In a world of divisions, we are familiar with the economic criteria used to classify countries into advanced vs underdeveloped. Understated though, one can recognize a primary idea which defines nationhood. The Western idea of nation which was Christian became ethnic as the separation of church from governance gained ground. In comparison, the Indian or Bharatiya idea of nationhood was and remains civilisational anchored around the common principles of Sanatani faiths such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Not being canonical these faiths are often described as a way of life grounded on a common civilisational philosophy (Bharatiyata). In contrast the Islamic idea of the nation is based on unquestioning submission to the Islamic faith. It is this nature of Islam which makes it more akin to political ideology than a religion.

Islam divides the world into Dar al Islam (regions where Islamic law or Sharia is supreme) and Dar al Harb (territory of war whose rulers must be overwhelmed until they submit to Islam).

It is the duty of Muslims in Dar Al Harb to spread Islam in Dar Al Harb. Once a territory becomes Islamic, it is followed by an overwhelming clamour for Islamic Law or Sharia to be applied. Once Sharia is imposed intuitively it follows that there will be dominance of Islam. This is the same template that has been applied in recent times in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and even the valley of Kashmir in India. 

It is this primacy of Sharia over all other laws, which gives divine sanction to Muslims to disregard or disobey any law if they consider themselves to be living in Dar Al Harb. This often has dangerous consequences in society as has been seen recently in the terrorist incidents seen in France over the issue of Charlie Hebdo, the murder of Kamlesh Tiwari in India and the events leading to the Bangalore riots in 2020. “Islam is in danger” is the justification offered. People who believe that they are living in a territory of war, can never be at peace, until there is dominance by Islam and Sharia is enforced. As a corollary it follows that when such people say that they want peace, the objective is to vanquish Dar Al Harb so that Islam takes over.  Thereafter, the Quran and Hadiths clearly lay out the treatment of non-Muslims.

  1. Qur’an Chapter 4: Verse 56: Surely those who reject Our signs, we will cast them into the Fire. Whenever their skin is burnt completely, we will replace it so they will ˹constantly˺ taste the punishment. 
  2. Qur’an Chapter 5: Verse 10: As for those who disbelieve and deny Our signs, they are the residents of the Hellfire
  3. Qur’an Chapter 9: Verse 5: Kill the polytheists (Idolators) wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush.
  4. Qur’an Chapter 9: Verse 29: Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the Jizya willingly while they are humbled.
  5. Qur’an Chapter 22: Verse 9: Twisting his neck [in arrogance] to mislead [people] from the way of Allah. For him in the world is disgrace, and We will make him taste on the Day of Resurrection the punishment of the Burning Fire

Ali Sina has summarised the above laws succinctly. Muslims have a very strong us-versus-them mentality. They call all non- Muslims, regardless of faith, kafir, an expressly derogatory term, which means one who blasphemes Allah. Peace, according to Islam, can only be attained by subduing non-Muslims and making them subordinate to Islamic rule. The non-Muslims can continue practicing their religion, but only as dhimmis, a term which means “protected” and is only applied to Christians and Jews. The Christians and the Jews (the people of the Book) will be protected, provided they pay the protection tax, known as the jizya, and feel themselves humiliated and subdued. If they fail to pay the jizya, they can be exiled or put to death. As for those unbelievers who are not “protected” (i.e., the pagans, the atheists, the animists, etc.), they must either convert or be killed. 

Muslims are called to wage Jihad or holy war to further Islam. Jihad has both military and non-military connotations. While there are philosophical interpretations of Jihad as a peaceful struggle with an objective to improve, the overwhelming narrative is that of a violent holy war against non-believers. Jihad has divine sanction in Islam and has been successfully used as a form of terror to advance Islam. Permissible reasons for Military Jihad have been articulated to be self-defence, strengthening Islam, protecting Muslims against oppression or overthrowing a tyrannical ruler, protecting the right of Muslims to practice their faith, putting right a wrong and so on. Each of these can be subject to very wide latitude of interpretations as is frequently done. What may not be oppressive for the general populace in Dar Al Harb may be oppressive to a Muslim. Pakistan has justified a perpetual state of Jihad in the valley of Kashmir, to overthrow Indian rule. The Quran places those who are engaged in Jihad at a higher pedestal. Given such a mindset, no manner of negotiations will ever overcome this interpretation and therefore until India either succumbs or overwhelms Pakistan she will be in perpetual state of war with this Islamic state.

Muslims often articulate Quran Chapter 2 verse 256 (There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So, whoever disbelieves in idolatry and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it) known as the Medina verses to claim Tolerance prevalent in Islam for other religions. Islamic idea of tolerance differs from the general connotation and understanding of the word. To the Islamic mind, Tolerance means tolerating non-Islamic people but only after they have submitted to Islamic primacy and paid the Jaziya.

In chronological order, the sword verses of the Quran supersede the Medina verses. The sword verses were propounded when Mecca had been overwhelmed and converted into Dar Al Islam. Quran Chapter 8 verse 60 reads as follows: And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. Whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged. No wonder Jihad invokes the spectre of Terrorism world over.

One needs to be aware of the principle of Al Taqiya ( while dealing with such claims and the chronology of Islam. Al Taqiya is the religious sanction of deception to be used tactically when the situation so demands.  

Another form of Jihad that is widely practised in society is Jihad al-da’wah or missionary Jihad. Islam like Christianity is a proselytizing faith which has religious sanction. Concepts like Jihad al-da’wah together with Al Taqiya can form a grave social danger. It needs to be regarded as Grooming which is a criminal act. The criminality associated with grooming of impressionable teenagers has been trivialised by terminologies such as Love Jihad as a result of which it is discounted as a figment of imagination of people motivated to malign Islam. To a Muslim, grooming can be considered as a legitimate act in the quest for victory in Dar Al Harb and if prevented allows escalation to military Jihad. 

Ali Sina has written- Muslim converts are encouraged to cut their ties with family and friends if they are not Muslims. There are countless heart-rending stories from non-Muslim parents whose children converted to Islam, and as a result they have lost touch with them completely. Occasionally, they may receive a call or a cold visit; but the visit may be so restricted, so bereft of any love from their children and their Muslim spouses, that the outcome further saddens the already heartbroken parents. The purpose of these visits is usually to ask the parents to convert to Islam. The children leave, as soon as resistance is encountered. Muslims’ main goal is to promote Islam. This practice of promoting Islam is called da’wa. It is the duty of every Muslim to make new converts, starting with their own family and friends. Expanding Islam is the main obsession of every Muslim. Raising funds for jihad is one of the main objectives of all Muslims. Today this is done through what are known as Islamic “charities”. Throughout the course of Islam, raising money for jihad was done principally by looting. Islam’s main goal is to establish itself as the pre-eminent earthly power. 

Islam never accepts what normal people accept. Islam allows killing of apostates by devout Muslims. Abduction, Rape and Killing of women and children are widely reported both in the Hadiths and conflict zones where Jihad is waged. Unanimous condemnation of such acts is never forthcoming from Islamic societies. Excuses are often made about incorrect interpretation of Islam or trying to find an apologetic justification on root cause where Islam is never to blame. Solutions to social problems in mixed societies thus invariably flounder while dealing with Muslims. 

The naïve frequently talk about building bridges through societal dialogue. What is often ignored is that to build an effective bridge one needs a good understanding of the soil in both sides of the bank. If the soil in the bank on the other side is poor, the foundations will be weak, and the bridge will invariably collapse. This is the reason bridges with Islam are doomed to fail every time.

Islam works in insidious ways. It uses the playbook of radicals and works in concert with hard-line communists exploiting the ingrained tolerant philosophies of the Hindu religion to wean impressionable youngsters to a path of rebellion and anarchy. The ultimate aim of both the tribes of anarchists is clearly power. An interesting principle called “Karl Popper’s Paradox” is as follows: The paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. It follows that in order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance. Laws in France that allowed the publication of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons were framed precisely to express the French societies’ intolerance of the intolerant. The reaction of Islam was true to its nature – denunciations followed by terrorism. It is this recognition of Islamic religion as a political ideology designed to usurp power and thereafter unleash the most terrible consequences of Sharia (Islamic Law) on the society, which has led to the development of resistance. For the Hindu society this resistance of Proselytizing forces can be called Hindutva or assertion of the identity which resists the intolerant.

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