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London Suicide Bombings; The Islamic PerspectiveWritten by محبوب حسين الأزهرى
On 7th July 2005, four bombs exploded in the city of London and as a result fifty six lives were lost and hundreds of people were injured. According to the declaration delivered by the British government, all four were suicide bombings in which four British Muslims were involved. In view of this report, an analysis concerning the London bombings is presented here. The inference based upon the Qur’an and Prophetic Tradition expounded in this analysis is my opinion and my opinion can be differed with.
To Kill Oneself
Almighty Allah states, “And do not kill yourself. Verily, Allah is merciful towards you.” (Qur’an 4, 29)
The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), stated, “The person who commits suicide by leaping from a mountain, will forever continuously fall in the fire of Hell. And the person who commits suicide by consuming poison, will have poison in his hands and will forever drink from that poison in the fire of Hell. And the person who commits suicide by means of a knife, will have that knife in his hand and will perpetually lacerate his stomach in the fire of Hell.”
To commit suicide intentionally and deliberately is unlawful (Haram) in Islam and is an enormity (Kabirah). There is even a difference of opinion concerning the offering and performance of the funeral prayer of the one who committed suicide. According to Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, an Imam should not lead the funeral prayer (so as to discourage this unlawful act); instead, a common or layman Muslim should lead his or her funeral prayer. This is due to the fact that the noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not perform the funeral prayer of a person who committed suicide; however, he did not forbid his Companions from performing it.
To Kill Someone Else
Almighty Allah states, “If anyone killed a person, other than for murder or (a punishment) for corruption on earth, it would be as if he killed all the people. And if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the lives of all people.” (Qur’an 5, 32)
The killing and murder of any person (whether Muslim or non-Muslim) at the hands of any individual or any government without any reason or justification is equal to the killing and murder of all people. For the one who does not honour and respect any life is the enemy and foe of all humankind. On the other hand, the one who commits murder or causes corruption on earth can be killed, but, this is the responsibility of the government and the judicial system that they only issue the verdict of the death penalty after careful consideration of witnesses and testimonies and fulfilling the demands of justice and equity. However, no individual has the right to decide on his own accord to kill someone else.
It would seem appropriate at this point that Jihad is elucidated as both Muslims and non-Muslims have equally and commonly misunderstood the term. Many non-Muslims have interpreted Jihad as tyranny and barbarity in order to tarnish Islam; and many Muslims have manipulated unwary and ordinary Muslims by using the name Jihad and used them for their own personal motives and objectives. In reality, Jihad in Islam refers to those individual and collective efforts, by means of which works related to the exaltation of the Truth, the stability of the nation, and the success and prosperity of the individual and society can be furthered. It is this Jihad that Almighty Allah referred to as the great Jihad (al-Jihad al-Kabir), and the noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) dubbed the best and greater Jihad (al-Jihad al-Akbar and al-Jihad al-Afdal). However, when peaceful endeavours become unable to bring cruelty and brutality to an end, then in order to rid malice and cruelty and to spread peace and security, there is the sanction in Islam of using force in Jihad, i.e. to fight. This is the last resort and final possible scenario of Jihad, and the noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) named this the lesser Jihad (al-Jihad al-Asghar). Today, the vast majority of our own and strangers ignore and neglect the peaceful struggles of the greater Jihad and by promoting the fighting of the lesser Jihad are tarnishing and distorting the reality of Jihad.
The lesser Jihad, i.e. the declaration of war is the right of only the government. No individual alone can declare and announce such a thing. Today, this is the rule that is implemented in the whole world. Only governments declare war and no single person has the right to declare war against anyone else. In this manner, when any Islamic government declares Jihad then the fighters are permitted to use force only against the army that fights them or is preparing to fight them. Just as Almighty Allah has stated, “And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight against you, and do not transgress (even against them), verily Allah does not love the transgressors.” (Qur’an 2, 190) And, “Allah does not forbid you concerning those who have not fought you over religion, or driven you out of your homes, that you show them kindness and be just to them. Surely, Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you concerning those who have fought you over religion, and driven you out of your homes or assisted in driving you out, that you befriend them. And any who befriend them, then it is they who are the wrongdoers.” (Qur’an 60, 8-9)
Furthermore, in accordance with the instructions of the noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) the killing of women, children, disabled, unwell, injured, elderly and religious leaders is not permitted whatsoever. The corpse of anyone killed is not to be dishonoured and destroyed. Even animals, green fields and fruit bearing trees are not to be destroyed unnecessarily. In other words, whilst at the centre of the battlefield where emotions and passions become uncontrollable and the fire of revenge burns fiercely, even at that moment Islam has imposed upon the soldiers certain rules, regulations and principles of justice and equity. This is so that no one becomes a victim of transgression and injustice, for Almighty Allah does not love the transgressors. Is there present – in today’s developed and prosperous world – any such nation that has adhered to and cared for the rule of law, justice and equity during the state of war? Today, as a war commences, cities and populated locales are bombed and obliterated. Peaceful citizens, women, innocent children, elderly, unwell and the disabled, none are spared. Hospitals, places of worship and even educational establishments are all destroyed. This honour and excellence is only bestowed upon Islam that it does not sanction cruelty and transgression upon any of the innocent even during a war where emotions run wild.
The Arabic word Islam is derived from the root Salam, which means peace and security. Whenever Muslims meet and greet one another, they pray for each other’s peace and security. In addition, Muslims daily raise their hands to Almighty Allah and pray in the following words, “O Allah! You are peace, peace comes from you and to you returns peace. Keep us alive, O our Cherisher, in peace and take us into the house of peace.” Who could be more loving of peace other than those who daily offer prayers of peace for others and also pray for their own peace?
London Suicide Bombings
Almighty Allah states, “Verily those who believed and emigrated, and struggled hard – with their possessions and their lives – in the way of Allah, and those who provided shelter and assisted (them), they are friends to one another. As for those who believed and did not emigrate, there is nothing for you in their association until they emigrate. And if they seek your help in religion, then you are obliged to help them, except against a nation with whom you have an agreement and treaty. And Allah sees what you do.” (Qur’an 8, 72)
This means that if some Muslims reside under any non-Muslim government and there they face difficulties in the matters of religion. If these oppressed Muslims seek the assistance of other Muslim governments against this particular non-Muslim government, then the Muslim governments should provide their assistance. However, if those Muslim governments have a treaty and an agreement of peace with this particular non-Muslim government, then they can place moral pressure upon this non-Muslim government, but using force to assist these Muslims is not permitted. For, taking regard of and adhering to the promise and treaty is an obligation. Just as Almighty Allah has stated, “And fulfil the promise, for the promise will be questioned.” (Qur’an 17, 34) It is for this reason that the noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated, “He who does not adhere to his promise, has no religion.”
Every Muslim who has acquired British nationality and citizenship has made an agreement and treaty of loyalty to Great Britain and the Queen. By virtue and reason of the Qur’an, being bound and adhering to this pledge is compulsory. Furthermore, conforming to the parents’ pledge is compulsory also upon the children and the offspring. Just as if any non-Muslim acquires the citizenship of a Muslim state under a certain pledge, then his children and offspring are bound to that pledge also. Therefore, no British Muslim has the right to use force against Great Britain whether inside Great Britain or anywhere else outside Great Britain. Even now if any foolish British Muslim wishes to use force against Great Britain, then first of all he or she will have to break the pledge of loyalty by relinquishing and surrendering his or her citizenship. Without a doubt, all Muslims resemble one body and to feel for one another’s pain and suffering is a natural instinct, however, taking care and adhering to promises and treaties is much more important. Moreover, this is the lesson we learn from the practical example and character of the noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). As an example, ponder over the treaty of Hudaybiyah.
The Treaty of Hudaybiyah
- On the day of Hudaybiyah, the noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) agreed upon a treaty, comprising of three conditions, with the non-Muslims:
1. Any non-Muslim who would come to the Muslims (in Madinah), the Muslims would return him.
2. Any Muslim who would come to the non-Muslims (in Makkah), the non-Muslims would not return him.
3. The Muslims would come (to Makkah for the performance of the Umrah) the following year and would only remain
for three days in Makkah. They would leave their weapons, i.e. swords and arrows, etc., sheathed.
During this period, Abu Jundal (who had accepted Islam) came to the Muslims walking in shackles. As he approached the Muslims, the noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) returned him to the non-Muslims.
- Whilst the noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Suhayl ibn ‘Amr were writing the treaty, at that moment the son of Suhayl, Abu Jundal, came dragging himself in shackles in front of the noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). When Suhayl saw his son, Abu Jundal, he went towards him, slapped him across the face, took hold of him, dragged him towards himself and said, “O Muhammad! The treaty between us and you has been completed before he came.” The noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied, “You have spoken the truth.” Then Suhayl grabbed Abu Jundal by the neck and began dragging him so that he could take him to the Quraysh. Abu Jundal began calling out aloud, “O Muslims! Would I be returned to the Muslims? They will be brutal and will torture me because of my religion!” The Muslims were ever more hurt and troubled hearing his plea. At that point, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated, “O Abu Jundal! Be patient and intend for reward and blessing. Almighty Allah is soon to free you and the other weak Muslims and is soon to grant them exhilaration. And I have made a treaty with these people and I will not break this agreement and treaty.” Then Abu Jundal despondently went with his father and the treaty was completed.
The summarising conclusion of my submissions is that British Muslims are obliged to hold on to and take regard of their pledge and agreement. However, in order to have our demands met and needs fulfilled, great endeavours through democratic means should be maintained (just as the Jewish community) by actively participating in the political process thus electing more and more Muslim members of parliament. Matters and issues are not resolved merely by emotional and sentimental means. Only through cogent and positive initiatives based upon a proper realisation of the ground realities and modern issues can a step be taken towards a bright future.
In my opinion, Great Britain is a great country for the Muslims as it enjoys religious freedom and great opportunities for a better livelihood. It is though correct that after the 7th July 2005 bombings, the situation and state of affairs has become difficult, however, this is the reaction to those bombings. If such bombings occurred in an Islamic country by non-Muslims, then there would be a much greater reaction there. Therefore, we must show endurance, patience and tolerance.
Almighty Allah is our Helper and Protector. Amin.
Allama Hafiz Mahboob Hussain al-Azhari BA (Hons), BSc (Hons), MA (RES) Secretary of WAAG (World Association of Al-Azhar Graduates) UK, a mureed of Hazrat Zia-Ul-Ummat Shaykh Pir Justice Pir Karam Shah Al-Azhari and a student of Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada. As such, Mahboob Hussain is the founder and resident scholar of PirKaramShah.com. He was born in Pakistan in 1976 Mahboob Hussain arrived in the UK in 1978 where he settled in Dewsbury. In 1980 he began his primary Islamic studies under Abul In’am Muhammad Abdul Bari Chishti and followed that by memorisation of the Qur'ân. After completing his GCSE’s in 1993 he rejoined his teacher in Jamia al-Karam, which at that time was at the former site in Milton Keynes, where under his tutelage and the auspicious guidance of Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada, he began his studies in Arabic and Islamic studies and A Levels. Here he was fortunate to meet with his Shaykh, the Ummah’s Luminary, Justice Shaykh Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari (ra) and pledged his allegiance to him.
After completing his A Levels and studies in Jamia al-Karam in 1997, he was fortunate to pursue his studies in Jamia al-Azhar, Cairo where he gained a BA honours from the Department of Theology, specialising in the science of Prophetic Traditions. After completing his studies in 2000, he returned to the UK and spent a year teaching Arabic and Islamic studies in his local town Dewsbury. In 2001 he began BSc in Computing and Information Studies in the University of Bradford, which he completed in 2005 and immediately rejoined Shaykh M I H Pirzada at Jamia al-Karam as a teacher. Mahboob Hussain has achieved his MA thesis by research at the University of Leeds titled ‘Jewish Anecdotes in Qur'ânic Exegesis’ and is currently looking forward to his upcoming PhD InshAllah. He is also involved in alot of other literary work, such as English translation of selected surahs of Tafsir Zia-Ul-Quran, soon to be exclusively released on pirkaramshah.com.