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ONE of the Western technology companies has about 155,000 employees, while another company has 70,000 employees. These two companies have provided mankind with more than 11,000 patents in various types of technologies. Furthermore, they are devoid of any affiliation or bias to any religion or even sect.
However, when we study religious institutions of Sunni, Shiite and Arab alike, we realize that they have about 450,000 employees working in various capacities. All of them combined have not presented to the Arabs any invention or advancement except for fatwas (legal opinions) of all kinds of prohibitions.
Apart from a few lucky ones, they have been working on distorting religious texts in order to apply them on their political and financial projects, and to seize power.
Since the beginning of the last century, political groups with religious slogans began to emerge. One such group is the Muslim Brotherhood Group, which has sought, since the beginning, to hijack power under the slogan of establishing justice and equality, and reviving the caliphate rule.
In this regard, the late Saudi Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz gave an accurate description of the Muslim Brotherhood Group in his interview with Al-Seyassah daily in 2002.
The late prince said, “The Muslim Brotherhood Group is the root of the affliction … and how many afflictions are there in the Arab world, the Gulf region and Kuwait, since its inception, and after it was nurtured on conspiracy and puppetry?!”
What applies to this group also applies to the rest of the terrorist groups, either Shiite or Sunni. We have the best examples in terms of acts of sabotage practiced by such gangs over the past four decades, starting with Hezbollah, which is an agent of Iran, then Al-Qaeda and Takfir wal-Hijra, and all the way to ISIS. All of these have been employed from abroad to cause the greatest extent of sabotage and division in the Arab world.
Did these people who are working in the religious field and those associated with those groups fail to read chapter 2, verse 285 of the Holy Quran which says, “The messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; they all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers; We make no difference between any of His messengers … ”
They also seem to have misread chapter 16, verse 125 of the Quran which says, “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.”
Indeed, they all turned back from the essence of chapter 29, verse 46 which says, “Dispute not with the People of the Book, save in the fairer manner, except for those who do wrong; and say, ‘We believe in what has been sent down to us, and what has been sent down to you; our God and your God is One, and to Him we have surrendered’.”
These preachers and missionaries abandoned all these verses because they prevented them from inciting creedal and sectarian strife. Therefore, it is true what one of them said, “The preachers of Qom and Al-Azhar delivered in a year one million and 650,000 Friday sermons that call for death and the torment of the Hereafter on everyone who opposes them. They also delivered about three million and 360,000 lessons, on an average per week, on menstruation, shaving of pubic hair, and entering the bathroom with the left foot. All these services benefited no one — neither Muslim nor non-Muslims.”
It is unfortunate that these perverted political ideas penetrated the minds of people in the various parts of the Arab world and became a form of worship, until the fever of excommunication reached its height, such that one would hear in Friday sermons insults being made to Jews and Christians, and words laden with racial discrimination that contradict the Islamic faith.
However, in the war to liberate Kuwait, the countries of this region sought help from the so-called “infidel foreigners” who helped them liberate the country from the claws of the occupation of the Iraqi Arab and Muslim regime. Based on this, the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries were well aware that humanity cannot violate the right by resisting the aggressor. As a result, everyone stopped insulting the Christians and Jews, who are among the People of the Book, on the pulpits.
This trend crystallized in the year 2008 during the World Conference on Interfaith Dialogue called for by the late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who launched his famous call by saying, “We all believe in one Lord, who sent messengers for the good of humanity in this world and the Hereafter. His wisdom, Glory be to Him, required that people differ in their religions, and if He had willed, He would unite humans in one religion. We are meeting today to confirm that the religions that the Lord wanted to make human beings delight over must be a reason for their happiness, so we have to announce to the world that differences should not lead to strife and conflict. We say that the tragedies that have occurred in human history were not because of religions, but because of the extremism that plagued some of the followers of every divine religion and every political creed.”
Throughout history, power has been the goal. Therefore, everyone employed all their tools in this regard. The Caliph Haroun al-Rashid, who was portrayed by heretics at that time as the caliph of entertainment and orgies, was not spared despite launching wars for a year and performing pilgrimage in the next, alternatively.
Today, in the age of space, nanotechnology, and the communication revolution, the trend for applied science proved its urgent need during the COVID-19 pandemic and provided human benefits. Medical research centers helped avoid a repetition of the tragic scene of the Spanish Flu pandemic at the beginning of the last century, which had claimed the lives of about 80 million people. Neither supplications against Christians and Jews nor incantations helped, but the vaccinations that came from those who some call “infidels”.
In this regard, there is a simple story that elaborates the essence of knowledge and learning. If two men – a believer and an atheist – fall into the sea, the one who knows how to swim has a better chance of surviving irrespective of their belief.
Refraining from sectarian partisanship and working with the essence of the Islamic call is the foundation upon which the Arabs must follow. Lebanon’s lack of national cohesion, after sectarianism became the norm of its society, is the best example of what Arab societies can end up if they continue in this state of seditious discourse and feverish pursuit for power through religious connotations, which excludes the others and works not only to excommunicate but also to kill and erase opponents from the face of the earth.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times