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Violence No Answer

By Mohammad Yousuf Naqash


We first need to reform our own selves, to cleanse ourselves of immorality. In Islam this is the highest degree of Jihad

Being a universal religion based on values such as tolerance, patience, compassion, brotherhood, nobility and civility, Islam cannot be blamed for savagery and terrorism.

Armed offensive conflict is not the answer to the problems confronting the world. Islamic principles show us the right path in this regard. As a matter of fact, Islam totally rejects extremism in whatsoever form and manifestation. We need to make a difference and draw a clear line between right and wrong and choose between the Islamic and the non-Islamic. Masked faces with double standards within our community have to be identified, exposed and isolated so as to help stop misinterpretation and misrepresentation of Islam.

It is wrong to argue that Islam allows for ruthless, offensive war. This argument has no footing. Illiteracy about Islamic teachings and vested interests within our community have given the likes of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to exploit Islam and give it a bad name. The Holy Qur’an and the Sirah and Sunnah (the life and sayings) of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) allow violence to the extent of self-defence and in such an event they prescribe certain norms and conditions whose observance is obligatory. Firstly, the struggle (or what in Arabic language is called Jihad) should be against those who carry out massacres and cause damage to Muslims. Secondly, it should be against those who conspire to destabilize or overthrow an Islamic state, using military might. Thirdly, the defense should not inflict any type of damage to non-combatants, including the elderly, the ailing, women, children and those who surrender to or seek refuge with the Muslims. Fourthly, there must be no damage to property, animals, plantations and orchards. Fifthly, those arrested and imprisoned should not be subjected to third-degree methods for confession. Prisoners of all types should be treated well and humanely.

Being a universal religion based on values such as tolerance, patience, compassion, brotherhood, nobility and civility, Islam cannot be blamed for savagery and terrorism. No such inhuman act can be justified or considered as legitimate in any way, regardless of who perpetrates it and on what pretext it is done. People with Muslim names who perpetrate crimes against humanity on the pretext of safeguarding Islam are actually damaging the Islamic cause, which upholds peaceful mutual co-existence of human beings, irrespective of religion and ideology. It is un-Islamic to seek to effect reformation of society and conversion of non-Muslims by force. Everyone has the right to follow and preserve his or her own religion, but not the right to force it on others. Muslims have the right to work for a genuine Islamic state, provided the majority favors this, but one’s political ideology cannot be forced on others. This must be done through convincing others, using persuasive arguments and other peaceful methods, devoid of any type of threat.

We first need to reform our own selves, to cleanse ourselves of immorality. In Islam this is the highest degree of Jihad. Yet, we often forget this, and with all our evils and ills and vested interests intact within, seek to take up the second degree of Jihad, armed struggle, forgetting the major Jihad relates to motivation by argument, dialogue and peaceful persuasion. Our quest for self-interest takes us towards inhuman intentions and actions. As is said, every action has its reaction, and so we face the wrath of others in return and also the damage and desecration of our religion. What purpose do our men serve for Islam by killing innocents in India, America, or elsewhere? Islam forbids us such in human acts directed against innocent civilians and non-combatants.

Such a mindset reflects jingoistic extremism and revengeful madness, not the Islamic values and objectives. True, there must be reaction to oppression, but it should be directed only against those who are directly involved and responsible for this oppression, and that too it should be strictly defensive, not offensive, reaction. And in reacting through self-defence, strict observance of a code of conduct in conformity with Islamic principles is mandatory.

Certain non-Muslim forces are in occupation of some Muslim countries and territories and have let loose a reign of terror there. This is a bitter reality. But this does not justify Muslims acting against non-combatant citizens of these countries. Whatever the provocations by non-Islamic governments and ideologies against Islam and Muslims, Islam considers the killing of civilians and non-combatants irrespective of religion and ideology a dreadful sin, indeed the most heinous crime after polytheism. That this can never be condoned is the word of Allah Almighty. To take revenge against oppression, some Muslims have resorted to suicidal attacks and grenade blasts that cause naked death and destruction. Where does Islam allow such inhuman and savage acts in the name of Jihad? This is obviously a gross violation of Islam. Despite this, we witness these un-Islamic, inhuman and intolerable incidents occurring daily, in which hundreds and thousands get killed. This misguided understanding of Islam developed by some people with Muslim names needs to be countered to project and demonstrate Islam in its right perspective.

True, conspiring against Islam and Muslims is the persistent policy of certain non-Islamic governments and ideologies. However, many Muslims mishandle their reaction to this and seek to take recourse to only violence for a way out and for their salvation from subjugation and persecution, avoiding peaceful means like dialogue, arguments and protests. It is here that we get confronted with more problems due to our own willful misinterpretation of Islam. Such a devilish behavior and attitude gives a pretext to non-Islamic governments and ideologies to carry forward their ill-intentions against Muslims and Islam.

It is unfortunate to note that we are doing the reverse of what has been commanded to us by Allah Almighty and demonstrated by the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). We Muslims are mainly responsible for undermining the importance of Islam due to our own misdeeds and un-Islamic blunders.

(The writer is Chairman, Islamic Political Party (JK), Head, Human Rights Committee, Hurriyat Conferenc, Rajbagh, Srinagar, Kashmir, Email:

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