Channel: Bilal Philips
Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim, the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful. I'd like to welcome you dear viewers to another na series contemporary issues. salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato. May Allah Peace and blessings to each and every one of you.
In this segment of our program, we begin another topic. In the previous segments, we're looking at
Islamic Finance, summit banking, etc. Now we're going to have a look at
what is referred to as Islamic terrorism issue of terrorism, where Muslims have been identified, basically, as the world's terrorists. When you use the term Muslim people think terrorism, when you hear the word terrorist, you think Muslim terrorists, you know, this, if they don't put Muslim terrorists, then it's understood that you're dealing with Muslims. Terrorism, really,
this is a part of that ancient image, which was promoted a long time back. I mean, myself and growing up this was the kind of image that I had of Islam before becoming a Muslim myself, you know, that of a narrow riding off the desert that is headdress flowing in the back, holding a Quran in one hand, a sword in the other hand, you know, either you accept the score iron or you lose your head. This was Islam and how it spread violence, violent religion.
Reality is that, as you mentioned earlier, there is no forcing of Islam and anyone, nobody can be forced to become a Muslim. A lot says very clearly in the Quran that a craft Deen is no compulsion in religion.
So, there is no real case when you go and look at you know, how Islam spread, you will not find that it's spread by military means. You know, in terms of the Islam, most people, Islamic state may have expanded its borders, but the people themselves, they chose Islam.
What you find is, of course, there were military conflicts between Islamic states and the existing powers, whether it's Rome or Persia or India.
However, after these areas were defeated and Islamic rule was established there. Then the population gradually accepted Islam there, they were not forced into accepting Islam. Muslims ruled Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon. And from the eighth century, there was a sizable Muslim Christian communities which existed in all these countries. for, you know, the past 13 centuries, Muslim ruled Spain for over 700 years in India for over 1000 years. And the vast majority of the people of both Spain and India never converted to Islam. Yes, many of them did. But most didn't. So, it was not something, you know, forced on people. In fact, the largest Muslim country today is that of Indonesia, having
over 200 million citizens, and not a single soldier, Muslim soldier set foot in Indonesia. Islam spread there as it spread in Malaysia and the Philippines, by trade traders came out of the southern part of Arabia from Oman from hadramaut. And they traveled to these areas and they traded with the people. They had been doing that for centuries before Islam, they continue to do it after Islam. Of course, what happened was that the people notice the difference between these people before Islam and after Islam, Islam guiding their, their dealings,
in no making requiring certain honesty in their dealings, etc. It caused a change in the outlook, the people held of these traders, you know, normally traders, you're expecting them to be tricky, you gotta be looking out for some tricks. They're what they're gonna try to do to decide something you don't really want. So there's something which is not really good product, etc, but they want more money for it. Once they found traders coming now we're honest, if the product wasn't so good, that it's not so good. If there's defects in the thing where the defect is, in order to try to bring you good things. their profits may be less, but they are honest. This add a major impact in many of
the people who with whom they traded. Same thing when you find Islam spreading in terms of West African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Chad, Niger, it's all spread there through trade to through the trading process. People were impressed with these traders want to know what their religion was and accepted their religion themselves. So Islam spread, it was not spread by the sword.
reality. If we look at United States, the United States of America itself,
you have anywhere between 305 100 people converting to Islam daily
Daly, across the United States,
where are the swords? Who is being forced to accept Islam? America which you know, stands as a place of, you know, freedom of religious expression, etc, etc. You know, people are choosing Islam for themselves in huge numbers and everybody recognizes Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today. In America in particular, their numbers have crossed the seven to 8 million mark, and constantly increasing. So the issue of Islam being spread by the sword is a false image. There's something, as I said, which is ancient.
The Crusades was the time in which these kind of images were conjured up to try to motivate people to go and take over Palestine, liberated from the quote unquote infidels were the Muslims.
But the real violence that came came from the Crusaders, they're the ones who came in massacring people left and right all through what they refer to as Asia Minor, which is like Turkey, Constantinople, all the way down to Palestine and massacred Muslims, not only Muslims, they massacred Christians and Jews, the Christians in these areas here didn't hold the same beliefs as the Catholics, Roman Catholics, they are different beliefs, different ideas, and Catholics came through and they massacred everybody. You know, this was the reality, they weren't really liberating this place for from the infidels, they were capturing it, because it was a middle point for the sale
of silks and, and spices and that into Europe, they wanted to capture that middle area and gain trade increase their profits. This was really the, you know, some scholars have identified has been the real motivating forces behind the so called crusades.
Well, hamdulillah they didn't succeed. You know, eventually Allah raised up Salahuddin and he drove them out, reestablished the standard rule in that area. And those who lived under Muslim rule lived under their, you know, with proper care they were taken care of. In Spain, when Jews were being driven out of Europe, everywhere out of Europe, they end up in Spain under Muslim rule some of their greatest writers, philosophers, thinkers, Maimonides, etc. You know, amongst them.
They were there in Spain and Muslim Spain. They, the Jews living there, they learned Arabic etc. Yeah, do Jews of Yemen. Yeah, Jews of Morocco, Algeria, etc. We are Jews who are in fact, Arab Jews, they spoke Arabic, this was the language, but they were Jews.
Nonetheless, and similarly, you've had Christians we said, living amongst Muslims, large communities there. And in Egypt, of course, there is some kind of friction that develops especially in these times. But
Muslims have been very tolerant, they have kept within their borders, huge communities of both Christians and Jews, as well as even in areas in India, where they ruled over, you know, pagans, yet, they did not force their religion on the people.
So the issue of Islam being spread by the sword is definitely false. Now, the other issue of terrorism,
the issue of terrorism, which has been defined in the American by the American government as the threat or the use of violence to advance a political cause by individuals or groups, whether acting for or in opposition to establish governmental authority
when such actions are intended to shock, stun, or intimidate a target group, wider than the immediate victims.
Now, this very precise definition, if we try to apply it in history, we find that it also applies to all of these words of liberation from the American War of Independence to the French Revolution, we can apply this here, you know, so
what what we find is that, where the society, you know, has designated this, as honorable, it's not called terrorism, where they've designated at this as this honorable it's against the interests of certain societies, then it is called terrorism.
However, if we take one element that of the killing of innocence, you know, the bombing or the violence directed at innocent civilians, etc.
This element is really the true element of terrorism. And this Islam is supposed to, it's supposed to it completely doesn't permit the killing of civilians. And if you look at the formation of the State of Israel, you find that Jewish terrorist groups like this famous stern gang, etc, which introduced this
foundation for Israeli rule, Jewish rule of what they call Israel, which was originally Palestine, they got in there, they bombed, they blew up, they chased out, they murdered etc, until Muslims cleared out of area, and they came in, brought people in, and they expanded on that basis.
But they are now considered to be, you know, the good guys. And all of those were fighting to restore order to bring things back to the way they were. These are looked at as being the terrorists, the bad guys. Well,
the so called Muslim terrorists,
which is a common phrase we said, found in the media
is really, you know, a deliberate attempt to distort the image of Islam. Because when you look at the IRA bombers, you know, who is to put bombs in cafes and blow up places and people and all these kind of things. They were never referred to as Catholic terrorists, though. It was a struggle of Catholics against the Protestants. You know, they didn't call them Catholic Terek terrorists. You know, similarly, when Timothy McVeigh, back in 1995, he blew up the CIA headquarters in Oklahoma City, they didn't call him a Christian terrorist, it's 168 people were killed.
Though he was Christian, and he was a terrorist, they didn't call him a Christian terrorist, you know, they belong to certain fundamentalist groups, etc. They didn't label him in that way. You know, they just gave him as a terrorist. Right. But as soon as somebody with a Muslim name is involved in any of these kind of Acts, then it is a muslim terrorist.
In fact, what may be in Arabic names, not necessarily Muslim names, may be used to refer to both Christians, as well as atheists as in the PLO, for example, you had a mixture of these, you know, but everybody was now labeled as Muslim Muslim terrorists.
that we said basically, it's a misnomer, it is wrong. There is a double standard here. We don't call people Christian terrorists, but we will call them Muslim terrorists. This is a deliberate attempt to distort the image of Muslims on a world scale. We should also consider, at the same time that some degree you do have some Muslim groups like in Egypt, you have them Javan Islamia, and the Jamaat Jihad etc, who are involved in some major terrorist acts, you know, people, innocent civilians, people on buses, like in Luxor, you know, tourists were massacred by these groups, you know, in their attempt to try to topple the government.
This, in fact, the much of the activities that they were involved in, we could really say these are terroristic activities, you know, they
lend support to this misnomer placed on the Muslim world. Unfortunately, some of the blame, we have to say, falls on ourselves, because there are people involved in such acts. And they carry Muslim names, some of them even espouse Islam and Nathan do it in the name of Islam. You know, similarly, you find in southern Philippines today, you know, the so called Abu Sayyaf group and their activities and very terroristic kidnapping, chopping off people's heads and things like this for ransom, you know, just gathering money for themselves in the people involved with his children. And you look at their names, their ages, you know, that their children, and in fact, they're misguided
here. This is not a all the major groups, the MILF, etc, have all denounced them. They don't support their tactics at all. These are illegitimate tactics. This is not the Islamic way. So
we have to admit that to some degree, Muslims have contributed to this false impression that is promoted worldwide with regards to Islam.
Even places like Nigeria where you know if there's some atrocities going on, this has been attributed to the Islamic movement, but actually when you go and you research into this situation, you find that it's not really them. There are other elements there that are
In it, some people identify that these elements are linked back with the government, you know, and their activities are used to discredit the Islamic movement, which they have succeeded just to a large degree. However,
the Islamic movement is still supported by masses of people. And as we said, in the end,
the indiscriminate use of violence to promote any kind of political ends, Islam does not support at all. We find it in 32nd chapter, verse five, a lot of saying anyone who has killed another except in retaliation, it is as if he has killed the whole of humankind. This Islam is a huge rebuke of this kind of violence there.
We can also say that there are strict rules with regards to conflicts. Islam has strict rules, what can a Muslim soldier kill, he can just kill any kind of living being that he finds in the area, he's only allowed to direct his harm to the
people who are involved in fighting people have taken up arms, they're wearing military equipment, they're involved in killing Muslims to fight against them to protect the lives of Muslims perfectly legitimate. Now there's a question which arises along with this that of suicide bombers, you know, people who strap huge amounts of TNT or whatever, you know, explosives around their bodies that go amongst the midst of the enemy. And then they set these things off killing huge numbers of the Tamil Tigers in Surah Lanka, you know, they have been using this method for a number of years stricken rave, fear in the minds and the hearts of the people.
Is this method acceptable? Well, for the Tamil Tigers, you'll find that they will go and blow up the president blow up all kinds of people around them and everything like this. I mean, this is indiscriminate use of violence. In the case of of the struggles in, for example, Palestine, you know, and currently now in
in Chechnya, some of his tactics have been used. And scholars have pointed out that low suicide in general in Islam is forbidden to kill oneself, to take something knowing that you're gonna die. You know, from this thing, this is in fact forbidden. In Islam, this is one of the basis of forbidding smoking around smoking of cigarettes,
because it can cause cancer causing death. So
it's prohibited on that basis. Now,
the concept of suicide bomber is different. A person who kills himself in normal life, he's killing himself because he can't stand to live anymore, he feels God is unfair to him or whatever, you know, life is not lost, its meaning he just wants to die get out of this.
That's his intention. When you look at the mind of the suicide bomber, it's a different intention altogether. His situation is that he's not able to get at the troops of the enemy. They're either too heavily armed, they don't have any type of equipment that can deal with it. So the only other option they have is to try to get some people amongst them and then explode the
charges that they have to try to destroy the equipment to save the lives of the comrades. So this is not really considered to be suicide in the true sense. This is a military action and human lives have sacrificed in that military action. This is really the bottom line for it. And that's how we should look at it. Islam is opposed to terrorism in all forms.
What is true terrorism, but it will not shrink from using violence. to to to gain some of its ends, you know, to establish itself in certain areas, to gain control over certain things you could use that amount of violence, but to force somebody to become a Muslim. This is something inconceivable, unacceptable. islamically