The desire to fight is always strong in the hearts and minds of the youth. The allures of heroism and the belief that you are fighting for a just cause and for the betterment of your people have always been attractive.
Unfortunately, the rise of extremist groups has romanticised the idea of violence and perverted the notion of Jihad. What we see in Syria and Iraq under the rule of groups such as ISIS is nothing more than a great fitna in this land. It is very important to know that there is no basis to abandon your homes and leave to join these groups for ‘Jihad’. Just by looking at the actions they take, the way they conduct themselves and in particular the grotesque nature of the violence they administer, you can see that all manner of rationalised, clear thought has left them.
An intellectual analysis of the Holy Scripture in the context of modern day extremism is enough to sufficiently disprove the justifications for their actions. This insight shows the flaws in reasoning of individuals who act out and claim to be following the teachings of Islam. There is little trace of organised, reasoned thinking behind the actions of extremist groups as their sole aim lies in their commitment to cause disruption.
Violence does not come through reasoned or liberalised thought. Rather, it comes after the mind has ceased to rationalise and sees only one way to persuade others of its opinions or methods – by force.
The most serious form of violence is Complex Violence. It is not linked to personal, social, or economic problems but is associated with extravagance and overstepping the limits, strictness and exaggerations of legal matters.
We can know the features of extremism in religion through the following:
- Strict interpretation of Qur’an and Hadith including that which is opposed to the purpose of Islamic law.
- Exaggeration in studying the meanings of Quran.
- The person who obligates himself with what was not dictated by God
- The person who deprives himself on matters that were not prohibited by God on his people.
- Leaving the essential matters such as eating, drinking and sleeping.
- Extremism in the position of others either through excessive praising or being overly disparaging.
God says in his Book, warning of exaggeration in the religion,
O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth….
A Hadith narrated by Ibn Mas’oud (God Bless him) says,
“Exaggerators are doomed,”
[The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said it 3 times]
There is no doubt that violence that comes as a result of exaggeration in religion is displeased by Allah as it is considered a deviation from the moderate attitude chosen by God to this nation.
What we see by groups such as ISIS is exactly this. They are a group of individuals that have abandoned all notions of moderation and control. It has been replaced with bloodlust and the desire to cause harm to any and all that oppose them.
By Dr Mohamed el- Sharkawy