Seven Islamic Points Regarding the Suicide Bombing in Stockholm
Written by Sheikh Abdul Haq al Turkamani
Head of Islamic Research Centre in Sweden
To proceed: here are some words regarding the suicide bombing which took place in Stockholm on Saturday evening 11/12/2010. We do not intend by this paper to just reject and condemn this criminal act because that is the least obligation upon us by our pure religion. Rather we intend to give a brief indication to some of the reasons which aid the understanding of some of these Muslims who have a hand
in such terror and suicide bombing, and what the Islamic ruling is regarding it.
1. It is incorrect to explain the action of a suicide bomber as being due to psychological problems, or due to the influence of drugs. In reality they are intelligent, and are physically and mentally healthy. Many of them have a post graduation education. So they carry out these operations with complete conviction, a strong intention, a firm resolve and a satisfied tranquil soul. The Quran speaks of a people who’s intentions were good (in what they believed themselves) they performed great good deeds but they did not tread the straight path (in those actions) which Allah had ordered for them. These people will come on the Day of Judgment ruined and in loss.
“Say shall I not inform you of those who are the greatest losers regarding their actions, those who went astray working so hard doing deeds (which were not correct) thinking they were acquiring good by their deeds”.
(Surah Kahaf v 103/4)
And we read in the history of religions that a person who punished himself through starvation, cutting him/herself and committing suicide. This was common amongst some of the religions of old. In India, the Jainism sect use to cut one of their veins which they knew would end their lives. This act in Jainism was considered the peak or highest level of their religion specific only to some of their high priests.
2. The fundamental beliefs which support suicide bombings are in reality a distorted and astray from the true teachings and purpose of the religion. Islam is the basis of all good and righteousness and it encourages maintaining good manners with people. But when the religion is distorted, it becomes a tool which strengthens evil, injustice and corruption. The appearance of sects which have strayed from the right path is not something specific to the religion of Islam, rather it was found and is still present in every religion. Europe has witnessed many wars, killing, torture and persecution in the name of religion. Islamic history still remains the cleanest, clearest and it is the least in oppression and in religious persecution in the history of mankind. The reason for this is (adherence to) the two main sources of the religion and that is the Quran and the Sunnah which have both been protected up to this day from change or additions. They are the two sources of references for the major scholars of Islam. Throughout the history of Islam, the Muslims scholars have fulfilled their duties , they were present in each generation and in each decade in every year without any break in the chain. They prohibited the distortion of the religion and exposed the movements which called to deviation. Furthermore, they countered any support for deviation with proofs from the Quran and Sunnah. They contained any distorted thoughts and ideas thus preventing them from corrupting the wider Islamic society. The Prophet (s) informed us of the appearance of deviated movements. He explained this in many ahadeeth (known as the ahadeeth of the khawaarij), about its dangers to the religion and to entire Islamic community. For this reason he (s) ordered the Muslims to fight them without any lenience. He also warned not to have any sympathy with the followers of such movements regardless of the many prayers, fasting and recitation of the Quran they perform.
3. From the very birth of Islam and over the many years, Muslims have been steadfast in the belief that the meaning of Islam is sincerity in worship to Allah, negating any partners with him, establishing the obligatory acts of the religion like prayer, fasting, zakat, hajj, possessing good manners and restricting themselves to the rulings of the shariah in halaal and haram. So whoever establishes these matters has indeed established his whole religion, and he will be of the people of Paradise in the Hereafter. The fruits of this religion are that the political, economic situation as well as the social cohesiveness of society will change for the better. These changes are not the goal in and of themselves but will come about as a result of implementing the religion.
About 100 years ago, a new explanation of Islam appeared. In summary it reduced Islam to a political and legal system.. This understanding of Islam meant that one had to change the political, economic and social structure of the world. And that the various acts of worship and religious injunctions were not the main purpose of the religion but rather they are means to another end. This new interpretation of Islam led to a number of violent rebellions in the Islamic world and led to further distortions in understanding of Islam. It gave birth to tremendous confusion and to misunderstandings about the objectives of Islam. Furthermore, it also presented a bad image of the Muslims. It was the cause of many internal revolts and trials.
Many Muslims adopted this explanation or were influenced by it unknowingly. They held that prayer, fasting, zakat, hajj, recitation of the Quran, and dhikr as well as the other symbols of worship have no meaning and no benefit if they do not produce concrete, tangible results, and do not achieve a change in the environment (political, economic and social). For this reason they viewed worship as something dry, and in fact they belittled and disparaged worship. This resulted in them not preparing for the important matters due to their abandonment of knowledge and righteous action. They also abandoned teaching and dawah. Another result (of this belief) was that they disrespected the scholars of Islam and drew their tongues against them by cursing, abusing and belittling them as well as accusing them of betrayal and disbelief.
There is no doubt that suicide bombings are also from the corrupt explanation of this new interpretation of Islam. A youth who is directed to worshipping Allah has a sincere desire to seek closeness to his Creator, and he prays for forgiveness and mercy. Such a person knows from the innocence of his intellect and from his natural disposition that the true religion is about dhikr, du’a, prayer, recitation of the Quran, good manners, and righteous deeds. This youth would be surprised if he comes across a group who believed in this new interpretation of Islam which is in complete opposition to what is engraved in his mind. For example, they say to him: “the purpose of this religion is to change the political, economical, military and social condition of the world! And there is no real meaning to prayer, fasting, recitation of the Quran and teaching the rulings of the religion if we do not establish the change. And those you see who pray and fast even the scholars and du’aat (callers to Islam) and the Muadhin who calls the people to prayers five times a day, all of them are not real Muslims rather they are disbelievers and apostates because they do not establish the true meaning of this religion. Their goal is to busy and amuse themselves with prayer, recitation of the Quran and the books of ahadeeth”.
If the youth is convinced by this new interpretation and it overwhelms his thinking such that his objective is now to change the world, he will not bother with prayer, other acts of worship or good deeds. He will completely distance himself from learning the rulings of the religion and from listening to the scholars. He will then strive to implement the goal he sees correct (the new interpretation of Islam). He will find himself shocked and in great despair over the situation of the Muslim world. He then feels hopelessness and despair. He becomes hostile to all around him and develops a strong inclination to take revenge and decides after a heavy physiological dispute within himself to carry out a suicide operation which has no meaning to it except taking revenge, even if it involved killing innocent civilians. It is sufficient for him that he is firmly truthful in implementing the idea of changing the world (according the new interpretation). He would then consider himself of being from those who have established the religion believing that Allah will reward him with paradise and its blessings.
4. When we reject this action and free ourselves from it, we do so (freeing ourselves) from all who have a hand in it may it be through its implementation, helping, financial support, guidance, encouragement, agreement or other types of support. Indeed the methodology of the Prophet (s) was clear in this matter. He would always emphasise the rejecting of both the action and the doer, even if the doer was a Muslim. Rejecting the action then finding excuses for the doer and trying to interpret the action differently demonstrates inconsistency and hypocrisy. I will suffice here with mentioning one hadeeth which guides to this meaning and that is his (s) saying: “any man who gives a sign of safety to another man’s blood then kills him, then I am free from that killer even if the killed is a disbeliever”(Ahmed and Albani made it saheeh). This is in the case of treachery to one man, what about the one who is treacherous to the whole society that he resides with, enjoying its protection, graduates from its institutions, and then turns his back on all of its kindness shown to him. Allah, the Most High says:
“the recompense of good done to you is none except good done back”
( Surah ar Rahman: 60)
5. The rejection of terrorist activities does not only include rejecting suicide bombings which target civilians, rather one must present the complete picture of Islam and its realities. This religion orders us to abide by our oaths and agreements. It prohibits oppression, deceit and treachery. Islam also lays down strong foundations for human integration regardless of the many religions that exist. It restricts fighting to places of warfare alone, and it has rulings, protocols and manners which must be adhered to. For example, areas were civilians reside must not become to battle grounds which may cause the people to abandon their morality and integrity due to feelings of enmity and hatred against the enemy. The detailed rulings which determine these moral principles are many in the Quran and the sunnah. I will suffice with just one from the noble Quran which comes as a shock to many Muslims before the non Muslims because they have no knowledge of it. Their poor moral and emotional state prohibits them from accepting this holy instruction because of the difficult state they are in.
Allah says in Surah al Anfaal:
“those who believe and did not do the hijrah, you have no allegiance to them in the slightest until they perform the hijrah – and if they seek help from you in the religion then upon you is to aid them. Except in the case where there is an agreement between you and a people. Allah is all aware of what you do. (Anfaal: 72)
Performing hijrah (migration) to Madeenah before the conquest of Makkha was an obligation on all new Muslims in Arabia. So the Muslims who did not perform the hijra were not entitled to the rights and benefits that the citizens of the Islamic state in Madenah enjoyed except in one thing, and that was receiving help and aid against any hostility which occurred against them due to their Islam. So in this one particular case, the Muslims in Madeenah had to answer their request for help because of the religious bond they had with them. It was their religion (Islam) which was the cause of the enmity against them. However, there was one exception to this. If there was a peace treaty or agreement between the Muslims and those transgressing enemy, then it was not permissible for the Muslims (who had signed these treaty) to aid their fellow Muslims. This is because the Muslims would have then broken a peace treaty, negated their agreement and become treacherous. So if they want to enter into a war with the transgressing enemy, it was an obligation upon them to first inform the other side (transgressing enemy) in an absolute, clear manner that the treaty or agreement had been cancelled just as is mentioned in the following verse:
“and if you fear treachery from a people, then clearly denounce any obligations you have with them, for Allah does not love the treacherous.”
The Muslims (of today) would have acted correctly had they followed their religion upon correct knowledge, and not upon blind following and emotions. This is what the Quran orders them with. I will give one example from the words of one of the greatest scholars of Islam Imam Shafi (rh) died in 204H may Allah have mercy upon him. He stated in his book ‘Al Umm’ which is considered from the most important books of Islamic fiqh the following:
“[In a situation where] a group of Muslims entered a land of war under an agreement of safety. In that war, the people at war with the Muslims took some of the Muslims women and girls as slaves and prisoners. The Muslims who entered under agreement of safety cannot fight the people who are at war with the Muslims until they make absolutely clear to them that they negate the agreement of safety, and after that they should give warning to them. If the safety agreement is then broken and made clear they are able to fight them. As for the period of when they had security (agreement) then they are not allowed to fight them.” (Al Umm V4/p375)
Also he stated: “When a group of Muslims entered a land of war under an agreement of safety. Their enemies are safe from them until they leave them or the time period of safety expires. And they are not allowed to oppress them or cheat them, even if the enemies take the Muslim women and children as captives. I do not like for them to be treacherous to their enemies I would rather they ask their enemies to return their agreement of safety to them. Only after they have openly disbanded their agreement and that is clear to both sides, then they should fight them for their Muslim women and children.” (Al Umm V4, p248)
This Quranic text – “And if you fear treachery from a people then clearly denounce any obligations you have with them for Allah does not love the treacherous” (Anfaal: 58) obliges us Muslims who reside in non Muslim lands to uphold our oaths and agreements by which they allowed us in, regardless if we entered with a temporary or permanent visa or with a view to attaining citizenship. This is despite the fact that the relationship between us and the country we reside in was different in the past. We now live in a secular country which does not deal with us based on religion and we receive our complete civil rights. Religion and good character remain one at all times no Islamic scholar in this age would disagree with this. So it is imperative upon us to fulfil our oaths and agreements. Deception and betrayal are both opposite to good character and are not permissible, this is something strongly prohibited in the Quran. We cannot partake in a war against the country we live in, even if our goal was to aid our oppressed brothers in the religion. And whoever from the Muslims chooses to carry out that which negates this (agreement and oath) he must first inform the official department of the government of the country in which he resides. The information must be clear and precise that he has chosen to give up his citizenship or has revoked the visa which he enjoys and that he cuts off all his ties with that country and makes clear he is now at war with it. He must also confirm that the official bodies of that government know his stance and that they understand his meaning. His message must be clearly understood that this is his choice and decision. That is the ruling of the Quran, and the manners of the people of Islam. 1This does not mean that whoever does all this has become free to do whatever he wants, as war has religious rulings and many moral conducts which he must adhere to, we have mentioned some of them above.
6. Some evil people have deliberately connected terrorist activities with as salafiyah and the salafis. The methodology of the dawah as-salafiyah is clear; it has no obscurity in it. It consists of following the Quran and the Sunnah upon the understanding of the companions and the major scholars of Islam. From this standpoint the salafi’s free themselves from extremism in the religion and from
terrorism and bombings. Such criminal acts are not condoned in Islam rather they are in opposition to the teachings of the Quran, Sunnah, and the Islamic verdict (fatawa) of the salafi scholars. The most famous of them in this era are Ibn Baz, Ibn Uthaimeen, and Al Albani and they have many fatawa against violence and terror and the extremist groups.
7. There is a huge responsibility upon the imams of the mosques, those active in dawah and those responsible for Islamic centres and institutes to make clear these rulings and being apparent in expressing them. They should explain them in details for the Muslims and the non Muslims. There is no excuse for anyone to remain silent whilst he acknowledges distortion and heresy that occurs in the name of Islam. Indeed Allah praised the truthful believers that they “relate the message of Allah and fear Him and do not fear anyone but Allah. And Allah is sufficient as a Reckoner. “ (Ahzaab:39) and He warned about hiding knowledge saying: “indeed those who conceal what we revealed of clarity, guidance, evidences and proofs after we have made it clear for the people in the book they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers”. ( Baqarah:159).
With Allah is all success.
Written by Sheikh Abdul Haq al-Turkamani
Head of Islamic Research Centre in Sweden