In an article written by Allauddin Mohammad on this website, he mentions few verses in Quran which preach peace and harmony among Muslims in particular and all human beings in general. Indeed, Quran is quite clear about peace and non-violence and the very word which Muslims use to greet people in their day to day communication is “Asalamu Alaikom” meaning peace be upon you. In the past 30-50 years, violence in the name of religion has become a common phenomenon and almost all suicide attacks are attributed to Muslims and in fact they are carried out by Muslims, but who and what really promotes all this, is another discussion beyond the scope of this article. To the common men of today anywhere in the world Islam and violence are the two sides of a coin.
Having seen all these incidents, the very question everyone generally asks is,
“is there really a problem with the religion itself and are there really provisions in the text of Islam which directly or indirectly preach hatred and violence against others that provoke the followers to carry out attacks by whatsoever facilities in their hand?” or Islam and Muslims just plainly misunderstood?
If we take a glance at the human history or at least have knowledge of the last two centuries we will find out that there were no incidents of the kind we are witnessing, at least 50 years back. So if the problem was with the religion itself then why the problem of violence is of a much recent origin? To me, the problem lies in the very fact which is promoted world-wide that Islam says it is the absolute right and denies all other sources for the adherence of the truth. For any believer, in the sanctity of his believe, this verdict is enough to hate others and if provoked, take it as legitimate order to carry out any sort of violence against the non-believers. What is going on in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan… according to me is not because of the fact that people are poor and need the funds to sustain themselves, but it is for the reason that they believe what they are doing is right and will assure them an eternal life! In my school curriculum during the Taliban-rule in Afghanistan where I grew up, the literature was full of absolute righteousness and the complete distortion of the non-believers to Islam. Having said all this, one then may ask that the religion itself is biased against others and promotes violence. It is noticeable that the existence of such provision is not limited to Islam only, and since the discussion is on Muslims, the argument on others is avoided.
To answer this I have to mention that Islam gives value to human reasoning and rational equal importance to that of the verdicts mentioned in the book and all issues in all circumstances should be evaluated with these two important tools. Furthermore, while the text does proclaim the superiority of Islam as a faith (Not Muslims) over other schools of believes, there are provisions such as “killing an innocent man is like killing the whole human being” which outweighs the effect of the former. It is the second point which has been dried out in the last 3 to 4 decades in particular and last 2 centuries in general with the rise of a newly born extreme and dogmatic sect in Islam, the Wahabism. Wahabi movement which was born in Saudi Arabia with the straightforward ideology of sticking to the Quran without a proper comparative and contextual analysis of various verses, and ruling out the human logic and reason, is currently the official sect followed by the Saudi kingdom and being promoted by the Saudi and its allies to the rest of Islamic world. In India, Pakistan and Afghanistan this dogmatic and reason-biased sect is vastly growing and as the number of the followers increase, the recruitees in the terrorist camps are facilitated in the same proportion.
Now the question is that whether spreading of only the intolerant part of Islam, is the problem of the masses or the so called ‘elite’ who issues the fatwas, the muftis who are sitting in religious centers. It is quite natural for believer of a religion that once he believes that he is the absolute right, then whenever the so-called contractors of the religion who have taught him this self-righteousness, can hand him a gun to kill the ‘non-believers’.
In my view the combat with the hatred and terror is possible neither through political means nor attacking this or that country, but to address the sources which promotes this ideology. Those who believe and promote such ideologies should be brought to debates to convince them that human reason is as important as their source of belief. Unless the entire literature of hatred produced in the last century is not modified, the camp will be supplied with more stone-hearted believers and compounded with the Saudi Oil and the Drugs in countries like Afghanistan, none of the problems can be solved and more and more people will be victimized. The entire education system and brain washing machineries should be moderated by civic ideals. All centers which produce and feed extreme ideologies should be brought about to the enlightened, moderate Muslim intellectual circles.