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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

slam: A Religion of Peace and Justice

Islam is a religion of peace in the fullest sense of the word. The Qur'an calls its way 'the paths of peace' (5:16). It describes reconciliation as the best policy (4"128), and states that God abhors any disturbance of the peace (2:205).

The root word of Islam is 'silm', which means peace. So the spirit of Islam is the spirit of peace. The first verse of the Qur'an breathes the spirit of peace. It reads: In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.

This verses repeated in the Qur'an no less than 114 times. It shows the great importance Islam attaches to such values as Mercy and Compassion. One of God's names, according to the Qur'an, is as-salam, which means peace. Moreover the Qur'an states that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent to the world as a mercy to mankind. (21:107)

A perusal of the Qur'an shows that most verses of the Qur'an (and also the Hadith) are based on peace and kindness, either directly or indirectly. The ideal society, according to the Qur'an is Dar as-Salam, that is, the house of peace (10:25).

The Qur'an presents the universe as a model which is characterized by harmony and peace (36:40). When God created heaven and earth, He so ordered things that each part might perform its function peacefully without clashing with any other part. The Qur'an tells us that "the sun is not allowed to overtake the moon, nor does the nigh outpace the day. Each in its own orbit runs." (36:40) For billions of years, therefore, the entire universe has been fulfilling its function in total harmony with His divine plan.

According to Islam, peace is not simply an absence of war. Peace opens doors to all kind of opportunities which are present in any given situation. It is only in a peaceful situation that planned activities are possible. It is for this reason that the Qu'an says 'reconciliation is the best' (4:128). Similarly the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) has observed: "God grants to gentleness (rifq) what He does not grant to violence (unf). (sunan Abu Dawud 4/255)

According to Islam, peace is the rule and war is only an exception. Even in defensive war we have to see the result. If the result is doubtful, Muslims should avoid war, even in a defensive situation. Stray acts of aggression are not enough for Muslims to rush into war. They have to assess the whole situation and adopt a policy of avoidance when war is not certain to achieve a positive result.

In actual fact, the mission of all the Prophets right from Adam to Jesus was one and the same - of establishing the ideology of monotheism in the world, so that man might worship one God alone. As we know, there came a large number of Prophets in ancient times but the message of monotheism remained at the initial stage; it could not culminate in revolution.

The reason being that in ancient times, the system of monarchy was entrenched throughout the world. The kings, in order to secure their political interests, adopted the course of religious persecution. These kings suppressed all religious movements, which were different from the state religion. They would nip all apostasy in the bud, since they saw religion as a matter of affirming one's loyalty to the state. If a person adhered to a religion other than the state religion, he was regarded as a rebel.

That is why in ancient times prophetic movements could go no further ahead than the state of da'wah. No sooner would a movement based on monotheism arise than the coercive political system would be activated to pull it out by its roots. The reason for the absence of any historical record of Prophets (besides the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) in antiquity is traceable to the intense opposition of these coercive political systems.

All the Prophets of ancient times, historically speaking, were like mythical beings, rather than real human beings accepted as historical figures. The Prophet Jesus was the last link in the chain of these persecutions faced by the preachers of monotheism. Then God decreed the abolition of this coercive political system, even if it entailed the use of force in order that the age of religious persecution might be brought to an end forever, and replaced by the age of religious freedom. This divine plan was brought to completion through the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) and his companions. This is the command given in the Qur'an: "Fight them until there be no persecution and religion be wholly Allah's." (8:39)

Therefore the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) received special divine succor in the form of a powerful team consisting of one hundred thousand individuals. Equipped with this team the Prophet waged war to end this coercive system of religious persecution, and it was in Arabia that it was first of all overthrown. Then within a very short span of time, they advanced to abolish the coercive system established by the Sassanid and Byzantine empires.

In the wake of this Islamic action, the coercive system was abolished forever in the major part of the inhabited world of the time. This war waged by the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) and his companions was not a war as is commonly understood, but rather a divine operation, which was carried out by people who possessed a high standard of moral character.

However, this operation was certainly only temporary in nature. Its goal was to put an end to the age of religious persecution and usher in the age of religious freedom. This end was fully achieved during the early period of Islam, the age of the pious Caliphs. Afterwards the time came to keep the sword in its sheath and engage in da'wah work, that is, the call to God, which was the real and permanent goal of Islam.

It is no exaggeration to say that Islam and violence are contradictory to each other. The concept of Islamic violence is so obviously unfounded that, prima facie it stands rejected. The fact that violence is not sustainable in the present world is enough to convince one that violence as a principle is quite alien to the scheme of things in Islam. Islam claims to be an eternal religion and such a religion cannot afford a principle in its scheme which will not be sustainable in later periods of human history. And attempt to bracket violence with Islam amounts to casting doubts upon the very eternity of the Islamic religion.

No wonder, then that the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) so earnestly used to entreat his Lord in his daily prayer: "O God, you are the original source of Peace; from You is all Peace, and to You returns all Peace. So, make us live with Peace; and let us enter paradise: the House of Peace. Blessed be You, our Lord, to whom belongs all Majesty and Honor!"

[Summarized from: "The Man Islam Builds", by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Thursday : 25/07/2002
Asslaamualikum Warahmatuallahi Wabarakaatuh Brother or Sister.
Question

I go to a school where there are only a few Muslims around. I live Southern New Jersey. I have only a few Muslim friends and we usually meet each other at Mosque on Fridays.

I sometimes feel that I should make the people in my school realize that I am a Muslim and that Islam is a welcoming religion. The students sometimes talk about Islam as if every Muslim is a terrorist.

I was wondering if you could tell me some ways in which I can make these people recognize Islam and not affect anyone in a negative way. Thank you for your time and difficulty.

Answer

Whatever good things you do in life you are likely to upset someone somewhere.

Their intention is to extinguish God's Light (by blowing) with their mouths: But God will complete (the revelation of) His Light, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it).

Surah 61 Verse 8

But don't let that put you off. There may be great scope for explaining Islam to your fellow students and teachers. The best way to proceed depends on what you could do. If your school allows student clubs of some kind, where you can use the facilities of the school to have various social events or even formal presentations, you could try to take advantage of this. However, for any formal activity, you need to gain the necessary permission from the school.

A good way to approach this is to ask the teachers what could be done and get a few of them to support you. It should be emphasised to them that you will not try anything 'evangelical'. In presenting Islam we don't do as the Christians do and say to people "accept this or you will not be saved". In Islam we simply present the message of Muhammad and then it is up to others to accept if they are convinced. If they are not convinced, then that doesn't necessarily mean that they are not "saved", it may simply mean that we have not explained things well enough. (for more information on this click here)

In many countries the scope for presenting Islam can include taking part in the formal education program since teaching students something about the religion is part of the school's curriculum. In the UK, occasional assemblies at the start of the day can contain presentations about Islam to all the students in a year or in the whole school.

To present Islam, you don't have to be a great scholar, but what you must do, is know your limits. When you don't know the answer to a question, don't try to guess. Say "I don't know". You can refer people to Islamonline.net or you can offer to go and ask someone who does know the answer and get back to the questioner.

Whatever you do on the school property, if it is giving out literature or if it is holding events of some kind or whatever else, make sure that you explain your plans to a teacher first and get their approval.

On an informal level, social events can be arranged by inviting friends home or out to a public space such as a park. People really learn about Islam, and understand what it means to be a Muslim, through being in contact with good Muslims. They see example Muslims and can ask any question they need. So your main task in presenting Islam is just to be a point of contact for others to ask questions about Islam and an example for them.

The times we are living in put extra responsibilities on us. We need to be extra clear in what we say to others. Unfortunately much of the discussion about terrorism lacks clarity in a big way. Show me a definition of terrorism and I will show you all the terrorist acts done by your government!

This is why there is no accepted definition of terrorism. This is why "the war against terrorism" is a war without clear goals and therefore a war that cannot be won militarily. The only way to fight terrorism is to persuade people that there are better ways to achieve their aims.

In Northern Ireland the republicans were given a peaceful route through which they could work for a united Ireland. Key to this is the British government agreeing to not fight to keep Northern Ireland British if the majority of the population wanted to unite with the Republic of Ireland.

What are terrorists really? They are people with clear goals which they see no other way to achieve except through violence. But as with Northern Ireland, once there is a peaceful way of achieving their goals, then the extremism can be turned to something else: extreme patience and hard work!

Make it clear to others that you as Muslims have goals and that you have every intention of pursuing them peacefully without being violent in any way. Then people will see that Islam is indeed a welcoming religion and that Muslims are not all "terrorists".





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The Light of Faith

Why Is Islam So Hard?

Muhammad in Zoroastrian Scriptures





Your Counselors

Recommendations to the Western World

Conclusion: Recommendations to the Western World

Today, the Western world is concerned about the organisations that use terror under the guise of Islam and this concern is not misplaced. It is obvious that those carrying out terror and their supporters should be punished according to international judicial criteria. However, a more important point to consider is the long-term strategies that have to be pursued for viable solutions to these problems.

The assessments above reveal that terror has no place in Islam. They further show the inherently contradictory nature of the concept of "Islamic terror". This provides us with an important vantage point:

1) The Western world, especially the United States, will surely take the most dissuasive measures to cope with terror and it has the right to do that. However, it has to state explicitly that this is not a war waged against Islam and Muslims but, on the contrary, a measure serving the best interests of Islam. The "Clash of civilisations", the dangerous scenario envisioned in the 90's should be at all costs prevented.

2) Support should be provided for the spread of "True Islam", which is a religion of love, friendship, peace and brotherhood, and for its true understanding by Islamic societies. The solution for radical factions in Islamic countries should not be "forced secularisation". On the contrary, such a policy will incite more reaction from the masses and feed radicalism. The solution is the dissemination of true Islam and the appearance of a Muslim role-model who embraces Qur'anic values such as human rights, democracy, freedom, good morals, science and aesthetics, and who offers happiness and bliss to humanity.

3) The source of terrorism is ignorance and bigotry and the solution is education. To the circles who feel sympathy with terror, it should be said that terror is utterly against Islam, that terror only does harm to Islam, Muslims and to humanity at large. Besides, these people have to be provided with education in order to be purified of this barbarism. The United States' support to such an education policy will yield very positive results.

Our hope is that these measures will help to the world get rid of terrorism and all other bigoted, brutal, barbarous structures. With its Christian-dominated culture and population, the United States, that defines itself as "a nation under God", is in fact a real friend of the Muslims. In the Qur'an, God draws attention to this fact and informs us that Christians are those who are "most affectionate to those who believe". (Surat al-Ma'ida: 82)

In history, some ignorant people (for instance, Crusaders) failed to understand this fact and caused conflicts between these two great religions. To prevent the repetition of this scenario, true Christians and Muslims need to come together and co-operate.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Compassion, Tolerance and Humanity in the History of Islam

To sum up the facts we have seen so far, we can say that the political doctrine of Islam (in other words, Islamic rules and principles regarding political matters) is exceedingly moderate and peace-loving. This truth is accepted by many non-Muslim historians and theologians. One of these is the British historian Karen Armstrong, a former nun and an expert on Middle East history. In her book Holy War, which examines the history of the three divine religions, she makes the following comments:

... The word 'Islam' comes from the same Arabic root as the word 'peace' and the Qur'an condemns war as an abnormal state of affairs opposed to God's will… Islam does not justify a total aggressive war of extermination… Islam recognises that war is inevitable and sometimes a positive duty in order to end oppression and suffering. The Qur'an teaches that war must be limited and be conducted in as humane a way as possible. Mohammad had to fight not only the Meccans but also the Jewish tribes in the area and Christian tribes in Syria who planned on offensive against him in alliance with the Jews. Yet this did not make Mohammed denounce the People of the Book. His Muslims were forced to defend themselves but they were not fighting a 'holy war' against the religion of their enemies. When Mohammad sent his freedman Zaid against the Christians at the head of a Muslim army, he told them to fight in the cause of God bravely but humanely. They must not molest priests, monks and nuns nor the weak and helpless people who were unable to fight. There must be no massacre of civilians nor should they cut down a single tree nor pull down any building.6

After the death of the Prophet, the Caliphs who succeeded him were also very sensitive in exercising justice. In conquered countries, both the indigenous people and the newcomers led their lives in peace and security. Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, demanded his people adopt just and tolerant attitudes in these lands. All these attitudes were in compliance with the values of the Qur'an. Abu Bakr gave the following command to his army before the first Syrian expedition:

Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules to keep by heart: Do not commit treachery, nor depart from the right path. You must not mutilate, neither kill a child or aged man or woman. Do not destroy a palm tree, nor burn it with fire and do not cut any fruitful tree. You msut not slay any of the flock or herds or the camels, save for your subsistence. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them to that to which they have devoted their lives. You are likely, likewise, to find people who will present to you meals of many kinds. You may eat; but do no forget to mention the name of Allah.7


In the lands around Jerusalem, which have been under Muslim rule for long periods of time, peace and tolerance is now replaced by war and conflict.

Umar ibn al-Khattab, who succeeded Abu Bakr, was famous for the way he exercised justice and made contracts with the indigenous people of the conquered countries. Each one of these contracts proved to be an example of tolerance and justice. For instance, in his declaration granting protection to Christians in Jerusalem and Lod, he ensured that churches would not be demolished and guaranteed that Muslims would not worship in churches in groups. Umar granted the same conditions to the Christians of Bethlehem. During the conquest of Medain, the declaration of protection given to the Nestorian Patriarch Isho'yab III (650 - 660 AD) again guaranteed that churches would not be demolished and that no building would be converted into a house or a mosque. The letter written by the patriarch to the bishop of Fars (Persia) after the conquest is most striking, in the sense that it depicts the tolerance and compassion shown by Muslim rulers to the Book of People in the words of a Christian:

The Arabs to whom God has given at this time the government of the world... do not persecute the Christian religion. Indeed, they favour it, honour our priests and the saints of the Lord and confer benefits on churches and monasteries.8

All these are very important examples revealing the understanding of justice and tolerance of true believers. In a verse God commands the following:

God commands you to return to their owners the things you hold on trust and, when you judge between people, to judge with justice. How excellent is what God exhorts you to do! God is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (Qur'an, 4:58)

Canon Taylor, one of the mission leaders of the Anglican Church, expresses the beauty revealed by the Islamic morality in one of his speeches as follows:

It [Islam] brought out the fundamental dogmas of religion - the unity and greatness of God, that He is merciful and righteous, that He claims obedience to His will, resignation and faith. It proclaimed the responsibility of man, a future life, a day of judgment, and stern retribution to fall upon the wicked; and enforced the duties of prayer, almsgiving, fasting and benevolence. It thrust aside the artificial virtues, the religious frauds and follies, the perverted moral sentiments, and the verbal subtleties of theological disputants… It gave hope to the slave, brotherhood to mankind, and recognition to the fundamental facts of human nature.9

The false assertion that people in conquered countries converted to Islam under threat has also been disproved by Western researchers, and the justice and tolerant attitude of Muslims has been confirmed. L.Browne, a Western researcher, expresses this situation in the following words:

Incidentally these well-established facts dispose of the idea so widely fostered in Christian writings that the Muslims, wherever they went, forced people to accept Islam at the point of the sword.10


Many crusaders were surprised at the just, tolerant and compassionate attitude displayed by Muslims even on the battlefield. Later, they openly expressed their admiration in their memoirs. In the picture above we see the Second Crusade inaugurated by Louis VII.

In his book The Prospects of Islam, Browne goes on to say that the real motive behind the Muslims' conquests was the brotherhood of Islam. The vast majority of Muslim administrators who have reigned over the Muslim lands throughout history continued to treat the members of other religions with the utmost tolerance and respect. Within the borders of all Islamic states, both Jews and Christians lived in safety and enjoyed freedom.

Georgetown University's Professor of Religion and International Relations John L. Esposito describes how Jews and Christians who came under the administration of Muslim states met with enormous tolerance:

Muslim armies proved to be formidable conquerors and effective rulers, builders rather than destroyers. They replaced the indigenous rulers and armies of the conquered countries, but preserved much of their goverment, bureaucracy, and culture. For many in the conquered territories, it was no more than an exchange of masters, one that brought peace to peoples demoralized and disaffected by the casualties and heavy taxation that resulted from the years of Byzantine-Persian warfare. Local communities were free to continue to follow their own way of life in internal, domestic affairs. In many ways, local populations found Muslim rule more flexible and tolerant than that of Byzantium and Persia. Religious communities were free to practice their faith - to worship and be governed by their religious leaders and laws in such areas as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In exchange, they were required to pay tribute, a poll tax (jizya) that entitled them to Muslim protection from outside aggression and exempted them from military service. They were therefore called the ''protected ones'' (dhimmmi). In effect, this often meant lower taxes, grater local autonomy, rule by fellow Semites with closer linguistic and cultural ties than the hellenized, Greco-Roman elites of Byzantium, and greater religious freedom for Jews and indigenous Christians. Most of the Christian churches, such as the Nestorians, Monophysites, Jacobites, and Copts, had been persecuted as heretics and schismatics by Christian orthodoxy. For these reasons, some Jewish and Christian communities aided the invading armies, regarding them as less oppressive than their imperial masters. In many ways, the conquests brought a Pax Islamica to an embattled area.11


Muslim rule in Spain came to an end in 1492 when Granada was conquered by the armies of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. In the picture above, the surrender of the city is depicted.

Another "Pax Islamica" brought by Islam was to women, a segment of society that was tremendously abused in the pre-Islamic times. Professor Bernard Lewis, known to be one of the greatest Western experts on the Middle East, makes the following comment:

In general, the advent of Islam brought an enormous improvement in the position of women in ancient Arabia, endowing them with property and some other rights, and giving them a measure of protection against ill treatment by their husbands or owners. The killing of female infants, sanctioned by custom in Pagan Arabia, was outlawed by Islam. But the position of women remained poor, and worsened when, in this as in so many other respects, the original message of Islam lost its impetus and was modified under the influence of pre-existing attitudes and customs.12

The reign of the Seljuk Turks and that of the Ottoman Empire were also marked by the just and tolerant outlook of Islam. In his book, The Spread of Islam in the World, Sir Thomas Arnold, the British researcher, explains the Christians' willingness to come under Seljuk rule because of this attitude:

This same sense of security of religious life under Muslim rule led many of the Christians of Asia Minor, also, about the same time, to welcome the advent of the Saljuq Turks as their deliverers… In the reign of Michael VIII (1261-1282), the Turks were often invited to take possession of the smaller towns in the interior of Asia Minor by the inhabitants, that they might escape from the tyranny of the empire; and both rich and poor often emigrated into Turkish dominions.13


Sultan Beyazid II was a devout Muslim. He welcomed the Jews who were fleeing from Spanish persecution, and afforded them the freedom to practise their religion in Muslim lands.

Malik Shah, the ruler of the Islamic Seljuk Empire during its brightest age, approached the people in the conquered lands with great tolerance and compassion and thus was remembered with respect and love by them. All objective historians refer to the justice and tolerance of Malik Shah in their works. His tolerance also kindled feelings of love towards him in the hearts of the People of the Book. For this reason, unprecedented in history, many cities came under Malik Shah's rule of their own free will. Sir Thomas Arnold also mentions Odo de Diogilo, a monk of St. Denis, who participated in the Second Crusade as the private chaplain of Louis VII, refers in his memoirs to the justice administered by Muslims regardless of the subjects' religious affiliation. Based on the graphic account of Odo de Diogilo, Sir Thomas Arnold writes:

The situation of the survivors would have been utterly hopeless, had not the sight of their misery melted the hearts of the Muhammadans to pity. They tended the sick and relieved the poor and starving with open-handed liberality. Some even bought up the French money which the Greeks had got out of the pilgrims by force or cunning, and lavishly distributed it among the needy. So great was the contrast between the kind treatment the pilgrims received from the unbelievers and the cruelty of their fellow-Christians, the Greeks, who imposed forced labour upon them, beat them, and robbed them of what little they had left, that many of them voluntarily embraced the faith of their deliverers. As the old chronicler [Odo de Diogilo] says: "Avoiding their co-religionists who had been so cruel to them, they went in safety among the infidels who had compassion upon them, and, as we heard, more than three thousand joined themselves to the Turks when they retired."14


The conquest of Istanbul by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror meant freedom for Jews and heterodox Christians who had been subjected to oppression for centuries by Roman and Byzantine rulers.

These statements by historians reveal that Muslim administrators who truly adopted the morality of the Islam always ruled with tolerance, compassion and justice. Likewise, the history of the Ottoman Empire which ruled lands on three continents for centuries abounds with examples of tolerance.

The way the Jews settled in Ottoman lands during the time of Sultan Beyazid II, after being subjected to massacre and exile in the Catholic kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, is a fine example of the tolerance that Islamic morality brings with it. The Catholic monarchs who ruled much of Spain at the time brought grave pressure to bear on the Jews who had formerly lived in peace under Muslim rule in Andalusia. While Muslims, Christians and Jews were able to live side by side in peace in Andalusia, the Catholic monarchs tried to force the whole country to become Christian, and declared war on the Muslims while oppressing the Jews. As a result, the last Muslim ruler in the Granada region of southern Spain was overthrown in 1492. Muslims were subjected to terrible slaughter, and those Jews who refused to change their religion were sent into exile.

One group of these Jews without a homeland sought shelter in the Ottoman Empire, and the state allowed them to do so.The Ottoman fleet, under the command of Kemal Reis, brought the exiled Jews, and those Muslims who had survived the slaughter, to the land of the Ottomans.


Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror granted many concessions to the Patriarchate. The Patriarch enjoyed autonomy for the first time in history, under Turkish rule. In the picture we see Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror receiving the Patriarch.

Sultan Beyazid II has gone down in history as a most pious believer, and in the spring of 1492 he settled these wronged Jews who had been expelled from Spain in certain parts of his empire, around Edirne, and Thessalonica in present-day Greece. Most of the 25,000 Turkish Jews living in Turkey today are the ancestors of those Spanish Jews. They have adapted their religion and customs, which they brought from Spain some 500 years ago, to the conditions in Turkey, and continue to live most comfortably with their own schools, hospitals, old people's homes, cultural associations and newspapers. In the same way that they have traders and businessmen, they also have representatives in numerous professions, from technical subjects to advertising, with increasingly developing intellectual circles. While Jewish communities in many countries in Europe have for centuries been exposed to the fear of anti-Semitic racist attacks, those in Turkey have lived in peace and security. This example alone is enough to demonstrate the tolerance that Islam brings with it and its understanding of justice.

The compassion and tolerance exhibited by Sultan Beyazid II applied to all the Ottoman sultans. When Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror captured Constantinople, he allowed the Christians and the Jews to live freely there. André Miquel, who is known for the valuable works he has written about the just and tolerant practices of Muslims and the world of Islam, says:

The Christian communities lived under a well administered state that they did not have during the Byzantine and Latin periods. They were never subjected to systematic persecution. On the contrary, the empire and especially Istanbul had become a refuge for Spanish Jews who were tortured. People were never Islamized by force; the movements of Islamization took place as a result of social processes.15

As is clear from these facts, Muslims have at no time in history been oppressive. On the contrary, they have brought peace and security to all nations and beliefs wherever they have gone. They have abided by God's verse which says: "Worship God and do not associate anything with Him. Be good to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to neighbours who are related to you and neighbours who are not related to you, and to companions and travellers and your slaves. God does not love anyone vain or boastful." (Qur'an, 4:36) and have behaved well to all people.

In short, friendship, brotherhood, peace and love are the bases of Qur'anic morality, and it is to these superior virtues that Muslims try to adhere. (For further details, see Harun Yahya's Justice and Tolerance in the Qur'an)


Those who believe and do not mix up their belief with any wrongdoing, they are the ones who are safe…
(Qur'an, 6:82)


The Meaning of the Concept of "Jihad"

Another concept that deserves clarification due in the context of our discussion is that of "jihad".

The exact meaning of "Jihad" is "effort". Thus, in Islam, "to carry out jihad" is "to show effort, to struggle". The Prophet Muhammad explained that "the greatest jihad is the one a person carries out against his lower soul". What is meant by "lower soul" here is selfish desires and ambitions.

Assessed from the Qur'anic point of view, the word "jihad" can also mean a struggle carried out on intellectual grounds against those who oppress people, treat them unjustly, subject them to torture and cruelty and violate legitimate human rights. The purpose of this struggle is to bring about justice, peace and equality.

Apart from these ideological and spiritual meanings, struggle in the physical sense is also considered as "jihad". However, as explained above, this has to be a struggle carried out solely for defensive purposes. The use of the concept of "jihad" for acts of aggression against innocent people, that is for terror, would be unjust and a great distortion of the true meaning of the term.

Killing Oneself (Committing Suicide) is Forbidden in the Qur'an


One of the main purposes of terrorist bombings, arson attacks and other such vicious acts is to create fear, anxiety, insecurity and a sense of panic in people.

Another important matter that arose in the wake of the latest terrorist assaults against the United States is that of suicide attacks. Some people who are ill-informed on Islam have made utterly erroneous statements to the effect that this religion of peace allows suicide attacks, whereas in Islam killing oneself and killing other people are both prohibited. In the words, "Do not kill yourselves." (Qur'an, 4:29) God has declared suicide to be a sin. In Islam it is forbidden for anyone to kill himself or herself, for no matter what reason.

The Prophet reveals suicide to be a sin in a parable, when he says that those who commit suicide will be punished:

Indeed, whoever (intentionally) kills himself, then certainly he will be punished in the Fire of Hell, wherein he shall dwell forever.5

As this makes clear, committing suicide, and thus carrying out suicide attacks, and causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people while doing so, is a total violation of Islamic morality. God says in the Qur'an that it is a sin to put an end to one's own life. For that reason, it is quite impossible for someone who believes in God and says he abides by the Qur'an to do such a thing. The only people who can do such things are those who have a very mistaken perception of religion, have no idea of true Qur'anic morality, fail to use their reason and conscience, are under the influence of atheist ideologies, and who have been brainwashed with feelings of hatred and revenge. Everybody must oppose such actions

And do not kill yourselves. God is Most Merciful to you.
(Qur'an, 4:29)

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War in the Qur'an

…God is All-Gentle, Most Merciful to mankind. (Qur'an, 2:143)

According to the Qur'an, war represents an "unwanted obligation" which has to be carried out with strict observance of particular humane and moral guidelines and which must not be resorted to except when it is absolutely inevitable.

In one Qur'anic verse, it is explained that those who start wars are the disbelievers and that God does not approve of wars:

…Each time they kindle the fire of war, God extinguishes it. They rush about the earth corrupting it. God does not love corrupters. (Qur'an, 5:64)

In the case of a conflict, before engaging in a war, believers must wait until fighting becomes compulsory. Believers are allowed to fight only when the other party attacks and no other alternative except war remains:

But if they cease (fighting), God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur'an, 2:192)


A view of present-day Madinah, the city to which the Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims emigrated and established their own polity.

A closer examination of the Prophet Muhammad's life reveals that war was a method resorted for defensive purposes only in unavoidable situations.

The revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad continued for a period of 23 years. During the first 13 years of this period, Muslims lived as a minority under a pagan order in Mecca and faced much oppression. Many Muslims were harassed, abused, tortured, and even murdered, their houses and possessions plundered. Despite this, however, Muslims led their lives without resorting to violence and always called the pagans to peace.

When the oppression of the pagans escalated unbearably, the Muslims emigrated to the town of Yathrib, which was later to be renamed Madinah, where they could establish their own order in a freer and more friendly environment. Even establishing their own system did not prompt them to take up weapons against the aggressive pagans of Mecca. Only after the following revelation, the Prophet commanded his people to prepare for war:

Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against because they have been wronged - truly God has the power to come to their support - those who were expelled from their homes without any right, merely for saying, "Our Lord is God"… (Qur'an, 22:39-40)

In brief, Muslims were allowed to wage war only because they were oppressed and subjected to violence. To put it in another way, God granted permission for war only for defensive purposes. In other verses, Muslims are warned against the use of unnecessary provocation or violence:

Fight in the Way of God against those who fight you, but do not go beyond the limits. God does not love those who go beyond the limits. (Qur'an, 2:190)

After the revelation of these verses, several wars occurred between the Muslims and the pagan Arabs. In none of these wars, however, were the Muslims the inciting party. Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad established a secure and peaceful social environment for Muslims and pagans alike by signing the peace agreement of Hudaybiya which conceded to the pagans most of their requests. The party who violated the terms of the agreement and started hostilities once again were the pagans. With rapid conversions into Islam, the Islamic armies mustered a great force against the pagan Arabs. However, Muhammad conquered Mecca without bloodshed and in a spirit of tolerance. If he wished, Muhammad could have taken revenge on pagan leaders in the city. Yet, he did not do harm to any one of them, forgave them and treated them with the utmost tolerance. In the words of John Esposito, a Western expert on Islam, "eschewing vengeance and the plunder of conquest, the Prophet instead accepted a settlement, granting amnesty rather than wielding the sword toward his former enemies." 2

Pagans, who would later convert to Islam of their own free will, could not help admiring such nobility of character in the Prophet.

Not only during Mecca's conquest, but also in the course of all the battles and conquests made in the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the rights of innocent and defenceless people were meticulously protected. The Prophet Muhammad reminded believers numerous times about this subject and by his own practice became a role model for others to follow. Indeed, he addressed believers who were about to go to war in the following terms: "Go to war in adherence to the religion of God. Never touch the elderly, women or children. Always improve their situation and be kind to them. God loves those who are sincere."3 The Messenger of God also clarified the attitude Muslims must adopt even when they are in the middle of a raging battle:

Do not kill children. Avoid touching people who devote themselves to worship in churches! Never murder women and the elderly. Do not set trees on fire or cut them down. Never destroy houses!4

The Islamic principles God proclaims in the Qur'an account for this peaceful and temperate policy of the Prophet Muhammad. In the Qur'an, God commands believers to treat the non-Muslims kindly and justly:

God does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you over religion or driven you from your homes, or from being just towards them. God loves those who are just. God merely forbids you from taking as friends those who have fought you over religion and driven you from your homes and who supported your expulsion... (Qur'an, 60:8-9)

The verses above clarify how Muslims should behave towards non-Muslims: A Muslim should treat all non-Muslims kindly and only avoid making friends with those who show enmity towards Islam. In a case where this enmity causes violent attacks against Muslims, that is, where they wage a war against them, then Muslims should respond to them justly by considering the humane dimensions of the situation. All forms of barbarism, unnecessary acts of violence and unjust aggression are forbidden by Islam. In another verse, God warns Muslims against this and explains that rage felt towards enemies should not cause them to fall into injustice:

You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of God, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to heedfulness. Heed God (alone). God is aware of what you do. (Qur'an, 5:8)

God has Commanded Forgiveness and Tolerance

God has Commanded Forgiveness and Tolerance

The concept of forgiveness and tolerance, described in the words, "Make allowances for people" (Qur'an, 7:199) is one of the most fundamental tenets of Islam.

When we look at the history of Islam, the way that Muslims have translated this important feature of Qur'anic morality into the life of society can be seen quite clearly. As we shall be considering in later parts of the book, Muslims have always brought with them an atmosphere of freedom and tolerance wherever they have gone. They have enabled people whose religions, languages and cultures are completely different from one another to live together in peace and harmony under one roof, and provided peace and harmony for its own members. One of the most important reasons for the centuries-long existence of the Ottoman Empire, which spread over an enormous region, was the atmosphere of tolerance and understanding that Islam brought with it. Muslims, who have been known for their tolerant and loving natures for centuries, have always been the most compassionate and just of people. Within this multi-national structure, all ethnic groups have been free to live according to their own religions, and their own rules.


In societies where Islamic morality is followed, churches, mosques and synagogues co-exist peacefully. This view of three sanctuaries in an institution for the homeless shows the tolerance, justice and striving for peace inculcated by the teaching of Islamic morality.

True tolerance can only bring peace and well-being to the world when implemented along the lines set out in the Qur'an. Attention is drawn to this fact in a verse which reads: "A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend." (Qur'an, 41:34)

In the verses of the Qur'an, God has always described forgiveness as a superior quality, and in one verse, He has given the good news that such behaviour will be rewarded: "The repayment of a bad action is one equivalent to it. But if someone pardons and puts things right, his reward is with God. Certainly He does not love wrongdoers." (Qur'an, 42:40) In another verse, He has described believers as: "those who give in times of both ease and hardship, those who control their rage and pardon other people - God loves the good-doers" (Qur'an, 3:134) God has revealed in the Qur'an that it is virtuous behaviour to forgive someone even if he has done wrong. One verse on the subject reads:

... You will never cease to come upon some act of treachery on their part, except for a few of them. Yet pardon them, and overlook. God loves good-doers. (Qur'an, 5:13)

All of this shows that the morality that Islam recommends to mankind brings to the world the virtues of peace, harmony and justice. The barbarism known as terrorism, that is so preoccupying the world at present, is the work of ignorant and fanatical people, completely estranged from Qur'anic morality, and who have absolutely nothing to do with religion. The solution to these people and groups who try to carry out their savagery under the mask of religion is the teaching of true Qur'anic morality. In other words, Islam and Qur'anic morality are solutions to the scourge of terrorism, not supporters of it.


…God is All-Gentle, Most Merciful to mankind.
(Qur'an, 2:143)

God Forbids the Murder of Innocent People

Killing a person for no reason is one of the greatest sins related in the Qur'an:

... if someone kills another person - unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth - it is as if he had murdered all mankind. And if anyone gives life to another person, it is as if he had given life to all mankind. Our Messengers came to them with Clear Signs, but even after that many of them committed outrages in the earth. (Qur'an, 5:32)

..those who do not call on any other deity together with God and do not kill anyone God has made inviolate, except with the right to do so, and do not fornicate; anyone who does that will receive an evil punishment. (Qur'an, 25:68)

As the verse suggests, a person who kills innocent people for no reason is threatened with a great torment. God informs us that killing even a single person is as evil as murdering all mankind on earth. A person who observes God's limits can do no harm to a single human, let alone massacre thousands of innocent people. Those who assume that they can avoid justice and thus punishment in this world will never succeed, for they will have to give an account of their deeds in the presence of God. That is why believers, who know that they will give an account of their deeds after death, are very meticulous to observe God's limits.

Islam Defends Freedom of Thought

Islam is a religion which provides and guarantees freedom of ideas, thought and life. It has issued commands to prevent and forbid tension, disputes, slander and even negative thinking among people. In the same way that it is determinedly opposed to terrorism and all acts of violence, it has also forbidden even the slightest ideological pressure to be put on them:

There is no compulsion in religion. True guidance has become clearly distinct from error. (Qur'an, 2:256)

So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them. (Qur'an, 88:21-22)

Forcing people to believe in a religion or to adopt its forms of belief is completely contrary to the essence and spirit of Islam. According to Islam, true faith is only possible with free will and freedom of conscience. Of course, Muslims can advise and encourage each other about the features of Qur'anic morality. All believers are charged with explaining Qur'anic morality to people in the nicest manner possible. They will explain the beauties of religion in the light of the verse, "Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition..." (Qur'an, 16:125), however, they must also bear in mind the verse, "You are not responsible for their guidance, but God guides whoever He wills." (Qur'an, 2:272)


No matter what another person's religion or belief may be, be they Jew, Christian, Buddhist or Hindu, Muslims are called on in the Qur'an to be tolerant, forgiving, and to act justly and humanely towards them.

They will never resort to compulsion, nor any kind of physical or psychological pressure. Neither will they use any worldly privilege to turn someone towards religion. When they receive a negative response to what they say, Muslims will reply along the lines of: "To you your religion, and to me, mine" (Qur'an, 109:6)

The world we live in contains societies with all kinds of beliefs: Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, deist and even pagan. Muslims living in such a world must be tolerant of all beliefs they come up against, no matter what they may be, and behave forgivingly, justly and humanely. This responsibility placed on believers is to invite people to the beauty of the religion of God by means of peace and tolerance. The decision whether or not to implement these truths, whether or not to believe, lies with the other party. Forcing that person to believe, or trying to impose anything on him, is a violation of Qur'anic morality. In fact, God issues a reminder to believers in the Qur'an:

If your Lord had willed, all the people on the earth would have believed. Do you think you can force people to be believers? (Qur'an, 10:99)

We know best what they say and you [O Muhammad] are not a compeller over them. But warn by the Qur'an whoever fears My warning. (Qur'an, 50:45)

A model of society in which people are forced to worship is completely contradictory to Islam. Belief and worship are only of any value when they are directed to God by the free will of the individual. If a system imposes belief and worship on people, then they will become religious out of fear of that system. From the religious point of view, what really counts is that religion should be lived for God's good pleasure in an environment where peoples' consciences are totally free.

In 1492, the Jews who refused to convert were exiled from Spain by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (above). The Jews were accepted by the Ottoman Empire, a haven of Islamic justice and tolerance.

The history of Islam is full of the tolerant practices of Muslim rulers who have respected all religions and built religious freedom with their own hands. For example, Thomas Arnold, a British missionary employed in the service of the Indian government, describes that Islam favours freedom in these words:

But of any organised attempt to force the acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim population, or of any systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion, we hear nothing. Had the caliphs chosen to adopt either course of action, they might have swept away Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of Spain, or Louis XIV made Protestantism penal in France, or the Jews were kept out of England for 350 years. The Eastern Churches in Asia were entirely cut off from communion with the rest of Christendom, throughout which no one would have been found to lift a finger on their behalf, as heretical communions. So that the very survival of these Churches to the present day is a strong proof of the generally tolerant attitude of the Muhammadan governments towards them.1

Hatred Felt Towards a Community Does Not Prevent Believers From Exercising Justice

Hatred and anger are the major sources of evil, and are likely to prevent people from making just decisions, thinking soundly and conducting themselves rationally. People can readily inflict all kinds of injustice on people for whom they feel enmity. They may accuse these people of acts they have never committed, or bear false witness against them although their innocence is known to them. On account of such enmity, people may be subjected to unbearable oppression. Some people avoid bearing witness in favour of people they disagree with, although they know they are innocent, and they keep evidence which would reveal their innocence hidden. Furthermore, they take pleasure in the misery these people face, their encounters with injustice or great suffering. Their greatest worry, on the other hand, is that justice should be done and these peoples' innocence proved.

For these reasons, it is very hard for people in corrupt societies to trust one another. People worry that they can fall victim to someone else at any time. Having lost mutual trust, they also lose their human feelings such as tolerance, compassion, brotherhood and co-operation, and start hating one another.

However, the feelings someone holds in his heart towards a person or community should never influence a believer's decisions. No matter how immoral or hostile the person he is considering may be, the believer sets all these feelings aside and acts and makes his decisions justly and recommends that which is just. His feelings towards that person cast no shadow over his wisdom and conscience. His conscience always inspires him to comply with God's commands and advice, and never to abandon good manners, because this is a command God gives in the Qur'an. In Sura Ma'ida, it is related as follows:

O You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of God, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to faith. Heed God (alone). God is aware of what you do. (Qur'an, 5:8)

If your Lord had willed, all the people on the earth would have believed. Do you think you can
force people to be believers?
(Qur'an, 10:99)

As is related in the verse, displaying a just attitude is what most complies with having fear of God. A person of faith knows that he will attain the pleasure of God only when he acts justly. Every person who witnesses his or her good manners will trust this person, feel comfortable in their presence and trust them with any responsibility or task. Such people are treated with respect even by their enemies. Their attitude may even lead some people to have faith in God.

God Commands Us to Do Good Deeds

A Muslim is someone who abides by the commands of God, tries scrupulously to live by Qur'anic morality, peace and harmony, which make the world a more beautiful place and lead it to progress. His aim is to lead people to beauty, goodness and well-being. The Qur'an says:


Those who threaten the lives of civilians, and especially those of children, must ask themselves: What crime did these children commit? Is committing cruel acts against innocent people something that will go unaccounted for in the presence of God?

... And do good as God has been good to you. And do not seek to cause corruption in the earth. God does not love corrupters. (Qur'an, 28:77)

Someone who adopts the Islamic faith wishes to earn God's pleasure and compassion and to enter heaven. He has to make strenuous efforts to do this, and to adopt a morality acceptable to God while he is in this world. The clearest manifestations of this morality are compassion, pity, justice, honesty, forgiveness, humility, sacrifice and patience. The believer will behave well towards people, try to perform good deeds and spread goodness. In His verses, God commands:

We did not create the heavens and earth and everything between them, except with truth. The Hour is certainly coming, so forgive [men's failings] with fair forbearance. (Qur'an, 15:85)

... Be good to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to neighbours who are related to you and neighbours who are not related to you, and to companions and travellers and your slaves. God does not love anyone vain or boastful. (Qur'an, 4:36)

... Help one another in benevolence and piety. Do not help each other to wrongdoing and enmity. And fear God. God is severe in retribution. (Qur'an, 5:2)

As the verses have made clear, God wishes those who believe in Him to behave well towards people, to cooperate with each other when it comes to goodness, and to avoid wickedness.


In the moral teachings of Islam, the most important qualities are love, compassion, mutual support, self-sacrifice, tolerance and forgiveness. In a society where this morality is lived as it should be, it is impossible to find the foundations of violence and conflict.

In Sura Anam,verse 160, God promises that "anyone who comes with a fine deed will have ten more like it. But those who produce a bad action will only be repaid with its equivalent and they will not be wronged."

In His book, God describes Himself as He who knows "the secrets of men's hearts", and warns people to "avoid all kinds of evil." A Muslim therefore, which means "one who surrenders himself to God" must evidently be someone who does his best to fight terrorism.

A Muslim does not remain indifferent to what goes on around him, and never adopts the mentality that nothing matters as long as it does not harm him. That is because he has surrendered himself to God. He is His representative, and an ambassador of good. He cannot, therefore, remain indifferent in the face of cruelty and terrorism. In fact, the Muslim is the greatest enemy of terrorism, which kills people who have done no wrong. Islam is against all forms of terrorism, and tries to prevent it right from the beginning, in other words
on the level of ideas. It demands peace between people and for justice to prevail, and commands people to avoid discord, conflict and wickedness.

God Commands Us to Be Just

The true justice described in the Qur'an commands man to behave justly, making no discrimination between people, to protect peoples' rights, not to permit violence no matter what the circumstances, to side with the oppressed against the oppressor and to help the needy. This justice calls for the rights of both parties to be protected when reaching a decision in a dispute, assessing all aspects of an incident, setting aside all prejudices, being objective, honest, tolerant, merciful and compassionate. For instance, someone who cannot assess events in a moderate way, and who is swayed by his emotions and feelings, will fail to arrive at sound decisions and will remain under the influence of those feelings. However, someone who rules with justice needs to set all his personal feelings and views aside. He needs to treat all parties with justice when they ask for help, to side with what is right under all circumstances, and not to diverge from the path of honesty and truthfulness. A person should incorporate the values of the Qur'an into his soul in such a way that he may be able to consider other parties' interests before his own and maintain justice, even if this harms his own interests.

God commands the following in Sura Ma'ida, verse 42: "... if you do judge, judge between them justly." In Sura Nisa, God commands believers to act justly even it is against themselves:

O You who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for God alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, God is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, God is aware of what you do. (Qur'an, 4:135)

In the Qur'an, God gives a detailed description of justice and informs believers of the attitude they have to adopt in the face of incidents they encounter and of the ways to exercise justice. Such guidance is a great comfort to believers and a mercy from God. For this reason, those who believe are responsible for exercising justice in an undivided manner both to earn God's approval and to lead their lives in peace and security.

The justice God commands in the Qur'an is the justice that is exercised equally among all people, with no consideration of language, race, or ethnicity. The justice in the Qur'anic sense does not vary according to place, time and people. In our day, too, there are people being subjected to cruel and unjust treatment because of the colour of their skin or their race in all corners of the world.

However, God informs us in the Qur'an that the purpose in the creation of different tribes and peoples is "that they should come to know each other". Different nations or peoples, all of whom are the servants of God, should get to know one another, that is, learn about their different cultures, languages, traditions and abilities. In brief, the purpose of the creation of different races and nations is not conflict and war but cultural richness. Such variation is a bounty of God's creation. The fact that someone is taller than someone else or that his skin is yellow or white neither makes him superior to others nor is it something to feel ashamed of. Every trait a person has is a result of God's purposeful creation, but in the sight of God, these variations have no ultimate importance. A believer knows that someone attains superiority only by having fear of God and in the strength of his faith in God. This fact is related in the following verse:

O Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in God's sight is that one of you who best performs his duty. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Qur'an, 49:13)

As God informs us in the verse, the understanding of justice recommended by Him calls for equal, tolerant and peaceable treatment of everyone, with no discrimination between them.

The Responsibility of Believers

Those who have no concern for events unless they directly affect them are bereft of the insight that espouses unselfishness, brotherhood, friendship, honesty and the service that religion bestows upon people. Throughout their lives, such people try to satisfy their own egos by merely wasting their means, totally unaware of the threats humanity faces. In the Qur'an however, God praises the morals of those who strive to bring good to their surroundings; those who are concerned about the events that take place around them and who call people to the right way. In a verse from the Qur'an, a metaphor is given for those who offer no good to others and those who always act on the path of goodness:

God makes another metaphor: two men, one of them deaf and dumb, unable to do anything, a burden on his master, no matter where he directs him he brings no good, is he the same as someone who commands justice and is on a straight path? (Qur’an, 16:76)

As the verse points out, it is obvious that those who are "on a straight path", are those who are devoted to their religion; fear and heed God, hold spiritual values in high regard, and are filled with eagerness to serve people. In general, such people are there to serve humanity and bring with them great benefits to mankind. For this reason, it is very important for people to learn about the true religion and live by the morals explained by the Qur'an - the final Revelation from God. In the Qur'an, God defines those people who live by such high morals:

Those who, if We establish them firmly on the earth, will keep up prayer and pay the welfare due, and command what is right and forbid what is wrong. The end result of all affairs is with God. (Qur’an, 22:41)

God has Condemned Wickedness

God has commanded people to avoid committing evil: oppression, cruelty, murder and bloodshed are all forbidden. He describes those who fail to obey this command as "following in Satan's footsteps" and adopting a posture that is openly revealed to be sinful in the Qur'an. A few of the many verses on this matter in the Qur'an read:

But as for those who break God's contract after it has been agreed and sever what God has commanded to be joined, and cause corruption in the earth, the curse will be upon them. They will have the Evil Abode. (Qur'an, 13:25)

Eat and drink of God's provision and do not go about the earth corrupting it. (Qur'an, 2:60)

Do not corrupt the earth after it has been put right. Call on Him fearfully and eagerly. God's mercy is close to the good-doers. (Qur'an, 7:56)

Those who think that they will be successful by causing wickedness, upheaval and oppression, and by killing innocent people are committing a great error. God has forbidden all acts of wickedness involving terrorism and violence, condemned those who engage in such acts and said "God does not uphold the works of those who cause mischief." in one of His verses. (Qur'an, 10:81)

n the present age, however, acts of terrorism, genocide and massacres occur all over the world. Innocent people are being savagely killed, and countries where communities are being brought to hate each other for artificial reasons are drowning in blood. These horrors in countries with different histories, cultures and social structures may have causes and sources peculiar to each. However, it is evident that the fundamental cause is a moving away from morality based on love, respect and tolerance that religion brings with it. As a result of lack of religion, communities emerge that have no fear of God and believe that they will not be called to account in the hereafter. Since they believe that, "I will not have to account for my actions to anyone," they can easily act with no compassion, morality or conscience.

The existence of hypocrites who emerge in the name of God and religion, but actually organise themselves to commit wickedness condemned by God, is indicated in the Qur'an. One verse talks about a gang of nine men who planned to murder the Prophet by swearing in the name of God:

There was a gang of nine men in the city causing corruption in the land and not putting things right. They said, "Let us make an oath to one another by God that we will fall on him and his family in the night and then say to his protector, We did not witness the destruction of his family and we are telling the truth." They hatched a plot and We hatched a plot while they were not aware. (Qur'an, 27:48-50)

As this incident described in the Qur'an reveals, the fact that people do things "in the name of God" or even swear in His name, in other words that they use the kind of language designed to show themselves as very religious, does not mean that what they do is in conformity with religion. On the contrary, what they do can be quite against the will of God and the morality of religion. The truth of the matter lies in their actions. If their actions are "causing corruption and not putting things right", as the verse reveals, then you can be sure that these people cannot be truly religious, and that their aim is not to serve religion.

It is quite impossible for someone who fears God and has grasped the true morality of Islam to support violence or wickedness, or to take part in such actions. That is why Islam is the true solution to terrorism. When the sublime morality of the Qur'an is explained, it will be impossible for people to connect true Islam with those who support or join groups that aim at hatred, war and chaos. That is because God has forbidden wickedness:

Whenever he holds the upperhand, he goes about the earth corrupting it, destroying (people's) crops and breeding stock. God does not love corruption. When he is told to have fear of God, he is seized by pride which drives him to wrongdoing. Hell will be enough for him! What an evil resting-place. (Qur'an, 2:205-206)

As can be seen from the above verses, it is out of the question for someone who fears God to turn a blind eye to even the smallest action that might harm mankind. Someone who does not believe in God and the hereafter, however, can easily do all kinds of evil, since he thinks he will not have to account to anyone.

The first thing that needs to be done to rid the world of the present-day scourge of terrorism is to use education to do away with deviant irreligious beliefs that are put forward in the name of religion, and to teach people true Qur'anic morality and to fear God.

Islam is the Religion of Peace

Terror, in its broadest sense, is violence committed against non-military targets for political purposes. To put it another way, targets of terror are entirely innocent civilians whose only crime, in the eyes of terrorists, is to represent "the other side".

For this reason, terror means subjecting innocent people to violence, which is an act bereft of any moral justification. This, as in the case of murders committed by Hitler or Stalin, is a crime committed against mankind.

The Qur'an is a Book revealed to people as a guide to the true path and in this Book, God commands man to adopt good morals. This morality is based upon concepts such as love, compassion, tolerance and mercy. The word "Islam" is derived from the word meaning "peace" in Arabic. Islam is a religion revealed to mankind with the intention of presenting a peaceful life through which the infinite compassion and mercy of God manifest on earth. God calls all people to Islamic morals through which compassion, mercy, peace and tolerance can be experienced all over the world. In Sura Baqara, verse 208, God addresses
believers as follows:

O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to you.

As the verse makes clear, security can only be ensured by "entering into Islam", that is, living by the values of the Qur'an. The values of the Qur'an hold a Muslim responsible for treating all people, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, kindly and justly, protecting the needy and the innocent and "preventing the dissemination of mischief". Mischief comprises all forms of anarchy and terror that remove security, comfort and peace. As God says in a verse, "God does not love corruption". (Qur'an, 2:205)

Murdering a person for no reason is one of the most obvious examples of mischief. God repeats in the Qur'an a command He formerly revealed to Jews in the Old Testament thus:

...if someone kills another person - unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth - it is as if he had murdered all mankind. And if anyone gives life to another person, it is as if he had given life to all mankind... (Qur'an, 5:32)

As the verse suggests, a person who kills even a single man, "unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth", commits a crime as if he had murdered all mankind.

n Sura Ma'ida, verse 32, God says that if anyone kills someone unjustly, it is as if he had murdered all mankind. To murder even one person is totally opposed to the moral teaching of the Qur'an.

This being the case, it is obvious what great sins are the murders, massacres and attacks, popularly known as "suicide attacks", committed by terrorists. God informs us how this cruel face of terrorism will be punished in the hereafter in the following verse:

There are only grounds against those who wrong people and act as tyrants in the earth without any right to do so. Such people will have a painful punishment. (Qur'an, 42:42)

All these reveal that organising acts of terror against innocent people is utterly against Islam and it is unlikely that any Muslim could ever commit such crimes. On the contrary, Muslims are responsible for stopping these people, removing "mischief on earth" and bringing peace and security to all people all over the world. Islam cannot be reconciled with terror. Just the contrary, it should be the solution to and the path to the prevention of terror.

edited from : http://www.islamdenouncesterrorism.com/terrorism2.htm

Islamic Morality: The Source of Peace and Security

Eat and drink of God's provision and do not go about the earth corrupting it. (Qur'an, 2:60)

Some of those who say that something is done in the name of religion may, in fact, misunderstand that religion and as a result, practice it wrongly. For that reason, it would be wrong to form ideas about that religion by taking these people as an example. The best way of understanding a religion is to study its divine source.

islam's divine source is the Qur'an, which is based on concepts of morality, love, compassion, humility, sacrifice, tolerance and peace. A Muslim who lives by those precepts in its true sense will be most polite, careful of thought, modest, just, trustworthy and easy to get on with. He will spread love, respect, harmony and the joy of living all around him.

Islam Denounces Terrorism

God commands justice and doing good and giving to relatives. And He forbids indecency and doing wrong and tyranny. He warns you so that hopefully you will pay heed. (Qur'an, 16:90

As Muslims, we strongly condemn the terrorist attacks on two major cities of the United States of America on September 11, 2001, which caused the death and injury of thousands of innocent people, and we offer our condolences to the American nation. These attacks propelled the important issue of the true source of terrorism to the top of the world agenda. Thus, it has been announced to the entire world that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance that summons individuals to compassion and justice. Many world leaders, leading media organisations, television and radio stations said that true Islam forbids violence, and encourages peace between people and between nations. The Western circles that have come to a full grasp of the religion of Islam and are well-informed about Islam as commanded by God in the Qur'an noted clearly that the words "Islam" and "terror" cannot stand side by side, and that no divine religion permits violence.

This book maintains that the source of the terror that we condemn is definitely not from a divine religion, and that there is no room for terrorism in Islam. This is made clear in the Qur'an, the main source of Islam, and in the practices of all true Muslim rulers, the Prophet Muhammad being the foremost of them. This book reveals, in the light of the verses of the Qur'an and with examples from history, that Islam forbids terrorism and aims to bring peace and security to the world.

As is known, for centuries, various acts of terrorism have been carried out in different parts of the world by different groups for a variety of purposes. Sometimes a communist organisation, sometimes a fascist group, and sometimes radical and separatist factions assume responsibility for these acts. While countries like America often became the target of attacks by racist and marginal terrorist groups, the European countries have been centre stage for violent acts carried out by terrorist groups. 17 November in Greece, RAF (Red Army Faction) and Neo-Nazis in Germany, ETA in Spain, Red Brigades in Italy and many other organisations seek to make their voices heard through terror and violence by killing innocent and defenceless people. The nature of terrorism changes with changing world conditions and increases its impact and power with the new means made possible by developing technology. In particular, mass communication tools such as the Internet extend the scope and influence of the terrorist activities considerably.

Besides the Western organisations, there are also other terror organisations of Middle East origin. Terrorist attacks are carried out by these groups in all corners of the world. Sadly, the fact that the perpetrators of various terrorist acts carry Christian, Muslim or Jewish identities cause some people to put forward claims which do not concur with divine religions. The truth is that even if terrorists have Muslim identities, the terror they perpetrate cannot be labelled "Islamic terror", just as it could not be called "Jewish terror" if the perpetrators were Jews or "Christian terror" if they were Christians. That is because, as will be examined in the following pages, murdering innocent people in the name of a divine religion is unacceptable. We need to keep in mind that, among those who were killed in New York and Washington, there were people who loved the Prophet Jesus (Christians), the Prophet Moses (Jews) and the Prophet Muhammad (Muslims). Unless forgiven by God, murdering innocent people is a great sin that leads to torment in Hell. No one who is religious and fears God would do such a thing.

The aggressors can commit such violence only with the intention of attacking religion itself. It may well be that those who carried out this violence did so to present religion as evil in the eyes of people, to divorce people from religion and to generate hatred towards those who are religiously inclined. Consequently, every attack on American citizens or other innocent people having a religious facade is actually an attack made against religion.
Religion commands love, mercy and peace. Terror, on the other hand, is the opposite of religion; it is cruel, merciless and demands bloodshed and misery. This being the case, the origins of a terrorist act should be sought in disbelief rather than in religion. People with a fascist, communist, racist or materialist outlook on life should be suspected as potential perpetrators. The name or the identity of the triggerman is not important. If he can kill innocent people without blinking an eye, then he is a nonbeliever, not a believer. He is a murderer with no fear of God, whose main ambition is to shed blood and to cause harm. For this reason, "Islamic terror" is an erroneous concept which contradicts the message of Islam. The religion of Islam can by no means countenance terrorism. On the contrary, terror (i.e. murder of innocent people) in Islam is a great sin, and Muslims are responsible for preventing these acts and bringing peace and justice to the world.

edited from: http://www.islamdenouncesterrorism.com/terrorism1.htm