Friday, 5 August 2016

Reform Islam otherwise terrorists will continue to emerge

Irfan Habib, Azam Khan Co, please listen to Javed Ahmad Ghamidi

Imminent historian Irfan Habib and Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan have their own reasons to downplay or even justify terrorist known as the Islamic State (IS). Addressing a convention of writers, artists and others in New Delhi on November 2, 2015, Habib said, “...There is not much difference between Islamic state (ISIS) and the RSS as far intellect goes.”  Two weeks later, on November 16, Azam Khan declared, “Whatever the terrorists did in Paris was wrong. But, attack on Arab countries and killing of innocents there by US and Russia is also not justified. We need to look who killed whom first, after that who retaliated. This is a debatable issue… History will decide who is a terrorist and who is wrong.”

Such people should listen to an interview given by Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, the well-known Pakistani Muslim theologian, Quran scholar and educationist. The video of replies to the question “What is the cause of terrorism, ISIS and other such organisations of the sort made by Muslim? How can we get rid of it?” can be seen on:

For  the benefit of those who do not want to take the trouble of watching the video, the transcript is reproduced below.

“The root cause of terrorism that is being committed by some Muslims today is the religious thought which is being preached in the Muslim medressahs and being propagated through their political movements. Almost every single medressah and the religious scholar is teaching the four main doctrines of this religious thought. They may not be doing it publicly, but they are doing it nevertheless – this surely are. What are those for doctrines? Please note:

First polytheism, kufar or apostasy (someone abandons Islam) committed anywhere in the world, are all punishable by death and we have the right to implement this punishment.

The second thing they preach is that non-Muslims were born to be subjugated. None other than Muslims have the right to govern. Every non-Muslim government is illegitimate. We shall overthrow any such government whenever we have the capacity.

The Third thing is that all the Muslims of the world should be under the rule of a single Islamic government called The Caliphate. The independent states have no legitimacy.

The fourth doctrine is that the modern nation state is a form of kufr and there is no room in Islam for it.

These are the four basic tenets of our current of religious thought. Tell me, what would you do if you were indoctrinated in this manner? That is why, I am constantly advising the Pakistani government as well as my co-citizens that unless we confront the current religious thought, this religious narrative, and replace it with that too narrative of Islam, such people will continue to emerge – one after the other. I have published many articles in Pakistan. Only recently, say, a few months ago, I authored an article “Islam and the State: A Counter Narrative”. A heated debate ensued and many scholars critiqued it. I responded to all those criticisms and then too, I highlighted yet again that we need to institute three measure or else the current state of affairs that is prevailing, will transform the Middle East into a living hell for the rest of the world. And I am apprising you that I used to make the same submissions about the Afghan Jihad back then but no one would listen. Eventually, the whole nation conceded. Today, I am warning you all, yet again, that it is absolutely vital to institute three measures:

First, training all Muslims in the counter narrative is a must. I have detailed in 10 points as to what is the REAL  narrative of Islam, not this (current extremist narrative), but the REAL  narrative. Please study it. It is essential that Muslims are educated in it.

Second, is to appreciate that the education system of the religious seminaries (medressahs) violates human rights. Specialised education in any discipline cannot be forced onto a child. It is the right, very basic right, of every child to have twelve years of broad based education. Thereafter, he may choose to become a scholar or a scientist. Our religious seminaries work on the principle of transforming a 5 or 7 year old child into a religious scholar. No one has the right to do this or to force them to become a doctor or an engineer. After a broad-based education of twelve years, they may choose to become whatever they may wish to. This practice must be abandoned. For this to take effect, the civil society must prepare itself and people must educate themselves. The Muslims governments must be pressurised not to allow any institution to take students for specialisation before twelve years of broad-based education. After this stage   anyone may opt to set up a Deobandi or a Brelvi medressah but it MUST be mandatory that in any institution of specialisation, the admission is possible ONLY after twelve years of  broad education. Please tell me, do you give anyone the right to go on and start tutoring five year olds to become doctors? No, you don’t. So, twelve years of broad education is the basic right of every child.

The third point is that the Friday Pulpit is not meant for the religious scholars. It is the domain of the state. This platform MUST be seized by the state. If the state does not do it, then Muslim houses of worship would be claimed and taken over by the Brelvis, Deobandis, Ahl Hudth or some other denomination and no House of worship will ever belong to God.”

It is in the interest of the world community in general and the Muslim community in particular to follow the sensible suggestions given by Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. As he has rightly warned, if reforms are not introduced, “the current state of affairs that is prevailing, will transform the Middle East into a living hell for the rest of the world.”

     One of the biggest challenges before the mankind today is how to control ISIS and their other editions.

 Devendra Narain
November 20, 2015