“All Muslims are not Terrorists, but All Terrorists are Muslims.”
I was recently challenged by this remark. I actually respect those who can approach me with their doubts about my religion and I do my best to clear the misconceptions. This one was pretty easy because any rational mind would know how the media blows things out of proportion. That is the only reason why ‘self-proclaimed Muslims who are actually terrorists’ have managed to bring a disgrace to my religion. Since I am pretty lame with names, dates and historical facts, I looked it up. I was not surprised to find the same thoughts reflected by thousands of others.
I particularly liked this post because it dealt with some other myths about Muslims too – http://kafila.org/2014/04/12/some-myths-about-muslims/
Here is one more of such factual sheet – http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/claim_that_all_terrorists_are_muslims_ignores_history/0012587
While I was discussing these topics, I noticed a common misconception amongst my well-read friends. And since they were so well informed about other matters, I was deeply disturbed by the fact that they could believe that my Holy book would support the killing of non-believers. I protested and argued that no religion would ever ask anyone to take an innocent life. And I had read the English translation of the Holy Quran. I didn’t remember any violent verse at all. But I could vaguely recall verses saying that we didn’t have the right to take a life because we couldn’t give one. It was also mentioned somewhere that killing an innocent person equals to killing the whole mankind. I could remember these verses because when I had read them, I was filled with immense pride. Such verses from the Holy Quran are amongst the guiding principles of my life. So how could the same scripture preach a totally opposite and extremely unjust notion? Deeply disturbed by all this I looked it up online. And to my dismay I found the verses! Although there were a lot of articles related to the Violent Verses in Islam, I think the following one had the greatest effect on me.
I was shocked. I was shaken to my very core. I was holding the Quran in my hands and just staring at the open page. It contained exactly what my friends had been proclaiming. Exactly what I had been so adamantly refusing to accept. How could I believe in a scripture that was asking all this out of me, as a test for being a true Muslim? Was I wrong my whole life? Or was I wrong just then? Could some lines from the Holy Book shake my belief in my God? No? Did that mean I didn’t believe in anything except my own perceptions of Allah? Was I following a religion or merely tailoring it according to my own personal beliefs? Did that make me an Atheist or simply a Humanist?
After few hours of self-doubt, I began my search again. It simply wasn’t possible that my religion taught us this violence. I had to find out those verses of peace. Somehow I imagined getting some relief for the time being at least. And I did find them.
“If anyone slew an innocent person it would be as if he slew the whole mankind and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole mankind”
And many more…
So it meant that Quran taught peace as well as violence. And I chose to see peace in my religion while many got misguided and they stepped on the other side. Did that make me a more sensible person or portray them as more faithful followers? The other side… Why did Quran have that other side in the first place? I was back to my disoriented state. I wanted some relief. And there was only one way in which I felt peaceful before. My God. My prayers. I offered Namaaz and have to admit that while reciting my Surahs during Namaaz, my mind did wonder what was the actual meaning of the Arabic verses that I was mindlessly uttering out of lifelong habit. My mother had made me memorize these Surahs when I was a child and since then, without giving it any thought, I had been reciting them every day. And now I was questioning even that. I bowed down before Allah and asked for guidance. I needed an answer. I wasn’t ready to accept all this blindly when I knew it wasn’t right. Killing can never be justified.
And then I came across this article:
In context! Everything should be judged in context. And I had been jumping to conclusions because I had read a few verses here and there. Isn’t that what the media did? Taking comments our of context and blowing them out of proportion. Wasn’t that the reason behind the false belief that ‘All Terrorists are Muslims’? While I condemned them for not getting to the base of these accusations, didn’t I do the same? I thought that killing can’t be justified. But what about self-defense? How to deal with homicides? What should one do during wars? Was killing justified in some cases? Was Quran talking about such cases?
Surah2:191-193 – The verse clearly states to fight those who fight you, yet do not transgress limits. In no sense, therefore, does it promote killing of innocent but allows self-defense. It further goes on to state “And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice” and “if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression”. Hence, once again when the whole context is examined the verses do not promote killing of innocent in any way.”
I was suddenly awed by the power of the mind. It can shake our souls if it’s doubtful. And same goes for the power of the pen. Words. Few words can be so impactful. If I could be shaken from my happy-go-lucky state into such deep rootlessness withing few hours (Or was it the initial minutes?), then I do wonder how astray those radical minds could get. Quran has been written in an ancient language and it can be misinterpreted easily. I chose to see and remember the positive aspects of my interpretation. I can’t declare that mine are the best ones, but I just pray that people let their inner sense of justice guide them whenever they set out to act on their interpretation. Meanwhile, I am still on the quest of removing doubts about my religion to the best of my ability.
Originally Published @ hfalki2.wordpress.com on 6/3/2014
Image copyright with the Artist