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Revenge on the West

June 12, 2006

A comment made on my last post has got me thinking about what we as muslims do and how we react. Recent reactions to the Danish cartoons and the general Muslim worlds obsession with revenge is saddening. In the last post I also mention the story to the Prophet Muhammad when he went to the town of Taif.

He went their to spread his word, and after rejection by all the chieftains he was run out of town and stoned. And he offered the following supplication:

O Allah! I complain to You of my weakness, my scarcity of resources and my humiliation before the people. O Most Merciful of those who are merciful. O Lord of the weak and my Lord too. To whom have you entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair? So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your favour is of more abundance to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or your displeasure descend upon me. I desire your pleasure and satisfaction until you are pleased. There is no power and no might except by You.

The Angel (some say Jibrail/Gabriel) came to him and said ‘If you wish, I will destroy that town for you’ and bloodied though he was, Muhammad replied ‘No, I hope that these people will one day come to worship only God and Him alone’.

To my mind, the state of Jahil (Ignorance) is one which is fuelled by a hateful desire for revenge and entry into a vicious circle of violence and hatred, taking us all further away from the ability to do good.

Those who speak of vengeance against the West will the next minute destroy a building considered by others to be a place of worship. Because a person’s belief does not match mine does not mean I kill him. In fact the opposite is true. A true muslim would do what Islam the word means – Submission. Submit yourselves to what God is saying and doing and have belief that what is happening is for you and only because God has decreed it for you.

To all those who read the Qur’an and like taking things literally, read the second chapter, Al Baqarah and specifically verses 285-286:


285. The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His apostles. “We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His apostles.” And they say: “We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.”

286. On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray:) “Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith.”

Ultimately one of the fundamentals for life in this world for a Muslim is the understanding that this is only a temporary life and not to worry too much about it. It’s the hereafter we should worry about. So why do we get so het up about what people do and don’t do. Surely it was be simpler to accept life for what it is and get on with living it as best we can.


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  1. FI:

    In Baquara, it also mentions that You (then priests) do not preach that you yourself do not follow, that makes you hypocrites …


  2. a fundamental question indeed.
    sometimes we focus too much on the path, to an extent that we forget abt the ultimate goal.

  3. well, the common doctrine or philosophy that is taught sometimes by some is that the war for revenge or just an offensive is the highest form of iman! that heaven awaits for the martyrs. I think those people know very well that this life is nothing and the afterlife is what we prepare for, but their take on it is such to leave earning a living or living with sacrifice, patience or compromise; to go to extreme or stern paths.

  4. Fate Tectonics permalink

    To loosely quote someone, “The difference between humans and animals is that animals are happy with what they have, whereas humans always want something else, they can never be satisfied with what they have”.

    This implicit trait of humans is clearly expressed in most religions, that this life is merely a fleeting flicker en route to the great afterlife. The afterlife which is everything this world is not, good where this world is bad. Yet the irony is that most religions believe that actions in this temporary world influence one’s status in the afterlife.

    This life is as important as any afterlife, if it were not important, we would not be here. Use your time well and start as you mean to end.

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