Faith is safety. Faith is about security and confidence. Safety is a multifaceted condition, ranging from one’s inner peace to the wider societal security, which is established by the rule of law and justice, and is maintained throughout the land.
The words emunah in Hebrew and iman in Arabic originate from the same Semitic roots, meaning trust. Trustworthiness and security are among the basic features of Prophethood. The Prophets’ mission was to carry across God’s message, a treasure of knowledge that could have only been entrusted to reliable individuals. “Amin” was the title of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, even before his Prophethood. He was the trustworthy one with whom everyone felt safe and secure. In one of his well-known traditions, the Prophet said, “A day will come when a woman will travel, riding in a litter, from Hira to Mecca and fear nothing except God and wolves.” This is why we practice faith – for peace in the heart and at large.
Today, we are starving for peace. Public places, terminals, parks … none of them feel safe. From Brussels to Ankara, from Damascus to Lahore, violence is the plague of our age. All of us have a growing responsibility to go beyond our routines and to begin healing our world. With this goal in mind, “Countering Violent Extremism: Mujahada and Muslims’ Responsibility” was the theme of an international symposium that took place on March 15-16 in Brussels, only days before the atrocious terrorist attacks. Hundreds of Muslim and non-Muslim scholars, from over fifty countries, participated in the event. Aiming to reach a scholarly consensus, they made the following declaration:
“The overwhelming consensus of Muslims throughout the centuries is that the primary objectives of Islam are: the promotion of peace, justice, the sanctity of all life and the natural world, the safety of all people and their rightful property, and an unqualified commitment to the principle of human dignity. Positions contrary to these primary objectives—especially efforts at stirring up conflict and discord based on deviant interpretations of the sacred texts—directly contradict the spirit of Islam.”
Here are some of the highlighted comments from the participants. Read this month’s issue with them in mind:
- “We should not give terrorists the legitimacy by calling them jihadists. They should only be called terrorists.” – Asma Afsaruddin, Indiana University
- “We Muslims cannot only condemn terrorism; we also need to understand its root causes.” – Prof. Achrag Abdulhamid, Dar al-Hadith al-Hassaniya, Morocco
- “The Gülen movement is much more than just protecting life from terror and bloodshed. It is a dignity rooted in the conviction that all humans are entitled to live freely, prosperously, and happily.” – Prof. Bart Kerremans, KU Leuven, Belgium
- “Certain aspects of religious teaching are used to motivate terrorism. This is abuse of Islam.” – Prof. M. Din Syamsuddin, Indonesian Council of Ulema
Faith is deficient, and sometimes dangerous, without sufficient, accurate knowledge. The Path of the Prophet Foundation is organizing a reading contest to deal with this deficiency. The reading contest, entitled “Who Is Muhammad (pbuh)?”, will take place online on two separate dates: April 16 and April 20. This year, the contest is only for North American residents. Awards include 33 umrah trips, 33 tablets, and 33 gift cards. Check out www.whoismuhammad.us for more information.