“The Gracious God will have mercy on those who are merciful. Have mercy on those who are on earth, Allah in heavens will have mercy on you.”
“He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children and does not recognise honour of the elderly.”
“All creatures are Allah’s family; and Allah loves most among His creation those who treat his family well and look after their needs.”
These are statements by the holy founder of Islam, Prophet Muhammad. If one ponders over these statements and reads the news, which has spread all over the world and has since become the talk of the town, about the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, it becomes clear that such actions are cruel, brutal and barbaric and are condemned by Islam.
What is Boko Haram?
Boko Haram is an extremist organisation in Nigeria, which means “western education is forbidden”. The members of this organisation call themselves Muslims and they want to impose their so-called Islamic philosophy and ideology on the rest of the population. But they are nothing more than a vile band of killers, kidnappers, suicide bombers, murderers and extremists.
In secular matters, Muslims should also obey their rulers who may not be Muslims
Since the organisation came into existence it maimed a large number of mothers, fathers and children through their vicious acts of extremism. Now they have caused complete agony to the parents of more than 200 innocent girls who haven’t even properly embarked on the journey of their lives.
The actions of Boko Haram have nothing to do with Islam; their actions can be condemned and unreservedly rejected on many basis.
Islam discards the idea of forming a kind of state within a state, taking the law into one’s own hands and disallows spreading disorder in the land. It says that “disorder and persecution are worse than killing”. Allah repeatedly instructs in the Holy Quran: “Create not disorder on the earth.” “Commit not iniquity in the earth, creating disorder.” “Allah loves not disorder.” “Allah loves not those who create disorder.”
With reference to abiding by the law of the land, the Holy Quran says: “O ye who believe, obey Allah and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority among you” (4:60). The words “those in authority”, in their wider significance, include even such non-Muslims as may happen to be in authority over Muslims. The practice of the Prophet Muhammad and his sayings make it abundantly clear that, in secular matters, Muslims should also obey their rulers who may not be Muslims.
“I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” a man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video. This stand of Boko Haram against women/girls also does not comply with Islamic teachings and Islam discards any such action of kidnapping women/girls against their will and stopping them from having their education.
The Holy Quran firmly declares that detaining or enslaving women against their will is completely forbidden (4:20).
It also categorically rejects the idea of holding captive prisoners of war unless there is ongoing and regular fighting in the land (8:68).
In the Holy Quran, God instructs us to pray for the knowledge: “O my Lord, increase me in knowledge” (20:115). These words show the great importance the Quran attaches to the acquirement of knowledge. Elsewhere in the Quran, knowledge has been styled as “God’s great grace” (2:270).
Prophet Muhammad said that: “It is the duty of every Muslim man and every Muslim woman to acquire knowledge.” He also exhorted both to “seek knowledge though it may be found in a country as far away as China” and to “seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave”. It was an oft-repeated saying of his that if a man had daughters and he arranged to have them educated and took pains with their upbringing, God would save him from the torment of hell.
Prophet Muhammad said that “Allah is gentle and He loves gentleness and He rewards for gentleness what He does not recompense for harshness; and He does not reward any other virtue like He rewards gentleness”.
My sincerest appeal to Boko Haram is to release all the abducted schoolgirls and stop all acts against humanity. And since they have said they are doing all that in the name of Islam, I quote what Prophet Muhammad had said, that “Muslim is one from whose hand and tongue all others are safe and are in peace”.
My appeal to them is to become the one from whom compassion and love flourishes and not the one who is enemy of mankind.
I shall conclude with a quote by the founder of the Ahmadiyya Community, who very rightly says:
“I admonish you to refrain from evil and be truly compassionate towards mankind. Cleanse your hearts of malice and spite for you will become like angels through this habit. It is a filthy and unholy religion that is devoid of sympathy for humanity and polluted is the path riddled with rancour based on selfish desires.
“Be compassionate towards all for the sake of God, so that you may be shown mercy in the heavens. Come and I will teach you a way that will cause your light to prevail over all other lights. Abandon all lowly spites and jealousies. Be compassionate for mankind and lose yourself in God.”
Laiq Ahmed Atif is president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta.