Islam: Religion of Peace or Violence?

Sajid Iqbal

So, is Islam a faith of peace or does it in fact promote violence and hatred? I mean, we read in textbooks and hear on Friday sermons that Islam is a religion of peace but then we see Muslim individuals and groups who promote violence, terrorism and carry out suicide bombing all in the name of Islam.

You're probably confused innit... thinking what the heck is goin on? You see we have Mr. Ladin who wants to kill all Americans, has declared a holy war against the West and was thrilled about the attacks on the twin towers.

Then we had the chap Richard Reid, the shoe bomber who tried to blow up a plane in the name of Islam. Recently, we've had the murder of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist killed by Muslims in Pakistan and not to forget the Muslim cleric who has been arrested for incitement to murder after stating in his lectures that we should 'kill Jews'.

So, this doesn't sound very 'peaceful' now does it? All this is done by Muslims and done for the sake and cause of Islam. So what's the score? Have these guys lost the plot or is violence part and parcel of Islam?

First of all lets check out what the basic teachings of Islam are and see exactly what it says about peace and violence. OK, get a load of this.

The word ISLAM is of Arabic origin and it comes from the word SALAMA that means peace. You see when two Muslims meet one another they say 'Peace be upon you.' Also Muslims end their prayers five times a day by asking God for peace:'0 Allah! The Giver and Keeper of peace keep us alive in peace and admit us into the house of peace (in the hereafter).'

It sounds all peaceful so far. The following traditions of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace, will clarity that Islam is a faith that promotes peace and harmony and one that is against violence:

"The faithful is he. in whom people place their confidence about their property and life'. (Tirmizi)

"A perfect Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands mankind is safe.'

'It is unworthy of a Muslim to injure people's reputations: and it is unworthy to curse any one: and it is unworthy to abuse any one: and it is unworthy of a Muslim to talk arrogantly.'

Faith is a restraint against all violence, let no Muslim commit violence.'

'Anyone of you who sees wrong, let him undo it with his hand; and if he cannot, then let him speak against it with his tongue, and if he cannot do this ther, then (let him deny it) with his heart, and this is the least of faith.'

The Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam (Peace and Blessings be upon him) was asked; 'what actions are most excellent in Islam?' He replied: 'To gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of (lie sorrowful, and to remove the wrongs of the injured.'

Some people asked Allah's messenger(saw): 'who is a very good Muslim?' He replied: ' one who avoids harming the people with his tongue and hands.' 'A believer remains within the scope of his religion as long as he doesn't kill another person illegally.'

The Qur'an sums it up by saying: "Anyone who has killed another person it is as if he has killed the whole of mankind and anyone who saves one life, it is as if he has saved the whole of mankind"" (Chapter 5, verse 32)

Hey, I don't know about you but you get the feeling that Islam is a peaceful religion. Its basic teaching is the promotion of peace between individuals and the implementation o peace within society. Islamic teaching is totally against violence, terror and chaos.


First Published The Revival, April 2002