There is nothing righteous in terror!

By: Agha Haider Raza

What happened in Lahore is truly one of the saddest and heart-wrenching incidents I have ever experienced as a Pakistani.  When places of worship no longer carry the sanctity they deserve, the stark divide in religious ideology is made clear in Pakistan.  After wandering around various blogs and reading horrible hate posts by people who label themselves as Muslims, I felt compelled to write to the terrorists and their followers directly.  It is mesmerizing that there are people in my country who actually applaud the heinous crime of killing innocent people, carrying out a crime against Islam, a crime against Pakistan.  I am shocked at the people who have the audacity to support those who kill in the name of our religion, one that bounds my faith for the timeless virtues of tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness.

I’d like to know, who am I or who are you to declare anybody a Muslim or Non-Muslim? Who has given you the right to do so? Are you yourself a Muslim? Do you have empathy towards others? Do you look out for the poor? Do you live a modest life? Look inside yourself prior to naming others for their method of worship.  There is a difference between right and righteousness.  Righteousness lies with the heavens, not with you.  It is shocking that you killed innocents who were bowing before the very God you allegedly pray to! Have some decency. You may agree to disagree, but who has given you the right to take another’s life?

Many of you declare the Ahmaddi community as non-Muslim because of their beliefs and because they have infringed upon your interpretation of Islam.  You argue they have associated themselves with another prophet therefore they are blasphemous.  I ask you, have you not taken divine authority into your own hands by persecuting others based on religion? God put in place the Day of Judgment: what makes you think, you can do his job based on your own twisted ideology?  Let Him be the judge of their religious status. There is no virtue in taking up the mantle of God: indeed, this is where true blasphemy lies.

It is ironic that the very religion you assume you are protecting has been disfigured and defaced because of you.  For a religion that preaches tolerance, compassion and forgiveness, you have surely taken away its essence.  Suggest you find another name for the mind-boggling and demented ideology you follow.  Don’t distort Islam.  Don’t destroy Pakistan.  You may not want to call Ahmaddi’s Muslims, but that power does not lie with you (thank God).  The manner in which anyone practices their faith or religion is between them and their lord.  Get over it!

Pakistan was formed to provide for a minority.  If you look at my flag, Pakistan’s flag; you will see the white stripe that represents them.  Who are you to go and take that away from us? Do you believe in the passion of countrymen? Do you understand the meaning of being a Pakistani? Our patriotism lies in our passion and pride; holed out in caves and hiding your faces, like vipers that slither away after they’ve struck, you reek of cowardice and spinelessness.

We have tolerated you people for far too long.  I want my mosque, church and temple to have the sanctity they deserve.  Pakistan was not formed to allow space for religious persecution.  A country of 180 million people has shed enough tears on the passage of its loved ones.  Stop the bloodshed; my country has seen enough blood.

Regardless of religious status, the members of this community are Pakistanis.  They pay taxes and they contribute to the GDP of your country. I shouldn’t even say “your” country, for you have no reverence for the very motherland that has provided you with a ground under your feet.  You have no esteem for a fellow Pakistani.  You have distorted the meaning of being a patriot.  You have no respect for those who disagree with you in your community.  Stop using my religion to spread terror amongst the innocent.  I believe in a faith that allows for disagreement, I have trust in a religion that does not take the lives of innocents, I follow a faith that provides for a community of different religions in a country called Pakistan.  Get out of my religion – get out of my country!

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18 responses to “There is nothing righteous in terror!

  1. Shehryar Ahmed

    Yes, it is true that no one has the right to decide anyone’s fate apart from God on the day of judgement but call me old fashioned but all these people who are condemning the 2nd amendment in the constitution will gain nothing at all. The 2nd amendment clearly states that,

    “A person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of The Prophethood of MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), the last of the Prophets or claims to be a Prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), or recognizes such a claimant as a Prophet or religious reformer, is not a Muslim for the purposes of the Constitution or law.”

    I consider “Ahmadis” as Pakistanis the same way Muslims are represented as Indians in India but I wouldn’t consider them as Muslims due to their beliefs.

    However, I am also deeply saddened by these attacks and how different religious sects in Pakistan are being targeted.

    • Dear Shehryar sahab,
      Although I respect your right to a completely personal opinion, I would like to bring to you attention the definition of what a person must believe in to be a muslim:
      “La Illaha Il Allah, Mohammad ur Rasool Allah”
      Two statements:
      1. There is no god but Allah
      2. Mohammad is his Prophet

      once a person recites the Kalma, he is muslim and the kalma does not stipulate anything about Khatm-e-Nabooat. Given a logical interpretation, the ahmadi’s are technically muslims.
      As for our constitution, it does not provide us Pakistanis with an IOTA of protection from the state. Our constitution is a complete and utter joke.
      Besides, I really dont think that our (or the state’s) calling Ahmadi’s non muslims holds any value for your supreme creator and it is this supreme creator who will decide who is a muslim and who is not… not you and I!
      Let us Judge people for their Public actions, not personal beliefs!
      Peace!

  2. Well said my friend! What happened in Lahore and those who are responsible for it, only proves that they are following a religion that by far has no relation to Islam. Islam teaches tolerance, patience and gives every man and woman, no matter what religion, to follow as they please. Our country was founded on the grounds of this very principle. To live and let be. To give a nurturing home for all faiths. It hurts me, not just as a Pakistani and a Muslim, but as a human being to see innocent people who just want to live their lives peacefully, suffer by the hands of these heartless bastards!

  3. Agha Sahab, Bravo Indeed!
    Your words echo our very deepest frustration.
    I am not a muslim, but I am very much a Pakistani… I love my country but I fear that it will get much darker before it starts getting lighter again.
    I feel, what is missing is a movement – a forum- that can reach out to people, especially the young to give them an alternate choice… pakistani youth need a voice that says something other than “hate, kill, burn, destroy”.
    Thank you again!

  4. Shehryar Ahmed

    Xaher sahab the Ahmadi community clearly believes that their Prophet Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the second coming of Jesus. They also believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is like a subordinate to or deputy to the Holy Prophet. However, it is said that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is one of the 30 falsely acclaimed prophets.

    Also when you have said it yourself that a Muslim should believe in the Oneness of Almighty Allah and the finality of the Hazrat Muhammad whereas the Ahmadi communtiy believes that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the last prophet and whereas Islam says that anyone not believing in the oneness of Allah and finality of Holy Prophet shall be termed as kafir whereas Ahmadi people say that a person who knowingly rejects Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claim is a kafir and I am sure you would know what the claim is.

    Lastly, respectfully again I would like to say that I am deeply saddened by the attacks. I would be upset equally if the attacks were made on a church, mandir or a mosque. I am not saying that they should be attacked, but I believe that someone having false beliefs cannot be termed as a true muslim in my books. The rest is obviously up to Allah.

    Regards,

    Shehryar.

  5. Dear All
    The issue raised here by Mr Raza is undoubtedly the biggest challenge facing Pakistan at the moment. Terrorism has done enough damage to our country and our faith and the truth is that its gonna take a lot of time and effort to get back on the right track. Pakistan has gone back from being a developing country to an under developed third world nation because of terrorism despite all the countless aid and loans we’ve got in the last 15 years or so. The problem here lies within the heart of the nation. The biggest problem Pakistan has been facing since its birth is the lack of trust worthy politicians. Forget about the different faiths and religions living in Pakistan. We’re all humans here and everyone has a right to believe what they want. Religion is a very personal issue and its upon Allah to decide what is right and what is wrong. We as individuals have no right to point our finger on someone and judge them on the basis of faith.
    We need to change our system in order to get back on the developing side of the world. Just have a look at India which is now one of the fastest growing economies in the world and left us miles behind in the race of development. Countries like Afghanistan and Bangladesh have got a stronger currency than the Pak Rupee !
    We all have to stop being selfish and start thinking and doing something to benefit the nation and NOT OURSELVES !! Our politicians will have to change themselves and stop thinking about how much money and power they can enjoy because they are an MP or a Minister. I am not even gonna start on the politicians because thats a whole new topic of discussion ! The reason they are in power is us. As a ”democratic nation” the power must lie within the hands of the nation and the politicians are there to solve the problems of the nation. There are still countless people who live below the poverty line and don’t get their basic rights as humans. People are dying because they don’t have access to clean drinking water. The country has been facing the worst electricity crisis in history where cities like Lahore has faced 12 hours of load shedding in a day! The government and politicians have clearly failed to foresee the emerging crisis and if things don’t change and our greedy politicians don’t stop pocketing the money that we as a nation pay in heavy taxes then things could get even worse and we as a nation might find it hard to survive in those circumstances.
    Its time for us as a nation to start making some changes! we need to learn by our mistakes and start accepting other’s point of view! In the end your religion is your personal believe and will stay in your heart forever and you will be judged on the basis of your beliefs not others! But if we don’t put our personal issues and differences aside and don’t start thinking responsibly it might get too ! ! !

    Regards

    Ali

  6. I don’t know how this thing works or how formal one needs to be but my question is directed to Sherhyar Ahmed. How many Ahmedi’s have you spoken to lately? Do you actually believe that they would call themselves Muslims and recite the whole kalma if they didn’t believe that Hazrat Muhammad was the seal of Prophets?
    Well i know quite a few and i have spoken to quite a few, regarding their beliefs. You should try it. There is no difference between our belief and they’res. They even performs their prayers in the same manners as us. And i very clearly don’t believe that Islam has any Fiqa’s (differences in Islamic laws according to sects). If someone asks any of us what and who we are our response should be, what Allah has made us, followers of the Holy Prophet and servants to God.
    Ahmedi’s or not, they were all unarmed civilians who had taken out the time to go and offer their jumma prayers which i regretfully offered in the comfort of my own house. They are all muslim martyrs (shaheed) and died in the name of Allah.

  7. Shehryar Ahmed

    Aurangzeb if you have spoken to people who belong to the Ahmedi cast and they have said they believe that Hazrat Muhammad(P.B.U.H) was the seal of Prophets, then certainly they do not have faith in their own beliefs. Search online, ask your parents, ask religious scholars what are Ahmedi beliefs and the we can talk about it because as of right now what you are saying clearly means that for instance there is a Christian guy obviously born in a catholic family but says that he believes in Bhagwan and goes to mandir everyday but is labelled as a Christian.

    Secondly it’s ‘their’s’ not they’res.

    Lastly, everyone here might be thinking that I am pretty oblivious or really a hardcore Sunni Muslim who is some kind of an extremist or something and my behavior here is abominable but I want to assure everyone that there is nothing like that. I am just trying to show the silver lining. I respect all religions and respect everyone having their own beliefs. But when people start saying something they are not, then it bothers me. It’s like Asif Zardari claiming that he has never taken/given bribe to anyone.

    Regards,

    Shehryar.

  8. I enjoyed reading your piece and agree
    wholeheartedly with the spirit of what you wrote. It saddens me when I read or hear about people dying in the streets of Pakistan let alone in a place of worship. Unfortunately, it seems the point you have so passionately made has been overlooked if not completely ignored by your readers. The irony that your readers (the few that did take time to comment) are commenting about the very thing you passionately wrote against is overwhelming. Peace.

  9. Good Work Agha!

  10. Shehryar,

    I am an Ahmadi and I can clarify for you that I, alongwith the rest of the Ahmadiyya Jamat, believe that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) was the seal of all the Prophets. If you disagree with me and would like to insist that in fact I believe differently, than be my guest, as it matters very little. Your labels don’t make an iota of a difference to my faith, my practice, or my conviction that I am in fact a Muslim – and in fact one that has accepted Islam in its truest and purest sense.

    I won’t continue a debate on this thread with you with regards to your feelings on this, because to me it’s the same as if I were to try and convince you that you were in fact not a man but an old lady. If I think it, and insist it, you will surely laugh it off and have little respect for my opinion as I continue to be stubborn in my misconception regarding you. Likewise, I care very little whether you accept this or not – it is simply the case and your agreement of lack thereof makes no difference to me.

    Finally, if you want to make yourself aware of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Community – please don’t ‘search online, ask your parents or ask religious scholars’ as you have suggested. Have the courage to ask us directly and get the facts right on your own. Half the religious scholars you will go to will tell you that we are also ‘Wajib-ul-Qatl’. Make up your own mind by familiarising yourself directly with what we believe. The way to do it would be to visit http://www.alislam.org as that is the true representation of our beliefs. On the homepage you will see our beliefs written down by us, not the ‘religious scholars’, and it says that our belief in the Holy Prophet (pbuh) as the seal of all Prophets is unequivocal.

    Thank you AHR for raising your voice. It is high time that this collective silence from the entire state of Pakistan on part of the politicians right down to the common man towards the mistreatment of Ahmadis comes to an end.

  11. Nice writing Mr. Agha but Im afraid its not gonna change the attitude of these terrorists nor our government, they are too busy counting mighty dollar. Probably more than 90% of pakistanis would agree with you, but the best way to convey this message is to go out in the streets not sitting in a nice air conditioned office and publishing articles on-line. Enough has been written already, its time for some action now.

  12. Ahmad,

    I don’t want to get into a religious war here. There are a lot of issues that I can raise and you’re not going to have answers for all of them. Call me oblivious, extremist, biased, it does not matter to me because we certainly believe in different things as far as I am concerned and nothing is going to change that.

    Regards,

    Shehryar.

  13. Well, Mr. Agha I must say that you have written an eye opening article. I totally agree with your thoughts that we have no right whatsoever to declare people non Muslims. Our dilemma is that we lack tolerance and think that our beliefs are the most sacred. We do not listen and even respect the belief of others. This, over the years has become a part of our society and yet we complain to be the most suppressed ones. We as a society have stopped nourishing positively. We are playing in hands of Ignorant Mullah’s who have mutilated the face of Islam. They have learned that we can be easily provoked in the name of religion.
    Having said that, I do not blame Mullah’s but ourselves who have chosen to live in dark. As a Muslim it is our duty to learn and act on preaching of Islam. Instead, we have given the authority to understand and teach Islam to these ignorant Clerics and think we have served Islam.
    We have forgotten that we represent a religion whose beauty lies in its forgiveness, tolerance, compassion and in right of disagreement. Please forgive me but the truth is that Islam has died in our society, what left behind is brailvi, shia, sunni, wahabi with their own ideologies derived for their own interests.
    Enough hatred is spread and enough blood is shed .It is time that we should stop strengthening the hands of Evil and turn ourselves to the teachings of Islam. Let us defeat the forces which have kept us ignorant for their interests.
    Ahmad fraz wrote the below in other context but I think we need to listen and think and think hard

  14. Dear Agha,

    May God Bless you for your effort to raise voice against the violence, intolerance and injustice. Perhaps, if only 50% of the young people begin to think this way and raise their voice, a positive change can come to Pakistan. Otherwise, there is no hope. No cleric, no Politian, not even a super power can bring peace to Pakistan. You see Allah does not change a condition of nations unless they change themselves. If Pakistanis want to save their country and live peacefully, the moderate Pakistanis must wake up and speak against violence, intolerance, and injustice consistently and loudly. They should not stop until a positive change take place in Pakistan.

    May Allah enable Pakistani youth to bring a positive change in Pakistan where people from different faith can live in peace and harmony. Ameen.

    Sajid
    USA

  15. Ammar Zafarullah

    Terrorism needs to be condemned in every form and shape and all manifestations. No logic or reason is acceptable as no logic can justify the killing of innocent civilian no matter how pious the cause is. Over 25 thousand Pakistani have lost their live in the war against terror we need come firm and denounce extremism

  16. An Ahmadi Muslim

    Mr. Raza,

    Thank you. The nation needs many more voices like yours to speak up against jahalat and zulm. Much has been lost by looking the other way and blaming it on the mullah or foreign elements.

    We should join hands to uphold the sanctity of Islam instead of ripping it to shreds because we have closed our minds to be right rather than be righteous. We should join hands with all peace loving people for co-existence and co-operation towards the goal of peace and justice. Only then the vision of Pakistan will be realized.

    God Bless!

  17. It is good to see that even Pakistani Muslims who believe in exclusivist Islam and organised religion, talk of unqualified human rights and respect for all religions. I believe that the very idea of a separate homeland based on faith is the root cause of Pakistan’s problems: we may quibble till infinity on what faith and homeland mean, but the fact remains that a state based on anything but unqualified secular democracy is bound to fail and its citizens, irrespective of their individual faith, condemned to suffering and a backward political system.

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