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Bringing Peace Home

“Whoever kills an innocent life it is as if he has killed all of humanity. “
\Surat Al-Ma’idah 5:321

John Lennon once said- “Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one.”

Islam, a religion of peace, is often portrayed as a religion of “terror” and “killing”. Terrorists use Jihad, a fairly misunderstood term for holy war is often used as a weapon to justify the terror by extremists, and have always been taken out of context. What Jihad simply means is stopping oneself from any wrongdoing. As part of Jihad Fi Sabilillah (struggle in the cause of God), Ibn Rushd lists four kinds of jihad out of which Jihad-bil-lisan which is Jihad by tongue and Jihad-bil-yad, that is Jihad by hand are worth mentioning. Jihad bil lisan concerns itself with speaking the truth and spreading the message of Islam in the world while Jihad by hand concerns itself with combating injustice.

One man who wreaked havoc and terror in the world in the name of Islam was Osama Bin Laden, founder of the militant organization Al-Qaeda. Instead of getting into the technical details of what Al-Qaeda is it is important to mention how it rendered millions helpless, killed thousands and affected daily lives of Muslims in many countries. Those who possess true knowledge of Islam would know that Bin Laden was nothing more than an extremist, a terrorist and a fanatic who used Islam as a weapon for power. And to call such a man martyr is like calling a rapist, a saint. Recently, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan was seen calling Bin Laden, a martyr which not only is an insult to the lives lost but also adds up questions as to what kind of man Imran Khan really is and is he really fit to run a country? Did Osama ever combat injustice?

What Khan forgets here is that being martyred is the highest and the most supreme kind of honor but that depends upon the means to achieve it. Allah explicitly mentions in Quran, “Nor take life — which Allah has made sacred — except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand retaliation or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life, for he is helped (by the Law).” [Quran 17:33], This particular verse gives us enough evidence that Islam does not permit killing anyone for personal gain and power. Imran Khan, being a national symbol, a globally known personality, fails to understand the fact that hatred begets hatred and as a citizen of the world, it is his responsibility to not only talk about peace and division but work towards it. Calling Bin Laden a martyr is not only outrageous but also derogatory to the dead.

His comment shows his disrespect for the dead making it impossible for the rest of Muslims to lead their lives in peace with the non- Muslims. Comments like these make it really difficult to achieve peace and lead normal lives in society. One must remember that the society we live in, be it India or Pakistan or anywhere else, it must be remembered that all are equal in the eyes of God. One must understand and ask themselves the value of peace and how much worth it is to be kind in a world ridden with darkness and hatred. Our only hope is to listen to our hearts and find love and kindness for others if we wish to live and last. Indian Muslims with a glorious past can be the torch bearers of Peace & fraternity in the Indian subcontinent. And as John. F. Kennedy once said, “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.”

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