True MuslimsRe: ‘Allah Told Me To Come Here And Kill People,’ March 16.
Ayanle Hassan Ali is alleged to have stabbed two members of the Canadian Armed Forces in a federal building, claiming, “Allah told me to do this.” Funny because as a practising Muslim, here’s what I’ve constantly heard Allah has been telling us: “Loyalty to your country is part of faith.” And “Whosoever killed a person – unless it be for killing a person … it is as if he had killed all of mankind.” The only difference is what I’ve been told is authentic, but what Ayanle has been told is perhaps only mental instability.
Mirza Masroor Ahmad, caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, perfectly said it when he met Justin Trudeau in 2012, “Islam is an open religion which teaches mutual respect and so if you are a true Muslim you should be willing and able to integrate in any part of the world.”Here's the letter I sent in response:
Jari Qudrat, Toronto.
After learning that Ayanle Hassan Ali had attacked Canadian soldiers because, as he understood it, Allah had commanded him to do so, I knew it was only a matter of time before someone trotted out those lines in the Quran about how killing one person is like killing the entire world. I was also fairly certain that whoever mentioned this verse--arguably the Quaranic verse most often most quoted in the West--would extract it from its context, jettisoning the words that come before and after it, thereby distorting the words as they appear in the holy text.Letter-writer Jari Qudrat, "a practising Muslim," shows us how it's done. For, in citing the line "Whosever killed a person--unless it be for killing a person...it is as if he had killed all of mankind," he neglects to mention that A) these words have their origin in the Jewish Mishnah and B) the full verse (5:32) reads as follows:On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.In other words, Allah is explaining that the Jews, and only the Jews, are supposed to avoid the killing. Muslims, on the other hand, not so much. And, as if to underscore this difference, in the very next verse (5:33) Allah sets out the heavy-duty penalties for non-believers who dare to oppose Islam:The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.Now, there are plenty of Muslims who heed the line as Qudrat has quoted--or rather, misquoted--it. At the same time, however, it is worrisome when peaceful Muslims claim that their quotation fragment is the "authentic teaching" and that the violent actions of other "practising Muslims," including Ayanle Hassan Ali, are entirely at odds with Islamic doctrine. It is far better, I think, to quote the lines correctly--and disavow them--than to pretend they say something that, obviously, they do not.