Extremism and Counter-extremism…. Whatever happened to moderation? Part I

In extremism and counter-extremism, Islam on February 25, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Extremism is a word which truly dominates the world’s political scene today. While  extremism  increasingly  refers to terrorists who use the name of Islam, the reactions to extremism are also extreme if you examine closely. Among governments and societies, the attitudes, the policies and the actions of a majority of those who fight terrorism are no less extreme  as the so called terrorists. Reminds me of the swing of a pendulum which can be either to the left OR to the right, but it will be a SWING any way, as extreme as you push it, only the direction will be different. To be extreme is to far from the centre or the middle, to exceed the bounds of moderation.  So if we sincerely wish to oppose extremism, what shall we rely on? Of course, moderation.

There! I have laid out my thesis. Now let’s develop it more logically…

How come terrorism is  simply that and NOT “Islamic”

We need no reminders that all forms of terrorism are extremist, but we DO need a set of well-rounded arguments that such acts are NOT Islamic even if the perpetuators associate the pure name of Islam.

Here are some:

  1. Terrorists inflict harm and violence upon innocent civilians and non-combatants. On the other hand, Quran states in Ayah 126, Surah Nahal: “If you punish, let your punishment be proportionate to the punishment you received. But if you are patient, it is better for the patient.”  Thus where the central theme of terrorism is intolerance, the counsel of Quran is patience.
  2. Terrorists are indiscriminate in their killing, playing with and ridiculing the sanctity of human life. On the other hand Quran equates illegal killing of ANY individual with killing off the whole humanity; while saving a life is tantamount to saving the human race (Ayah 32, Sura Maida). Also: “The recompense for he who kills a believer deliberately is Gehenna (Hell), he is eternal there. Allah will be angry with him and will curse him and prepare for him a great punishment.” (Ayah 93, Sura An-Nisa). The Islamic law of Qisas is not just for when a Muslim is killed, it holds as much for unjust killing of non-Muslims in a Muslim state.
  3. Terrorists have repeatedly employed suicide-bombers often luring them with promises of “instantaneous admission into Heaven”. The reality is that  suicide is clearly despised according to  several Ahadith (sayings of the Prophet Mohammed Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Alehi Wassallam) with the promise of variously defined punishments in Hell [E.g.: No.s 445, 446, Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23]. In one, a hadith-e-qudsi, Allah says “My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him” [No. 445]. In another, the Prophet warned that “if somebody commits suicide with anything in this world, he will be tortured with that very thing on the Day of Resurrection.” [Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, No. 73].

Read Part II here.

Read Part III here.

Possibly related in this blog:

On the Sharia deal in Pakistan


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