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June 11th, 2017

“Identity Theft” — by Iain Dixon, UK

Assalamu alaikum! May the peace of Allah be upon you!

I have been told that the expression Allahu Akbar means ‘God is great’, or more accurately ‘God is greater than anything, His greatness is beyond and above anything and everything’. Wow! What praise for God! Surely these are beautiful words that should only be reserved for the beautiful Creator of heaven and earth! The words Allahu Akbar provide an eternity of contemplation for the believer, majestic praise that is higher than the highest mountain, a source of joy that is deeper than the deepest mountain, praise that is more radiant than the brightness of all the stars of the universe put together!

And yet, something has gone horribly wrong in the world today. Rather that, Allahu Akbar being a refrain of praise, or a symphony of love and adoration for the greatness of God, something sinister has occurred. The hearing of these words has sent, and is continuing to send, a chill of fear in the hearts and minds of its hearers around the world. For many, Allahu Akbar has become a death cry, and are words that are uttered just before a bomb is set off, or innocent people are shot down, slaughtered in an instant.

As a candle’s gentle flame is snuffed out in a moment, so those uttering Allahu Akbar are extinguishing light and love in the lives of those who are loved and treasured by Allah. Somewhere, somehow, people have traded in love for God and mankind, with pure hatred. Allahu Akbar has become a death sentence, and a label that has ‘re-branded’ the Creator of the universe as a God of hate, who delights in destruction. I call this — Identity Theft.

In this, and further articles, I want to share with you what I have learnt from my own personal reflections on the character of Allah that I have discovered in reading the pages of the Honoured Quran. I am a follower of Jesus, and do not ‘belong to the Islamic faith’ as text books would define a ‘Muslim’. But I am someone who thinks, reflects, and has an incredible love and respect for my Muslim brothers and sisters.

I know the great promises and prophecies in the Bible scriptures which foretold the growth and spread of Islam, and how God promised to protect and bless them, and use them mightily in the unfolding of his purposes. I am also aware of the bad press Islam has received in the hands of the media, and also in the hands of those who have been guilty of the Identity Theft. May the words that I write restore honour to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and ‘take back’ the beauty that belongs only to him, a beauty that has been stolen by those supposedly acting in his name — a beauty that has been tarnished and vandalised like a beautiful painting that has been ruined by graffiti and spray paint.

Those that are guilty of Identity Theft have not noticed how often the pages of the Honoured Quran refer to Allah as most Gracious, most Merciful! Each chapter of the Quran (except one) begins with the words In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. Does this sound like the character of the God represented by suicide bombers around the world, or those brandishing machine guns, gunning down other Muslims in mosques because they believe slightly different doctrine? Surely the qualities of mercy and grace should abound in the hearts and lives of those who openly declare to be worshippers of the one true God. We are told in the pages of the Quran: kind words and covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury (2:263). 

Those who have committed Identity Theft have forgotten to follow Allah’s advice in abounding in kindness and in the covering of faults of others. Instead, they have traded these noble qualities for intolerance and abusive words, condemning hearts and fault finding in others. Anyone who disagrees with them is to be exterminated! Should we not rather treat all people kindly, especially towards those who do not see things the way we do?

The Quran admonishes us to clothe ourselves with kindness, forgiveness and mercy towards others, even if they do not see things the way we do. The chapter with the title “Those who disagree” (Al-Kafirun) is a direct challenge to those who have committed Identity Theft. Rather than exterminating those who disagree with us in religious belief, we are told:

"Say: O ye that reject faith, I worship not that which ye worship, nor will ye worship that which I worship, and I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, nor will ye worship that which I will worship. To you your way, and to me mine." (109:1-6)

People have different beliefs. We are also all at different stages in grasping spiritual truth. How tragic it would be to destroy a beautiful flower before it has come into full bloom! Imagine crushing what appears to be a lifeless seed, or cutting down an unimpressive green stem because we don’t see yet a beautiful flower! Those who commit Identity Theft do not allow people to change or give them time to come into full bloom of all that Allah intended them to become. Instead they are impatient and intolerant of others. How different this is to the way of Allah! In the Bible, we are told:

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Proverbs 4:18)

Just as the sun rises gradually each day, and moment by moment more light is unfolded, so too does our spiritual light and understanding take time to grow and mature. We don’t believe it all, get it all, or know it all — all at once. How sad, that those who commit Identity Theft have taken upon themselves to judge others and to take away the precious gift of life from others — all in the name of Allahu Akbar. Those who misrepresent the character of God have never truly recognised the greatness of God, and his merciful purposes.

(To be continued)

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