Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Shame of the Muslim World - Mob Violence and the Absence of Law and Order


The Shame of the Muslim World – Mob Violence and the Absence of Law and Order

“O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.”

-  The Holy Quran, Surah An-Nisa, 4:135

            The recent case of the vicious murder of an Afghan woman by a mob of angry people should be a cause of great outrage in the Muslim world.  The woman, whose name was Farkhunda, had been accused of burning the Holy Quran, a false charge directed at her by a man whom she had been arguing with (more on this later).  Outraged by this act, but failing to determine if it was even true, a mob of people rushed at her, beat her mercilessly and then burned her body.  Officials initially defended the brutal attack, but even if it was true that Farkhunda had burned the Quran, was that a reasonable excuse for a vigilante mob to beat her to death, before an investigation could even be launched?  Certainly not!  

            One of the many lamentable conditions of the contemporary Muslim world is the seeming lack of law and order.  Almost on a monthly basis, we hear stories from places like Afghanistan or Pakistan of mob violence, whether due to anger at a cartoon published in a western country or because of rumors that someone (usually a non-Muslim) had committed blasphemy by insulting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  In either case, the behavior of the people who claim to be acting on the principles of Islam and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), is clearly a sign of a severe deficiency of law and order.  When people take the law into their own hands, bad things happen.  In the case mentioned above, a pious Muslim woman was killed…or more accurately, she was martyred by so-called fellow Muslims.  This is an outrage!  

Sister Farkhunda had been greatly disturbed by the un-Islamic practices of many of her fellow Afghans, and as a religious student, she felt obligated to let the ignorant people know that their superstitious beliefs involving amulets and giving homage to the graves of famous people was an act of Shirk and not something that Islam condones.[1]  She courageously confronted the people who were promoting these un-Islamic practices, and one such person, decided to get her out of the way by falsely accusing her of burning the Quran!  And this person calls himself a Muslim!  Not only that, but upon hearing this accusation, a mob descended on her without mercy, not even giving her the chance to defend herself against the lies of her accuser.  Why did these people think that they could stand as both judge and executioner of this woman?  Why didn’t they hand her over to the authorities in order to determine if the accusation was even true?  These types of actions are a throwback to the time of Jahiliyah, before the light of Islam was revealed in a dark world.  It reveals not only the complete absence of law and order but of the equally egregious issues of violence against women and injustice perpetrated against the innocent.  Of course, all of these issues are a global problem, affecting every country from time to time, but the fact that they occur in Muslim countries more often than in other countries is shameful.  We have failed to live up to the high standards of Islam.  And as a result, a devout Muslim woman has been martyred, killed by a senseless and ignorant mob.  Farkhunda is a true martyr of Islam, unlike the fake “martyrs” of groups like Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and ISIS.[2]  She was killed in the cause of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), fighting an intellectual battle against the forces of Shirk and Taghut.[3]  May Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) grant her Jannat-ul-Firdaws for her bravery and may her killers repent to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) for their heinous sins, and may the Muslim world never see such a senseless act of violence ever again.[4]  Ameen.     

“And say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah: "They are dead." Nay, they are living, though ye perceive (it) not” (The Holy Quran, Surah Al-Baqara, 2:154).

And Allah knows best!


[1] For example, the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) categorically prohibits the use of amulets or talismans.  In a hadith of the Prophet mentioned in the Musnad Ahmad and Sunan Abu Dawud:

“Verily, Ar-Ruqa (incantations containing Shirk), At-Tama-im (written formulas that are worn), and At-Tiwalah (spells that make people fall in love) are (all) Shirk” (As quoted in “The Virtue of Tauhid and a Warning Against What Contradicts It”, in The Concise Collection on Creed and Tauhid, (Riyadh: Darussalam, 2001), p. 343)

[2] In the words of Shahla Farid, a professor at Kabul University:

“Farkhunda was a true Muslim, a religious hero.  Here a woman challenged a man and defended Islam” (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/world/asia/farkhunda-woman-killed-in-kabul-transformed-from-pariah-to-martyr.html)

Like Hazrat Sumayah bint Khayyat, the first martyr of Islam, sister Farkhunda joins an honored group of Muslim men and women who have given their lives in the cause of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).

[3] Her killers were originally sentenced to death, but it seems that this sentence has recently been reduced to 20 years in prison (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/03/world/asia/death-sentences-in-lynching-of-afghan-woman-reportedly-overturned.html?_r=1).
 
[4] In times like these, we should yearn for the days of the Righteous Caliphs, such as Umar bin Al-Khattab, who was given the epithet “Al-Farouq” (the one who distinguishes between truth and falsehood).  The absence of the Khilafah is certainly one of the reasons for the lamentable conditions of the Ummah today.

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