Islam and Our Suicide BombersBy Dr. AUT
Few hours ago, a suicide bomb killed a very popular senior cleric in Damascus, Muhammad Said Al-Booti, while he was delivering a regular lecture in his mosque. Twenty other worshippers lost their lives along with the 84-year-old cleric. The cleric was a Sunni supporter of the Assad regime.
Three days ago, a suicide bomb killed over thirty passengers aboard a luxurious bus in Kano, Northern Nigeria. It is widely believed that the victims were targets of a sectarian attack, like many previous ones. The victims were innocent Nigerians of different ages, unarmed and unsuspecting.
In Pakistan, the Shiite community is under constant attack in their place of worship or neighbourhood. Between December 30 and March 3, four different bomb attacks have targeted Shiite communities killing 19 in Baluchistan on 30 December 2012; 21 in Hangu on February 1, 2013; 83 in Quetta market on February 18; then 45 in Karachi on March 3 as the victims were leaving a mosque. A witness to the March 3 attack said, “I saw people burning to death and crying with pain. I saw children lying in pools of their own blood and women running around shouting for their children and loved ones.”
In Iraq, suicide bombing, according to a 2011 study, there have been 1,003 suicide bombings between 2003 and 2010. The number of deaths from these attacks is at least 12,284 civilians. In the latest that happened just two days ago, Reuters reported that “more than a dozen car bombs and suicide blasts tore through Shi’ite Muslim districts in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and other areas on Tuesday, killing nearly 60 people on the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.”
And there have been several other bombs that have been killing innocent people across the globe in Afghanistan, Algeria, Mali, Somalia, etc.
There four common features of these bombings.
The first is that they are performed in the name of God. Nothing other than belief in self-correctness would give up a person to the destruction of his self. All these suicide bombers believe in a theology that tells them that they are doing the right thing through which they hope to attain God’s pleasure and for which they will be rewarded with Paradise.
The second is that they are all coming from us, Sunni Muslims. Rarely do other sects in Islam engage in suicide bombings that target civilians of different sects or different religions.
The third is that they are all about power. Whether it is in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mali, Algeria, Somalia, Nigeria or wherever, all the bombings are about power under various disguises: fighting against invasion, Shiite domination, establishment of an Islamic state in which members of the rebellious sect dream of becoming the new leaders.
Finally, the targets are always cheap – innocent civilians – when the strong power of the state cannot be successfully confronted.
Is this the peace that Islam promises mankind? Are we turning religion into an enemy of mankind instead of presenting it as a friend? Is our God happy at the sight of blood, suffering, orphans and widows? Is not there a better way of attaining His pleasure than the killing of innocent people? Is His paradise impossible without stripping us of our humanity?
The correctness of everything – including beliefs and ideologies – is judged by its fruits and not by the beauty of its arguments, the determination of its adherents, the courage of its defenders or the name of God that it mentions. On this count that is better than any other, our suicide bombers have failed woefully, very woefully, to convince us that the violence they perpetrate is Islam. They may name God, but God is free of their action. This is His testimony about anyone who spreads mischief on earth:
“Among people is one whose views about this world will fascinate you and he calls God to witness about what is in his heart; yet, he is the most contentious of enemies. When he turns his back, his aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But God loves not mischief. When it is said to him, “Fear God,” He is led by arrogance to (more) crime. Enough for him is Hell; an evil bed indeed.” (2:204-206).
That is the honest stand of God about these unwarranted destruction of lives and property, about these pains and sufferings and about every evil perpetrated in His name.
I remember that this was the verse that opened a documentary I once watched in 1981 on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that was authored by the Mujahidun. Today, the same verse could be quoted against al-Qaida and its affiliates. I see no difference between President Truman that dropped nuclear bombs on the innocent citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and my Sunni brothers who bomb members of other sects or religions in Pakistan or Kano. If anything, such actions only bring shame to Islam and Muslims.
This short essay is an admonition for the God fearing, whose heart trembles at His mention and whose faith increases at the recitation of His verses.
As to he that is unrepentantly committed to the path of destruction, he must understand that the human spirit will certainly triumph over him as it triumphed over the most brutal times of its history.
The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
21 March 2013