By Alhazai Baban-Sumayya
There’s something about Islam that even the Muslims themselves often misconstrue – despite its casting jurisprudentially in black and white. The end doesn’t justify the means in Islam. This is irrespective of the righteousness of intention the performer of an action harbours.
In Islam, a believer is compelled to use clean water to prepare ablutions before a prayer. If oil is used instead of water the effort is not only in vain, but it attracts God’s retribution, too. If oil which is allowed to be consumed by Muslims as halal cannot be used for ablution, consider a scenario where a Muslim uses alcohol, haram, to prepare for the ablution. The paragon can be used to draw a parallel with what the present day Jihadist groups are doing in order to create a caliphate, and you will arrive at a perfect syllogism.
Suicide of any kind, for example, is outlawed in Islam, but its worse cousin, kamikaze, is now fully incorporated into present day’s Jihadists’ manual. What they do thus is akin to preparing ablution with a bottle of vodka before approaching mosque for prayer.
“Verily Allah is pure, and does not accept except that which is pure,” says a popular hadith.
In Islam, Jihad, a self defense war, like prayer or any other aspect of the religion, has rules of conduct that must be strictly adhered to. ‘Wage war but do not be severe, do not be treacherous, do not mutilate or kill children, was how the Prophet himself summed it up.
Unfortunately Jihad is now the biggest victim of self-seeking extrapolations of those who hide behind it to unleash terror in the world.
Jihadi groups like self-styled Islamic State (IS) in the middle east and Boko Haram in Nigeria, which recently declared an opportunistic bay’at (allegiance) to the former, are increasingly using every crude, unIslamic and even anti-Islamic methodology, including treachery and scorched earth policy for their jihads. They also employ all sorts of propaganda as the main tool of the jihad, thereby hurting the public image of the religion.
For instance, even when Islam prohibits use of fire for punishment –as it’s an exclusive reserve of God according to a hadith– IS burnt a Jordanian pilot alive to prove a point.
In Nigeria, Boko Haram reciprocated by stepping up its propaganda with beheadings of alleged police spies. Some of these shows of horror, however, are either aimed at desperate bid to convince the rest of us about the genuineness of their intentions, winding up the West, or they are simply what they are: publicity stunts for the groups. These are what good Muslims will never do.
In a famous letter to IS’s self-appointed leader (letter to Albaghdadi), endorsed by Sunni Muslim clerics, leaders and intellectuals from across the world, the tragedy of these types of Jihads was summed up thus:
“In truth, it is clear that you and your fighters are fearless and are ready to sacrifice in your intent for jihad. No truthful person following events—friend or foe—can deny this. However, jihad without legitimate cause, legitimate goals, legitimate purpose, legitimate methodology and legitimate intention is not jihad at all, but rather, warmongering and criminality”.
Indeed, the lack of legitimate jihad methodology by these apocalyptic Jihadists is already enough jeopardy just as their endless craving for publicity has put a huge question mark on their legitimacy of purpose and intention, too. Muslims are barred from working for the sake of publicity.
In one of their propaganda videos, Boko Haram in Nigeria, told the story of life in the new territories under their control—mostly now reclaimed by Nigerian Army. An adulteress and her partner were seen being flogged publicly, in typical fashion of what IS do.
Yet even politicians in the country had made this blunder of wrong advertisement of sharia in the past. Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima, the former Governor of Zamfara State, had to, few weeks after adopting the Islamic legal code for his state, chopped off cow thief’s hand in order to quickly advertise to the rest of the world as proof of his sharia. Boko Haram’s videos, too, depict such skewed understanding and the desperation.
If the goal of Boko Haram’s video was to convince the rest of the Muslims about the sincerity of their quest to establishing an Islamic state, it’s made a very bad job of it, like Yerima.
The former governor, now a serving senator, had enjoyed tremendous goodwill among the Muslims, after taking the advantage of their disillusionment with years of mis-governance under secular system. He squandered it all.
Following decades of muddling along, the Muslims in the north were looking up to Sharia for renaissance. They had not only seen evidences of better living condition in Saudia Arabia and elsewhere, where they thought Sharia was key, they also read from the history books, the stories of their great past leaders, who judiciously redistributed wealth among the ummah. Some of them, out of shear piety, led an ascetic life to ensure the subjects never lacked. This was arguably the main motivation behind their massive support for Sharia in when Yerima blazed the trail as a governor.
While no one could successfully argue that there were no many who harboured Sayyid Qutb’s fundamental view of moral society among them, the truth is that the majority joined the clamour because of the anticipated socio-economic gains. There’s thus, this erroneous thought that a mere declaration of Sharia in a state would prevent the governor from dipping hands in the state’s coffers. The Muslims were therefore expecting an Umar Bin Abdulaziz to emerge, not a foxy Yerima, and nor rabid Rabeh reincarnate in form of Shekau.
This might explain why Boko Haram, which started with benign proselytisation as the mainstay of its activities, could recruit a lot of followers in the north eastern part of the country.
Unfortunately, however, the metamorphosis of the group into one of the most dangerous terror gangs in the world has caused a great deal of havoc not only at national but regional level. Yet the violent radicalisation of Boko Haram, once the group was formed, was just a matter of time. With their absolute dismissal of all western values including democracy as kufur (blasphemy), violence was inevitability toward achieving their ultimate goal of establishing a chaliphate.
And the pedagogy of takfrism which nourishes the group like other terror jihad cousins in the world encourages cherry-picking of injunctions and mischievous extrapolations to churn out fatwas. In order to cut corners, there’s this full adoption of the unislamic doctrine of the end justifies the means apart from apostatising other Muslims who disagree with them, and hence the unparallel bellicosity we witness today .
In the case of Boko Haram, its control by people with poorer understanding of Islamic but with equally violent view makes it even deadlier than the rest, just like Alqaeda is now made look to look like saints by the IS.
Indeed, Boko Haram’s understanding of Islam isn’t no different from their views on their worst abhorrence, the western education, which they never see beyond Darwanism.
If Shekau, could confidently tell the world that Allah has forbidden him from negotiating with infidels as though some fresh revelations are being sent to him via Angel Gabriel, no one needs any further proof that it’s contrary to the action of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him.
History tells us that the great Prophet had a cause to negotiate with non-Muslims on several occasions. The most outstanding case in point was the Treaty of Hudaibiyya, where he had to agree to most of the conditions laid by the his enemies. His “manifest victory” as Holy Quran describes it, followed afterward with the conquest of Mecca, where he gave a clear order that: “Those retreating are not to be killed, nor are the injured to be harmed, and whoever shuts his door is safe..”
Interestingly also, the Prophet didn’t kill Abu Sufyan, the leader of Meccans who did all he could to sabotage his mission, and under whose leadership the treaty of Hudaibiyya collapsed.
Yet, IS, murdered in cold blood, an American ex -army officer who hadn’t only converted to Islam but had adopted a new Muslim name. Is IS unaware of the fact that the Prophet didn’t execute Khalid bin Walid on the account of the outrageous number of Muslims he slaughtered at the battle of Uhud? And why did the great messenger accept Wahshi bin Harb (Ethiopian slave) into the fold of Islam despite that he was the killer of his beloved uncle, Hamzat, the leading Muslims’ army general at both Badr and Uhud, where he was martyred?
One can go on and on to cite examples, ad infinitum, on the gulf of difference between the true Islam and the bogus claims of these Machiavellian Jihadists. And the Atlantic and co can write another million- word cover story to paint the entire Muslim world with single IS’ brush again, if they so wish. But what’s certain is that a religion that compels a follower to fast 60 days for accidental killing of a fellow human being should never be viewed from the criminal jihadists’ warped point of view. And the same religion that outlaws cutting off of a single tree during war can’t be blamed for scorched earth policy of its tiny minority, misguided followers no matter what kind of banner they raise.
Baban-Sumayya wrote in from Kano