By Dr. Nazir Khaja
Islamic Information Service
Muslims from all over the world gathered at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia recently to perform the Rites of Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islamic Belief which commemorates the Prophet Abraham's unwavering
Faith in God's mercy. Hajj is ordained for the Muslims in The Quran.
During the performance of the rituals the Muslims for the entire period of almost a week experience the essential truth that the Qur’an and all other scriptures emphasize that of oneness of God and equality and oneness of Humanity before God.
Hajj is deeply spiritual experience for all who perform it. Fighting and killing is prohibited during the period of Hajj. Yet even during these sacred days not a day has gone by without the bloodshed of innocent people at the hands of these extremists..
This year The Hajj came at a time when there is a great deal of unrest and even fear in the world. Wars, violence, acts of terror occupy the front pages of all newspapers. Muslims as individuals as they offer their prayers for their own peace and salvation performing their religious duties like Haj, they can not but help reflect on what is happening in the name of Islam and how antithetical it is to the
message of Peace and universal brotherhood embedded in the main teachings of Islam.
In the name of Islam much that is wrong and morally offensive is being perpetrated by a few of its` adherents. More and more it seems that Islam is under attack, not from
the outside as much, but from within. Some of its followers have taken upon themselves the task of "defeating the enemy"--- the West, Israel, or any person or Government, which seems not to conform to their narrow worldview.
Incapable of making the case of the perceived and real injustices meted out to their fellow Muslims in different parts of the world where groups of Muslims are engaged in freedom struggle except through violence and terror, the religious extremists have positioned themselves as the champions of the faith. The majority of Muslims who are peace-loving and do not have anything to do with the violence are anguished to see Islam being tarnished because of the acts of these terrorists.
In all "Extremist" discourse and arguments whether Jewish, Christian or others Ideology provides legitimacy, moral support, and rationalization of violence. However Islamic radicalism and extremism are not just driven by religious zealotry, but also by frustration and anger at those who rule them. The masses in despair under coercion and
occupation are primed to accept the terrorist argument that the attack is on Islam and they are fighting this battle on behalf of all Muslims.
Though Islam lays great emphasis on acts of worship that enhance and strengthen the relationship between man and God it also lays equal if not greater emphasis on an individuals` responsibility to the society at large. It is hoped that besides the rituals towards the attainment of individual peace through prayers and supplication at the Grand
Mosque, it is time now that a declaration or even a Fatwa by the Islamic authorities is put forward, rejecting the ideas and actions of the terrorists and condemning them as Haram or forbidden in Islam.
Yes, there have indeed been loud condemnation by Muslims ---l eaders as well as ordinary Muslims but a Fatwa in this regard which is announced and circulated widely by Islamic scholars will add more weight . Also
it upholds a central idea in the Qur’an ---- Amr bil Ma`roof wa` Nahi analalmunkir, doing what is right and rejecting what is wrong. This will be the right step in the discharge of our responsibility to our society.
The North American Fiqh Council/ISNA could lead the way.