Taliban have threatened people belonging to the Ismaili community and non-Muslims of Kalash living in the northern areas of Pakistan that they are going to wage a war against them to eliminate them if they don’t conform to the religious views of Taliban.
The stance of Taliban is a reflection of their insulting views towards non-Muslims and people having religious opinions different from theirs. This they think is the only correct Islamic approach towards such people. While there is no doubt that the approach of Taliban is irrational, uncivilized, and cruel, what is even more lamentable but not quite as clearly articulated is the fact that it is totally un-Islamic too.
Taliban quote Qur’anic verses and historical record from the prophet’s (pbuh) times to prove that their action is exactly in accordance with Islamic principles. Because their narrative is articulated in seemingly Islamic arguments, many Muslims are naively led into believing that their stance is justifiable.
The arguments Taliban mention include verses that require believers to not make Jews and Christians their friends (Qur’an; 5:51), to kill polytheists wherever they are found (9:5), and to fight People of the Book to subjugate them (9:29). The fact is that all the verses they employ to prove their point of view correct are mentioning a requirement that has a context which was specific to the situation when the messenger of God was physically present, delivering God’s message in a way that his addressees were left with no doubts about its veracity. The Qur’an is quite unequivocal about the fact that when a messenger addresses a nation, its punishment is unavoidable if it rejects the message of God. (Qur’an 17:15) This happens because God’s message is delivered so clearly and effectively that only criminals don’t accept it. Such stipulations have nothing to do with people belonging to other times. God commands us to speak to people politely (2:83), to invite people towards His message intelligently (16:125), and to be extremely sensitive about human life (5:32). How can the God who mentions all such expectations require believers to be so harsh with non-Muslims as to kill them on disagreeing with them on religion?
The fact is that the reason why God has allowed Muslims to fight with others, in case their ruler urges them and they have enough military strength, is when those others are indulged in persecution (4:75)). What Taliban are threatening to do to non-Muslims of Kalash and Ismailis is a clear example of religious persecution. The Qur’an on the other hand urges believers to fight with others to safeguard the places of worship of all religions. (22:40) God has mentioned that there can be no compulsion in converting people to other faiths. (2:256)
The fact is that Islam wants Muslims to be polite, well-mannered, and sympathetic towards non-Muslims and people with whom they disagree in religious understanding. An attitude different from that is un-Islamic. What Taliban are doing therefore has no room in Islamic teachings.
By Dr Khalid Zaheer, WEEKLY PULSE MAGAZINE, March 24, 2014