I hear more about fanaticism and I am unable to understand what that means. Does Islam give us a choice to be either fanatics or moderate? I don’t think that. there is any intermediate stage in Islam, as said in Qur‘an people enter the Islam wholly So what is this new conspiracy all about? Is the religion resilient enough to allow us to accept a few things and leave the others? And so Jihad is mandatory on all Muslims but ironically it is avoided and vetoed by many Muslims scholars, in case of Kashmir, Afghanistan. Tell me about it.
‘Fanaticism’ and ‘Moderation’ are not terms of the Shari`ah. These terms are coined and used to refer to the various attitudes relating to religion. Furthermore, these terms do not give an objective view regarding someone’s attitude toward religion, on the contrary, it is actually a subjective judgment about the other’s view, which, obviously, can itself be inaccurate.
Rather than calling someone ‘Moderate’ or ‘Fanatic’, I would suggest that the views propounded by the individual or group should be scrutinized and analyzed on the basis of the Qur’an. If the view is understood to be based on the correct interpretation of the Qur’an, then it should be taken as ‘correct’ – whether the world labels it to be ‘moderate’ or ‘fanatical’ and vice versa.
I fully agree with you that there is no such thing as believing and practicing one part of Islam and ignoring the rest. Such an attitude is highly condemnable and is, in fact, the rejection of the whole of Islam. However, we must not forget that it is one thing to practice Islam only in parts and quite another to ascribe to a different interpretation of any of the directives of the Qur’an. For instance, if someone was to say that the Islamic law of divorce does not need to be followed, then such a statement can amount to a rejection of the particular part of Islam. On the contrary, if someone interprets the law of divorce of the Qur’an in a manner which is different from the interpretation of another, then the two individuals or groups would be said to be different in their understanding, but neither would be considered as one ‘rejecting’ a part of Islam or ‘practicing’ Islam in part only.
The difference between the various Muslims with reference to Jihad is not of the nature of accepting only a part of Islam, but is of the nature of a difference of interpretation of the Qur’anic law of Jihad. It is only the ignorance and the self-righteous approach and the resulting apathy and the intolerance of most of the Muslims due to which rather than trying to appreciate these differences of opinion and determining for themselves which of the opinions is correct and based on better reasoning, they immediately jump to the conclusion that those, who differ with them are guilty of ‘rejecting’ a part of Islam, even though, seen from the other group’s perspective, the same can as easily be said, about them as well.
Keeping the foregoing explanation in perspective, those Muslim scholars, who consider Jihad to be allowed only after the fulfillment of certain conditions and under specific circumstances, do not consider any such aggression of the Muslims, which does not satisfy these conditions to be Jihad and, therefore, do not approve of the Muslim’s participation in it. On the other hand, those who do not consider any prerequisite conditions for Jihad, have the tendency of labeling every aggression of the Muslims, irrespective of its moral implications, as ‘Jihad’.
I hope this helps.
October 19, 2001