Copyright. All rights reserved. Ram Jethmalani. 2017.
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I wonder how future historians would describe the advent of the 21st century - The Age of Terrorism?; The revival of religious wars?; Or to use Huntington’s famous heading, ‘The Clash of Civilizations?’; Or all three?
Today, the two dominant revealed religions of the world are at cross roads, the older Christianity in great fatigue, silencing itself in its historic, cultural homelands, and the later Islam in complete disarray, in a self-destruct mode. Politically, it has been captured by a self proclaimed Caliphate, which is in barbaric battle with the rest of the world. The Middle East, once one of the most prosperous parts of the world is in the throes of devastation and destruction. Its people are fleeing by the millions to safer lands, the closest being the European countries. This exodus, the largest in modern history is something that appears to defy a solution.
Saudi Arabia continues to be the patron of Wahabi Islam, which is known to continuously export money and finance terrorist activity in various parts of the world. The greatest challenge before the civilized nations today is how it can protect itself from the fanatical barbarians of the new terrorist face of Islam, now scattered and organized all over the world, who want to impose a complete negation of all the democratic values, constitutionalism, and secularism, for which the West fought for centuries through the blood of countless unknown lives.
Internet and social media are presumed to be the main vehicle for indoctrination, radicalization and organization of terrorism, another bite-back of scientific advancement. Cyberspace overcomes time and space and unites terrorism across the world. How will the civilized world counter this challenge?
The western world is showing a great deal of patience in the face of horrific terrorist attacks against it, starting from the 11 September Twin Tower attacks, the Paris attacks of November 2015, and the Belgian attacks of March 2016. Europe is under siege – by the continuous threat of terrorist attacks from within, and by the refugee invasion from outside. However, to the great credit of the people of Europe, in keeping with their secular ideology, they continue to wisely differentiate between true Islam and Islamic terrorism. But how long will this patience last? The day their patience runs out, the world will witness the most brutal Armageddon, fought on religion, a return to the dark ages. No part of the world will remain untouched; terrorist outfits are said to have spread out globally.
All civilized nations must immediately come together and work out a common strategy about how to counter this very dangerous monster. As far as the UN is concerned, I believe that it has still not been able to get a consensus regarding an internationally-agreed definition of the word ‘terrorism’.
I have written before and I wish to repeat that every scripture has two parts — the first, temporary, situated and relevant in the place and context of its origin, and the other eternal, immortal and universally applicable to humanity. A religion evolves in time when its topical, contextual content is interpreted as such, and relegated into the background. A religion evolves when its eternal, immortal and universal truths are reiterated and propagated in coexistence with contemporary times and with the rest of humanity.
I have written before and I wish to repeat that I am a great admirer of the Prophet of Islam, because he is the one Prophet who clearly told his followers, "When you walk in search of knowledge, you walk in the path of God; the ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr." As long as his followers adhered to this teaching of their Prophet, they were masters of the civilized world. When they forsook his teachings, burnt all books and read only the Quran, and that too not in its entirety, they became slaves of those whom they had educated.
This great picture of Islam of Prophet Mohammed has been more or less distorted, if not completely obliterated. The suicidal ISIS is a faithful reproduction not of Islam but the Wahhabi cult which is only an insult to the Islam of Prophet Mohammad whom I revere even though I a non-Muslim. I think most Indian Muslims realize this distortion. I am proud to call myself a secular Indian Hindu. Secularism, I have often explained is the subordination of ignorance to education and of religion to science. No prophet of any religion had even imagined of man landing on the moon, or the nuclear bomb, a capsule capable of destroying humanity, and modern medicine and surgery to heal humans from disease and death.
The cause of Islam’s tragedy was Mohammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab, born in 1703 in Saudi Arabia, the founder of a sect called ‘Wahhabis’. He pretended to revive the Islam of Prophet but did exactly the contrary.
He picked on a stray line in the Holy Book and convinced himself that it has decreed death and annihilation to all Mushrikhun, i.e. Polytheists. His definition of Polytheists, however, was different from that of the rest of the Islamic world and has proved a big curse to humanity. By his definition, Christians, Jews, Shiites, Hindus and many others are polytheists, who have forfeited their right to live. He was the first to legitimize Jihad, even against fellow Muslims. His doctrine was worse than the act of burning the Holy Koran which advised – fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but do not commit aggression (Koran 2:190-92)- and proclaimed that the ink of the scholar is more valuable than the blood of the martyr. In the spring of 1802, 12,000 of his followers invaded the southern part of Ottoman Iraq. They entered Karbala, massacred some 4,000 Shiites and ransacked holy Shiite shrines, including the tomb of Hussein, the martyred grandson of the Prophet himself. They looted the city and carried off its wealth on the backs of 4000 camels.
In the early 20th century a similar militia movement was initiated in Saudi Arabia, called ‘Ikhwan’ The Saudi Royal family saw great guardians in these toxic movements and the notorious Bin Laden was the evil product of these two. The movement called Muslim Brotherhood also joined in this unholy war on the decencies of the Holy Prophet of Islam. India has not escaped the evil attention of this motley crowd of fanatics. Can the civilized world conquer terrorism is a worrisome question and the answer is not easily found.
Muslims must recall the Islam of pristine grandeur because its current Wahhabi version is only leading to the destruction of Islam, through the self proclaimed IS Caliphate, and its savagery, hatred and terrorism against everyone except themselves.
Leading religious Muslim leaders, intellectuals and thinkers across the world must create a movement for Islam’s Renaissance, before it is destroyed by the ISIS Caliphate.