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EVERYTHING IS NOT FAIR IN WAR


For quite some time, we see important issues and incidents taking place in our country passing through the phases of the reactionary cycle and ending up with a question mark on them. By the virtue of media proliferation and the cut throat competition in breaking the news and opinion branding, We, the awaam, often stand confused about the facts. The gust of news and various opinions typically exhaust us of the matter and soon after we become indifferent to it.  But in the process what we turn our backs on is the real abuse of someone’s right hard pressed under the heap of manipulations. It is right that in present times unfortunately nothing has been left simple to understand due to the politicization and mediatization of even irrelevant issues, yet it’s our right and duty to identify the wrong and call it so.

The murderous attack on Malala Yousafzai is the latest of such incidents. In relation to that here we are sharing an article written by our team member for our readers to form their own opinion about it. [Awaam]

By Shagufta Ajum Syed

Part I

SCENE 1:

“I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.”

Malala Yousafzai, envisioning a confrontation with the Taliban.

SCENE 2:

A 14 years old girl named Malala Yousafzaiwas identified and then shot twice at point blank range by gunmen who stormedher school bus on October 9th, 2012. Two others girls Shazia and Kainat were alsowounded in this attack. Later Interior Minister Rehman Malik while visiting Swat announced that Malala will be awarded theSitara-e-Shujaat award and also met the other two victims.

SCENE 3:

Ehsanullah Ehsan, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s spokesperson claims responsibility for the attempt on Malala’s life and threatens to attack again if she survives.

THE STORY BEGINS…

It all started in 2009 when a blog by a female student was published by the BBC under the by-line Gul Makai (Malala Yousafzai’s pen name). It was a diary of a child living in Swat.

It is said that people are usually punished because of the choices they make but this story is strange in that regard.How can a little child be punished because a child is too naive to make the right choices. One has to be an adult to understand the concept of punishment,especially the concept of corporal punishment and the death penalty.

It is a long tiring journey from childhood to adulthood. A journey that teaches one to make the right decisions, guides and helps one to move forward and nobody has a right to take that away from anyone. They say nip evil in the bud but it is not applicable to every situation. Normally according to judicial systems around the globe, young children who have not yet come of age or are not yet adults are not punished. Malala Yousafzaiis still a child and she wasn’t even given the chance to grow up… to weigh the pros and cons or think about the right or wrong or to choose the path she wanted to follow. Her life was cut short.

Everything is not fair in War… it is not fair when a 14 year old is forced to choose, it is not right when a child is brutally attacked. It is not fair because Islam, Quran and the life of the Holy Prophet (SAW)… (Sunnah) show that the lives of women and children are to be spared during wartimes.

Persecution is worse than killing. We might not realize but the persecution of Swat has been continuing till this day. Who are we to debate what is right andwhat is wrong. Much has already been written and said. Let’s not continue the futile discussion of whether the drone attacks are right or wrong or whether the Taliban’s stance is correct or the Government’s writ is more important.

The children of our tribal belt, of Afghanistan, and of all the war zones…regardless of their  association…whether they are the children of the allies or the enemies… they are the ones who lose … they are the victims.  They are forced to be in the wrong position and that will have a long lasting impact on them.They cannot be dragged into this mess because they are children and whether they are right or wrong is not for us to decide. Their childhood needs to be protected. The future intelligentsia of our homeland needs to be protected. When wars are waged, it is the people who suffer and die.Robbing children of their innocent childhood is not an act of bravery.

People of all ages are lighting candles, arranging peace marches to support Malala and praying for her speedy recovery. Everyone who has a child or has a kind heart, be it pro /anti-Taliban or pro/ anti-government wishes that Malala regains higher brain functions very soon and can lead a normal healthy life. Insha’Allah. The country hopes that she will be given a chance to grow up and to choose when she is an adult.

Let’s pray for the little Malala and not punish her for her namesake. (Malala: grief stricken)

Part II

On October 9th, 2012 EhsanullahEhsan, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s spokesperson claimed responsibility for the attempt on Malala’s life and threatened to attack again if she survives.

By October 10th,2012, another detailed statement by Taliban went viral and was being discussed by everyone in the electronic and print media. The gist of this statement was

  • “Malala is running a campaign against Islam and Sharia.Malala has anti-islam sentiments. She is helping a blasphemous army. She is spreading hatred amongst Muslims about Mujahideen.She follows a secular ideology and is associated with mischief makers. She praised American President Barack Obama and criticised the Taliban.
  • They say that it is permissible to kill children and women under special circumstances and gave the reference of the following incidents. According to this statement Hazrat Khizar(may Allah be pleased with him) killed a child while he was accompanying Hazrat Moosa (may Allah be pleased with him) as the child was thought to become a mischief maker in future. Another example that was quoted was that a blind man who was close to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) killed his wife because she said something bad about the Prophet (PBUH).
  • Taliban consider Malala a “Western Spy”andshe was rewarded for this espionage.
  • According to Taliban’s statement the Qur’an says that people propagating against Islam and Islamic forces should be killed. Malala is against mujahideen [holy warriors] and Taliban so she was punished. Another reason for this attack was that Malala spoke against the Taliban while she sat shamelessly with strangers.”
  • The Taliban say that Malala was not attacked for raising voice for education rather for opposing this war and they claimed that Shariah says that even a child propagating against Islam can be killed.”

This was their side of the story. Now let’s try to understand this situation by studying the Holy Quran, Sunnah, Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) sayings and his companions’ actions.

This is what the Quran has to say:

  • The first verse of Quran states:“In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.”(Chapter 1, verse 1). So that means Allah is the most merciful and that is the quality that His beings should be reflecting in an ideal situation.
  • The Holy Quran also states “There should be no compulsion in religion.” (Chapter 2, verse 256)
  • In chapter 18, verse 29 Allah says:  “And say, ‘The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills – let him believe; and whoever wills – let him disbelieve.’”
  • In chapter 88, verse 21, 22 Allah says: “Admonish, therefore, for thou art but an admonisher, Thou hast no authority to compel them.”
  • In Surah Al-Shura chapter 41, verse 48 Allah says: But if they turn away, we have not sent thee as a guardian over them. Thy duty is only to convey the message.

This is what Quran says about rights and freedom of choice. Every person is answerable to Allah about the choices he/she makes.

Now coming to Hazrat Moosa (may Allah be pleased with him) and Hazrat Khizar’s (may Allah be pleased with him)  journey together. Strangely Taliban compared themselves with Hazrat Khiza r(may Allah be pleased with him) and Hazrat Moosa (may Allah be pleased with him) which is a blasphemy in itself. Naozobillah thinking that they (Taliban) can be compared with a man of God, a prophet. Here there is another interesting point being raised by Religious scholars that Hazrat Khizar’s (may Allah be pleased with him) situation was specially created by Allah for Hazrat Moosa (may Allah be pleased with him). Hazrat Khizar(may Allah be pleased with him) and Hazrat Moosa(may Allah be pleased with him) (Kaleemullah: the one who can speak to Allah) were men of God who were taking orders directly from God.The question is “Whom are talibans taking orders from?”

Those who advocate Malala’s attack actually advocate capital punishment by Taliban. Advocating capital punishment is not easy. If we just consider it for a minute that Malala was pleaded guilty of being an apostate, an infidel and a wrongdoer in the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) time or in His companions’ (may Allah be pleased with them) time, what would have happened to her.

Here is the case of Umm Qarfah, a woman who became an apostate during the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him). She had thirty sons whom she constantly exhorted to fight the Muslims. She paid the price for her treason and for her complicity in murder, not on account of her apostasy.(Masboot, vol. x, 110)

Umm Qarfah was never tried for apostasy. This is the example that Islam sets. This is the mercy Islam shows. Hazrat Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) was the closest companion of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and this was the decision he made.

There are no traditions about the killing of women by Holy Prophet PBUH. People, groups or organisations have no legal authority to decide the punishment or to decide whether one’s act is a crime or not. If one party thinks that the other party has committed a crime then there are legal processes and systems that one can approach instead of taking law in one’s own hands. Only People having the authority can decide who is right and who is wrong. This is what the Quran tells us as well. Allah orders us to obey the people in authority.

“O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority among you. And if you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger if you are believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is best and most commendable in the end.” (Al-Nisa’ Chapter 4: Verse 59)

In Pakistan, we have state’s machinery in the form of a judicial system and a Jirga. The judicial system (and in some cases jirga) is actually the one who has the authority. For social peace, Islam guides us to follow the authority so that there is harmony amongst menfolk.

One opinion is that because Muslims believe in the life after death so when it comes to moral, religious or disciplinary matters why not leave it to Allah. Especially if it doesn’t involve a life and death situation and there are no further severe hostilities expected by the defaulter then we humans don’t have a right to be judgemental. The best judge is Allah.

Now coming to the Blind man killing his wife incident that was quoted in the statement by Taliban.There is no difference of opinion about the fact that observance of God’s laws is more important than anything else. “Anything else” here means that anything based on weak traditions or anything about quoting incidents without their full context.

The Holy Quran comments about murder:

“Whosoever killed a person — unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land — it shall be as if he had killed all mankind.” (Chapter 5: verse 32)

Abdullah ibnAbi bin Salool (the leader of hypocrites) once misbehaved and reacted aggressively in front of the Holy Prophet PBUH. Hazrat Umer (may Allah be pleased with him) asked the Holy Prophet PBUH whether he could kill the man for the insolence. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) responded:

“Forgive him for people may say Muhammad (PBUH) kills his associate.”In spite of all his mistakes the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) called him an associate and forgave him.

So it is an individual’s choice whether he/she wants to believe in the blind man’s exampleor The Holy Prophet’s(PBUH) example. From the above hypothesis, it is clear that either it should have been left to God to deal with Malala in this world and the next or a judicial system (Jirga, legal authority etc.) should have been contacted.

Islam says that murdering one person is like murdering the whole humanity. Then how can this attack be justified in any case. Not only that cannot be justified religiously but also it is beyond condemnation in the Pakhtun traditions to attack women. So culturally it is also not acceptable.

Islam is a religion that shows mercy, kindness and compassion. The Holy Prophet said:

“He is not one of us who does not show mercy to our young ones and respect to our elders”.

Statements by Taliban are not really going in the direction of mercy here. That pretty much explains that who is defending the right ideology. If one party is unable to send a message across, there are always other ways available. Violence is neither a solution nor an option. That doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

“Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in a way that is best.” (Chapter 16: verse 125)

This is what the Quran tells us to do to argue, to discuss things, to workout things with wisdom and this is “the Jihad” that Malala was advocating… “The jihad with pen”.

I leave it to you to decide that who is right and who is wrong.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Shagufta Anjum Syed is a team member of Vision21

This entry was posted in: Uncategorized

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Vision 21 is Pakistan based non-profit, non- party Socio-Political organisation. We work through research and advocacy for developing and improving Human Capital, by focusing on Poverty and Misery Alleviation, Rights Awareness, Human Dignity, Women empowerment and Justice as a right and obligation. We act to promote and actively seek Human well-being and happiness by working side by side with the deprived and have-nots.

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