By Laiq Ahmed Atif is president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Malta.
A subject that becomes the talk of the town in the month of September is the peril of extremism and terrorism in the world. Sometimes, this debate goes one step further and people start talking about extremism and radicalisation in Islam. Is there any extremism in Islam?
There is no room for extremism in Islam whatsoever. Islam categorically and unreservedly and in the strongest terms condemns extremism of any form, of any kind and for any purpose. The Holy Prophet Muhammad advised Muslims to be moderate and said: “In every matter, moderation is best. A person should take the path of moderation in his activities.”
It is true that Islam has had to face some extremist elements in one form or another throughout its history. But extremism itself has no place whatsoever in the religion of Islam. If Islam is so strict against extremism then why is it associated with terrorism?
The fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Community says: “Islam is as closely related to terrorism as light is to darkness or life is to death or peace is to war. They do come into contact with each other, of course, but from directions diametrically opposed. They are found grappling with each other but never walking hand in hand happily together.
“However, one cannot deny that on many occasions some Muslims are found involved in terrorist activities either on behalf of a group or on behalf of a country with a predominately Muslim population.”
One should bear in mind that the involvement of some Muslim individuals or groups in extremist activities does not justify labelling Islam as promoting terrorism and extremism. Terrorists and extremists can have any religious background.
What we should focus on is whether a religion itself has to do anything with extremism or sponsors militancy. Does Islam condone terrorism for any reason?
The Holy Quran promotes the establishment of peace, champions the sanctity of human life and condemns disorder in the land. It states: “Whosoever killed a person – it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and who so gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind” (5:33).
“Whenever they kindle a fire for war, Allah extinguishes it. And they strive to create disorder in the earth and Allah loves not those who create disorder” (5:65).
“There should be no compulsion in religion” (2:257).
“And Allah calls to the abode of peace.”
These few references will prove that Islam as a religion does not tolerate violence and aggression. The involvement of some Muslims, individuals or groups in terrorist attacks has nothing to do with Islam because that is their personal agenda.