Healing the Wounds of September 11
|Letter to the Future Islamic Talibans from an American Muslim|
|Written by Dr. Shahid Athar|
You may wonder why I am writing to you and not to Christian, Jewish and Hindu Talibans even though there are plenty of them around. This is because I care for you. I care for you because I believe you and I share basic tenants of the same faith - Islam. Let me comment on some areas of mutual concern.
The Talibans of the past decided upon this name for themselves without knowing its true meaning. A Talib of Islam is the one who has an intense craving for the knowledge of Islam like a thirsty nomad in the desert dying of lack of water. Once he gets the water, he puts it to good use and not misuse. Did Talibans learn Islam and apply it to themselves before applying it on others the way our Prophet (P) and worthy companions (RA) taught us? Did he oppress and enslave women? Did he persecute non-Muslims? Did not Prophet allow Christian delegation to stay in his Mosque and pray in their Christian way? Did he not teach peace and justice, love and mercy, human rights and education? Did he call everyone else his enemy who did not share his views? How can a business man expect a customer to use his product while calling them his enemy?
So my advice to you and myself is that if we are going to be the student of Islam, we must learn it in all its humility from the best teacher and apply it to ourselves in totality before we apply it to others. Remember, Islam is the icing on the cake. What is the cake? It is the universal moral code of which we Muslims sometimes are devoid. That is why we see Muslims lying, stealing, killing and raping. That is why we see while Islam emphasizes on education so much but most Muslims are uneducated, that Islam emphasizes on the Zakat and charity and some of the wealthiest humans are Muslims but the majority live in poverty, that Islam emphasizes on pure food and cleanliness but Muslims suffer from malnutrition and disease, that Islam emphasizes on human rights but Muslims are oppressed by Muslim rulers, that Islam is a religion of peace and mercy but Muslims are seen as men of violence and hate. We need to become humane humans and then add Islam as the icing on the cake. When a western scholar who wrote much about the greatness of Islam and Prophet Mohammad was asked why he was not a Muslim, his reply was “Islam is the best religion and Muslims are the worst people. I can not become a Muslim as if I do, I will have to live with them.” We must change this perception of ours. Remember, Islam can not be defeated but Muslims have been. Islam can not be killed but Muslims have been.
The Talibans of the past came into existence with help from the USA and Pakistan, hoping that they will continue to do so. Not true, they have their own agenda, the British, the Russians, the Indians and the Iranians. Do not trust anyone but Allah for your support and strength. Remember what Quran says. AIf Allah helps you, no one can overcome you, if He forsakes you, who is there after that, who can help you? In Allah then, the believers put their trust.@ (Quran 3:160)
If you are planning to serve Islam and Allah in the future, then see what is in the best interest of Islam. Once you take up the banner of Islam, you will be watched carefully and opposed fiercely. Move with caution. Make friends not enemies. It is a greater jihad to win over the enemy that he will become your friend and join you than even to subdue and kill him. Prophet Mohammad could have formed a terrorist squad to kill the pagan leaders of Quraish and declare himself Amirul Momineen but he did not . With the help of Allah, he made Muslims first who willingly accepted Islam’s message and his leadership. We must learn this technique if we are going to establish Islam again as a political power.
Your friends and your enemies:
According to Quran “Your true friends are Allah, His messengers and company of believers.” Everyone else is your business friend. Thus you deal with them differently in approach but with the same tools. Your tools of love and justice should apply to both. You should tolerate both but for different reasons. You tolerate a Muslim woman without hijab, that some day she will see the beauty of hijab. You will be compassionate to a non-Muslim to show him that a Muslim is full of compassion. Your true enemies are not Jews, Hindus or Christians. They are your potential friends. Your true enemy is Satan who incites you to wrong doing, violence, hate, terrorism and oppression so that by your behavior, Islam is defamed and non-Muslims do not come to it. Do not fall in this trap of the cursed one.
Bragging is bad for you and Isolation is good for you.
To say all this that Islam is the fastest growing religion and there are 1.3 billion Muslims etc. is bragging. It is scary to non-Muslims and they translate it to sound like there are 1.3 billion terrorists and 100,000 Al-Qaida and Talibans. That will increase their hostility toward you. Stay humble. See that Chinese and Indians are also around 1 billion but no one feels threatened by them. Do your peaceful work quietly in establishing Islam, i.e. surrender to the will of God in your own personal and social life without much fanfare.
Similarly, try to grow in strength in isolation without much outside help. Isolation is good for you. Remember China remained isolated from the world for nearly 50 years after the Communist Revolution in order to become the economic and military giant as it is now. Chairman Mao had said “isolation from without leads to indoctrination from within.”
Depend on your own resources. Whether it is Coca-Cola or CNN, the western outlets have their own agenda and interests. Watch them carefully before you give them free hand in your life or in your land. What culture they are introducing and what they are reporting about you and to whom, is important. True jihad is the building of skyscrapers and not destroying them, manufacturing of planes and not hijacking them and saving your people, not getting them killed as the Talibans of the past did to Afghans and their supporters. Finally, please do not undo what we are trying to achieve. We are sincerely trying to establish Islam in this part of the world. If you can not help us , at least do not hurt us any more. Thank you.