Dhaka, August 3, 2016 (Alochonaa): I believe there are three things in life that cannot be explained by logic. They are matters of faith and belief and that’s OK:
1. Belief in God of a particular religion (for Muslims, Allah).
2. Belief in a messenger or messengers of that particular religion (for Muslims, Muhammad pbuh)
3. The form of prayer of the particular religion (for Muslims, Salah/Namaaz and others)
Anything about religion, any religion, can be up for debate, especially if it affects people’s lives in a harmful manner. It is vastly unclear to me why ISIS is doing what they are doing. They claim to know more about Islam than anyone else in the world and they are exhibiting their claim to superior knowledge by the vicious murder of people of ALL FAITHS. According to them, being a Muslim means a strict adherence to the ISIS version of Islam, which is strictly dogmatic, translating into lots of prayers, the forsaking any form of entertainment other than group talk, and pushing women back to the Middle Ages. There is nothing about building a happy society, nothing about eradicating poverty, nothing about new scientific and cultural advances.
One thing is true. Muslims have completely fallen by the wayside if one considers the science and the arts. Currently, the world is facing many crises in economics, politics, energy, food supplies, medicines etc. If ISIS really wanted to show what Islam was truly about, then they would create an organization for the betterment of all mankind. Instead of brainwashing kids to kill and die, ISIS should have built a university with the aim for it to become the scientific and cultural beacon of the world. This university could be used to get the best and brightest of Muslim students, the best teachers and researchers, and it would be a place of experiment and discovery. And to prove that Islam is all about the betterment of all mankind, all inventions and discoveries made in this university would be handed out to everyone, all countries, all faiths, all people, for free. That’s how you build relevance of Islam to the world. That’s how you prove you are a good Muslim, by trying to make the world a better place for everyone.
Being a Muslim does not only mean praying five times a day and believing in Allah and the Prophet. That’s just the basics, just the beginning. It’s like saying I am qualified to be the manager of a bank because I know English and I can do math. No. That’s just the basic requirement. There are two other things as important as the others. They are (1) do no harm, and (2) do good. These two things are repeated time and time again in the Quran and Hadiths. Everything in the Quran and Hadiths boils down to doing no harm whilst trying to do good.
It’s easy to kill people, or to die in the process. It’s tough to work years and years for the betterment of mankind. That’s the job of a true Muslim. For we all know, things that are easy are almost always not worth it. Whatever you value in life, you acquire it through hard work.
It doesn’t matter what the Hindus are doing, what the Christians are doing, what the Buddhists are doing. It is written in the Quran to let people of other faiths be, as long as they are not posing a real physical threat to your everyday life. If someone is posing a real physical threat to your life, then it doesn’t matter what his religion is. That person is a threat, period. But a Hindu being a Hindu and carrying out his religious practices is not a threat to me and my religion. It can’t be. For that to be true, it would mean that I must know so little of my own religion that I am weak and easily swayed. So learn about Islam, think about it, debate it, discuss it.
The Prophet and the early scholars used to welcome debate, especially about things that affect how we live our lives as it relates to others in society. Islam is not a divisive religion. Islam is not the Saudi Wahabi version of religion and Islam is certainly not the ISIS doctrine. If there is anything that makes you behave in a negative manner to people around you, you should question it, discuss it. If anything that makes you behave negatively to people of other faith, question it, discuss it. Islam does not preach hate, killing and destruction. Learn about it. Talk. Practice proper Islam. Do good. And if you can’t do good, at least do no harm.
*The writer is the lead singer of Bangladesh’s popular progressive rock band Cryptic Fate.
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