It's been a while since I last blogged but I've been busy and such. One recent event that brought Islam and Muslims into more media attention was the tragic events at Ft. Hood, Texas. Maj. Hasan, who had been an officer in the US Army open fire and killed 13 people in what appeared to be simply a "nut" that had "cracked". However, it was brought up that Maj. Hasan had particular problems with idea of Muslims in the US military going to war in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to fight against other Muslims. So, this begs the question, what is the Islamic position on fighting other Muslims? It prompted me to do a bit of research on the issue and has brought me to a conclusion that some might find unexpected.
Allah says in the Qur'an, "Oh you who believe, stand out firmly for justice, even if it be against your own selves, or parents, or kin, or whether they be rich or poor. It is Allah who protects both. Follow not the lusts of your hearts least they make you stray, and if you distort justice or refuse to do justice, truly Allah knows well what you do" (4:135)
and Allah also says in the Qur'an, "It is not for a believer to kill another believer except for by mistake..." (9:42)
In the second verse, Allah is not necessarily referring to Muslims killing Muslims who have committed crimes punishable by death such as murder, adultery, etc... The kind of killing being referred to here would be killing for an unjustifiable reason or in a war with an unjustifiable cause. Which brings me to my next point; are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan justifiable? Well in the case of Afghanistan, it was most certainly justified for the US to go to Afghanistan considering the US had been attacked by people planning from that country. Iraq was a different story as we, the American people, were led into that war based primarily on a lie. However even in Iraq we must remember that though going in may have been a mistake, we now have a responsibility to ensure that the people of Iraq can live securely. Likewise the war in Afghanistan has been handled stupidly, but we still have a responsibility to see that things don't just get worse after we leave. Of course I'm drastically over-simplifying a lot of the details of this situation mostly for the sake and time.
The bottom line is that for the most part, the people who American troops are fighting primarily, namely the Taliban in Afghanistan and Al Qaeda in Iraq, are the same people who are suicide bombing market places and mosques across Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. One must ask the question, "Who have these people killed more of....Americans or Muslims?". By far Al Qaeda and the Taliban have killed many more Muslims than they have killed non-Muslim Americans. So with that in mind I would have to say this... While Muslims should always strive to avoid conflict with other Muslims, we also have a responsibility to protect innocent brothers and sisters from other deviant Muslims who would do them harm for political gains or religious fanatisism. This is something that the more powerful Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan etc... should be doing anyway (yet they do virtually nothing to oust these deviants). The American troops that are currently in Iraq and Afghanistan are not there to occupy the land or to rape them of their resources as some conspiracy theorists might suggest, ultimately they are there to secure American safety by ensuring that Iraqis and Afghans can live in peace, prosperity and freedom. This mission is something that a Muslim soldier in the US Army should be proud to be a part of.
Ultimately the problem is that we, the Muslims, have developped a "club" or "gang" mentality in which we protect our own no matter what they do. While most Muslims do recognize that there are extremists that kill innocents in the name of Islam, we don't talk enough about what to do about them, or of taking a stand against them; ideally in non-violent ways, but when necessary, Muslims must be willing to protect innocents Muslims or otherwise even if it means fighting other Muslims. The brave Muslim soldiers (who aren't corrupt) who fight in the Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani armies against the Taliban and Al Qaeda know this all too well, and too often don't receive the support they need from the greater Muslim Ummah. We must realize that it is our responsibility to take ownership of our problems and of those who kill innocents in the name of Islam. We must stop constantly trying to blame our problems on others and except that our Ummah is in a sad state and dealing with lunatics who blow themselves up in market places and mosques is one of many things we need to do to help ourselves out of this funk. I can only wish that Maj. Hasan would have come to this realization before he did what he did.