Answered by Dr. Wael Shihab at OnIslam.net
We read the horrible news that a 14-year-old child activist was shot in the head in the former Taliban stronghold of Swat Valley on Tuesday. The Pakistani Taliban claimed the attack in a series of telephone calls to reporters and then issued a strongly worded statement justifying the attack on a child on the grounds that the girl, Malala Yousafzai, had preached secularism and so-called enlightened moderation. Does Islam condone such attacks? Is this Islamic?
Thank you for your question.
Unfortunately, some Muslim individuals or groups may distort the image of Islam by means of their irresponsible actions. The horrible crime of shooting a 14-year-old Pakistani girl due to her intellectual views or personal thoughts is NOT Islamically justified and its perpetrators should be held accountable for it.
People’s thoughts and views, moreover, cannot be changed by force. Violence is not an option to spread one’s values or views. Peaceful and scientific dialogue is the effective way to share and discuss views and personal convictions. If this reported horrible incident is true, its perpetrators should be brought to justice for such an unwarranted crime.
It is noteworthy that it is only the State and its concerned authorities that should apply the law; people are not entitled to take the law in their own hands. No group or individual has the right to punish or target the girl whatever views or opinions she has. Organizing the affairs of people and imposing laws that govern their lives are the responsibility of the State.
Moderate Muslim scholars in Pakistan, and in every part of the world, should call to Islam and its values by means of wisdom, mercy, and dialogue. Islam is far from being cruel or hard. Islamic Shari`ah never justifies or teaches violence or injustice. In this context, Ibn al-Qayyim says:
فَإِنَّ الشَّرِيعَةَ مَبْنَاهَا وَأَسَاسُهَا عَلَى الْحِكَمِ وَمَصَالِحِ الْعِبَادِ فِي الْمَعَاشِ وَالْمَعَادِ وَهِيَ عَدْلٌ كُلُّهَا ، وَرَحْمَةٌ كُلُّهَا وَمَصَالِحُ كُلُّهَا وَحِكْمَةٌ كُلُّهَا فَكُلُّ مَسْأَلَةٍ خَرَجَتْ عَنْ الْعَدْلِ إلَى الْجَوْرِ وَعَنْ الرَّحْمَةِ إلَى ضِدِّهَا وَعَنْ الْمَصْلَحَةِ إلَى الْمَفْسَدَةِ وَعَنْ الْحِكْمَةِ إلَى الْبَعْثِ فَلَيْسَتْ مِنْ الشَّرِيعَةِ وَإِنْ أُدْخِلَتْ فِيهَا بِالتَّأْوِيلِ
Indeed, the Sharia is founded upon wisdom and welfare for the servants in this life and the afterlife. In its entirety it is justice, mercy, benefit, and wisdom. Every matter which abandons justice for tyranny, mercy for its contrary, benefit for corruption and wisdom for foolishness is not a part of the Sharia even if it was introduced therein by an interpretation.
[Ibn Al-Qayyim, I’lam Al-Muwaqqi’in ‘an Rabb Al-Alamin 11]
Given the above, it becomes clear that the barbaric crime referred to in the question is alien to Islam and its noble teachings. Muslim groups are called to preach Islam by means of wisdom and dialogue and to translate Islamic teachings of mercy and justice into practice. Individuals and groups are not entitled to take the law in their own hands. The State should play its role in defending people’s lives, honor, and properties.
May Allah accept your and our good deeds.
Allah Almighty knows best.
(www.faithinallah.org / 11.10.2012)