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For What Crime Was Your Throat Slit?

Priest with Slit Throat Will Speak Against ISIS on Judgement Day

In my last article I condemned the attacks which occurred just before `Eid. Since then several other horrific incidents revealed the depths to which terrorists are willing to sink. Each time I felt the weight of responsibility to write and publish my words of condemnation, but time did not allow me. May Allah forgive my silence.

In my khutbahs, however, I decried some of these attacks specifically, and here I intend to condemn them all generally. Each incident deserves a separate attempt to clarify for the killers that their actions are foreign to Islam, if they did not know that already.

How can Islam ever justify the driving of a truck into a crowd of civilians? The first person to be mowed down in that incident was a Muslim woman. I hesitate to say that this makes it all the worse, because all lives matter, Muslim and other. But this does highlight the horror of the terrorist agenda.

Then there were despicable attacks on Shiites. Killing Shiites is no more excusable than killing Sunnis. We are brethren of a single faith with at least two interpretations. Regardless of which interpretation is correct, both follow the Qur’an which forbids us to kill innocents, and, even more so, fellow Muslims.

The killing of a priest in his church, especially in such a barbaric manner, and the taking of nuns hostage, represent an all-time low. Moreover, the shame from this is complete when ISIL gloats about their men as the perpetrators. In sharp contrast, we are all aware of the principle of non-combatant immunity.

Even if there is a justifiable war, it must be fought justifiably, and that implies that we do not target civilians. Nor do we target folks devoted to their worship whether of the true God or a false god, whether according to the right religion or according to a wrong religion.

It is reported that when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) sent out armies he specifically instructed them to not harm monks in their hermits. That is the principle of non-combatant immunity which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stood for, which the post-WWI conventions upheld, and which ISIL is tearing down.

Anyone misusing power in this world will be brought low on the Day of Judgement, if not in this world. The only excuse which ISIL can possibly think of offering for their transgressions is that Muslims are being killed by non-Muslim forces here or there. But even if non-Muslims were deliberately targeting our civilians, this is no justification for us to target theirs. Rather, trying to go tit for tat in this world may reveal that we do not really believe in the Day of Judgement on which day all scores will be settled by the most Just Lord. Of course we should seek redress for wrongs in this world using every halal means. But killing innocents is haram. We cannot go there.

Our belief in the Day of Judgement should absolutely prevent us from deliberately taking an innocent life. In the time of ignorance in Arabia, before Islam came on the scene, some people horribly killed off their little daughters. The Qur’an condemns this practice, proclaiming that on the Day of Judgement the little girls who were buried will be asked, {For what crime were you killed?} (At-Takwir 81:8-9) Thus the parents will be put to shame on that dreadful day. Extrapolating from this, I feel certain that on that day the slain priest will likewise be asked, “For what crime was your throat slit?” Thus ISIL will be put to shame, unless they repent, return to the right path and remedy their wrongs. May Allah help them to do all that, and help us likewise, before it is too late.


Taken with kind permission from the author’s blog.

About Dr. Shabir Ally
Dr. Shabir Ally holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, with a specialization in Biblical Literature. He also holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Quranic Exegesis. He is the president of the Islamic Information and Dawah Centre International in Toronto where he functions as Imam. He travels internationally to represent Islam in public lectures and interfaith dialogues. He explains Islam on a weekly television program called "Let the Quran Speak". Past episodes of this show can be seen online at: www.quranspeaks.com.