By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi

Countering Terrorism:

The Message of Makkah International Islamic Conference
Khutbah at ISOC – Jumadal Ula 23, 1436/ March 13, 2015

وَاللَّهُ يَدْعُو إِلَىٰ دَارِ السَّلَامِ وَيَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ {يونس 25}

Allah invites [everyone] to the Home of Peace, and guides whoever He will to a straight path. (Yunus 10:25)

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ {النحل 90}

Allah commands justice, benevolence, and generosity towards relatives and He forbids what is shameful, blameworthy, and oppressive. He teaches you, so that you may take heed.

(Al-Nahl 16:90)

Islam is the religion of peace and justice. Islam is against extremism and violence. We are, however, living in a world full of injustice, wars and violence. Terrorism is an international problem. It has no religion, race, color or nationality. It is unfortunate that some Muslim individuals and groups are also committing acts of terrorism. They are causing harm to Muslims and others and bringing a bad name to Islam and to all Muslims throughout the world. Muslim scholars in different parts of the world have been condemning acts of violence and terrorism. In different countries, various religious bodies have held meetings to counter terrorism and many ‘Ulama have issued fatwas against terrorism. Recently, I participated in a unique conference held in the sacred city of Makkah from February 22-25, 2015. About 488 scholars, Imams, and leaders of religious and educational institutions from 107 countries came to attend this international conference at the headquarters of the Muslim World League. This is, perhaps, the first time that such a large gathering of Muslims from diverse backgrounds and countries gathered to discuss the growing menace of terrorism.

Many scholarly papers were presented elaborating four main themes:

  • The Islamic position against extremism and terrorism was explained in the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Islamic teachings on peace, justice and good relations with people of other religions and cultures were emphasized.
  • Various reasons and causes behind the phenomenon of violence and terrorism were discussed. Among the causes mentioned were misunderstanding and misinterpretation of Islamic teachings, violation of human rights and un-Islamic system of governments, financial mismanagement and economic disparities, as well as disunity, sectarianism, conflicting international interests, and unfair and unjust involvement of some foreign powers in the internal affairs of the Muslim world.
  • The affects and harm of terrorism on Islam and Muslims was another topic. It was unanimously agreed that terrorism did not serve a single Muslim cause or interest. On the contrary, it has benefitted only those who hate Islam and Muslims. Terrorism has served the Islamophobia to increase its propaganda against Islam and Muslims. Millions of Muslims have been either killed or have become refugees. Many Muslim countries and their resources have been destroyed. Many just Muslim causes are suffering now because of little or no sympathies in the international forums. Many legitimate Muslim charities have lost their support because of sweeping international restrictions or the fear among Muslims that they may be accused of supporting extremism and terrorism by contributing. Muslim minorities are also looked upon with suspicion in many non-Muslim countries.
  • The scholars also suggested some solutions and ways to counter terrorism. They urged education, moral training, and the development of the culture of dialogue, as well as the clarification of many Islamic concepts that have become confusing in the minds of some Muslims and many non-Muslims. They mentioned the concepts of Jihad, Takfir, Islamic State, Khilafah, Darul Islam, Darul Harb and Shari’ah in general. Some excellent papers and talks were presented and workshops were held to discuss these topics. The scholars focused on the role of mosques, religious schools and media in bringing proper awareness, besides the role of military and security forces.

At the end of the conference, the scholars addressed Five Messages: (1) to Muslim governments and political leaders; (2) to Muslim scholars and Imams; (3) to Muslim Youth; (4) to Muslim Media and (5) to the international community. Following is the summary of these Five Messages taken from the Makkah Communique (Balagh Makkah):

  • To Muslim Governments and Political Leaders:
  • Apply the rules of Allah by embarking on comprehensive reform to achieve justice, human dignity, and the aspirations of your people. Decent living along with sound and sensible governance must be guaranteed to all citizens.
  • Maintain Muslim unity, and protect the Ummah from disintegration due to sectarianism, and ethnicity. Islamic solidarity in all its shapes and forms must be promoted.
  • Take advantage of the material and moral potential of the Ummah. Put an end to the waste of human and natural resources and make an alliance among Muslim countries.
  • Direct the review of educational programs and curricula and the religious discourse to realize moderation.
  • Conflicts must be solved based on the Quran and the Sunna of the Prophet –peace be upon him. Establish the Islamic Court of Justice. 
  • Develop a comprehensive strategy to dry up the sources of terrorism, in addition to trust building between the Ummah and its leaders.  Fighting corruption must be a priority. Leaders must work on reducing unemployment and poverty, and endorsing the rights of citizenship for all constituents of the society.
  • Leaders must support Muslim minorities in preserving their identity, and protect their interests. Their potential and capabilities should be promoted to enable them to perform their mission, and carry out their duties towards their communities. These tasks must be executed with moderation in understanding and practice.
  • Religious and judicial institutions must be strengthened, in addition to supporting their independence.
  • To Muslim Scholars:
  • Preserve the identity of the Muslim Ummah and enhance its knowledge and awareness to boost its duty to protect the religion and provide sound advice to the people. Our Ummah must be conscious of its message and should discharge its mission in the desired way.
  • Muslim scholars must epitomize proper role models. They should advise and guide the Ummah and its leaders with wisdom.
  • Correct misconceptions, and prevent the Ummah from suspicions, misleading and malicious trends. Proper religious knowledge must be disseminated in accordance with the authentic teachings of Islam without extremism and simplistic interpretations.
  • At times of disagreement, we must be courteous to each other. The language of apostasy, and innovation in matters of Ijtihad must be cast aside for the sake of safeguarding the supreme interests of the Ummah.
  • Coordination between institutions of religious knowledge must be enhanced to address novel issues by way of collective fatwas. Warnings against odd and irregular fatwas must be issued.
  • Scholars must work more with young people, and narrow the gap between the generations. Dialogue vistas must be opened and address the young people’s inquiries and questions. These steps must be taken to inspire moderation and balance among all people.
  • To the Muslim Youth:
  • Hold fast to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Last Prophet. Avoid sedition, division and conflicts. Shun negligence and excess.  Adhere to the principles and rules of the Shari’ah. Keep away from shedding innocent blood, and uphold the supreme interests of the Ummah.
  • Have Confidence in the erudite scholars; take them as reference and follow their rulings. Be careful about casual fatwas that deal with the major affairs of the Ummah.
  • Learn your religious values and adhere to them. You must consider the consequences of every matter and keep in mind the higher objectives of your faith. Do not be deceived by bright slogans lifted by some parties without support from the Quran and the Sunnah.
  • You must harness your passions and enthusiasm, set the priorities and grasp the reality. Have a great deal of patience to implement the reform. You must realize that attaining goals comes gradually. Hence, Allah’s laws of change must be observed. Youth must endeavor to tread legitimate ways to achieve change, and be inspired by lessons from past experiences.

 

  • To the Muslim World’s media :
  • Bolster religious and national unity within Muslim societies, along with addressing the claims of sedition and sectarianism.
  • Instill Islamic values and morals among your audiences. Refrain from broadcasting negative material contrary to the religious principles and established values of Islam.
  • Ensure the integrity of the news and the purposeful coverage. Desist from advocating terrorism by giving it forum to broadcast its message. The media must also recognize the significance of the message reaching the world.
  • Multimedia should be conscientious when addressing the ills of our Ummah. It must avoid spreading atypical and misleading views. Instead, it should be involved in bringing awareness about the respect of life and inviolability of innocent blood, and the menace of injustice.
  • Deal carefully with the attempts of those who want to tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims.

 

  • To International Bodies and Peoples of the World:
  • Extremism is a global phenomenon; it doesn’t adhere to any religion and it does not pledge allegiance to any homeland.  It is unfair and false to accuse Islam of violence and terrorism. These allegations have been absolutely refuted through the texts of the Quran and the message of the Prophet who was sent as a mercy to the worlds. Islam stands against injustice in all its forms and manifestations.
  • Non-religious extremism is also a cause of terrorism, because it induces violence.
  • Upholding human values brings common natural bonds among nations. Its falsification or forgery cannot be accepted and depleting human values won’t produce tolerance.
  • Battling Islam and promoting Islamophobia is the wrong recipe for a successful fight against terrorism and religious extremism. Success of the campaign against terrorism lies in cooperation with Muslim states, their scholars and their institutions.
  • Islam has given freedom a high value; however, it has linked it to the value of responsibility. Therefore, freedom of expression should not be an excuse to abuse others, and undermine their religious symbols and sacred sites.
  • We all live in one world, in which our societies coexist. All of us will be affected by what happens anywhere. This fact necessitates our partnership in building the human civilization, and striving to achieve our mutual interests.
  • The road to rapprochement between people is communication and dialogue, and has become a human necessity. Such steps should occur without the imposition of superiority of one party and the obliteration of the other.
  • Tolerance and forgiveness among peoples for what has occurred during history due to shortcomings and mistakes are desirable traits. However, this should be done without compromising rights, and forgetting about the positive lessons of history.
  • The expeditious administration of justice ought to on standardized rules of international justice without double standards and dealings.

 

These are very valuable and important advices from the scholars and thinkers of the Ummah. We hope they will be taken seriously by everyone. The list shows that how much work is needed to improve our condition, to build our civic societies and establish peace in the world.

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