir founded algebra. Galileo and Newton, the great scientists of their time, would never have been able to formulate the modern theories of mathematics and physics without the basic and important tools invented by Muslim scientists.

Plato and Aristotle laid the institution of classical writing and texts in ancient Europe but these sculptures were lost in the history and were almost doomed during the Dark Age. It was again Muslims who acted as the caretakers of those important writings and preserved them. Even some of that work was present only in Arabic. Ibne-Rushd, a Muslim, known as Averroes in Europe, had a major name in this regard.

European explorers are famous for their voyages and explorations but it was only made possible by the accurate maps produced by the Muslim mapmakers. These maps paved the way for European explorers to discover new worlds in minimum time span.

This is only the tiny amount of donation made by Islam to Europe directly or indirectly. According to global news, there are about 53 million Muslims in Europe. Islam has become the fastest growing religion in Europe and all over the world, there has been establishment of new mosques all over Europe and even non-Muslims are visiting these mosques. The rate of conversion to Islam shot in the recent years especially after 9/11 attacks when Muslims were accused of it. It was the time when non-Muslims especially Christians were more interested to find out about Islam, Qura'an and the teachings of Holy Prophet (PBUH). Although Islam was manipulated to be the religion of extremism and terrorism but when these individuals studied Islam, their views changed and they found Islam to be the complete code of life and the best religion of the world. So they adopted it after their vast researches. The Muslim immigrants from the Muslim world to Europe living there for decades are clear symbols of peace loving Muslim culture.

Today media, in Europe especially, talks alot about the the disrespect given to women in Islam, but in fact, this is not true. Islam is the only religion that has raised the prestige of women from one of the poorly humiliated creature, in Western culture, to that of a respectful being possessing equal rights to man. Under the wrong ideological concept of child marriage by the non-Muslims, the Muslims have been criticized by the western media but in fact there is no concept of child marriage in Islam and such incidents are purely restricted to few old customed tribes.

As many historians have revealed Islam to be the past of modern Europe we believe that it would be the future of the European world as well.