The societies of the world have been plagued by certain types of clergymen and the civilized fell prey to their teachings and beliefs and embraced their backwardness, power and control over the destinies of their peoples except for the past few centuries after the separation of the Church or religious establishment in those States from politics.
As a result of this separation, the human mind was revolutionized to encompass all social, scientific, medical, philosophical and other fields. All this would not have been possible if the clerics had continued to control their destinies and their religious intolerance and backwardness in cooperation with tyrants with great political and material support.
The clergy, the Muslims in particular, knew that the ultimate hope of any Muslim was to enter Paradise after satisfying the Creator. This could not be achieved without performing religious duties during the lifetime and this meant fighting a holy war for the sake of God.
The clerics also knew the eagerness of the young Muslims who were deprived of everything were eager of winning that prize ‘Hawr al-Ain’ in the Hereafter. (And there will be Hoor (fair females) with wide lovely eyes’. Al-Hawra is a woman whose eyes are lined with kohl, beautiful and bright. Al-Ain refers to beautiful and huge eyes. The beauty of eyes in the female is one of the greatest signs of beauty). The clerics put in their mind that this could not be achieved without martyrdom on the battlefields.
These clerics exploited and utilized the religious media machine in many Muslim countries, from the mosques pulpits, religious TV channels and print media to urge the young men to fight jihad in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kosovo, Syria, Iraq, Libya and other nations.
They also promoted the notion that martyrdom will accelerate their meeting with ‘Women of Paradise’. This led to deaths of tens of thousands of young men, destruction of houses, devastation of villages and cities, setting ablaze billions of hectares of agricultural land and other countless human disasters and material losses.
The same preachers who had earlier convinced the young men who were hungry for sex and deprived of love that their hope to enter paradise was through martyrdom suddenly changed their discourse and explained the way to paradise had been simplified and could be achieved without shedding a drop of blood.
In an interview with one of the most famous and influential clerics, (and the link of his speech is available to those who wish to listen to him) says: that in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim (Books that contain Hadith), Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says: Whoever witnesses that there is no God but Allah and I am the Messenger of Allah, and that Jesus is Messenger of Allah, and the word to Mary came from the spirit of Allah, and that paradise is right and hell is right, God will bestow upon him/her entry to paradise.
If the words of this preacher are true, then why all this incitement and all those victims, and all that fighting, killing, burning, depriving millions of their rights as human beings, blowing up churches, burning down mosques, blowing up houses of worship, destroying the economies of dozens of Muslim countries and others, displacing tens of millions from their homes, killing children and mutilating corpses just to enter paradise, while this goal is easy enough through prayer?
Why did this sheikh and others lead millions of young Arabs and Muslims who long for paradise to the dark side of their fate although fully aware that there was a shorter and easier road to paradise than murder? We leave this to the discerning reader to find an answer.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf