Babri Mosque and killing by Muslims

Q53 :At the time when the Babri Mosque was destroyed by Hindus and there were many casualties in communal conflict, certain questions were in my mind. A Muslim should be ready to protect anything which relates to his faith. However, should he kill anyone in order to prevent the destruction of a mosque or to avenge it? I am referring to the killings that occurred in places far afield. I feel that a Muslim should not kill even the person who is engaged in destroying the mosque. I would be grateful for your comment which may explain when killing is permissible.

A53 : What we have here are two separate points. The easier one to sort out is the one which concerns the events that took place in the aftermath of the destruction of the Babri Mosque, in places very far apart but where Muslims and Hindus live side by side. It was tragic that people who were hundreds of miles away from the scene of the Babri Mosque should lose their lives as a result. But blind fury can easily cause that. Yet it is not right that Muslims should allow themselves to be driven by blind fury into killing other people. The destruction of the Babri Mosque was a crime which cannot be easily forgotten or forgiven. A mosque is a place of worship, and worship is addressed to God, the Creator of the universe. As such, a mosque has its sanctity which should be respected by all people. That Hindus have their own view about what sort of temples should be erected in that spot is of little concern. They should have realized that no religion worth the name should motivate people to destroy mosques or kill other human beings. That Muslims throughout the word should express anger at what had happened at Babri is understandable, but for Muslims to attack Hindus simply because they belong to the same faith as those who destroyed the mosque, is from the Islamic point of view, unacceptable. The other point you have made is that a Muslim should be ready to sacrifice his life in defense of the mosque, but should not kill anyone else. The life of a Muslim is something very precious. Indeed, the Prophet tells us that the sanctity of a believer is, in God' sight, greater than the sanctity of the Ka'aba itself. Therefore, a Muslim's life is too precious to be allowed to go undefended. Suppose that a few hundred or thousand Muslims were alerted to the designs of the Hindus just before they attacked the mosque. Those Muslims would rush to the mosque in order to defend it. What you are saying is that those Muslims defending the mosque should be ready to die in order to protect it, but they should not kill those who are trying to kill them in order to reach the mosque and destroy it. This is a sign of weakness which would tempt the attackers. They will not only destroy the mosque but will also kill as many of its defenders as possible. Islam does not believe in such a lopsided philosophy. If enemies of Islam are prepared to kill human beings and destroy their mosques, then such people should be confronted with equal means, and should be made to taste their own medicine. Let me remind you that the concept of jihad is essential to Islamic philosophy. That concept is based on confronting the enemies of Islam who try to suppress the call of faith and subjugate Muslims with adequate means to ensure that their purpose is defeated and their schemes came to nothing. If those enemies of Islam use force, then Muslims must use force. At the time of the Prophet, the enemies of Islam launched several attacks on Muslims trying to eliminate them altogether. The Prophet confronted them with smaller armies, but these were the only forces available to him. He engaged in battles that invariably ended in great triumphs for the advocates of divine faith. The same was true of subsequent generations, and Muslims were always defending their faith, their land and their lives with adequate means. If that means going to war, with the inevitable killing of soldiers, then they did that. Today we see of the starkest examples of what may happen to a people who are deprived of the means to defend themselves. The Muslims in Bosnia have suffered aggression by the Serbs who killed and raped and were able to boast about their crimes. Had the Muslims been better equipped, they would have repelled that aggression. What happened in Palestine is a tragedy of similar proportion. If Muslims were to refrain from repelling aggression, then all their land would be overrun and they would be killed in large numbers. Islam does not accept such an attitude. Indeed, Islam grants the status of a martyr to a person who dies defending his life, the women in his family, his land and property. Similarly, the Muslim community should be quick to defend its existence and its land. A Muslim may be killed [after pursuing the due process of law] in punishment for murder or adultery.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )