Sunday, August 25, 2002

A faith of Peace

Prophet Mohamad (PBUH) blessed once, 'Do not commit yourself to lengthy discussions of religion -- such talk only succeeds in making religion a complex and confused matter. God has made religion easy and simple'. Divine words spoken by the prophet of love and compassion, words uttered millions of moments ago. Words that ring so true to the present day.

As the Socio-political equations change rapidly in the modern times, there is an increased debate on religions, the veracity of certain faiths is being increasingly questioned. People inebriated with pelf seem to doubt the credentials of faiths they deem radical and militant. Islam as such is being singled out because a frail soul Mr. Bin laden happens to be a Muslim. Do individuals represent their faiths. If yes, Mc veigh was a catholic. How about going after zucchettos then. Absurd and antic!

Islam is the religion of peace, tolerance and camaraderie. It manifests the human spirit in its ultimate form and preaches Love for all.... Including non-Muslims. It quite explicitly condemns terrorism in all its manifestations and dejects in the severest terms the abject and innocent bloodletting. There are several injunctions in the holy Quran vis-a-vis this.

Many people, the world over, grossly misunderstand the tenants of Jihad. Jihad is a multi-layered concept in Quran and not one-dimensional. The real Jihad or ‘jihade-akbar’ is a constant struggle to promote justice and goodness. It actually amounts to control one’s own desires and curb the acquisitive instincts, which are the root cause of all evil according to the Islamic theology. The Quranic injunctions call upon all Muslims to live in peace with people of other faiths. Islam advocates complete co-existence.

Islam calls for ‘jehade-ashgar’ or minor jihad, a holy war against oppressors only in very specific circumstances. For instance, when a Muslim is not allowed to follow his religious practices, when he is constantly oppressed by tyrannical forces, when his freedom and sovereignty are in constant threat. Moreover when a grand council of Islamic scholars or a legitimate ruler of an Islamic state, in extreme cases, calls for such a Jihad, it gets obligatory.

This is however, not the case. No jihad has been called. If a Muslim does something against the spirit of Islam, it is not the religion but the individual who should be blamed. Blame the driver not the Rolls-Royce, as they say!

Prophet Mohamad, who loathed ostentation, is often reported to have fed a hungry and blind leper who was a Jew. No one knew about this facet of Mohamad's life. This was when Mohamad (Pbuh) was the ruler of Arabia, fourteen centuries back. How could the faith that he preached ask you to kill fellow humans! This is gross misinterpretation. It must be done away with. Islam is the fastest growing faith in the world and that is because it is a pragmatic religion, a complete way of life. It holds the best principles and advocates the noblest of ideas. It is a practical and righteous faith that arose from the holy lands of Arabia and suffused the world over as the ultimate word of the Lord!

No doubt, it is always Muslims who are at the receiving end. Wherever…Afghanistan, India, Bosnia, Palestine, Iraq. The profanities of faith are most legible in blood. Muslim blood! Mohamad’s Umah. No one draws a darn. They say all Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims. Yes and all Muslims are not oppressed but all oppressed are Muslims. Kashmir or Kosovo, Herat or Hebron.

Things will slow down and calm, for sure. Let dreamers fancy a clash of civilizations. What is going to prevail is God’s word. And Ofcourse, the spirit of goodness. Amen!