Nearly 14 centuries ago, Prophet Muhammad (S) predicted the emergence of a very misguided group of Muslims that would create fitnah (sedition). About their characteristics, he (S) mentioned that they would recite the Qur'an, but it would not go beyond their throat; they would kill the followers of Islam; they would glance through the teachings of Islam so hurriedly just as the arrow passes through its prey; their outward display of Islamic rituals would be such that his (S) pious Companions would even hold insignificant their own prayers and fasting. [Muslim: Abu Said al Khudri (R)]
During the caliphate of Ali (R), this group emerged and came to be known as the Khawarij (Kharijites). Their understanding of Islam was grossly flawed. They declared that all Muslims who differed with them on the interpretation of the Quran were kafirs and went on to kill the Caliph Ali (R) and many other Muslims.
The JMB appears to be a modern-day version of the old Khawarij. That is why we are not surprised with the wishful claims of its confused cadre. In recent months, its suicide bombers launched attacks in various places of Bangladesh in such a co-ordinated manner that none has seen like it in our 34-year national history. To understand their motivation, one simply has to hear what Abdur Razzak, a suicide bomber, said after he was arrested. Like his forerunners, he did not want to be caught alive nor survive, but wanted to die for what he claims the 'cause of Islam.' He was arrested immediately after detonating a bomb at the entrance of the Gazipur deputy commissioner's office and attempting to detonate another tied to his body. The bomb blast killed a man and injured another thirty including cops, lawyers and journalists.
"I came here as per the directive of Allah to destroy the enemies of Allah and Islam," Abdur Razzak told journalists and doctors at the Gazipur Sadar Hospital as he lay in the bed injured by the bomb he himself blasted. He confessed that he was a member of the suicide squad of Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a banned Islamist outfit. He said, "I joined the suicide squad and wanted to be a martyr to establish the law of Allah." "I carried out the attack at the will of Allah," he said at Pangu Hospital once again.
Such statements beg answers from the JMB to the questions: "Do you know the dictates of Islam? Do you know the distinction between murder and Jihad, between acts that are condemned and that are venerated? What is your understanding of Divine law (the very law that you want to impose in Bangladesh)?" Let me give some hints from the Qur'an and the Hadith.
The Qur'an says in Surah al-Ma'idah, "Whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life all mankind." (5:32) The Qur'an also says, "And slay not the life which Allah has forbidden, save with right (just cause)." (17:33)
The Prophet Muhammad (S) said, "Among the major sins are: Association of anybody with Allah, disobedience of parents, killing of a person and taking a false oath." [Bukhari: Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As (RA)] In another sahih hadith, he (S) advised, "Avoid the seven major (most harmful) sins. These are to join partners in worship with Allah, to practice sorcery, to kill without justification a living being whose life has been declared sacred by Allah, to practice usury, to misappropriate the property of an orphan, to flee from the battlefield at the time of fighting and to slander chaste and innocent believing women." [Bukhari and Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]
From the above, it is crystal clear that not only does the Islamic Law (Shariah) prohibit shedding of anyone's blood it is even against killing of any living being without justification. Murder is considered a major sin and its perpetrator shall be punished for eternity in hell. The Qur'an says, "Whosoever slays a believer of set purpose, his reward is Hell for ever." (4:93) Is there anything worse?
Life is sacred in Islam. That is why we find Muhammad (S) to decree: "Do not adopt the practice of unbelievers after me, killing each other." [Bukhari and Muslim: Jabir bin Abdullah (R)] He (S) also said, "A perfect Muslim is a person who does not harm another Muslim with his tongue or hands and a Muhajir (emigrant) is one who leaves that which Allah has forbidden." [Bukhari and Muslim: Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As (R)]
In the farewell hajj, the Prophet (S) advised Muslims in these words, "Your blood, your belongings and your honour are sacred to each other, as sacred as this day, this city (Makkah) and this month (Zil-Hajj). The day is not far off when you will face Allah and He will call upon you to account for actions in this world. Therefore, beware and do not turn as disbelievers, when I am no more (present), by killing each other. Let all those who are present here convey this message to those who are absent; because some of those who receive this message indirectly may remember it better than those who hear it directly." [Bukhari and Muslim: Abu Bakr Nufai' bin Al-Haris (R)]
The JMB cadre likes to depict its violent activities as Jihad. However, Jihad in Islam is not an act of violence directed indiscriminately against civilians. Inflicting injuries to anyone outside war or in punishing of criminals (according to the dictum of the shari'a and the view of a judge) is completely forbidden by the Islamic Law.
Does not the Qur'an demand total obedience to Allah and His Messenger (S)? The criminal activities of JMB belie their devotion to Allah and His Messenger. Qur'an says: "Who does greater wrong than he who invents a lie concerning Allah and denies His revelations? Lo! The guilty never are successful." (10:17)
The unlawful activities of the JMB suicide bombers, which have killed some 28 innocent people, are neither Jihad nor their death martyrdom. In the last fourteen centuries, no 'alem (scholar of Islam) has ever approved such criminal activities. Truly, by any account, the activities of the JMB are totally alien to the spirit of Islam.
No civil society can afford to condone mayhem against its people, especially when such activities have nothing to offer a society other than mindless nihilism. It is, therefore, imperative that this modern-day Khawarij be fought tooth and nail and stopped from their nihilistic misadventures before it is too late.