Terrorist cannot be a Muslim,
nor can a True Muslim be a Terrorist
I would like to convey my deep condolences to the American people
for their grief, which is really the grief of the humanity, due to
this terrible tragedy. May God soon heal all the wounds, and protect
us from any evil.
My first reaction to this tragedy was to recite a verse of the
Quran. Islam, the religion of tolerance, holds the human soul in
high esteem, and considers the attack against innocent human beings
a grave sin, this is emphasized by the following Qur'anic verse:
... whoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or
corruption and mischief in the earth, it shall be as if he had
killed all mankind, and whoever saves the life of one, it shall be
as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto
them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty), but
afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth (the
Quran, 5: 32). In fact, Muslims serve for life, not for death.
We must not forget what the Quran states: "Namely, that no bearer
of burdens can bear the burden of another" (6: 164). There is a
universal rule of law: No one can be punished without evidence.
Another important rule: Freedom from guilt is principal, i.e.
everybody is innocent unless the opposite is proved.
The Prophet, is reported to have said, "A believer remains within
the scope of his religion as long as he doesn't kill another person
The meaning of Islam is "peace." This signifies that one can achieve
real peace of body and mind only through submission and obedience to
Allah, and a human being can be a perfect Muslim if he or she lives
in peace and harmony with society. Such a life of obedience brings
peace of heart and establishes real peace in society at large (the
Quran, 13: 28-29). All the Prophets of God, who guided man to the
right path, preached this message.
The Prophet said: "These three things are also enjoined upon the
- to help others, even when one is economically hard-pressed,
- to pray ardently for the peace of all mankind, and
- to administer justice to one's own self."
The Prophet said: "All mankind is a fold, each member of which shall
be a keeper or shepherd to every other, and be accountable for the
"Live together; do not turn against each other; make things easy for
others and do not put obstacles in each other's way."
"He is not a believer who takes his fill while his neighbor starves.
"The believer in God is he who is not a danger to the life and
property of any other."
In short, Islam neglects neither the individual nor society - it
establishes a harmony and balance between the two and assigns to
each its proper due. The message of Islam is for the whole human
race. God, in Islam, is the God of the Universe (the Qur'an, 1:1)
and the Prophet is a Messenger for the whole mankind. In the words
of the Quran:
"O People! I am but a Messenger from God to you all." (7: 158)
"We have sent you only as a mercy for everybody in the universe."
In Islam, all men are equal, regardless of color, language, race, or
nationality. We can not deny the fact that such barriers have always
existed and will exist in the so-called enlightened age. Islam
removes all of these impediments, and proclaims the ideal notion for
humanity as being one family of God. Islam is international in its
outlook and approach, and does not admit barriers and distinctions
based on color, clan, blood, or territory, as was the case before
the advent of the Prophet Muhammad.
We, as Islamic scholars, condemn this mischief against human life.
Our hearts bleed for the attacks that has targeted innocent people.
The haphazard killing where the rough is taken with the smooth and
where innocents are killed along with wrongdoers is totally
forbidden in Islam. No one, as far as Islam is concerned, is held
responsible for another's actions.
I categorically go against a committed Muslim's embarking on such
attacks. Islam never allows a Muslim to kill the innocent and the
helpless. If such attacks were carried out by some Muslims - as some
groups claim - then we, in the name of our religion, deny the act
and incriminate the perpetrators. We do confirm that the aggressors
deserve the deterrent punishment irrespective of their religion,
race or gender.
Let us suppose that you were on a ship, or in a house, with nine
innocent people and one criminal. If someone were to try to make the
ship sink, or to set the house on fire, because of that criminal,
you know how great a sinner he would be. You would cry out to the
heavens against his sinfulness. Even if there were one innocent man
and nine criminals aboard the ship, it would be against all rules of
justice to sink it.
We condemn these brutal and criminal acts which are anathema to all
human conventions and values and the monotheist religions.
Prof. Dr. Ahmet Akgunduz
Rector, Islamic University of Rotterdam,
Chairman of Ottoman Researches Foundation