As a Muslim, I am saddened by the brutal murders of two American journalists by ISIS. I am also heartbroken at the terrible loss of thousands of other civilian lives and property by their fanatic criminal acts.
With the emergence of the ISIS, Islam and Muslims are again in the spotlight. Along with sadness and anger there is considerable confusion about the Muslim faith. Any group which takes innocent lives and brings about so much destruction is not following Islam, but is doing exactly the opposite.
“Islam” is Arabic for “submission.” Another derivation of the word means “peace.” In context of the Islamic faith the term stands for attaining peace by submission to one Almighty God. A Muslim is anyone who submits to the will of one God. “Allah” is Arabic for “The God.” For a Muslim, Islam is not a new religion, but a continuation of the same message to worship one God, and do right, as was conveyed by prophets including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad.
Muslims believe in the absolute oneness of God, with no association with His divinity. Muslims also believe in all the prophets, including Jesus and his virgin birth. They derive all their rules and regulations of their daily lives from Quran, sayings or the “Hadiths” and traditions or the “Sunnah” of the prophet Mohammad.
Quran (Arabic for “to recite”) is considered by the Muslims to be the last of the divine revelations, and true unchanged word of God. It gives a concept of worldly life, judgment day, eternal life hereafter, heaven and hell. It teaches that human beings can attain salvation only through good deeds and God’s mercy. Quran constantly emphasizes faith in God, good deeds, refuge from Satan, building patience, and repentance of sins. Human dignity has been given prime importance. Killing of an innocent person is considered equal to killing of a whole generation.
“Jihad” is Arabic for “to struggle.” For Muslims the foremost jihad is to exercise self-control through God consciousness. The secondary meaning of the term signifies struggle against oppressive forces attacking Muslim homelands. There is no concept in Islam to attack deceitfully, or terrorize innocent people. Very specific rules apply to war. Islam strictly prohibits killing of innocent civilians of any faith. Places of worship are to be protected, and crops not destroyed.
The actions of ISIS are in total contrast to the will of God. ISIS is not engaging in jihad but is spreading “Fasaad” which is Arabic for “Chaos.” The members of this group are perverse fanatics. They wish to legitimize their criminal activities by abusing and distorting Muslim faith. They want to exercise total control on the population through fear. They are also exploiting the lawlessness, and a vacuum of authority created by a weak ineffective government, lack of institutions, and disintegrated law enforcement and army.
My heart and prayers go out to all the families that have lost their loved ones at the hands of this perverse fanatic group. I am clear as any other believing Muslim that these criminal acts cannot be justified on the basis of Islamic faith. In my experience, all Oklahoma Muslims join other national and international Muslim organizations in condemning ISIS.
Mahmood Khichi is a Broken Arrow physician.