By Laiqa Ahmad Bhatti, Slough, UK
How are you? Have you slept well? Has terrorising the world brought you peace? Is God pleased with you?
I have been meaning to ask you; do you belong to the faith called Islam? Islam actually means obedience and peace. Do you obey Allah? Do you bring peace?
I often hear you say you are doing ‘Jihad’. I know of someone else who did Jihad; my beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did Jihad. Do you know how much hardship the beloved Prophet went through? For thirteen long years, my Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers were attacked relentlessly without mercy. Many followers of my beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) were brutally killed but they did not retaliate. While the streets ran red from the blood of innocent Muslims being killed as though they were animals, my beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers remained steadfast and full of humility. Incidents like a believer having each leg tied to a camel and then the camels being forced to charge in opposing directions were quickly becoming commonplace; despite this, God commanded Muslims to not retaliate.
Dear Terrorist, I want to tell you another story of Hadhrat Zainab, the daughter of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. She, like all Muslims in Mecca were under constant attack. Muslims had tried ignoring the attacks but it didn’t work and finally God commanded them to migrate to Medina. During her migration, Habbar bin Aswad, a staunch enemy of Islam, attacked Hadhrat Zainab who fell to the ground from her camel. Not only did she lose her unborn child but a year later, she also died of her injuries. Yet did you see the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or his followers go to avenge the death of his daughter and grandchild? Surely, under the rules of your Jihad, he would have killed multiple innocent relatives of Habbar bin Aswad. In reality, Habbar bin Aswad asked for forgiveness and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) forgave him simply because God has said:
‘Remember that the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof; but whoso forgives and thereby brings about an improvement, his reward is with Allah. Surely, He loves not the wrongdoers. (42:41)’
This is not a lone incident. The history of Islam has uncountable examples of our beloved Prophet Muhammad’s loving and forgiving nature. Muslims only took up the sword once they had migrated to Medina and their lives were still at risk at which time God allowed Muslims to defend themselves.
But does this mean killing innocent civilians? What about the places of worship, women, children and elderly God has protected even in the case of war? Are you exempt from those rules? Why do I keep seeing innocent people covered in blood and why are those covered in blood the lucky ones? Why can I hear the silent tears of those who have lost a loved one? Why do I see children covered in blood, their faces stricken with horror?
Why, dear terrorist, why?
Even when permission to defend themselves with Jihad of the sword, was given, Muslims were under strict prohibitions. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had told his followers:
‘Muslims, go forth in the name of Allah, and fight in the cause of Allah. Do not defraud in the matter of the spoils, nor cheat the enemy. Do not mutilate the enemy dead nor kill women or children or monks or priests, nor those who have arrived at extreme old age. Always try to improve people’s condition and behave benevolently towards them. Allah loves the benevolent.’
In his time, Hadhrat Abu Bakr, the first Khalifa (Caliph) of Islam, used to add:
‘Leave alone those who have dedicated their lives to the service of God and also that to which they are dedicated; do not cut down fruit trees, nor ruin an inhabited place.’
Then comes the question of killing yourself in the process. God Almighty says:
‘…and cast not yourselves into ruin with your own hands, and do good…’ (2:196)
Can killing yourself and innocent civilians possibly even be a road, let alone a seemingly easy one to heaven? Where is the striving – the root word of Jihad – in that path.
I do Jihad; every day. It starts with the morning Prayer. Then I continue my Jihad; I wake with my dear son, feed him, clothe him and throughout the day, I try setting a good example for him to follow. I end my day with Jihad. I self reflect, try and better myself. But it is not just in my worship to God; an integral part of my service to God is service to mankind. That is what Jihad is today – the striving to become nearer to God and the best way is to love what He loves. God loves all His Creations; every poor, innocent soul you kill is a loved one of God.
For your victims, I have only one word. Sorry. I am so sorry for your families and for you. I cannot offer you much but my sincerest apology and a promise that I stand with you. I will fight for every human’s right – Muslim or not. I know God loves you just as much as He loves me. We are all His dear creation and so I stand with you.
British Government and Jihad