Islam – The Religion Of Peace
Today, many non-Muslims regard Islam as a religion that promotes violence, terrorism and war. Unfortunately, they rely in their view of Islam on the general media, which is not always accurate in reporting the news. Many media outlets, such as TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, are influenced by their investors or owners who have certain agendas and who want to promote certain values and points of view. Other media outlets are simply after the “big story”, in order to make more money and more profits. Others are simply “followers”, who only gather news from other sources, re-package it and try to sell it again purely as a business.
In all these cases, the news reporting is not accurate, but is driven by ulterior motives or simply by profits. Only very few media organizations are committed to providing accurate and true information, regardless of financial gain. Therefore, people today should be very careful in what they take from the media.
Before blindly accepting what the TV, radio or newspaper is reporting, one should think critically about what is being reported. Is this being reported accurately, or is it being exaggerated or even completely fabricated? Who are these people reporting the news, and do they have vested interests to report the story in a certain way, or are they completely objective and fair? Critical thinking is very important in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to accepting the media reports about important and controversial issues.
Islam is in fact a religion that promotes peace and understanding among people of all faiths, and it strongly prohibits all forms of violence and aggression against all people regardless of their faith or race.
2. Islam Prohibits Violence and Aggression, and stands for Peace and Justice.
Islam clearly prohibits all kinds and forms of aggression and violence against anyone, except in self-defense. Islam is a practical religion, meant to be implemented in every aspect of our life. Therefore, it realizes the fact that a person who commits aggression and violence against others will not cease these actions unless they are deterred by similar actions taken against them.
Islam also places very high importance on justice, and allows for aggressors and unjust people be punished accordingly, unless they repent before they are brought to justice. At the same time, Islam encourages people to forgive those who have wronged them whenever possible.
Evidence of these ideals can be found in the Holy Qur’an, which is the word of God revealed to the messenger of God, Mohammad peace be upon him. It can also be found in the Hadeeth, the sayings of Mohammad peace be upon him, and in his teachings to Muslims. A few examples of this are shown below from the Holy Qur’an:
- “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, and do not transgress; for Allah loveth not transgressors.” (Surah 2, Verse 190).
- “But if they cease (fighting you), Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah 2, Verse 192).
- “But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is the One that Heareth and Knoweth (all things).” (Surah 8, Verse 61).
- “The prohibited month, for the prohibited month, and so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.” (Surah 2, Verse 194).
- ” … and let not the hatred of some people in (once) shutting you out of the Sacred Mosque lead you to transgression (and hostility on your part). Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancour: fear Allah: for Allah is strict in punishment.” (Surah 5, Verse 2).
- “Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!” (Surah 41, Verse 34).
- “O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” (Surah 4, Verse 135).
- “God advocates justice, charity, and regarding the relatives. And He forbids evil, vice, and transgression. He enlightens you, that you may take heed.” (Surah 16, Verse 90).
- “And if ye do punish them, punish them no worse than they punished you: but if ye show patience, that is indeed the best (course) for those who are patient.” (Surah 16, Verse 126).
The first three verses above instruct Muslims to fight those who fight them, and not to commit aggression first, as God does not like transgressors. They also instruct Muslims to stop fighting those who wish to cease fighting them, and to accept peace with the enemy who becomes inclined towards peace.
The fourth verse mentioned above instructs Muslims that if someone transgresses against them, they should respond to them likewise, and it reminds Muslims to fear God and to restrain themselves to this limit.
The fifth verse reminds Muslims not to let hatred of some people for past reasons to lead them to transgress against those people or be hostile towards them. It also instructs us to help each other in good and righteous actions, and not to cooperate in aggression and sin, and it reminds them finally of the strict punishment of God to encourage them to abide by these principles.
The sixth verse reminds us that goodness and evil are never equal, and that we should repel evil with good actions. This means that when someone is unjust to us or commits evil against us, we are encouraged to respond with kind and good actions, so that the hatred between us and that person will evaporate and will become an intimate friendship!
The seventh verse mentioned reminds us to stand up for justice, even if it is against ourselves or our family, and even if it is against those who are rich or powerful, because justice applies to everyone. It also reminds us that God knows everything we do, and so if we act unjustly even in our hearts, God knows what we did and we will be accountable for that.
The eighth verse informs us that God enjoins us to follow justice, and that God forbids us from committing evil, vice and transgression.
The ninth and final verse reminds Muslims that if they are punished, that they may only respond with the same punishment and not to go over this limit. However, they are reminded that forgiveness and patience is the best course of action.
These are the wonderful ideals of Islam:
- To pursue peace with everyone including past enemies, except when they fight the Muslims and refuse peace, then Muslims are allowed to fight in self-defense.
- To ensure that we always apply justice and never transgress against others even if they are our enemies.
- To repel evil actions with good actions, in order to replace hatred with an intimate friendship.
- To respond to punishment with the same punishment, but that forgiveness and patience is even better than retaliation.
3. Islamic Principle: Living Peacefully with All Nations and Peoples.
The verse mentioned below informs us that we were created and made into various nations and tribes so that we may get to know each other, and not so that we may despise and hate each other. Then we are reminded of the the fact that the best of us in God’s eyes are those who are most righteous.
- “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full Knowledge and is well-acquainted (with all things).” (Surah 49, Verse 13).
This wonderful principle of Islam makes it clear that there is no single people, race, or nation that is better than others. God created us all equal. In God’s eyes, the best of us are the most righteous and most kind.
God created mankind as different races and nations although He could have created us all with as one nation, with one language and one religion. However, as stated in the verse mentioned above, God created these different nations and tribes so that we get to know other each other, and not to hate each other because we are different. This tells us that we should celebrate our differences and not hate each other based on them. Islam also teaches us to realize that no single race or people have supremacy over others, and that we are judged solely based on our actions.
This verse also teaches us that we should live peacefully with other nations and tribes and we should respect each other and our differences. We should learn to live together and to get to know each other, and to engage in dialogue amongst all nations and treat every human being as being equal.
4. Islamic Principle: There is no Compulsion in Religion
The verse from the Qur’an which states this principle of no compulsion in religion is the following:
- “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects Evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.” (Surah 2, Verse 256).
The holy Qur’an reminds us that there must not be compulsion in religion. It states that the truth stands out clear from error, and that those who reject error and believe in God are the saved ones.
This means that Muslims are not allowed to force people to convert to Islam. Muslims should only seek to make the truth clear to others, and talk to them about Islam, then let them decide for themselves. In fact, most people who study Islam without having made a decision to hate it first come to love its message and convert to Islam after learning about it’s values and principles.
Another verse that also states this principle is the following:
- “If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.” (Surah 9, Verse 6).
This wonderful verse instructs Muslims to grant asylum to non-believers, and make them safe, and allow them to hear the word of Allah. Then they are to be escorted to whatever place they will be safe and secure in. This is because these non-believers simply have no knowledge of Islam, and no knowledge of the word of Allah.
What a wonderful religion Islam is! How can this be compared with the way that Christians spread their religion? They spread it by genocide, mass murder, kidnapping of children and wiping out of entire nations and civilizations! Ask the natives of the Americas, Australia and Africa about it!
5. When are Muslims Permitted to Fight a War?
As stated earlier, Islam is a very practical religion. It is not just about fake ideals that do not work. It is a religion that is meant to be implemented 100% in all actions of the Muslims life, and it is meant to promote peace and justice in the world.
Therefore, Islam does allow Muslims to go to war, as mentioned earlier, in certain circumstances. This includes self-defence, and to remove aggression and injustice that has befallen people and to save them from their oppressors. The verses that tell Muslims to fight those who fight them were mentioned earlier. Below is the verse in the holy Qur’an that allows Muslims to fight against injustice.
- “Permission [to fight] is granted to those who are being persecuted, since injustice has befallen them, and God is certainly able to support them [with victory].
They were evicted from their homes unjustly, for no reason other than saying, “Our Lord is God.” If it were not for God’s supporting of some people against others, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques – where the name of God is commemorated frequently – would have been destroyed. Absolutely, God supports those who support Him. God is Powerful, Almighty.” (Surah 22, Verses 39-40).
This verse gives permission to those Muslims who fall under oppressive, unjust rule, and those Muslims who are being persecuted to fight to remove this oppression.
6. Does Islam Permit Killing Civilians?
Even in times of war, the Muslim must respect his adversaries� humanity. Brutal and barbaric atrocities are prohibited in Islam. Islam condemns barbaric killing of any human being. Therefore, Islam does not permit the mutilation of the bodies of the dead enemy soldiers.
Also, Islam prohibits the targeting and killing of all civilians, especially women, children, the elderly, and religious clergy. Enemies, even at time of war, must be treated justly. Prisoners of war have basic human rights, as stated in the Shariah (Islamic Law), and must be provided and cared for and not humiliated in any way.
The following verses touch on some of these issues:
- “O Prophet! say to those who are captives in your hands: If Allah findeth any good in your hearts, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and He will forgive you: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah 8, Verse 70).
- And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive, (Saying), We feed you for the sake of Allah alone: no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks.” (Surah 76, Verses 8-9).
In addition, the following were the instructions of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) to Muslims who are forced to fight a war:
- “Do not kill women or children or non-combatants and do not kill old people or religious people,” and he mentioned priests, nuns and rabbis. And he said, “Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees and do not poison the wells of your enemies.”
There are many more sayings and teachings of Prophet Mohammad that instruct Muslims on these issues.
In addition to all this, Islam prohibits oppression, revenge or injustice to the people of the enemy in case of victory against them. Nor must there be control over the sources of the wealth of the nation or people, or even establishment of colonial regimes. Justice and freedom must be established. Tolerance towards cultures and peoples is to be respected at all times.
This is the Islamic point of view on war, peace and justice. We hope that after reading this article, people will have a clear understanding that Islam promotes peace and justice, and stands against aggression and violence.
It is very sad that some people who want to give a wrong impression of Islam, simply select a few words from the Qur’an and distort them and put them in the wrong context, all in order to prove that Islam supports violence. They ignore all the verses we have mentioned in this article.
Therefore, we hope that people will be more careful about what they may hear or read on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines or on the internet. Make sure that you do not blindly believe anything that is being said. Try to get both sides of the story, by listening to all points of view on any issue before coming to a conclusion.
And finally, we greet everyone with the greeting of Islam:
Assalamu Alaikum (Peace be upon you!).