In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
Ultimately, only God truly knows who was behind the brutal attack and murder of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Only God truly knows why someone wanted the prominent Pakistani politician dead. Only God truly knows the true motivations of the murderer who, not only killed himself and Ms. Bhutto, but at least 20 other innocent people who were gathered at the rally to hear her speak. As people all across our globe, including this American Muslim, agonize and mourn over the barbaric assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the lingering question of why remains.
Ms. Bhutto was not perfect, and it is true that many people did not like her or her politics. She may not have been Pakistan's best Prime Minister. She had made mistakes, and she had her flaws. Her book is now closed, and she will have to face God – as we all will – and account for her actions on this earth. Still, that does not give anyone the right to take her life. That does not give anyone the right to deprive a teenage boy of his mother; a husband of his wife; a daughter of her mentor. Regardless of what she may have done in the past, that does not give the right to anyone to kill Ms. Bhutto in cold blood.
Some people may argue that Ms. Bhutto should have known better and avoided such public rallies, as she was already the target of a failed suicide attack on her convoy minutes after she arrived in Pakistan. That is irrelevant. It does not justify the fact that someone, in complete spite of everything for which Islam and human decency stands, took it upon himself to shoot Ms. Bhutto then blow himself up. My heart and prayers go out to the family and friends of Ms. Bhutto, and May the Precious, Merciful Lord shower her with mercy and forgiveness. May the Precious Beloved look past her sins and admit her into His Grace and Light. May her family be comforted and strengthened during this most difficult time.
Political assassination has been part and parcel of the human condition. As long as human beings have inhabited this planet, there have been those who have given themselves the right to take the life of another without cause. It began with the sons of Adam (pbuh), and it has continued ever since, at times in the most brutal and heinous of manners. Because of what happened between the sons of Adam (pbuh), God has decreed for all time that If anyone slays a human being – unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth – it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind. (5:32)
Inevitably, fingers will be pointed toward "Islamic militants" as the culprits behind the brutal murder of Benazir Bhutto. Indeed, it does carry their hallmark: suicide attacks in the middle of a throng of people, with absolutely no regard for the innocent people that will be killed by his explosion. Yet, there is nothing "Islamic" about this heinous attack. Why was she killed? Because she was a woman? Because she was against extremism? Because she believed in a secular state? Because she was a "tool of the Americans"? Indeed, many people in Pakistan believed that Ms. Bhutto was a puppet of the West. Still, none of these things are capital crimes. None of these things constitutes justification for taking the life of another human being.
Now, again, this murder has nothing to do with Islam at all, even if the murderer believed he was carrying out God's will (or was told this by his "religious leader"). And this will not be the last act of political violence that will ever occur on this planet. Plenty of non-Muslims have been assassinated throughout history, and if anyone points the finger at Islam for this assassination, that just further proves their irrational hatred for Islam itself. Having said that, however, it should not stop us from reflecting over why this terrible act of murder happened in the first place.
Our religion came to free us from the barbarisms and hypocrisies of the human condition. It came to elevate us above the animal tendencies that exist in our species. It came to show us that there is a better way, even if the entire world does things differently. Islam teaches us that the depravity of the other should not give us cause to be depraved ourselves. Truly, there should be absolutely no acts of political violence in Muslim societies. In a true Muslim society, everyone will understand that life is sacred, and that sanctity is never easily violated. No one has the right to take the life of another. We should be better than this, and until we abandon the ways of the barbarian, we can never advance as a civilization.
This may be wishful thinking, I understand. And it goes without saying that the phenomenon of political violence is not a characteristic of Muslim societies alone (it is a characteristic of all societies). Still, we cannot let the fact that human beings (of whatever religious, ethnic, or other persuasion) will always maim and murder each other allow us to become lazy and excuse patently un-Islamic behavior.
And in this is my prayer: that the Lord God give us the wisdom, knowledge, and true understanding of our faith so that we may once and for all abandon the barbarism of the human condition. Lord, I pray that You allow us to become true believers, as You have always wanted us to be, and be beacons of light for all the world to see. Lord, I ask that You show us the way of the Prophets (pbuh), and I also ask, my Precious Beloved, that we be worthy to tread down that sacred path.
In Your Most Holy Name I ask this, Amen.