Source: The Huffington Post
By Kabir Helminski
………………… A small minority of the world’s one and a half billion Muslims has misconstrued the teachings of Islam to justify their misguided and immoral actions. It is most critical at this time for Muslims to condemn such extreme ideologies and their manifestations. It is equally important that non-Muslims understand that this ideology violates the fundamental moral principles of Islam and is repugnant to the vast majority of Muslims in the world.
Then why does Islam seem to be associated with terrorists and suicide bombers?
So-called “suicide-bombers” did not appear until the mid-1990s. Such strategies have no precedent in Islamic history. The Qur’an says quite explicitly: Do not kill yourselves. [Qur’an 4:29] Risking one’s life in the course of either legitimate violence or non-violence is permitted, even if the probability of death is very high, but deliberately ending one’s life is “suicide” and is never permitted under Islamic law in any circumstances.
Why have not more Muslims condemned those who supposedly “hijacked” Islam?
It is an all too prevalent myth that Muslims have not protested and condemned those who have violated Islam’s moral principles for the sake of their political goals. Not only have the statements and demonstrations against terrorism gone under-reported, in some cases misleading stories have been publicized. Ask any Muslim how he or she felt in the days following 9/11 and you will hear stories of grief, shame, and deep sorrow. Search online for “fatwas against terrorism” and you will find thousands of pronouncements by Muslim organizations and scholars.
Does Islam justify violence in achieving its goals? When is the use of force justified?
In general, war is forbidden in Islam, except in cases of self-defense in response to explicit aggression. If there is a situation where injustice is being perpetrated or if the community is being invaded, then on a temporary basis permission is given to defend oneself. This principle is explained in the following verses:
Permission [to fight] is given to those against whom war is being wrongfully waged – and, verily, God has indeed the power to succor them – those who have been driven from their homelands against all right for no other reason than their saying, “Our Sustainer is God!” For, if God had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another, [all] monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques – in which God’s name is abundantly extolled – would surely have been destroyed before now. [Qur’an 22:39-40]
The highest justification for a defensive war is for the purpose of defending religious freedom and human rights. This verse also acknowledges Christian and Jewish places of worship as equally worthy of defense because these are places in which “God’s name is abundantly extolled.”
All relevant authorities show that this is the earliest Qur’anic reference to the problem of war as such. It was revealed immediately after the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) left Mecca for Medina. The principle of war in self-defense has been further elaborated in the following verses which were revealed about a year later:
And fight in God’s cause against those who wage war against you, but do not commit aggression – for, verily, God does not love aggressors. And slay them wherever you may come upon them, and drive them away from wherever they drove you away – for oppression (fitnah) is even worse than killing. [Qur’an 2: 190-191]