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Articles Section > 'The Islamic Review' Archive > Editorial: Imam Anwar Shaheed -- The Martyr of Guyana -- by Masud Akhtar Chaudry

Editorial: Imam Anwar Shaheed -- The Martyr of Guyana:
Masud Akhtar Chaudry
The Islamic Review, June/July 1986, pp. 3 - 4

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Our hearts bleed on the assassination of our United Kingdom Missionary, the late Imam Muhammad Anwar Shaheed at Georgetown, Guyana. We hope all sane persons will join us in condemnation of this brutal, pre-planned and conspiratorial murder. It is tragic that some wolves in the garb of clerics go about in the world of religion even in this era of civilisation and enlightenment. We know of no scripture which teaches murder, arson, looting and rape simply on account of a difference of opinion in religious matters. It is borne out by history that in spite of no scripture permitting compulsion in the matters of belief, the establishment clerics in various eras have been sowing seeds of hatred and prejudice in the minds of their followers against their fellow human beings in the very name of God and Religion. Even presently, we Ahmadis and many other religious groups are being persecuted in many lands at the behest and call of the so-called fundamentalists whose cadres are swelled with the pseudo-religionists, the so-called establishment ‘ulama [clerics]. Day in and day out they exhort their ignorant followers at criminal acts against those who do not agree with their viewpoint in religious beliefs. Little do they realise that if all religious groups were to choose to play the game according to the rules followed by these criminals, then millions of heads, including theirs, would roll in the dust overnight. Religious platform is not a proper forum for gangsterism and criminal conspiracy. By their black deeds, they in fact bring their religion to disrepute and do not render any service to God or the religion itself.

Today's man, because of the ever-looming sense of the danger of the complete annihilation of mankind from the thousands of nuclear warheads amassed and stockpiled by the military powers of this era, stands in need of some harmonising force which could guarantee peace and thus could grant him the much needed sense of security. Religion, no doubt, is and can prove such a fortifying force in these distressed times; but only if the establishment clerics let free the harmonising teachings of the religion, based on love, compassion and understanding. It is high time that the professional priests and establishment clerics who have hitherto ruled in the arena of religion as a force much stronger and powerful than God Himself make way for God and the word of God. For the survival of the human race, it is essential that this practice of usurpation by the establishment clerics in the very name of God and the religion should end, or else it is feared that the religion they stand for will drown along with them. Today's mankind can ill-afford any forces of hatred, prejudice and diversity, even if these be in the name of religion. Establishment clericsim or religion as a force of unity and harmony – the choice is hard, yet it has to be made. The sooner the better, as professional priestcraft and establishment clericism are outdated. It is a writ large on the walls of time.

For us, the matter is crystal clear. The late Imam Anwar Shaheed laid down his life in the path of preserving freedom of conscience. Freedom of conscience is a gift of God to mankind and honourable and righteous men at different junctures of history have preserved this freedom even by paying the price of laying down their lives. If it was not so, then the truth, the justice, the righteousness and the true religion would have been completely wiped out from the earth. If the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, and his companions had not made supreme sacrifices by suffering at the hands of their torturers for the sake of upholding the truth manifested to them, the world would not have been enlightened by the light of the beauteous teachings of Islam. Again, Iman Hussain and seventy-two family members of the Prophet’s family, by laying down their lives for the preservation of the freedom of conscience rather than submitting to the tyrannical forces of injustice and usurpation, have enlightened the path of human freedom, which serves as a lighthouse for the forces of freedom for all ages. The state and the establishment clerics had joined hands in murdering Imam Hussain and his family members, as they have joined hands against us today. Hussain is a symbol of freedom and righteousness for all freedom fighters, whereas Yazid and his partisan ‘ulama are a symbol of evil and injustice. This war between Hussainiyyat and Yazidiyat is an ever-continuing process. Thank God that we are not in the lines of the tyrants, the usurpers and the unjust and unrighteous. We are following in the footsteps of Imam Hussian by being ready to suffer even our lives for the sake of preserving our freedom of conscience and not submitting to the forces of evil. Thanks be to Allah that we are in the ranks of sufferers in the path of holding fast to HablAllah and not in the lines of the torturers. The ultimate victory of the forces of truth and righteousness lies in our willingness to smilingly suffer all adversities and afflictions in the cause so dear to all of us – the cause of DeenAllah. We are the forces of DeenAllah against Deen-en-Mullah and shall continue to suffer any afflictions for the sake of keeping the banner of the freedom of conscience flying high, even at the cost of our lives. The martyrdom of Imam Anwar is just evidence of our convictions and dedication in the cause we espouse. His blood shall always enlighten the path for all lovers of the righteousness and freedom of conscience for all times. He is just one more victim of Yazidiyyat, just another star on the path of Hussainiyyat. By embracing death in the cause of Allah, he attained life eternal.

May Allah bless his soul.



Articles Section > 'The Islamic Review' Archive > Editorial: Imam Anwar Shaheed -- The Martyr of Guyana -- by Masud Akhtar Chaudry


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