Are Violence and Extremism Islamic Phenomena?
It is very important to note that violence is not an Islamic phenomenon. There is no meeting point between Islam and violence as practiced by groups in different parts of the world. The true religion of Allah does not permit aggression, violence, injustice, or oppression. At the same time, it calls to morality, justice, tolerance, and peace.
Responding to the question, the prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states the following:
It cannot be said that violence is an Islamic phenomenon. Violence has no religion or nationality. If some Islamic groups are involved in violence and are considered extremist, there are also other groups and even nations that are known for committing acts of violence, such as Israel, or Hindu groups in India.
Violence has no nationality; it exists everywhere. The list of individuals, groups, or even nations that use violence to attain political aims is quite long. Israel has the worst record of using violence and committing atrocities against the Palestinian people as well as the Lebanese.
Some people, particularly Marxists and communists in general, want to interpret the phenomenon of violence as the result of economic injustice. We cannot deny the truth in this explanation. The Qur’an did not underestimate the financial factor in explaining certain phenomena such as killing the children out of destitution or out of fear of pauperism.
Others explain violence using the conspiracy scheme, meaning that behind all this violence is a diabolic design. This interpretation is quite popular; it alleviates any sort of responsibility because someone else is accountable, and at the same time it renders us impotent vis-à-vis political oppression. We are facing religious, social, and political oppressions. The human being is free; therefore one should not accept this explication. Even if some people really are conspiring against us, is that an excuse? Why don’t we make our own plan? Should we always be victimized by others?
A single answer to this phenomenon is unacceptable, because it is a multi-faceted, compounded, and complex problem. Some of the reasons behind this phenomenon could be attributed to internal, external, and psychological factors; some can be attributed to intellectual factors; others are social or economic. Some people focus on the external factors. This is neither objective nor scientific thinking; there must be a reconciliation between all the factors.
There are many factors to this phenomenon:
1. The absence of a moderate line of thinking. It is important that prevalent moderate Islamic thought come into the open in order for a multitude of young people to find their way instead of going underground. The absence of such a line of thinking left the ground open for extremist thought and philosophy.
2. The absence of true scholars who are capable to convince with the proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Their absence left the arena open to unqualified, the so-called scholars working for the authorities. Consequently, the youth lost confidence and appointed themselves as sheikhs to issue fatwas on complicated problems.
3. Oppression of the people and lack of democracy led the people to take things into their own hands. Oppression breeds violence, and violence breeds more violence.
4. The non-application of the Shari?ah is also a main factor, as many countries state that Islam is the official religion of the country, and others may add that Islam is the main source of the laws. After this, people see enacted laws that run counter to the Shari?ah, and for sure such laws provoke young men to commit acts of violence.
5. The propagation of corruption and the proliferation of oppression in society are also reasons for frustration.
By Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
Taken from islamonline