By Hesham Hassaballa
The almost breathtaking brutality of the savages of ISIS, or as I like to call them, “KIL” (The Kharijites of Iraq and the Levant) almost knows no bounds. They rape, kill, maim, murder, and destroy at will. They are among the worst criminal gangs this world has seen in recent history. I would care less about them and their filth, were it not for the fact that they commit said crimes in the name of God, Islam, and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Yet, alongside all this savagery, I cannot help but be rendered speechless by ISIS’ sheer stupidity. The U.N. has confirmed that the ancient temple of Baal in the Syrian city of Palmyra has been completely destroyed. The simultaneous feelings of both rage and silence are hard to put in words. What possible purpose could destroying such a precious, ancient site of human heritage fulfill? How could this possibly benefit humanity?
Yes, Islam is staunchly and fiercely monotheistic. Yes, the Qur’an is full of references attacking the very premise of idolatry, in all its forms. In fact, there are verses that mention the very god Baal, temple of which was destroyed by the savages:
AND, BEHOLD, Elijah [too] was indeed one of Our message-bearers. when he spoke [thus] to his people: “Will you not remain conscious of God? Will you invoke Baal and forsake [God,] the best of artisans? God, your Lord and the Lord of your forebears of old?” (37:123-126)
Yes, one of the primary missions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was to cleanse the Holy Sanctuary in Makkah and the Arabian Peninsula from its hundreds of idols. Yet, that mission was fulfilled. There is no reason whatsoever now to destroy religious temples and artifacts that are thousands of years old and lasting relics of human religious history.
Do these ignorant, brutal savages think they know more about Islam than the Prophet (pbuh)? Do they think they know more about Islam than the Companions? When the Companions expanded the Islamic realm, they did not busy themselves with destroying every single temple dedicated to gods other than God.
In fact, when the Companions conquered Syria, that very temple of Baal, now destroyed by ISIS, was still there, and the Companions left it alone. In Egypt, the land of my ancestry, there were tons of temples, statues, and other edifices of ancient Egyptian idolatry. They were all left alone by the Companions who conquered Egypt. They didn’t waste their time destroying ancient, and empty, temples of old.
And thank God they did, for now the entire world can lose its breath at the beauty of those ancient Egyptian relics. Thank God the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) left all the very relics at which my wife and I marveled when we visited the Musee du Lovre in Paris. The same goes for the Code of Hammurabi, which was also at the Lovre museum. In fact, many of the relics and artifacts that ISIS has destroyed were left alone by Muslims infinitely better in faith and religious understanding.
Yet, these savages of ISIS are anti-humanity. They seek to destroy human heritage itself, claiming that they are doing so in the name of God. They are completely mistaken. They are exactly as the Prophet Muhammad described them:
There would arise from my Ummah (i.e., followers) a people who would recite the Qur’an, and your recital would seem insignificant as compared with their recital, your prayer as compared with their prayer, and your fast, as compared with their fast. They would recite the Qur’an thinking that it supports them, whereas it is an evidence against them. Their prayer does not get beyond their collar bone; they would swerve through Islam just as the arrow passes through the prey.
May God destroy these savages before they destroy any more traces of human history. Some think that the evil shown by ISIS is the true face of Islam. They could not be more incorrect. True Islam is nothing like that practiced by the savages of ISIS. The vast, vast majority of Muslims reject the Islam of ISIS. This is because the Islam of ISIS is nothing less than satanic.