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Vision of Peace

 

Please join us in our prayer for Divine guidance for entire humanity.

 

By Dr. Malik S. Khan

Permanent U.N. Representative, World Muslim Congress

Email: motamar@hotmail.com

 

According to the Quran, those who kill innocent people are doomed to eternal punishment (25:68-69). "Whosoever slays an innocent person ... it is as if he had slain humankind altogether." (5:32)

The president of World Muslim Congress, H.E. Dr. Abdullah bin Omar Nasseef, Secretary-General Raja Zafarul Haq, Dr. Malik Sardar Khan, permanent U.N. representative and Executive Councillor, and the entire Executive Council and worldwide organization, the World Muslim Congress, and other international Islamic organizations and Islamic scholars join and present the following statement.

 

The Islamic scholar H.E. Salih bin Mohamed Al-lahiddan, Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council of Saudi Arabia, has given the following beautiful statement, echoing the sentiments of Muslims around the world:

"In the midst of the catastrophic events that have hit America, questions and queries have been raised as to how such acts are judged and interpreted by Shari`ah (Islamic law), which encompasses all things and gives clear rulings on every calamity: any calamity that affects humans has its ruling in Shari`ah. Many questions have been raised by officials and by the public as to the ruling of Shari`ah on such acts, and whether it is considered acceptable or permissible by Islamic scholars, who shoulder the responsibility of clarifying rulings and Islam’s point of view with respect to disasters.

"Allah (God Almighty), the Master of all Rulers, has prohibited injustice among humans. Aggression against those who have committed no crime, and the killing of innocent people, are matters that Shari`ah has dealt with: these are not permissible even during wars and invasions. Killing the weak, infants, women, and the elderly, and destroying property, are considered serious crimes in Islam. Acts of corruption and even laying waste to the land are forbidden by Allah and His Prophet. Viewing on the TV networks what happened to the twin towers of the World Trade Center was like watching Doomsday. Those who commit such crimes are the worst of people. Anyone who thinks that any Islamic scholar will condone such acts is totally wrong. Aggression, injustice, and gloating over the kind of crime that we have seen are totally unacceptable and forbidden in Islam.

"Allah says: ‘And let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just, that is nearer to piety." Inflicting a collective punishment is considered by Islam as despicable aggression and perversion. Killing innocent people is by itself a grave crime, quite apart from terrorizing and committing crimes against infants and women. Such acts do no honor to him who commits them, even if he claims to be a Muslim. These sorts of crimes are pernicious: in fact, Islamic scholars resolved to forbid such acts as hijacking planes, regardless of the religious belief of the passengers, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, since terrorizing any person is forbidden in Islam.

"Islamic scholars deplore any criminal and corrupt act, irrespective of whether the perpetrators are Muslims or non-Muslims. Those who are truly versed in the fundamentals and reality of Islam know that such acts are crimes of endless hard.

"Considering the numerous questions and queries that arise regarding such acts and our position as a Muslim judicial board, from an Islamic perspective, we view them as despicable. It has been narrated that the perpetrator alone shall carry the burden of his crimes. We have been telling the press that Muslims do not condone such brutal acts nor should they be held responsible for them, since the creed of Islam urges that no person be responsible for a crime committed by others. This is a prerequisite for justice: ‘No bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another.’

"With respect to what has been reported in the media about reactions and how Americans view Muslims residing in the United States, Americans as guardians of democracy cannot deal with Muslims on the basis of crimes committed by a few. Criminals and aggressors cannot be equated with the innocent and the peaceful.

"We would like to reiterate that Islam rejects such acts, since it forbids killing of civilians even during times of war, especially if they are not part of the fighting. A religion that views people of the world in such a way cannot in any sense condone such criminal acts, which require that their perpetrators and those who support them are held accountable. As a human community we have to be vigilant and careful to preempt these evils. Shari`ah is based on the principle that prevention is better than treatment; one of its goals is looking into causes.

"We would like to confirm that the Islamic World and its religious and political leadership cannot condone such acts, and we are convinced that Western and American society cannot deal with Islamic nations and peoples from the basis of the crime committed. Muslims have to deal in good faith with those who live beside them in all societies, since Islam does not discriminate between humans, for they are all brothers. This barbaric act is not justified by any sane mindset, or any logic, nor by the religion of Islam. This act is pernicious and shameless and evil in the extreme.

"We pray to Allah to guide the devious to the path of righteousness, and to protect us from all evils and from our own bad deeds, and to be gracious to us."

We, the Muslims of the world, condemn terrorist acts in any form. All the Islamic scholars, in the light of the Quran and Ahadith, and Islamic jurisprudence derived therefrom, condemn the terrorist acts and further state that the Traditions of Islam, the Ahadith (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad [s.a.w.s.]) and the sayings of all the prophets of humanity, have always condemned terrorism and violence. Dr. Malik Sardar Khan further shares the knowledge and invites the reader to read the Quran, Ahadith, Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic traditions, Islamic culture, and Islamic history. The reader will find the following is all true:

All the Islamic scholars condemn this act and wish it had never happened. The world is becoming smaller and smaller in the technological age, and the human family on earth must learn to live in peace and harmony with one another. We share the pain and sorrow of the suffering of all communities of the United States of America.

While we condemn in the strongest words the despicable attacks on buildings in New York and Washington, we are also alarmed at the impending strikes on the innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan who have already suffered much during the past twenty-two years despite the fact that they have no say in the policy-making of their war-ravaged country. We appeal for everyone to come to a dialogue and prove facts to each other. We pray to the Almighty that all people come to their senses. Let us not shed blood further. Let the criminals who destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon be brought to an international court of justice or to an Islamic court of justice where the plaintiff and the defendant both will plead their case, and upon proof of guilt the defendant will be punished. Let us not further degrade our beloved Planet Earth with war. We request the reader to read this not as an environmental article. We all must govern on Earth with the Divinely prescribed way: to live on Earth with actions that are for the betterment of humanity. We should win each other as brothers from the same family. The application of the Quranic verses which are referred to here, similar passages to which have been revealed in the earlier Biblical scriptures, must be interpreted correctly. Each faith must govern itself by the teachings of the beloved prophet who was sent by the Almighty. We should follow the teachings of that prophet and act accordingly. We all will win Paradise. The following essay is a chance for the non-Muslim reader to learn about the beliefs of Muslims. If we learn about each other, we can become closer friends.

Allah has blessed the earth on which we live with abundant natural resources, and He has given the human race intelligence and power to use these resources for its benefit. At the same time, Allah has bestowed upon human beings the honor and responsibility of khilafah (stewardship) of these natural resources. The concept that it is our sacred duty to respect, preserve, and sustain the animals, plants, and inorganic resources of the Earth was revealed to the Muslims 1400 years before the term "human habitat (environmentalism)" was coined in the West. Allah has revealed, "Behold, thy Lord said to the angels, ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth.’ They said: ‘Wilt Thou place therein one who will create mischief therein and shed blood?’ ..." (Surah Baqara, ayah 30), for, unfortunately, man has been learning the hard way the lesson that wanton exploitation of natural resources leads to irreversible destruction.

The terrorist act in New York and Washington has tremendously damaged the human habitat of the United States of America and has effects all over the world. Among all the numbers of Americans who were killed, the greatest numbers are of Christians; the second greatest number are of Muslims; and those of other faiths as well have died innocently. We totally condemn the act, and whoever has committed this act does not have belief or faith. No one has the right to destroy the human habitat on Earth. Anybody who will go for mass destruction of the human habitat will be questioned by the Almighty. He will receive its effects here and in the Hereafter. The burning of the oil wells of Kuwait damaged the human habitat tremendously. Another serious risk to the human habitat is caused by fires set to the rain forest to clear it. Bombardment has also been highly destructive, whether it occurred in Yugoslavia, the Middle East, or anywhere else. We all must learn to live and let live and love human beings and live in peace and harmony on Earth without destroying its resources. Acts such as this also destroy the world’s economic resources, and the world’s poor population suffers the most.

The West has only recently been coming to an understanding of the need for conservation of natural resources and the management of renewable natural resources at a sustainable rate. But Allah’s message must have been clear to the early Muslims of the Arabian peninsula, where the severely limited availability of sweet water has forced man since ancient times to recognize it as a precious commodity not to be wasted. Man is reminded by Allah not to waste any resource by the Quran’s message, "O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters" (Surah Al-A`raf, ayah 31).

We have globally invested massively for the destruction of mankind and unfortunately so little for the protection and preservation of his habitat. Our survival the way Almighty Allah has ordained is possible only if we follow the principles of Al-Quran. Today mankind has created weapons of mass destruction: biological and chemical weapons and atomic bombs.

The Quran has predicted that there will be diseases such as AIDS and antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea, syphilis and tuberculosis that will spread like a plague. The animals also are suffering from new diseases such as mad cow disease and hoof-and-mouth disease. The citrus plants have been affected by citrus canker. All these animal and plant diseases are combatable only by destroying all the animals or plants infected or within the quarantine area. Today germs are mutating to outsmart the antibiotics, rendering the antibiotics ineffective. New avenues to health must be investigated. Soon the human habitat will be degraded to the point that the annihilation of the human race will start.

The ozone layer is being depleted. Serious droughts are coming in the world. Children are being born without brains. These are enough signs for humans to learn from their behavior and stop destroying the human race. The atomic explosions of the past have shown their effects worldwide. The world’s economy is at stake. The only solution is to settle our differences peacefully and diplomatically and for the criminals to be brought to the international courts of justice. Whoever is the criminal must pay for his deeds, not humanity to pay the price. The criminal’s religion should not be an excuse to condemn all the followers of that religion, but the criminal must be branded as a criminal. Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, the butchers of Yugoslavia, and many other dictators were terrorists, but their religion didn’t matter. Many of those who committed crimes against humanity along with these butchers were never brought to justice, nor was their religion blamed for what they did. One billion four hundred million Muslims in the world all condemn these acts. A criminal commits a crime in his individual capacity, whether he steals, rapes, murders, or commits an act of terrorism. When we talk peace, we should implement what is necessary to establish a long-lasting peace on earth. We have the United Nations. When the United Nations passes a resolution, then it must be implemented right away. All old resolutions must be implemented at the same time to keep the long-lasting peace in the world.

Monotheism, trusteeship and accountability, that is, tawheed, khilafah, and akhirah, the three central concepts of Islam, are also the pillars of the ethics of the habitat of humanity. They constitute the basic values taught by the Quran. It is these values which led Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, to say: ‘Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded,’ and ‘There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift from him’ and again, ‘The world is green and beautiful and Allah has appointed you his stewards over it.’ Consciousness of the habitat (environmental consciousness) is born when such values are adopted and become an intrinsic part of our mental and physical makeup. Man must learn his responsibility as viceregent. Look at the other planets: they sit barren with no oxygen, no plants, and no animals. Life is not possible there. Allah has blessed this earth with life. We must take care of this earth with a loving, tender touch and make it Paradise for the whole human family. Now we have the obligation to plant the trees of friendship, peace, and tranquility among all nations, races, and communities so they can grow and live peacefully as one human family.

Muslims are prescribed to practice this nexus of values, this way of understanding themselves and their habitat. The notions of monotheism, trusteeship and accountability should not be reduced to matters of personal piety; they must guide all aspects of life and work. Shari`ah (Islamic law) is here to punish the criminal. If one has deprived life and property from a non-Muslim, Islamic law protects the victim. We do not have a kangaroo court system. Similarly, in the United States, unless the accused is proven guilty, he is considered innocent. It is a historical fact that the caliphs of Islam decided in favor of the non-Muslim plaintiff who had suffered at the hands of a Muslim. The non-Muslim, upon winning the case, became a Muslim because he was so impressed by the justice meted out by the Islamic court system. All the prophets of mankind were given a similar revelation, and we make no distinction.

We often say that Islam is a complete way of life, by which it is meant that our ethical systems provide the bearings for all our actions.

The whole humanity is prescribed throughout history to govern themselves in the world. We have been given messages throughout history by the prophets in the ancient scriptures. Yet our actions often undermine the very values we cherish. We must judge our actions by them. They furnish us with a world-view which enables us to ask environmentally appropriate questions, draw up the right balance sheet of possibilities, and properly weigh the environmental costs and benefits of what we want, what we can do within the ethical boundaries established by Allah, without violating the rights of His other creations. If we use the same values, the same understanding in our work as a scientist and technologist, economist or politician as we do to know ourselves as Muslims - those who subject themselves to the Will of Allah - then we will create a caring and practical way of being, doing and knowing, a true Islamic alternative to the environmentally destructive thought and action which dominate the world today. The others should learn from the Quran, because the message of the Quran came for all humanity. The earlier scriptures revealed the coming of a prophet whose name would be Ahmed (i.e. Muhammad, S.A.W.S.), who would have government, law, and a state, and who would bring together Bani Isra`il and Bani Isma`il, the believers in One God (Christians, Jews, and Muslims and all those who believe in one God). This is the promised Prophet revealed by the prophets of the earlier scriptures. That means he is the prophet for entire humanity. Further, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S.) revealed that Jesus (peace and blessing be upon him) will come back to the world and bring one religions to the world and govern it according to the prescribed Shari`ah, the divine laws of Allah (God). So the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S.) took special interest and took Jews and Christians under his wing and saved them from persecution from the Romans. The teachings of Islam recognize all the prophets of the Bibles right from Adam all the way through Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Elias, Elisha, Jonah, Lot, Shui`aib, Saleh, Ezekiel, Zechariah, John the Baptist, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace be upon all of them.

Allah has appointed man as a khalifa, a guardian and a vicegerent on earth. Islam offers an opportunity for understanding the natural order and human responsibility within its principles of tawhid (the unity of creation), fitra (humanity’s place in creation), mizan (moderation and reason with justice), and khilafah (stewardship). The message of Islam in the Quran gives the message to preserve our habitat. For example:

 

" ... Indeed, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth: everything renders worship to Him.

"To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: When He decrees a matter, he says to it: ‘Be,’ and it is."(2:116-117)

 

"(Allah) Most Gracious!

"It is He Who has taught the Quran.

"He has created man:

"He has taught him speech (and Intelligence).

"The sun and the moon follow courses (exactly) computed;

"And the herbs and the trees— both (alike) bow in adoration.

"And the Firmament has He raised high, and He has set up the Balance (of Justice),

"In order that ye may not transgress (due) balance,

"So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance.

"It is He Who has spread out the earth for (His) creatures:

"Therein is fruit and date-palms, producing spathes (enclosing dates);

"Also corn, with (its) leaves and stalk for fodder, and sweet-smelling plants.

"Then which of the favors of your Lord will ye deny?" (55:1-13)

 

"There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you ..." (6:38)

 

"Do you not see that it is Allah Whose praises all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds (of the air) with wings outspread? Each one knows its own (mode of) prayer and praise. And Allah knows well all that they do.

"Yea, to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; and to Allah is the final goal (of all).

"See you not that Allah makes the clouds move gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a heap? -then will you see rain issue forth from their midst. And He sends down from the sky mountain masses (of clouds) wherein is hail: He strikes therewith whom He pleases and He turns it away from whom He pleases. The vivid flash of His lightning well-nigh blinds the sight.

"It is Allah Who alternates the Night and the Day: Verily in these things is an instructive example for those who have vision!

"And Allah has created every animal from water: Of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills; for verily Allah has power over all things."(24:41-45)

 

"Do you not see that to Allah bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth - the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees, the animals; and a great number among mankind? ..." (22:18)

 

"Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned, that (Allah) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from Evil)." (30:41)

 

The knowledge of creation is the basis of environmental teachings in the Quran. For example, it is forbidden in Islam to waste water. Even when one is performing wudu (ablutions for prayers)one is required to use as little water as possible and not to waste it. Allah will give to that (water-conserving) person rewards here and in the Hereafter.

The Quran mentions in 56:59, "Is it ye who create it, or are We the Creators?" reminding the current age to manage biotechnology safely. Patenting life forms has opened a hornet’s nest of moral, legal, social, and scientific concern. The world’s species have to be protected, and biosafety is essential. There is growing public concern about the potential risk of biotechnology.

The Quran warns us, "And follow not the bidding of those who are extravagant /Who make mischief in the land, and mend not (their ways) .." ( 26:151-152). Hazardous waste and toxic chemicals need attention. To reduce chemical risks is vital for sustainable development.

Communities are going through a rough time. Unfortunately the United States of America has undergone a catastrophe. We should refrain from putting Islam under siege. Any person who has committed a crime of such magnitude cannot have religion or fear of God. One has to be a faithless, ruthless individual to kill innocent people. The government of the United States is trying its best to protect its citizens from any abuse. Please join us in our prayer: May Almighty Allah protect all of us and give patience to everybody and let the courses of action take their place, and may the real culprits who have done this job be found. Islam does not believe in terrorism or stand by terrorism. All the prophets of mankind forbid terrorism in any form. Today all religions condemn this act. Peace among communities is established through dialogue, not through violence.

The people who have lost their lives in these buildings and in the planes were innocent. In the World Trade Center, those who lost their lives included Muslims from different ethnic backgrounds around the globe. It is very unfortunate for us to go through this pain. We hope that the world learns patience for people to live and let live and for people to build bridges of understanding among themselves, because this world belongs to the Almighty, and all humans have the right to survive on it. Nobody is inferior or superior. They are all the creatures of Allah. They should learn to respect each other. People should control their anger, and no one should take drastic actions. If one mistake occurred, no one should make a second mistake; rather, one should verify and find the truth. Every human in the United States is going through a very tense moment of his life. This tragedy is costing every person from every faith. We all must get together and work together globally and set aside our differences and work for a common goal for establishing a long-lasting peace. We seek Divine guidance as Allah (God) is alone the Provider, Sustainer, Giver and Taker. We should seek His Divine guidance and settle our differences peacefully and live in peace and harmony. We can make this earth a Paradise for humans to live. If we go to the route of mass destruction, then we all will be doomed. We should learn from past history and have patience and build the close-knit family relationship for all the humans, no matter what religious, cultural, ethnic, or national origin or background they come from. We should provide equal opportunity to all human beings to seek peace without any distinction of race, religion, or national origin.

Say, "O Allah, Sovereign of the Kingdom! Thou bestowest kingdom on whomever Thou willest and Thou takest it away from whomever Thou willest. Thou exaltest whomever Thou willest and Thou abasest whomever Thou willest. All that is good is in Thy power; indeed Thou has full power over all things. Thou causest the night to pass into the day and Thou causest the day to pass into the night. Thou bringest forth the living out of the dead and Thou bringest forth the dead out of the living and Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou wilt without stint." (Al-i-Imran, 26-27). The Owner of the Universe, the King of Kings, the Judge of Judges is watching. It is His world, and He will take care of it. He will give special bounty to all those who have suffered innocently at the hands of His creatures, and He will punish the culprits. We all have to return to Him, and we all will be given rewards and punishments here and in the Hereafter.

 

By Dr. Malik S. Khan

Permanent U.N. Representative, World Muslim Congress

Email:

 

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