Islam and Violence

Among the many religions such as Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam etc, practiced in today’s world, when it comes to pick out the religion of peace and harmony, it’s always Islam that’s the odd one out. The main reason behind this is Islam has always been portrayed into falsehood about being violent, harsh and aggressive and compelling others into believing that it is spread by means of sword. Propaganda against Islam is not latest; firstly it all began with the advent of Islam in the early 7th century A.D., by the non-believers of Makkah and secondly during the conquest of Spain, the Crusades, and the Ottoman domination of Eastern Europe. These conquests perceived Islam as being forceful, violent and power hunger religion. Another reason that makes Islam an unfavorable religion to follow is the term ‘extremism’. It is a word used by non Islamic forces to propaganda against Islam as a religion of extremism, non ethical and social moral values. However, the true teachings of Islam completely negate these oppositions.         

Islam is a religion of peace, moderation and tolerance. The very word Islam, which means “surrender,” is related to the Arabic word salam, or peace. It rejects killings, causing harm to innocent people and forbids any form of violence. Any person or a group who resorts to terrorism and violence in the name of Islam is a criminal and an outlaw. In Islam there is no justification or acceptance of extremism or violence nor there any belief or concept promoting it. No form of injustice and sinful acts are accepted by Islam that is committed under the veil of jihad and faith. The connection between Islam and violence is totally superficial. The word violence means ‘swift and intense force’, ‘rough or injurious’, and ‘unjust or unwarranted exertion of force’. Islam never fits into these definitions by any means. Islam may not be opposed to the use of ‘force’ but seeks to control it under the light of sharia. There is no correlation between violence in Muslim societies and the basin tenets of Islam which prove that Islam doesn’t breed violence in any case. Violence has no religious justification. There are many schools of thought with various conflicting interpretations of verses of Quran. Perhaps the most often misquoted verse of Quran which is used to accentuate Islam being violent is

When the four forbidden months are over, then wherever you encounter the idolaters, kill them!” [9:5]

This verse seems to hint an open license to kill non-believers without any restrictions. But the actual meaning of this verse is totally opposite to the one perceived by a reader. In order to understand the context, one needs to read from verse1 of this surah. It says that there was a peace treaty between the Muslims and the Mushriqs (pagans) of Makkah. This treaty was violated by the Mushriqs of Makkah. A period of four months was given to the Mushriqs of Makkah to make amends. Otherwise war would be declared against them. Islam establishes rule of law and fights anarchism. Islam does not support war but regulates it. The goal of Islam is to maintain peace.  It places strong emphasis on social justice. In conclusion the issue of contemporary violence in which Islam is implicated, scholars and analysts need to avoid simplistic analyses, but attempt instead to understand the causes of violence as a complex combination of a number of variables including the socio-economic and political, while at the same time not ignoring or underplaying the religious and spiritual dimensions

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