By: Abdulrazaq Oyebanji Hamzat
Ambassador,International Human Right Commission

Before i proceed with this article,I would like to say that (Respect for other religion is a way to paradise). Take it or leave it. I came to this understand from the Prophet (S.A.W).

When i was a little boy,i started going to Islamic school in Kano at a very tender age,Allah gave me religious understanding.This qualifies me to join the elders in learning.

In the elders class,they teach them so many things and they also dialogue with the teacher for better understanding, unlike the children who usually read with little or no dialogue with the teachers.

One faithful day,I was at the elders class receiving study sermon,the teacher told us about the story of an idolater during the time of the prophet (S.A.W),this idolater is an elderly man,but all effort to make him accept Islam had failed. After the death of this man,one day,The prophet of God,(S.A.W) dream and saw this man in paradise,the prophet wondered how the man got there when it was clear he didn’t accept Islam.so Allah gave him story of the man’s journey to the paradise.

The man didn’t accept Islam yet, he has respect for the religion and the people in it. He respect the religious teaching and practices. One day during the month of Ramadan (fasting Period),he came home and saw his son eating outside,he quarreled with his son, saying why are you eating outside? the son replied that i am hungry.the man angrily asked again,why must you bring the food out side,don’t you know some people are fasting to their lord? they are starving not because they have no food,but because they are obeying their God.The boy said but i am not part of them, why must i be concern with them,the man got angry with that attitude and started bitting his son. In the course of doing that,the man fell down and died in the process. The Almighty Allah, reveled to the prophet that,that single act by this man is what qualifies him to be in paradise. Respect.

Acording to one Islamic scholar,The truth is that peace in Islam is the ‘rule’, while war is the ‘exception’. This is borne out by all the teachings of Islam and the practical life of the Prophet of Islam.

One of the attributes of God described in the Quran is ‘As-Salam’, which means peace and security.’ That is to say that God’s Being itself is a manifestation of peace. Indeed, God is Peace (Al-Bukhari). In the Quran divine guidance is likened to the paths of peace. (5:16)The Quran, avers that, ‘reconciliation is best’ (4:128), and judging by the consequences, the way of peace is far better than that of confrontation.Whenever the Prophet had an option between two courses of action, he always chose the easier (non-confrontational) one. (Bukhari)

This means that, violent activism should not be indulged in if peaceful activism is an option. For, peace is the easier course as compared to violence.

For instance, trying to change the status quo in the very first stage of a movement is a hard option, while launching one’s activities in the available sphere without doing so is an easier option.Going to war in confrontational situations is a hard option while following a conciliatory course in dealing with one’s rival is easier. Countering aggression with aggression is a hard option, while countering aggression with patience and forbearance is an easier option. An agitational course of action is harder than employing quiet strategy. Adopting a radical method of reformation is harder than that of following a gradual method. Taking emotional, extreme steps without a thought for their consequences creates difficulties. While a well-considered method, keeping an eye on the consequences, gives much better results. The policy of confrontation with a ruler is a harder option, while initiating one’s action; by sidestepping the ruler in the sphere of education and learning is an easier option. These instances show us the easier and harder options, as demonstrated by the Hadith.

The Example of the Prophet Muhammad
The Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation in 610 A.D. in Makkah. God ordained that he carry out the mission of Tawheed (or oneness of God).

The house of the Kabah, which was built as the house of monotheism by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael (peace be upon them), later on became a centre of polytheism with 360 idols in it. The first revelation might well have demanded the purification of the Kabah, which would have given rise to a serious problem. But the first revelation made in the Quran was:

Purify your vestments (74:4)
This means to purify one’s moral character. If, in the first stage the Prophet had been commanded to purify the Kabah while Makkah was still under the domination of the idolaters, this would have surely precipitated clash and confrontation. Therefore, according to the command of the first revelation, the Prophet continued to perform his prayers peacefully in the Kabah for a period of 13 years, even though it housed several hundred idols.

Similarly, the Prophet and his companions circumambulated the Kabah on the occasion of Umrah al-Hudaybiyya in 629, while the Kabah still housed 360 idols.

Similarly, the Prophet and his companions circumambulated the Kabah on the occasion of Umrah al-Hudaybiyya in 629, while the Kabah still housed 360 idols.

The Prophet Muhammad proceeded thus in order to avoid war and confrontation with the idolaters, and so that the atmosphere of peace should be maintained. The entire life of the Prophet is a practical demonstration of this peace-loving policy. At the time of migration from Makkah, the idolaters were all set to wage war, but the Prophet avoided this by quietly leaving his homeland for Madinah.

The mission of Islam is based on monotheism, its goal being to make people realize the existence of the one and only God and to strive to bring about a revolution in their hearts and minds of individuals in order that they may love God as is His due. And the greatest concern of man should be to fear and worship his Creator (2:165).

Such a mission cannot afford wars and violent confrontations. When a state of war and violence prevails, the normal atmosphere is vitiated and such circumstances as would foster intellectual movements and spiritual reformation cannot be effectively created. It cannot be denied that peaceful circumstances produce a propitious environment for Islam, while violent circumstances inevitably result in antagonism towards Islam.

War: A State Action
In Islam, war is not the prerogative of the individual but of an established government. Only an established government can declare war. In other words, individuals can pray on their own, but they cannot wage wars of their own accord. Only when a war is declared by the ruling government, can the public join in and support it, and not before that. Islam does not sanction individual actions on this issue. Therefore no Non Governmental Organization or NGO can declare a war.

As a general principle, the Quran tells us that, even where an external attack is feared, the common man should not act independently, but should take the matter to the ruler, and then under his guidance take proper counter measures. (4:83).

The Hadith also states that ‘the ruler is a shield, fighting is done under him, and security is attained through him.’

This clearly shows that the decision to do battle and its planning are the tasks of an established government. The common man can play his role as need be under government orders, and not independently.

This Islamic principle shows that there is no room for non-state warfare, which is what we generally call guerilla war. A guerilla war is fought by individual organizations, not by the State. As far as the state is concerned, if it wants to wage a defensive war against any country it has first?in obedience to the Quran?to issue a proper declaration. Only then can it wage a lawful war (8:58). In Islam, there is only ‘declared’ war. Therefore, in accordance with this principle, no proxy war in Islam can be lawful.

Most Islamic actions are governed by certain conditions. The waging of war is also thus subject to certain principles, one being that, even when a defensive war has been declared by the State, it will be aimed only at the combatants. Targeting non-combatants will be unlawful. The Quran enjoins us not to do battle with those who are not at war. Such people have to be dealt with kindly and equitably. But you are free to do battle with those who are fighting against you. (60:8-9)

If, for instance, a Muslim state is at war with a particular nation, and this war is in conformance with Islamic principles, it should still not permit any destructive activities against non-combatants (civilians), as was done on September 11, 2001, in New York and Washington. Similarly in Islamic war, Muslims are not permitted to commit suicidal bombings in order to destroy the enemy. Strapping explosives on to oneself and hurling oneself upon the civilian settlements of even those with whom one is at war, for the purpose of destroying the enemy, and in the process killing oneself deliberately, is totally un-Islamic. This can in no way be termed ‘Shahadah’ (martyrdom). According to Islam we can become martyrs, but we cannot court a martyr’s death deliberately.

The Difference between Enemy and Aggressor
Under the scheme of the divine trial of human beings, God has granted man freedom. Due to this freedom, enmities may develop between people (20:123), which sometimes lead them to war. But Islam makes a clear difference between enmity and war.

Believers do not have the right to wage wars against their enemies. What the believers have to do as regards their enemies is far from waging war. Their duty is to peacefully convey to them the message of Islam. The Quran gives a clear injunction on this subject:

?And good and evil deeds are not alike. Repel evil with good. And he who is your enemy will become your dearest friend.? (41:33-34)

That is to say, Islam believes in turning one’s enemy into a friend through peaceful means, instead of declaring him an enemy and then waging war against him.

Islam does give permission to do battle. But such permission is given only in the case of an attack by opponents in spite of the policy of avoidance being followed by the Muslims, thus creating a situation where self-defense is required. The Quran has this to say: ?Permission to take up arms is hereby given to those who are attacked because they have been wronged? (22:38). At another place the Quran gives a valid reason for fighting: And Allah summons to the abode of peace, and leads whom He wills to the straight path.– (Al-Quran 10:25) Privileging peace and nonviolence as desirable values with intrinsic and not instrumental worth inevitably leads to the politics of status quo. If existing power regimes and ruling coalitions are not willing to relinquish power even in the face of popular opposition like in Algeria, then privileging of peace and stability becomes a defense of status quo even in the absence of legitimacy. However, the need for change should not be taken as a license to resort to violence in the face of political frustration.If peace and nonviolence are to be conceived as instrumental values then there must be clearly identifiable values whose intrinsic worth must be more than that of peace. It is only when such values are identified that peace can be compromised in pursuit of these values which are more precious than peace itself. I wonder how many would challenge my contention that justice, equality and freedom are values more valuable than peace? I am not willing to give up my freedom or allow myself to be treated as an inferior or be treated unjustly without a fight. Can we demand people to give up their rights, freedom and accept injustices in the interest of maintaining peace?

When terrorists says war,Islam says peace
When they say divide,Islam says Unite
When they say apart,Islam says we are One.
Let’s all condemn the wrong actions of few individuals.

Humanity,Peace,Dignity,Love,Respect,Unity and Justice for all.
Ambassador Abdulrazaq Oyebanji Hamzat

Ref:
www.islam101.net
www.ijtihad.com

By: Abdulrazaq Oyebanji Hamzat.

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