A few hours later ISIS has openly praised the California shooters and Delhi has been put on high alert for a terrorist attack. At the same time news emerges about triple suicide attacks near Lake Chad Island by Boko Haram.
At that point, I wanted to climb roof tops and shout: “Not in my name. Not in the name of my beautiful religion.”
I am overcome by a feeling that I have begun to experience all too frequently nowadays. One that I experienced post Paris attacks, post Lindt cafe, post every time an ISIS lunatic utters the sacred text of Islam before beheading an innocent captive, post every time my religion is hijacked and brutalized.
Its a feeling of helpless anger that ceases me each time.
When it comes to Delhi, my second home, the anger is double, helplessness more intense.
I was created by God and sent on Earth to a family that holds me dearest. God gave me children for whom I am the most precious person on earth. I am healthy. I have dreams. I have a life I love. And then come a bunch of possessed lunatics and decide that its time to blow me up to serve an ill conceived botched up purpose of theirs while I am going about the daily business of life, unsuspecting, hoping, planning, dreaming of a prettier tomorrow.
Bombs don't ask religion before killing and maiming. The majority of victims of terrorist attacks done in the name of Islam globally are Muslims. In India too Muslim victims duly represent their proportion in the population. Those that are not killed, are left to bear the consequences of an act they neither participated in nor endorsed.
In the aftermath of Paris attacks, Hijabi women like myself, were attacked on the roads of several first world countries. Post 9/11, hundreds of Muslim men were stuffed in torture chambers, only to be declared innocent after losing significant years of their lives. At home, jails are full of terror 'suspects', young men picked up randomly to be in jail for years and years before being declared innocent.
In a milder form of backlash, my burkha has to bear an unjustified scrutiny and my husband has to think ten times before sporting a beard. I have to wear my patriotism on my sleeves lest I be suspected anti-national.
All of this because there are people out there who call themselves Muslim and allow themselves to be brainwashed into killing and getting killed. While they do that they are under the illusion of doing great service to Islam and ensuring paradise for themselves. They die believing to be in service of a religion they never even bothered to understand fully.
That reminds me of a narrative doing rounds on Whatsapp about a Christian couple intercepted by ISIS or Taliban or LeT or Boko Haram or God knows which one of the kind. To save their life they said they were Muslims. The terrorist asked them to recite from the Holy Quran. The man recited from Bible and they were let off. Later on, his wife asked him how he took such a risk, reciting from Bible calling it from the Holy Quran. He replied that these people would never know the difference because they never study the Holy Quran!
That's so very true. If they knew Islam, they would have known the extraordinary value of human life in the Holy Quran.
Verse 32 Chpater 5 of the Holy Quran says:
On that account We ordained for the Children of Isra`il that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole humanity. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear (guidance), yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. (5:32)
And they would have known some of the examples of flexibility, tolerance and compassionate conduct in dealings with non-Muslims set by the Prophet (peace be upon him). Of the hundred such example a few should suffice for one who wants to see the true nature of Islam.
After the bloodless conquest of Makkah, the enemies were unconditionally forgiven by the Prophet (peace be upon him). The example of no looting, no kidnapping, no execution, no dishonoring the women after conquest is unheard of in world history. Let it be noted that the example of non-violent victory was set long before 1947.
In 1492 Jews of Andalusia fleeing Inquisition were granted asylum by Muslim caliph Sultan Suleman of Ottoman Empire without being converted or killed. Its is for that reason that Istanbul has a significant number of Jews to date.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) had said regarding Dhimmis (protected non-Muslims under caliphate):"whoever oppresses a dhimmi, shall find me to be their advocate on the Day of Judgment (against the oppressing Muslim)".
It is bewildering how sane, educated, mature individuals can overlook the compassion and tolerance advocated by Islam and allow selective indoctrination to be done to them. How they fail to see the explicit, outright wrongs committed by organizations like ISIS. How they bring themselves to justify acts of these organization that are directly and grossly in contradiction to teachings of Quran.
In Suah Baqrah Allah (SWT) speaks of hypocrites who claim to believe in Allah and the last day but do not really believe.
[When it is said to them, 'Do not corruption in the land', they say, 'We are only ones that put things right.' (Arberry)]
Some broad examples of the deviations of terrorist groups are as follows:
Killing of unarmed non-combatant civilians, many a times those engaged in service of Muslims
Suicide bombing whereas suicide has been explicitly forbidden.
Killing of women and children which the Holy Quran forbids at several places.
Killing by burning which has been declared an illegal way of execution even where the execution is legal.
Taking sex slaves, whereas the majority of jurists rule that its not permissible since Islam has successfully abolished slavery.
Lying and manipulating as very often reported by perspective recruits.
Forbidding education of women, something which is against Prophetic traditions.
Encouraging young women to run away from homes
It is painful that every once in a while there are news of someone who made way to Syria, leaving behind a bewildered family. It is also painful that organizations like LeT are able to get Muslim recruits to blow up others and themselves. It is the evidence of utter failure of the Muslim society in imparting true Islamic values to its children.
As a practicing Muslimah, I would advice Jihadi enthusiasts to understand Islam for themselves rather than indiscriminately digest whatever is fed by a deviant organization. Those teachings are for greater part based on misinterpreted ayats and hadeeth and on fatwas issued per convenience.
There is more scope of Jihad if one follows a “live and let live” policy. Some example of Jihad needed by the present day society are:
Jihad against social evils like dowry, excessive spending and show off becoming too prevalent in Muslim society
Jihad in bringing up children who are righteous, emotionally strong and morally sound
Jihad in upkeep and care of old parents
Jihad against gender discrimination
Jihad towards scientific development
Jihad for education
Jihad against poverty and injustice
All in all a jihad that will make society strong and project Islam as the beautiful and peaceful religion that it is.
[The emotional turmoils and insecurities of a New Delhi based Muslimah in the wake of recent terrorist attacks world over.]