I am a seeker of knowledge from Spain, and I am the moderator of a chat room on Paltalk, through which we are trying to spread the teachings of Islam to both new Muslims and non-Muslims. Praise be to Allaah, many people have become Muslim because of this chat room. We are opposed to all acts of terrorism or anything that have any connection to violence in all forms. But a few days ago, a Spanish newspaper published an article in which it says that there are a number of chat rooms promoting violence. And they sad that those who visit these websites, when they do not find an answer to a question, they go to the Islam Q&A website which they describe as extremist and fanatic. I would like you to give us some advice as to how we should deal with this matter. We are not fanatics at all and we are not as they described us in the article.
You should understand that the issue, for those Westerners who are hostile towards Islam and its people, is not the issue of any specific website or approach. Rather the issue is Islam in and of itself. If a person is Muslim then -- in their estimation -- he is an extremist and terrorist. This is an ancient element of European culture, since the time of the mobilisation for the crusades against Islam and Muslims. You should realise that the aim of this enmity and hatred is not to make us give up our approach or even to shut down websites -- not at all. Rather the aim is that we should give up our religion altogether and follow their religion. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) till you follow their religion. Say: ‘Verily, the Guidance of Allaah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) Guidance. And if you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur’aan), then you would have against Allaah neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper’”
There are some points that we may note concerning this issue:
1. What is the definition of fanaticism or extremism and terrorism according to that writer and others such as politicians, leaders and media figures? The world cannot agree on the meaning of each of these words. Everyone looks at these words and assumes that its meaning is what he himself understands from it, based on his religion or ideas or country or party. So how can we debate these matters when their definition is so unclear?!
2. We are commanded to adhere to the religion of our Lord, may He be exalted, by entering into the religion of Allaah completely, and clinging strongly to it. Of course, this approach is not going to be liked by those Muslims who take the matter if religion lightly, so how do you expect the kaafir and mushrik to like it? Can such people be expected to help the Muslims to adhere to the religion of Allaah or to encourage them not to be heedless with regard to matters of their religion?
3. We -- if Allaah wills -- on this website of ours and our brothers on the other fatwa websites of Ahl al-Sunnah, do not make it our aim when answering any question to please any state, party or group that belongs to Islam, so would we take into account a kaafir’s approval of what we say and issue fatwas on that basis concerning the religion of Allaah? We do not rejoice in their praise of what they think is in accordance with their reason and principles, and we will not be harmed either -- if Allaah wills -- by their criticism of what we say. They have their religion and we have our religion; they have their Lord and we have our Lord.
“We are pleased with what we have and you are pleased with what you have and our opinions differ.”
4. If they are really fair-minded and sincere, then what is their opinion of blind fanaticism and hateful extremism that is widespread in more than one country, to the extent that their extremists and ignorant people slandered our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) and our religion, on the basis of ignorance and whims and desires. If they were truly fair-minded, they would have taken a stance against ideas of fanaticism and extremism that are propagated by their popes and rabbis and the leaders of their parties concerning the Muslim minorities and the symbols of our religion, such as hijab. But we see them overlooking all of that and looking for slips on the tongue on the part of some overenthusiastic Muslims so that they can use that as a means to attack our religion itself.
5. If this article was really fair-minded, then what is its attitude towards the state terror that is practised against the Muslims, those who are in the right, the people of the land in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries? What is their attitude towards the shedding of blood, the transgression of sacred limits and the plunder of resources?
6. If this article is fair-minded, then let him look at the history of his own country in the colonisation of peoples, the plundering of their resources, what they did to the Native Americans and other indigenous peoples whom they colonised and plundered their resources.
7. If this article is fair-minded, let him look at the history of the Inquisition and think long and hard, how much time and effort he will need in order to apologize for this history.
The present and the past alike need a fair-minded approach!
You need to adhere to the right path and keep away from that which will provoke trouble where you live, and to call people to Allaah with wisdom and beautiful preaching, in accordance with what your circumstances and resources will allow. Let your knowledge, your words, your attitude and your deeds be a true testimony to the soundness of your approach and true proof of the lie of those who accuse you falsely.
You should realise that pleasing the people is an aim that cannot be reached!
We ask Allaah to foil the plans of those who want to harm this religion and make their plots backfire, and to help you to be callers to the way of the Qur'aan and Sunnah.
And Allaah is the source of strength.