Muslims, Stand Up for Justice!
What has Islam directed us to do about Muslims who are guilty of wrongdoing? Many Muslims like to quote Quranic ayat and hadiths about the unity of the umma and against taking non-Muslims as protectors. Yet there is a great danger that in defending brothers or sisters in religion we are actually permitting injustice to occur. The purpose of this essay is to look at what Islam really does have to say about what we should do when Muslims do wrong, with a particular focus on terrorism.
Killing the Innocent is a Terrible Sin and Crime in Islam
In the Quran, Surah al-Ma'ida ayah 32 says:
...Man qatala nafs bi ghayr nafsin aw fasad fi al-ard fa ka anna maa qatala an-nas jami'a...
...That who kills a single soul except for a soul (killed) or for corruption in the earth, so it is as that he killed all of humankind...
Allah SWT will put a person in hell forever for a single murder that he does not repent (Surah an-Nisa ayah 93) - can you imagine His wrath when in His eyes you have killed all of humankind?! We should all be shaking in fear of such a fate!
As well, the Prophet (sAas) has specifically prohibited the killing of civilians even during a state of war, especially the elderly, women and children:
Sahih Muslim Book 19 #4320 - It is narrated by Ibn Umar that a woman was found killed in one of these battles; so the Messenger of Allah forbade the killing of women and children.
Instructions for the Muslim army - "Set out for Jihad in the name of Allah and for the sake of Allah. Do not lay hands on the old verging on death, on women, children and babes. Do not steal anything from the booty and collect together all that falls to your lot in the battlefield and do good, for Allah loves the virtuous and the pious."
It is HARAM to deliberately target civilians. No Muslim should have any doubt or dispute about this issue.
When a Muslim Does Wrong
The Quran has also provided direction what to do when a Muslim does wrong. This is found in Surah al-Hujurat ayah 9:
...Fa in baghhat ihda huma ala al-ukhra fa qatilu allati tabghi hatta tafi'a ila amr Allah...
...So if one of the (parties of the faithful) does wrong to the other, then fight against the one that does wrong until it comes back around to the commandment of Allah...
The meaning of this is clear. Any and all Muslims who are involved in the terrorist attack against civilians are fasiq (corruptors) and fajir (disobedient). We have been commanded to fight against them until they return to the commandment of Allah SWT.
My brothers and sisters, if we could take care of our business as Allah SWT has commanded us to, the West would not need to do it for us. Then the question of "allying with non-Muslims" would never come up.
Allah SWT has given another directive, reminding us that we must do what is right, even if it is against those closest to us. This is in Surah an-Nisa ayah 135:
Ya ayyuha alladhina amanu, kunu qawwamina bi al-qist shuhada liLlahi wa law ala anfusikum aw al-walidayn wa al-aqrabin...
O you, those who have faith, stand up for justice, witnesses to Allah, even if it is against your own souls or your parents and close family...
That someone is a brother in religion does not mean that we are permitted to condone his wrongdoing. No! This would be haram even if he were a brother in blood. Instead, we have clearly been commanded to stand up for justice, no matter who has done wrong.
The Prophet (sAas) also spoke on this issue:
Sahih Bukhari Book 43 #624 - Narrated Anas: Allah's Apostle said, "Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, "O Allah's Apostle! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?" The Prophet said, "By preventing him from oppressing others."
The mention of "your brother" makes it clear that the Prophet (sAas) was talking about Muslims who are oppressing others and doing wrong. And he has clearly commanded us that we must stop them from doing so.
O Muslims! Stand up for justice! When civilians are deliberately targeted and killed, a terrible evil has been committed. The responsibility is ours to fight against any and all Muslims who are involved in these acts. I greatly fear the wrath of Allah SWT against us if we do not do so.
To read another essay on this issue, see: