commentary by Imam Abbas —
Sadly once again a people, a nation and a world have been terrorized by extremists who honor death rather than life. Of course I am referring to the mass shootings this week in California which left 14 innocent people dead and many more wounded, some of them critically. These attacks were carried out by an American born young man of Pakistani descent by the name of Sayed Farook and his wife. Not only that but Farook gunned down in cold blood the very people he worked with as a Food Inspector for the county at a holiday party and banquet which he had attended then left abruptly returning dressed in assault gear and heavily armed. He and his wife were later killed in a gun battle with police not far from the scene of the carnage.
One thing that struck me in all of the reporting and mis-reporting was that Farook had recently had a heated conversation with one of his colleagues concerning Islam. In that argument Farook reportedly maintained the Islam was not a religion of peace while the colleague maintained that it was. Subsequently, we have learned that Farook was associating with known extremists on social media and had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia to marry his wife. Neighbors feared reporting suspicious activity in and around their apartment out of fear of being called “racists.” We have also learned that Farook was normally reserved and kind always smiling and his family is in shock over his actions. He stopped going to the mosque he’d regularly attended and it appears he became radicalized recently.
So I want to ask. Is Islam a religion of peace as claimed by the media and others today? When I look at the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, the terror carried out lately in Paris and California, and all the rest it appears that today Islam is not a religion of peace but of war, hate, and death! That angers me because that is NOT what Islam is supposed to be! Yet, that is what the radicals have turned it into.
Muslims must awaken to the fact now that our faith has been hijacked and is being used as a cover and justification for human slaughter and hatred. These people who kill innocents and terrorize wear their faith on their sleeves because they have no faith, really. ISIS enslaves women as sex slaves! They kill their own! They have killed more MUSLIMS than any other group! That’s true of all of the other terror groups too. Yet, all these things they do are SINS! Murder is a sin! Suicide is a sin! Using women as mere sex slaves is a sin!
It is easy to hate but it is difficult to forgive and love for many people. Hatred is like a cancer that spreads before we know it and rapidly. Hatred can lead us to do things that are wrong and commit acts of violence that we would not normally participate in. But, hatred destroys no one more than the person who hates because one who hates is a miserable person inside. I have never talked to any one who hates and who is happy. Hate-filled people are unhappy people even if they don’t know it. Hate eats us from the inside out! It destroys no one more than all of those around us who love and care about us! Hate will eventually cause us to turn against God! This is why hate is a sin.
Much of the violence we see in the Middle East is rooted in politics not religion. We need to make that distinction. Yes, some of it is religiously motivated but much of it is POLITICALLY motivated. Here, I want to mention something you may not know. When we think of Muslims we assume most reside in the Mid East but that is not so. The largest Islamic nation on the planet with the most Muslims is Indonesia! We see a different kind of Islam there because Indonesians know Islam to be a faith of compassion not hate.
So is Islam a religion of peace? Well it certainly is not supposed to be a religion of human carnage, hate, and terrorism that we see today committed in its name! When people think of Islam they think of it as a cohesive faith but it is not. There are many factions of Islam and factions within factions just like Christianity and Judaism. There is no one Islam! But there is SUPPOSE TO BE! All Muslims are brothers and sisters and to kill one is to kill all. Muslims are supposed to respect the People of the Book, Christians and Jews, and their places of worship. Murder is a sin and suicide is a sin! Hate is a sin! Peace and peaceful coexistence is something that the True Muslim is to cherish and nurture! Why? Because there is only one Creator, one God, and he created us all. Repeatedly, the Holy Qur’an states that Allah (the Arabic name meaning “God”) is “merciful and compassionate.” That is what the Muslim is supposed to be as well. MERCIFUL AND COMPASSIONATE.
A historical figure that I admire is Saladin. Saladin was greatly respected by his enemies who commanded the Crusades. He was admired because he was a MAN OF HONOR, a MUSLIM of honor! When Saladin recaptured Jerusalem he allowed those Christians and Jew who wished to leave to leave freely and unmolested by him and his might Islamic army. He did not slaughter them! He allowed them to simply walk away and go elsewhere. Saladin was not a terrorist. Saladin was a man of intelligence and that, intelligence, is something that Allah wants EVERY Muslim to be! Allah does not want us to be ignorant. He wants us to be educated and intelligent. And he wants us to live in peace with our fellow Muslims and with all others. Compassion, intelligence, peace being merciful being compassionate and being forgiving are all VALUES of TRUE ISLAM! As Muslims we are supposed to respect and honor life especially ALL human life because all of our lives be we Muslims or not is cherished in the eyes of Allah. As Muslims we should be men and women that EARN the respect of others by noble behavior with compassion, wisdom, and mercy to all. As Muslims we are supposed to LIVE our faith and teach others of our faith by our own PERSONAL example! What are the radicals teaching by their personal example? It is certainly NOT that which Allah desires! In fact it is just the opposite and although they think they are fighting for Allah and will be rewarded with Paradise I have to inform them that they are not and will not. When we murder we sin and the reward for sin is not Paradise but the fires of Hell!
My heart is broken over the atrocities I see carried out today in the name of Islam. I am horrified by the human carnage I see today carried out by those who claim to be Muslims! I am especially horrified by seeing Muslims kill Muslims because the Prophet (pbuh) himself instructed that ALL MUSLIMS ARE BROTHERS as he taught that the People of the Book are to live in PEACE not war not hate. Why do we not heed the words of the Prophet (pbuh)? Why do we not LIVE the example of peace compassion forgiveness and being noble and intelligent that Allah desires? I have heard some fundamentalist Christians say this is the days of the great turning away (the Great Apostasy). I would say that is not only so for Christians but for Muslims and Jews as well. There ARE the days of the GREAT APOSTASY! Violence death suicide, and terror however are NOT going to turn things around! These things only serve to make that great apostasy greater!
Is Islam a religion of Peace? It is SUPPOSE to be but sadly our faith has been hijacked from us and great atrocities and SINS are being committed in the name of OUR faith today!! Islam today is in crisis!! Violence and Muslims killing Muslims or non-Muslims WILL NOT solve that crisis! Living the values and morals Allah desires us to live and that the Prophet (pbuh) and figures such as Saladin demonstrated through their own personal example WILL alleviate that crisis. Educating our youth and teaching them to act with honor nobleness intelligence compassion and forgiveness will alleviate that crisis. Our young people today are lost and it is just not Muslim youth or Christian or Jewish youth but ALL youth! We who are the elders and the parents MUST teach our youth to act with dignity and wisdom! We must teach them to live the ideals values, and morals that Allah wishes us to live. We must each them that murder and suicide are WRONG and SINS! We must teach them that to kill one is to kill the whole of humanity and that if they do such things they have only the hell fires awaiting them on the Day of Judgment. We must teach them to HONOR life not dishonor it. We must teach them to VALUE LIFE and not consider it to be as nothing! ALL LIFE!!
I cry for Islam! I cry for every Muslim! I cry for every non-Muslim! I cry for the world of humanity which is now lost in a cesspool of hate and sin! And even though I cry for all this I know one thing and that is more violence and more hate and more death IS NOT THE SOLUTION! And this is what every person of Faith must awaken to!! I said every person of faith meaning non-Muslim and Muslim alike.
Our prayers go out to all of the victims and families who have suffered the loss of their loved one in the past few days in California. Our prayers also go out to the family of Farook who are in shock over his crimes and sins as well as those of his wife. In all of this that has happened EVERYONE has LOST! There are no winners. There is NO VICTORY!! Only loss! And that is the most sad thing about hate. Everyone loses and there is no winner, no victory.