Is Islam a religion of peace or terror?
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Yet with the recent spate of global terror attacks, it has also become one of the most misunderstood.
In this article we explain some of the key points which have led to the word ‘terror’ becoming associated with the faith. The short video below by Kamal Saleh also explores some of these aspects:
If Islam is a religion of terror and not peace; then why do most Muslims oppose terror and behave peacefully?
The word Islam means to submit or surrender by acknowledging that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah (God) alone. However, the word “Islam” is also closely related to the word “salaam” or “silm” which means peace.
Hence, despite the public links in the media and internet between Islam and terrorism; the religion of Islam actually promotes and encourages the notion of peace.
Was the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) a peaceful person?
Muhammad (PBUH) himself had a very peaceful nature, and was extremely tolerant and highly protective of the non-Muslim minorities living in the Muslim state. God refers to this kind nature in the Quran:
“O Messenger of Allah! It is a great Mercy of God that you are kind and gentle towards them; for, had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they would all have broken away from you.” (Quran 3:159)
Aisha (PBUH) also reaffirmed this notion and said regarding the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that; “He would not follow an evil with an evil; rather he would pardon and forgive.” (Ahmad).
However, there are times when states find war inevitable and the prophet (PBUH) sometimes had to fight for the survival of his people and message – verses in the Quran regarding war were sometimes revealed in regards to this.
Yet, once their security was ensured, the prophet (PBUH) immediately reverted to peace and diplomacy.
What is the Islamic view on the value of life and terror?
In today’s age, we have seen innocent lives taken through acts of terrorism which have been committed in the name of Islam. Islam strictly condones such acts and the killing of innocent lives.
In Islam, the sacredness and sanctity of life has been highlighted towards both humans and animals:
What is the value of one human life in Islam?
God refers to the sacredness of life in the Quran when He states:
“Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” (Quran 5:32)
In Islam life is so sacred, that the murder of one innocent life equates to the murder of the whole of mankind. Similarly, the saving of one life is similar to that of saving the whole of mankind.
Hence, the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said; “Whoever killed an innocent person shall not smell the scent of paradise.” (Bukhari)
How does Islam encourage people to treat animals?
It is not just the life of people that is valuable in Islam but such value is also extended towards animals.
The people asked the prophet Muhammad (PBUH); “Is there a reward for us in serving (the) animals?” He (PBUH) replied; “Yes, there is a reward for serving any inanimate (living thing).” (Bukhari).
Furthermore, if the Prophet (PBUH) saw any animal over-burdened or ill fed he would speak mildly to the owner and say, “Fear God in your treatment of animals.”(Abu Dawood).
Subsequently, in Islam, the rules pertaining to slaughtering animals are very strict and fixed. Protecting animals from pain and undue suffering is paramount.
The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said; “God has ordained kindness (and excellence) in everything. If the killing (of animals) is to be done, do it in the best manner and when you slaughter, do it in the best manner by first sharpening the knife and putting the animal at ease” (Muslim).
Islam vs Terrorism:
The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that; “the Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe” (An Nasa’i).
Unfortunately, we have seen in parts of the world, that this is no longer the case. Innocent lives have been taken in the name of Islam, despite the fact that Islam opposes the killing of any innocent person or animal.
It must be stressed, that despite such terrorist acts wrongly committed in the name of Islam, Islam itself is a religion of mercy, which helps people to not only recognise their Creator but to also find contentment and inner peace inside of themselves.
This is why God states in the Quran:
“Verily, only in the remembrance of Allah (God) will your hearts find peace.”
Hence, despite the public portrayals and links between Islam and terror in the media and the internet, it must be made clear that Islam is a religion which condemns the killing of innocent lives and invites people towards peace.
The fact that most Muslims living on the globe behave in a peaceful manner reflects this notion.