moderateislam

Maulana Shahid Raza, of Leicester Central Mosque

We need to listen to the voices of sanity that represent the majority of Muslims, says Dave Andrews

If you have seen the Courier Mail in the news stands the last few weeks, you would have noticed how much the press love putting scary stories on the front page of the paper.

They quote the most blood-curdling statements from the most hair-raising extremists they can find, without any regard for the way they mis-represent the views of the vast majority of our Muslim neighbours. In so doing, they do the work of the terrorists they quote, frightening us out of our wits and setting neighbours over against neighbours.

Why don’t the Muslims speak out against these crazy fanatics? the public cry. They do. But our media prefer to report the cacophony of lunacy rather than the voices of sanity.

It is absolutely imperative non-Muslims get to hear the voices of sanity that represent the majority of Muslims around the world.

Senior Imams have come together to call the so-called ‘Islamic State’ an ‘Un-Islamic State’. They say IS, or ISIS, is an illegitimate group who do not represent Islam in any way. ‘We are Muslims united against ISIS, against terrorism, against atrocity, against suffering,’ says Sayed Ali Rizvi, head of the Majlis Ulama-e-Shia group.

‘As a Sunni Muslim’, Maulana Shahid Raza, of Leicester Central Mosque, said ‘I do not accept the Caliphate of ISIS – ISIS (i)s a terrorist organization’. Abu Muntasir, chief executive of the Muslim charity organization, JIMAS, said, ‘Brothers and sisters, if I could tell you one (thing) about ISIS I would tell you that they are evil, they are corrupt, they are self-seeking, self-centered, vicious people. Don’t get mixed up with them.’

The well-known and well-regarded Islamic leader, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, says, ‘a truly Islamic movement arises out of feelings of benevolence for all humanity.’ He says ‘The Qur’an begins not with a diatribe (with implied criticism of wrong governance) but simply with praises to God. And it ends with the necessity to seek refuge in God.’ He says, ‘In the Qur’an and the Hadith, there is no mention of the system of state,’ and no ‘political interpretation of Islam, which offer(s) Muslims the status of God’s vice-regents on earth, with the right to rule the entire world on His behalf.’

The Maulana blames Jamaluddin Afghani, Sayyed Qutb and Sayyed Abdul Ala Maudid for developing and disseminating the idea of establishing or re-establishing the idea of Daulah Islamiyah or Islamic State, exclusively by Muslims for Muslims. But most of all Maulana Wahiduddin Khan blames the Dajjal, the ‘great deceiver’, working behind the scenes, using the language of Islam to promote anti-Islamic ideas, all the while ‘convincing the people that what he offers is the true version of Islam’.

The Maulana says the Dajjal’s particularly diabolical form of evil (fitna) is ‘projecting Islam not just as a religion but also as a political system. According to this modern political interpretation of Islam, it should be the duty of believers to, bring to an end the rule of non-Islamic law all over the world and replac(e) it with the rule of Islamic law. In other words the sole aim of Muslims is to raise the political flag of Islam; they are duty bound to conquer non-Islamic communities and establish the dominance of Islam; the aim of jihad is to establish this universal Islamic government’.

The Maulana says ‘This ideology is without doubt, the greatest evil (fitna) of modern times. The greatest harm it does is to eternally divide the inhabitants of this earth into two warring groups. One group will fight to gain power, while the other will fight to save itself from being subjugated’.

The Maulana says ‘this version of Islam, focused on political thinking, is almost bereft of God-orientated thinking’. What he calls the ‘the political ghulu has overridden all the human qualities that qualify a community for honor and glory – (like) benevolence, universality, acknowledgment of others, looking at all human beings as God’s family, fostering the dawa spirit, giving importance to the values of peace.’ He says ‘It engages in political confrontation, it has no sympathy for human beings, seeing others only as rivals, so that they cannot be seen as friends. It breeds a jungle of hatred, not an orchard of love’.

The Maulana says ‘the preacher, who has nothing but benevolence in his heart, exhorts his listeners to accept a way which is peaceful, non-political and non-violent’.   And ‘preachers’ with that benevolence include teachers like Sardar, Tibi, and Bencheikh.

Ziauddin Sardar, asserts that ‘the equation of Islam with the state’ is a ‘catastrophe’. Sardar accuses Islamism of reducing Islam to a “totalitarian” ideology that leads to a “totalitarian” state’. ‘The transformation of Islam into a state-based political ideology deprives it of all ethical content and debunks most Muslim history as un-Islamic.’

Bassam Tibi, argues for a separation of religion and politics. Religion should be about faith and ethics. Politics should be about the government and governance. What Islam needs are ‘religious reforms maintaining the spirit but (aiding) its depoliticisation.’ ,

Soheib Bencheikh, the Grand Mufti of Marseille, says that unlike Islamists who dream of establishing Islamic states, with a theology of ‘a majority faith’ Muslims in most of the world need to learn to develop ‘a minority faith’ that ‘does not impose itself by force’.

While none of us would welcome a totalitarian Islamic ideology, most of us would welcome a compassionate Islamic sensibility that ‘arises out of feelings of benevolence for all humanity’, that refuses ‘to impose itself by force’, and that ‘practices benevolence, universality, acknowledgment of others, looking at all human beings as God’s family’.

 

This compassionate Islamic sensibility is expressed beautifully in a prayer we pray in our interfaith meetings, written my dear friend Nora Amath, from AMARAH (Australian Muslim Advocates for the Rights of All Humanity).

 

‘In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Praise be to God, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds

O Lord, we have come together from different backgrounds,

creeds and religions so that we may know one another.

Fill us with the reconciling spirit of your presence so that

we may join one another to do good and build a better humanity.

O Lord, lead us to the path of hope, compassion, mercy, love and peace.

Let us pray that all living beings realise that they are all brothers and sisters, all nourished from the same source of life.

Peace be with you, peace be with you, peace be with you all. Amen’.

 

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/12/imams-denounce-isis_n_5579370.html

[1] Maulana Wahiduddin Khan The Prophet of Peace Penguin New Delhi 2009 p41

[1] Maulana Wahiduddin Khan The Prophet of Peace Penguin New Delhi 2009 p41-2

[1] Maulana Wahiduddin Khan The Prophet of Peace Penguin New Delhi 2009 p37

[1] Maulana Wahiduddin Khan The Prophet of Peace Penguin New Delhi 2009 p157

[1] Maulana Wahiduddin Khan The Prophet of Peace Penguin New Delhi 2009 p158

[1]Maulana Wahiduddin Khan The Prophet of Peace Penguin New Delhi 2009 p158

[1] Maulana Wahiduddin Khan The Prophet of Peace Penguin New Delhi 2009 p161

[1] Maulana Wahiduddin Khan The Prophet of Peace Penguin New Delhi 2009 p53

[1] Maulana Wahiduddin Khan The Prophet of Peace Penguin New Delhi 2009 p161

[1] Maulana Wahiduddin Khan The Prophet of Peace Penguin New Delhi 2009 p158

[1] Ziauddin Sardar ‘Rethinking Islam’ June 2002 Islam For Today http://islamfortoday.com.sardar01.htm

[1] Basam Tibi Islam Between Culture and Politics (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan 2005) p271,266

[1] http://en.qantara.de/content/interview-with-soheib-bencheikh-islam-and-secularism

 

See also:

http://westender.com.au/myall-creek-cult-terror/

http://westender.com.au/lets-stop-scapegoating/