View Full Version : Islam, Muslims & Violence?

- Qatada -
05-29-2007, 09:11 PM
Islam, Muslims & Violence?


Question: Is it permissible in jihad to attack civilian targets?

Answered by Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

On the basis of principle, Islam prohibits targeting innocent people such as women, children, and others like them even when there is actually a war being waged between the Muslims and the disbelievers. Disbelief, in and of itself, is not a justification to kill someone.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and the Rightly Guided Caliphs who came after him stressed the need to protect the weak and the noncombatants and were very considerate of them.

Ibn `Umar said: “I saw the body of a slain woman during one of the battles of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), so he forbade the killing of women and children.” [Sahîh al-Bûkhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

Abû Dâwûd relates from Rabâh b. Rabî` with an authentic chain of narrators that he said: “We were with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) during a battle and we saw people gathered together. He dispatched a man to find out why they were gathered. The man returned and said: ‘They are gathered around a slain woman.’ So Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: ‘She should not have been attacked!’ Khâlid b. al-Walîd was leading the forces, so he dispatched a man to him saying: ‘Tell Khâlid not to kill women or laborers’.”

In another narration from Ibn Mâjah, it is related that Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Tell him not kill children or laborers.”

Laborers are not to be attacked deliberately, even if they are present during the battle, as long as their activities are not directly connected with the fighting. Workers who are not present at the battlefield are definitely not to be treated with aggression, regardless of the fact that they are in the enemy country. Abû Dâwûd relates from Anas b. Mâlik that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) would say the following words to his troops before sending them to war: “Go forward in the name of Allah. Do not kill an elderly person, nor a small child, nor a woman, and do not exceed the bounds.”

In the Muwatta’, it is related from Yahyâ b. Sa`îd that Abû Bakr sent an army to Syria and went out to give them words of encouragement. He walked alongside Yazîd b. Abî Sufyân, then said: “You are going to find a group of people who have devoted themselves to the worship of Allah (i.e. monks), so leave them to what they are doing.”

It might be appropriate to make mention of the proposal that the angel of the mountains made to Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that he would bring the two mountains down upon the inhabitants of Mecca. Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “No, I hope that Allah will make some of their descendants worship Him alone.” He said this in spite of the fact their destruction would have been of a divine nature and he and the believers with him would not have had to lift a finger against them.

Those people and these today are to be called to Islam. They are the ones to bring the message to. Failure to fulfill this duty properly at one time or another does not mean that it always has to be this way, because there is an Islamic effort that offers the promise that this will take place.

Moreover, public places like airplanes and markets are open territory where both Muslims and Non-Muslims meet. It is also a place where adults and children, men and women are to be found. These places are never to be turned into targets, even during times of war.

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- Qatada -
05-29-2007, 09:19 PM

- Qatada -
05-29-2007, 09:25 PM
Islam - A Religion Of Terror ?


Islam - A Religion of Terror ?

A bomb goes off in a marketplace in Jerusalem. A suicide bomber launches himself into a bus full of women and children in Tel Aviv. Foreign tourists get massacred at a holiday resort in Luxor, Egypt. Villages upon villages get annihilated in Algeria. The list of events worldwide which have come to symbolise the 'Islamic terror' are endless. From the times in the 70's and 80's when Pan Am and TWA aeroplanes would be highjacked, to the mid 80's in war torn Lebanon where Americans and Europeans would be held as hostages for years; all such incidents have come to be identified with the religion of Islam. Such incidents from past and present have undoubtedly affected Muslims worldwide and more so in the West. Any Muslim, who wants to practice his/her religion and expresses the pious desire to live under the banner of Islam, is labelled a fundamentalist or extremist. Any Muslim man who walks down a busy street in London or Paris (and Paris moreso) with a beard and a scarf on his head, is looked upon as being a terrorist who's probably got an AK47 stashed somewhere on his person. Muslim women who are veiled can't go anywhere in the Western world without being taunted as being oppressed or being mad (for covering up). However, are such beliefs and opinions about Islam really justified?

Exploring the myth

One of the many short comings which has arisen in the West, is judging Islam by the conduct of a minority of its people. By doing this, segments of Western society have deliberately played off the desperate actions of many Muslims, and have given it the name of Islam. Such behaviour is clearly not objective and seeks to distort the reality of Islam. For if such a thing was done Judge a religion by the conduct of its people) then we too could say that all Christianity is about is child molesting and homosexuality [1] whilst Hinduism was all about looting and breaking up mosques [2]. Generalising in such a manner is not seen as being objective, yet we find that the Western world is foremost in propagating this outlook on Islam. So what is the reality of Islam? How does one dispel the myths which have been created and spread so viciously? The only way to examine Islam is to simply examine its belief system. Look at its sources, the Qur'an and Sunna, and see what they have to say. This is the way to find the truth about what Islam says about terror, terrorism and terrorists. One who is sincerely searching for the truth, will do it no other way. The very name Islam comes from the Arabic root word 'salama' which means peace. Islam is a religion which is based upon achieving peace through the submission to the will of Allah. Thus, by this very simple linguistic definition, one can ascertain as to what the nature of this religion is. If such a religion is based on the notion of peace, then how is it that so many acts done by its adherents are contrary to peace? The answer is simple. Such actions, if not sanctioned by the religion, have no place with it. They are not Islamic and should not be thought of as Islamic.


The word jihad sends shivers down the spines of many Westerners. They readily equate this term with violence and oppression. However, it must be said that the meaning of jihad, as a 'holy war', is something which is totally foreign and not from Islam. If anything, such a description belongs more so to Christianity and its adherents. It was terms like this which were used to justify the slaughter and pillage of towns and cities during the crusades by the Christians. By simply looking into the sources of Islam, one is able to know that the true meaning of jihad is to strive/make effort in the way of Allah. Thus striving in the way of Allah can be both peaceful and physical. The Prophet Muhammed (saws) said:

"The best jihad is (by) the one who strives against his own self for Allah, The Mighty and Majestic" [3]

In the Qur'an, Allah also says:

"So obey not the disbelievers, but make a great jihad (effort) against them (by preaching) with it (the Qur'an)"

(Surah Al-Furqan 25:52)

By controlling and fighting against ones desires, the Muslims can then also physically exert themselves in the path of Allah. It is this physical or combative jihad which receives so much criticism. Because of the sheer ignorance of this type of jihad Islam is regarded as terror, and Muslims are regarded as terrorists. However, the very purpose of this physical jihad is to raise the word of Allah uppermost. By doing this, it liberates and emancipates all those who are crying out for freedom all over the world. If the likes of the pacifists of this world had their way, then the world would indeed be full of anarchy and mischief. The combative jihad seeks to correct this as Allah says in the Qur'an:

"And if Allah did not check one set of people by means of another, the Earth would be full of mischief. But Allah is full of bounty to the worlds"

(Surah Al-Baqarah 2:251)

Such would be the corruption on this Earth if there had never been a combative jihad that Allah says:

"For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another, monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is mentioned much, would surely have been pulled down. Indeed Allah will help those who help His (cause). Truly Allah is All strong, All mighty"

(Surah Al-Hajj 22:40)

This combative jihad being both defensive and offensive, is something which is commanded by Allah upon the Muslims. Through this command the oppressed and weak are rescued from the tyranny of the world:

"And what is the matter with you that you do not fight in the cause of Allah and for those weak, ill treated and oppressed among men, women and children whose only cry is; 'Our Lord, rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors and raise for us from you one who will protect and raise for us from you one who will help"

(Surah An-Nisa 4:75)

Anyone who knows the early history of Islam, will know that all those nations and empires which came under the fold of Islam were indeed previously oppressed. When the companions of the Prophet Muhammed (saws) went out for the offensive jihad against the Egyptians, the Persians and the Romans, we find that the people did not resist against them at all. Rather, they accepted Islam on such a scale, that it is inconceivable that the jihad of Islam could be anything other then a liberation for these people; a liberation from centuries of tyranny. In fact, with the Byzantine Egyptians and the people of Spain, the Muslims were even beckoned to come and liberate these lands from the oppression of their kings. This is the glorious track record of the Muslim jihad Compare this with the brutal track record of warfare in the Western world over the centuries. From the crusades against the Muslims to the days of colonial warfare, the Western world has killed, destroyed and plundered everything which has come in its way. Even today this merciless killing goes on by the Western nations. While claiming to be about world peace and security, Western nations are ready to bomb innocent civilians at the drop of a hat. The classic example of this is the recent bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan. Whilst claiming that Sudan and Afghanistan were havens for Islamic terrorists, the bombings of these two nations could not have come at a better time for the American president Bill Clinton. The destruction of innocent lives which were a result of these bombings clearly seem to have been an attempt by Clinton to avert attention away from his sexual misdemeanours; [4] something which he so often gets caught up in. Without doubt this was the reason for such terror from the American military upon innocent people. This is the same American military which claims to enter the worlds trouble spots under the guise of being peace keepers. But

"… when it is said to them; 'Make not mischief on the Earth', they say; 'We are only peace makers'. Indeed they are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive it not" (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:11-12)

The hypocrisy of the West is indeed astounding.

By looking at the rules and regulations of this combative jihad it will be clear to any sincere person that this is indeed the religion of truth. When fighting an unjust enemy, no matter how unjust they are, it is forbidden by Islam that their retreating forces are mutilated, tortured or slaughtered. The treacherous violation of treaties and carrying out assassinations after a cease fire, are also prohibited. Allah says in the Qur'an:

"And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you. But do not transgress the limits. Truly Allah loves not the transgressors"

(Surah Al-Baqarah 2:190)

Not transgressing the limits means not to kill women and children, for the Messenger of Allah (saws) "forbade the killing of women and children" [5]. Not transgressing the limits means that the elderly, the sick, monks, worshippers and hired labourers are not attacked. Not transgressing the limits means not killing animals wantonly, burning crops and vegetation, polluting waters and destroying homes, monasteries, churches and synagogues:

"Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion, nor drove you out of your homes. Indeed, Allah loves those who deal with equity"

(Surah Al-Mumtahinah 60:8)

After reading such passages from the Qur'an and knowing about what Islam commands and prohibits in jihad, the rules of warfare are given a new meaning; a meaning of justice. How sad it is then, that whilst Islam is condemned for striking terror into the hearts of the people, the likes of the Serbs, the Indian army in Kashmir and the Israeli soldiers in Palestine are left untarnished for the atrocities they have committed in the name of warfare.

So what about suicide bombing, is this too a part of jihad in Allah's path? From what has already been stated above, it can be deduced that this is not from the religion. However, unfortunately many Muslims have taken suicide bombing as being a virtuous act by which one receives reward. This could not be further from the truth. The Prophet (saws) said: "Those who go to extremes are destroyed" [6]. Suicide bombing is undoubtedly an extremity which has reached the ranks of the Muslims. In the rules of warfare, we find no sanction for such an act from the behaviour and words of the Prophet Muhammed (saws) and his companions. Unfortunately, today (some misguided) Muslims believe that such acts are paving the way for an Islamic revival and a return to the rule of Islam's glorious law. However, we fail to bear in mind that the Prophet (saws) said:

"Do not be delighted by the action of anyone, until you see how he ends up" [7]

So, for example what is the end of a suicide bomber in Palestine?, a leg here, an arm there. Massive retaliation by the Israeli's in the West Bank and Gaza. More Muslims killed and persecuted. How can we be delighted with such an end? What really hammers the final nail in the coffin of this act, is that it is suicide; something which is clearly forbidden in Islam. The Messenger of Allah (saws) said:

"He who kills himself with anything, Allah will torment him with that in the fire of Hell" [8]

Some are under the misconception that by killing oneself for an Islamic cause, one commits an act which deserves Paradise. Once when a man killed himself, the Prophet (saws) said: "He is a dweller of the Fire". When the people were surprised at this, the Prophet (saws) said:

"A person performs the deeds which to the people appears to be the deeds befitting the dweller of Paradise, but he is in fact one of the dwellers of the Fire" [9]

The taking of ones life which Allah has given as a trust to the human, is a great sin. Likewise the taking of other lives (which is so often the case with suicide bombing) is also forbidden, as human life is indeed precious:

"...If anyone killed a person not in retaliation for murder or to spread mischief in the land, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind. And (likewise) if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole of mankind"

(Surah Al-Maaida 5:32)

Thus, all other types of extremities such as hostage taking, hijacking and planting bombs in public places, are clearly forbidden in Islam.

The Media

By going through the teachings of Islam, it is clear that such a religion has only come to benefit mankind - not to destroy it. So why is there so much hatred for this noble religion in the West? The answer is simple, the media. It is the Jewish influenced media of the West which has portrayed Islam to be something that it is not. During the 70's and 80's when the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) were carrying out daring highjacks on the worlds airways, the media in the West portrayed it as being Islamic. When the Shi'ite suicide bombers of the 80's were causing so much havoc in the Lebanon and in the Gulf region, the media in the West portrayed it as a part of Islam. However, it is known by the heads of the media that the likes of the PLO were not an Islamic organisation, and that according to Islam, Shi'ites are outside the fold of Islam [10]. Yet such facts are never portrayed by a media which seeks to cover the truth of this religion. A number of years ago, when the Oklahoma City bomb went off, a headline in one of the newspapers, 'Today' [11], summed up this attitude. With a picture of a fire fighter holding a dead child in his arms, the headline read: "In The Name of Islam" Time has of course proven that this bigoted assumption was incorrect, as Timothy McVeigh, a right wing radical now faces the death penalty for the crime [12]. Likewise the bombs which went off in the Paris metro in 1995, were also blamed on Muslim fanatics. It has now emerged that the Algerian secret service who having routinely bribed many European journalists and MPs, were actually behind it. The desire to throw a veil over Islam is immense by these people:

"They intend to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will complete His light even though the disbelievers hate (it)"

(Surah As-Saff 61:8)

With such immense pressure against it, it is indeed a blessing from Allah that Islam goes from strength to strength. It continues to grow faster then any other religion in the Western world, conquering the hearts and minds of thousands. All this should not even surprise us though, for Allah has promised us that this religion will prevail:

"It is He who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, so that He may make it victorious over all other religions, even though the disbelievers detest it"

(Surah As-Saff 61:9)

It is a must that humanity comes towards the religion of Islam. Without it, we will continue to slip down the road of inequity and darkness. With it we can establish a society of justice and peace. Religion of terror? ... no. The way forward? ... yes.

"There is no compulsion in religion. The right path has indeed become distinct from the wrong. So whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All Hearing, All Knowing"

(Surah Al-Baqarah 2:256)


1 By using the many cases of child abuse and homosexuality by priests, Such a generalisation about Christianity could be made

2 By using the incident of the destruction of the Babri mosque in Ayodya, India in December 1992 by Hindu zealots, such generalisations could be made about Hinduism
3 Authentic - Reported by At-Tabaranee

4 Years of sexual liaison with a White House aide, Monica Lewinski, has been proved against Mr Clinton. Since this time, a number of other women have also claimed that they have had affairs with the president. And this is the same man who propagates family values and to whom millions look up to!

5 Reported by Bukhari - Eng. Trans, Vol.4, p. 160, No. 258

6 Authentic - Reported by Ahmed

7 Authentic - Reported by Ahmed

8 Reported by Muslim - Eng. Trans, Vol. 1, p.62, No.203

9 Reported by Muslim - Eng. Trans, Vol. 1, p.64, No.206

10 The beliefs which are contained in the books of the Shi'ites places them outside of the fold of Islam generally. However, upon the individual Shi'ite, the proofs need to be established before one can say that he or she is a disbeliever

11 This newspaper no longer exists

12 It is strange indeed that whilst the Western media criticises Islamic law for being barbaric and harsh, not a word is said about the fact that McVeigh too will be executed just as someone would in an Islamic state
13 These two groups killed Arabs, Jews and the British. They are accredited with the massacre at the village of Deir Yassin, in which many innocent people were butchered

14 Despite the fact that the UN has even made a resolution against Israel for this illegal occupation, no 'democratic peace loving nation' (like the USA!!) has bothered to implement it

- Qatada -
05-29-2007, 09:33 PM
Islam: A Home of Tolerance, Not Fanaticism


By Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens:

Media speculation since the horrific terrorist attacks on America has pointed the finger at Muslims and the Arab world, and that has meant ordinary citizens of the US and other Western countries becoming easy prey for anti-faith hooligans. Shame.

Sadly, the latest horror to hit the US looks to have been caused by people of Middle Eastern origin, bearing Muslim names. Again, shame.

This fuels more hatred for a religion and a people who have nothing to do with these events. This is why I want to explain some basic facts about this noble way we call Islam, before, God forbid, another disaster occurs - next time probably aimed at Muslims.

I came to Islam in my late 20s, during my searching period as a wandering pop star. I found a religion that blended scientific reason with spiritual reality in a unifying faith far removed from the headlines of violence, destruction and terrorism.

One of the first interesting things I learned in the Qur'an was that the name of the faith comes from the word salam - peace. Far from the kind of Turko-Arab-centric message I expected, the Qur'an presented a belief in the universal existence of God, one God for all. It does not discriminate against peoples; it says we may be different colors and from different tribes, but we are all human and "the best of people are the most God-conscious".

Today, as a Muslim, I have been shattered by the horror of recent events; the display of death and indiscriminate killing we've all witnessed has dented humanity's confidence in itself. Terror on this scale affects everybody on this small planet, and no one is free from the fallout. Yet we should remember that such violence is almost an everyday occurrence in some Muslim lands: it should not be exacerbated by revenge attacks on more innocent families and communities.

Along with most Muslims, I feel it a duty to make clear that such orchestrated acts of incomprehensible carnage have nothing to do with the beliefs of most Muslims. The Qur'an specifically declares: "If anyone murders an (innocent) person, it will be as if he has murdered the whole of humanity. And if anyone saves a person it will be as if he has saved the whole of humanity." (5:32)

The Qur'an that our young people learn is full of stories and lessons from the history of humanity as a whole. The Gospels and the Torah are referred to; Jesus and Abraham are mentioned. In fact there is more mention in the Koran of the prophet Moses than of any other. It acknowledges the coexistence of other faiths, and in doing so acknowledges that other cultures can live together in peace.
"There is no compulsion in religion," it states (2:256), meaning that people should not be compelled to change their faith. Elsewhere it states, "To you, your religion; to me mine." (109:6)

Respect for religious values and justice is at the Qur'an's core. The Qur'anic history we teach our young provides ample examples of inter-religious and international relationships of how to live together.

But some extremists take elements of the sacred scriptures out of context. They act as individuals, and when they can't come together as part of a political structure or consultative process, you find these dissident factions creating their own rules, contrary to the spirit of the Qur'an - which demands that those recognised as being in charge of Muslims must consult together regarding society's affairs. There is a whole chapter in the Qur'an entitled Consultation.

Communal wellbeing is central to human life, so there is a concept in Islam called Istihsan, which means "to look for the common good". Even though the Qur'an may lay down a diktat, scholars are also supposed to consider the circumstances prevalent at the time. Sometimes that means choosing the lesser of two evils or even suspending legislation if necessary: for instance, a person who steals bread during a famine is not treated as a thief.

Once I wrote in a song, "Where do the children play?" Our sympathy and thoughts go out to the families of all those who lost their lives in these tragic acts of violence, as well as all those injured. But life must go on. Children still need to play, and people need to live and learn more about their neighbors so that ignorance doesn't breed more blind fanaticism. Moderation is part of faith, so those who accuse Muslim schools of fostering fanaticism should learn a bit more about Islam.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Ruined are those who insist on hardship in faith," and, "A believer remains within the scope of his religion as long as he doesn't kill another person illegally." Such knowledge and words of guidance are desperately needed at this time, to separate fact from falsehood, and to recognise the Last Prophet's own definition of that which makes a person representative, or otherwise, of the faith he lived and the one we try to teach.


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- Qatada -
05-29-2007, 09:41 PM
Questioner: Paul - United States

Does Islam Call for Killing Innocents?


Why kill innocents? Did our civilization not learn from previous times, the Crusades and other "wars-of-faith". We are all God's children. All faiths and religions are like fingers on the hands of God (Allah, Buddah, Christ, Muhammad, Zoroaster, Vishnu, or however we choose to call our god). We are one! Who are we that we deign to play God and take life? Spare innocents, as they are not yours to kill. Seek your path if you must, but spare the innocents, as they did not wrong you.


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, thank you for contacting us and the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.

It is to be stressed first that Islam is a universal religion that aims at spreading the principles of peace, love, and cooperation among all people, regardless of their race, color, cultural background, or religion. As Muslims we do not hate non-Muslims. Islam teaches us to wish and strive for the goodness and welfare of all people. On the contrary, Islam is against oppression and injustice and killing innocent people, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims. This fact is declared in the Qur’an when Allah says: "Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition." (An-Nahl: 90)

Islam is strictly against taking even a single life without justice. This, in fact, is an understatement, for Islam is not merely against taking life without justice, but considers doing so as depriving all humankind of the right to live—the sacred right bestowed upon humans by their Creator, Who alone can take that right away from them when He so decides, according to His absolute knowledge, wisdom and mercy.

In his answer to the question, the prominent Muslim scholar Dr. Muhammad Abu Laylah, professor of the Islamic Studies & Comparative Religions at Al-Azhar University states:

"Thank you for your question or rather your statement. You should know that Islam holds human life in high esteem, human blood is sacred, human property is safeguarded, killing others is a criminal act in Islam, and it is severely punishable not only in this world but also in the Hereafter.

Even the child in his mother’s womb is well protected in Islam and even the dead body in the grave is totally honored. The lives of animals also come under the Islamic law of protection. If a Muslim [deliberately] kills another Muslim, he must be killed after all evidence is established, unless the family of the murdered forgive the murderer or accept to compromise the matter with him [by accepting blood money from him].

Yes, it is a pity nowadays we find Israel killing Palestinians in masses while the whole world is watching or listening to false justifications. The Crusaders, as you know, came from Europe to kill Muslims and occupy their land using religion as a justification to their claim. I would like to recall here that the intolerant Catholics in Spain went very far against the teachings of Jesus himself, the prince of peace.

In Islam, the protection of one soul from being killed may be equal to giving life to all humankind; likewise, the killing of an innocent soul may be equal to the killing of the entire human race.

Allah Almighty says: "For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than man slaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth." (Al-Ma’idah: 32)

In Islam, jihad is not to kill others or to deny their existence or their rights to live and develop their life. It is only to protect the Muslim people against any aggression or invasion.

Islam is also ready to offer protection to non-Muslims who are wronged and unjustly treated. Islam tries always to keep the balance between nations and to secure a better life and always calls for a better understanding between nations.

In the just war allowed in Islam, it is forbidden to kill innocent children, women and unarmed people, or to burn crops, destroy the means of living, torture the captives, or mutilate the dead bodies under any circumstance. If the enemies of Islam call for peace, Islam urges Muslims to accept and to decline war and enter into peace immediately with them.

War in Islam is circumstantial and accidental. But peace is the everlasting rule. We agree with you that the religious community should stop killing and stop carrying weapons against each other and give way to peace. They should help each other and cooperate with one another to overcome and conquer the myriad problems our race is facing. We should maintain justice, peace, security and order in the world.

I do not agree with you about the image you gave that “all faiths and religions are like fingers on the hands of God (Allah, Buddah, Christ, Muhammad, Zoroaster, Vishnu, or however we choose to call our god).” We Muslims do not believe that Muhammad is our god, nor that Buddha, Christ, Zoroaster, Vishnu, et cetera are gods. They are mortals. We believe that Muhammad is the Prophet and Messenger of Allah who was chosen by Him to deliver His final message to mankind. Muhammad was granted many miracles, the best of which after the Qur’an is the everlasting influence upon Muslims and humanity in large. We honor Jesus as a mighty Prophet. Allah in Islam is above time and space and nothing in this world can resemble Him or even stand in any degree similar to Him. We are not children of God (Allah), but children of the first humans created, Adam and Eve."


- Qatada -
05-29-2007, 09:43 PM
Questioner: Joen

Do Muslims Kill Their Opponents?


If Islam is a religion of love & peace, why do Muslims seek to kill all those who disagree with them?


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother, thanks a lot for your good question. We commend your efforts in pursuit of knowledge.

First of all, it should be clear that Islam maintains the protection of life and does not sanction any violation against it, irrespective of the people’s religion, race, sect, etc.. The Qur’an says about the prohibition of murder, “…Take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.” (Al-An`am: 151) “Nor take life, which Allah has made sacred, except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, We have given his heir authority (to demand Qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the law)” (Al-Isra’: 33)

According to the Qur’an, killing any person without a just cause is as big a sin as killing the whole humanity and saving the life of one person is as good deed as saving the whole humanity. (See Al-Ma’idah: 32) Muslims do not hate – let alone kill - non-Muslims, be they Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhist or followers of any religion or no religion. Our religion does not allow killing any innocent person regardless of his or her religion. The life of all human beings is sacrosanct according to the teachings of the Qur’an and the guidance of our blessed Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and upon all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah.

When we Muslims state that Islam is a religion of peace, we are not trying to prove something unreasonable or solve a crossword puzzle. Rather, we are just stating a fact backed by clear-cut evidence and unquestionable proofs. Even we don’t need to state this fact, for Islam, in itself, is self-explanatory, in terms of its meaning, its noble teachings and the core of its message conveyed by the Prophets Allah sent to mankind.

With that statement, we don’t intend to sound apologetic, for Islamic concept of peace is very clear. It does not mean weakness, slavishness or surrendering to aggression and injustice. The Islamic concept of peace aims at securing security and harmony for the whole world, without any discrimination as to religion, race or color. Thus, Islam, right from its inception, waged a total war against injustice and oppression. It has made it clear that people should not be deprived of having access to the light of guidance. But throughout its history you can never find any trace of infringing upon people’s right to self expression, even at times that such right was misused. The cogent example to be mentioned here is the way the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, received the two envoys sent by Musailamah Al-Kazzab (the Liar). His fine remarks always ring in mind whenever the issue of diplomatic immunity comes to fore. He, peace and blessings be upon him, told the envoys when they addressed him in a very provocative way: “If not that the envoys should not be killed, I’d have ordered for you to be beheaded”, thus laying down the rule that was later codified as one of the principles of the modern international law.

The point here is, it’s not of the Islamic teachings to kill people just because they happen to be non-Muslims or happen to disagree with Muslims on some points. What attests to this is the fact that the first war in the Islamic history would have never occurred if not that the enemies of Islam could not be satisfied with expelling Muslims from their home (Makkah), rather they planned to carry the aggression to Madinah in order to exterminate Muslims once and for all. So the question that should have been asked is: why do opponents are always on the trail of Muslims?

Focusing more on your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

“Islam is indeed a religion of love and peace. Islam does not teach people to kill all those who disagree with them simply because they disagree with them. If certain bigoted Muslims did so that is not the fault of Islam. How unjust would it be to say that Christianity is a religion that teaches violence and blood shed by looking at the historical performance of some so-called Christians: After all, Hitler who committed genocide against the Jews, the white supremacists in South America who practiced barbarities against the blacks, the Serbs who committed genocide against the Muslims in Bosnia, those who systematically practiced mass slaughter of Muslims and Jews in Spain, and burned heretics, etc. all claimed to be Christians. What about the Christians still killing each other in Ireland? So why use double standards in judging Islam? Stereotyping is wrong regardless of against whom we use it.

Vast majority of Muslims have nothing to do with such violence or bloodshed that may or may not have been committed by those who claim to be Muslims. According to the strict verdict of the Qur’an, taking life of a single human being unjustly is akin to taking the life of all humanity. A good Muslim, therefore, is one who believes in sanctity of all life. The Prophet, peace be upon him, taught us that if a person were to kill even a single little sparrow, it would appear before the Lord of the worlds seeking God’s justice against the person!” (Source: www.islam.ca)


- Qatada -
05-29-2007, 09:46 PM
Do Muslims Hate non-Muslims?


I am an American Christian and willing to accept Islam but I have one question in my mind. Please answer that on the website only I am not willing to tell you my identity due to security reason. 1) Why do you follow Mohammed and not Jesus if the Qur’an says he was the Messiah? I asked another Muslim guy about this and he said that Jesus is not the Messiah? Can you please help me with that? 2) If Jesus is alive then why Muslims do not follow HIM. 3) Why Muslims hate Non-Muslims? Please answer my questions ASAP. Thanks


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother, thanks for your question and we really appreciate the great confidence you repose in us. We implore Allah, the Almighty to make our efforts come up to your expectations.

As regards your question on Muslims' stand on Jesus, peace be upon him, it's clear that Muslims are commanded not to discriminate between one Prophet and another. We believe in all Prophets and Messengers sent by Allah to guide people and lead them to the Right Path. The Qur'an says:

"Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto Us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the Prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered." (Al-Baqarah: 136)

So the compassionate human trend included in the biography of Jesus is held in high esteem by both Muslims and their creed. It suffices here to say that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, never addressed Jesus, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, save by saying, “My brother Jesus.”

As for the second point, it's to be stressed that Muslims never hate non-Muslims just for the sake that they happen to be non-Muslims. On the contrary, we are allowed to have non-Muslims as friends as long as they don't show enmity towards Islam and Muslims. Islam teaches us that we should be friendly to all people and we should deal even with enemies with justice and fairness.

Dealing with these points in details, Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal Nadvi, Imam of Calgary Mosque, Alberta, Canada, and Former Professor at King Saud University, Riyad, Saudi Arabia, states:

“Let me answer your questions in point form:

1. With regard to your first question about the Muslims’ belief in Jesus, I can simple say that this question does not constitute any problem to any Muslim. As we know and believe, Jesus, peace be upon him, was the Prophet sent to the Children of Israel. As any Prophet sent to a specific nation, his mission was limited in scope and nature to the people he was sent to. Jesus, peace be upon him, himself prophesied and gave glad tidings about the coming of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Moreover, we as Muslims believe that Jesus, peace be upon him, did not die and that he will come back for a second time. In his next coming he will be following Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

So in this sense Muslims are really following Jesus, peace be upon him, and are showing great respect to him as one of the chief and great Prophets of Allah (God). However, we believe that Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is the final Messenger of Allah the Almighty and there will no be prophet after him. Allah, the Almighty, has sent Prophet Muhammad as a mercy for all mankind and his message is for all people until the Day of Judgment.

2. As for your second question, I think that what you said about Muslims’ hatred of non-Muslims is nothing but a great misunderstanding of the spirit of Islam and who Muslims are. As a basic principle of Islam, we, Muslims, do not hate anyone on account of their cultural, religious, or ethnic backgrounds. Islam teaches us to interact with all people and wish good for the whole mankind.

However, Muslims hate Kufr, or disbelief in Allah, the Almighty. Since we love all people, we hate their disobedience of Allah, the Most High. So, even when people deny the existence of Allah we do not hate them personally; however, we hate their disbelief and disobedience of Allah, Exalted be He. This case is very similar to that of a doctor and a patient. The doctor does not hate the patient or the sick person himself or herself, rather he or she hates the disease and tries every possible means to cure the disease and help the patient to recover. We Muslims hate disbelief and disobedience of Allah and we are striving and sparing no effort to do away with this disease and cure people’s sickness and help them become obedient servants of Allah (God).

I hope this does answer your questions!”

Allah Almighty knows best.


- Qatada -
05-29-2007, 09:48 PM
Spirit of Tolerance in Islam


Dear Sheikh, As-Salamu `alaykum. Today, the term "Islamic tolerance" causes confusion. So, could you please shed light on the spirit of tolerance in Islam? Jazakum Allah khayran.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, thanks for the very interesting question you posed and the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.

Tolerance is a basic principle of Islam. It is a religious moral duty. Muslims are tolerant with their enemies, let alone their fellow Muslims. Islam teaches tolerance on all levels: individual, groups and states. It should be a political and legal requirement.

Tolerance is the mechanism that upholds human rights, pluralism (including cultural pluralism), and the rule of law. The Qur'an says very clearly: (To every People have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow, let them not then dispute with you on the matter, but do invite (them) to your Lord: for you are assuredly on the Right Way. If they do wrangle with you, say, 'God knows best what it is you are doing.' 'God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning the matters in which you differ') (Al-Hajj 21:76-69).

As far as the question of the spirit of tolerance in Islam is concerned, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, President of the Fiqh Council ofNorth America, states:
Intolerance is on the increase in the world today, causing death, genocide, violence, religious persecution as well as confrontations on different levels. Some times it is racial and ethnic, some times it is religious and ideological, other times it is political and social. In every situation it is evil and painful. How can we solve the problem of intolerance? How can we assert our own beliefs and positions without being intolerant to others? How can we bring tolerance into the world today?

I would like to discuss some of these issues from an Islamic point of view.

What is tolerance? Literally the word "tolerance" means "to bear." As a concept it means "respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of the world’s cultures, forms of expression and ways of being human." In Arabic it is called "tasamuh". There are also other words that give similar meanings, such as "Hilm" (forbearance) or "'`afu" (pardon, forgiveness) or "safh" (overlooking, disregarding). In the Persian and Urdu languages, we use the word "rawadari" which comes from "rawa" meaning "acceptable or bearable" and "dashtan" meaning "to hold". Thus it means to hold something acceptable or bearable.

Tolerance is a basic principle of Islam. It is a religious moral duty. It does not mean "concession, condescension or indulgence." It does not mean lack of principles, or lack of seriousness about one's principles. Sometimes it is said, "people are tolerant of things that they do not care about." But this is not the case in Islam. Tolerance according to Islam does not mean that we believe that all religions are the same. It does not mean that we do not believe in the supremacy of Islam over other faiths and ideologies. It does not mean that we do not convey the message of Islam to others and do not wish them to become Muslims.

The UNESCO principles on tolerance say:

"Consistent with respect for human rights, the practice of tolerance does not mean toleration of social injustice or the abandonment or weakening of one's convictions. It means that one is free to adhere to one's own convictions and accepts that others adhere to theirs. It means accepting the fact that human beings, naturally diverse in their appearance, situation, speech, behavior and values, have the right to live in peace and to be as they are. It also means that one's views are not to be imposed on others."

Tolerance comes from our recognition of:

1. the dignity of the human beings,
2. the basic equality of all human beings,
3. universal human rights, and
4. fundamental freedom of thought, conscience and belief.

The Qur'an speaks about the basic dignity of all human beings. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) spoke about the equality of all human beings, regardless of their race, color, language or ethnic background. Shari`ah recognizes the rights of all people to life, property, family, honor and conscience.

Islam emphasizes the establishment of equality and justice, both of these values cannot be established without some degree of tolerance. Islam recognized from the very beginning the principle of freedom of belief or freedom of religion. It said very clearly that it is not allowed to have any coercion in the matters of faith and belief. The Qur'an says, (There is no compulsion in religion) (Al-Baqarah 2:256).

If in the matters of religion, coercion is not permissible, then by implication one can say that in other matters of cultures and other worldly practices it is also not acceptable. In surat Ash-Shura Allah says to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), (If then they turn away, We have not sent you as a guard over them. Your duty is but to convey (the Message)…) (Ash-Shura 42:48). In another place Allah says, (Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious. Your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance) (An-Nahl 16:125).

Further, Allah says to the Believers, (Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and beware (of evil): if you do turn back, know then that it is Our Messenger's duty to proclaim (the Message) in the clearest manner) (Al-Ma’idah 5:92).

One can also cite Allah's words: (Say: 'Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger: but if you turn away, he is only responsible for the duty placed on him and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on right guidance. The Messenger's duty is only to preach the clear (Message)) (An-Nur 24:54).

All these verses give note that Muslims do not coerce people; they must present the message to them in the most cogent and clear way, invite them to the truth and do their best in presenting and conveying the message of God to humanity, but it is up to people to accept or not to accept. Allah says, (And say, 'The truth is from your Lord, so whosoever wants let him believe and whosoever wants let him deny’) (An-Nahl 16:29).

The question then comes: If Allah gave choice to believe or not to believe, then why did He punish the people of Prophet Nuh, the `Ad, the Thamud, the people of Prophet Lut, the people of Prophet Shu`ayb and Pharaoh and his followers? The answer is in the Qur'an itself. Those people were not punished simply because of their disbelief. They were punished because they had become oppressors. They committed aggression against the righteous, and stopped others to come to the way of Allah. There were many in the world who denied Allah, but Allah did not punish every one. Ibn Taymiyyah, the outstanding Muslim scholar, said, "The states may live long in spite of their people's unbelief (kufr), but they cannot live long when their people become oppressors."

Another question is raised about Jihad. Some people say, "Is it not the duty of Muslims to make Jihad?" But the purpose of Jihad is not to convert people to Islam. Allah says, (No compulsion in religion) (Al-Baqarah 2:256). The real purpose of Jihad is to remove injustice and aggression. Muslims are allowed to keep good relations with non-Muslims. Allah says, (Allah does not forbid you that you show kindness and deal justly with those who did not fight you in your religion and did not drive you out from your homes…) (Al-Mumtahinah 60:8).

Islam teaches that fighting is only against those who fight. Allah says, (Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors) (Al-Baqarah 2:190).

Islam may tolerate anything, but it teaches zero tolerance for injustice, oppression, and violation of the rights of other human beings. Allah says, (And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children, whose cry is: 'Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Yourside one who will protect; and raise for us from Yourside one who will help!') (An-Nisaa' 4:75).

Islam teaches tolerance on all levels: individual, groups and states. It should be a political and legal requirement. Tolerance is the mechanism that upholds human rights, pluralism (including cultural pluralism), and the rule of law. The Qur'an says very clearly: (To every People have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow, let them not then dispute with you on the matter, but do invite (them) to your Lord: for you are assuredly on the Right Way. If they do wrangle with you, say, 'God knows best what it is you are doing.' 'God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning the matters in which you differ') (Al-Hajj 21:76-69).

There are many levels of tolerance:

a. Between family members, between husband and wife, between parents and children, between siblings etc.

b. Tolerance between the members of the community: tolerance in views and opinions, tolerance between the madhahib (Islamic Juristic Schools).

c. Tolerance between Muslims and the people of other faiths (interfaith relations, dialogue and cooperation).

Muslims have been generally very tolerant people. We must emphasize this virtue among us and in the world today. Tolerance is needed among our communities: We must foster tolerance through deliberate policies and efforts. Our centers should be multi-ethnic. We should teach our children respect of each other. We should not generalize about other races and cultures. We should have more exchange visits and meetings with each other. Even marriages should be encouraged among Muslims of different ethnic groups.

With non-Muslims we should have dialogue and good relations, but we cannot accept things that are contrary to our religion. We should inform them what is acceptable to us and what is not. With more information, I am sure the respect will develop and more cooperation will develop.
Please Also Read:

- Justice: Key to Peace and Security

- Does Patience Mean Tolerating Injustice?



- Qatada -
05-30-2007, 12:59 PM
Name of Questioner: John - United Kingdom

Does the Qur’an Teach Violence?


I hope you scholars will help me get rid of these confusions I have been having since the Sept 11 incident, especially as regards some Qur’anic verses.

These verses totally contradict what Muslims say that their religion calls for peace and denounces violence. Mind you, though not a Muslim, but I don’t hate Muslims. I just need shedding light on some issues. How would you interpret a verse like this (And slay them wherever ye catch them…)? (Al-Baqarah 2: 191) and (…But if they turn away, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks) (An-Nisaa' 4: 89) I will really appreciate your quick reply.


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Thanks for the question you posed, it’s very interesting, and that is why we also try our best to furnish you with appropriate answer.

In the first place, we would like to stress that when we Muslims state that Islam is a religion of peace, we are not trying to prove something unreasonable or solve a crossword puzzle. Rather, we are just stating a fact backed by clear-cut evidence and unquestionable proofs. Even we don’t need to state this fact, for Islam, in itself, is self-explanatory, in terms of its meaning, its noble teachings and the core of its message conveyed by the Prophets Allah sent to mankind.

Shedding more light on this issue, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states the following:

Thank you very much for your kind words that you do not hate Muslims. Hate is not good for any person. I want to assure you that we Muslims also do not hate non-Muslims, be they Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhist or followers of any religion or no religion. Our religion does not allow killing any innocent person regardless of his or her religion. The life of all human beings is sacrosanct according to the teachings of the Qur’an and the guidance of our blessed Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and upon all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah).

The Qur’an says about the prohibition of murder, (…Take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.) (Al-An`am 6: 151) and Allah says in the Qur’an, (Nor take life, which Allah has made sacred, except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, We have given his heir authority (to demand Qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the law)) (Al-Israa’ 17: 33).

According to the Qur’an, killing any person without a just cause is as big a sin as killing the whole humanity and saving the life of one person is as good deed as saving the whole humanity. (See Al-Ma’idah 5: 32)

However, your question is valid, then how come the Qur’an says, (kill them wherever you find them…) as it is mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 191 and Surah An-Nisaa’ 4: 89. The answer is simple and that is, you should read these verses in their textual and historical context. You should read the whole verse and it is better that you read few verses before and few after. Read the full text and see what is said:

(Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors. And kill them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, kill them. Such is the reward of those who reject faith. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression. The prohibited month, for the prohibited month, and so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.) (Al-Baqarah 2: 190-194)

For your second quotation also read the full text:

(They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): so take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (from what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks. Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (Of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (guarantees of) peace, then Allah hath opened no way for you (to war against them). Others you will find that wish to gain your confidence as well as that of their people: every time they are sent back to temptation, they succumb thereto; if they withdraw not from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace besides restraining their hands, seize them and slay them wherever ye get them; in their case We have provided you with a clear argument against them.) (An-Nisaa’ 4: 89-91)

Now tell me honestly, do these verses give a free permission to kill any one anywhere? These verses were revealed by God to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), at the time when Muslims were attacked by the non-Muslims of Makkah on a regular basis. They were frightening the Muslim community of Madinah. One may say using the contemporary jargon that there were constant terrorist attacks on Madinah and in this situation Muslims were given permission to fight back the “terrorist”. These verses are not a permission for “terrorism” but they are a warning against the “terrorists.” But even in these warnings you can see how much restraint and care is emphasized.

It is important that we study the religious texts in their proper context. When these texts are not read in their proper textual and historical contexts they are manipulated and distorted. It is true that some Muslims manipulate these verses for their own goals. But this is not only with Islamic texts, it is also true with the texts of other religions. I can quote dozens of verses from the Bible which seem very violent, if taken out from their historical context. These Biblical texts have been used by many violent Jewish and Christian groups. Crusaders used them against Muslims and Jews. Nazis used them against Jews. Recently Serbian Christians used them against Bosnian Muslims. Zionists are using them regularly against Palestinians.

Let me mention just a few verses from the Old Testament and New Testament and tell me what do you say about them:

“When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girga****es and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you. And when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. (Deutronomy 7:1-2)

“When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace. If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you. However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. When the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword. Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you… Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes (Deutronomy 20:10-17)

Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves. (Numbers 31:17-18)

Even in the New Testament we read the following statement attributed to Jesus saying to his disciples:

“I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence." (Luke 19:26-27)

Allah Almighty knows best.

- Qatada -
05-30-2007, 01:04 PM
Is Jihad Synonymous with Aggression?


Dear scholars, thanks for all the clarifications you’ve made as to many religious issues. Now I have a question very relevant to the current issues. It is about Jihad, does it give any sense of aggression? Jazaka Allah Khairan!


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, first of all, we'd like to voice our appreciation for the great confidence you repose in us. Our utmost wish is to have our efforts come up to your expectation. May Allah help us all keep firm on the Straight Path, Amen.

As for your question, it's very interesting, especially given the current situation that many aspersions have been cast on Islam and Muslims so much so that Islam has been condemned as a religion of terror, and the concept of Jihad, as you mentioned, has been totally linked with terrorism and aggression.

Thus, it's duty of all Muslims to clarify this points to non-Muslims, to give them clear picture as to what is really meant by "Islam", and the true concept of Jihad. That's why we find it worthwhile to cite for you the following finest remarks made by Dr Hammudah `Abdul-`Aati, in his book Islam in Focus, with some modifications:

"So much has been said or written about the "ruthless" Muslims, who emerged from the burning and dry deserts of dark Arabia to conquer the Roman and Persian protectorates, and even to venture around the walls of Europe. Many have expressed the opinion that those Muslims were motivated by religious zeal to spread Islam by force as far as they could reach. Many others consider this opinion silly and naive, because Islam – by its nature - cannot be forced upon people; and even if it were supposedly forced on the conquered people, it could not have lasted there for long, and non-Muslims would have been liquidated from the conquered regions.

History bears witness to the fact that wherever Islam reached it survived, with the exception of Spain on account of certain reasons, and that wherever the Muslim warriors went, they lived side by side with non-Muslim natives. Moreover, they argue, one cannot force a religion like Islam on any one and find him so sincere and honest about his faith as were those Muslim converts of the new lands. It needs more than compulsion to develop such good Muslims out of a defeated people, and it requires much more than suppression to make them uphold and cherish the "forced" religion.

Another trend of thought is adopted by some who like to call themselves enlightened critics and authorities. They attribute the expansion of Islam to the aggressive wars wage by Muslims who suffocated in the heat and drought of Arabia, and were simply motivated by economic needs and circumstances. This may indicate that the Arabs had not arisen to such a high level of sacrifice and devotion, or that after the death of Muhammad his survivors and lost interest in religion altogether and took off to satisfy their immediate wants. It may also indicate that Islam itself is incapable of generating such fervor and zeal in those Muslim Arab warriors. The indication here is manifold, and the "intellectuals" of this opinion are uncertain as to which probability should have preference over others.

There is still one more trend adopted by some people who ascribe the Muslim wars to passionate lust for plunder and raiding. They cannot see any motive or appreciate any appeal in the Muslims except hunger for blood and desire for loot. They refuse to see any virtue in Islam and to associate the Muslims with any high motives.

The dispute between these various sections is quite serious and sometimes takes the shape of academic discussion. But be that as it may. The fact of the matter is that none of these critics has made any serious attempt to understand the whole question and present the truth in any honest manner. It will be impossible to present here the viewpoint of Islam in detail concerning each war or battle. However, there are certain main points which will, when mentioned, give a fair idea of the whole matter.

1- It should be remembered that Muhammad, who was commissioned by Allah as a mercy for all mankind, tried to approach the rulers of the neighboring territories, inviting them to embrace Islam and share in the mercy of Allah. It should also be remembered that they did not only reject his gracious invitation but also derided him and declared open wars against the Muslims. In his lifetime the Roman and Persian soldiers crossed the Muslim borders in various raids. So by the time of his death the Muslims were involuntarily at war with their neighbors.

That state of affairs continued, and whatever happened later in the following generations has to be seen in the context of those first incidents. This meant at the time that all Christendom, including Spain and France, was at war with the emerging world of Islam. The adventure of the Muslims in Europe has also to be seen in the light of these circumstances. The fact that all Christendom was operating as one power is proven by the unquestionable authority of the Roman papacy over Christians. It is also proven by the general mobilization of Christian powers against Islam during the Crusades of the Middle Ages and even of the first quarter of this twentieth century.

So, when Rome sanctioned war against Islam, the Muslims could not be denied the full right to fight back on any battleground, whether in Palestine or in the Fertile Crescent, Italy or Hungary. This is what took them to Spain and Southern France. They could not afford to be encircled from all around by the mighty power of Rome and Persia. Nor could they just wait to be wiped out from the face of the earth. Orders were issued from Rome to slay Muhammad and present the Royal Court with his cut head, something which the Romans had done to the early Christian pioneers.

However, it must be admitted that some wars of later centuries had no relation to Islam, although they were fought by Muslims. They were not for the spread of Islam. Rather, they were motivated by certain local and, perhaps, personal reasons. Aggression is aggression, whether it be from or against the Muslims, and the attitude of Islam toward aggression is known and unchangeable. So, if there was aggression in those later wars, it could not be justified by Islam or acceptable to Allah.

2- None of the said critics tries to understand the nature and circumstances of those early centuries. The media of mass communication did not exist. There was no press or radio or television or even regular mail service. There was no way of public information or preaching except by personal contacts. There was no respect for life or property or honor or treaties of the individuals and of the weak nations.

There was no security or freedom of expression. Whoever stood for a noble cause or came out with unpopular beliefs was menaced. Many emissaries commissioned to deliver special messages to rulers and governors never came back alive. They were cold-bloodedly murdered or captured by their very hosts. With all these hardships the Muslims of Arabia had to cope, and under all these circumstances they had to work. They had a message to deliver to mankind, a contribution to make to humanity, and a formula of salvation to offer.

The Qur'an commands inviting people to the Way of Allah by wisdom and beautiful preaching. It is a fact that many disbelievers used to avoid hearing the Prophet lest they might be affected by his peaceful preaching. They even resisted by force the peaceful Call of Islam. The early experience of Arabia taught the Muslims that it is more effective to be peaceful and at the same time stand on guard; that you can move in peace only when you are strong enough to guard your peace; that your voice of peace would echo better when you are able to resist pressure and eliminate oppression.

Now they had, by the order of Allah, to make Islam known to the outside world, but there was no telecommunication system or press or any other mass medium of communication. There was only one course to take, namely, personal and direct contacts, which meant that they had to cross the borders. But they could not do that in small or unarmed groups. So they had to move in large protected groups which must have appeared like an army, but was not an army in the real sense. In some areas they were warmly welcomed by the natives, who had long been oppressed and subjugated by the foreign powers of Rome and Persia. In some other areas they were first to offer Islam to those who were prepared to accept it, and there were many. Those who did not embrace Islam were asked to pay tributes equivalent to the Islamic tax (Zakah). The reasons for demanding this kind of tax were:

(i) that they wanted to be sure this taxpayer knew what he was doing, and that Islam was presented to him but he rejected it with his own free will and choice;

(ii) that they undertook to protect the taxpayer and guarantee his security and freedom in a way equal to that of the Muslim himself, because any danger to him was a danger to his Muslim compatriot, and, to defend the Muslim, they had to defend the non-Muslim and insure his security;

(iii) that the new state of affairs demanded the support and cooperation of all sectors, Muslims and non-Muslims alike: the former by Zakah, the latter by tributes, which were all spent in the public interest; and

(iv) that they wanted to be certain he was not hostile to them and their new brethren, or inclined to make troubles for his Muslim compatriots.

Those who rejected Islam and refused to pay tributes in collaboration with other sectors to support their state made it hard for themselves. They resorted to a hostile course from the beginning, and meant to create trouble, not so much for the new Muslim comers as for the new Muslim converts and their compatriots, the tribute-payers. In a national sense, that attitude was treacherous; in a human sense, mean; in a social sense, careless; and in a military sense, provocative. But in a practical sense it needed suppression, not so much for the comfort of the newcomers as for the sake of the state in which these very traitors were living.

This is the only time force was applied to bring such people to their senses and make them realize their responsibilities: either as Muslims by accepting Islam freely, or as loyal citizens by being tribute-payers, capable of living with their Muslim compatriots and sharing with them equal rights and duties."

So, in the light of the above-mentioned facts, it's clear that the concept of Jihad is never a form of aggression, and it can never be linked with terrorism or violence. People who raise such slogans need to study Islam carefully and review the book of history to know how the Muslim pioneers, in calling people to Allah, applied noble principles of justice, tolerance, humanity and peace.

And Allaah Almighty knows best.



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