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Islam: Does it teach violence?

October 22, 2010

Just like  in the West, justice is very important Islamic virtue and one of its main teachings. The Qur’an states: “God commands justice and fair dealing…” (Chapter 16, verse 90) and “Oh you who believe, be upright for God and be bearers of witness with justice!” (Chapter 5, verse 8). Also, in the hadiths (sayings attributed to Prophet Muhammad), it is stated that God (Allah) stated this through the Prophet: “I have forbidden injustice for Myself, and forbade it also for you. So, avoid being unjust to one another.” (Saheeh Muslim).

Justice is mentioned in many verses in the Qur’an, the main authority on Islam. I am citing some of those verses and based on them one can determine that justice is a religious obligation in Islam:

“O you who believe!  Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God (Allah), even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor…” (Chapter 4, verse 135)

“Let not the hatred of a people swerve you away from justice.  Be just, for this is closest to righteousness…” (Chapter 5, verse 8)

But, one of the most important verses is this:

“God does not forbid you from doing good and being just to those who have neither fought you over your faith nor evicted you from your homes…” (Quran 60:8). This teaching is of extreme importance as it defines what permitted violence (military jihad) means from the Islamic perspective. This teaching is reinforced by further Qur’anic teachings as follows:

“And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for God.  But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers.  (The Noble Quran 2:193)”

 “But if the enemy inclines towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things).  (The Noble Quran, 8:61)”

 “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors.  (The Noble Quran, 2:190)”

 “Slay [the enemy] wherever you find them. (But) If they leave you alone and offer to make peace with you, God does not allow you to harm them.” (4:89-90).

 “Warfare is an awesome evil” (2:217), unless in self-defense according to Islam.

 So, the true teaching of Islam is not violence, but self-defense (the permitted violence, if you will). A true follower of Islam is not to attack first, but is to defend if attacked first. However, as soon as the enemy pursues peace the fighting must cease.

 Whether today’s wars involving Muslims are self-defense or not, might be open for further discussion or debate. But, Muslims must be judged individually through Islam, not Islam through the actions of some of its followers.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. dreamadventurer permalink*
    October 22, 2010 4:15 am

    For some reason number 8 appears as a smiley face in the post. I tried to edit, but no succes. It is verse 8 of the chapter 5.

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