The clock reads 9:11 and you remember that painful day. The day our innocent people were attacked and murdered within our own borders by a foreign entity. The terrible day that brought vulnerability most of us had previously never imagined, into the realm of stark reality.
I lived in Brooklyn at that time. When it happened, I was on the fifth floor, looking out over the water at the World Trade Center. I was wondering what had caused the huge fire in the first tower, then I watched in horror as the second plane slammed into the other.
Every time I stepped outside after that, I was forced to smell the stench of burning and death. It remained like that for months.
9/11 invoked the same anger, fear and emotions in me, that it did in most Americans. It also provoked me to learn more about American foreign policy and other things that impact our safety at home. I learned quite a bit I had not known before that day.
One of the things I went on to learn about in the following years, was Islam. I found that Islam does not encourage, in any terms, the killing or harm of non-combatants – even during legitimate war, in fact the killing of non-combatants, as well as women, children and the elderly is forbidden.
I learned that some people – both those who call themselves Muslims, as well as those diametrically opposed to Islam – use verses from the Quran and other sources of Islam out of context. They twist them to fit their own causes, in the most manipulative of ways.
Islam itself – the word “Islam” – connotes peace. Historically, Islam brought stability and peace to lands that implemented it correctly. Peace and security for both the Muslims as well as those who were not, living under the protection of Muslim rule.
To find out about war, fighting, manners and behaviors sanctioned and encouraged in Islam, we look to the life and example of the final Messenger, Muhammad. The Quran was not revealed in a vacuum and the actions of Muhammad give us further explanation and context:
After the prophet Muhammad announced his prophethood which was bestowed on him at the age of forty, he and his followers were tortured for years and many were killed. They were persecuted, because they believed there is nothing worthy of worship except the One God who created everything. They suffered injustice and oppression to the extent that they had to flee their homes in Mecca and became refugees.
Years later, when the prophet Muhammad and his followers had gained the upper hand and had garnered power and momentum, they were able to return to the city of Mecca – this time as conquerors.
Did Muhammad slaughter and lay waste to the very people who had tortured him and who had driven the Muslims from their own homes?
Not at all.
The prophet Muhammad entered Mecca bowing his head down in humility before God. The Meccans, who had tortured and harmed him and the Muslims for so long, waited expectantly, knowing their now weak position.
His statement to them, was a verse from the Quran, a statement the prophet Joseph made to his brothers who had wronged him. He said:
“There shall be no blame upon you this day. God forgive you; He is the Most Merciful of the merciful.” (Quran Joseph 12:92)
He then said to them, “Go, you are free.”
This account is recorded in: Sunan Al-Kubra Al-Bayhaqi 17714, graded Sahih/Authentic.
let that sink in:
“Go, you are free.”
If Islam is meant to breed bloodthirsty, angry people, or people who are willing to blow up thousands of innocent people to make a statement, don’t you think this behavior would be evident in the example of the last prophet of Islam, Muhammad?
Don’t you think he would have been most savage or violent at the time when he entered Mecca as conqueror? Mecca – his homeland from which he had fled, due to the persecution of him and the Muslims? He had witnessed torture and the most vile of oppression at the hands of those people for over a decade, yet his victorious entrance was made in humility, with his head bowed.
He proclaimed forgiveness and freedom for his oppressors, not vengeance.
I urge you to read for yourself. Read the Quran (the whole thing) and read about the life of the prophet Muhammad from authentic sources. When you have completed the big picture, you will find that Islam is in fact, peace and that it’s final messenger, Muhammad was only extreme in two ways:
extremely merciful and extremely devoted to God.
There seem to be a lot of people out there committing evil in the name of Islam and there are still more people who like to propagate those incidents and spread them and exaggerate them. This is true to the extent that the public consciousness has begun to associate those abhorrent acts and behaviors with Islam, as if the two are one and the same.
The only way to combat this is with seeking knowledge and by suspending judgement about things we have no knowledge about.
Islam and acts of terror such as that on 9/11 do not go hand in hand as some would have you believe. The proof is in the facts, the texts and in that Islam continues to bring peace to the hearts of millions of people across the globe. One of those hearts, is mine.
Islam brings utmost beauty, peace, purpose, surety and contentment, previously never imagined, into the realm of reality.