Strategic Research Circle




Extremism can be defined as something far outside the mainstream norm of a society or to violate common moral values. Extremism involves two key ingredients: An oversimplified analysis of all evils, and a believe that there are identifiable villains behind those evils.


Rancor or Ghill is sickness that is closely related to resentment and extreme anger with a desire to harm others. It comes from the same Arabic root word aghal, which is mentioned in the Quran to mean yokes (crossbar or piece of wood around the neck)  


As if to say that rancor (ghill) dwells in a heart bound to malice and treachery" (QURAN, 36:8)


Eleven wrongs follow hatred; jealousy, rejoicing at others misfortunes (shamatat), alienation or separation (hijr), contempt (istisghar), lying (kizb), backbiting (ghiba), exposing others faults, making fun of others, putting others in unnecessary hardship, and unjustly taking someones life or property.


“How did you feel on September 1, 2001 when you heard the news?”

“We were very very happy. It was feeling from inside, like victory, as if I had done it myself”

Karim Al Dahi had family who lost all its men - Frontline Reporter Martin Smith reporting from Yemen, November 21, 2002


“Do not commit shamatat (Rejoicing at others misfortunes) for your brother and if you did that Allah will free him from the difficulty he is in and afflict you with the same” (Hadith)


If you had chance to watch famous Star Wars movie, Yoda tells young Skywalker,  "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”


The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "Beware of going to extremes (in religion), for those before you were only destroyed through excessiveness." (Munawi)


Ibn Taymiya took this as following ... "His saying 'Beware of going to extremes in religion' is a general prohibition applying to all types of extremes, whether in belief or in actions" (Fayd al-Qadir sharh al-Jami)




Henry Tajfel of England became famous for his work on ingroups and outgroup. He showed that people bond or socialize based on their culture and beliefs. It’s easy to hate people but it’s difficult to understand why they are different from us.


The prophet (saw) himself has reported to have said in a hadith recorded by Abu Dawud that “He is not of us who proclaims the cause of asabiya; and he is not of us who fights in the cause of asabiya; and he is not of us who dies in the cause of asabiya.


When asked to explain the meaning of asabiya, he replied; helping your own people in unjust cause. Islam replaced tribal asabiya with more deeper and universal community (umma).


The family is the first ingroup that will teach you about more of tolerance or hate.


There's no gentle way to put it; People who give in to racism and prejudice may simply be dumb.


One of the study done by a lead researcher Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario in Jan 2012. It says,  “Many anti-prejudice programs encourage participants to see things from another group's point of view. That mental exercise may be too taxing (or difficult) for people of low IQ” because they have difficulty seeing common good that people of other faith or culture have"


Narrated `Abdullah: Allah's Messenger (saw) said, "Abusing a Muslim (believer) is Fusuq (an evil act), and (unjustly) killing him is Kufr (disbelief)


“The Sharia law and we will exercise this right, whatever happens, I swear to God we will shed our own blood to achieve this. We will make our sons suicide bombers and we will make ourselves suicide bombers. I swear to God, if our leader orders me, I will sacrifice myself and blow myself up in the middle of our enemies” Taliban Radio in Swat Valley, 2002


“This is what people of ignorance (Jahlia) did before Islam. They took pride in killing and counting their dead enemies”.


Ibn Mas'ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Ruined are those who insist on hardship in matters of the Faith." He repeated this three times. (Muslim)


Splinter Groups


Khawarij was a splinter group formed during civil war between Ali ibn Talib and Muawiya in 657 CE.

Khawarji means the 'one who left'. Citing the verse "No rule but God's," an indication that a caliph is not a representative of God, this group turned on both Syedna Ali and Muawiya, opposing Muawiya's rebellion against one they considered to be the rightful caliph, and opposing ? Syedna Ali for accepting to subject his legitimate authority to arbitration.


Khawarij considered that Ali had breached a Qur'anic verse which states that "Say (O Muhammad): "I am on clear proof from my Lord (Islamic Monotheism), but you (disbelievers) deny (the truth that has come to me from Allah). I have not gotten what you are asking for impatiently (the torment). The decision is only for Allah, He declares the truth, and He is the Best of judges." (Qur'an 6:57), which the Kharijites interpreted to mean that the outcome of a conflict can only be decided in battle (by God) and not in negotiations (by human beings).


“So few people do actually read the Koran, is precisely why it's so easy to quote -- that is ... to misquote. Phrases and snippets taken out of context in what I call the ‘highlighter version’, which is the one favored by both Muslim fundamentalists and anti-Muslim Islamophobes”

Lesley Hazelton

Syedna Ali quickly divided his troops and ordered them to catch the dissenters (Khawarij) before they could reach major cities and disperse among the population. Ali's cousin and a renowned Islamic jurist, Abdullah ibn Abbas, pointed out the grave theological errors made by the Kharijites in quoting the Qur'an, and managed to persuade a number of Khawarijites to return to Ali based on their misinterpretations. ?Ali defeated the remaining rebels in the Battle of Nahrawan in 658 CE




In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Education Center for Afghanistan (ECA) in Peshawar, Pakistan, published textbooks with images of militancy. ECA was funded by the Education Program for Afghanistan at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), under a $50 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development. The UNO program staff chose to ignore the images of militancy in the children's textbooks during the first five years of the program


Consider the following introduction to the Persian alphabet in a first-grade language arts book:


Alif [is for] Allah.

Ti [is for] Rifle (tufang).

Jim [is for] Jihad.

Zal [is for] Oppression (zulm). The Russians are oppressors


Consider this poem from a first-grade language arts textbook, published in 1970:


"On the road to our independence, We will sacrifice. If, with designs on our land, Our dirty enemies, Come forward one step, We will cut off their feet, We will cut off their legs, The unjust enemy, If he casts a sharp glance, We will pluck out his eyes"


A joke in fifth-grade language-arts schoolbook displays a macabre sense of humor:


A boy returning from war was asked, "What did you do in the war?" He answered, "I cut both legs off an enemy at the knees." When asked why he did not cut off the enemy's head, the boy answered, "Someone else had already cut it off."


It was narrated that Safwan bin ‘Assil said: “The Messenger of Allah (?) sent us in a military detachment and said: ‘Go in the Name of Allah, and in the cause of Allah. Fight those who disbelieve in Allah. Do not mutilate, do not be treacherous, do not steal from the spoils of war, and do not kill children.’”


These textbooks aimed both to counterbalance the Marxist ideology of the communist series and to indoctrinate young Afghan children in Islamic militancy. Thus this subtraction problem, from a third-grade mathematics textbook:


"One group of mujahidin attack 50 Russian soldiers. In that attack 20 Russians were killed. How many Russians fled?"


A fourth-grade mathematics textbook ups the ante by posing a following problem:


"The speed of a Kalashnikov bullet is 800 meters per second. If a Russian is at a distance of 3,200 meters from a mujahid, and that mujahid aims at the Russian's head, calculate how many seconds it will take for the bullet to strike the Russian in the forehead."


(Nationalism, Revolution, and Jihad: Images of Violence in Afghan Primary Education Textbooks," the research for which was made possible by a David L. Boren graduate fellowship)


This is what one of the young recruits had to say:


“They first take us to madrasa and they teach us things from the Koran. They teach us to use machine guns, kalashnikov, rocket launcher, grenades and bombs. They ask us to use them only against infidels. Then they teach us how to do the suicide attack. They are now hundreds of them, The Taliban now have power to defeat the army” Hazrat Ali had joined Taliban


State Sponsored Extremism


When we have politicians spewing hate, stirring up the masses, bad things happen.


Barry Goldwater  once said, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue" 1964 Republican Convention in a sentence attributed to his speechwriter Karl Hess.


US air strikes in Pakistan became recruitment ground for Taliban.


“Oh God protect Osama. Oh God protect Mullah Omar. Are there any men equal to them in world?” A Taliban addresses funeral prayers attendees 


“My cousin was one of the students killed in the madrasa. His body was being eaten by dogs. We could only find his legs so we buried them in our village. More than eight people were killed mostly children. God willing, I will join Taliban” Wasi Ullah, Pakistan.


“The American policies we adopt. That's why Taliban are angry at us”

Sher Mourad, A wounded Pakistani Soldier


Economist Ronald Wintrobe argues that many extremist movements, even though having completely different ideologies share a common set of characteristics. He lists, for example, common characteristics between "Jewish fundamentalists" and "the extremists of Hamas"


“Terrorism is the? best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death.” — Adolf Hitler


hiqd is to hate another person or group, to have grudge or animosity which is forbidden but hatred towards a tyrant or oppressor is permissible in Islamic traditions.


Sufiyan as Sawri once asked. If a tyrant is about to die out of thirst in a desert, should we give him water. He said No, Don’t. If a tyrant takes a house he is living in by way of extortion, it’s forbidden or haram to enter that house. Showing humility to a fasiq (who is not zalim) will one cost two-third of the faith.


People carrying hatred are against any compromise with the other side. They are entirely sure of their position. They advocate and sometimes use violence to achieve their ends. They  are nationalistic, are intolerant of dissent within their group, and they demonize the other side.


“These attacks (on Palestinians) amounted to reprisals and collective punishment, and constitute war crimes. The government of Israel obviously has a duty to protect its own citizens. That in no way justifies a policy of collective punishment of a people under effective occupation, destroying their means to live a dignified life and the trauma caused by the kind of military intervention ... the Israeli government called Operation Cast Lead” Judge Richard Goldstone Talking to Bill Moyers at PBS, Oct 23, 2009


The Middle Ground


Forgiving a wrongdoer is highest degree of mildness (hilm), compassion and courage.


When prophet (saw) was asked to curse his enemies after he got injured during the battle of Uhd, he said, “I was not sent to curse. I was sent to ask and pray for good things and compassion for every creature” O God, give these people sense to find the guidance. They can’t recognize truth and they don’t know”


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