Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Christians in Muslim lands|
|01/21/02 at 13:30:53|
|Christians in Muslim lands|
In a horrible spree of violence, 16 Pakistani Christians were gunned down as they worshipped at St. Dominic's church in Bhawalpur, Pakistan on Sunday October 28.
One police officer was among those killed trying to defend the Christians, who make up less than three percent of the population in Pakistan. In recent years, the city has been the scene of violence between Sunnis and Shias. Now this violence has spread to other communities.
This horrific attack did not come in a vacuum though. Christian groups in Pakistan had been warning authorities that they were facing various kinds of harassment since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the subsequent American bombing of Afghanistan, which began at the beginning of October.
Meanwhile, in Nigeria, tribal unrest has left hundreds dead in a spate of violence that follows Muslim-Christian riots in the area.
Such harassment and violence do not behoove the followers of the Prophet Mohamed (peace and blessings be upon him), who emphasized the importance of protecting and respecting minorities in the Muslim state. The constitution he drafted in Madinah, following his Hijrah there, was unique in that it clearly established the rights and obligations of all parties living in the city, in particular, Jews and Christians.
Under this Madinan constitution, Christians, like other religious groups, had the right to not only protection from the Muslim government, but also freely practice their religion without harassment or violence of any kind.
This example of tolerance, respect and openness did not end with the Prophet's death though. When Umar ibn al-Khattab was Khalifah, he returned tax money collected from Christians in a town in modern day Iraq after he and the Muslims had to leave it. The taxes had been collected to ensure Muslim protection of the Christians living there. Since the Muslims could no longer do that, they returned the money.
Given these and many other examples from Islamic history, it must be emphasized that there is no place in any Muslim state for the kind of violence and bloodshed represented by the killing spree of October 28. The Muslim government as well as the Muslims of a given Islamic state are obliged to protect and respect Christians and their institutions as a protected minority.
Now is the time for not just condemnation, but also comfort and reassurance in the face of this tragedy. We must not forget the tremendous support American Christians expressed for Muslims in the wake of September 11 and the subsequent harassment of Muslims. It is now our turn to reach out.
What you can do about this if you live in Pakistan
1. Visit a church in your city and offer your condolences and sympathy for the attack in Pakistan. If it is closed, leave a note or a card expressing your regret for the incident and a way church officials can contact you.
2. If you know an Imam, tell him to give his next Friday Khutbah about the first Hijra of Muslims to a Christian land, Habasha or modern-day Ethiopia, where Muslims, who were a persecuted minority, found refuge and the freedom to practice their faith. The Muslim community survived and its faith was intact with the generosity, kindness and fairness of the Christian king, the Negus. The Prophet described him and his land in this way: "a king rules without injustice, a land of truthfulness." The Negus refused to hand the Muslims over to the Makkans, who wanted them returned to the city, and tried to bribe the Negus with gifts and deception about Muslim beliefs. He refused and the Muslims remained protected in his land.
3. If you are an active citizen, make sure your city, state/province and country provide Christians and other non-Muslims their due rights of freedom of religion and nondiscrimination.
4. If your mosque has a fund for Afghan refugees, establish one for the victims of this crime and their families in Pakistan.
5. If you are living in the US, encourage your local Imam to discuss this tragedy in his next Khutbah by clearly condemning the murders. It is important to remember that while Muslims in predominantly Christian countries like the US struggle for their rights, they must also be concerned about the rights of non-Muslims in Muslim lands, which are enshrined in Islamic law, but sadly, not always respected by those who are ignorant of Islam's stance on non-Muslim minorities.
6. If you have have relatives in Pakistan and Nigeria, e-mail them these and other suggestions on how to build bridges between Muslims and Christians at this critical time in both countries.
7. Have your mosque or Islamic organization issue a statement of condemnation of this terrorist act against fellow Pakistani citizens.
|Re: Christians in Muslim lands|
|01/21/02 at 14:49:17|
|Wa Lakum as Salam,|
Sr. Amal, I agree that the murder of those Christians should not have occurred, let me just say that first and foremost, because some of what I have to say may appear to not say that, but indeed I believe that that situation shouldn't have happened.
The pacts that the Muslims establish with the Christians assumes that 1) Christians will uphold that treaty and all will act accordingly, 2) the Muslims are fully in control of a land where Shariah is implemented, 3) They are paying a Jizyah tax and they do not take part in any spoils of war or Islamic zakat.
If we were really talking about the examples set my Umar ibn Khattab, RA, he drove any leftover Jews and Christians out of the Arabian Peninsula, didn't he? And this according to the wish of Rasulullah, SAWS. If we are talking about protecting Christians in Muslims lands, then we must also reciprocally talk about the Christians' treatment of Muslims in Christian lands. Again, I think to categorically ensure the protection and rights of Christians in Muslim lands, then the same aught to hold true for Christians.
Do we know if it is legitemate in Shariah to guarantee the rights of non-Muslims if they do not pay Jizyah taxes, if they call others to their religion from among the Muslims, and if their people are killing Muslims around the world?
Do we know if these people in this church were paying Jizyah, if they were proselytizing, or if they have spoken out an denounced the killing of Muslims in Afghanistan, and elsewhere by Christians?
What do we know about whether or not their blood was halal or haram, according to Shariah?
I think it hardly appropriate to mention Nigeria's deaths and the death of those Christians in Pakistan in the same post with regards to protecting Muslims. The Christians in Nigeria are fighting to stop the implementation of Shariah, and I believe I have all my ducks in a row with that issue. The sunnah is clear with what has to be done when non-Muslims oppose with violence the implementation of Shariah. What makes anyone so certian that when/if the Pakistani Christians gain more than 3% that they won't fight against any proposed Shariah, or its implementation in their province?
Qamar Akbal Kaan
|Re: Christians in Muslim lands|
|01/21/02 at 20:19:32|
Interesting questions QAK. Although I think you have already answered yourself in your first paragraph, I’ll give you my perspective all the same.
First of all, my understanding is that Pakistan is NOT an Islamic country although its population is predominantly Muslim; rather Pakistan is a secular state with an Islamic tint from the partial implementation of the shar’iah in the areas of civil and family law. If this is the case, then Pakistan can hardly demand jizyah from its non-Muslim citizens when it’s taking taxes from them like any other secular state. In the eyes of the secular law, citizens of the country have equal rights to protection as long as they abide by the law. The same would apply in an Islamic state if we substitute secular taxes with jizyah.
Secondly, if indeed those people were proselytizing to Muslims and that goes against Pakistani law then the government and the justice system have to take care of that. The due process of law has to be followed. If they did a crime then it has to be proven in a court of law and only then can appropriate action be taken. These people were gunned down like dogs in their place of worship; there’s hardly any justice in that.
Thirdly, we cannot justify violence towards Christians who live within Muslim lands and are abiding by the law on the pretext that their co-religionists are doing that to Muslims somewhere else. We know that in Islam no one should be held responsible for the crime of another. This mentality of “if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, it must be a duck” is alien to the profound sense of justice that is an integral part of Islam. Those people who are terrorizing and harassing Muslims in the US and elsewhere after September 11 are following the same skewed reasoning; as is also the case with the bombing of Afghanistan.
Even assuming that you can lump all non-muslims together as one group and consider how they treat muslims, how come we fail to notice all those people who’ve been supporting the muslims in America after WTC, what about all those non-muslims who’ve donated money to mosques (yes it has happened in our mosque), or the non-muslim women who’ve donned the hijab as an act of solidarity with Muslim women, or those who’ve protested and continue to speak against the war in Afghanistan and the abuse of muslim civil rights in this country? What about all these people? Which box do we put them in?
It’s not my intention here to advocate anything that is against the shari’ah. And If I have done so out of ignorance then please let me know so that I can correct it. But it’s my belief that we’re doing Islam a great disservice if we link what happened to those poor 16 people in Pakistan to the shari’ah in any shape or form. If anything it’s our duty as muslims who believe in Allah[swt] to speak against such a heinous act and not bend over backwards trying to justify it.
I understand that we are suffering and the desire to retaliate is strong. But we have to remember that as believers we don’t follow our own whims. It’s Allah [swt], The Just, whom we worship and He will hold us accountable for any injustice that we inflict on others. As mentioned in the Qur’an:
“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” Al-Ma’eda (5:8)
Regarding Nigeria, I don’t have all the facts so I’ll refrain from commenting there.
|Re: Christians in Muslim lands|
|01/21/02 at 21:45:28|
You are absolutely right. My mistake. I was more replying to the title for the thread than the Pakistan murder case you mentioned. I actually was thinking about modifying my message to say what you said about having to follow the process of law in such matters regardless.
Since the matter is so clear with regards to the Pakistan Church killings, don't you think it a bit out of place to mention Nigeria? I mean, I understand the link with the religion-motivated deaths, but are you trying to draw the connection that both groups, Muslims and Christians are killing each other this way?
As far as having equal rights as Muslims in an Islamic state, I am not too sure about that for non-Muslims, even if they pay Jizyah. In crimes between themselves, I believe that they can judge according to their own laws, but when it comes to crimes against Muslims, well, they have to pay the piper whether they follow secular law or not.
So what if non-Muslims have shown support for Muslims with their mouths. I mean isn't that why conservatives call them 'bleeding heart' liberals, because they are outraged and react to every perceived injustice. Just because a non-Muslim is supportive of Muslims when we get absolutely defamed and lied about in non-Muslim media, why do we have to be greatful when they actually say something half way decent? As far as donating to masjids and what not, I am glad, and I guess you all can be glad that I am not on the Executive Committee or fund raising board, cause I would have turned down any and all contributions by non-Muslims. Don't ask me why, and I am not saying its forbidden or bida'h or anything like that, I just wouldn't accept it.
Again, I feel I have to say, for all those people taking action or writing letters of condemnation about the Pakistan Church killings, have you written letters or asked your imams to speak out about the bombing of the masjids in Afghanistan, and in Aceh? Just show as much fervor and outrage for crimes against Muslims as you do for the proposed efforts to speak out about crimes against kaffir and I am sure that you won't have any spare time to even start thinking about efforts on behalf of 'oppressed' Christians.
Qamar Akbal Kaan
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