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Puppets of Faith: Theory of Communal Strife (A critical appraisal of Islamic faith, Indian polity)
“Single robbers, or a few associates, are branded with their genuine name; but the exploits of a numerous band assume the character of lawful and honourable war. The temper of a people thus armed against mankind was doubly inflamed by the domestic licence of rapine, murder, and revenge” - so described Edward Gibbon, in his The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the condition of the Arab society into which Muhammad was born in the 6th century.
After the debacle at Badr, the Meccans led a great expedition to Medina which Muhammad joined battle at Uhud. Right after leading the prayer, as stated by Martin Lings, Muhammad addressed his seven-hundred strong troops thus:
“Verily this day ye are at a station that is rich in reward and rich in treasure, for him who is mindful of what he is about and who devoteth his soul thereunto in patience and certainty and earnestness and effort.”
After drawing the battle plan, Muhammad chose fifty of his archers to man a strategic height in the battlefield and addressed them, “Keep their cavalry from us with your arrows. Let them not come upon us from our rear. Be the tide of battle for us or against us, stay at this post! If ye see us plundering the enemy, seek not to have a share in it; and if ye see us being slain, come not to our aid.”
In spite of such express orders from Muhammad, forty of the archers, when they sensed the ground troops were on the verge of looting the enemy camp, deserted their post amidst the battle to share the spoils. Needless to say, the archers’ eye on plunder helped the Quraysh zero in on Muhammad’s men from the rear. And that resulted in an embarrassing reverse for the Musalmans in the mortal combat that ensued. In that fight, Muhammad too was hurt in the mouth, and escaped death by the skin of his teeth.
The God above must have felt enraged at the conduct of the crowd, and felt the need for the Privates of His Own amongst them. Thus, he inspired Muhammad to inculcate the spirit of martyrdom amongst the Musalmans for raising a die-hard corps in the service of Him and Islam –
“Hast thou not seen those unto whom it was said: Withhold your hands, establish worship and pay the poor-due, but when fighting was prescribed for them behold! a party of them fear mankind even as their fear of Allah or with greater fear, and say: Our Lord! Why hast thou ordained fighting for us? If only Thou wouldst give us respite yet a while! Say (unto them, O Muhammad): The comfort of this world is scant; the Hereafter will be better for him who wardeth off (evil); and ye will not be wronged the down upon a date-stone.”
“They only are the (true) believers whose hearts feel fear when Allah is mentioned, and when the revelations of Allah are recited unto them they increase their faith, and who trust in their Lord.”
“And whoso seeketh as religion other than the Surrender (to Allah) it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter.”
“Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not.”
“Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil. Lo! the devil’s strategy is very weak.”
“If thou couldst see how the angels receive those who disbelieve, smiting their faces and their backs and (saying): Taste the punishment of burning!”
“And obey Allah and His messenger, and dispute not one with another lest ye falter and your strength depart from you; but be steadfast! Lo! Allah is with the steadfast.”
“O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them.”
“Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless manoeuvring for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s-end.”
“Relent not in pursuit of enemy, If ye are suffering, lo! They suffer even as ye suffer and ye hope from Allah that for which they cannot hope. Allah is ever Knower, Wise.”
“And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. But if they cease, then Lo! Allah is Seer of what they do.”
“It is not for any Prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty Wise.”
“Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.”
“And call not those who are slain in the way of Allah “dead” Nay they are living, only ye perceive not.”
“Think not of those, who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision.”
“And what though ye be slain in Allah’s way or die therein? Surely pardon from Allah and mercy are better than all that they amass.”
“Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Quran. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.”
“Enter the Garden, ye and your wives, to be made glad.”
“Therein are brought round for them trays of gold and goblets, and therein is all that souls desire and eyes find sweet, and ye are immortal therein.”
“This is the Garden which ye are made to inherit because of what ye used to do.”
“Reclining on ranged couches. And We wed them unto fair ones with wide, lovely eyes.”
The Quranic exhortation to die for Islam to gain the favours of Paradise makes a compelling mix for the Privates of Allah to turn fidayēn for the cause of the faith. It is thus, the religion of Muhammad that goads the faithful to jihad for the pride of Islam, and promises a voluptuous Paradise for those who perish in the process, was destined to play a disruptive role in the affairs of nations.
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