The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
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The dark shades of Talibanisation

Sunday, 7 November 2021, 08:16 Last update: about 2 years ago

Laiq Ahmed Atif President Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta

The Taliban have re-emerged and have recaptured Afghanistan in a span of a few days and weeks and have also formed a government to lead the Afghan nation after a gap of around two decades.

The way Taliban recaptured Afghanistan was something out of a blockbuster movie or a documentary. It was done so quickly and unexpectedly that it has shaken the entire world and left all the world leaders with so many unanswered questions.

The Taliban assured the world that they have changed and have reformed themselves during the last 20 years. They also guaranteed that they will not violate the basic rights of any citizen, particularly those of women and will not take any form of revenge.

I had my reservations to all their claims and assurances as time and time again they have clearly shown their lack of humanity, knowledge, education and expertise to run a government.

After securing power, they immediately started showing different shades of their hard-line ideology; disregarding many of their original claims. In recent weeks, the media has reported incidents in which the Taliban have killed people as an act of revenge, attacks on religious congregations, female students and teachers have not been allowed to return to their schools and women’s access to work has also been slashed.

One brutal instance of their inhumane ideology was seen a few days ago when they violently dispersed female protesters, firing gun shots into the air and pushing them back forcefully, during a demonstration for women’s rights to education and work. Their extremist approaches and implementation of their misinformed and distorted interpretation of Islamic teachings have once again terrorised the entire nation and have shaken their future dreams and ambitions.

Afghanistan is facing massive challenges including lack of education, lack of health facilities, poverty, hunger, disease, fear, terror and uncertainty. Will this land ever see some rays of hope, peace and the manifestation of fundamental human rights for the entire nation? Can these deep wounds ever be healed?

I truly believe that anything is possible and Afghanistan can have a bright future ahead, which can only be possible if they completely transform themselves, through actions, not mere words and through focussing on the real challenges the country is facing rather than levelling their personal grudges and working for their own vested interests.

I wholeheartedly believe that if they are truly willing and committed to witnessing the rays of hope, peace and prosperity, then kindness and love should be their approach in building their country. Instead of buying guns, bullets and bombs, they should invest their wealth and resources in human welfare.

Instead of killing and shedding blood they must become benefactors of humanity; instead of committing acts of violence and oppressing the public they should promote dialogue and understanding, respecting the opinions of others; instead of being ignorant and backwards, they should use wisdom and educate themselves and instead of fighting among one another, they should understand one another and live in harmony.

Instead of holding grudges and seeking revenge, they should adopt forbearance and forgive not just through mere words but through their actions just as the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, pardoned every sworn enemy when he re-entered Mecca. Having achieved victory, he announced to them: “No blame shall lie on you this day; you are all free.” Moreover, he displayed the freedom of conscience and declared total freedom of religion, thus fulfilling the Quranic injunction: “There should be no compulsion in religion” (2:257).

Furthermore, they must completely abandon the ideology of a violent Jihad and instead engage themselves in the far greater, true Jihad – Jihad of discharging the rights owed to their Creator and of humanity and of reforming their inner selves.

The ideology of a violent Jihad is completely erroneous and misunderstood, and far from its true meaning and spirit. Today’s Islamic scholars present this false notion of a violent Jihad to the general public, inciting them towards violence, using religion to further their own abhorrent agendas. Consequently, their followers’ emotions are enflamed and as a result they are stripped of all human decency and commit horrific atrocities. Afghanistan is one such example of the above.

I truly believe that the Afghan people, their leaders, and indeed the entire Muslim world, urgently need to understand the true philosophy of Islamic Jihad. Islamic Jihad is not a false Jihad of terrorism or violence; it is not a Jihad of swords, guns or bombs; it is not a Jihad of cruelty, brutality and injustice.

The Taliban must do a full U-turn and leave their dark shades behind and start a fresh war – war against backwardness, ignorance, illiteracy, poverty, disease and violation of human rights. They must start the true Islamic Jihad – the Jihad of self-transformation and of serving humanity; the Jihad of love, mercy, compassion, tolerance, justice and human sympathy; the Jihad of a continuous struggle with inner self and egoistic tendencies.

To truly achieve these far greater aims, there is absolutely no need to violently brandish swords or fire guns, rather we need the weapons of love, compassion, kindness, munificence, selflessness, sympathy and above all, prayers.

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Laiq Ahmed Atif is President Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta


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