For many years, the Western world has been struggling to influence the Islāmic world in regards to how it should use certain terminologies of classification. Unfortunately, it has won in its endeavor of influencing the mindset of the majority Muslim world into believing its own classifications of the Muslims. Their struggle against changing the meanings, however, did not face much difficulty and obstacles as there were very few in the world that challenged them; and challenging them seemed illogical for anyone to do. Recently, we saw that Tony Blair will be giving a large sum of money to the Islāmic Institutions of Britain in order to make it clear to the minds of the people who the “truly moderate” Muslims are; it is a tactic employed for the purpose of seeking the destruction of the “moderation” of those whom they call the “terrorists.”
The four words that the Western world has been struggling to win over are as follows:
4. True Muslim
Our attempt here is to compare the Western definitions of such words to the authentic Islāmic definitions which are based on the Islāmic texts; it is then for our brothers and sisters to accept the Western view or the Islāmic view. The purpose of such an attempt is to verify the ground that our fellow believers should be standing on.
In the end, for those who choose the Islāmic view, glad tidings for them as the path will become difficult; and the lessons from the stories of Ibrāhīm (‘alayhis salām), the boy and the king, the people of the ditch, and the persecution of the Sahābah in the Makkan era are all fruitful truths that prove: if you want to stand for the Haqq (truth), then prepare to battle Bātil (falsehood) because it will never give in peacefully. These stories will suffice for the believers in their endeavor to have Sabr upon this Millah (path, religion). Sadly, the majority of the Muslims in the West have the mentality that if they want the Haqq to prevail, then they should refrain from standing up for it at this moment since we are in the “Makkan Stage.” Ironically, this understanding is in complete contradiction to what actually happened in the Makkan era since the Sahābah were persecuted for standing up for the Haqq (al-Walā’) and exposing Bātil (al-Barā’ah) even though they were in small numbers and they were the earliest of the earliest (in Islām).
From the Western point of view, here are their definitions:
1. Terrorist – This has 3 main categories:
a) One who kills “innocent civilians” (Notice the Quotation marks).
b) One who makes or made Jihād against the West and is with a group of Mujāhidīn and openly supports them.
c) One who desires Jihād in any part of the world.
And the last one was added on after 9/11 for the purpose of unifying the effort on the “war on terrorism” with the various nations so that the “Islāmic Terrorists” would be rooted out and would have no chance to rest.
2. Extremist – This has 3 main categories:
a) One who is a “Terrorist” and adheres to the belief of establishing an Islāmic State.
b) One who adheres to the ideology of the Salafī Jihādī (i.e., following all 3 generations, showing respect for the Salaf and make [and inciting] Jihād purely for Allāh’s sake). This also includes one who shows love and respect for the Shaykh, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdil-Wahhāb (rahīmahullāh).
c) One who openly shows al-Walā’ wal Barā’ah (loyalty and disavowal) even if they know that it frustrates the inhabitants of that land. This also includes those who make Takfīr (declares those to be outside the folds of Islām) of the Apostates and Muslim Governments (of today).
3. Moderate Muslim – This is the one who:
a) Does not openly support the Jihād fī Sabīlillāh (whether it is by inciting it, spreading its news, recruiting etc.).
b) Has interest in integrating into the non-Muslim societies and showing them love, and allegiance; he will almost never show his hatred openly, and if he does, it won’t be something that will shake the non-Muslims and their Country. Rather, his (type of) Islām seeks the pleasure and approval of the non-Muslims.
c) Supports Muslim Scholars that respect the Muslim Governments of today.
d) Emphasizes tolerance with almost everything; they put special emphasis on tolerance with all Religions and their people, and the Governments. At the same time, they have elements of disavowal and enmity towards the Mujāhidīn.
4. True Muslim – This is the same as the Moderate Muslim Category; however, there are some Muslims of that category that are more active than the others. In the eyes of the West, true Muslims are people like Hamza Yūsuf, Zaid Shākir, Keith Ellison, Mahdi Brey, Habīb ‘Alī al-Jafrī, Hishām Kabbanī, Shamsi ‘Alī, Jamal Badawī and thousands of more.
From the Islamic Point of View, these are the definitions with their respective evidences:
1. Terrorist – One who terrorizes the enemies of Allāh Ta’āla. Allāh says,
وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُمْ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ قُوَّةٍ وَمِنْ رِبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ وَآخَرِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِمْ لا تَعْلَمُونَهُمُ اللَّهُ يَعْلَمُهُمْ
And make ready against them All You can of power, including steeds of war to terrorize the enemy of Allāh and Your enemy, and others besides whom, You may not know but whom Allāh does know. (Al-Anfāl: 60)
This is not only permitted but this is greatly preferred by Allāh in warfare. Some might look at this and say, “Well, you are taking this out of context… there is no terrorism in Islām,” but the problem with such an argument is that their mindset is already fixed on what terrorism is. If we were to start with a clean slate, we would see that in Islām, terrorism is to instill fear and terror into the hearts of the enemies and this is exactly what we are referring to. As long as the method is within the limits of the Sharī’ah, then this terrorism is lawful and loved by Allāh; however, if it is not sanctioned by the Sharī’ah – such as killing the Mu’āhad (the one who has a covenant with the Muslims) or a Dhimmī intentionally – then this is not loved by Allāh since the blood of such people is protected and therefore sacred.
2. Extremist – There are three types of extremist in this Dīn:
a) One who goes beyond the boundaries that have been set by the Sharī’ah. For example, claiming to be a Prophet or making Halāl what Allāh made Harām. There are 3 types of extremists of this category, and the last one is the worst of them:
– ‘Isyān (disobedience)
– Fusūq (defiance)
– Kufr (disbelief)
This is based from the āyah,
وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ فِيكُمْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَوْ يُطِيعُكُمْ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِنَ الأمْرِ لَعَنِتُّمْ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيْكُمُ الإيمَانَ وَزَيَّنَهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكُفْرَ وَالْفُسُوقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الرَّاشِدُونَ
And know that among you is the Messenger of Allāh. If he were to obey you in much of the matter, you would be in difficulty, but Allāh has endeared to you the faith and has made it pleasing in your hearts and has made hateful to you disbelief, defiance and disobedience. Those are the [rightly] guided. (Al-Hujurāt: 7)
And the worst of the extremists are the Murtaddīn (Apostates) that wage war against the Muslims whether directly (by fighting) or indirectly (by speaking). The example of this is the wars of Riddah (Apostasy) during the Caliphate of Abū Bakr al-Siddīq (radiyallāhu ‘anhu); all the Murtaddīn were put to the sword – after being warned by the Muslim Army general (and neglecting his warning) – and not a single of them was tolerated by the Muslims nor were there any dialogues of tolerance or “understanding” between the Muslims and the Murtaddīn.
b) One who thinks that more needs to be done than what the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhī wassallam) did in ‘Ibādah. The example here is the famous incident where three Sahābah tried to do more than what the Prophet did himself by fasting more, praying more (in Tahajjud) and refraining from marriage. Also in this category that’s included are the people of bid’ah (innovation) since they (who commit bid’ah) believe that more needs to be done in the Religion; if this wasn’t the case, then they would have never committed bid’ah. An example of bid’ah is worshipping graves, celebrating the holidays of al-Kuffār, calling on the Scholars that have passed away, practicing magic and so on. The Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhī wassallam) said, “Every innovation is misguidance and going astray.” [Reported by Abū Dāwūd (no. 4607), at-Tirmidhī (no. 2676) and it is sahīh. Ibn Hajr authenticated it Takhrīj Ahādīth Ibn ul-Hājib (1/137)]
Those who help, support, or befriend the people of innovation will also fall under this category of extremism since the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhī wassallam) said, “Whoever innovates or accommodates an innovator then upon him is the curse of Allāh, His Angels and the whole of mankind.” [Reported by Bukhārī (12/41) and Muslim (9/140)]
c) The Khawārij and their Kharjī mentality which was mentioned by the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhī wassallam) in various ahadīth. Some of their qualities include being harsh against the Muslims, and humble with the disbelievers, fighting and killing the Muslims and sparing the disbelievers. Their likeliness of today are those of the Rulers that govern the Muslim lands; they take the disbelievers as their Awliyā’ (supporters, guardians) to fight and kill all the Mujāhidīn who desire the Sharī’ah on the land.
3. Moderate Muslim – One who follows the middle path as it was said in the hadīth of Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhī wassallam). Contrary to what the Muslims who are labeled as “moderate” by the Kuffār and the Governments, this includes having strong and unyielding Imān in Allāh and the Hereafter, being harsh against the Kuffār and showing them hatred and enmity until they become Muslim like how Ibrāhīm (‘alayhis salām) showed us, befriending the true believers (which we will mention next) and being humble with them, waging Jihād against the Kuffār and Murtaddīn with the sword, and following all the commandments of Allāh and His Messenger to the best of one’s ability.
All of these evidences will be mentioned under the next category of the True Muslim.
4. True Muslim – It is the same as the moderate Muslim and there is absolutely no difference. The best of Muslims amongst the Sahābah were the best of moderate Muslims. He is a Mu’min who desires to give his soul to Allāh ‘Azza wa Jall whilst knowing that in return, he will be promised Jannah. The descriptions of such a person are so numerous that it cannot be detailed here. We will give the following āyāt and ahadīth as examples:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالإنْجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِعَهْدِهِ مِنَ اللَّهِ فَاسْتَبْشِرُوا بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُمْ بِهِ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
Indeed, Allāh has purchased from the Mu’minīn their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allāh, so they kill and are killed. [It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’ān. And who is truer to his covenant than Allāh? So rejoice in your transaction which you have contracted. And it is that which the great attainment is! (At-Taubah: 111)
And He Ta’āla says,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَنْ يَرْتَدَّ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ يُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلا يَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لائِمٍ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
O you who have believed, whoever of you should revert from his religion – Allāh will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him [who are] humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers; they make Jihād in the cause of Allāh and do not fear the blame of a critic. That is the favor of Allāh; He bestows it upon whom He wills. And Allāh is all-Encompassing and Knowing. (Al-Mā’idah: 54)
And He Ta’āla says,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِهِ صَفًّا كَأَنَّهُمْ بُنْيَانٌ مَرْصُوصٌ
Verily, Allāh loves those who fight in his Cause In rows (ranks) as if they were a solid structure. (As-Saff: 4)
And He Ta’āla says,
قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُوا لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَآءُ مِنْكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ كَفَرْنَا بِكُمْ وَبَدَا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةُ وَالْبَغْضَاءُ أَبَدًا حَتَّى تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ
Indeed there has been an excellent example for You In Ibrāhīm (Abraham) and those with him, when they said to their people: “Verily, we are free from You and whatever You Worship besides Allāh, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred forever, until You believe In Allāh Alone…” (Al-Mumtahinah: 4)
And the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhī wassallam) said,
مَنْ مَاتَ, وَلَمْ يَغْزُ, وَلَمْ يُحَدّثْ نَفْسَهُ بِهِ, مَاتَ عَلَى شُعْبَةٍ مِنْ نِفَاقٍ
“Whosoever dies without participating in an expedition (i.e., Jihād), nor has the intention to do so, dies on a branch of hypocrisy.” [Sahīh Muslim]
And in another hadīth:
وروى النسائي وأحمد والبيهقي، عن سَبُرَةَ بن الفاكه رضيالله عنه قال: سمعت
رسول الله > يقول: ” إن الشيطان قعد لابن آدم بطريق الإسلام، فقال: تُسْلِمُ وتَذَرُ
دينك ودين آبائك؟ فعصاه، فأسلم، فغفر الله له.
ثم قعد له بطريق الهجرة، فقال: تهاجر، وتذر دارك وأرضك وسماءك؟ فعصاه
فقعد له بطريق الجهاد، فقال: تجاهد وهو جهد النفس والمال، فتقاتل فَتُقْتل، فتُنكح
المرأة ويُقسم المال؟ فعصاه فجاهد.
فقال رسول الله >: فمن فعل ذلك، فمات، كان حقاً على الله أن يدخله الجنة!
وإن غرق كان حقاً على الله أن يدخله الجنة. أو وقصتْه دابة كان حقاً على الله أن يدخله
مسند أحمد: ٣ / ٤٨٣ . والمجتبى للنسائي: ٦/ ٢١ – ٢٢ . وشعب الإيمان للبيهقي: ٢ / ٩٥ . والحديث صحيح.
Saburah bin al Fākah narrated: I heard the Messenger of Allāh say, “Certainly, Shaytān has intercepted the son of Adam on his path towards Islām and told him: “Are you going to become Muslim and leave your heritage and the religion of your forefathers?” But the son of Adam disobeyed him and became a Muslim and was forgiven. Then Shaytān sat for him on his path to hijrah and told him: “Will you make hijrah and leave behind your home and land?” He disobeyed him and made hijrah. He then sat for him on his path towards Jihād and told him: “Are you going to fight when it is an exhaustion of yourself and wealth? You would go to kill and would be killed and then your wife would be taken and your wealth divided.” The son of Adam disobeyed him and went on Jihād.” The Messenger of Allāh then said: “Whoever does that, it is incumbent upon Allāh to admit him to Paradise! Or if he dies by his animal striking him he would go to Paradise.” [Musnad Ahmad (3/473), an-Nasā’ī (6/21-22) and al-Bayhaqī (2/95); and the hadīth is sahīh]
So where do such people that are known as “moderates” in the eyes of the Kuffār go with such āyāt and ahadīth? Which alley or building can protect them from these miraculous yet forthright verses and traditions?
As is apparent, the Western view and the Islāmic view of these terminologies are in total cahoots with each other. For those who attempt to build a bridge between the two worlds, let them know that their wastage of time and effort will always meet with failure and confusion. Such people will always be failures in the sight of Allāh because of their abandonment of al-Walā’ wal Barā’ah (loyalty and disavowal); and such people will be in confusion because of their inner-heart conviction with the texts would be rejected by their own selves for the “betterment” of Western society and the “understanding” between the two cultures.