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How Can Extremists’ Claims Be Countered?

Questioner

Lain

Reply Date

Feb 17, 2017

Question

Salaam, Having visited many Islamic sites on the internet and having read a transliteration of the Qur'an, I find it hard to reconcile some of the extreme views. Given on a few of these sites with the compassion and love for humanity that is there for all to see in the Qur'an, it seems that some small minority are interpreting what is written to suit there own aims and ambitions. How in your view can these claims be countered by the silent majority.

Consultant

Answer


Salam, 

Thank you for your question. 

Saleem Sajjad Ropani and Talha Abrar Jafri wrote that

Islam is derived from the Arabic root ‘silm’ and ‘salaam’, which are related to the meanings of peace, purity, submission and peaceful obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means peaceful submission to the will of God and obedience to His laws […] 

The word “Islam”, however, means much more than just “peace”. It means to live in submission to The One and Only God, in harmony with other people, as well as with the environment.

Thus, Islam is a total system of living. The follower of Islam is known as a Muslim, who lives in peace and harmony with all the elements and segments of a society.

As a matter of fact, the word “salam” (the Muslim greeting) is a part of daily life of a Muslim and is the greeting of peace. In addition, one of the beautiful names of Allah is as-Salam, which is from the same root. 

To walk, talk, and live in peace and harmony with all elements and segments of society is not an easy thing to do. Some are more successful than others. Some are prepared to try, fail, and try again.

What prevents our pursuance of this high ethical standard are our egos. We want to hold on to the parts that make us feel as if we belong to a group of people whether the basis of that group be social or cultural.

We as humans have an innate need to belong, but instead of working towards belonging to our Source (God), we want to belong to what we can identify with and what seems easiest. 

So, innately we gravitate towards groups out of a need to belong. What does this have to do with Islam? A lot! 

Allah says in the Quran:

{Had your Lord willed, all the people on earth would have believed. Do you want to force the people to become believers?} (Quran 10:99)

It is God’s Will that humans have been given a “will”, a will to decide on what we consider to be important. Allah Almighty gave us a choice in all things including Islam, so that we will make our own choices and not be psychological slaves to something we do not comprehend or wish to comprehend. 

Allah says in the Quran:

{There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in Allah has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. Allah is Hearer, Omniscient.} (Quran 2:256)

This is the mistake we have made in Islam today. This is by adopting the Victorian ethics towards religion, by defining Islam through its outer nature.

Therefore, we are neglecting its inner nature. Thus, it is only natural as human beings that we will give many answers to the question in a manner of speaking.

This is what you see from the conflicting websites online. It is not always a case of intentionally misinterpreting Islam. Sometimes it is a case of using what we know to give us a sense of purpose without improving on what we know.

Allah says in the Quran:

{Each of you chooses the direction to follow; you shall race towards righteousness. Wherever you may be, GOD will summon you all. GOD is Omnipotent.} (Quran 2:148)

The lesson of life is the same yet different for every one of us. It is for us to choose the direction to follow, but how much we understand the nature of that direction is another question. Equally, how much we learn from that journey in Islam varies also. 

In this context, then the issue of countering the deeds of the vocal minority is no longer an issue. To make it an issue changes one’s Islamic development from one to being true to its nature, to one of compromising its nature whilst we are still learning ourselves.

Therefore, the question is not how do we counter the vocal minority, but how can the silent majority be more effective in the practice of Islam not for a noisy few, but as a Mercy to mankind? 

Thank you again for your question and please do keep in touch. 

Salam

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

US Muslims: We Will Not Allow Extremists to Define Us

Deconstructing the Extremist Ideologies

Muslim Imam De-radicalizes Youth Online

 




About Hwaa Irfan

Hwaa Irfan serves as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. She is focusing on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.

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