Terrorism is Unacceptable in All its Shapes and Forms
From A Sermon Delivered in Makkah
Ash-Sheikh Abdur-Rahman bin `Abdul-`Aziz As-Sudais, Khateeb at Masjid Al-Haram, Makkah
The register of history, as abundant as it is, is a truthful witness never found to be absent. Likewise, the clear mirror of time is a just observer never found to disappoint. In the same way, the law of Allah, regarding His universe and His creation, is a trustworthy confident of truth that does not change nor withdraw itself.
The avid reader – familiar with the accomplishments of civilization and the glories of past nations – will find that these things (such accomplishments) came to fruition through idealistic and moral foundations. The person who gives credit for such things to material means, or to tangible technological development, is therefore incorrect.
We, the community of Islam, have an utmost certainty, not at all mixed with doubt or question, that the value of a real life is preserved via a belief that gives order to the souls and a (knowledge based) faith that is implanted in the innermost parts of the hearts, accompanied by righteous actions that elevate the status and “raise the heads.” (We are certain) that our Islamic creed is the source of honor, the sign of our strength, and the basis of our civilization. That is because it is a revelation from One Most Wise and Praiseworthy.
“Should not the one who has created know; and He is the Most Courteous, All Aware.” (Al-Mulk 67:14) So humanity – without an authentic creed – and mankind – without a reliable set of laws – digress into a flock of predatory animals and ferocious beasts, the stronger of them pouncing upon the weaker of them, in a life filled with confusion and chaos. Such was the life of the people in the days of ignorance (jahiliyah, pre Islamic times) and such they become in the absence of lofty foundations, high values, and transcendent examples. When the authority of desires takes precedence over the light of guidance, then the path of treachery, despotism, oppression, wrong-doing and wrongful insurrection become prevalent in every time and place.
Verily, the true religion curbs the defiance of the carnal desires, refines the natural whims and impulses, and takes its followers on the path of good, righteousness and honor. It directs to guidance and virtues, taking its people from the ways of crookedness, deviation, and depravity. Indeed, it is a religion that is overflowing with mercy, justice and security, spreading goodness, peace and gentleness.
From its lofty aims, is the preservation of religion, life, wealth, honor and intellect. Imam Al-`Izz `Abdis-Salaam (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Indeed Allah has sent the messengers and sent down the books for the purpose of establishing the general welfare of this world and the next, and for the purpose of repudiating what opposes such welfare.
Likewise, it was said by Imam Ash-Shattibi (may Allah have mercy on him): What is to be considered, is that we have avidly read and concluded – concerning the shari`ah – that it was established for the general welfare of the worshippers. This, being an avidly read conclusion not contested by anyone.
As so, it was said by Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him): Verily Allah has sent His messengers and revealed His books so that people could establish justice. He therefore blessed them with this sharee‘ah whose foundation is based upon wisdom, and the servant’s welfare in this life and the hereafter. So all of it is justice, all of it is mercy, and it is wisdom in its entirety. Therefore, every issue that has changed from justice to oppression, from mercy to its opposite, from the general welfare to what opposes the general welfare, from wisdom to foolishness, it is not then from the shari`ah .
Indeed Islam is the perpetual religion, remaining in every generation. Allah decreed it to abide, guaranteed its preservation, and made it suitable for all times and places. It is the religion of truth, justice and peace. It is likewise the religion of love, tolerance and harmony. Humanity will never acquire any goodness except under the shade of its teachings. Additionally, there shall be no honor for humanity except through the implementation and establishment of its teachings. It is indeed the religion of merits, noble deeds and virtues. It builds the essence of the community, never destroying it, and gathers the strength of its constituents, never neglecting them. It strives towards construction, toward building, not towards destruction, corruption, and demolition. It came with what would eradicate criminality, uproot evil and corruption, and to drastically remove vehemence and terrorism by its roots.
Among its lofty principles, is bringing about the general welfare, the repudiation of what opposes the general welfare, the removal of harm and hardship, and closing the paths that lead to harm. Its message is an internationally encompassing one, while its methodology is that of justice, and the middle way. Its objectives are to establish truth and justice, to erect the pillars of safety and security, purifying souls, refining minds, and cultivating generations that strive towards righteousness and mutual rectification. All of this is so that individuals and societies may live happily, in their establishments and abodes, gaining benefit and growth.
The religion also innately guaranteed the rights of the human being, honoring him, raising his status and heightening his worth. It gave preference to him (the human), while the material world drastically lowered his status. It likewise purified his soul, while superficial characteristics lower him, depressing him towards the lowly depths of beasts. As such, it balances between the needs of his spirit and body with a unique cohesiveness and an incomparable unification. In the same way, it has guarded the relationship between the individual and his community, and his relationship with others. (This) in the way of constructive debate, inviting to Allah with wisdom, good exhortation, and arguing with that which is best.
Islam has never halted out of incapability in the face of developments and changes. On the contrary, it proceeded along with them, while holding on to the foundations, established principles, and integrity. The like of which includes effective solutions for all problems, and the achievement of the desired happiness for individuals and communities.
During this time, we emphasize these lofty aims and exalted principles; a time in which observers follow various international events and constant new trends of the world with severe anxiety. It is a time in which the world is raising a cry from a dangerous worldwide phenomenon, a phenomenon that brings with it catastrophies, calamities, alarm, and horror; a phenomenon that deprives the people of sleep and turns abodes into wastelands. Whatever may be the reason and the motives, it suffices to say that it is the tragedy of the time. It is none other than that which is known in the world these days as the phenomenon of terrorism.
Indeed this phenomenon has gone beyond the boundaries of time, place, and identity. As such, it has never been limited, restricted, or individualized, rather, it went beyond that, manifesting in the form of armed criminal organizations and wanton group transgression. It has likewise planted its ticking bombs and mines throughout the world. Its detestable cells and foolish networks have isolated themselves from having the slightest awareness of the concept of humanity, religious values, and moral behavioral standards. In that way, it has defied all of the laws that have been sent down from heaven, and (defied) cultures and covenants worldwide.
Now, the catastrophe of catastrophies comes, when it is established that its protagonists are those that wear the cloak of religion and decorate themselves with the uniform of the Muslims. While the true Islam is free from all of that. Its legal text and its aims and manners of preservation have indeed prohibited killing innocent souls, destroying lives, destruction of properties, transgression against wealth and rights, and spreading mischief in the land. “And when he turns away, his effort in the land is to make mischief therein, and to destroy the crops and cattle, and Allah likes not the mischief makers.” (Al-Baqarah 2:205) Indeed, Islam has prohibited oppression and doing wrong to others, and it orders equity and justice.
“O you who believe! Stand firmly for Allah and be just witnesses, and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just; that is nearer to piety. And fear Allah.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:8) In the same way, Islam prohibited following the paths of brutality and harshness. “And by the mercy of Allah you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted they would have broken away from about you.” (Aal `Imran 3:159)
In the Sahih , that of Muslim and others, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam) said:
Gentleness has not been in anything except that it beautified it; and it has never been removed from something except that it marred it. And harshness has never been in anything except that it marred it, and has never been removed from a thing except that it beautified it.
So indeed, through the sequence of time, humanity has been afflicted by numerous harsh and destructive events, and events of unrest and terrorism. At present, circumstances serve to expound on that point very clearly because of the events that have shaken up the world, afflicted it with such a catastrophe against humanity, a momentous scourge, and such a grave affair.
How many times has the observer seen and heard of various alarms and acts of terror, the reports of destruction and confusion, of devastation and bombings, killing and assassinations, hijacking buses and airplanes, blowing up buildings and demolition of property?! How many souls have they killed? How much harm have they caused? How many buildings did they destroy, how many economies did they paralyze, how many dead, wounded, and missing – how many mothers lost their babies, and how many children did they turn into orphans?!
Those that do those things are people who have diseased souls, vile minds, and a weak sense of accountability. They are among those in whose souls criminality rooted itself until their evil overflowed, sending it out in grave proportions to wreak havoc everywhere. So we are pleading for your mercy our Lord! We are pleading for your mercy! Pardon us O our protector! And give us comfort O Allah! O Allah grant us safety, grant us safety.
“But Allah is the best to guard and he is the Most Merciful to those who show mercy.” (Yusuf 12:64) What is it that these people want!? What are their aims!? Who is supporting them!? And, for whose benefit are they acting!?
Where then are the intelligent creatures and the nobles of the world in the face of them spreading their (terrorist) evil in abounding proportions?! “So if the prudent ones of my people extinguish it not. Its flames will eventually result in corpses and carcasses.” That is a time, when none but Allah will be able to avert it. Which religion and intellect has ever taught these horrendous actions? Even more so, where are human sensibilities, mercy and humanity? What type of heart is this that disdains lives and properties? What type of intellect is this, one that gives preference to harm over safety, and gives preference to destroying innocent souls? What type of soul is it that delights in bloodshed, and (seeing) corpses flying all about? “Verily Allah does not set right the work of the evil-doers.” (Yunus 10:81) “And Allah knows him who means mischief from him who means good.” (Al-Baqarah 2:220) “And do not do mischief in the earth after it has been set in order.” (Al-A‘raf 7:56)
“Because of that, we ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone killed a person, not in retaliation of a murder, or to spread mischief in the land, it would be as if he killed all mankind; and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:32)
Frightening the secure; disrupting the lives of those who are at peace; treading the courses of harshness and transgression, and organizing operations of destruction and bombings?! Allah and His Messenger, and the people of the true faith, refuse to let these base courses of action be considered a path towards bringing about good and security for humanity, or a means of achieving happiness and general welfare for mankind.
The Beloved, the Chosen, He whom Allah sent as a mercy for the worlds, may my father and mother be ransomed for him (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam) – this, our Prophet, laid down the foundations for the methodology of rectification in the ummah. How will you act in a state of peace, when it is he who said during a state of war:
Go forth in the Name of Allah, in the cause of Allah. Do not misappropriate (the spoils of war), nor behave treacherously, nor mutilate; do not kill an elderly person, nor a child, nor a woman, nor a monk in a hermitage.
It was recorded by the Sunan Compilers as a narration of Anas bin Malik. Where are these teachings and where is this purity of understanding in relation to people who believe in only harshness as a course of action, destruction as a methodology, and bloodshed as a means of change and rectification – or so they claim?!
After that, do not even ask about its extreme dangers and the bias it will cause against Islam and the Muslims in the future, especially for Muslim foreigners and minorities in the various corners of the world. And we seek the protection of Allah against thinking bad of a Muslim or accusing an innocent person of wrong-doing.
O nation of Muhammad ( sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam )! There is a lesson for you in these events, and an opportunity in these circumstances to check this evil and reflect. It is a must that we take refuge in Allah and hasten towards Him. As no one can totally efface the evil except Him. So there is no refuge from Allah except in Him, as everything that happens in this universe, then He has the perfect wisdom for it and the ultimate Power over it. So this event and other than it (meaning an event that happened recently in Saudi Arabia) If Allah did not decree it, it would not have happened.
“If your Lord had so willed they would not have done it.” (Al-An‘am 6:112) O mankind: From the pulpit of the Sanctified Masjid ( Masjid Al-Haram ), the pulpit of truth, justice and peace! We address the world’s international public opinion. Likewise, we call on the decision-makers of the word: Come to a word that is common between us and you! It is a must that we employ wisdom regarding the events. Likewise, that we employ reason in the positions we take. That we guide ourselves with keen, in-depth observation, giving preference to the general welfare, and preventing these evil catastrophies and preventing the news of wars and such events. That we put forward the just peace, more so, the just world peace, and that we support the international security that is aspired for.
In this way, it is upon the scholars of the ummah to clarify the truth concerning these events, and to uproot them with the appropriate vision of the shari`ah , and the balanced Islamic outlook. That is so the radiant picture of Islam and its people can become clear, and that what is called terrorism – with all of its ugly forms and shapes – is rejected, being banished to the furthermost limits, away from any association with the essence of Islam, its noble aims, and the loftiness of its legislative decrees. Thereby making it clear, that it does not represent the morals of the Muslims and their behavior.
In the same way, it is befitting – while mistakes have been made with these events, and the understanding of some has erred – that statements and terms be given precise definitions, so that the concepts of the shari`ah jihad, with its rules and morals, does not become mixed up with the current forms and modes of terrorism.
All cures for human diseases and deficiencies administered in the absence of religion, and accomplished through placing its people on the sidelines, will never amount to anything for humanity, save an increase in strife.
Therefore, we must clarify the realities and improve the image, so that Islam and its people are not considered responsible for the outrageousness of what has occurred, and so the innocent are not accused of terrorism, while they are innocent of it. So that no person shall bear the burden of the wrong of another. In this way, ‘not every thing that has been made white is considered to be fat, and not everything that has been made black is considered to be charcoal.’
It is incumbent that the Muslims are not portrayed as though they are the cause of the clash of civilizations and the retardation of humanity. It is a must that a wise perceptive generation develop; one which realizes that insight and discernment come before courage; that justice takes precedence over dispute; that the preservation of the environment and wealth are guaranteed rights, rights against which transgression is not permissible in any fashion whatsoever. “And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors.” (Al-Baqarah 2:190)
In this way, the invitation is directed to the various forms of media, especially the Western media, and the owners of the world media outlets. They are called to distinguish themselves with justice and objectivity, truth and realism, while at the same time, not generalizing suspicions, nor dishing out absolute predictions and spearheading controversies. Likewise, they should distinguish themselves, by directing their communities away from suspicion, rumors and double-standards, in a time when the concept of confirmation has almost been exhausted, and objectivity has come to a demise. They (the media) should remove themselves far away from surmising, casting something into the fog, or analyzing a topic which is marred by murkiness. Likewise, they must protect themselves from having double standards in the positions they take, and from falling in line behind their emotions and presenting an overbearing dialogue.
There must be a deep understanding, (concerning the fact) that the negative problems, and the phenomena in the societies of humanity, cannot at all be solved through harshness, whether initially, or as a reactionary punishment. On the contrary (they can only be solved) by efforts towards mutual discussion and understanding; returning to the essence (of the problem); re-examining positions and conclusions; rectifying the administrative system and politics working towards disseminating justice and equality between people; and the abandonment of mutual malice and racial hatred.
The rights of the persecuted Muslim nations must be acknowledged. At the forefront of which comes the most significant issue of the Muslims, in the Muslim struggle of Palestine, Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, and the blessed Masjid Al-Aqsa. The rights of the Muslim people in the blessed land of Palestine must be acknowledged, that they be able to live in security and peace, far remove from the terrorism of the iniquitous Zionists against the esteemed sacred sites of this nation.
It is imperative to strive towards concerting efforts and organizing work to clarify what the values of humanity and civilization should be; those values that our natural Islamic way of life abounds with. This, while seriously working towards solving the various forms of contradictions and double standards that the ummah has to deal with constantly, in many of its political, economic and information sectors. Likewise (it is imperative to work towards) drying up the springs (from which flows forth) the evil in the ummah , under the auspices of the calls of the vicious (system of) globalization, which soon shall be headed for the firm establishment of our ummah at its pillars. The time has indeed come, O ummah of Islam! That the affair be put in its proper perspective according to the shari`ah . That those practical steps be taken, with pragmatic actions, towards empowering the role of the individual Muslim, so he can go forth to establish his responsibilities, building security, cultivating, and realizing the paramount general welfare, via a moderate and just methodology, realizing the exalted aims of Islam.
So the need is pressing for the institution of a specific worldwide Islamic organization to deal with this dangerous phenomenon, both regionally and nationally. Likewise, there is a pressing need to establish scientific studies and practical mechanisms for arduously studying its causes, and the factors underlying its dissemination.
In the same light, employing a safe mechanism for uprooting it, blockading its presence, and halting its spread while it is still present. (All of this) with a calm well-studied methodology, fully rooted in knowledge and clarification, clear proofs and evidences, characterized by clarity and transparency. In this way, establishing a unified pattern for combating it, diagnosing the disease, and prescribing the cure, humanity can rejoice, mankind can feel secure, and the world can be safe from its extremism and evils.
There must be an organized effort towards uprooting its infection, specifically from the Islamic countries, and on a larger scale from the international communities. And Allah has full power and control over His affairs, but most of men know not.
So unto this, then invite (people), and stand firm as you are commanded, and follow not their desires, but say:
I believe in whatsoever Allah has sent down of the Book, and I am commanded to do justice among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. For us be our deeds and you your deeds. There is no dispute between us and you. Allah will assemble us all, and to Him is the final return. (Ash-Shura 42:15)
Now, under the shadow of the facts being mixed, and the cloaking of the truth, then indeed the world is shouting out for the reality while you, O Muslims, are the people of truth and reality. So we beseech you O Allah! We beseech you O Allah! To make the pristine picture of Islam and its people clear. This after the curtains have fallen down, the slogans have become bankrupt, and the defects of many organizations and objectives, along with the paths of extremism and harshness, have become manifest.
So indeed the world is looking towards a better future, one in which they can take pleasure in, under the shade of the upright religion, in an oasis of abounding security, the type which is not ruffled by crimes and fears. That would entail earnestness in implementing the true Islam, manifesting its unique merits and its praiseworthy distinguishing features, rising to the level of the Islamic call, arranging efforts and positions taken in line with that, investing in technologies and mechanisms of the current times to secure this noble cause, keeping up with the issues of our Islamic ummah, and protecting the state of the Islamic immigrants and minorities in the world, and dedicating (the energy of) the ummah , individuals and communities, to structuring civilization in all sectors, so that the honor and majesty of our Islamic ummah can be realized along with its lofty place among the worlds.
We have nothing except the religion for protection, and nothing except our shari`ah to cling to. As indeed the ways have become many in the ummah and the flood of strife has overflowed upon it. Among the blessings of Allah upon this ummah, is that He facilitates for it, in every generation, those who will make it return to the way of the noble Salaf (predecessors), those who will establish the affairs of the religion, and renew the sign-posts of its shari`ah that have vanished. The call to Tawheed (monotheism) and rectification that sprang forth from the flatlands and wide plains in the land of the two sanctified places ( Masjid Al-Haram and Masjid An-Nabawi ) may Allah protect them – when the authority of knowledge came together with the authority of rulership in a unique formation, a radiating organization and a distinct weave – this call was nothing but a blessing from Allah, Glorified be He, not only upon the people of the (Arabian) Peninsula, but upon the entire world. The like of which brought forth fruitfulness, spreading safety, and a cohesive form of leadership, and a nation, struggling for Islam, working for humanity, with a clear presence, centers of learning, as a significant nation, with a historically important position, and a strong barrier against terrorism. May Allaah make it sincere and pleasing to Him and increase it in guidance for the affairs of this world and the next.
May Allah protect you! It is imperative that you know, that the first brick in the rectification process is to return to one’s self and straighten it. In the same way, you should be warned of the variety of negative examples and falling into what the people have innovated in beliefs and actions that have no authentic origin or basis in sound knowledge. Like the belief that many have about the month of Rajab, and specifying it with such worship the like of which is not reported from the salaf of this ummah, may Allah have mercy with them. Al-Hafiz Ibn Rajab, may Allah have mercy upon him said: “Nothing on the virtue of the month of Rajab, nor the virtue of a particular night during it, is confirmed in an authentic hadith good enough to use for argument.”
Verily we have to fear Allah! O you servant of Allah! And every one of us should struggle to carry out his obligations in the religion of Allah. Likewise, let us be a people with wide open eyes when it comes to protecting our creed, the security of our country and the safety of our society from the frivolous play of the foolish ones, and the machinations of the plotters. There may be benefit within the folds of these tribulations. In the vast sea of pain, there may lie hope from which sincere repentance would result, detailed self-reckoning, constant revision, continual hope, and far reaching knowledge and action; calling to the rectification of everything related to the prosperity of the country and the good of the servants. In this way, Allah is always helping the sincere of the world who serve their religion, their ummah, and their society. And May Allah send prayers and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions.
By the pen of: The Imam of Masjid Al-Haram (Makkah) – Ash-Shaykh `Abdur-Rahman bin `Abdul-Aziz As-Sudais (Taken from al-Asalah Magazine, nos 40 and 41)
Translated by Mutawakkil Thomson, edited by Abu Khaliyl