As Muslims, we are enjoined to be truthful at all times. It is mentioned in the holy Quran that “mix not truth with falsehoods, nor conceal the truth, while you know” (Q2V42). Truth in a tensed heart-rending situation that is associated with emotional outbursts is hardly heard or said due to prejudice and preconceptions. Though everyone may be emotional, no matter the religion one professes, the fact is that, truth is constant and remains so no matter the situation. And only truth is the champion and comforter of a disturbed mind.
The recent global act of terrorism, in America of hijacked planes crashing into the World Trade Center, has brought to the fore emotions versus rationality, sentiments against certainty, fallacy against factuality, and madness against sanity. While I am totally against the retaliatory stance of the US against innocent and defenseless Afghans, the terrorist attack against faultless and harmless victims of the WTC building, the Pentagon, and those hijacked, stands condemnable.
It sounds ridiculous, however, that with the western intelligence network, Americans were taken off guard and beaten in their acclaimed network. As the war rages on, one may have expected those special forces we watch in movies recruited, the likes of Rambo, Swazzeneger and James Bond, to single-handedly invade Afghanistan and bring out Osama bin Laden without persecuting helpless and poverty-ridden Afghans.
The issue at stake is the unfair judgment by some Muslims that Americans are infidels and anti-Islam. Against the background of the wide propagation and promotion of Islam without hindrance in the civilized and free American environment, considering that there are millions of Muslims who worship the Almighty Allah in peace and harmony there, it would be patently unfair if we generalize and call Americans infidels.
We know American Muslims who are still adored and respected in the United States and the world over for their steadfastness and faith in God. We have the likes of Mohammad Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, the Malcolm X Freedom Fighter, the Dr. Khalid Almansoor, the Farrakan of Nations of Islam, among several other notable Muslims. They practise their religion without molestation and discrimination from the government and the people of America.
After the attacks, we saw and learnt of how many non-Muslim Americans, including nuns and Bishops, shielded mosques and protested against any reprisal assault against Moslems. This in a way is a re-enactment of the protection offered the Muslim migrants during the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) at Abyssinia, the present Ethiopia, by a Christian monarch. We could see this tolerance too demonstrated in Indonesia and Pakistan, the two largest Muslim countries in the world, where almost daily protests against attacks on Afghanistan never resulted in victimization or attacks on blameless people in their midst.
It is definite that there are what is today known as superpower countries. As a Muslim, I respect America more for her affection for Muslim countries in time of needs. From satellite television channels, including those in Arabia, we saw foods and material items being distributed to other Muslim nations, including Afghanistan, before the September incidents. They still continue till date.
The holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) advised us to search for knowledge anywhere, even if it will take us on a journey to China. When consideration is made on the distance and mobility then from Arabia, it shows the significance of education from any source in Islam. It would, therefore be senseless if one condemns trips made, even by our leaders for education and medical treatment in the western world, including America, who should be seen as a friend, not an enemy.
America, which prides itself as God’s Own Country, has in so many ways and instances demonstrated its faith and belief in the oneness and unity of God almighty and of humanity. Apart from Saudi Arabia that has on its currency the word ‘God or Allah’ America does not hero worship but has as motto and slogan in its currency, ‘In God we Trust’. This expression signifies a conviction in the wholeness of God; the God of the great Prophet Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be unto them, and the God of the Universe and Earth.
What can one say about the senseless war between Iraq and Iran for a decade, the massacre of innocent citizens in Algeria, the Taliban and Northern Alliance battle in Afghanistan? Where is the essence of the Islamic virtue of brotherhood? Only those unfamiliar with history would claim that America is no friend of Muslims and Islamic nations. It is no more news that it is this same America that protected the Muslims during the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Yugoslavia, and suppressed the genocide in Chechneya, the annihilation of Kosovo and other Muslim communities in the balkanized former USSR. In addition, it intervened in Somalia and rescued an Arab-Muslim nation, Kuwait during a barbaric and senseless invasion by another Arab- Islamic nation. In the history of peace-loving and religious Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it was only an Arab nation that attacked its countryside with missiles. America, which hardly interferes in the domestic affairs of the monarchical kingdom, not to talk of politics of global democratization, found it exigent to fortify this sacred country from ungodly attacks.
World leaders’ pronouncements that Islam is a religion of peace and friendship has made the holy Quran to become very scarce in western countries as more and more people want to know, while more are further enlightened on the enviable Islamic principles and practices. Islam is about truth, saying it truthfully in no half measure. Even in Nigeria, people claim they are the sons of the soil, and wage reckless wars against the so-called settlers. It is only in the United States that one sees such proud groupings like the Muslim Americans, Arab-Americans, Africa Americans, Jewish-Americans, all having the same rights with, if there are– people whose forefathers originated America.
What all these above connote are that Islam is a religion of peace which is totally against terrorism, killing of innocent people, suicide, and man’s-inhumanity to man, in whatever form. They are un-Islamic and forbidden.
It would be in the global interest for the international community to treat Muslims, wherever they are, as peace-loving believers and stop the attack on Islamic nations and vice-versa. We should reflect on the word of the Almighty Allah to mankind that: ‘We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you in the sight of God, is the best in conduct’ Q49V13.
This article by Yushau A. Shuaib was originally published in Thisday November 4, National Interest November 9, 2001