Once again, starting from the shores of Karachi to the Valleys of Sawat, Muslims are spilling blood of other Muslims. On side, we have extremists. On the far right, we have self-appointed enforcers of Sharia(Islamic Law), like the TNSM/Taliban. On the far left, we have their nemesis, the flag bearers of secularism, the MQM and ANP. While on the other side, we have policemen and soldiers of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan fighting vigilantism of the extremists.
Ironically, whenever a Talib who slits throats of civilians and government officials is killed or whenever a party worker of MQM who tortures and burns people alive is killed, their patrons call them ‘Shaheed’/Martyr. Similarly, when a soldier is killed by a Talib or a MQM worker, he is also honored with the title of Shaheed. For people with a rudimentary knowledge of practices and principles of Islam such a scenario is nothing short of paradoxical.
In Islam, ’shahadat’/martyrdom is one of the most revered ambition and honor a true believer can hold. Shahadat entitles the Shaheed to the highest rewards in the hereafter. Allah promises ultimate stature to the martyrs:
“Think not of those, who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision. Jubilant (are they) because of that which Allah hath bestowed upon them of His bounty, rejoicing for the sake of those who have not joined them but are left behind: that there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. They rejoice because of favor from Allah and kindness, and that Allah wasteth not the wage of the believers.” (Al-Imran 3: 169-71)
What if all of the warring rivals are convinced, they are risking their lives in the way of Allah? One fights for the implementation of Sharia, clearly a worthy cause; and the other does it to establish state’s writ, undeniably a (farz)compulsory action. So who is right and who is wrong? Mercifully, there are enough Hadiths and Quranic verses to set precedence of the duties for a Muslim. Which could guide us, with a fair level of confidence, in recognizing who does or does not deserve the benevolent honor. However, before going any further, one must recognize, ideologically and constitutionally Pakistan is an Islamic republic.
Since Islam entrusts only the state with policing duties, those who lose their lives while executing the duties of the state hold a special stature, perhaps of a Shaheed. Following Hadith and Aya/verse establish a state’s authority:
“It is your duty to listen and obey your rulers whether you are in difficulty or at ease, whether willingly or unwillingly and even when you do not receive what is your right.” (Muslim: No. 1836)
So there is no doubt:
“Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.” (An-Nahl 16: 90)
Henceforth, by forcing their perverted version of religion at the barrel of gun, don’t the TNSM/Taliban violate Prophet’s teachings and Allah’s commands? Similarly, by indiscriminately killing the so-called Taliban on the streets of Karachi, don’t the MQM workers too violate Prophet’s teachings and Allah’s commands?
Some may ask: what if the rulers have questionable character? When faced with such a query, prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised, “He who sees something despicable in his ruler should bear it, for he who even slightly disassociates himself from the state system and dies in this condition shall die the death of ignorance.” (Bukhari: No. 7054) The Hadith clearly establishes, Muslims are forbidden to undermine a state’s vitality by taking matters into their own hands. Collectivity is compromised when certain group(s) starts dispensing street justice. Vigilantism undermines writ of the state. In fact, anyone who tries to undermine the principle of collectivity is ordered to be killed by Allah’s messenger (PBUH),
“You are organized under the rule of a person and someone tries to break your collectivity apart or disrupt your government, kill him.” (Muslim: No. 1852)
Only exception to the rule is if the ruler orders Muslims to commit a grave sin. There are no other exceptions to this rule even if one doesn’t agree with government’s policies. Allah’s messenger Muhammad (PBUH) said,
“Whether they like it or not, it is obligatory on the faithful to listen and to obey their rulers except when they be ordered to commit a sin. If they are ordered so, they should neither listen nor obey.” (Muslim: No. 1839)
Forget, secularists like Altaf Hussain, sadly, even the supposed scholars of deen/religion, like Mullah Sufi Muhammad, Maulana Fazlullah and Baitullah Mehsud, also cannot fathom even the basic commands of Quran, which says,
“Nor take life, which Allah has made sacred, except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, We have given his heir authority (to demand Qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the law).” (Al-Isra: 33)
Allah commands us not to let the mischievous ones force us to depart from the path of brotherhood, “Do not let your hatred of people who would debar you from the Sacred Mosque lead you into aggression; but rather help one another in furthering righteousness and piety, and do not help one another in furthering evil and aggression. Have fear of God, for God is severe in retribution.” (Al-Maidah 5:2)
There are better ways of resolving disagreements. Instead of resorting to violence, Muslims are instructed to resolve differences through peaceful means. Quran says,
“And if two parties of believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them” (Al-Hujurat 49:9)
Then it further elaborates in the next verse,
“The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren” (Al-Hujurat 49:10)
In light of Allah’s commands, it becomes incumbent upon each and every Muslim to shun the extremists who try to divide Muslims or impose their views through fear and bloodshed. May it be MQM or Taliban, they need to understand, Allah commands us to resolve our differences through peaceful means and certainly not through violence.
Allah sees and knows all. He will certainly distinguish the true Shaheed from the wannabes.