An American Islam
Why Religion and Terrorism Are Opposites
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) once said: "When God completed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, 'My Mercy overpowers My Anger. (Bukhari)'" The Prophet (pbuh) also said: "Be merciful to those on earth, and The One Who is in the Heavens will be merciful upon you."
If someone is sincerely religious, he should see himself as part of the human family and should work to help humanity—all of humanity—for the better. He should embody the verse of the Quran that says: "You are the best nation brought forth for humanity: you enjoin what is good, forbid what is evil, and believe in God." (3:110) In no way, shape, or form does senselessly taking innocent life qualify as "enjoining good and forbidding evil."
How can someone, who is truly religious and devoted to God, kill innocent people when God clearly says:
Say: "Come, let me convey unto you what God has [really] forbidden to you: 'Do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him; and [do not offend against but, rather,] do good unto your parents; and do not kill your children for fear of poverty—[for] it is We who shall provide sustenance for you as well as for them; and do not commit any shameful deeds, be they open or secret; and do not take any human being's life—[the life] which God has declared to be sacred—otherwise than in [the pursuit of] justice: this has He enjoined upon you so that you might use your reason.'" (6:151)
How can killing four people, among them an innocent eight-year-old child, or maiming hundreds of fellow Americans be considered "the pursuit of justice"? It cannot; not by any stretch of the imagination.
If indeed Tamerlan's increased religious devotion led him to become a terrorist, then it could not be a truly sincere religiosity. It cannot be true piety. The Quran itself says so:
True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west—but truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day; and the angels, and revelation, and the prophets; and spends his substance—however much he himself may cherish it—upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage; and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and [truly pious are] they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves true, and it is they, they who are conscious of God." (2:177)
Nowhere in this formula can the murder of innocent human beings be inserted. It simply cannot be the case.
This type of phenomenon—one being both a "devoted Muslim" and a terrorist barbarian—is not new. It is a very similar type of religiosity of the Kharijites, who were religious rebels that emerged during the civil war between Ali and Mu'awiyah. The Kharijites had a very devoted religious practice, but they were barbaric murderers. In fact, they assassinated the Caliph Ali himself.
In fact, I have called these modern-day terrorists committing murder in Islam's name "neo-Kharijites." It is a much better term than "Islamic terrorists," "jihadists," or even "Islamo-fascists." No matter what you call them, the point remains: No sincere religiosity, no true piety, can include the murder of innocent people. A Godly human being, if he or she is truly sincere, does not kill an innocent fellow human being. Anything to the contrary is satanic trickery.
Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago-based physician and writer. He is author of, most recently, Noble Brother: The Story of the Prophet Muhammad in Poetry (Faithful Word Press). You can follow Hesham Hassaballa on Facebook.