"We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely"In light of the awful events in Paris and elsewhere across the world, it is clear that it is time that Islamic Scholars put this principle into practice. In short, this verse is an invocation to all Muslims of all flavours to ensure that every effort is made to save every soul. When any Muslim embarks on ANY form of Jihad, this principle should be at the heart of their actions. It cannot be clearer that the actions of the Paris terrorists and the campaign of ISIS in Iraq and Syria can in no way ever be reconciled with this principle.
Many Jihadi's believe that they will be rewarded in heaven with riches and 77 virgins if they die whilst conducting Jihad. The rewards of martyrdom are something which seem to be a massive incentive for many to carry out all manner of actions. But are these actions compatible with the principle of verse 5:32?
Martyrdom is not simply the reward for dying while shouting "Allah Akbar" (God is great). The action has to be compatible with the principles of Islam. Was the execution of an injured policeman, who laid prone and vulnerable on a Paris street compatible with any Islamic principle? Of course it was not. It was a complete abberation, as is beheading hostages in Iraq and Syria.
It is encumbant on all Muslims to save souls. Every soul is important, Allah does not discriminate. We have free will and we can reject Allah, that is a decision we make and presumably the consequences are ours to face. But what about someone who professes to be a Muslim, professes to be waging Jihad, but who commits an action that not only contravenes Koranic principles, but alienates huge swathes of the population from the religion? When we see a religious figure such as Mother Theresa of Calcutta dedicating her life to the poor, the downtrodden and victims of discrimination, whatever our view, we get inspiration from this. Many people have been drawn towards Roman Catholicism due to the actions of people such as Mother Theresa. Any person of any religion or even no religion, can only be ispired by such actions. For many it helps them get closer to God.
On the other hand we have radical Jihadists, who kill innocent people, simply in a misguided mission to in some warped way, believe they are promoting the Islamic faith. Whilst their own small group of fanatics are spurred on to ever more sick and barbaric acts, the vast majority of the human race are repulsed by their actions. Militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins use every such atrocity to demonstrate that ALL religions are backwards and dangerous. Stalin once described western liberal apologists as "Useful idiots". Although I am sure Dawkins does not think in such terms, there is no doubt that from the militant atheist perspectivre, radical Islamic Jihadi's are the most useful idiots of all. I've spoken to many moderate Muslims in the UK who are horrified and disgusted by these actions. Wheras a religion that is seen to spread peace and goodwill is hard to oppose, one where innocent people are slain is something no reasonable person feel comfortable being associated with.
There is a famous line in a movie that says "The devils greatest trick is convincing us that he doesn't exist". It strikes me that this is not actually true, the devils greatest trick is to persuade people who claim to subscribe to a faith to take actions that are totally irreconcileable with the principles of that faith and are likely to alienate people who may otherwise be inspired to join it.
The sad truth for Jihadi's is that every single soul, who may have found islam, but has been alienated to it by the violence of the extremists, is a crime against Allah and a stain on their soul. They may be offended by many things in Western Society, but if you believe in Allah or God, you believe that he is all powerful and all knowing. The way to stop what you believe to be blasphemy is to dedicate your life to living a just life and setting an example that others will choose to follow. If you are seen by your peers to be saving lives, showing compassion, spreading social justice and setting a good example to your neighbours, then how can anyone lampoon or insult you? The truth is that those who seek heaven by acts of murder and violence are misguided. It is a far harder commitment to live the life or a Mother Theresa speding decades working to help those at the bottom. There is no glamour and it is hard work. Picking up a gun is simply the cowards way out.
I believe that all of us have a personal Jihad - it is our mission to make the world a better place. My philosophy is that my tools in this mission are my words and the efforts of my labours. This is why I volunteer for homeless charitie and disabled charities. It is why I write a blog.
As I said at the start of this blog, I doubt any Jihadi's read this blog. But if, just by some small chance, one day one does and they turn away from a life of violence and dedicate their life to helping their fellow man, maybe they will undo some of the damage they have done to the image of their religion. In some small way that is my way to satisfy the requirements of verse 5:32, because even though I am not a Muslim, I believe that this is a truly wise principle. And I consider that getting this message across is my personal Jihad.