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Verses Misinterpreted by Extremists

The Islamic nation has been plagued throughout its history and up till now, with malicious groups that misinterpret Islam, and overburden the Quranic verses with false interpretations that have nothing to do with the Quranic context or the rules of Islamic Shari’ah. Accordingly, these groups used such misinterpretations to unleash and spread wicked and false judgments, and setting themselves as the guardians and protectors of Islam. Indeed, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) had warned against such heinous groups in the Prophetic Hadith: “There will emerge at the end of time people who are young in age and immature. They will speak like the best of people but their faith will go no deeper than their throats“; those were the “Khawarij” of the past, and today we have the extremist malicious groups that are following the same path of “Khawarij”, disguising behind the flag of Islam, corrupting in the lands, accusing societies and their rulers with ignorance and disbelief (Kufr). Unfortunately, these groups have distorted the tolerant image of Islam, giving the enemies an opportunity to exploit them in order to destruct homelands and communities; and so, the extremist groups kept on attacking communities, not only the Islamic and Arabic ones, but communities all over the world, shedding the innocents’ blood and assaulting their properties and honor. Indeed, the whole world has been suffering from their extremism and intolerance.

As a matter of fact, the aim of publishing the extremist narratives, speeches, lectures and essays on social media is to brainwash the youth and recruit them  in the name of Islam, where that tolerant religion has nothing to do with their distorted ideology and vicious actions. Indeed, the extremist narratives, totally, violate the disciplines of right interpretation, the rules and the objectives of Islamic Shri’ah, as well as the rules and methods of the Arabic language. Yet, despite all these fallacies, they still have the ability to mislead the half–educated youth by exploiting their religious sentiments.

In fact, those extremists claim that the verses of tolerance, forgiveness, peace and amiability are abrogated by the verse of arms and sword; such false claim has no evidence. Indeed, scholars, since Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and up till now, have agreed that the verses of forgiveness are not subjected to abrogation, and that peace is the absolute basis in Islam, while war is an exception only allowed for the sake of defending and protecting homelands, innocent people, as well as securing the call to Allah (Da’wah). As a matter of fact, the right to defend one’s self and homeland is a right acknowledged by all international laws; hence, those extremists are ignorant enough to lack the ability to differentiate between the verses of fighting and the verses of Jihad; thus, they misinterpret these concepts. Indeed, the right interpretation is that the verses of Jihad are more general and prevailing than the verses of fighting, since Jihad can take place by word, argument and reasoning, not by sword. Those extremists misinterpreted the Quranic verse: “O Prophet, struggle against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be harsh with them; for their abode will be Hell, an evil journey’s end!”  [Q:9:73]; indeed, Allah Almighty ordered His Prophet to struggle, peacefully, against the pagans of Mecca who disbelieved in his message and those hypocrites of Medina who showed their belief in him and hide their infidelity. Throughout history, it was never mentioned that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) had fought any of those hypocrites, which indicates that the meaning of Jihad in Quran is to struggle using reasoning and argument not arms and sword. 

As for the fighting verses that they consider absolute without appreciating limitations, they remove it from its context and consider it absolute to fight those who contravened their thought. If they consider these verses carefully, they will find out that the command of fighting is legislation for those who want to fight us or assist those who fight us or who want to expel us from our homes. We read this in al-Baqarah: “And fight in the way of God with those; who fight with you, but aggress not: God loves not the aggressors”. Contemplate how many restrictions in this verse, in which Allah legitimates us to fight those who fight us and read His saying: “ Whoso commits aggression against you, do you commit aggression against him like as he has committed against you”. The same applies to all other verses in the legislation of fighting; such verses were revealed for self-defense, protecting the homeland, and preserving the religion. The generalization here is restricted by this example: “God forbids you not, as regards those who have not fought you in religion’s cause, nor expelled you from your habitations, that you should be kindly to them, and act justly towards them; surely God loves the just.”, His saying about the polytheists of Mecca: “How should the idolaters have a covenant with God and His Messenger? — excepting those with whom you made a covenant at the Holy Mosque; so long as they go straight with you, do you go straight with them; surely God loves the godfearing.”, His saying: “And if thou fearest treachery any way at the hands of a people, dissolve it with them equally; surely God loves not the treacherous.”, His saying: “And if they incline to peace, do thou incline to it; and put thy trust in God; He is the All-hearing, the All-knowing.” and His saying: “O believers, enter the peace, all of you”. And there is no verse in the Quran that calls on Muslims to fight or kill a person just because he contradicts them in faith because Islam believes that the law of Allah in creation are the diversity and plurality of race, gender, color, and belief, as the Almighty said: “And if thy Lord had willed, whoever is in the earth would have believed, all of them, all together. Wouldst thou then constrain the people, until they are believers?” and His saying: “Had thy Lord willed, He would have made mankind one nation, but they continue in their differences”. The reason for fighting in Islamic law is not infidelity, because it is not permissible to kill the original infidel. Rather, the cause of fighting is to resist aggression.

Let all young men all over the world be very cautious from the interpretation of the extremists and misrepresentation of ignorant and be aware that amnesty and pardon in Islam are rulings that remains until the Day of Resurrection and that the legislation of fighting is a ruling that remains until the Day of Resurrection that Allah legitimates for the protection of homelands, self-defense and protection of Islamic and non-Islamic sanctities as Allah Almighty said: “ those who were expelled from their homes without right, only because they said: ‘Our Lord is God’. Were it not for God’s causing some people to drive back others, destruction would have befallen the monasteries, and churches, and synagogues, and mosques in which God’s Name is mentioned greatly. Assuredly God will help those who help Him. God is truly Strong, Mighty”.

Let young people adhere to the true Islam and the tolerance of its legislations, and take their knowledge from the trustworthy scholars of the Ummah, and move away from the thought of such groups whose ideas destroy the homelands, break up the unity of the homeland and serve the agendas of enemies, may Allah preserve our country and the rest of the Muslim countries, and guide our youth to what is good and instill In their hearts love and devotion to their religion and their homelands.

Prof. Abdul Fattah Al-Awary

Dean of the Faculty of Fundamentals of Religion

 Member of the World Organization for al-Azhar Graduates 

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