Ever since the Twin Towers came crashing down on September 11, 2001, the world has learnt to think Islam and its many communities a religious devolution risen on bloodshed and brutal dogmatism – a notion made more vivid by the rise of radical groups such as the Taliban in Afghanistan, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Nusra in Syria, AQAP in Yemen and Daesh in Iraq.
The faith to be feared, abhorred and denounced as an infamy onto humanity Islam has suffered from the very hands that have claimed to raise its banner … Islam of course is not anchored in the horrors a certain elite architected to better assert their hold over communities.
And yet … yet blood has indeed been shed in Islam’s name, under its flag, and under the authority of clerics who claim themselves most righteous of all.
It would be dishonest to deny that reality which has plagued us of late … It would be cowardly of us, Muslims, to deny that within us lies an evil we must absolutely and categorically outroot if indeed we wish to return Islam to the purity of its roots.
But can we ever hope to challenge that which ails us if we refuse to admit to its roots? Terror we must realise remains forever attached to Islam on the basis of our collective cowardice – cowardice NOT to face Terror but cowardice to speak the name of its ideologues.
Terror had to be thought before it could be architected and life breathed into its armies. Terror to some extent took hold for we failed to oppose its web and disappear the heresy it rose so its leadership could better desecrate Islam’s Scriptures and tradition.
Failure is maybe too strong of a word since many in fact did oppose and did reject Terror’s masterminds … none more brilliantly than the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad: Imam Hussain. Our real failure lies in that we did not speak Imam Hussain’s tradition loud enough to carry over the tumult of tyrants’ manipulations, lies, and deceit.
For all the fracas my words are likely to carry, they remain nevertheless true – Truth has a habit of setting its speaker on a crash course against the multitude: Terror was born not a decade ago, or even a few centuries ago in the folly of one wannabe cleric: Ibn Taymiyyah. Terror was risen on the rejection of God’s Command that authority be given to the progeny of the Prophet Muhammad.
If not for that one rejection, that one challenge to Islam’s otherwise cohesive body of work, the faith God made whole has stood divorced from its context … it is this disobedience to the oath given in Ghadeer that planted the seed of Terror. That and those actions which an illegitimate leadership allowed to take place to legitimise their position.
Wahhabism’s armies are legion today on account Takfir – the notion that communities and individuals’ humanity and right to religious could be denied and their lives forfeited under the label of apostasy, has been weaved an Islamic tenet when in fact it denies Islam’s very essence.
Terror’s arms have given to barbarism on the basis its leadership, and its ideologues long relied upon bloodshed and abominable torture to silence all opposition to their rule. History stands testimony of that truth Wahhabism has worked to reject as fallacious.
Daesh’s taste for blood, its men’s propensity to slay the innocent, to behead, burn, rape and sow absolute destruction is again rooted in History – the fruits of a tradition raised on ignominy.
To the risk of angering a vast segment of the Muslim community, I must say that regardless of whose purpose Terror is serving today, its seed is most certainly rooted in Islamic history, carried by those communities who attested to the nobility and purity of their faith, while denying the legitimacy upon which Islam rests: AhlulBayt.
For 14 centuries what we refer to as normative Islam, that held by the majority, has stood divorced from the only context that gave it true meaning so that the dissonance which came to be upon the death of the Prophet Muhammad could be reconciled.
Terror was born in the rejection an elite spoke so that power would remain the monopoly of a tribe rather than those names which were anointed. Terror was born when an elite chose to use the Scriptures to serve its ambitions rather than humanity.
Today we pay the price of such compounded betrayal! Today Islam’s communities sit fragmented along sectarian lines for an elite imagined its will greater than God’s command.
How many have since fallen to such hunger? How many still stand to fall to such folly?
Some decades ago Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini defined our current day struggle against tyranny in that eternal fight in between falsehood and righteousness, which essence was crystallised in the plains of Karbala following Imam Hussain’s martyrdom.
HE CALLED: "MUHARRAM, THE MONTH OF HEROISM, BRAVERY, AND SACRIFICE HAS COMMENCED. IT IS A MONTH WHEREIN THE BLOOD CONQUERED THE SWORD; IT IS A MONTH IN WHICH THE POWER OF TRUTH RESCINDED THE WRONG FOREVER AND STAMPED THE FOREHEAD OF TYRANTS AND THE SATANIC GOVERNMENTS WITH ITS STIGMA. IT IS A MONTH WHICH HAS TAUGHT THE GENERATIONS THROUGHOUT HISTORY THE PATH OF VICTORY OVER THE LANCES; A MONTH THAT WITNESSED THE DOWNFALL OF BIG POWERS AGAINST THE WORD OF TRUTH.”(SAHIFEH-YE-IMAM, VOL 5, PAGE 73)
In his words we must too read the denunciation of Terror as Tyrants’ weapon of predilection.
Just as imperialism is the last expression of unfettered capitalism, Terror remains the compounding of a tradition anchored in religious deviance.
By Catherine Shakdam