Opinion: Islam & Minorities: A Correct Historical Precedent
PKKH Exclusive | by Mhummad Umer Toor
Advocates of the arbitrary, man-made dogma called Secularism – who want to push religion into the abyss of private matters – blame Islamic fundamentalism for the lack of protection of life, property and liberty of non-Muslims, especially in the Pakistani context. Instead of openly blaming religion or revelation as such, since “it is politically incorrect to talk against religion,” they are seen using adjectives such as ‘religious fanaticism’, or ‘religious intolerance’ misrepresenting the universal human problem of pathological intolerance for which religion can be a good cover, but is not the actual cause – far from it.
Intolerance leading to unjust violence or harm is as irreligious as suicide or homicide or fornication, if not worse. Then why shout your throats out against religion, and use the straw man argument of ‘religious intolerance’, in such sensitive, psycho-pathological scenarios where irreligious acts are committed in the name of religion, like the recent tragic Christian arson? It is just a show put up against the public importance of religion by our Liberal opponents. The misuse of the love for religion is a possibility, just like all other noble ideas & concepts can be exploited with perversion, but the solution proposed by Islamophobes, i.e., to secularize our laws and our society, does not end or undo intolerance as such but ends up in maligning the rival of secularism, merely: religious worldview.
Let us speak of a correct historical precedent of Islamic behavior towards non-combatants, let alone citizens of an Islamic state.
In 1860, former supreme commander of Algeria, Abdel Qader (ra), was in Syria. He for decades had fought the French in Algeria. Seyyed Hossein Nasr writes about him in his book Heart of Islam:
“… Amı¯r ‘Abd al-Qa¯dir, the great Algerian freedom fighter and Sufi sage; his opponent, a French general, wrote back to Paris saying that fighting against the Amır was like confronting one of the prophets of the Old Testament … The example of the saintly nature of these men and the manner in which they treated their enemies as well as noncombatants, no matter what the other side was doing, is of the utmost importance for Muslims as well as Westerners to remember in the present-day situation.”
How saintly was the Ameer’s conduct? It was Syria, 1860; A mass of angry, infuriated Muslims had encircled around 3000-4000 Christians and some French. It was called Druze uprising. Sheikh Qader with his veteran fellows rushed to the place and risked his own life a great deal and protected non-Muslims, including the very people against whom he had waged jihad earlier. He admonished Muslims that what they were doing was utter disgrace of Islam. His timely intervention and resolve to face his own brethren saved thousands of civilian and innocent lives. That news spread like wildfire around the world.
The French and even the Americans remembered the nobility of the Ameer. In America, a couple of cities were named after Ameer, one in Iowa, and the French honored him with their medals.
It becomes clear, then, that it is either lack of knowledge of the true religious standards, or outright hatred of religion & its anti-secular essence that motivates secular-fundamentalists to blame the cure – i.e., religiosity – than to utilize it.
Ameer’s example of Islamic compassion is nothing but a product and a proof of goodness that holistic nurturing of Islamic life and thought has – the very formula of which is as much under attack by drunk mobsters who burn Christian houses as is under attack by profane secularists who think wrongly. Achieving harmony and middle path, a hallmark of a traditional Islamic man and society, is becoming difficult to achieve and more religious training in morals and character is required today than ever.