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Do extremist and radical Muslims care about their Prophet's lifestyle?
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Today in many Muslim communities we can observe three phenomena: first, radical groups born and became popular in war-torn countries where the human psyche became brutalized and deeply hurt, second, Islam turned into an ideology of fighting or revolution or at least into ideology of resistance. Third, penetration of criminalization syndrome into the minds of Muslim youth, even a kind of nexus between criminal underground and violent radicalism, can be observed in many countries.
A result of the above mentioned a kind of pseudo-religiosity and pseudo-Islamization generating and driven by negative emotions (which Islam came to cure), shocks and crises is underway in a number of Muslim communities around the world which in its turn is crushing down all remnants of multiculturalism and pluralism left after the authoritarian and police regimes. However, religiosity and fanaticism are completely different from each other. While religiosity in Islam is denoted by the concept "taqwa" (in a narrow sense piety), fanaticism is depicted as "taassub". Prophet Muhammad himself urged against any kind of "taassub", fanaticism.
Truly, anyone who possesses a bit knowledge about Islam may wonder "Do radical Muslims know the lifestyle of Prophet Muhammad, main principles of his message beyond some dates and some normative prescriptions?"
Prophet Muhammad never described any Muslim as an apostate, never did act rudely to anyone of different religion and never did "otherize" anyone. He maintained perfect personal conduct even with the most notorious hypocrites in Madina and never punished anyone including the bitter enemies. That is why almost all leaders of Meccan polytheists and the descendants of Madina hypocrites became Muslims, they were just melt away in the atmosphere of inclusiveness and xenophile. Verily Quran urges "We made the humankind honorable/ 'karim' and the Prophet through his lifestyle tried to inculcate the belief that "we are all humans and our human identity comes before our ethnic and religious identity" what was the clearest sign of inclusiveness of his life-style. To teach this to his followers the Prophet stood up for the funeral of a Jewish man out of respect for his humanity.
Although, by and large Islam cannot be presented as a pacifist religion, because after the migration to Madina the permission to armed struggle was given. However, this permission came to be tied to very strict conditions. Even a scholar like Ibn Taymiyya [whose views frequently are used by extremist and radical groups to justify violence] acknowledged that Prophet Muhammad never began hostilities against any unbeliever and all wars of Prophet Muhammad was defensive. Hence, if to look holistically through the prism of the Prophet Muhammad's lifestyle, it can be seen that he fought only defensive wars and unbelief ('kufr') cannot be a reason of war-making.
A holistic view of the Prophet Muhammad's lifestyle indicates defensive character of his military campaigns and their extremely small portion in entire period of his prophet-hood. The statistics show that out of eight thousand (8 000) days of his prophet-hood period the total amount of time spent in all active battles was only half of a day, only thirteen hours (!). However, it was the time of utmost barbarianism and Muslims were confronted with total war. Furthermore, there is no any reliable evidence suggesting that Prophet Muhammad himself killed anyone even in the battlefield: there was no stain of blood on his sword.
Those who indulge in violence under Islamic slogans not only selectively invoke Quran and Sunnah but they act completely against the underlying aims, style of reasoning (mind-set) and psychology of Islamic teaching. On the whole, this kind of hijacking of Islam is probably the biggest crime against Islam. We cannot help but wonder if radical and extremist Muslims understand the essence of the lifestyle of Prophet Muhammad? To follow the lifestyle of Prophet Muhammad and first generations means to be inclusive and xenophilic (i.e. attraction to other people, cultures and customs) , but no way exclusivist, arrogant, let alone extremist and violent.
Independent scholar based in Almaty (Kazakhstan), a faculty member at Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Suleyman Demirel University in Almaty and a non-residential research fellow at the Rethink Institute, Washington, DC. (more...)
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