When it’s okay to kill Muslims
On May 28, a number of Muslim extremists attacked two Mosques belonging to a Muslim minority sect generally known as “Qadianis” (hailing from Qadian) or Ahmedis (followers of Mirza Ahmed); they managed to kill at least 80 worshipers, using hand-grenades and automatic rifles before being killed themselves, blowing themselves up or, being captured.
Qadianis are probably the most persecuted group in Pakistan. They are discriminated against in jobs and killed with fair regularity and to most Pakistanis, the persecution of Qadianis is just another ho-hum event. Qadianis believe that Mirza Ahmed was also a prophet of God whereas Muslims believe that was no other prophet after the prophet Mohammed and anyone who accepts a later prophet is a heretic.
The first official and open persecution of Qadianis began under ZA Bhutto, who declared Qadianis non-Muslim back in 1972. Ever since then, clause 16 in applications for Pakistani passports contains language that forces Muslim applicants for passports, to declare that Qadianis are not Muslim and that Mirza Ahmed was an imposter.
Repugnant as this clause is, no Muslim can apply for a Pakistani passport without either stating that he is not Muslim or, agreeing to the ‘imposter’ and ‘non-Muslim’ sections. I myself had to sign such a declaration every time I applied for a passport from Pakistan and it was not until I finally received my US citizenship, that I decided to no longer apply for a Pakistani passport if it meant passing judgment on some people who could be my own brothers and sisters and some of whom I included among my closest friends.
I am reminded of a time when some of us were having a philosophical discussion about God and Islam and the world in general. One person said how anyone who exhorts the killing of innocents is not a Muslim, another said such people will surely go to Hell, just as Hitler has and a very respectable Muslim scholar said gently that it is not up to us to decide who is Muslim and who is not, because that decision belongs to God alone; that we can have no idea whom God accepts in spite of their evil ways because they truly repented or, they performed some act of kindness for which God forgave all other sins. We were all impressed by this person’s wisdom…sage advice that obviously has not spread to those who perpetrate violence in the name of God.
Fanaticism and violence have become so much part of norm in Pakistan that some people are saying that Qadianis are “wajib-e-qatl“…people who must be killed and their unthinking followers who know even less of God’s teaching than the masters, blindly follow the directions by indiscriminate killing of their fellow humans.
Today, in Pakistan, we have some Sunni sects’ members, killing Shia because the Shia are regarded as “kuffar” (people who reject God), other people killing members of other sects because they are “kuffar”. “Kuffar” has become the ultimate label that allows an over-hyped Muslim condemn and perhaps justify the killing of another; it is not just aimed at Jews, or Hindus or, Christians, it is aimed at any sect or school of thought that is not understood and is condemned by the thought-leaders and followed through by people who are unemployed, hopeless, have no control but a lot of pent-up rage at someone, ANYONE!
There are a growing number of such disoriented people who lack identity and maybe are just in the process of facing the reality that their ideals are nowhere to be seen in real life. These people are then offered an identity…to be a REAL Muslim in the face of so many fakes who are destroying Islam and all of humanity. they are shown that everyone who is not ‘in’ is condemnable and the world can only be cleaner if “they” are not around. Then these young and still idealistic followers are told that there can be no higher aspiration than to give up one’s life in the defense of Islam and should they be killed while attacking the evil unbelievers, surely they will go to Heaven!
The stage is set for killers who will not worry about losing their lives in order to defend their country or their faith and who will not think twice about killing themselves rather than be captured…and untold misery is unleashed upon perfectly innocent people.
I have always maintained that Muslims are no different than people of any of the other faiths, that we have the same kinds of wonderful people as do others and we have the same killers and evil people as do others. Thus, I suppose, we also have the same kinds of multi-standard approaches in our faiths as others have in their faiths…means to isolate and discriminate others while glorifying ourselves, regardless of what the Quran says.
God says in the Quran again and again, that it is up to Him, to judge the worthiness of individuals and to decide whom to accept and whom to condemn. Again and again, God says that our obligation to instruct the “unbeliever” goes only as far as to instruct them that they are following the wrong path and then leave the rest up to Him; God says (10:99, 42:48) that if He should permit people to have many different beliefs and un-beliefs, who are we, to seek to force them otherwise?
In our desperate need to prove to ourselves (and to a lesser degree, others) how staunchly we observe our faith and how bravely we are willing to protect it, we force ourselves to re-interpret God’s commands to say what we would have liked Him to have said, so that then we can carry out His commands as we would have liked Him to have commanded us.
Ponder on that for a moment, regardless of your own faith.
Our hearts cannot be allowed to be open only for those we identify with, for when we accept the killing of others just because of who they are, we condemn ourselves to be killed for who we are…and our children and their children after them. If we cannot take a stand for Justice and Mercy and Tolerance for others, how can we ever expect anyone else to feel differently towards us and our own kind?
Muslims cannot permit themselves to act with condemnation towards ANY person because we cannot forget that the whole reason Islam spread across the world was because Muslims did not force (for the most part) others to convert rather, Muslims allowed others to see the tolerance and acceptance that they had for non-Muslims.
Today, countries of Muslim-majority are standing at the polar opposition to the Muslims of the past and some are so desperate to retake the “Glory days” that they are using all violent means they can, forgetting that it was not violence and intolerance, that spread Islam, but brotherhood, justice and peace.
“Try to pass your mornings and evenings in a state where your heart is free from all ill-feelings, jealousy and hatred for everyone, and remember that this is my Sunnah, and he who loves my Sunnah will be with me in paradise.” (Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him)