Recruiting European Muslims in QSIS: What kind of God are they fighting for?
The killing of both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, destroying both mosques and churches, beheading civilians regardless of their religious affiliation, mutilating bodies, enslaving women, recruiting mercenaries, shedding blood of those who dare to differ yet we find them standing united offering congregational prayers to presumably God but what kind of God they are addressing? Would God approve of killing innocent people in a heartbeat and spilling their blood like a sheep then simply wash off their bloody hands and prostrate in praise of their Lord?
What kind of sick mentalities, cruel hearts, warped logic, ruthless predisposition one could have to commit such atrocities and what kind of audacity one should show to justify his appalling acts under the name of any religion or creed.
The recent news of European Muslims being recruited by the terrorist group QSIS is not only alarming but also appalling. Recent statistics showed that most recruiters are of young age as most of them are under 20. These young men are lured by a number of factors which contribute to their miserable decision of joining this terrorist group. One of the main reasons is their lack of authentic Islamic education through which they would have learned the true meanings of Islam and what construct the Muslim identity. Islam as a religion is based on Mercy and God Almighty did not send Prophet Muhammad except for being a mercy to all the worlds. This means that Islam in essence is a universal religion which encompasses all humans with its mercy regardless of their ethnic origin, religious affiliation or cultural background. Muslims are required to treat non-Muslims with justice and mercy as all humans are part of God's creation and revering human beings is an integral part of revering God.
This idea of reverence to God's creation in totality gave rise not only to the concept of human rights but also animal rights and environment rights. Granting personal security and prosperity to non-Muslims living in Muslim-majority countries was one of the basic tenants on which Prophet Muhammad built the first Islamic state in Madinah. The famous historical covenant of Madinah was seen in our contemporary literature as the first declaration of human rights as it granted both Christians and Jews among other faiths an equal right of citizenship which granted them full personal freedom, religious expression, economic engagement and political participation. Islam was keen on integrating Muslims with non-Muslims through tying the Islamic creed and strong faith with treating both Muslims and non-Muslims with kindness, mercy and justice. God emphasized the rights of neighbors regardless of their creed and warned Muslims against being hostile to their neighbors or to do actions which lead their neighbors to fear them. God also indicated the importance of keeping good relations with one's neighbors through exchanging food and said that the one who sleeps on a full stomach while he knows that his neighbor is hungry lacks complete faith. Also showing kindness to one's neighbors indicate exchanging gifts and greetings in different celebrations and festivals.
The jizyah or in modern terms the tax that was paid once a year by non-Muslims residing in Muslim countries was not meant as a degrading gesture or to make non-Muslims feel as a second class citizens as some orientalists are adamant to state but the history proves that this tax was collected in return for protection and security as non-Muslims had the right of not being recruited in the Muslim army and those who chose to participate willingly, the yearly tax is automatically dropped. Also the tax is waived for women, children, old, destitute and sick people among others who are unable to pay the tax for one reason or another. Only men who are able to carry arms and financially capable are asked to pay the tax as a compensation for not participating in the army.
Moreover, when Caliph 'Umar saw a poor old Christian man begging in the streets of Madinah as he had no money to support himself, so 'Umar said, "By God, we should never be doing justice if we eat out his youth and leave him deserted in the old age. The government taxes are meant for the poor" and so Umar remitted the capitation tax from him and his like. He introduced the idea of granting social security to non-Muslims by giving them a monthly pension on which they can live with dignity.
The holistic understanding of justice and mercy to non-Muslims were not only at the time of peace but also at the time of war. Muslims were the first to introduce rules of warfare engagement and Caliph Abu Bakr consolidated the rules of engagement and offered a blue-print for engaging in warfare as follows:
- No old man, no woman, no child shall be slain.
- No hermit shall be oppressed, nor his place of worship damaged.
- Corpses of the fallen shall not be mutilated or disfigured.
- No fruit-bearing tree shall be cut down, no crops burned, no habitation devastated.
- Treaty obligations with other faiths shall under all circumstances be honored and fulfilled.
- Those who surrender shall be entitled to all the rights and priviliges of a Muslim subject.
When expeditions were sent out by Caliph Abu Bakr, he used to accompany them up to a distance and instruct the military commander with rules of engagement. Caliph Abu Bakr instructed an expedition led by Usamah ibn Zayd and said,
"I enjoin upon you Ten Commandments. Remember them: do not embezzle, do not cheat, do not break trust, do not mutilate, do not kill a minor child or an old man of advanced age or a woman, do not hew down a date- palm nor burn it, do not cut down a fruit- tree, do not slaughter a goat or cow or camel except for food. If you pass near people who have secluded themselves in convents, leave them in their seclusion…"
The same instructions were given to Commander Yazid ibn Abu Sufyan when he headed to Syria, Caliph Abu Bakr instructed him by saying, "but do not kill any old man or woman or a minor or sick person or a monk. Do not devastate any population. Do not cut a tree except for a useful purpose. Do not burn a palm-tree nor inundate it. Do not commit treachery, do not mutilate, do not show cowardice and do not cheat…"
One of the highlighting examples of tolerance and coexistence occurred during the reign of Caliph Umar when the city of Jerusalem was freed from the Roman forces. The Patriarch of Jerusalem refused to give the keys of the city to anyone except to the Caliph personally. Therefore, 'Umar travelled to Jerusalem and met the Patriarch at the gate and they went together to visit the historical Church of Resurrection. When the time of the Muslim prayer came, the Patriarch courteously requested the Caliph to offer his prayer in the church. The Caliph kindly declined his gentle invitation and said, "If I do so, the Muslims may sometime in future, infringe upon your rights by pretending to follow my example." The Caliph instead of praying inside the cathedral offered his prayers at its steps outside.
These rules of Jihad or just wars were meant to keep the human dignity intact, cultural heritage saved and environment preserved.
Jihad in lexical term means exerting one’s utmost effort and it has more than one level. The first and the major one is jihad against oneself through purifying the heart from maladies, whims and caprices. The second level indicates a combative sense which is jihad fi sabeel Allah or exerting one’s effort for the sake of God. Scholars name that jihad against one’s self as the major Jihad because it continues with the person thorough out his life and not only limited with the time period of the actual war in which he performs jihad.
As a matter of fact Muslim scholars believe that a Muslim won’t be able to perform jihad for the sake of God without starting with the bigger jihad which is jihad against one’s lower self. ‘Abdullah ibn Amr was once asked about his opinion on Jihad and he said start fighting your lower self first.
Jihad in the combative sense, in principle is a collective obligation [fard kifaya]: It is one of the collective duties of the community as a whole. The organization of jihad is the responsibility of the rulers and politicians, who from their appointed positions are best able to calculate the consequences of such a crucial decision. Rulers examine the extent of the necessity that calls for defensive jihad.
All the aspects of the decision for combative jihad and their ramifications are examined and are subject to a scientific and factual study which carefully balances the benefits with the disadvantages. The enterprise must be free from cowardice, negligence, weakness, superficiality, or heedless emotions. No single group or person may initiate jihad on their own as this is considered transgressing against the ruler and may constitute more harm than good and such transgressors are held liable for the evils they have caused.
In certain cases Jihad becomes an individual obligation [fard 'ayn]: Jihad becomes an individual obligation in countries where Muslim sanctuaries are attacked and their security threatened and is a duty upon the citizens to defend their country. Defensive jihad is not obligatory upon all Muslims; it is a communal obligation for those residing outside the territories under attack. If they are unable to repel the enemy, jihad becomes an individual obligation upon Muslims in neighboring countries.
Implementing the legal ruling concerning in this manner requires:
-Following the valid means which is the responsibility of those in authority, are aware of the political and military aspects, able to assess the need of jihad and calculate the ramifications, interests and disadvantages associated with the regional considerations and international treaties and are aware of the balance of international power. All of this requires:
- Special considerations and meticulous military and political studies which have exhausted the possibility of a peaceful resolution which God Almighty commanded. He said:
"But if they incline towards peace, you [Prophet] must also incline towards it, and put your trust in God: He is the All Hearing, the All Knowing" [Al-Anfal, 61];
- preserving the security of Muslim countries, their citizens and interests.
- the ability to face and endure the choice of war.
- Jihad must be formally declared and clearly defined to prevent Muslims from falling prey to notorious organizations that may exploit their emotions and take advantage of their zeal to serve foreign goals in the name of jihad.
So based upon the above clarification, parents have the right to prevent their sons from travelling under the name of performing Jihad and the son is obliged to obey his father in this matter. Imam al Bukhari reported that sons are not allowed to perform jihad without the prior permission of their parents and this was authenticated by numerous prophetic traditions and in one of them a man came to Prophet Muhammad seeking his permission to perform Jihad so the Prophet asked him “are your parents alive?” so the man replied “yes” in response the Prophet said “through them perform jihad”. In other words one should exert his utmost efforts (jihad) to take care of his/her parents.
The majority of Muslim scholars prohibited performing jihad for sons without the prior permission of their Muslim parents because taking care of one’s parents is an individual obligation whereas performing jihad is a collective one.
After identifying what constructs real jihad and what the rules of warfare engagement are, we can easily state that the appalling acts of QSIS among other terrorist groups go against the natural predisposition of human beings and it originates from perverted mentalities that should be fought with all means possible to save humanity from their heinous acts.