The tragic murder of Imam Jalal Uddin (May Allah give him Rahmah) is an unprecedented event for our community. We pray that Allah SWT forgives his sins and grants him Jannah and that the community supportshis family in whatever way is needed. It is not only his murder that has grave implications, but also the politicisation of the trial afterwards.
We offer the community our thoughts and sincere advice.
Sectarianism is a disease – For fourteen centuries Muslims – whether ‘Salafi’, ‘Sufi’ or those who carry neither label – have been united by belief in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Day of Judgment, the life after death – and other clear cut matters.
At the same time, Muslims carried different opinions about less decisive matters of belief and had differences of opinion in fiqh.
Even if a Muslim considers that an opinion adopted or practiced by another Muslim is illegitimate and doesn’t fall into a valid difference of Islamic opinion, then the manner to deal with this is through advice and dialogue – certainly not through violence or killing, which is prohibited. This is because the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “Insulting of a Muslim is fusuq (evil), and killing of him is (like) an act of disbelief.” (Saheeh Muslim)
Historically, even actions and opinions that were viewed by scholars as possible kufr did not immediately lead to a pronouncement of takfir (excommunication) on them. Rather, the people holding such views or practising such actions were offered naseehah (sincere advice) or debated with to show the error of their ways. Even if they persisted on this, it is not for individual Muslims or armed groups to take the law in their own hands. Dealing with such matters requires judgment from a legitimate Shari’ court, under a true Ameer of the Muslims – the legitimate Khalifah. It is the absence of the legitimate Islamic rule for over a century that has allowed these divisions to grow unchallenged.
‘Extremism’ has become a new weapon to attack Islam – But there is another problem with which we are attacked, and with which we are now attacking each other. Politicians and media use the word ‘extremist’ in such cases – and in the aftermath of this murder, we see some Muslims attack each other by throwing using this label. So, some of our brothers from the ‘Sufi’ community will attack our brothers from the ‘Salafi’ community with the ‘extremist’ label because of the crimes of some individuals, and vice versa.
However, during the court case it became clear that the label of ‘extremism’ was not used just for the distorted thoughts that led to the murder of a fellow Muslim. They used the ‘extremist’ label for those who ‘raise the finger’ as we do in our salah as a witness to Allah’s Unity. They used it for those who stand in front of black or white flags with the shahadah written (like the flags of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) on it, even though they differ in appearance from the so-called ISIS flag! Increasingly, they use this label for practising Muslims from all schools of thought – whether Sufi, Salafi or otherwise. The word ‘extremist’ is used to unofficially criminalise Islamic symbols and expressions, so as to make practising Muslims feel fearful to express their deen – or else they feel obliged to do actions that show they ‘aren’t extremist’ – like welcoming British soldiers into their masajid!
Those who are enemies of Islam have spread a lie that the ‘more Islamic a person is, the more of a potential threat he or she is’. So they claim people become ‘radicalised’ by Islam before they become ‘terrorists’- and their envisaged solution is that Muslims should be less Islamic.
There is no proof for this. Indeed experts such as John Horgan have said “The idea that radicalization causes terrorism is perhaps the greatest myth alive today in terrorism research … [First], the overwhelming majority of people who hold radical beliefs do not engage in violence. And second, there is increasing evidence that people who engage in terrorism don’t necessarily hold radical beliefs.”.
For centuries, colonial powers like Britain and France exploited, or even created, divisions to divide and rule Muslims. In more recent years the US has exploited Shee’i-Sunni differences to fuel wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The politicisation of sectarian narratives has meant that Muslim communities around the world become more divided against each other, instead of uniting under ‘La ilaha illa Allah’.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: We must not fall into the trap of Shaytan and increase sectarian divisions. Nor should we use the labels of ‘extremism’ and ‘radicalisation’ that are aimed at all practising Muslims, and not simply those who engage in illegitimate bloodshed. The death of Jalal Uddin was a loss to this community. The harming of a Muslim anywhere is unacceptable. So, we cannot allow this event to weaken and divide our communities further, and nor get caught up in media hype that seeks to fuel ideological divisions in our community.
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses so that you may be guided.” (Aal-i-‘Imran, v.103)
29th September 2016