Title: Is Mr. Blair ready to admit that he is prejudiced?
Author: Zakaria Fadel
Date: 06-10-2013, 05:51 AM
(Islam and Charitable Work)
(A religion which advocates charitable work cannot have a problem from within with terrorism.)
Why do people who know so little about Islam spread malicious falsehoods about it?
Tony Blair the former British prime minister told the Mail recently (Sunday the 9th of June) that while he doesn't believe there is a problem with Islam, he's convinced "there is a problem within Islam." The British newspaper had no qualms about publishing an article titled “The ideology behind Lee Rigby’s murder is profound and dangerous. Why don’t we admit it? Tony Blair launches a brave assault on Muslim extremism after Woolwich attack,” It is worth noting that this article has no substantial evidence to prove that there is a problem within when it insists that Islam preaches intolerance.
Furthermore, Tony Blair claims that the "Islamic" brand of extremism is "not the province of a few" and it’s different from other forms of extremism as it is fundamentally incompatible with pluralistic, open-minded societies. While suggesting that the "problem" stems from "within Islam," Blair exhibits a lack of knowledge that has longed plagued Western politicians regarding faith and politics; the inability to separate the religious perpetrator from the religion itself.
Islam “like all religions” can't act, only Muslims can. Islam has never blown up a building or demanded that followers should chop up a military drummer or kill Marathon goers, in order to alleviate the sufferings of Muslims living thousands of miles away. It may be true that Muslims have done these things. However, if they have done it, we should not assume that they were only animated by the teachings of their holy text or the sermons in their mosque, or by the degree to which they interpret and digest their faith. Anyone with an average amount of intelligence would know that Muslims commit violence just as followers of every faith do. And that violence should always be condemned and its perpetrators punished. That is unquestionable.
In addition, it is vitally necessary to remind people that Islam gives great importance to human life. In general all Human Life, not only that of Muslims and this is evident in the charity walk of life. "Charity is for those in need." This is a general principle which motivates Muslims to help people in need, be they good or bad, on the right path or not, Muslims or non-Muslims. Every Muslim, who wants to earn God’s approval, will abide by this. No one is entitled to judge those people who need help. The foremost goal in charity should be God's pleasure and our own spiritual good. The concept of charity in Islam is thus linked with justice. It is not limited to redressing grievances. It implies apart from the removal of handicaps, recognition of the rights of every human being to attain fulfillment in life. Here I quote two of the most important sources of Islamic teachings which are commonly used to educate Muslims:
"Spend (in charity) out of the sustenance that we have bestowed on you before that time when death will come to someone, and he shall say: "O my Lord! If only you would grant me reprieve for a little while, then I would give in charity, and be among the righteous." - The Holy Quran, 63:10
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises." He was then asked: "From what do we give charity every day?" The Prophet answered: "The doors of goodness are many...enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one's legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one's arms--all of these are charity prescribed for you." He also said: "Your smile for your brother is charity." - Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98.
Therefore, it is a tragic fact that Mr. Blair ignores the facts on the ground and opts for a logical fallacy based on hasty generalization and presumptions when he mentions that, “There is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology that is a strain within Islam. And we have to put it on the table and be honest about it….”
Westerners who know nothing about Islam might get misled further after reading Mr.Blair’s baseless allegations. As a true Muslim advocating well researched facts, I would like to say - “No, Mr. Blair, a religion which advocates charity , and demands that the followers should contribute generously to every Human being who is in need, whether they are Muslims or non Muslims, good or bad, black or white is incapable of having a problem from within with terrorism. Do not associate terrorism with Islam.”
In conclusion, it is important to remember that charity is associated with generosity that stems from within. Mother Teresa once mentioned that “Love is not patronizing and charity isn't about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same -- with charity you give love, so don't just give money but reach out your hand instead.” Whether it is Christian or Islamic ideology, some of the philosophic sayings are the same. Martin Luther King Jr once said that every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. According to liberal minded Muslims, Islam, a religion that upholds the true spirit of charitable generosity could never be used to preach intolerance. Mr. Tony Blair just needs to accept the truth of this statement and decide whether he wants to be appreciated for creative altruism.