The Teachings of Islam for the Prevention of Terrorism -Abdur Rahman


Islam as a religion is totally committed to establish peace and security in the society. It views with great contempt the breach of peace, anarchy, rioting and terrorism. Muslims as an Ummah are a peace-loving community. So, a person following Islam will find that he or she is surrounded by noble teachings, the aim of which is to establish peace between man and Allah, between man and man and between man and the rest of Allah’s creation. Islam is a religion which fosters freedom of life, ideas and thought.
Each and every human being in this world is not in favor of maintaining peace and harmony. There are many, who would disrupt it for their own vested interests. It is precisely for this reason that we have the police who use force against criminals and anti-social elements to maintain peace in the country. In this regard, the detailed prescription was entailed in the Quran and Sunnah as when and how to face terrorism, strategies to face terrorism etc.

Islam prohibits targeting innocent & unrelated Persons
According to Islamic Shariah, whether it is the matter of an individual group or ideological difference, persons who are not concerned or related to a particular action, cannot be held responsible for the action of others.
Islamic jurisprudence allows punishment of the culprit according to the gravity of the crime, permitting revenge equal to the injury caused. Pardon is preferred to punishment.
“And so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then anyone transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.” (2:194)
The orbit of suppression should not grow wider. Vindictive action against persons belonging to the tribe or the community of the assassin, but who have nothing to do with an atrocity, leads to further enlargement of the area of hostility. According to Islamic Shariah  permits action directly only against the culprit.

Teachings of Islam in Eradication of Anarchy
According to Islamic Shariah, peace should be a priority. Even in the course of battle, the opponent proposes peace, that offer should be immediately accepted. It recommends strict punishment for murderers and aggressors, because they disturb peace. The aim is to ensure respect for human life. The books of Sunnah and Islamic jurisprudence contain elaborate instructions for curbing terror and fear in social life.
“……..The free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission is made by the brother of the slain, then grant any reasonable demand, and compensate him with handsome gratitude. This is a concession and a Mercy from your Lord. After this whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave chastisement. (2: 178)

Organizational Effort against Terrorism
We can see that, in the age of twenty, Muhammad (sm)   founded the ‘Hilful Fuzul’ organization that was like an army formed to put a stop to terror by a group of brave and courageous justice-loving youths. ‘Hilful Fuzul’ used to help every oppressed person against terrorism. To mention that, first condition of this organization was prevent terrorism. That was – “By the oath of God! We would never forget our responsibility of assisting every oppressed person and would assure that the oppressed one got his rightful dues, even if the oppressor was the richest or the most influential person. That is why these volunteers used to rush to help even if the oppressed one did not belong to Macca , even if he come from another part of the country.”

Collective Effort by Bickering Parties to Prevent Terrorism
Muhammad (sm) was exiled from Macca as being stifled by torture of Kafir (religious disbelievers in Macca) and migrated to Madina. God’s Messenger was requested by the tribes in Yathrib (present in Madina) to act as a third-party mediator to try and help resolve the on-going terrorist and despotic activity between the residence of Madina. It was also common practice of Arabs at that time to refer their conflict to outsiders. Finally, drafted  a  charter known as Charter of Madina.
Some section of the charter was about preventing the terror that was concluded on behalf of Muhammad (sm) between the residence of Madina and their sub-ordinate and Muslim. Most important that-
The Believers, who fear Allah, will oppose the rebellious elements and those that encourage injustice or sin, or enmity or corruption among Believers.
If any un-believer kills a Believer, without good cause, he shall be killed in return, unless the next of kin are satisfied (as it creates law and order problems and weakens the defense of the State). All Believers shall be against such a wrong-doer. No Believer will be allowed to shelter such a man.
So, if a similar demand (of making and maintaining peace) is made on the Muslims, it must be carried out, except when the Muslims are already engaged in a war in the Path of Allah.

Examples Set by Prophet (sm) in Preventing Terrorism
As the current world taking steps preventing terrorist activities, Muhammad (sm) had taken various steps against terrorism before one thousand and four hundred years ago. Because he had known that, if the terrorism could not be nipped in the bud, it will spread out in the society before world. Without these steps terrorism could not be put down at all.
Narrated Abu Qilaba: Anas (R) said, “Some people of Ukl or Uraina tribe came to Madina and its climate did not suit them. So the Prophet ordered them to go to the herd of (Milch) camels and to drink their milk and urine (as a medicine). So they went as directed and after they became healthy, they killed the shepherd of the Prophet and drove away all the camels. The news reached the Prophet early in the morning and he sent (men) in their pursuit and they were captured and brought at noon. He then ordered to cut their hands and feet (and it was done), and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron, they were put in ‘Al-Harra’ and when they asked for water, no water was given to them.” Abu Qilaba said, “Those people committed theft and murder, became infidels after embracing Islam and fought against Allah and his Apostle.”
Once the Prophet (sm) with some of his companions set out to see Banu Nadir and seek their help in raising the blood-money he had to pay to Bani Kalb for the two men that ‘Amr bin Umaiyah Ad-Damri had killed by mistake. All of that was in accordance with the clauses of the treaty that both parties had already signed. They said, they would share in paying the blood-money. His Companions Abu Bakar, Umar, Ali and others to sit under a wall of their houses and wait. The Jews held a short private meeting and conspired to kill the Prophet (sm). The most wicked among them, ‘Amr bin Jahash, volunteered to climb up the wall and drop a large millstone on his head. One of them, Salam bin Mushkam, cautioned them against perpetrating such a crime, predicting that Allah would divulge their plot to him.
Now there was no question of showing them any further concession. The Holy Prophet at once sent to them the ultimatum that the treachery they had meditated against him had come to his knowledge. Therefore, they were to leave Madina within ten days; if anyone of them was found staying behind in their quarters, he would be put to the sword.
Therefore, they should stand firm and should not go. On this false assurance they responded to the Prophet’s ultimatum. Saying that, they would not leave Madina and he could do whatever was in his power. Consequently, Muhammad (sm) laid siege to them. After a few days of the siege (which according to some traditions were 6 and according to others 15 days) they agreed to leave Madina on the condition that they could retain all their property which they could carry on their camels, except the armour. Thus, Madina was rid of this second mischievous tribe of Jews. Only two of the Banu Nadir became Muslims and stayed behind. Others went to Syria and Khaiber.
Finally, Allah  spread out fear among the heart of Banu Nadir. They themselves chose to migrate other place. Muhammad (sm) restricted to carry weapon with them. So that, they can’t commit further terrorism in new places.

Top Ten Ways Islam Forbids Terrorism
Here are the top ten ways that Islam, Islamic law and tradition forbid terrorism:
1.    Terrorism is above all murder. Murder is strictly forbidden in the Qur’an.
See on (6:151). (i.e. murder is forbidden but the death penalty imposed by the state for a crime is permitted by the good justice).
2.    If the motive for terrorism is religious, it is impermissible in Islamic law. It is forbidden to attempt to impose Islam on other people. See on (2:256)
3.    Islamic law forbids aggressive warfare.  See on (8:61)
4.    In the Islamic law of war, not just any civil engineer can declare or launch a war. It is the prerogative of the duly constituted leader of the Muslim community that engages in the war.
5.    The killing of innocent non-combatants is forbidden.
6.    Terrorism or hirabah is forbidden in Islamic law, which groups it with brigandage, highway robbery and extortion rackets– any illicit use of fear and coercion in public spaces for money or power. The principle of forbidding the spreading of terror in the land is based on the Qur’an. (5:33–34).
7.    Sneak attacks are forbidden. Muslim commanders must give the enemy fair warning that war is imminent. The Prophet Muhammad at one point gave 4 months notice.
8.    The Prophet Muhammad counseled doing good to those who harm you and is said to have commanded, “Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well and you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong, you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil.”
9.    The Qur’an demands of believers that they exercise justice toward people even where they have reason to be angry with them. See on (5:8)
10.    The Quran assures Christians and Jews of paradise if they believe and do good works, and commends Christians as the best friends of Muslims.

So, the Quran not only does not urge Muslims to commit violence against Christians, it calls them “nearest in love” to the Muslims! The reason given is their piety, their ability to produce holy persons dedicated to God and their lack of overweening pride.

Command on a war against Terrorism
Abu Bakr, the first Calipha of the Muslims reflected these prophetic teachings when he advised his general Yazid, who was confronting Roman armies.
“I advise you ten things, Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the booty and do not be cowardly.”
Muhammad (sm) said, saw the corpse of a woman who had been slain in one of the raids, and he disapproved of it and forbade the killing of women and children.
Of course if any woman or child is shooting directly at you, it is permissible to act in self-defense to an immediate situation, but (unarmed) women and children cannot be an intentional target during war or any such attacks. And of course, Islam does not support women in military, but it does permit an individual woman to pick up a weapon to use in self-defense if a specific situation dictates that.

To sum up, Islam advocates three steps against Terrorism
To give an excellent moral upbringing to all Muslims, so that they become upright, just, moral, kind and loving people, thereby ensuring that they never disrupt the peace of others.
Whenever the peace is disrupted, to reason and argue with the evildoers, and sincerely pray for them, to make them change their ways.
If all reasoning fails, then to join forces with all good people to combat the mischief-mongers until peace has been restored, but always keeping the dictates of justice in view.

It is our belief that not only Islam, but no true religion, whatever its name, can sanction violence and bloodshed of innocent men, women and children in the name of Allah Almighty. Terrorists may use religious or political labels, but no one should be deceived by their wily ways and treacherous guiles. They have nothing to do with religion. They are the enemies of peace. They must be combated at every level as advocated by Islam, the religion of peace.