Combating Terrorism

Combating Terrorism


Dr. Ali S. Awadh Asseri

(Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon)


     Terrorism is to kill or harm innocent people. This is a direct contradiction of the teachings of Islam that dictate the opposite. In fact, the kindness of Islam is extended even to animals. A man was promised Paradise for providing a thirsty dog with water while a woman was promised hell for denying her cat any food (Hadith). How could anyone then assume that Islam is capable of terrorism? However, misinterpretation of Islamic teachings and the adoption of extremist positions of intolerance have been, and continue to be, used as the ideological foundation for various terrorist groups which are misusing the name of Islam to commit acts of terrorism. Al-Qaeda is, no doubt, a leading name among such groups, but religious misinterpretations, extremism and intolerance have been used as the basic for terrorist ideological beliefs and actions by other religious groups as well.[1]

     Islam has recommended severe punishment for those who kill or commit mischief throughout the land. Terrorists fall in this category.[2] This indicates clearly the lawful punishment of those who wage war, and strive to spread mischief. Here we are not highlighting the details of waging war or punishment as explained by jurists, but two important points need to be discussed.

     First, waging war is a crime that has a great impact upon national security. It causes panic and fear among the people. Muslim rulers (guardians) are responsible for preserving security that is part of the broader public interest. Secondly, application of this punishment contributes greatly to preserving security. On the other hand, negligence of this punishment, together with other lawful punishments, would negatively affect security by increasing crime in the society.[3]



[1] Ishtiaq Ahmad, ‘Why Islam Forbids Terrorism,’ Weekly Pulse, 28 June-3 July 2008.

[2] The Holy Qur’an, Surah 5, Verse 11.

[3] Ibid.,Surah 5, Verse 11