A Muslim Reflection of the Christchurch Shooting
Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
At 11.00 am today, Friday the 15th of March 2019, my first grand daughter, Nayla Hana was born at the Sungai Buloh Hospital. She is my third grandchild and my eldest’s third child. At the time of this writing, 5.40 pm, I have not had the chance to hold my grandaughter in my arms because my wife and I had to mind our two grandsons, a six year old and a three year old.
Four hours after my grand daughter was born I had glanced at some news and the Christchurch shooting was on clear display. Forty nine Muslims dead while attending Friday Prayers. Unlike many Muslims who read the news with shock and anger, I alone perhaps was not shocked but still I felt extremely sad. I was shocked and sad at the Orlando shootings on non-Muslims, the Nice truck running over non-Muslim children, elderly and adults, the Manchester bombing that killed many including children and many others because they were all perpetrated by IS Muslim terrorists making a simple political statement and strategizing a simple war tactic. What was the message? That Muslims should be at war with non-Muslims who are ‘kafir’ or ‘musoh-musoh Islam’ and killing them all was nothing short of ‘jihad’. Are those words familiar in Malaysia? We should ask Hadi Awang, Harunsanni and Asyraf Wajdi. I knew the Christchurch day would come but I did not have an inkling of how bad it would be. I prayed that it would be less than ten dead but 49 Muslim souls left the world as my grandaughter came into it.
What will happen after this? I know that politicians, muftis and Muslim evengelists will have a field day and month to pronounce the narrative of the ongoing war with the ‘kafirs’, musoh-musoh Islam’ and that Muslims must ready themselves for the glorious jihad. I am pretty sure that the Friday Khutbah writers are already putting words to paper to interrupt their stock khutbah by writing about how the enemies of Islam are bent on destroying the religion. When non Muslims are killed by the hundreds, these khutbah stay silent but when Muslim lives are involved these khutbah are the first on the front lines of questionable conscience.
In the midst of such obvious reactions to the atrocity in New Zealand, I am perhaps alone or part of a very few Muslim voice who would advice the Muslim to look into their own conscience and ask a very strange question; can the shooting be the result of the Muslim own vanity, arrogance and extremist tendencies? Many Muslims would balk at my suggestion but, as I said, I had expected, some sort of action in the form of retaliation on the day that we the Muslims remain ominously silent on the murders and killings by IS terrorists.
The Prophet Muhammad had left a simple rule about living in harmony with others. It is a rule that most Muslims do not follow or even take to heart. The Prophet had said to some Muslims; do not cause dishonour to your dead parents. When the Muslims asked how would they cause dishonour to their own parents, the Prophet simply replied; if you insult and dishonour the parents of others than they in turn will insult and dishonour your own parents! In other words, the act of dishonoring or insult to the Muslim own parents, the Prophet had blamed the Muslim themselves, not the non-Muslim. It is such a simple rule. It is part of the universal wisdom of do not do unto others as you do not want it to to be done unto yourself.
In Malaysia, we are seeing what is to be believed an increasing case of insult to religions, God and Prophets. Why now? Why suddenly JAKIM records 10,000 reports of insult to religion? One answer is simply the stupidity of social media users of facebook, instagram, whatsapp and what not. Technology does not make you smarter or well mannered. Reading, contemplation, meditation and empathy makes you smarter, not the three thousand ringgit smartphone. The other answer is the increasing use of the word ‘musoh-musoh Islam’, ‘kafir’ and calls to jihad following the Red Shirt rally of Cina Babi, Cina Pendatang and recently kaum penumpang by immoral and bankrupt politicians as well as arrogant muftis against the Quranic Verse:
O you who believe, no people shall ridicule other people, for they may be better than they. Nor shall any women ridicule other women, for they may be better than they. Nor shall you mock one another, or make fun of your names. Evil indeed is the reversion to wickedness after attaining faith. Anyone who does not repent after this, these are the transgressors.(Qur’an49:11)
I have never believed that insults should be punishable by prison term or fine. I do believe that calling on to Jihad and considering others as ‘musoh-musoh Islam’ are tantamount to sedition. I remind the Muslim of the following hadith of the Prophet Muhammad:
“Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights, or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgment.” (documented by Abu Dawud)
That Muslims should be saddened by the Christchurch shooting goes without saying. That Muslims should be angry at the killers still goes without saying. That Muslims must now call on non-Muslims as the enemies of Islam because of the shooting bears a pause that only enlightened entities could muster. Should not the Muslims look unto themselves? Should not the Muslim ignore and call on their muftis, political leaders and mosque lecturers to stop dishonoring Islam by insulting others as well a insinuating them to be enemies within out midst? Should the shooting and the death mean more retaliatory shootings and deaths by Muslim after this? Should not the Muslim think that this is what the IS terrorist wants; that we build a barrier of mistrust between us citizens of this country and citizens of this world. Should not the Muslim ask that the politicians and muftis out to canvas for votes and titles are wrong to use the shooting for their own selfish agendas?
Finally, religious spirituality is not about the form of body, actions and words quoting verses and examples but simply the ability to see beyond the obvious and contemplate the true hidden cause of such an atrocity towards a richness of wisdom, compassion and understanding of the human consciousness.