Please read EVERY WORD of this blog post. It presents the original summary of the Fatwa against terrorism issued by Pakistani Muslim scholar Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri. The fatwa was launched in Delhi a few days ago. I've colour annotated it and broken into shorter paragraphs for easier reading online. The original fatwa (in PDF) is available on Qadri's website, here. I've not read the original fatwa due to shortage of time. This summary and FAQ should do.
It is clear beyond the slightest iota of doubt that "Muslim" terrorists are infidels, heretics, rebels AGAINST Islam. The are NOT Muslims BY ANY STRETCH OF IMAGINATION. Let's take this basic message home with us. Just like VHP, RSS and BJP who firmly believe in indiscriminate VIOLENCE against Muslims do not represent Hinduism but are apostates and its greatest enemies, so also "Muslim" terrorists" who believe in indiscriminate violence against others are the GREATEST enemies of Islam.
Summary of Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri's FATWA, March 2010
The horrendous onslaught of terrorist activity that has continued unabated for the last many years has brought the Muslim Umma, and Pakistan in particular, into disrepute. There is no denying the fact that the vast majority of Muslims oppose and condemn terrorism in unequivocal terms and are not ready to accept it as even remotely related to Islam in any manner. However, a negligible minority amongst them seems to give terrorism tacit approval. Instead of openly opposing and condemning terrorism, these people confuse the entire subject by resorting to misleading and perplexing discussions.
It may be true that among the fundamental local, national and international factors underpinning terrorism on a global level include: the injustices being currently meted out to the Muslims in certain matters, the apparent double standards displayed by the main powers, and their open-ended and long-term military engagements in a number of countries under the pretext of eliminating terror. But the terrorists' recourse to violent and indiscriminate killings have become a routine affair, taking the form of suicide bombings against innocent and peaceful people, bomb blasts on mosques, shrines, educational institutions, bazaars, governmental buildings, trade centres, markets, security installations, and other public places: heinous, anti-human and barbarous acts in their very essence.
These people justify their actions of human destruction and mass killing of innocent people in the name of Jihad (holy struggle against evil) and thus distort, twist and confuse the entire Islamic concept of Jihad.
This situation is causing Muslims, the young in particular, to fall prey to doubts and reservations, muddling their minds in respect of Jihad, because those perpetrating these atrocities are from amongst the Muslims. The perpetrators practice Islamic rituals, perform acts of worship and put on outward forms set down in Sharia. This has put not only the common Muslims into a dilemma, but also a significant number of religious scholars and intellectuals, who are disconcerted and curious to know truly the exact and precise Islamic injunctions underpinning the workings, methods and measures these individuals and groups have adopted to cause their havoc.
Furthermore, the Western media is wont of over-reporting incidents of terrorism and extremism around the Muslim world, and does not at all highlight the positive and constructive aspects of Islam, its peaceful teachings and philanthropic philosophy and orientation. Moreover, it does not report the abhorrence, condemnation and opposition prevalent within Muslim communities towards extremists, militants and terrorists.
Bracketing both Islam and terrorism together has led only to negative consequences. The western mind conjures up images of terrorism and extremism at the merest mention of the word 'Islam', leaving Western-bred and educated Muslim youth in a most difficult position, and leaving them ever more puzzled. In fact, the present generation of young Muslims all over the Islamic world is falling victim to intellectual confusion, as well as deterioration in the practical fields and in the domain of beliefs and religious tenets.
Because of this situation, two kinds of negative response and destructive attitude are developing: one in the form of damage to Islam and the Muslim world, and the other a threat to humanity, and the Western world in particular. The damage to Islam and the Muslim world is that Muslim youth, not completely and comprehensively aware of Islamic teachings, and under the influence of the media, regard terrorism and extremism as emanating from religious teachings and attitudes of religious people. This misplaced thinking is alienated them from religion, leading them to atheism, and posing a serious danger to the Muslim Umma in future.
[Sanjeev: Indeed, this was one of the foundational reasons - in particular Hindu religion's atrocities towards the lower castes - why I moved away from the Hindu religion, and have never found any further use of it, yet. The young mind HATES the practice of violence by those who practice 'religion' and preach 'morality'.]
On the other hand, the danger threatening the Western world and humanity is of the above-mentioned policies and stereotyping of Muslims provoking a negative response among some of the Muslim youth, who regard these attacks against Islam as an organised conspiracy from certain influential circles in the western world. By way of reaction, they are gradually becoming extreme and militant in their outlook, departing moderation and a poised outlook on life, and, charged with hatred and revenge, ultimately becoming terrorists, or at the very least being groomed into the extremists’ designs. Thus, Western policies are instrumental in producing and inducting potential terrorist recruits and supporters, with no end in sight. In consequence, both the Muslim Umma, as well as humanity, is heading towards catastrophe.
Moreover, these circumstances are heightening tension, and creating an increasingly large deficit of trust between the Islamic and the Western worlds. The upsurge in terrorism is paving the way for greater foreign interference in and pressure on the Muslim states. This widening gulf is not only pushing humanity towards inter-faith antagonism at the global level but also reducing totally the possibilities of peace, tolerance and mutual coexistence among the different human societies of the world.
We thought it necessary, under these circumstances, to place the Islamic stance on terrorism precisely in its proper perspective before the Western and Islamic worlds, in the light of the Holy Qur’an, Prophetic traditions and Books of Jurisprudence and Belief. We want to put across this point of view before all the significant institutions, important think tanks and influential opinion-making organisations in the world so that both the Muslims and non-Muslims , entertaining doubts and reservations about Islam, are enabled to understand Islam’s standpoint on terrorism more clearly and unambiguously.
The contents of this research work are summarized here briefly.
The first chapter of this document, explaining and elaborating the meaning of Islam, discusses its three categories i.e. Islam (peace), Iman (faith) and Ihsan (spiritual excellence). These three words, literally and metaphorically, collectively represent peace, safety, mercy, tolerance, forbearance, love, kindness, benevolence and respect for humanity.
It has been proven in the second chapter of this document through dozens of Qur’anic verses and Prophetic traditions that the killing of Muslims and the perpetration of terrorism are not only unlawful and forbidden in Islam but also represent the rejection of faith. Through reference to the expositions and opinions of jurists and experts of exegeses and Hadith, it has been established that all the learned authorities have held the same opinion about terrorism in the 1400 year history of Islam.
The third chapter of this work describes the rights of non-Muslim citizens quite comprehensively. The opinions of all the leading jurists in this regard have also been listed in the light of various Qur’anic verses and Prophetic traditions.
In addition to all this, the most important point this research study has undertaken to make revolves around the thought, ideology and mindset, which pits a Muslim against another and finally leads him to massacre innocent humans. Such a mindset not only regards the killing of women shopping in markets and schoolgirls permissible but also a means of earning rewards and spiritual benefits. What power or conviction rouses him to kill people gathered in the mosque, and earn Paradise through carnage? Why does a terrorist decide to end his own life, the greatest blessing of Allah Almighty, with his own hands through suicide bombings? How does he come to believe that by killing innocent people through suicide bombing he would become a martyr and enter Paradise?
These are the questions that spring to the mind of every person possessing common sense. While furnishing befitting answers to these questions, we have relied on historical facts, besides scholarly arguments, which the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) himself predicted. By undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the signs, beliefs and ideologies of the Khawarij through the Qur’anic verses, Prophetic traditions and jurisprudential opinions of jurists, we have established that the terrorists are the Khawarij of contemporary times.
After declaring terrorism as forbidden, and an act of rebellion and brutality, and indeed of infidelity, we have drawn the attention of all the responsible powers and stakeholders to the topic "Call to Reflect and Reform", to the need for eliminating all the factors that cause people to entertain doubts, and reinforce the hidden hands actively engaged in spreading the plague of terrorism. A notable theme under discussion these days is that since foreign powers are causing unwarranted and unjustified interference in Muslim countries, including Pakistan, the so-called Jihadi groups have thwarted them by launching the offensive, inflicting upon them devastating blows and that their actions, though not right and justifiable, should not be reviled and condemned because their intention is to defend Islam. In our view, this is an awful syllogism and a most deplorable stance. To remove this misconception, we have specified a brief portion of the treatise, in the beginning, to this subject, bringing to the fore the fact that, in the light of the Qur’an and Hadith, evil cannot become good under any circumstances, nor can oppression transform itself into virtuous deed due to goodness of intention.
After these explanatory submissions, we also regard it our fundamental duty to let everyone know without any grain of doubt that we are going ahead with the publication of this research work solely for the sake of the respect and dignity of Islam and in the service of humanity. We do not mean to condone or approve the unpopular and unwise policies of global powers through this edict, nor do we aim to justify the wrong policies of any government, including that of Pakistan. We neither seek the pleasure of any government, nor tribute or appreciation from any international power or organisation. As always, we have taken the initiative to perform this task as a part of our religious obligation. Our objective in doing so is to wash off the stain of terrorism from the fair face of Islam, to familiarise the Muslims with the real teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Sunna and attempt to rid humanity suffering from the raging fire of terrorism.
May Almighty Allah bless this endeavour with His benevolent acceptance through the holy means of His Beloved Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him).
THE QUESTIONS THAT SPRING TO MIND AND THEIR BRIEF ANSWERS
The heartbreakingly gory scenes of terrorism will no doubt disturb the minds of all eminent and common people of the world with some perplexing questions that demand satisfactory answers. We have attempted to supply detailed, logical and matter-of-fact replies to these inquiries. Brief answers to these questions are appended here in sequence, while their details have been presented in the same order in subsequent chapters of this research work.
1. Q: The first question in this connection that concerns all relates to use of force to spread beliefs: is it lawful for a group or organisation to use force to promote and put into effect their own creed and beliefs in the name of reforming others’ beliefs and ideologies, presuming themselves to be on the right path? Does Islam allow, somehow, the killing of people because of ideological differences, looting their wealth and properties and destroying mosques, religious places and shrines?
A: Islam is a religion of peace and safety that champions love and harmony in society. According to Islamic teachings, only such a person will be called a Muslim at whose hands the lives and properties of all innocent Muslims and non-Muslims remain safe and unhurt. The sanctity of human life and its protection occupies a fundamental place in Islamic law. Taking anyone's life for nothing is an act that is forbidden and unlawful. Rather, in some cases, it amounts to infidelity.
These days, the terrorists, in a vain attempt to impose their own ideas and beliefs and eliminate their opponents from the face of the earth, killing innocent people ruthlessly and indiscriminately everywhere in mosques, bazaars, governmental offices and other public places are in fact committing clear infidelity.
They are warned of humiliating torment in this world and in the hereafter. [Sanjeev: Terrorists, please note. Although I don't believe in any afterlife, I agree with the sentiment expressed here]
Terrorism, in its very essence, is an act that symbolises infidelity and rejection of what Islam stands for. When the forbidden element of suicide is added to it, its severity and gravity becomes even greater.
Scores of Qur’anic verses and Prophetic traditions have proved that the massacre of Muslims and terrorism is unlawful in Islam; rather, they are blasphemous acts. This has always been the opinion unanimously held by all the scholars that have passed in the 1400 years of Islamic history, including all the eminent Imams of Tafseer and Hadith and authorities on logic and jurisprudence.
Islam has kept the door of negotiation and discussion open to convince by reasoning, instead of the taking up of arms to declare the standpoint of others as wrong, and enforcing one’s own opinion. Only the victims of ignorance, jealousy and malice go for militancy.
Islam declares them rebels. They will abide in Hell.
2. Q: The second question in this regard is: what are the rights of the non-Muslim citizens in a Muslim state?
A: Islam not only guarantees the protection of life, honour and property of Muslim citizens of an Islamic state, but also assures the equal protection of life, honour and property of non-Muslim citizens and of those people too with whom it has entered into a peace treaty.
The rights of non-Muslim citizens enjoy the same sanctity as those of Muslim citizens in an Islamic state. There is no difference between them as human beings. That is why Islamic law metes out equal treatment to both Muslims and non-Muslims in the matters of blood money and Qisas. Non-Muslims have complete personal and religious freedom in a Muslim society.
Their properties and places of worship also enjoy complete protection.
Besides non-Muslim citizens, even the ambassadors of non-Muslim countries and others working on diplomatic assignments have been guaranteed complete protection. Likewise, the protection of life and property of non-Muslim traders is the responsibility of the Islamic state.
Islam does not allow and advocate the use of violence against and killing of peaceful and non-combatant citizens under any circumstances. Those indulging in attacks on peaceful non-Muslim citizens, kidnapping them for ransom, and torturing them mentally or physically, or keeping them under unlawful custody, are in fact committing serious violations of Islamic teachings.
3. Q: The third question arises: does Islam offer clear commands on the sanctity of human life? Is it lawful to kidnap and assassinate foreign delegates and innocent and peaceful non-Muslim citizens to avenge the injustices and disruption of the non-Muslim global powers?
A: The importance Islam lays on the sanctity and dignity of human life can be gauged from the fact that Islam does not allow indiscriminate killing even when Muslim armies are engaged in war against enemy troops. The killing of children, women, the old, infirm, religious leaders and traders is strictly prohibited. Nor can those who surrender their arms, confine themselves to their homes and seek shelter of anyone be killed. The public cannot be massacred. Likewise, places of worship, buildings, crops and even trees cannot be destroyed.
On the one hand, there is a clear set of Islamic laws based on extreme discretion, and on the other, there are people who invoke the name of Islam to justify the indiscriminate killing of people, children, and women everywhere, without any distinction of religion or identity. It is a pity that such barbaric people still refer to their activities as Jihad. There can be no bigger discrepancy than this to be seen on earth.
It can in no way be permissible to keep foreign delegates under unlawful custody and murder them and other peaceful non-Muslim citizens in retaliation for the interference, unjust activities and aggressive advances of their countries. The one who does has no relation to Islam and the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him).
4. Q: The fourth and very significant question concerns rebellion: is armed struggle permissible against Muslim rulers to remove their governments because of their non-Islamic policies, or for the acceptance of demands, to bring them to the right path, or get them to give up their impious activities? Is rebellion permissible against the constitutional government, its writ and governance? What should be the legitimate way to change the rulers or make them mend their ways?
A: Islam is not merely a religion. It is a complete Deen, a code of life. Providing a complete set of principles for every walk of life, it has also made arrangements for the protection of the collectivity of society. The rights and duties of state institutions have manifestly and clearly been spelled out. All citizens of the Muslim state have been placed under obligation to abide by state laws, rules and regulations.
One of these principles is that a Muslim state and society should be a paragon of peace and mutual coexistence. That is why Islam strictly prohibits the taking up of arms against a Muslim state, to challenge its authority and writ, and declare war against it. Islamic law holds such an action as rebellion.
God forbid if such conditions are created, then it is the primary responsibility of an Islamic state to take urgent measures to eliminate rebellion with an iron hand and exterminate terrorism so that no individual or group can dare destroy the social harmony of society, ruin peace and shed innocent blood. Islam holds the peace and tranquillity of society in general, and of a Muslim state in particular, so dear that it does not allow people to raise the banner of revolt in the name of tackling injustice, oppression and other vices of the ruling elite. [Sanjeev: shades of Hobbes's Leviathan here!]
In the light of Prophetic traditions, the banner of rebellion against a Muslim state cannot be raised unless the rulers commit explicit, declared and absolute infidelity, and prevent the performance of religious rituals like prayer through the use of force. [Sanjeev: fortunately, rebellion is permitted at least under some circumstances]
The conditions leading to the forbiddance of rebellion in the light of the Qur’anic verses, Prophetic traditions and expositions of the jurists are evident. Referring to the holy Companions, their successors, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafai, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal and other leading jurists, the fact has been brought to light that absolute consensus exists among all the leading jurists on the total forbiddance of rebellion against the Muslim state, and there is no difference of opinion between any schools of thought. Such a rebellion as challenges the writ of the state, and has been launched without the collective approval and sanction of society, is but a civil war, blatant terrorism and a clear act of strife. It can never be called Jihad under any circumstances.
As for the struggle to reform some impious Muslim ruler or state, that is not at all prohibited or disallowed. The forbiddance of rebellion and armed struggle should not mean at all that an evil should not be called an evil and no effort be made to stop its spread, or the obligation of faith to bid good and forbid evil be abandoned. Certification of truth and rejection of falsehood is binding upon Muslims. Likewise, seeking to reform society and fight off evil forces is one of the religious obligations. The adoption of all constitutional, legal, political and democratic ways to reform the rulers and the system of governance, and stop them from the violation of human rights is not only lawful but also binding upon Muslims. Making efforts at the individual and collective levels to establish truth, and ending the reign of terror and oppression and restoration of a system of justice through appropriate means form part of the obligations of faith.
5. Q: The sect of the Khawarij is etched into the history of terrorism. The question arises: who were the Khawarij? What does the Islamic law ordain about them? Are the present day terrorists a continuation of the Khawarij?
A: The Khawarij were rebels and apostates of Islam. Their advent took place during the period of the Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him). Their intellectual growth and organised emergence took place during the Caliphates of Usman (ra) and Ali (ra). The Khawarij were so punctual and regular in the performance of religious rituals and acts of worship that they would appear more pious than the holy Companions would at times. However, in keeping with the clear command of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), they were absolutely out of the fold of Islam. The Khawarij would regard the killing of Muslims as lawful, reject the Companions for their disagreement with them, and, raising the slogan 'there is no Command but Allah's', consider the launch of armed struggle against and the killing of Hazrat Ali (ra) as lawful. They would continue in perpetrating these heinous actions. The Khawarij were in fact the first terrorist and rebellious group that challenged the writ of the state and raised the banner of armed struggle against a Muslim state.
The texts of Hadith clearly establish that such elements would continue to be born in every age. The term Khawarij is not meant merely to denote the group which took up arms against the rightly guided Caliphs, but it encompasses all those groups and individuals bearing such attributes, ideologies and terrorist ways of action who will continue to rear their head and perpetrate terrorism in the name of Jihad till the Day of Judgment.
Despite being almost perfectionist in the performance of outward religious rituals, they would be considered as being out of the fold of Islam for their mistaken and misplaced ideology.
A Muslim state cannot be allowed to give them any concession in the name of dialogue or stop military action without their complete elimination according to the explicit instructions of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). The only exception as to when they can be spared is that they lay down their arms, repent of their actions and vow to honour the state laws and writ of the Muslim state.
6. Q: What are the measures that the government and the ruling classes should take to put an end to mischief-mongering, terrorist activities and armed strife?
A: The government and the law enforcing agencies should, at the outset, remove all factors and stimuli that contribute to making the common man a victim of doubt. Due to these factors, the ringleaders and the chieftains of terrorism are able to snare impressionable young people into changing their track and lead them to militancy. Exploiting their sentiments, they are able to prepare them for terrorist activities without much difficulty. The policies, events and circumstances the terrorist elements use as fuel for their evil agenda need to be remedied and set right as a priority. This will certainly help eradicate the root causes of the spread of this plague.
Similarly, as long as the world powers, along with the Pakistani agencies, continue to neglect attending to the real hardships of people, removing their complaints and abandoning their deceptive policies, the restoration of real peace will remain merely a dream.
[Sanjeev: I think Qadri has shirked his MAIN role here. Muslims must EXCOMMUNICATE all terrorists. And he has not explained how a government can adress hardships. This necessarily requires the promotion of greater liberty and open discussion]
7. Q: Another important question under inquiry in various circles of society refers to a dilemma: can we justify as lawful the atrocities of terrorism if they are done with the intention of promoting Islam and to secure the rights of the Muslims?
A: The Khawarij, even today, invoke Islam and raise slogans to establish the Divine Order, but all of their actions and steps constitute a clear violation of Islamic teachings. When their supporters do not have any legal argument to defend the actions of the Khawarij, they draw the attention of people to the vices of the ruling elites and the oppression by foreign forces as a justification for their killing. They are content in the belief that although the terrorists are doing wrong, their intention is good beyond any doubt. This is a major intellectual faux pas and many people, both educated and uneducated, suffer from this doubt.
An evil act remains evil in all its forms and content; whatever we may interpret as injustice, this principle remains the same.
Therefore, no forbidden action can ever become a virtuous and lawful deed due to goodness of intention. Law in Islam applies to an action. The massacre of humanity, perpetration of oppression and cruelty, terrorism, violence and bloodshed on earth and armed rebellion and strife cannot become pardonable actions due to any good intention or pious conviction. Nor is there any place for deviation from this fundamental principle. Thus, this argument of the terrorists and their well-wishers is also false in the sight of Islamic law. Therefore, we begin our arguments with the clarification of the same issue that an evil deed cannot change into a pious deed due to any pious intention it supposedly arises from.
GOOD INTENTION CAN NEVER CHANGE A VICE INTO VIRTUE
If a good intention gives rise to bloodshed and massacre, the question arises whether such tyranny and barbarism can be declared lawful on this basis. Some people think that although suicide explosions are atrociously evil, and that killing innocent people too is a monstrous crime, and spreading mischief and strife in the country is, again, a heinous act, while the destruction of educational, training, industrial, commercial and welfare centres and institutions is still a greater sin, the suicide bombers are doing this with good intention and pious motive. Therefore, they are justified. They are retaliating against foreign aggression against Muslims. They are carrying out a Jihad, and so, they cannot be given any blame.
In this brief discussion, we shall analyse this thought in the light of the Qur’an and Sunna. The Qur’an rejected as disbelief the idol-worship that was carried out with the intention of attaining the nearness of Allah. We find a detailed account of this matter in the Qur’an and Sunna. Some of the holy verses are produced here to facilitate comprehension of the issue.
The Qur’an says:
“(Say to the people:) ‘Listen, sincere obedience and worship is only Allāh’s due. And those (disbelievers) who have taken (idols as) helpers other than Allāh (say in false justification of their idol-worship:) ‘We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allāh.’ Surely, Allāh will judge between them concerning the matter in which they differ. Certainly Allāh does not give him guidance who is a liar, very ungrateful.”
When the idolaters of Makka were asked the reason for idol-worship, they said the idols would bring them into Allah’s proximity. The intention to attain Allah’s nearness is good, but idol-worship is blasphemy and disbelief. Idolatry, therefore, cannot be justified because of good intention.
Similarly, the terrorists’ claim of reformation too cannot be accepted because, through their actions, they demonstrate bloodshed and violence instead of constructive work and reformation. Allah Most High says:
“And among people there is also someone whose conversation seems to you pleasing in the life of the world and who calls Allāh to witness that which is in his heart, but in truth he is most quarrelsome. And when he turns away (from you), he runs about in the land to do (everything possible) to rouse mischief and destroy crops and life. And Allāh does not like mischief and violence. And when it is said to him (on account of this tyranny and violence): ‘Fear Allāh,’ his arrogance stimulates him for more sins. Hell is, therefore, sufficient for him. And that is indeed an evil abode.” (Al-Qur’an, 2:204-206)
These verses too describe that many people will make conversation, appearing pleasant in the arena of superficial arguments. They will swear on their good intentions, and declare Allah witness to their noble objectives and pious aims. Despite their assertions and testimonial claims, however, Allah has declared them miscreants and evil-mongers to face the torment of Hell. So their swearing on their intentions has been refuted because they are committing sheer acts of violence, strife and terrorism. Their crimes, therefore, cannot be forgiven due to their ‘good’ intentions and noble designs declared on oath. This is the basic principle drawn from the Qur’an and Islamic Law.
These Qur’anic verses explain the same point:
“When it is said to them: ‘Do not spread disorder in the land,’ they say: ‘It is we who reform.’ Beware! (Truly) it is they who spread disorder, but they do not have any sense (of it) at all.” (Al-Qur’an, 2:11-12)
Here again the mischievous and criminal mentality has been described, and that the offenders never regard their activity as disruption, violence and strife; rather, they may call it Jihad and deeds of reconstruction and reformation. They presume that the tyrannous activities they perpetrate are aimed at the greater good of society.
Today’s tragedy is that terrorists, murderers, mischief-mongers and rioters try to prove their criminal, rebellious, tyrannous, brutal and blasphemous activities as a right and a justified reaction to foreign aggression under the garb of the defence of Islam and national interests.
They should know that, as good intention can never prove an unlawful act justified, pious designs can never prove blasphemy as righteousness, and virtuous objectives can never prove an impure act wholesome; that the intention to perform Jihad, in the same way, can never prove violence and terrorism lawful and permissible.
The intention to protect Islam, to erect a defence against foreign aggression and avenge the wrongs and excesses inflicted upon the Muslim Umma is one thing, but the brutal mass murder of innocent citizens, destruction of civil property, ruthless target killings and the destruction of mosques and markets and businesses is altogether a different debacle. The former can never prove the latter lawful. The one has nothing to do with the other; there is no relevance and congruity between the two. Terrorism, carnage and mass destruction can never be justified in the name of any intention of enforcing Islamic commands and its judicial system. Nor can these reprehensible activities be any exception to the rule, or be overlooked, or forgiven.
An in-depth study of the Qur’an and Hadith makes one resolutely establish that Islam declares the realisation of lawful objectives conditional upon lawful means only, the attainment of noble targets only through permissible ways and reaching sacred objectives by treading only the righteous paths.
A sacred goal can never be achieved by following an evil and criminal path. Constructing a mosque, for example, is a pious act, but it cannot be proved lawful to do so by looting a bank.
The objectives of mercy cannot be achieved through cruelty and oppression. The designs of an exalted and pious person cannot be materialised by adopting blasphemous methodology. In sum, good cannot be earned by evil means.
Fair is fair and foul is foul. It is Satan who says, ‘fair is foul and foul is fair.’
This is the majesty and purity of the Deen (religion of Islam) that it has purified and reformed both the destination and its path. It has made both objective and method pure and upright. [Sanjeev: I fully admire this approach, of alignment between means and ends. All right minded people would applaud this statement.]
The people who base their argument on the Hadith, ‘actions are judged according to intentions,’ in order to justify their brutal ways and cursed means, make false and heretic claims. They cannot set a wrong thing right. This Hadith signifies only those actions that are proven pious, permissible and lawful. Their acceptability has been based on trueness of intention. If the intention is pure, they will be accepted, or else they will be rejected. If the intention is not good, or the coveted intention does not exist, the actions will not be considered acts of worship, despite their apparent righteous value. They will be rejected or discredited.
But the actions that are forbidden, unjust, unlawful and blasphemous cannot be made permissible or lawful or just and creditable by even extremely good intentions joined together. This is such a crucial Islamic principle and legal formula that not one of the Companions, pious predecessors, Imams, and authorities of Hadith and exegeses has departed from to date.
Some scholars have also interpreted the Hadith, ‘actions are judged according to intentions,’ as pointing to the expression of deeds according to intentions, that the actions take shape according to the intentions. So a terrorist’s actions speak of his intentions. His killings and destructive activities refer to his foul intention and condemnable ideas and beliefs. His heinous actions cannot stem from pious intentions and beliefs. The bloodshed he causes refers only to a cruel man inside him and not any kind and merciful soul. It is, therefore, evident that whatever false implications and foul justifications these rebels, criminals, evil-mongers, tyrannous brutes may put forth to prove their atrocities as acts of Jihad, they have nothing to do with the teachings of Islam.
The Holy Qur’an has vividly described them in this verse:
“It is those whose entire struggle is wasted in worldly life, but they presume they are doing very good works.” (Al-Qur’an, 18:104)