Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani calls for Muslims to defend Islam by opposing deviants
Shafaqna English Newsroom / and Catherine Shakdam
Certainly, the evildoers who are engulfed in sins are the companions of Hell-Fire wherein they will live forever. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:81)
Ever since the black flag army declared war on Iraq and Syria, made strong by those powers which seek to weaken the Muslims from within, spitting venom and spreading lies on a faith which they neither comprehend nor truly follow, Muslims have faced one of the most formidable enemy.
But if Islam’s most violent enemies think themselves immune and strong, hidden behind their weapons of mass destruction and shielded by their Takfiri propaganda, they have failed to recognize the power which lies in true and just leadership.
Before the danger of Takfirism, before the threat of terror, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani sent earlier this week a letter of guidance and a message of hope for all those who have put faith and religious duty above all else. And though Takfiris are indeed apparently great, greater still are the lessons of our blessed leaders and greater still is our guidance – the holy Quran.
While Islam advocates peace and compassion at all times, Allah also ordered his servants to take up arms and fight in His name should the hands of His enemies rise against the Muslim societies And while peace is always preferable to the clashes of weapons, there are some evils in this world which require to be met head on.
There lies the true spirit of Jihad and there lies the admonition of Grand Ayatollah Sistani.
In the words of Imam Ali (AS), “By Allah I think that these enemies of yours will soon gain a victory over you because in spite of their falsehood they are united whereas you, in spite of your being right, are dispersed and separate from one another. They obey their leader in the false path whereas you disobey your ruler in the path of Truth. They behave towards their leader honestly whereas you are treacherous towards your leader. They safeguard the interests of their land and do not do anything that may be harmful to it whereas you do harm to your own country and commit crimes. How can I work with you people, for if I entrust a wooden bowl to anyone of you I really fear that he would remove its handle”.
And indeed, in such a time of hardship and struggle, when communities and families have been torn apart by the spirits of enmity and sectarianism, there is power in unity and solidarity. There is boundless strength in standing together before tyranny, especially when so many before us have lit up the way.
How can we not draw lessons from Imam Hussein’s (AS) ultimate sacrifice in Karbala? Did he not lay down his life and that of his blessed family so that for generations to come, Muslims would remember that in life, like in death there is beauty only in truth and justice.
At such time when darkness threatens to swallow us all, as Islam finds itself the target of many vicious onslaughts, the prey of an enemy whose cruelty and falsehood knows no bound, there is dignity in the precepts of the Quran and the words of our clerics.
As a leader and teacher of Islam, Grand Ayatollah Sistani offered guidance to those who will care to follow. In his words, the wisdom of our blessed Imam Ali (AS), in his letter, the echo of a man who lived in Islam and by Islam for all his life, never straying, never doubting.
Ayatollah Sistani urged all those who currently fight ISIS to stand by Imam Ali’s advices (AS) to Malik Al Ashtar.
“Develop in your heart the feeling of love for your people and let it be the source of kindliness and blessing to them. Do not behave with them like a barbarian, and do not appropriate to yourself that which belongs to them. Remember that the citizens of the state are of two categories. They are either your brethren in religion or your brethren in kind. They are subject to infirmities and liable to commit mistakes,” wrote Imam Ali (AS).
He went on noting, “Some indeed do commit mistakes. But forgive them even as you would like God to forgive you. Bear in mind that you are placed over them, even as I am placed over you. And then there is God even above him who has given you the position of a Governor in order that you may look after those under you and to be sufficient unto them. And you will be judged by what you do for them.
Do not set yourself against God, for neither do you possess the strength to shield yourself against His displeasure, nor can you place yourself outside the pale of His mercy and forgiveness. Do not feel sorry over any act of forgiveness, nor rejoice over any punishment that you may mete out to anyone. Do not rouse yourself to anger, for no good will come out of it.”
Rather than call for the annihilation of those who showed only callousness and brutality, Grand Ayatollah Sistani urged all fighters to exert restrain and mercy. He called, “Be attentive to the sanctity of the human souls! Never should you do to them something which God has not deemed permissible. What great travesty it is to kill innocent souls, and what great honour it is to safeguard innocent souls, just as God, exalted is He, mentioned in His book [i.e. the Qurʾan]. The killing of an innocent soul has dangerous consequences, both in this world and in the hereafter. History has taught us that the Commander of the Faithful [i.e. ʿAli], peace be upon him, took much caution to protect the sanctify of the human soul in his wars. During his reign [as caliph] he said to [his companion] Malik al-Ashtar, whose friendship and proximity to ʿAli is well known: “be vigilant! Do not spill the blood of the innocent…”If you [i.e. the fighters of the Popular Mobilisation Committees] find yourselves in an uncertain situation from which you fear the divine wrath, issue a vocal warning [to those fighting you], or issue a physical warning by directing your bullets in a manner which does not strike the target or cause its destruction. Surely this is better for you than to kill innocent souls”.
Rather than stoop to ISIS levels, Grand Ayatollah Sistani urged every man and every woman to remember what oath binds them, what law they pledge themselves to; for there is no victory and no salvation but by His will.
“Do not condemn others to heresy. Do not accuse them of blasphemy which could then lead to their death. Do not imitate the way of the Kharijites of the early Islamic period and their contemporary followers who are ignorant of the basic tenets of the religion” and “Never inflict harm on non-Muslims, regardless of their religion and sect. The non-Muslims [who live in predominantly Muslim lands] are under the protection of the Muslims in those lands. Whomsoever attacks non-Muslims is a coward. And rest assured that such an act of cowardice is one of the most repugnant in the eyes of God. In fact the Muslim must protect his non-Muslim neighbours in the same manner and vigour as he would when he protects his own family. Moreover, do not violate things sacred. Do not violate things scared with your tongues and actions … Do not resort to oppression. Do not insult others … Corruption can only be cured by justice….. not wage war unless you were attacked, even if such actions caused temporary losses… Do not be haste in situations where caution is required … Strive to act in the same righteous manner as the Prophet and his progeny, peace be upon them, in times of war and peace. Be the good example that Islam deserves … Advise each other. You will not find better advice than that which you offer to each other … Everyone must let go of those sentiments which carry hatred and bigotry. Follow the noble manners. God has made people into different tribes and races so that they may know each other. Do not be overcome by narrow-minded views. Do you not see how the majority of Muslims today are engaged in self-destruction where they spend their resources, energy, and wealth on killing and destruction?”
In his 20 commandments, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, distinguishes between untruthful Islam advocated by ISIS terrorists and true Islam presented by Shia Muslim. Ayatollah Sistani showed his own method of leadership, his ability to connect between the thought of Najaf Seminary and the contemporary civilizations and the way he looks after the principles in relation with Sharia. It can be considered an innovative and on time original approach that guarantee the Muslims faith and fate. Grand Ayatollah Sistani sought to light the way of true Jihad and remind all that regardless of the tribulations, no matter how harsh the way, we can never renege on our faith and indulge in the evil Takfiris have cloaked themselves with, even if it is to destroy them.
Whoever commits evil will be punished accordingly and no one besides Allah will be his guardian or helper. And whoever does good deeds, whether male or female, and is a believer will enter Paradise and they will not be wronged in the least. (Surah an-Nisa, 4:123 -124)