It is clearly unreasonable to judge a whole group of people, or the creed in which they believe, by the actions of a few. For example, it is inconceivable to judge Christianity or the teachings of Prophet Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him and upon all other God’s prophets, on the basis of what a few misguided Christians do. But this is precisely how the religion of Islam has been characterized in many Western media outlets.
The objective way to examine Islam is to look at its belief system, to examine its main sources; namely, the Holy Quran and the Noble Tradition of Prophet Mohamed, peace and blessings be upon him and upon all of God’s prophets. This is the reasonable and common sense way to find the truth about what Islam stands for, what it says about destructive issues like terrorism, violence, and aggression.
Linguistically, the name of Islam comes from the Arabic word ‘salama’ which means peace. Islam is a religion based upon achieving peace through the submission to the Will of Allah. By this very simple linguistic definition, one can ascertain as to what the nature of this religion is. Islam is a religion that came down to offer humanity, a life filled with peace, cooperation, and well-being in which Allah’s eternal Mercy and Compassion is manifested in the entire world. Islam teaches us to act in a caring manner to all of God’s creation.
Not only does Islam forbid terror and violence, but it abhors even the slightest religious imposition on another human being. Allah says in the Holy Quran, chapter 2 verse 256, “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” The Holy Quran also states in chapter 88 verse 22, “So remind, you need only to remind. You cannot compel them to believe.” The Holy Quran is based on the concepts of morality, love, compassion, mercy, modesty, self-sacrifice, tolerance and peace. A Muslim who truly lives according to these moral principles is highly refined, thoughtful, tolerant, trustworthy, and accommodating.
Terrorist actions at the hands of few misguided people, calling themselves Muslims, are happening despite of Islam and certainly not because of it. The killing of innocent people in the world is completely removed from the moral teachings of Islam; they are the work of ignorant, bigoted people, criminals who have nothing to do with the religion of Islam.
One of the key objectives of Islam is to safeguard people’s life, property and honor. It is in this light that Islam prohibited aggression against innocent people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The Holy Quran states in chapter 16 verse 90, “Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds and injustices and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.” In chapter 5 verse 32, the Holy Quran declares, “Whosoever kills a human being, for other than manslaughter or corruption on earth, it shall be as if he killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he has saved the life of all mankind.”
Besides the Holy Quran, the life of Prophet Mohamed, peace and blessings be upon him, is also loaded with provisions that crystallize and emphasize this basic tenet. The Prophet once stated, “A woman was made to enter Hellfire because of a cat which she tied down, neither giving it food nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.” If that is the fate of anyone who transgresses against a cat, then, what will be fate of those who shed the blood of innocent people and violate their rights? The Prophet also said, “God’s Mercy descends only upon those who show mercy towards others,” and in another prophetic saying “Show mercy to those living on earth so the Lord of the Heaven and the earth may show Mercy upon you.”
On the issue of terror against innocent civilians, the eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi says, “No doubt, aggression against innocent people is a grave sin and a heinous crime, irrespective of the victim’s religion, country or race. No one is permitted to commit such crime, for Allah, Most High, abhors aggression.” Prophet Mohamed, peace and blessings be upon him, was reported to have said, “A believer remains within the scope of his religion as long as he does not kill another person illegally.” The Prophet left no excuse for committing unjust act. We pray for peace and security of all people all over the world irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, color or nationality; and we pray for interfaith harmony, cooperation, and mutual understanding.