Khaleej Times : A Novel Fatwa

7 March 2010

The media has somehow overlooked a development of immense importance. The 600-page Fatwa (edict) issued by renowned Islamic scholar Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri against terrorism is worth reading. The learned scholar has categorically proved in his testimony, in the light of Holy Quran and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), that Islam forbids the killing of innocent citizens and suicide bombings.

In his detailed narrative study and observations, he has gone to the extent of terming suicide bombers non-believers. It is bound to have an impact at least on youngsters who may find a sense of direction in his research, and opt for the right path of belief and salvation, in contrast to the prevalent mode of extremism and so-called jehadi culture. Though there has been no dearth of edicts on this issue, Dr Qadri’s outstanding contribution is in omitting the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ of his predecessors, and doing away with the argument that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is an exceptional situation where ‘martyrdom’
 can be justified.

The prolific Pakistan-born Sufi scholar has made a couple of impressive points. Dr Qadri says under no circumstances acts of vengeance, such as attacks in market places or on commuters, could ever be considered a justifiable act of war. Similarly, he argues that terrorists can’t claim that their suicide bombings are holy operations and that they become the heroes of Islam. Citing verses of Quran, he terms such bizarre acts un-Islamic, which is bound to lead them to a life in hell. This extraordinary piece of courage and knowledge exhibited on behalf of the distinguished scholar needs to be emulated by his contemporaries. This rightful and sensible interpretation of the great religion needs to be disseminated in its proper context, in order to stem the tide 
of religious bigotry.

Dr Qadri, an orator of excellence and author of hundreds of books, is a regarded personality by both Sunni and Shia communities. His recent testimony on terrorism is apparently in response to an increase in bombings across Pakistan by militants, and an unending wave of suicide operations in the restive Middle East. He has gone at length in unmasking the face of Al Qaeda and the like, and describes them as an ‘old evil with a new name’ that has not been sufficiently challenged.

One hopes his point-by-point theological rebuttal of arguments, used by Al Qaeda to recruit youngsters, can go a long way in creating a culture of awareness among the youth who have been let down by traditional leaders. Now is the time for religious leaders, civil society and political parties to further Dr Qadri’s initiative through their clout and pressure. Only then can this wave of terrorism and waywardness 
be checked.

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