This is what many people in the West, especially politicians, do not understand as the real reason behind violence in the Middle East. They often rationalize it with the western inclinations or ideological motives and therefore expose our societies to Islamic ferocity anytime they decide to support an Islamic group against the other.
No political or social order in any Islamic country is determined without the leadership values of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. His values are the major running forces in every affair of life in Islamic countries. The Quran says that Muhammad is the only role model that humanity must follow:
Obey Allah and the messenger . . . . that you may receive mercy. (Quran 24:54, 56)
He who obeys the Apostle, obeys Allah . . . (Quran 4.80)
. . . for he [Muhammad] commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good and prohibits them from what is bad . . . (Quran 7.157)
It is not for a believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and his apostle to have any option about their decision: If any one disobeys Allah and his apostle, he is indeed on a clearly wrong path. (Quran 33:36)It is astonishing to compare the model of Muhammad with the model of Jesus Christ. Muhammad did not claim to be God; he was just a man with limitations but imposed himself on people unlimitedly. Jesus called himself God but washed the feet of his disciples (John 13:4-5) and said that he came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28) This is the leadership model of Jesus Christ contrary to the leadership model of Muhammad. The Gospel of Jesus teaches people to follow his example and love their enemies:
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)The western culture is highly influenced by the values of Christ who teaches us to treat people equally and even respect the rights of our enemies. This is a condition in Christ for becoming free. We will not be able to truly have freedom if we limit freedom to ourselves only. Our freedom depends on the level of freedom we wish for others. If we exclude others from having freedom it means that we have closed the door of reconciliation to people, and are therefore ourselves obstacles. It is vital for us to pave the ground for the freedom of others if we want to prove that we are free and freedom lovers.
Unlike the culture of Christ, the prerequisite to becoming a leader in Muhammad’s culture is that you have to slaughter many people:
No prophet has been enabled to take captives until he had made great slaughter in the earth. You desire the passing fruitions of this world, but Allah desires the next life for you. And Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Quran 8:67)This is in sharp contrast to what the Gospel of Christ teaches. That is why sects in Islam cannot attain power unless they make great slaughters. Such a tyrannical attitude is strange to the western culture. It is for this reason that millions of Muslims became tired of discriminations and bloodsheds in their own countries and have been fleeing from their own motherlands to the West in the last and present centuries. They have found out that western countries tolerate a variety of beliefs and provide equal opportunity for people of all races, nationalities and beliefs.
So, it is vital for the western countries to understand the motivations behind the clashes in the Islamic countries, especially the ones among fundamental Islamic groups of Sunnis and Shias. They both have their reasons from the Quran. It will therefore be unwise if we stand behind one sect against another sect or sects. Every group that comes to power will follow similar principles which were around for 1400 years since the rise of Islam and are tyrannical in nature. Even the group we decide to support will blame us later for being aliens or infidels if we ask them to tolerate others. It will accuse us of preventing them to establish an Islamic government based on Islamic principles, a.k.a. Sharia. This is what American and western armies experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan and lost many soldiers by the attacks of those who were once supported.
Every sect in Islam holds the view that the beliefs in other sects are not from Allah, their followers are infidels, and must be fought against according to the Quran until there is no disbelief in the world. Such intolerance has even been creating factions in a single sect, bitter rivalry, and bloodshed. A very good example of this is the hostility between the Palestinian groups of Hamas and Fatah, who are both Sunnis and enemies of Israel, but hate each other. Hamas has slaughtered many of Fatah’s followers viciously and has Quranic reasons for its ferocious acts. All Muslim leaders, when they speak against other sects, use Quranic references to legitimize their discrimination or war against them. Committed Sunnis and Shias have been killing each other in Iraq and Syria with the same logic. They have no record of honoring each other or living in peace with one another in the entire history of Islam. The political philosophy of each sect stems from the Quran which says that the party of Allah must triumph over others. (Quran 5:56) What is the distinguishing factor in being the party of Allah but not others? It is the power of force that pulls the most dreadful group to the top or keeps it fighting to the end until it dominates and proves that it is the only party of Allah. So, war and intolerance are the pathways to the establishment of Islamic rule, no matter which Islamic sect is involved.
Let us pray that the people and leaders in the West would understand the nature of clashes in the Middle East properly and find out that the only solution for any crisis is Jesus Christ. Otherwise, every other initiative will fuel the war among Muslims. Let us also pray that our Prince of Peace, Jesus, continues to reveal himself to many Muslims and bring down the wall of hostility among them:
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility. (Ephesians 2:14).