Following atrocities committed in the name of Islām, such as those in Paris, once again misconceptions regarding Islām and Muslims make the headlines and infuse tensions in our society. I believe all of us are duty-bound to contribute to efforts that clear these misconceptions and misunderstandings and share the true nature of this beautiful religion.
The Value of Life
In light of Islām's teachings of mercy and tolerance, it is impossible that oppression or the taking of innocent life is permitted in any circumstance. The life of every human, Muslim and non-Muslim, is equally precious and sacred. The value of life is captured in the following verse of the Glorious Qur'ān:
...whoever kills a person not in retaliation for a person killed, nor (as a punishment) for spreading disorder on the earth, is as if he has killed the whole of humankind, and whoever saves the life of a person is as if he has saved the life of the whole of humankind... (5:32)
As Muslims, we value human life irrespective of geography, race and gender. We do not distinguish between the poor and the wealthy, women from men, the less able from the able bodied, as a life is a life, hence sacred and precious. Therefore, a loss of life in any corner of the world is a cause of grief and sorrow for every true Muslim.
During such moments we pray to Allāh ta'ālā, the Creator, that He grants everyone guidance and fills this world with peace and security. For those who have suffered loss of life, may Allāh ta'ālā grant them patience and courage. If families have lost their breadwinner, may Allāh ta'ālā safeguard them from want and poverty. May Allāh ta'ālā grant relief to all from oppression and give every human the good fortune to live in peace and prosperity.
When the hearts and minds of humans become corrupt, be they Muslims or non-Muslims, then they no longer remain human. In their eyes, the worth of a human life becomes devalued and no thought is given to who is being killed, how many are killed and how the lives of innocent people, children, the elderly and women are destroyed. There is total contempt for humanity.
We pray that Allāh ta'ālā grant those involved in killing innocent people, whether they be individuals, groups or governments, the essence of humanity and the ability to recognise the value of human life.
Developing a Proper Understanding of Islām
Following the tragic events in Paris, there is a significant focus on Islām and Muslims. At this juncture I would urge my fellow citizens, Muslims and non-Muslims, to learn the teachings of Islām from practising Muslims with knowledge; not from the media. Those in the mainstream media, have not studied Islām in the correct manner and therefore do not appreciate the sciences of Islām and the relationship between them. Many times they comment on verses of the Qur'ān and Ahādīth which are out of context, as they are unaware of the method of how to interpret them and as a result reach incorrect conclusions and cause confusion. It is unfortunate that non-Muslims and ill-informed Muslims also express views based on their own interpretation, without the appropriate requisite knowledge. This has led to the distortion of Islām resulting in the misconceptions we see today amongst the general public, with regards to Islām and its teachings.
I therefore urge all Muslims to study and embrace the teachings of Islām and live their lives according to it. We need to deepen our understanding of the true essence of Islām by benefitting from reliable 'Ulamā and reading authentic literature. This will enable us to spread the correct message to others and explain the true qualities, attributes and characteristics of Islām. We must also ensure our individual mistakes do not tarnish and distort the image of Islām and Muslims. We must all study Islām to the extent that we are able to present and explain, without any hesitation, the Islāmic point of view regarding topics that are commonly misunderstood by non-Muslims.
Bringing a Change
We also need to bring a positive change in our lives by wholeheartedly turning to Allāh ta'ālā and repenting sincerely from the disobedience to Allāh ta'ālā. Not only have we neglected our Dīn on a personal level, we have also not shared its beauty with others; a major negligence on our part. In our current circumstances Tawbah and Istighfār will be extremely beneficial, as it is stated in a hadīth:
Whosoever holds fast to Istighfār, Allāh will make for him a way out from every difficulty and will grant him relief from every anxiety and will grant him sustenance from where he expects not. (Abū Dāwūd)
Let us refrain from every act of disobedience to Allāh ta'ālā and become firm on our belief and worship. It is only when we become the personification of Islām through our dealings (mu'āmalāt), social conduct (mu'āsharat) and good character (husn akhlāq), that the true merciful and tolerant character of Islām will be observed and appreciated by all.
May Allāh ta'ālā grant us all the tawfīq. Āmīn.
© Riyādul Jannah (Volume 24, Issue 12)