The horrific attacks perpetrated yesterday in France, Tunisia and Kuwait is unbelievably shocking and simply put beyond words and reason. As more of these heinous attacks become a common phenomenon, it presents a very real and emerging dilemma in being able to deal with countering such venomous popularized ideologies. There is however, a strong theme which runs through all these terrorist attacks, a theme which is subtle but the driving force giving it the momentum it needs to solidify in people’s mind and heart. This is the idea, my group, organisation, its principles and visionaries are the ultimate truth. This belief is further given credence by increasing number of radicals within almost every type of Islāmic groups. It ties in nicely with what i had mentioned earlier on Ramadan Bites: The fault in our Stars .
These people stop seeing alternating views of life and enforce (literally) their version on others connected together with the string of fear of eternal condemnation for rejecting their truths and therefore losing all hope of redemption and reprieve from harm. A code of conformity that behaves very much like any cults prevalent in the dark underworld of subversion, from the upper echelons of religious organisations to the average person. It is this notion of rejecting others, and seeing them nothing more worthy than revulsion and disgust that hones in on the displaced innocents. The terrorists who carried out Friday’s attacks were none the more clear about their views of life than Stalin was during the soviet era. They must have clearly viewed the innocent they killed worthy targets simply because their version of conformity was not accepted. Islam never came to enforce the way of life on others, it presents clear signs and suggests to people if you like what you see, and can understand the facts of life then accept it, otherwise there is no force, compulsion or threaten into accepting Islam. This is the crucial piece of the puzzle which many Islāmic groups are severely lacking today. Each group sees the other with contempt and distrust, claiming to be the only ones who hold the way to Allah. Everyone else, well, they are just wasting their time, as “we have the complete way” of ascending the ladder of righteousness.
I have, and still do meet many of these radicals who air such deep held beliefs that their way is the only closest and authentic way, shutting the door to other groups and seeing them with a very cynical eye. In essence claiming to “own” Allah, (astagfirullah) placing themselves as God and God as them, i.e the servant. When actually it is Allah who allows others to do righteous actions, have righteous groups and correct symbols of piety. I have seen those who lead a life playing Allah; allowing people in, accepting agreeable views and rejecting views and ideas which do not place their group in a hierarchy of ‘best practicing spiritual group’. Yes, it is true, there may be a group which has a higher concentration of the truth compared to others in the same field, but this does not mean one group has monopoly over all and every group to claim the crown of authenticity. This does not mean groups which are wholly inaccurate and false should not be highlighted. Just as the title of this post is somewhat striking, so to is the mindset of the radicals within some groups. What it does mean however is it should be done without the baggage of stuck-up noses in the air type arrogance and bigotry. The overriding benchmark of keeping adherents in check and from dishonoring the group is by the radicals within the group promoting the thought of unbearable pain and spiritual rejection they will receive simply for wanting clarification or providing any suggestions. The pain of material loss and more often spiritual deprivation completely unsettles even the most strongest of minds on the onslaught of ‘you will be spiritually harmed’. It is akin to saying ‘you will follow the house rules (group/organisational) or die’, literally in many of these terrorist attacks, this is the mindset of cowards who hide behind masks and balaclava standing in front of black flags and shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ at all scenes of carnage.
One often thinks, if the success of achieving the eternal pleasure and closeness of Allah was placed in the hands of man, every-man would be busy signing each other to hell fire. In actuality, groups end up doing this for many of their adherents by issuing declarations, our visionaries are the sole benefactors of humanity and without them no one will go anywhere. So submit to them, forsake your heroes and hold on to ours. In the last decade and more recently now, Islāmic groups are displaying this attitude towards each other giving room to growing notion ‘we are the only true Muslims, lovers of the sunnah, Sufis, followers of the pious, and there are none others’. Therefore worthy to be classed as incomplete and spiritually desolate individuals merely living empty lives with no meaning or spiritual experiences. This does not mean no one should hold their particular group in high esteem, by all means do. If you are benefiting from the productive ground level work they are doing changing lives for the better than be proud of who you are. But, do not display a sense of bravado which shuns others and says mentally, psychologically, literally, ‘look at us, we are the best and the only ones in the right league table’. The teaching of each correctly guided group is noble, their founders were true gentlemen and original thinkers who spent large amounts of their time thinking of how to help people. No group teaches people to look down on other groups who are doing honorable work, supporting the weak. Yet, it is unfortunate to see the radicals within a particular group, often times with their misplaced zeal and disorganized dedication display a strong mental stigma towards other groups in the same field, as if they are unworthy essentials, an unavoidable bump on the road to perfection.