The world today is outraged at the abduction of 300 Christian girls in Nigeria and, whom it is claimed by Boko Haram, have been converted to Islam.
Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden”, is a group of Muslims who have a myopic view of what is Islam and translates their ignorance of the Qur`an and Hadith into their indoctrinated philosophy of jihad.
The Qur`an clearly establishes the golden principle, “There is no compulsion in religion” ( Qur`an 2; 256). The Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam enjoined Muslims during his lifetime to go “seek knowledge, even if it was far as China”. At that time, there were no airplanes or motorised transport as we have now. It took months to sail by ships or to travel overland through rugged, mountainous countrysides.
Many questioned the Prophet’s choice as to why knowledge needed to be sought in China and not in the established civilisations of the Roman Empire, ancient Egypt or even the Persian Empire.
China was the most developed and established cradle of civilisation during the Prophet’s time and Prophet Muhammad, being who he is, naturally knew that the best choice and location for his followers was China. Xi’an was the most sought-after education centre during the time of the Holy Prophet, and Chinese civilisation was well known to be thousands of years well advanced from the rest of the world then.
The Muslims of today have lost that heritage of being the forerunners in knowledge, which inspired the Renaissance in Europe. A Ren-
aissance which was transferred to the West through migration. They have lagged behind and now resort to an interpretation of fundamentalism that they promote from obscure Hadiths, which have become the focus of their knowledge in their interpretation of the Qur`an.
It is therefore not surprising that the leader of Boko Haram violates that golden principle, “There is no compulsion in religion”, which is an injunction of the Holy Qur`an and a farz or compulsory dictum upon every Muslim.
Imam Iqbal Hydal