TOWARDS GLOBAL PEACE
We often talk of peace in the context of war. But this is a very narrow and restricted notion of peace. Peace is deeply linked with the entirety of human life. Peace is a complete ideology in itself. Peace is the only religion for both-man and the universe. It is the master-key that opens the doors to every success. Peace creates a favourable atmosphere for success in every endeavour. Without peace, no positive action—small or big—is possible.
RADICALIZATION OF MUSLIM YOUTH
Breaking Your Oaths
ACCORDING to media reports, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire on two military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, on July 16, 2015. He first committed a drive-by shooting at a recruiting centre, then headed to a U.S. Navy Reserve Center and continued firing until he was killed by police in a gunfight. Five people died in the shootings, including four U.S. Marines, who died at the scene and one U.S. Navy sailor, who died at a hospital two days later.
Abdulazeez (1990 – 2015), a naturalized American citizen, was a Jordanian born in Kuwait. However, according to Jordanian sources, he was a Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship; his parents described themselves as Palestinians. He immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1996 and received citizenship in 2003. (https://en.wikipedia.org)
The most important responsibility of Muslims is to convey the message
of God and this task should continue generation after generation.
Although the youth was a Muslim, his acts were totally un-Islamic. They were against the teachings of Islam in every respect. Violence is perpetrated with the help of guns and bombs, but the thought of the act is initially harboured in the mind. Therefore, if we have to arrest this kind of violence, our efforts should start from re-engineering the minds of Muslim youth.It is important to explain to them that although their actions are done in the name of Islam, they are completely un-Islamic.
The first duty of Muslims towards non-Muslim nations is not jihad but dawah, or conveying to them the message of God. The most important responsibility of Muslims is to convey the message of God, and this task should continue generation after generation.
Moreover, according to Islamic teachings, jihad is the name of peaceful dawah work. Engaging in violence in the name of jihad is the result of a misinterpretation of this concept. Islam allows for defensive war, but that is permissible, if the need so arises, only for a Muslim state and not for individuals or non-state actors.
Going against one’s oath is a punishable act in Islam. Undoubtedly,
a person who acts against the oath he has taken proves that he is a criminal.
One of the motives behind the Muslim youth’s attack was the belief that America is an enemy of Islam. Such notions are entirely baseless. The fact is just the opposite; America is a friend of Islam. The proof for this is that currently, about five million Muslims are living in the United States and they have established innumerable organizations and institutions which are carrying out their activities with complete freedom.
Those Muslim youths who are engaged in violence wrongly believe that they are doing jihad against an enemy. For the sake of argument, if we suppose that America is indeed an enemy of Islam and Muslims, even then, stepping out with a gun and shooting down Americans are actions completely at variance with the teachings of Islam. Taking action against an enemy is the prerogative of an established state, and not of individuals. Therefore, if one believes that ‘so and so’ is an enemy, then the correct procedure would be to refer the case to an established Muslim state, rather than taking measures oneself. Resorting to violence to kill one’s supposed enemies, would be totally un-Islamic.
An example of this principle is available in Islamic history. In the 13th century, the Tartars attacked the Abbasid Caliphate based in Baghdad. At that time, al-Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, a well-known Islamic scholar thought that the situation required military action. However, he did not act on his own, rather, he wrote a letter to the Muslim Sultan of Egypt and Syria, Al-Nasir Muhammad, advising him to take military measures against the Tartar attackers. (Al-Siyasah al-Shariyyah, Ibn Taymiyyah)
Engaging in violence in the name of jihad is the result of a misinterpretation of the Quran.
It is important to know that an individual cannot declare a country as an enemy. Rather, the whole community of Muslims would have to make this declaration. Once such a declaration is made, the entire Muslim community living there would have to emigrate from such a country. According to Islamic fiqh, residing in a country which is considered an ‘enemy’ country is unlawful.
The Palestinian youth migrated to America and took US citizenship. The oath of allegiance to the United States of America reads: “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
The actions of the Muslim youth went against this oath of citizenship. An oath, in Islamic teaching, is a promise. The Quran says that one should fulfill one’s promise, else one will be held accountable before God (17: 34) . Going against one’s oath is a punishable act in Islam. Undoubtedly, a person who acts against the oath he has taken proves that he is a criminal. o