Before reading the article, these are a few of my own comments/quotes:
1) Islam is the best solution for extremism
2) Regardless of the author’s views, it’s best to address our concerns to others with the best of manners inshAllah. No one will take you seriously or listen to you if you are harsh with them all the time. And Allah knows best.
3) I do not necessirly agree with the author’s views or the views he is responding to, rather I am just pasting them here to have some dialogue. At the end of the day, I am a layperson, not qualified to delve into such a debate.
4) A quote by Mufti Taqi Usmani:
”…merely allowing Islamic missionaries entering into a non-Muslim country does not mean that it [the non-Muslim country] has no hostile designs against Islam and Muslims. It is possible that despite allowing Islamic missionaries working on its soil, a non-Muslim government is a political danger to the freedom and honor of an Islamic state…”
-Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, refferring to his book “Islam and Modernism”
[It’s actually not a quote from his book, but rather an article which was addressing criticisms of his book]
5) Ask Allah to guide you and me, our families, and the Ummah
Solving The Real Disease of Radicalism by Younus Kathrada (former Imam in British Columbia, Canada)
Part One: The Problem
Praise be to Allaah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allaah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Recently we find an increasing number of people who have obviously been misled and are misleading others as well in the attitude they have taken towards the enemies of Allaah and that which they’ve taken towards fellow Muslims. Sadly, some of these brothers are considered to be among the students of knowledge and leaders of Muslim communities in the West. May Allaah guide us and them aright and may He bring our hearts together upon the truth.
In these days, a great deal of attention is being paid to “the disease of radicalism” amongst the youth.
The question we should ask here is, what exactly do they mean by radicalism? It would appear from their words that they deem those who oppose their points of view as being radical. What we need to understand is that radicalism/extremism goes two ways. There are those who are radical/extreme in that they exaggerate matters and turn to means not acceptable in Islaam. There is no doubt that among the Muslims there are those who are perhaps radical in this sense and may act in a completely unislaamic manner.
However, by no means is this widespread nor should it be the issue of the day. Just to clarify, I am not saying that we should ignore the issue. I believe we need to deal with it; however, we need to put things in perspective. Having been brought up in the West, and this is nothing to be proud of, and having had the opportunity to work with Muslim communities in the West, I can say with full confidence that our major problem is that perhaps the majority of those who claim to be Muslim don’t even offer their five daily prayers.
They do not understand the basics/foundations/fundamentals of their deen (religion) and this is, in my view, the greatest problem we face as an ummah. It is no wonder that we are suffering and are hit with calamity after calamity when our practice of Islaam is so weak. Allaah says what means: “And whatever strikes you of disaster – it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much.” (Al-Quran, Sura Ash-Shura 42 verse 30). This is another form of radicalism/extremism and it is the form which is widespread and should be the issue of the day.
I am not saying that radicalism does not exist in our communities, but it is in reality very uncommon. The few cases which may exist are highly publicized and blown out of proportion. Even some Muslims, including those misguided souls who claim to be our leaders, blow things out of proportion. They take the word of the enemies of Islaam over the word of their fellow Muslims and end up working to benefit the campaign against Islaam (better known as the “War on Terror”). Indeed, it is sad and disturbing that when the issue of radicalism arises, most (if not all) the cases brought forth are cases in which it is known that the misguided individuals were in fact manipulated by, encouraged, and equipped by the same people who then arrested them and paraded them in front of the media! Is it not strange that we hear so much about a problem which appears to have been, in large part, fabricated in the first place?
As for those who tell us that we are believing in ‘conspiracy theories,’ they are the ones who have been truly fooled. Even amongst the kuffaar themselves there are those who recognize and know that these so-called “extremists” and “radicals” are products of federal plots!
Note also that if we accept the definition of radicalism as generally conveyed by the media and even most politicians, anyone who supports the Sharee’ah, declares the five daily prayers an obligation (not an option), states that the hijaab is a must and opposes homosexuality then such a person is a radical or extremist according to them. It is therefore extremely important for us to be cautious and not fall into the trap of allowing others to define the terms we use. In addition, let us remember the definitions of the word radical and then realize that “radical” is not necessarily evil. I think we’d all agree that the changes brought about by the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in his community were quite “radical”. Therefore, a radical change is not by necessity an evil change. So again, when using these terms, let us define them well and not feel as though we have to accept the definitions chosen by our opponents.
The truth is that the greatest problem, the true threat of radicalism in our communities comes from another angle entirely. It is the radicalism of the opposite end of the spectrum: those people who do not know the very basics of Tawheed, the very foundation of al-Islaam! I swear by Allaah, many Muslims we speak to in the West don’t even realize the severity of kufr. Many Muslims we speak to in the West don’t understand the real importance of salaah and hijaab. Many don’t realize the severity of dealing with ribaa. I could go on and on, but I imagine you get the picture.
As for the issue of the severity of kufr/disbelief, then let us make it abundantly clear that in the end (in the hereafter) people will be in one of only two camps; “A party will be in Paradise and a party in the Blaze.” (Al-Quran, Sura Ash-Shura 42 verse 7) The nature and ways of the kuffaar are clearly outlined in the Quraan and Muslims must be aware of them. Contrary to what so many of the apologists say (basically they are repeating what the kaafir media and politicians want them to say), making people aware of kufr and warning against it does not mean we are inciting people towards violence and “terrorism”. The scholars of Islaam have always warned against kufr and clarified what it means to hate kufr and its people. They were not calling for people to become violent and commit wanton killing! Those who hide from this issue and harp on the issue of terrorism while avoiding addressing this matter head on are indeed weak in faith. Perhaps they have forgotten about the hereafter and are afraid that by speaking openly on this issue they will be deprived of the comfortable, worldly lives they desire so much. It is high time we straighten out our priorities!
As we can see, the question of radicalism in our communities – and what exactly constitutes radicalism in the first place – is a very loaded question and one that must be considered at deep length. At the same time, it is not enough for us to merely discuss the problem. What is just as important, if not more so, is to find an answer to this problem. Thus we now turn to what we believe is the true solution to this issue – and Allah is the source of all guidance.
Part Two: The Solution
What can we do – that is the follow-up question. Every problem must have a solution, so what is the answer to this troubling question of radicalism. AlHamdulillaah, Allaah has blessed us with al-Islaam, and as with anything and everything else in life, the solution lies within the Quraan and authentic Sunnah.
The first step is in truly educating our youth about Islaam. We must educate them about the proper rules and guidelines of living as Muslims in the West; about the conditions of Jihaad and the importance of separating the innocents from the criminals. The most important form of education against radicalism or extremism of any kind is the true education of Islaam, based upon the Quraan and the authentic Sunnah. We must truly live Islaam as we are meant to do, by praying five times a day and fulfilling our obligations to Allaah. Only when we educate ourselves on what it really is to be Muslim, will these problems we are facing slowly, but surely go away. This is something which we must emphasize over and over again, and can never afford to stop repeating.
At the same time, we must be open and honest with them about the reality of today’s situations. We cannot afford to lie to them and say that the kuffaar are not fighting against Islam, that they have no grudge against the Deen of Allah and His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). In fact, trying to downplay the reality of the enmity of the kuffaar, and keeping our youth ignorant of the concept of Al-Walaa wa’l Baraa is in fact more likely to result in people turning towards the path of extremism!
When we choose to avoid the topic of Al-Walaa wa’l Baraa and when we try to interpret it in a manner other than that understood by our pious predecessors, we are doing a great injustice. As a matter of fact, we see some of the results of that attitude already; hijrah is explained away, our youth see nothing wrong with becoming intimate friends with kuffaar and thus continue to go astray, many end up adopting the mentality of the kuffaar in matters of deen and thus begin showing enmity towards Muslims and the list goes on. The fact of the matter is that it is in our fitrah (natural inclination or instinct, if you will) to reject kufr. Therefore, when we find so-called scholars making baseless excuses for the kuffaar and downplaying the severity of kufr and the nature of the kuffaar and their constant plots against Islaam, the odd Muslim may turn to extreme, unislaamic measures.
The second step is to speak out against the crimes being committed against our fellow Muslims, against the war that is indeed being waged against al-Islaam. Those who say that there is no merit in speaking out, that it causes more harm than good, are seriously misguided and do not have a proper understanding of Islaam!
The war on Islaam is indeed very real. The misguided want us to believe that these wars being waged in Iraq, Afghanistan and other lands have little, if anything to do with religion while forgetting the words of Bush when he called for the occupation of Afghanistan. Did he not call it a “crusade”? O yes, but the sell-outs jumped to his rescue and explained the other meanings and connotations of the word crusade, thus finding an excuse for the terrorist! They neglect to see who his religious advisors were and that he claimed that “God spoke to him”. Perhaps the apologists have forgotten that the West wants to change our deen; have they not openly stated that they want to bring “democracy” to the Muslim lands? Rest assured, democracy is their deen, it is their way of life and they want it to replace our way of life, al-Islaam. But of course, it is their “brand” of democracy they want to impose on Muslims while trying to convince us that it is in reality “moderate” and does not conflict with the teachings of Islaam. Sadly, they have found mouthpieces from among the Muslims for them. The misguided “scholars and students of knowledge” refute facts and put a twist on them to suit their own agendas. The West is very proud of the type of lifestyle they lead; they want the “freedom” to remain immoral, the freedom to remain in kufr and the freedom to remain enslaved to their desires. Therefore, pure Islaam is naturally a threat to them, and rightfully so. It is this threat they strive to illiminate and thus the wars they are waging in the Muslim world are undoubtedly wars against Islaam.
Dishonesty – whether it is done out of fear of negative reprisals from those in power (such as the FBI, CIA, CSIS, MI5, or any other government agencies), or out of a deliberate attempt to appease those same federal agencies – does not become a true Muslim. In fact, regardless of whatever opposition we may face, it is the duty and obligation of every Muslim, particularly those in a position of authority, to speak the truth and uphold it.
The apologists would rather we remain silent about the atrocities committed against Muslims by the kuffaar. They claim “that the speaking out serves in far too many cases to amp up those with limited knowledge, too much free time and too much energy to burn – and has brought about much of what we lament today as an Ummah.” The reality, however, is that speaking out against falsehood and injustice is necessary. Those who do speak out, for the most part, do so in a balanced way, walhamdulillaah. That is my observation; however, the sell-outs claim the opposite since they have shown how they have a good opinion of the infidels while looking upon Muslims who really care with contempt.
The Imams and people of knowledge are the ones we are speaking of here. As for individuals, then we have so many who speak and rant while being unqualified to open their mouths at all on such issues. These individuals have little to no impact on the opinions of the masses of Muslims. Speaking out against evil and injustice is part of educating our communities. Why should we not enlighten our communities of the enemies’ plots against us? Would it not be useful that we warn our youth and others of tactics used by “law enforcement”; tactics such as entrapping unsuspecting youth and leaders? By the way, the issue of Muslims being entrapped is not a figment of our imaginations, it is a reality and a fact.
It is only foolishness which would lead one to believe that it is better not to ‘rock the boat’ in order to maintain certain privileges; or to think that refraining to speak part of the truth in order to continue to do good is better than speaking the whole truth and suffering negative repercussions of some sort. Where would we be if our Prophets and our pious predecessors spoke only that which pleased the rulers.
Rather it is imperative that we discuss these very real issues facing our fellow brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. To sweep these issues under the rug, to say that we should not complain about it because we cannot change American foreign policy, to claim that it is useless to speak about these things is simply a way of distracting and diverting our attention from the cold and harsh reality of the nature of the kuffaar.
Furthermore, no matter how much some people try to avoid this matter, it will always be clear and obvious to those whose hearts are not blind. Indeed, the more people try to stop us from discussing this, the more angry and disillusioned youth will turn to ways that are Islaamically incorrect as a means of addressing these problems.
I must emphasize here the importance of reaching out to our youth and showing them love and concern. We need to hear them out and correct any misconceptions they may have. It is imperative that we are completely honest with them and guide them. It is heart breaking to see that many of our “leaders” reach out to the politicians before reaching out to our youth. It becomes clear as we read their misguided articles that these people are truly out of touch with the realities on the ground. They have indeed been brainwashed and rather than working for the betterment of the Muslims, they end up doing harm to those whom they claim to be serving.
In closing, I advise myself, then my fellow Muslims to be cautious when tackling issues facing the ummah. It is incumbent upon us to realize first and foremost that Islaam is the truth and kufr is opposition to Allaah. We must understand that the nature of the kuffaar is that they want us to be like them, to live their lifestyles and adopt the beliefs they hold. So let us give Muslims the benefit of the doubt and see the kuffar as guilty until proven innocent in such cases.
We beg of Allaah to open our hearts and eyes to the truth. Yaa Allaah, remove the love of dunyaa from our hearts and let the truth be more beloved to us than any of the worldly luxuries. O Allaah, reconcile the hearts of the Muslims, bring their ranks together and let them agree upon the truth.