Recent events all around the world, rise in global radicalism, uniquely associated to my former faith, from Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, Al-Qaida, ISIS, Taliban, and lone wolves, makes it all reasonable if I try to hint to skeptics how to question their faith, how not to accept everything taught as divine truths, even in the face of threats of unreal ‘eternal torment’, just so that we never to ask questions. Also the purpose is to educate non-Muslims on how not to condemn all muslims as terrorists, I’ll try to show the category within which all muslims fall.
Fact is, many Muslims are also shocked and appalled with with recent acts of terrorism by ISIS, Boko Haram, and the likes, but they see the Charlie Hebdo attacks and similar ‘defensive’ violence as justifiable. They are quick to dismiss conventional terrorists as not part of their faith, but would praise someone who ends lives to ‘defend the integrity prophet’, who died centuries ago. They see terrorists as un-Islamic but stoning to death adulterers as justice, they see suicide bombing as abhorrent, but chopping off hands of thieves as divine logic, they see the abducted Nigerian Chibok girls as victims but see nothing wrong with slavery since their religion did not abolish it.
The confusion is many, the hypocrisy glaringly obvious. It is a clash of modernity and barbarism, of common sense and bigotry, between relativism and absolutism, between reason and ignorance. That’s why the world got used to a Saudi beheading of an apostate as normal, but ISIS beheading of same crime as barbarism. The world would also see Islamic terror as terror, but the Oslo terror by Anders Breivik as mere violence. I call all this confusion and hypocrisy.
Even though those terrorists specifically quote and state their motives, civil muslims would still bluntly say they are not Muslims. Clearly, most terrorists especially those in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sahara and Northern Nigeria are the ones who studied the religion all their life, whereas modern muslims went to study civil Law, Engineering and Medicine. They seem not to understand their religion, or at least they do but try to reform it, albeit unofficially. But they do not ask the relevant questions. This is because the Qur’an specifically says ‘..walaa tajassasuu…’ loosely meaning “don’t ask too many questions…” or “never dig deep…” Applicable to people who dare investigate whatever doubt they harbour. So belief is strictly based on faith, faith in the unseen, without due evidence. Sure what can be factually provable, requires no faith, it means knowing, faith comes in when you do not know, you just wish it is true.
When you are told you have a creator whom you cannot see, hear or feel, forever, you take it on faith. If you were told you have 2 guardian angels by your left and right, whom you also never will see, you take it on faith. If you grew up hearing that you are always followed by a 7-legged chicken, and you believe it, there’s a very large probability that you’d think it’s real. That’s how it works.
Reality does not require blindfold, if it’s a fact, it is. Such it is, with angels, demons, gods, soul, ghosts, the devil, afterlife etc. Most people are oblivious to the world around them, they seem to live someone else’s dreams. That’s bleakly okay, but don’t say everyone must buy your own idea of the world, especially if the society is not yours, you’ll just cause trouble for those you want to protect. The dreadful rise in far-right movements across the West sends signals of the Holocaust all too apparent. Terror activities make muslims feel less welcome in Europe.
Now, why do people go to lengths to assert their ideology on everyone? Lengths that result in the loss of lives, loss of livelihood and all? It’s all fathomable, if the leader of Boko Haram declared all non-Boko Haram member as legal targets, a hadith rings in my head, which states that “I (Muhammad) have been commanded (by Allah), to WAGE WAR on ALL mankind, until they CONVERT (to Islam) or SUBMIT (as slaves, 2nd class citizens), and their property subjected to my command.” – Emphasis mine. Every Muslim would dismiss Sheqau of Boko Haram as someone who does not understand Islam, but praise the one who said those words as ‘the best man than ever lived, the mercy to mankind’. We have to tell ourselves the truth, one of the the biggest threats to freedom is on the verge of being revived, using the same means it wilfully tries to eliminate, freedom of speech and globalisation.
Appalling acts of terror that do not spare anyone, including 10 year olds used as suicide bombers. At first glance, one may say it cannot be seen anywhere in Islam, but the yes, urge to create terror in people’s mind drove them to desperation, it’s roots lay in the doctrine. We have to blame the doctrine that planted the idea in people. The idea of martyrdom, paradise, afterlife, that children that die young will save their parents from hellfire.
An examples of a specific case of study is a short story in the Quran; of Moses, Joshua (Yusha’u) and one pious servant of God, Khidr, from whom Moses was supposed to learn. The saint murdered a child and rationalised it by explaining that the kid would grow to lead his parents astray, so Allah inspired him to kill the boy, that the parents will be given another. So why blame the Taliban or Boko Haram for killing children? Subliminally they absorbed such poison in the passages, without even realising it turns them to monsters. The massacre of the jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza and later Khaybar, by the prophet and his armies also included children, everyone who grew the littlest pubic hair was certified adult and put among the condemned, you know the age range I’m talking about.
If anyone tried to tell you that terrorists do not subscribe to his faith or has not really understood the religion, for example, ask his what happened to Asma’ bint Marwan, a poet who satirised the prophet, she was hacked to death in front of her 5 children, including a suckling baby, and after reporting to the prophet, the prophet praised it. Further verses and hadiths made it a capital crime to criticise the prophet. No one sees that centuries later, the dead (and the inexistent) are still killing the living, and in an effort to preserve the integrity of the dead, many more will lose their lives.
What differs a criminal from a terrorist is that the former knows he’s wrong, and the latter is driven by an ideology that deludes him that he’s right. People call them radical, they are just one step away from terrorists. As a friend of mine said, Muslims have the right be angry at satires at their prophet, they are human, but what you do with the anger is what baffles everyone, no other religion kills because of feelings stirred but Islam. Once again, you have to look at history, and the books they read.
By now a lot of people know where much of the venom terrorists spit are indeed verses in the qur’an and hadiths, the books are now accessible all over the internet. Years ago, no one has the right to touch the holy book if they are non-muslim, because they are impure, therefore, you have no right to read of the book that condemns you for not believing in it, especially if alleged to come from the one that ‘created’ you, I always wondered what logic that is.
The book says it is sent to for all mankind to study, it talks about all mankind and our (presumed) destiny, it condemns, criticises, and even threatens everyone that do not believe in it’s dogma, and muslims expect it to be respected and glorified, they then disallow you to have a copy, for fear that you may desecrate it, as if a paper feels anything. Know that same punishment is meted out to anyone that does, just like the Charlie Hebdo cowardly brutality.
Same thing happened in my hometown, the Northern Nigerian city of Kano, in the 90s, long before the formal adoption of the Sharia as state doctrine, such cases and many more occurred in Bauchi, Kaduna and Gombe as recent as 6 years ago. The Kano incidence happened with one Gideon, hacked to death based on rumours that he desecrated the holy book, taken by force, from his cell at a police station and beheaded. Rumour has it, that among the assailants was the then youthful Prince of Kano, the current emir, the former CBN governor, allegations that were never investigated, the case is history. Ironic now that his life is threatened by the same ideology, which has evolved to an even bigger monster.
Jihadists mentality is that all matters can be solved by murder and war, in very many cases, it is the prophet and some close associates themselves that act as moderators, sometimes leaning to the blood-mongers, other times to peaceful resolutions, just like the hudaybiyyah peace treaty outside meccah, in another instance, a villager once eased himself in the mosque, if not for the prophet, those around almost lynched him, just for not knowing the rules. In another instance, the prophet commanded so so people be killed and their repentance will not be accepted, during the conquest of meccah. Other commands from the qur’an and hadith directly command violence, killing, maiming, having sex with a slavegirl whenever, however, beating of wives, secluding women, killing anyone who wishes to quit, etc etc.
Most or all 1st century Muslims fall in this category, if they were ever alive today, they would be called barbaric, terrorists, Islamists, but that’s the first class faith you could ever have. Admittedly, every ‘modern’ Muslim abhors terrorism, and claim to be civil, they all claimed to be peace-loving, but there is a hierarchy, a sort of degree, defined by the level of faith you have
That jihad, is the highest action in the cause of Allah puts a high mark of faith for anyone undertaking such action. Today the legitimate causes for jihad has been reduced by modern Sheikhs to mean struggle, bloodless struggle with one-self, to achieve a nirvana sort of inner peace, but all fundamentalists who know the religion very well knows that’s not a sincere way to portray jihad, and as such, have rebelled into becoming outlaws, what we now know as terrorists. So a terrorist is the ultimate follower of Islam and the genuine Muslim, whether the muslim world sees him as such or not. They will cause mayhem, whether provoked or not, all they want is dominion, territory, conversion, submission, and the rule of Allah. They number into a few 100,000s, and will grow consistently as more youths get recruited and radicalised.
Second in the category is the fundamentalist, the islamist, that’s someone who wouldn’t harm anyone unprovoked, but would, if you provoke, like blasphemy, they are mostly consisted of the mob you see at religious protests with qur’ans, burning effigies and flags, whenever the religion is ‘harmed’, they number into the millions. A fanatic rationalises violence in defence of the faith, they are the advocates of Sharia, and yes they are just one step from a jihadi. They easily melt into moderate societies just by altering their appearance and mode of dressing, but easily spottable by how they force their women to dress. They coined phrases/words like ‘blasphemy’, ‘out of context’, ‘the logic behind the verse’, ‘the dangers if so and so punishment isnt meted on so and so,’ etc etc. Most Wahabis (Saudi Version), what you can say core Sunni (in Pakistan/Afgh.) fall in this category and Shiites (Iran/Lebanon) fall in this category.
THE MODERATE MUSLIM
Then you have the modern Muslim, the civilised, who boasts himself as the real Muslim, they number in the majority, almost a billion. They love the sharia, but if the sharia is in practice or not, they don’t put much effort to see it actualised, believe firmly in god, they keep the prayer, and other pillars of the faith, they believe bloodshed is not Islamic, partly because they do not know, or they think it was only legal in the past. They do not know beyond what the theocrats in the faith sell as moderation. They are also targeted by terrorists because they subscribe to ‘the secular constitution’ as against the sharia, and rightly so, most of them would tell you yes sharia is eternal, but they do not really know what it is. They could sin and ask for god’s forgiveness, they mingle with people very well. They get angry when you blaspheme, but hardly do they harm you, they would only avoid you, pray for you or remind you that hell is real.
A moderate is mostly scared of any new information that may lead to doubts or erode their faith. They are architects of the phrases ‘you know no one can really understand god’s logic.’ A modern Muslim is a cherry picker, choosing to ignore some verses or hadiths, clearly against verse ‘afatu’uminuuna bi baadil kitaabi wa takfuruuna bi baad?’ – ‘So would you then believe in parts of the book and disbelieve in other parts?’ The verdict in Islam is clear, you must only be a muslim or not.
THE LIBERAL MUSLIM
The last category is the liberal, social, secular muslims, only identified by culture, name or region, they do know the religion, but are too educated to be convinced by it. They would not risk saying they are apostates, since it’s very dangerous, especially in a Muslim majority country. They number a few millions. They commit sins, the larger sins considered ‘kabaa’ir’. They care not if god forgives them or not, or if he’s really there. Their usual phrases are ‘god loves us all’, ‘god doesn’t care about petty things,’ and they mostly avoid spiritual talk. Many would tell you the sharia is archaic and irrelevant, and that the world has moved on.
Now, from among the above categories, the first 3 can be seen to account for the 1.2 billion people who really believe in the religion. Given the right ingredients, the Islamists would become terrorists, or at least their children, the modern muslims would also become terrorists if they study the religion as it was, especially if they have sufficient faith and fear of god. On the other hand, those that are educated and rational, would most likely be secular, or the new growing category, the ex-muslims.
This category, are relying on the fact that, courage is contagious, and their actions will speed up secularisation of their respective societies, before it’s too late, or at least neutralisation of the faith to moderation. They are the most hated by even the modern muslims who see them as betrayers, even though they teach tolerance and humanism. Their criticism is sharper, often seen by muslims as exposure of guarded secrets, and mistaken for hatred. They may well help awaken the conscience of muslims, the humanity in all of mankind… For they are mostly the comprised of the youth, opposed to terror, injustice, crude ideas and courageous enough to let the world know they exist.
Islamophobia is just a term that people think is equal to racism, but it’s not. Muslim-phobia is what is really bad. Islam is an idea, different from Muslims, which are people. As some commentator rightly noted, “if it’s a genuine threat, it’s not wrong to be phobic about it”. In my opinion, Muslims and nonMuslims alike, need to objectively know what Islam is really about, that’s the only way to know what’s in a terrorists mind, and especially counter-terror experts, not what the Saudis and Iranians sugar-coat. That way politicians would stop lying to themselves and us, the usual ‘This has nothing to do with Islam’ whenever terror strikes.
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