The author lives for the simple pleasures and her musings over a cup of tea almost always find a way to be the written word. She also writes for pakteahouse.net.
Red Riding Wolf
I once heard a storyteller say, it’s not about the story… for stories are all the same; it’s how you tell a story that makes it different. Today, we embark on the journey of telling you tales popularly heard and read as fairytales, folklore, plays, novels and poems and give you a new perspective on them – a little something to ponder upon.
We take a popular read and bridge it to our surroundings; we play on the nuances, the implied reality between the lines, the obvious being told and the vague that is suggested. The idea behind this concept is to adapt famous writings and link them to you and I, and the society we live in. We begin this fascinating journey with Red Riding Hood adapted as Red Riding Wolf and focus on the heinous reality that is child sex abuse.
Our neighbour’s little daughter was always in the lap, or was being carried around by their male servant.
Auntie – the little girl’s mother – was overtly religious; she covered her head and never missed imparting a religious lecture to the people she interacted with. She appeared aware of the misgivings in society; how was it that she saw no danger in the obvious, a child abuse incident waiting to happen?
Whatever happened to the little girl, I will never know, but it convinced me never to expose my unaware children to the possibility of a lurking wolf; and the assumption is that most parents do not hand their kids over to the desi male caretaker thinking that he will indulge in the heinous and wicked act of child abuse. But that is tantamount to the ostrich burying its head in the dirt thinking that the lurking wolf has disappeared.
It exists – very subtle, yet loud.
I have never been an advocate of sleep-overs; an unaware, innocent child cannot be expected to look after his or her interest if left in the charge of a mal-intentioned adult. Society is perverse and if you are to look in the mirror and question the child, that was once you, the answer coming back may be ugly; yes, most have suffered minor exploitation at the hands of that someone who should never have been in charge, but sadly was.
Child abuse is rampant in our society, and I do not refer to the financially and literacy challenged segment of our communities, but the middle classes; upper and lower included. Our South Asian legacy and values have lulled us into believing that child molesters look a certain way, they can never be amongst the close associates, and only exist in the West. It is worth mentioning here that inappropriate touching of a minor, undressing and improper conversation with sexual undertone are all considered child abuse.
Young children are left in the care of male servants, extended family and distant cousins on the assumption that all is safe. Children are never educated about the dangers that exist within their circle, and they are certainly not encouraged to talk about the inappropriate behaviour they may have faced at the hands of a so-thought trusted adult.
What I allude to here is that most advantaged families play dumb to the existence of child abuse in their sphere of life. Is it that our patriarchal society is unwilling to accept the truth? In my observation, most decent men belonging to the middle classes are unwilling to accept this truth; the fathers, brothers, husbands, uncles and cousins all responded to my query perplexed; either they trust easy or are unwilling to re-educate themselves about the danger that unflinchingly looks them in the eye. Not surprisingly though, most women have an entirely different opinion on this issue.
I relocated to the US some years ago and noticed that the silent child abuse the children of Pakistan suffer is a not a very silent child abuse in the US, but despite the awareness, children suffer it every day; at the hands of the mother’s boyfriends, neighbours, family friends and in the garb of the menace called ‘the sleep over’.
Today, I sit down and write a little story – read it, ponder it, and maybe you’ll find yourself or someone you know in it.
Laal was domestic help, or a servant, as they are still referred to in Pakistan. He had worked in our household for generations and was never considered hired help; he was family. Many a child grew up in his nurturing but with the little girl’s childhood fondness of him also came the vague awareness that he was doing something wrong, subtly.
Not overtly, but his clever and indirect yet deliberate holding was different from the way other people held her. It was almost similar to that of the white bearded gentleman’s, the very same man she met at Hill Park every day. And then the bearded man disappeared, and years later came the revelation that his daughter-in-law caught him trying to get his dirty old ways with the 13-year-old aaya hired to play with his grandchildren.
Laal and the old gentleman were cut from the same cloth. One will never know what became of the aaya,but the little girl who was often left at Laal’s ward grew up to mistrust most men, even those who could be trusted. She, however, often finds herself sighing with relief at Laal’s almost decency; maybe his behaviour triggered the red signal in her growing awareness, or he himself put a stop to the antics, one will never know, but thankfully it never became an incident and only remained a very uncomfortable memory from her past.
The question that comes to mind is that was our parents’ generation unaware of the perversity that surely threads every society, generation and culture? The sexual undercurrent that children meet in the person of the bearded old man at the park, Laal or a sheep costumed stray wolf posing to be a family friend. How does it go un-sensed by the adult sensory radar of our traditional society? How and why?
Are we so proud and confident in our centuries-old South Asian values that we have willed ourselves into believing that our culture supersedes human perverseness? Do we not understand that human perverseness supersedes race, religion, gender, culture, colour and most importantly class. Many a sub-continental children of my generation quietly nod with me in unison and then look away.
A digital marketer, writer, a history buff, volunteer for humanitarian causes for The James Caan Foundation, UNICEF Promise for Children, among others and a tea-aholic. She tweets as @zara_hafeez (twitter.com/zara_hafeez)
This morning, as I opened my social media newsfeed, I was left completely mortified. At around 11.45 am, news about five to six militants who had carried out an attack at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar was all over my newsfeed.
Alarm bells started going off in my head.
I have friends whose children go to that school.
Immediately, I thought of ringing them up. But then I stopped. A thousand thoughts went through my head in those few seconds – what if they didn’t know about the attack just yet? Would I be causing panic? What if I clog up the phone lines and someone else has something more important about their kids to tell them? Would I want my friends calling me at that point? It wasn’t until I opened my TV to see the harrowing images of injured children being carried to hospitals and, unable to hold myself back any longer, I finally called one of my friends. She, a mother of two children who go to the same school, was quivering as she wept asking me to pray for her children. I didn’t have the courage to call anyone else after I shut her phone.
By 12:10pm, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack. The Express Tribune received the following statement from Omar Khorasani, a spokesperson of TTP,
“Our people successfully entered the Army school in Peshawar this morning. We are giving them direct instructions to not harm minors”. He added, “Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Khyber–I forced us to take such an extreme step.”
More information from other news agencies reported that the TTP said that they are still able to carry out major attacks and this was just a trailer. TTP also warned the army to stop releasing statements which comprised of fabricated number of militants killed when the actual number according to the TTP is far less. Then, the TTP spokesperson added that they are targeting only older students, ‘sparing’ the younger ones.
The older students at APS are between the ages of 10 to 16-years-old. One of the injured children who were being interviewed by ARY said that the militants initially selected the students and then pulled another out to shoot their own classmate.
Can anyone imagine the scar that has been left on this child? Pulling out students to shoot them? What sort of barbarianism is this? Which religion permits such brutality?
By 1.30pm, Nawaz Sharif including other party heads had condemned the attack. A state of emergency was declared in surrounding hospitals. The security at the hospitals was reportedly beefed up.
What comes as complete surprise to me was the irresponsibility shown by people, not only on social media but also by the news reports that poured in the figures of causalities as though they were mere numbers and not children. Without confirmed reports, information was being thrown across social platforms and news channels without any accountability. These children, who were under attack this morning, all belong to some family that was reading your tweets, your Facebook statuses and watching the news helplessly all the while praying that the child you were talking about was not their son or daughter.
The news beats on TV made me sad, yet angry. While the injuries of the children who had made it to the hospital were being looked after, reporters were stuffing their microphones in their faces, asking unending questions from INJURED CHILDREN. Injured children who just underwent the most traumatic experience of their lives. Children who did not think they would walk out that school building alive. Children who were scared for their lives. Children. Just children.
What if it was one of your own children soaked in blood that you just happened to glimpse on the TV screen?
Over 100 children were killed in Peshawar this morning. Today, as history marks the Fall of Dhaka, our present marks the end of humanity. We live in a world where animals are better than humans. A world where innocent children are killed mercilessly. Today is one of the most unspeakable and surely the darkest days in our history, in the history of mankind. Today we stooped as low as to kill helpless innocent children.
That child could have been mine. With an exceedingly heavy heart and a throat choked up on tears, I extend my condolences to all those people who lost their loved ones, their children in this incident today. And for all those who support the Taliban and are their apologists, God damn you to the deepest pits of hell. Leave us alone! Leave our children alone! Don’t for a moment think that only Peshawar bleeds today, because on this atrocious day, Pakistan bleeds. On this day, humanity bleeds.
Tibetans clash with officials over township election candidature Radio Free Asia (Washington) Dec 9. The report said the election was being held in Townships across Darlag (Chinese: Dari) County of Golog (Guoluo) Prefecture, Qinghai Province and did not say whether anyone was injured or detained.
County officials attacked and thereby provoked a clash with Tibetan villagers on Dec 7 after the latter refused to vote for a government-supported candidate for the election of a township administration official, reported
The incident occurred during an election meeting attended by residents and officials of the county’s Taktak Township. While the officials insisted that a man named Tenkyab favoured by them should be elected, the villagers disagreed. The latter instead proposed that another man named Lokar, having 16 years’ official experience, be elected.
The villagers’ proposal angered the officials and one of them, Rinchen Tso, attacked two villagers named Tsephel and Tsekyab, grabbing them by their hairs and beating them. Verbal clashes ensured between the Tibetan public and the officials.
Many villagers did not vote while the votes that had been cast were confiscated, the report said. It indicated that the villagers, who latter dispersed, were resigned to seeing Tenkyab being declared elected.
Islamic State (ISIS) releases a Guide to Buying and Selling Female Slaves
The Research and Fatwa Department of the Islamic State (ISIS) has released a pamphlet with ‘Questions and Answers on Taking Captives and Slaves.’
MEMRI It was presumably released in response to the uproar caused by the many reports this summer that ISIS had taken Yazidi girls and women as sex slaves. Written in the form of questions and answers, it clarifies the position of Islamic law (as ISIS interprets it) on various relevant issues, and states, among other things, that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with non-Muslim slaves, including young girls, and that it is also permitted to beat them and trade in them.
“Question 1: What is al-sabi?
“Al-Sabi is a woman from among ahl al-harb [the people of war] who has been captured by Muslims.
“Question 2: What makes al-sabi permissible?
“What makes al-sabi permissible [i.e., what makes it permissible to take such a woman captive] is [her] unbelief. Unbelieving [women] who were captured and brought into the abode of Islam are permissible to us, after the imam distributes them [among us].”
“Question 3: Can all unbelieving women be taken captive?
“There is no dispute among the scholars that it is permissible to capture unbelieving women [who are characterized by] original unbelief [kufr asli], such as the kitabiyat [women from among the People of the Book, i.e. Jews and Christians] and polytheists. However, [the scholars] are disputed over [the issue of] capturing apostate women. The consensus leans towards forbidding it, though some people of knowledge think it permissible. We [ISIS] lean towards accepting the consensus…”
“Question 4: Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female captive?
“It is permissible to have sexual intercourse with the female captive. Allah the almighty said: ‘[Successful are the believers] who guard their chastity, except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, for then they are free from blame [Koran 23:5-6]’…”
“Question 5: Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female captive immediately after taking possession [of her]?
“If she is a virgin, he [her master] can have intercourse with her immediately after taking possession of her. However, is she isn’t, her uterus must be purified [first]…”
“Question 6: Is it permissible to sell a female captive?
“It is permissible to buy, sell, or give as a gift female captives and slaves, for they are merely property, which can be disposed of [as long as that doesn’t cause [the Muslim ummah] any harm or damage.”
“Question 7: Is it permissible to separate a mother from her children through [the act of] buying and selling?
“It is not permissible to separate a mother from her prepubescent children through buying, selling or giving away [a captive or slave]. [But] it is permissible to separate them if the children are grown and mature.”
“Question 8: If two or more [men] buy a female captive together, does she then become [sexually] permissible to each of them?
“It is forbidden to have intercourse with a female captive if [the master] does not own her exclusively. One who owns [a captive] in partnership [with others] may not have sexual intercourse with her until the other [owners] sell or give him [their share].”
“Question 9: If the female captive was impregnated by her owner, can he then sell her?
“He can’t sell her if she becomes the mother of a child…”
“Question 10: If a man dies, what is the law regarding the female captive he owned?
“Female captives are distributed as part of his estate, just as all [other parts] of his estate [are distributed]. However, they may only provide services, not intercourse, if a father or [one of the] sons has already had intercourse with them, or if several [people] inherit them in partnership.”
“Question 11: May a man have intercourse with the female slave of his wife?
“A man may not have intercourse with the female slave of his wife, because [the slave] is owned by someone else.”
“Question 12: May a man kiss the female slave of another, with the owner’s permission?
“A man may not kiss the female slave of another, for kissing [involves] pleasure, and pleasure is prohibited unless [the man] owns [the slave] exclusively.”
“Question 13: Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female slave who has not reached puberty?
“It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse; however if she is not fit for intercourse, then it is enough to enjoy her without intercourse.”
“Question 14: What private parts of the female slave’s body must be concealed during prayer?
“Her private body parts [that must be concealed] during prayer are the same as those [that must be concealed] outside [prayer], and they [include] everything besides the head, neck, hands and feet.”
“Question 15: May a female slave meet foreign men without wearing a hijab?
“A female slave is allowed to expose her head, neck, hands, and feet in front of foreign men if fitna [enticement] can be avoided. However, if fitna is present, or of there is fear that it will occur, then it [i.e. exposing these body parts becomes] forbidden.”
“Question 16: Can two sisters be taken together while taking slaves?
“It is permissible to have two sisters, a female slave and her aunt [her father’s sister], or a female slave and her aunt [from her mother’s side]. But they cannot be together during intercourse, [and] whoever has intercourse with one of them cannot have intercourse with the other, due to the general [consensus] over the prohibition of this.”
“Question 17: What is al-‘azl?
“Al-‘azl is refraining from ejaculating on a woman’s pudendum [i.e. coitus interruptus].”
“Question 18: May a man use the al-‘azl [technique] with his female slave?
“A man is allowed [to use] al-‘azl during intercourse with his female slave with or without her consent.”
“Question 19: Is it permissible to beat a female slave?
“It is permissible to beat the female slave as a [form of] darbta’deeb [disciplinary beating], [but] it is forbidden to [use] darb al-takseer [literally, breaking beating], [darb] al-tashaffi [beating for the purpose of achieving gratification], or [darb] al-ta’dheeb [torture beating]. Further, it is forbidden to hit the face.”
Question 20: What is the ruling regarding a female slave who runs away from her master?
“A male or female slave’s running away [from their master] is among the gravest of sins…”
“Question 21: What is the earthly punishment of a female slave who runs away from her master?
“She [i.e. the female slave who runs away from her master] has no punishment according to the shari’a of Allah; however, she is [to be] reprimanded [in such a way that] deters others like her from escaping.”
“Question 22: Is it permissible to marry a Muslim [slave] or a kitabiyya [i.e. Jewish or Christian] female slave?
“It is impermissible for a free [man] to marry Muslim or kitabiyat female slaves, except for those [men] who feared to [commit] a sin, that is, the sin of fornication…”
“Question 24: If a man marries a female slave who is owned by someone else, who is allowed to have intercourse with her?
“A master is prohibited from having intercourse with his female slave who is married to someone else; instead, the master receives her service, [while] the husband [gets to] enjoy her [sexually].”
“Question 25: Are the huddoud [Koranic punishments] applied to female slaves?
“If a female slave committed what necessitated the enforcement of a hadd [on her], a hadd [is then] enforced on her – however, the hadd is reduced by half within the hudud that accepts reduction by half…”
“Question 27: What is the reward for freeing a slave girl?
“Allah the exalted said [in the Koran]: ‘And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass [hell]? It is the freeing of a slave.’ And [the prophet Muhammad] said: ‘Whoever frees a believer Allah frees every organ of his body from hellfire.'”
STATE OF HINDUS IN PAKISTAN: NOVEMBER 2014 UPDATE
Persecution and discrimination against Hindus in Pakistan has been increasing gradually in Pakistan. After the series of attacks on more than dozens of Hindu temple in Sindh in last six months from January to June 2014, now the Islamists have started to convert minor Hindu girls into Islam. Extremism has penetrated in Sindh extensively although many people claim that Sindh is the land of peace, harmony, pluralism and Sufism.
The alleged forced conversion of Hindu girls and their subsequent marriage with a Muslim man has triggered protests from the Hindu community and civil society organizations in Sindh. In the November, incidents of dozens of forced conversion of Hindu girls have been reported by the Pakistani Media. However the unreported number would be more.
Neelam Kohli-The 11 year old girl Ms Neelam Kolhi daughter of Nemoon from the Hindu Kohli community residence of Bheel Colony Kot Ghulam Muhammad, Sindh was kidnapped in September 2014 from nearby her residence byAkbar Khokhar with the help of two other people Javed Kokharand Dalho Kolhi. After kidnaping, they brought her to a Mosque/Madrasa at Mirpurkhas and converted her into Islam and married her.
After the intervention of police, she was rescued through court on 2 October despite unending pressure from the Maulvis and religious clerks. The girl was handed over to her parents but there was no action taken against the abductors, particularly Akbar Khokar and his allies who claimed in court that she was married and was four weeks pregnant.
Anjali Menghwar-On October 30, 2014 Ms Anjali aged 12 years, belonging to the Hindu scheduled caste of Menghwar, and daughter of Kundan Menghwar has been kidnapped, forcibly converted into Islam, and falsely married away with the kidnapper under the patronage of Bhurchunddi Sharif in Sindh.
On October 24, another young girlKajal Bheel, daughter of Mohan Laal Bheel was abducted from her home at Udero Laal town in the district of Halla in Sindh, Pakistan. Anjali bai belonged to same city Deharki where the 17 year oldRinkle kumari was abducted and converted just couple of years back. The irony is how 12 year old girls can decide to get married and change their religion. The constitution and laws in Pakistan do not allow child marriage before the age of 18. Anjali’s school leaving and birth certificates confirms that she was born in 2002 and therefore her marriage is illegal.
Hence the criminal case should be lodged against the religious clerks who performed the marriage of Anjali. But the civil judge of Daharki Civil Court sent her to Karachi to a shelter home instead of sending her to her parents’ home. Later she was produced before the court where Anjali claimed that she has converted willingly. The question is how she can refuse her marriage and conversion though she was brainwashed at the shelter home. Her parents were not allowed to meet her at the shelter home despite the order from the court and a resolution passed from Sindh assembly. The abductor Mr. Riaz was arrested from Karachi on November 12, 2014. However the case is still in the court.
Kiran Kumari-Ms. Kiran was kidnaped from her home. In the court, she claimed that she had willingly married Mr. Babar Samon, a Muslim. The girl’s family was complaining that she had been abducted and pleaded to get her back from her kidnappers. However, after her statement, the court did not pay any attention to her family’s pleading. The report says she is 14 years old. And so it is incredible that the court chose to ignore her age.
Parsa Kolhi- A student of class eight, Parsa from Taluka Kunri Umerkot was recovered on 16 November 2014 after one week of being reported missing from school. She was recovered from the village of Kapri some seven kilometres away from Taluka Kunri, Umerkot. She was not converted but was sexually exploited. She was abducted on 12 November.
Wali Kolhi-Wali Kolhi appeared in the high court along with Ms.Zahid Ali Banglani who took her to give a statement in the court that she wanted to marry Mr. Zahid. However, Ms. Wali, when she saw lawyers and Judges in the court, cried loudly and requested the court to save her from Mr. Zahid who was forcing her to marry with him andconvert her to Islam. However Mr.Zahid succeeded in fleeing from the court. The Police called her parents andhanded her over to them.
Other incidents of forced conversions reported in November 2014
Parvati Kolhi aged 13 was abducted from her home in Taluka Samaro Umerkot. On 19 November 2014, two Hindu girls named Warjoo, aged 12, daughter of Roopo Kolhi in Samaro, and Hindwani aged 15 from the Bagri Hindu caste were abducted.
On November 27, 2014 two more girls, Mavi and Bhadi were kidnapped from district Badin, Tehsil Matli from the village Rehmatullah Arain, Sindh. Mavi the daughter of Venjho Kolhi (aged 12/13 years), and Bhadi (aged 13/14 years), daughter of Shambo kolhi were abducted by Mr Khameeso Arain and Meero Dal and were forcibly married off. The culprits entered their poor Hindu home and abducted the two girls at gunpoint.
The F.I.R is registered at the police station in Gulab Laghari. Information received so far indicates that these Hindu girls are at the residence of Peer Ayoob Jan Sarhandhi Samaro, who often convert Hindus into Islam. Their case is in the court. Court decisions
On 17 November, three Hindu minority scheduled caste girls were presented in the courts includingParsha Kolhi from Kunri, Waliand Kajal Bheel. Parsa was handed over to her parents. However, there was no investigation ordered into what happened with her during her abduction.
Wali from Samaro brought by Zahid Ali Banglani in the Hyderabad court was also handed over to parents. Kajal Bheel too, was presented in the Hyderabad high court, where the judge ordered her medical check-up, and then to reappear in the court. The fourth girl, Kiran Kumari abducted from Nawabshah was presented in the court where the police without arresting any person involved in her abduction, said in court that Kiran converted and got married out of her free will. The judge dismissed the case. Her mother suffered a heart attack and was admitted in the hospital.
Following these gruesome incidents against Hindus, the Sindh Assembly has passed a resolution against forced religious conversion and forced marriages of Hindu girls on 18 November 2014.
Media and Civil society organization
Many demonstrations and protests were arranged in various cities of Sindh against the forced conversion of Hindu girls. Local Sindhi electronic and print media highlighted the cases of forced conversion of Hindu girls.
Violence, Islam And The Islamic Movement: Can Terrorism Be At All Justified In Islam? -Part 2
By Dr. Mohammad Nejatullah Siddiqui
(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edit Desk)
October 3, 2014
Surah Ash-Shura was revealed in Makkah. The time of its revelation has been fixed as after Hazrat Hamza embracing Islam and before Hazrat Umar converting to Islam. During that period, Muslims were being severely persecuted and tortured. Despite this, they had not got the permission for retaliatory violence as we have indicated above. They got permission for retaliatory violence or war when Muslims had attained the status of a powerful entity. Retaliatory violence cannot remain confined to the human and ethical limits Islam wants it to.
Violence and Terrorism
When some people or some group that is not in power and lives under the rule of a powerful entity resorts to retaliatory violence, the violence will sooner or later assume the form that we call terrorism today. Killing opponents without distinguishing between combatants and non-combatants, not sparing even women, children, the old people, destroying property, resorting to inhuman methods of killing like burning, slashing organs etc has been summarily prohibited by Islam as we will discuss later.
Now take a look at the present situation. On the one hand, there are nation states that have big armies thanks to the national resources, are equipped with the latest weapons for warfare and possess all the resources for causing large scale violence and bloodshed. On the other hand, there are individuals or groups that do not have the authority without the permission of their governments to keep even ordinary arms, leave aside acquiring latest weapons of warfare. It is not possible for these individuals and groups to keep an army. They cannot even organize a volunteer militia.
So whenever they decide to use violence against their own country or against any other country while living in their own country, they will have to adopt secret modes of operation. As a result, they will not be able to adhere to the norms Islam makes mandatory while attacking their opponents because they can neither choose their own battlefield nor the time for war. They are compelled to make secret preparations and use whatever opportunity they get to strike at the enemy. They cannot reach the fighter planes. Therefore, they target passenger planes. Soldiers and uniformed combatants are out of their reach, so they kill ordinary citizens. They cannot reach the military installations of their enemies, so they attack commercial centres and so on.
The ‘organisation’ that resorts to such retaliatory violence is much different from and smaller than the ‘organisation’ that comes into operation under the leadership of states in power because powerless groups are destined to possess a limited organization. The history of secret organizations in the world tells us that they do not operate under one leadership for long, nor is the grip of any leadership on their activities in the field as strong as is that of organized state armies of the opponents. Every task has its limitations and compulsions. The compulsion on the retaliatory violence of individuals or groups (in retaliation to the state violence and terrorism) is that it finally takes the shape of terrorism. This issue is important that if these groups or individuals shun violence, what should they do? How should they defend themselves and achieve their objectives?
But before that we should come to the conclusion that terrorism is not permissible. As we have mentioned earlier, Islam regulates retaliatory violence under its lofty human and ethical objectives that are presented along with certified documentation as under:
“when Hazrat Abu Bakr dispatched army towards Syria, he said to the commander of the troops, Yazid Bin Abi Sufyan:
“I command you to follow ten instructions:
Do not kill any woman, child or old person;
do not cut any fruit giving tree;
do not ruin any populated land;
do not cut any goat or camel except for necessary consumption;
do not burn beehives or disturb them;
do not be dishonest with war booty
and do not show your back in the battlefield.”
---- (Mouta Imam Malik)
Destroying property, buildings and crops comes under the category of causing mischief on earth which has been strictly prohibited.
“And to [the people of] Madyan [We sent] their brother Shu'ayb. He said, "O my people, worship Allah ; you have no deity other than Him. There has come to you clear evidence from your Lord. So fulfil the measure and weight and do not deprive people of their due and cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation. That is better for you, if you should be believers.”(Al Araf: 85)
“And when he goes away, he strives throughout the land to cause corruption therein and destroy crops and animals. And Allah does not like corruption. “(Al Baqarah: 2: 205)
During the last 20 years, the policy of aggression against the US, Russia, Britain, France or any foreign power in different regions of the world or the violence resorted to in retaliation to their policies against Islam or Muslims or the violence resorted to by them against their open violence has also passed through the same thorny ways from which Islam has prohibited Muslims to tread. Particularly, during the last few years, many innocent lives have been lost and urban installations have been destroyed due to the violence perpetrated against the US in Indonesia, Philippines, Yemen, Africa, Egypt, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia and in the US itself.
On a comparatively low scale and in a small number in our own country, this retaliatory violence has taken the form of terrorism. These actions were a transgression against the limits set by Islam about the use of violence. This violence that is perpetrated can neither be defined as defensive nor as a means to remove mischief. It can also not be claimed that this violence is done as a punishment that any authority gives to any criminal. Moreover, the retaliatory violence committed by the Muslims in present times has practically taken the shape that transgresses the Islamic limits of use of violence.
Attacks on embassies, kidnapping of airplanes, attacks on tourist buses were carried out and women, children and the old people were killed. A huge number of properties were destroyed. This in itself is sufficient reason for these activities to be called unacceptable. Whether these activities have produced any results will be discussed later but definitely the image of Islam in the eyes of the world has taken a beating. All kinds of acts based on transgressions of ethical limits, ruthlessness and cruelty are being carried out in the name of Islam that is a religion of reformation, compassion, kindness and fraternity. These acts are highlighted by the media creating hatred and fear of Muslims in the minds of people. For a community that asserts that its mission is to be the guide of the humanity, there cannot be a greater loss or setback.
Violence in the Present Situation
After stating the principled stance of Islam on violence and defensive or retaliatory violence, we would like to ascertain with reference to special situations if violence can be resorted to or not. There are four special situations before us. In Muslim majority countries, torture and persecution meted out to Islamic circles by the government; those independent Muslim areas that have been annexed by any non-Muslim country by use of force and is being controlled with the help of violence; Muslim minority in non-Muslim majority democratic countries where they are subjected to aggression; and the last, the latest violence by the US and its allies against Muslim countries, groups and individuals.
1- A prominent example of the first situation is Egypt. The persecution of Muslim Brotherhood that started in 1954 continued in one or the other form. Much has happened during this period, an analysis of which is not possible here. The history of Egypt was repeated in many Arab countries. The right opinion is that the state violence against Islamic groups should not be retaliated by the Islamic circles in Muslim countries, rather peaceful struggle should be made for the restoration of human rights and for the establishment of justice. Since arguments have been put forward in favour of this stance, we will avoid going into its details in this article which aims to focus on the fourth situation.
2- Second problem is with the independent Muslim countries which have annexed by some non-Muslim power forcefully in a one sided operation and does not withdraw its forces from there despite the pressure from the world public opinion and the UN. A prominent example of this situation is Palestine. The battle of the Palestinians against Israel comes under the category of defensive war which we have termed as the appropriate use of violence as is evident from the related verses of the Quran. In this situation, every method and strategy should be adopted that brings an end to this aggression and the Muslims get back their territory. Now this has to be decided by the people concerned as to when and to what extent armed jihad can be adopted and to what extent other possible methods can be depended on. This is not a disputed issue calling for a debate.
Dr Mohammad Nejatullah Siddiqui is a leading Indian Islamic scholar, whose specialisation is Islamic Economics. Recipient of the King Faisal Award for Islamic Studies, he has taught at the Aligarh Muslim University and the King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah. He can be reached at email@example.com)