The following is the transcript of a talk recently delivered on this subject.
الْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ
“Fitna is worse than slaughter” [TMQ 2: 191]
Allah (swt) emphasized in this verse the gravity of Fitna, meaning discord, strife, unrest, fragmentation and the like – that it is worse than killing.
It is ironic that Geert Wilders chose this title for his movie. He was trying to be clever in using this term which has been mentioned in more than 60 different verses of the Quran, in order to attack the Quran itself. He attempted in his movie to show a link between verses of the Quran and mindless violence like the killing of civilians – in the end concluding that the Quran itself is the problem and thus Muslims should either tear out pages of the Quran or that the Quran should be banned.
Bi’isnillah, today I want to respond to the accusations he has put within his movie regarding Ayaat of the Quran and expose how in reality it is the Western ideology of Capitalism or what they call Secular Liberalism that is the cause of the Real Fitna in this world, whether in the Muslim or non-Muslim world.
We need to realize that although there may be a minority of people in the West who call for the banning of the Quran, there are many who have problems with Islam as they know that Islam is not a religion like other religions like Christianity or Judaism which are merely ritualistic. They know that Islam is more than that, that it is an ideology with its own view on how the world should be run – therefore they attempt to defame it and show it in a negative light. So that Muslims turn away from Islam as a complete way of life or ideology and see it as only a religion like any other. So that they detach Islam from politics, economics and life’s affairs.
So let us look in more detail at the points presented in the movie Fitna, so we can see how shallow their attack on Islam is and how they deliberately misrepresent verses from the Quran.
1. The movie starts off with the cartoon drawing of our beloved Muhammad (saw) which was first published in Denmark, it attempts to depict the Prophet (saw) with a bomb-in-turban with the fuse lit. Although this image is emotional, we need to realize that many in the West have this view of the Prophet (saw), they know the Prophet (saw) was a Prophet and at the same time he was the leader of a state, a government and that he was the commander of armies – but instead of understanding the life of the Prophet (saw) in an accurate way where they would understand that he was truly as Allah (swt) described him in the Quran:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ
“And We have sent you (O Muhammad SAW) not but as a mercy for the 'Alamîn.” [TMQ 21:107]
They insult and slander instead of discussing intellectually. A lot of this is due to the psychology of fear, they fear that Islam will again rise as a superpower as it was before – they fear that it will challenge the current so called ‘New World order’. Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson, a famous evangelist said, “People who worry that nuclear weaponry will one day fall in the hands of the Arabs, fail to realize that the Islamic bomb has been dropped already, it fell the day MUHAMMAD was born”.
Similar statements against Islam have been echoed by George Bush’s spiritual guide Pat Robertson and others.
The short movie of Geert Wilders mentions 5 verses from the Quran, intermingled with images of killings, terrorism like 9/11, the Madrid bombings as well as images of Muslim speakers talking against the state of Israel, homosexuality and other things.
2. 3 of the verses he mentions relate to what is known as Jihad fee sabeelilah (Jihad in the path of Allah), which are related to the subject of foreign policy and warfare in an Islamic state. For example the movie begins by showing a verse of the Quran on one side and twin towers being hit by planes in America, their destruction and the resulting panic of people on the other side:
وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُمْ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ قُوَّةٍ وَمِنْ رِبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ وَآَخَرِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَهُمُ اللَّهُ يَعْلَمُهُمْ
“And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war, to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides whom, you may not know but whom Allah does know.” [TMQ 8:60]
This verse is related to the issue of foreign policy in Islam. Islam is a complete way of life that has rules related to every aspect social, economic, political and even foreign policy. Islam is not just a religion, it is an ideology revealed by Allah (swt) in order to rule the people with justice and remove oppression.
The verse was revealed after the Prophet (saw) established an Islamic state or authority in Madina and this state was like other states we see in the world in that it had other states which it had treaties and peace with and others with which it had war. It is ordering the Muslims relating to something which is common practice in the world through history and is a norm today.
It orders the Islamic state to make sure that as a state it ensures that it prepares its power including what is needed of weapons, military, technology, etc so that it strikes fear into real enemies and potential enemies – meaning this preparation should act as a deterrent. This is something normal for any ideological state that it should be prepared to defend its people and convey its ideology. Why do countries have nuclear weapons today? Even if they don’t use them, this is due to the fact that it strikes fear into potential enemies and acts as a deterrent, this is why that even though America and the Soviet Union were arch enemies in the past they never had a real war – they rather had a cold war, as they were both nuclear powers which acted as a deterrent.
Preparing strength is a deterrent to other nations exploiting you, think of the bully in the playground – he picks on the weak looking boys, if he senses that they are strong – he would be afraid
Why is it that countries in the third world today including the Muslim world are exploited and are bullied by the Western powers including America? This is because they don’t fear any repercussions from the rulers of those countries who are mostly in the pockets of the West.
So let us see the manipulation of this verse – this verse nor does any verse of the Quran justify killing innocent civilians. In fact the Prophet of Islam has specifically condemned the killing of innocent civilians and the Quran has emphasized the value of human life – muslim or non-Muslim. The narrations prohibiting the killing of innocent civilians has been mentioned in many of the books of hadith such as Bukhari, Musnad of Ahmad and Abu Dawud. For example, Abu Dawud narrated from Anas that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Go forth in the name of Allah, with Allah and in the creed (millah) of the Messenger of Allah. Do not kill a perishing (fani) old man (shaykh), a child or a woman and do not betray.”
Islam has strict rules of war unlike the Western colonialists today who kill innocent civilians like in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Regarding 9/11 – who was it done by? It is not proved that it was Muslims, if we scrutinize the evidences we see many contradictions, e.g. one of the evidences they use is that they found the passport of Muhammad Ata after the plane had been blown up? Anyone with a sane mind can see this is ridiculous. Even many non-Muslim thinkers have exposed the whole issue, many websites by non-Muslims are there highlighting this. It is well known that a group to whom George Bush belongs to called PNAC (Project for the New American Century) had been lobbying Clinton to invade Iraq since 1998 and they said on their website that America needs a catastrophic event like Pearl Harbour to project American foreign policy.
3. I will focus on the verses he mentions about Jihad and warfare, as this is the most controversial issue for people. The movie mentions the verse:
وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلَّهِ
“And fight them until there is no more Fitnah, and the religion will be all for Allah alone.” [TMQ 8:39]
Interestingly he deliberately misses out the end of the verse which says:
فَإِنِ انْتَهَوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ
“But if they cease, then certainly, Allâh is All-Seer of what they do.” [TMQ 8:39]
There are 119 verses in the Quran about Jihad. This verse is emphasizing the obligation of the foreign policy the Islamic state which is based on Da’wah and Jihad
Let us understand some important points:
· Every ideological state has expansionist foreign policy. Every ideology seeks to defend itself and propagate
· In Islam it is to liberate people from the oppression – not colonialism
· The foreign policy of an Islamic state is based on 3 steps, the first is that the Islamic state like at the time of the Prophet and the Khilafah in the past, would: a) Invite a nation to embrace Islam, 2) If they did not accept then they would be invited to live under the Islamic authority in peace and pay the Jizya which is a small tax (the Muslims pay Zakah, the non-Muslims pay Jizya) and finally if the state did not accept then 3) Jihad – there would be a limited war to remove the oppressive authority and bring the people under the rule of justice. Note: that fighting would not be for the sake of material benefit and oil like in Iraq or strategic interests like in Afghanistan or for political interests like in Hiroshima or Nagasaki where tens of thousands of people were killed by the dropping of the Atomic bomb.
· I want to compare the foreign policy of the West compared to the foreign policy of Islam. The foreign policy of the West is based on colonialism: they are driven by corporate interests and material benefit .
o 1 million innocent deaths due to the current Iraqi occupation
o 500,000 Iraqi children dead in the 10 year sanctions?
o Millions of murdered American Red Indians
o Economic colonization - Over 60 million preventable deaths is Africa due to unjust trade laws and economic policies in the past decade?
o British, French and Dutch colonialism – people still remember and hate these colonialists
· Whereas if we compare, history is a testament to the moulding of people into one nation under Islam, it proves Islam’s foreign policy is based on justice and not colonialism
o The teachings of Islam do not force people away from their religion, Islam allowed the Dhimmi’s, the non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic state to practice their faith and follow their personal actions such as their marriage, foodstuffs, etc. The Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever harms a dhimmi, it is as if he has harmed me”.
o Sir Thomas Arnold stated in the book ‘The Preaching of Islam’: “The Toleration extended towards the Christian Arabs by the victorious Muslims of the first century of the Hijrah and continued by succeeding generations, we may surely infer that those Christian tribes that did embrace Islam, did so of their own choice and free will.” [Thomas W. Arnold, ‘The Preaching of Islam’, p. 47]
o The mixing of the Muslim armies in their daily lives and their work with the indigenous peoples. Modern imperialism represented by Britain, France, and America created ghettos in the lands they occupied. These ghettos are the form of small compounds within the cities/villages where you find only foreigners live their. This can be seen today in Muslim countries. This reinforced the segragation mentality between occupier and the natives. This can clearly be sensed by the emotions that third world countries including the Muslims hold toward America, France, and Britain. On the contrary to this, when Islamic state sent its armies to open new lands the army was involved in inviting people to Islam. Some even settled in the new opened lands. If we look at Spain we find the resemblance of early the Arabs who opened it during the Umayyd Khilafah. If we look at the east coast of Africa, Zanzibar and Kenya we find a lot of Omanis. If we look at Egypt we find families of Arab and Turkish descent populating the area from north and east of Sudan upto the Mediterranean sea who worked in farming and trade.
o The Islamic state was not an empire, in an empire – they conquer new lands and take things back to the centre. Can you imagine the British Empire changing their capital from London to Delhi? Or the French from Paris to Algeria? The Islamic Khilafah changed its capital from Madina, then to Damascus at the time of the Ummayads, Baghdad at time of the Abbasids, Egypt at time of Mamluks and Istanbul in period of Ottomans.
o The example of Ribbi ibnu Amir to the General of the Persian Empire, Rustam summarizes the message of Islam beautifully: “Linukhrijan-naasa min ibadatil ibad ila ubudiyya tul rabbil ibaad. Wa min zulmin adyan wa jawriha ilal adl-il-Islaam. Wa min zeeq idunya ila siyaatil-Akhira.” “To take the people away from worshipping one another to the worship of Allah. From the oppression of other Adyan (systems, ways of life) to the justice of Islam. From the narrowness of this life to the vastness of the hereafter”
The other verse he quotes is:
فَإِذا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَضَرْبَ الرِّقَابِ حَتَّى إِذَا أَثْخَنْتُمُوهُمْ فَشُدُّوا الْوَثَاقَ
“So when you meet those who disbelieve, smite their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind them firmly.” [TMQ 47:4]
Again he doesn’t mention the end of the verse which is:
فَإِمَّا مَنًّا بَعْدُ وَإِمَّا فِدَاءً حَتَّى تَضَعَ الْحَرْبُ أَوْزَارَهَا ذَلِكَ وَلَوْ يَشَاءُ اللَّهُ لَانْتَصَرَ مِنْهُمْ وَلَكِنْ لِيَبْلُوَ بَعْضَكُمْ بِبَعْضٍ وَالَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَلَنْ يُضِلَّ أَعْمَالَهُمْ
“Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (i.e. free them without ransom), or ransom, until the war lays down its burden. Thus but if it had been Allâh's Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But, in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allâh, He will never let their deeds be lost,” [TMQ 47:4]
· This verse is talking about prisoners of war. That at the end of a war you can release them or keep them as prisoners of war. This is common practice in any war anywhere in the world. On top of this Islam prohibiting torturing the prisoners, they must be treated justly and not treated like those in Guantonomo Bay or Abu Ghraib. Some prisoners at the time of the Prophet (saw) witnessing the justice of Islam embraced Islam.
After all this, someone may use the argument and say well – most of the terrorist acts around the world are committed by Muslims, this proves that the Quran breeds terrorism and violence
We have to realize:
· When the IRA committed terrorist acts in the past, people didn’t blame the Bible and label them as Christian terrorists or when the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) commit terrorism today, people don’t blame Hinduism and call them Hindu terrorists
· We should scrutinize reports which blame Muslims in many of these terrorist acts, as in many cases there is no real evidence to support that - we know there are fake encounters, people with their own political agenda’s, etc. Don’t just believe the media without scrutinizing the facts
· Thirdly, we admit that some actions of terrorism are committed by Muslims, however we need to identify the real cause of terrorism. The true cause of individual terrorism is state terrorism. E.g. Imagine if your house was destroyed and your father killed, your sister raped – how do you think you will act? We cannot expect everyone will be restricted by the rules of the Shariah, some of them will go beyond the Shariah and may undertake violent acts. So who is to blame? It is the state terrorism of Israel, America and other nations that causes individual actions.
4. Any text can be manipulated
Many politicians who attack the Qur’an claim that Europe is based upon the Judeo-Christian heritage and that secular values are the standard to follow, misquoting and twisting verses from the Qur’an. However if their thinking and approach were to be applied to their own heritage, then can not the following be taken as an excuse or justification for violence, oppression and hatred?
“If you hear it said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in, that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’. Then you must enquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely both its people and its livestock. Gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a - whole burnt offering to the Lord your God.” Bible, Deuteronomy 13: 12-16
If we use the line of thinking that the politicians who attack Islam and the Qur’an use, then anyone can conclude that the above statement have been, and are being used, as a justification to murder, subjugate, oppress and terrorise human beings.
However, the replies to this crude analysis of the Bible would include ‘you are no law maker’, ‘do you have all the necessary tools to extract legislation?’, ‘you have ignored the context’. Muslims would agree, and this is how Islam and the Qur’an should be viewed too.
In order to extract law from any secular text, knowledge of the language, relevant education in Law, knowledge of legislative changes and the rules of interpretation are required. For example to interpret any UK book of law there are four basic rules of interpretation.
This is similar with the Qur’an. Islamic scholarship has developed methods and rules of interpretation based upon the Islamic intellectual heritage.
5. The true Fitna stems from their corrupt ideology
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ
“And when it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth," they say: "We are only peacemakers." [TMQ 2: 11]
The Western ideology is causing the fitna and problems multiple problems in the world. From the economic situation where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, where 3 billion live on less than $2 a day and 1.3 billion on less than $1 a day. There should be a war on poverty not a fake war on terror! Where we have increasing levels of crime, where alcoholism, drug abuse have become a norm, where women are exploited as objects of desire rather than honoured, where the strong oppress the weak, where the third world countries are strangled by IMF and World Bank loans, where wars are fought for the sake of increasing the balance sheets of the Big Corporate powers like the Oil and Defence companies in America.
Let us look at the example of Netherlands itself. Netherlands under its current secular political framework suffers from:
– 48% increase in robbery
– 35% increase in violent crime
– 24% increase in drug trafficking
Where are Geert Wilder’s detailed policies on these issues? Is he really interested in the Dutch people and the future of his country? If he is, then why does he and his political party just produce anti-Islamic rhetoric? This exposes his political opportunism.
We as Muslims have a responsibility to humanity to establish the system of justice once again and rid the world of the Fitna that exists.
وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ إِلَّا تَفْعَلُوهُ تَكُنْ فِتْنَةٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَفَسَادٌ كَبِيرٌ
“And those who disbelieve are allies of one another, (and) if you (Muslims) do not do so (protect one another), there will be Fitnah on the earth, and great corruption.” [TMQ Al-Anfal: 73]
The great Mufassir Ibn Jarir at-Tabari said…
“The best interpretation of the above verse is, “And those who disbelieve are allies to one another, (and) if you (Muslims of the whole world collectively) do not do so (i.e. become allies, as one united block with one Khalifah - chief Muslim ruler for the whole Muslim world to make victorious Allâh’s Religion of Islâm), there will be Fitna and oppression on earth, and a great mischief and corruption.”