Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam
I have heard Muslims privately refer to people of other faiths, even
those who may not have ever harmed them in any way, as Ghair Qaum, Kuffar,
etc.—in a very demeaning manner. Why do they do this?
A: Those Muslims who refer to others
as kafir or Ghair Muslim are committing a sin. This is because according
to the Quran and Hadith, all persons are children of Adam, which makes all
human beings blood sisters and blood brothers to each other.
Q: Do you think that it’s the law of
action and an equal and opposite reaction at work here: that because many
Muslims look down at people of other faiths and wrongly brand them as ‘infidels’,
others have a negative opinion of them?
A: Muslim militancy is the sole
reason for others’ critique of Muslims. If Muslims abandon their violence,
people will have no problems with them at all.
problems Muslims are facing today are a result of their own wrong planning, a
planning that goes against nature. The world in which we live is governed by a
law, which may be called the divine law or the law of nature. Right planning is
that one’s planning should be just in accordance with the law of nature. On the
contrary, wrong planning is when one’s planning is based on one’s desires and
does not take into consideration the law of nature. For example, in the present
age Western nations have achieved dominance. Muslims considered this a threat
to themselves and began to fight against these nations. They continued this
struggle at the cost of great sacrifice to themselves. Everyone is aware that
this step by Muslims yielded no result at all. The reason is that it was based
on wrong planning.
The Quran states
a law of international life in these words: ‘Lord, sovereign of all
sovereignty. You bestow sovereignty on whom You will and take it away from whom
You please’ (3:26). In the recent past, Muslim empires, such as the Mughal and
Ottoman empires, came to an end. This happened according to the international
law mentioned in this Quranic verse. Muslims should have accepted it and
re-planned the affairs of their community. Had Muslims done this, Muslim
history of recent times would have surely been different.
great wisdom behind the above Quranic law regarding international life. That
is, it helps in maintaining and continuing the process of development. Muslims,
in their long period of rule, could not take the world beyond the agricultural
age. When the European countries gained dominance, they helped the world enter
the industrial age. It was now time for Muslims to understand the new changes
and draw benefit from them. However, because of their unawareness, Muslims
began to fight, leading to total failure.
Muslims are facing problems today is because of non-acceptance of modern
changes. The new changes were brought about from God and had to be welcomed.
But Muslims wrongly regarded it as ‘zulm’ or oppression and began to fight
against it. Thus, Muslims’ problems today are a result of wrong planning.
Some Muslims who, upset about the terrorism that self-styled ‘Islamic’
groups continue to commit in the name of Islam, are embarrassed to be seen as
‘Muslim’ by friends from other communities, apprehensive that they may
discriminate against them just because they have a Muslim name even though they
are against the terrorism that’s happening in the name of Islam. Sometimes,
they downplay their Muslim identity because they think that others may not
Q: What advice would you have for
A: Their fear lies within and has no
existence outside of themselves. Such people should completely free their mind
of this thinking. They must be convinced that these terror acts are not truly
inspired by Islam but are done by some misled Muslims. I travel in India and
all over the world and have no such fear because I have completely disowned the
violent acts of Muslims.
Q: According to some, the US-led
invasion of Iraq played a major role in the rise of the terrorist outfit ISIS.
Do you agree?
A: In history there has always been
room for more than one interpretation. My explanation is that in the present
times, Muslims have reacted to colonialism. All Muslim leaders reacted to
colonialism, and none gave the Muslim masses a positive lead in the face of colonialism.
Thus, various kinds of negative activities took root among Muslims, ISIS being
one such example. The blame in this matter does not go to the US or UK. Rather,
it goes to Muslim leaders.
Q: While you rightly condemn Muslim
extremist groups for the violence they are engaging in, what is the reason
that, if I am not mistaken, you do not critique the violence engaged in by
others (and which, as in the case of the invasion of Iraq, for example, by the
US-led coalition, or Afghanistan by the then Soviet Union, may have contributed
to Muslim militancy)?
A: The US is an established state,
while the violence being perpetrated by Muslims is not done by Muslim states
but by ‘non-state actors’. An established state has the right to take military
action in its national interest. But so far as non-state actors are concerned,
they have no right to take up any violent action or to initiate war. Non-state
actors can only engage in peaceful action. Non-governmental organizations
should do work only within the peaceful sphere and should not adopt a violent
course of action.
Q: Zakir Naik is in the news these
days. A major criticism is that he finds fault with and denigrates other
religions. What do you feel about this approach of his?
A: This approach is undoubtedly un-Islamic.
This is debate activism, while Islam believes in peaceful dawah activism. In
this matter, what needs to be asked is why aggressive kind of debates have
gained popularity these days. It is because of the kind of mindset Muslims have
developed as a result of certain historical conditions. Debaters prevalent
among the Muslims are feeding their defeatist mentality, due to which they have
become popular among the masses.