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Radical Islamism and Jihad ( 10 Nov 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islam is a Religion of Peace or a Religion of War and Violence? Concluding Part 2

Answering To the Widespread Radical Agenda That Islam Is a Religion of War and Terrorism


1.      We must continue to preach the correct word of Islam, in the hopes that our efforts on to combat radicalization will have positive and effective outcomes.

2.      As may be seen from a study of the Qur'an and Sunnah, the passages of the Quran and hadiths that contain combat injunctions are related to defensive warfare.

3.      Peace is a magnificent blessing of Allah for humanity, according to the holy Quran

4.      If we look at the Quran as a whole, we might conclude that combat was permitted in the face of injustice and evil. In today's world, we can understand why battling terrorism is acceptable.

5.      God Almighty, who chose Islam as a religion (Din) (3:19) and filled it with a message of peace and welfare, prefers peace to war to the point where He commands the entire Muslim community, through the prophet (peace be upon him), to accept the hands extended for peace and tranquilly, even if the opponents (enemies) have evil intentions.

6.      In an age when some radicals are attempting to demonise Islam, it is our responsibility to continue to spread the message of the Quran, which emphasises the importance of fostering peace.


By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam

10 November 2021

The goal of Islam should be seen from the Hudaybiyyah episode, from the provision of security in the residences of Abu Sufiyan and Hakam bin Hazam following the conquest of Makkah. In an age when some radicals are attempting to demonise Islam, it is our responsibility to continue to spread the message of the Quran, which emphasises the importance of fostering peace. Even when hostile and combatant foes gravitate to peace, the Quran instructs believers to establish peace. Allah declares,

 “And if they (the combatant or hostile disbelievers) incline to peace and reconciliation, you also incline to it and put your trust in Allah. Surely, He alone is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (8:61)

Islamic teaching is unambiguous. Even so, we see militants committing terrorism and excesses across the country. Leaders of such militants may or may not have been aware of the Islamic message in this way, but one thing to remember is that today's common youth are influenced by such leaders' propaganda. As a result, we must continue to preach the correct word of Islam, in the hopes that our efforts on to combat radicalization will have positive and effective outcomes.

Furthermore, the world should protect Muslims’ human rights, including their religious rights, because violations of their human rights may aid extremists in brainwashing naïve youth into joining the militant route, and no amount of reform would bring them back to the road of peace.

We know that there are two types of wars, both of which can be witnessed today: one that incites terrorism, as ISIS does, and the other that seeks to prevent terrorism. After 12 years of persistent patience and tolerance, the early Muslims were able to defeat Arab pagans’ acts of terrorism, gaining freedom for their religious practises as well as their lives. This is the truth, and historical data backs it up.

In the words of M.M. Pickthall, a brilliant non-Muslim intellectual who eventually converted to Islam and translated the Quran:

 “The Muslims are those who only fight “in the way of Allah” (as it is called in the Quran), that is, in self-defence or for the protection of the weak oppressed, or for the redress of wrongs. To wage aggressive war on people, simply on account of their religious opinions, is not allowed, nor can the term Jihad by any means be stretched to cloak such warfare. Jihad is “striving in the way of Allah” and the way of Allah, if we must seek a modern phrase to express it, is devotion to the cause of human progress. It is only a nation or community does grievous wrong to Muslims, attempting to exterminate or enslave them and extinguish truth by force of arms, that war against them is a duty for all Muslims” (M. M. Pickthall, The Cultural Side of Islam, p. 27, Islamic book Trust, India)

Some people constantly quote Quran verses like "kill them wherever you see them" (2:191) or "Kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them" (9:5). However, it is regrettable that people do not attempt to comprehend these verses in their entirety. They merely take them, apply a broad brush to them, and attempt to foment Fasad (disorder) amongst Muslims and Mushrikin. This is unquestionably a matter of grave concern.

Why don't they try to realise that these verses 2:191 and 9:5 were written in the context of a struggle against the militant Mushrikin, who sought to deprive Muslims of their basic rights as well as their existence? When reading such verses in context, this becomes extremely evident.

 “And fight (in defence) in the cause of Allah against those who impose war on you. (Yes,) but do not exceed limits. Surely, Allah does not like those who exceed limits. And (during war) kill them (the aggressing and combating disbelievers) wherever you find them, and drive them out (through military operation by the state) from where they drove you out. And rousing mischief and disruption is a severer (crime) than killing. But do not fight against them in the proximity of the Sacred Mosque (Ka‘ba) unless they themselves fight there against you. Then if they attack you, kill them (in defence), for that is the right penalty of (such aggressing and combating) disbelievers. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Most Forgiving, Ever-Merciful. And keep fighting against them until the disruption and mischief is totally eliminated and the Deen (Religion) practically becomes subservient to Allah alone (i.e., the system of the protection of peace and human dignity is practically established). But if they desist, then offensive action is not permissible except against the wrongdoers (i.e., transgressors). A sacred month is the requital of a sacred month, and (other) sacred things also requite one another. So if someone wrongs you, you may also respond in kind but proportional to his offence. And fear Allah. And remember that Allah is with those who fear Him. And spend in the cause of Allah, and do not cast yourselves into destruction with your own hands; and adopt righteousness. Verily, Allah loves the righteous.” (Quran: 2:190 –195)

If we read the Ayat of 2:191 in its entirety, as described above, the misunderstanding that is forcibly generated in our minds would vanish.

Dr Abdul Haleem's interpretation of the second ayat (9:5), which is identical to 2:191, is as follows:

 “We must also comment on another verse much referred to but notoriously misinterpreted and taken out of context – that which became labelled as the ‘Sword verse’: “…Then when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, take them and besiege them and prepare for them every ambush….” [9:5] The hostility and "bitter enmity" of the polytheists and their Fitna [persecution, 2:193; 8:39] of the Muslims grew so great that the unbelievers were determined to convert the Muslims back to paganism or finish them off. “They would persist in fighting you until they turn you back from your religion, if they could ….” [2:217]

"It was these hardened polytheists in Arabia, who would accept nothing other than the expulsion of the Muslims or their reversion to paganism, and who repeatedly broke their treaties, that the Muslims were ordered to treat in the same way - to fight them or expel them….Even with such an enemy Muslims were not simply ordered to pounce on them and reciprocate by breaking the treaty themselves; instead, an ultimatum was issued, giving the enemy notice, that after the four sacred months mentioned in 9:5 above, the Muslims would wage war on them. The main clause of the sentence "kill the polytheists" is singled out by some Western scholars to represent the Islamic attitude to war; even some Muslims take this view and allege that this verse abrogated other verses on war.

“This is pure fantasy, isolating and de-contextualising a small part of a sentence. The full picture is given in 9:1-15, which gives many reasons for the order to fight the polytheists. They continuously broke their agreements and aided others against the Muslims, they started hostilities against the Muslims, barred others from becoming Muslims, “expelled” Muslims from the Holy Mosque and even from their own homes. At least eight times the passage mentions their misdeeds against the Muslims.

“Consistent with restrictions on war elsewhere in the Qur'an, the immediate context of this "Sword Verse" exempts such polytheists who do not break their agreements and who keep the peace with the Muslims [9:7]. It orders that those enemies seeking safe conduct should be protected and delivered to the place of safety they seek [9:6].

“The whole of this context to v. 5, with all its restrictions, is ignored by those who simply isolate one part of a sentence to build their theory of war in Islam on what is termed "The Sword Verse" even when the sword’s word does not occur anywhere in the Qur'an”.  (Muhammad Abdul Haleem, “Understanding The Qur’an” {I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd 2005}, pp. 65-66, “Jihad: a war against all Non-Muslims or not? By Kevin Abdullah Kareem”)

We can correctly comprehend these verses 2:191 and 9:5 based on the above-mentioned passages. Furthermore, if all the Mushrikin were meant in these passages, the verses 9:6 and 9:7, as well as 60:8, would not exist.

 “And if any of the idolaters seeks asylum with you, provide him with protection until he listens to the Words of Allah. Then escort him to his haven. This is because these people do not possess the knowledge (of the truth).” (9:6)

“(How) can there be a promise for the polytheists with Allah and His Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) except for those with whom you have made a treaty near the Sacred Mosque (at al-Hudaybiyyah)? So as long as they remain true to (the treaty with) you, remain true to them. Surely, Allah loves those who fear Him.” (9:7)

“Allah does not forbid you to be good to them and treat them with equity and justice who did not fight against you on (the question of) Din (Religion), nor did they drive you out of your homes (i.e., homeland). Surely, Allah likes those who conduct themselves with equity and justice.” (60:8)

According to the majority of scholars, verse 60:8 is Muhkam and has not been abrogated. This passage advises Muslims to treat non-Muslims, including Mushrikin and Kafirin, as allies rather than foes. It indicates that Allah does not ban Muslims from being good to non-Muslims, such as Mushrikin and Kafirin, who do not oppose Muslims in religious matters and live in peace and justice with Muslims.

M.M. Pickthall, in his book “The Cultural Side of Islam”, says “in those passages of the Holy Quran which refer to warfare, the term Kafir is applied to the actual fighting enemies of Islam. It is not applicable to the non-Muslim as such, nor even to the Mushrik as such, as is proved by a reference to the famous Proclamation of Immunity (9:1-4) from obligation towards those faithless tribes of the Mushrikin who, after having made treaties with the Muslims, had repeatedly broken treaty and attacked them”.

We learned before that the Quran calls for peace through the verses (Aayaat). As a matter of principle, it also prevents people from being tyrannical to others in questions of religion choice. The Quran allows for the spread of faith, but not through any forceful means.

 “So, continuously admonish them, for you are but an admonisher, You are not imposed upon them (as) an oppressor and persecutor” (88: 21-23)

Through the following message, the holy Quran has called all religions and communities around the world to establish peace:

 “........Say (this): ‘I believe in every Book that Allah has revealed, and I have been commanded to do justice between you. Allah is our Lord as well as your Lord. For us are our deeds and for you are your deeds. There is no debate and dispute between us and you. Allah will gather us all together and to Him is the return (of all).” (42:15)

Islam's values for peaceful mutual cooperation can undoubtedly assist the globe in overcoming all forms of oppression, violence, riots, and confrontations. Polytheism (shirk) is frowned upon in Islam, although the Quran has taught its adherents how to deal with Mushrikin, or idol worshippers.

The Quran says,

“And, (O Muslims,) do not abuse those whom these (polytheists) worship besides Allah, lest these people should (also, in retaliation,) revile Allah’s Glory wrongfully due to ignorance. Thus, have We made the conduct of every sect (and faction) seem attractive to (their own eyes and they regard only that as truth). Then all have to return to their Lord, and He will inform them of (the results of) their deeds which they used to do.” (6:108)

This scripture forbids Muslims from disparaging other gods for fear of their followers abusing their God in a fit of fury. This is an area where it's reasonable to believe that the majority of riots between people of different faiths have occurred as a result of people throwing dirt at each other's gods and prominent figures. Many communal riots and conflicts have undoubtedly resulted from this.

Let us now sum up this article by quoting the following verses which seek to establish ideas of peace, harmony, justice, forgiveness and peaceful mutual coexistence among followers of different faiths.

God Almighty says:

“On account of this, We prescribed (this commandment in the Torah sent down) to the Children of Israel that whoever killed a person (unjustly), except as a punishment for murder or for (spreading) disorder in the land, it would be as if he killed all the people (of society); and whoever (saved him from unjust murder and) made him survive, it would be as if he saved the lives of all the people (of society, i.e., he rescued the collective system of human life). And indeed, Our Messengers came to them with evident signs. Yet, even after that, the majority from amongst these people are certainly those who commit excesses in the land.” (5:32)

“And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right. And whoever is killed unjustly - We have given his heir authority (of retribution as per the legal procedure), but he should not exceed the just limits in [the matter of retributive] killing. Indeed, he is to be helped.” (17:23)

 “And these are the people who do not worship any other god apart from Allah, nor do they kill the soul whose killing without any lawful cause Allah has forbidden, nor do they commit adultery. And whoever does this will receive the punishment due for the sin.” (25:68)

“And among men is one whose conversation may please you in the life of this world, and who calls Allah to witness to that which is in his heart, whereas [in truth] he is the most quarrelsome! And when he turns away [from you], he goes about the earth to create turmoil in it [i.e. the earth] and destroy crops and lives; and Allah does not like turmoil and violence”. (2:204-205)

 “And seek the abode of the Hereafter with what (wealth) Allah has given you, and do not forget your portion of the world, and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to cause turmoil in the earth; indeed, Allah does not like those who violate peace.” (28:77)

 “And those who break the promise of Allah after making it firm and sever all (the relations and obligations) that Allah has commanded to be kept unified, and do mischief and strife in the land—upon them is the curse and for them is an evil home;” (13:25)

 “Indeed, Allah decrees the commands of justice and kindness, and of giving to relatives, and forbids immorality and bad conduct and rebellion; He advises you so that you may receive admonition.” (16:90)

 “The way (to persecute) is only against those who oppress people, and wrongfully spread rebellion in the land. It is they for whom there is a painful punishment. (42:42) And indeed whoever patiently endures and forgives – this is surely of the acts that demand great courage and determination”. (42:42- 43)

 “The retribution of a harmful deed is the harm equal to it; so, whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah; indeed, He does not love the unjust” (42:40)

 “Tell the believers to forgive those who do not fear the days fixed by Allah, so that He may give a nation the reward of what they used to earn.” (45:14)

 “And if you want to punish, then punish only (as severely) as you were afflicted, but if you remain patient, then certainly that is better for those who keep patience. And, (O Glorious Beloved,) be patient and your patience is by Allah alone. And you should not grieve over their (defiance), nor distress (your gracious and benevolent heart) on account of their deceptive plots. Surely, Allah blesses them who live with God wariness and who (also) live with spiritual excellence with His (special) companionship.” (16:126-128)

 “There is no compulsion in Din (Religion). Surely, the guidance has been evidently distinguished from error. So he who rejects false gods and believes in Allah has grasped such a firm handhold that will never (possibly) give way. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (2:256)

“And had Allah so willed, certainly all inhabitants on the earth would have believed. (When your Lord has not made them believe by force,) will you coerce the people until they become believers?” (10:99)

“We know best what they say, and you are not the one to coerce them. So advise by means of the Qur’an anyone who fears My threat of punishment.” (50:45)

Part One of the Article:   Islam is a Religion of Peace or a Religion of War and Violence? Part 1


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