Review of Maulana Wahiduddin Khan's book The Prophet of Peace by Mohammed Wajihuddin | The Times of India | The Speaking Tree | March 09, '10
A truly Islamic Movement is carried out through peaceful means and never adopts violence. The Maulana sees political Islam as being inimical to the original plan of the religion, which was peaceful and non-violent.
When the Taliban ousted the communist regime in Kabul in 1996, they began the “Islamisation” of Afghanistan by bombing the Bamiyan Buddhas. The act justifiably generated worldwide outrage against the misguided Mullahs. It presented a violent face of Islam, yet again.
Noted Islamic Scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, in his new book The Prophet of Peace, calls all such violent acts un-Islamic. To the Maulana, unarguably the face of moderate Islam in India, violence was never in the lexicon of early Islam. And since violence is a later day addition and part of political Islam – an ideology that asks Muslims to establish the political rule of Islam in the world – it is dangerous. The ideology of violence, the Maulana argues, cannot be countered with guns and bombs, but only with the ideology of peace. And Islam, by definition, is a religion of peace and the author has tried to convey this through Quranic injunctions and reliable Hadiths, the traditions of the Prophet. He reiterates Islam’s message of peace when he quotes the Prophet: “A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands people are safe.”
Explaining that terrorism is a manifestation of political Islam, the Maulana says that after Muslims lost out to Westerns powers, a section of then felt humiliated. The angry Muslims, especially in the Arab world, couldn’t reconcile to this and declared a war against the West. To re-establish Muslim rule, several political movements were launched. Jamaluddin Afghani, the nineteenth century political activist who initiated the idea of pan-Islamism, became a source of inspiration for many Islamic movements. Afghani sowed the seeds of hatred for Western nations in Muslim minds.
Among the leaders that Afghani inspired, two emerged prominently: Egyptian intellectual Sayyed Qutub and Sayyed Abul Ala Maududi. While Qutub established the Muslims Brotherhood in 1928 in Egypt, Maududi founded Jamat-e-Islami in 1941 in Lahore. Some of the followers of Maududi founded the students Islamic Movements of India, now banned. These two movements, ideologically political but presented in Islamic grab, radicalized Muslims in several countries. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan dismisses all such movements as misguided as they were “anti-Western rather than pro-Islam”. A truly Islamic movement is carried out through peaceful means and never adopts violence, he writes. The Maulana therefore, sees political Islam is being inimical to the original plan of the religion, which was peaceful and non violent. He opposes political Islam also because none of the Quran’s 6,000- plus verses asks Muslims to establish Islamic rule in the world.
The slim and handy book is a timely rebuttal to jihadist mentality and a guide to those who wish to understand Islam better. The Delhi-based, globe-trotting, erudite Maulana who also edits a periodical titled Al-Risala, says that the Prophet preferred peace over war and forgiveness over revenge. The Prophet, after winning Mecca in a bloodless Coup, forgave all those who had harmed him and his companions, including the one who had brutally killed Hamza, his uncle.
The pacifist Maulana perhaps echoes the sentiments of peace-loving Muslims when he says that Islam should be judged by the teaching of the Quran and the Prophet’s Hadiths, not through the acts of violence perpetrated by a handful of misguided elements who call themselves jihadists who defame Islam.