:bism: (In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful)
:sl: (Peace be upon you)
Question 1: If a victim of an Islamic terrorist attack studies the Muslim sources and sees a connection between the attack and the commands of Islam, would he be a bigot for becoming concerned about the spread of Islam?
Originally Posted by hassan124
Just like Christians and Jews and Hindus and Buddhists and atheists and agnostics, Muslims are also human beings. And all
human beings are vulnerable to their dark side and in danger of giving into human emotions like hatred, anger, envy, jealousy, enmity. The individual who therefore instead elevates his soul among humankind for the sake of God above his baser nature is a king among humankind, the ultimate winner in a battle of good vs. evil because first this is an inner battle. And only when an individual loses this inner battle do we see the baser nature of humankind take forms like terrorist attacks. Allah (God)
has asked us to know one another and learn from one another with the words "O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted" (Qur'an 49:13). And what is righteousness, you may ask. Prophet :saws: (peace and blessings be upon him)
said, “Righteousness (birr)
is good character.”
And what is good or noble character? Good character is in the thoughts you choose to give power in your mind and the thoughts you choose to not give power, the intentions you choose to have in your heart and the intentions you choose not to have in your heart, the words you choose to speak and the words you choose to not speak, and finally the actions you choose to do and the actions you make the choice from which to refrain yourself. Good character is about elected how others around you not harmed by your thoughts, words, and actions. Prophet :saws: (peace and blessings be upon him)
said, “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.” Any human being who chooses to harm will be judged in the hereafter even if
the person is not judged here in the court of law; but there always consequences to evil intentions and evil actions.
So, an Islamic terrorist attack that occurred has victims. And if said victim has survived with the grace of Divine Being, then he/she is in a unique position to make the choice about what the character that he/she wants to adopt and how he/she wants to live out his/her days as a human being. If the said victim studied Muslim sources and sees a connection between the attack and commands of Islam, then he/she should seek first and foremost clarification from Muslim or scholars of the religion of Islam to see if what he/she thinks of the connection is true or not and whether his/her conclusions on this matter are correct or incorrect.
Also, Islam is not a monolithic structure as Muslims are a dynamic, individualistic, unstructured, factional, diverse group and not
any cohesive, monolithic homogeneous body. The followers of Islam are not exclusive to any race, ethnicity, country, or creed and do not lend themselves as an entire population to making a case for Islamic terrorist attacks because Islamic terrorist attacks are done by a tiny and insignificant minority of the entire population. Therefore, rather than becoming concerned about the spread of Islam, a person should instead become concerned about the spread of terrorism.
Question 2: What is the difference, practically speaking, between: (1) a religion that commands its adherents to violently subjugate unbelievers and (2) a religion that only sounds like it commands its adherents to violently subjugate unbelievers?
My answer lays in the question that I'll now ask.
If a person says, “ahhhh,” what is the person saying?
Can you guess what any person is saying when they say “ahhhh”? Take some guesses.
This is an evocative sound—that is to say—it evokes emotions.
However, I want to you to examine three scenarios and see what it actually means within their proper and respective contexts.
Scenario #1: “Ahhhh! I’ll kill you! Susie screamed, “You dweeb! Give me back my note! Give it back or I’ll tell Mom.” Eric knew Susie meant business.
Scenario #2: “Ahhhh,” Susie was heard moaning.
“Hey, didn’t I tell you to stop yesterday. Binge drinking ain’t for you—you get me?”
“Shut up, Jamal! My head is pounding.”
Scenario #3: “Ahhhh. Oooh. Oh. Oooh. Ahhhh. Oh God. Now. Now,” panted Susie.
35 minutes later—“Look at this Jason. Five toes. Five fingers. Isn’t that the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?”
This is what the sound can mean in different, and that is why “context” is so important to interpreting anything, especially religious texts. Without the context of the sound placement, an individual can’t even figure out what a simple sound is signaling: a scream, a moan, a pant, or even something else. If this is true of such a small utterance such as “ahhhh”—imagine how greater the need for such context is when a person quotes from any text or studies a religion.
Therefore, to understand the practical difference, a person has to understand and study “context” because a subjective interpretation of a text does not mean that its objective interpretation is the same when context is studied also.
Question 3: What do you propose to do about the growing population of Muslims who misunderstand Islam and conclude their highest religious duty is to slaughter unbelievers and hypocrites?
First, this question without proof assumes and makes an assertion that there is a “growing population of Muslims who misunderstand Islam and conclude their highest religious duty is to slaughter unbelievers and hypocrites.” However, even if a person takes the proposition at face value, the person after researching history of all major world religions and its adherents in different time periods has to conclude that there will always be adherents of any religion who misunderstand the texts, a matter which cannot be prevented. However, what can and should be prevented is violence and evil-doing. Violence and evil-doing is not the character of a Muslim who is sincere to Allah (God)
sincere believer is concerned first with elevating his character for Prophet :saws: (peace and blessings be upon him)
said, “I have been sent to perfect noble character.” However, for those who misunderstand Islam and conclude erroneously that violence and evil-doing is the answer to perceived harm, then all people (Muslims and non-Muslims) have to educate the misguided people that violence and evil-doing can never be the answer. Someone long ago said, "Knowledge is power." And indeed, "knowledge is power" because knowledge can be used to guide the ignorant about their ignorance. Once an ignorant person is educated about his/her ignorance, then that ignorance can be replaced with proper knowledge. And so, entire Muslim communities must ensure that ignorance is not spread and that Muslims are taught once again to elevate their character by reminding them that the purpose which Prophet :saws: (peace and blessings be upon him)
came to guide humanity is to perfect the character of a human being.
The person who perfects good character can change the entire world, because though he may start with his own self, his goodness of character is in a position to influence his family, which if his family is influenced is then in a prime position to influence other families, and which if entire families are influenced then the immediate community is in a position to be influenced, and if the immediate community is influenced then the surrounding communities are in a position to be influenced, and if surrounding communities influenced is in a position to influence entire towns, and if entire towns are influenced is in a position to influence the cities, and if cities are influenced then states are in a position to be influenced, and the influenced states are in a position to influence other states, and if other states are influenced then the nation can be influenced, and the influenced nation is then in a position to influence other nations, and then all influenced nations are in a position to change the world. And if the world is changed, then we're all better as human beings for the positive changes through the result of that goodness of character. It is like a pebble in the sand; it is hard to see what a pebble can accomplish; but that very same pebble when thrown in a pond creates ripples. And this ripple-effect is what we're as Muslims told to embody through aiming to "perfect noble character." That is what we moderate Muslims propose to do, and though this is one small step for us, it is one giant leap on behalf of all humanity in defeating any misguided Muslims' violent ideologies.
:wa: (And peace be upon you)