“Muslims for Life”, a campaign launched by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, is organizing its third annual Blood Drive between August and October, 2013. This is a commemorative effort to honor the innocent victims of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. The blood drives will be conducted at all our mosques, prayer centers, malls, schools, colleges and universities. The goal of this year is to collect 12,000 units of blood which will be used to save 36,000 lives nationwide to recapitulate the message that Islam promotes the sanctity and dignity of life.
It is regrettable that Islam, the religion of peace and harmony has been badly disgraced by the perpetrators of various terrorist acts and brutalities as seen in recent years. According to the Holy Quran every life has been bestowed with honor regardless of skin color, race, and nationality. The Quran states: “...do not take the life God has made sacred...” (6:150) The representation of Islam as a violent and barbaric religion is not the Islam which we find in the Holy Quran.
The formulation of peace and preservation of harmony are the foremost objectives of Muslims. Terrorism is often linked with the term “jihad”, an Arabic word, which means “to strive” whereas the word terrorism is linked to death, mayhem, and loss of innocent lives. There are many types of jihad such as, striving by the sword, Jihad by sacrificing one’s time or money, and jihad to better one ’s self. Jihad with the sword in order to propagate religion is not sanctioned in Islam since Holy Quran clearly states that “there is no compulsion in religion.” (2:256) This means that Quran does not allow ignorant and senseless Muslims to kill other humans under the banner of Islam.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community has denounced jihad with the sword except when it is used in defense. Ahmad said, “The Holy Qur’an only allows fighting with those who stop God’s people from believing in Him, entering in His faith, carrying out His commandments, and worshipping Him. These are the people who incur the wrath of God… and the believers are obliged to fight them if they do not desist.” (Nur-ul-Haq, p.45)
The concept of jihad with the sword means killing of innocent people, suicidal bombing and target killings. How can a true believer accept this concept? Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community stated, “Can a religion be from God if it teaches that you can enter Paradise by killing His blameless and innocent creatures—to whom you have not even delivered the message? Is it not shameful that a complete stranger should be unjustly killed while occupied in his daily affairs, thus widowing his wife, making his children orphans, and turning his house into a funeral parlor? Which hadith (sayings of Prophet Mohammad) or verse of the Holy Qur’an authorizes such behavior? Is there any maulavi (cleric) who can respond? Foolish people hear the word jihad, and make it an excuse for the fulfillment of their own selfish desires.” (Government Angreizi aur Jihad, p.12)
Ahmad instructed his community to revive Islam peacefully. I hope people will stop viewing Islam as an aggressive and violent religion. I also pray that during this third annual blood drive campaign the entire world would see the real message of Islam which is “Love for all and hatred for none”.