The Islamic Society of Southeastern Idaho is unequivocally opposed to terrorism and religious extremism. The message of our mosque is focused on peace, tolerance and love. We believe that Islam has a much more robust tradition of peace and that present-day extremists that commit heinous acts of terrorism and other atrocities either deliberately or mistakenly miss these traditions.
During the time of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) in the first 13 years of the revelation of the Qur’an the Muslims in Mecca did not raise a hand in violence against their non-Muslim oppressors. Instead, the revelations of the Qur’an emphasized peaceful co-existence with them on par with the same exhortations found in the Gospels. The Muslims were taught to be peaceful and show forgiveness towards them despite the oppression, torture and murder.
“The servants of the All-beneficent are those who walk humbly on the earth, and when the ignorant address them, say, ‘Peace!’” (Holy Qur’an: Chapter 25, Verse 63)
“Repel ill [conduct] with that which is the best. We know best whatever they allege.” (Holy Qur’an: Chapter 23, Verse 96)
“Adopt [a policy of] excusing [the faults of people], bid what is right, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Holy Qur’an: Chapter 7, Verse 199)
“Say to the faithful to forgive those who do not expect Allah’s days, that He may [Himself] requite a people for what they used to earn.” (Holy Qur’an: Chapter 45, Verse 14)
Instead some Muslims migrated to Abyssinia (present-day Ethiopia) to escape these attacks. Later the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and most of the remaining Muslims in Mecca migrated to Medina at the invitation of the city’s dominant tribes narrowly escaping an assassination attempt on the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). When in Medina, the non-Muslim leadership in Mecca confiscated the property of the migrating Muslims which prompted a general call for a response from the Muhajireen (migrating Muslims). According to Abdul Kabir Hussain Solihu, who is an associate professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Fundamental and Interdisciplinary Studies, Faculty of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences at the International Islamic University in Malaysia, there are five fundamental values in Islam that must be promoted, protected and preserved. These are religion, life, progeny, intellect and property (Solihu, 2007). The Meccans confiscation of the Muslims property was a clear violation of the property principle in Islam so warfare was permitted through a number of revelations of the Qur’an. The first permission can be found in Chapter 22 Verse 39 in the Holy Qur’an which states, “Those who are fought against are permitted [to fight] because they have been wronged, and Allah is indeed able to help them.”
The permission to fight in Islam was not unusual considering the long tradition of the warrior-prophet among the Israelites. Still it was not a blank check to attack all non-Muslims or to conduct the war without a code of conduct. The Muslims were told through revelations in the Qur’an during this period that they were only to fight those who fight them and that they were to strive for peace. They were strongly forbidden to take life that was not permitted to be taken i.e. civilians.
“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress. Indeed Allah does not like transgressors.” (Holy Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 190)
“And if they incline toward peace, then you [too] incline toward it, and put your trust in Allah. Indeed He is the All-hearing, the All-knowing.” (Holy Qur’an: Chapter 8, Verse 61)
“That is why We decreed for the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul, without [its being guilty of] manslaughter or corruption on the earth, is as though he had killed all mankind, and whoever saves a life is as though he had saved all mankind. Our apostles certainly brought them manifest signs, yet even after that many of them commit excesses on the earth.” (Holy Qur’an: Chapter 5, Verse 32)
Today, some extremist Muslims have forgotten the emphasis on peace in Islam, the rules / code of conduct for warfare and the prohibition on attacking innocents. Two Muslim professors at American University in Washington, D.C. (Mohammed Abu-Nimer & S. Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana) published an article in the journal Peace & Change in which they stressed the peaceful concepts in Islam (Abu-Nimer & Kadayifci-Orellana, 2008). These are:
- Peace with oneself, fellow people, nature and God
- The Unity of Mankind
- Compassion and Mercy
- Human nature as good and innocent
- Social responsibility
- Emphasis on dispute resolution
One would be hard-pressed to find these high ideals represented in Islamic extremist groups across the world. Luckily, a majority of Muslims are peaceful not because they are ignorant of their faith, but because they follow and practice the whole of Islam. They don’t just practice parts of it for convenience. It is hard to be peaceful in the face of injustice and oppression. This is stressed in the Qur’an regarding justice. In Chapter 42 Verse 40 of the Holy Qur’an it states, “The requital of evil is an evil like it. So whoever excuses and conciliates, his reward lies with Allah. Indeed He does not like the wrongdoers.” In this verse it is permitted to return an evil with a like punishment (murder for murder, for example), but in this verse it stresses forgiveness. Later in Verse 43 it notes, “As for him who endures patiently and forgives—that is indeed the steadiest of courses.” The one who forgives is much better than the one who acts, but it also recognizes that this requires great patience. It must be noted that the members of the Islamic Society of Southeastern Idaho put emphasis on forgiveness, peace, love and mercy because we strive to seek the reward of God.
Lastly, the Islamic Society of Southeastern Idaho recognizes and follows the wise words of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) who stated that Islam is a religion of ease and moderation. Based on these traditions (hadith) we believe that extremism has no place in the religion of Islam, our mosque, this community or any community in the world. Our mosque is a place of toleration, but we will not tolerate extremist rhetoric and especially violent rhetoric in our mosque. Anyone espousing these views will not be allowed on mosque property and further the board of the mosque will inform the FBI.
Narrated by Abu Huraira
Allah’s Apostle said, “The deeds of anyone of you will not save you (from the (Hell) Fire).” They said, “Even you (will not be saved by your deeds), O Allah’s Apostle?” He said, “No, even I (will not be saved) unless and until Allah bestows His Mercy on me. Therefore, do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and worship Allah in the forenoon and in the afternoon and during a part of the night, and always adopt a middle, moderate, regular course whereby you will reach your target (Paradise)” (Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 76, Number 470).
The Prophet said, “Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings, the nights” (Sahih Bukhari: Volume 1, Book 2, Number 38).
Abu-Nimer, M., & Kadayifci-Orellana, S. A. (2008). Muslim Peace-Building Actors in Africa and the Balkan Context: Challenges and Needs. Peace & Change, 33(4), 549-581.
Solihu, A. K. (2007). Making Sense of Natural Disasters: An Islamic Hermeneutics of Malevolent Phenomena in Nature and Its Implication for Sustainable Development. American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 24(1), 46-72.