Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Islam is a Religion of Peace

In different parts of the world, particularly, in Muslim countries, various incidents of violence take place. And, these incidents are mostly linked to Islamic extremism and terrorism. Such incidents have influenced Muslims in different ways and, particularly, in the West. Any Muslim, practicing his religion and expressing the craving to live under the banner of Islam, is branded as a fundamentalist or extremist in the West. Any Muslim man, strolling down a busy street in London or Paris, and having a beard or a scarf on his head, is mostly considered to be a terrorist who has probably got a gun hidden somewhere on his person. Muslim women who use veils cannot walk in the Western world without being mocked as being oppressed or being ridiculous. Nevertheless, the important discussion is to ask; “Are such beliefs and opinions about Islam really reasonable?”
A faulty stereotype which has arisen in the West nowadays is judging lslam by the behavior of few of its people. Adopting this stereotype, Western society have, intentionally, judged the desperate actions of many Muslims, and have branded it as Islam. Such stereotype is clearly not objective and, in fact, misrepresents the reality of Islam. Make a sweeping statement in such a way is not seen as being impartial, yet we find that the Western world is leading in circulating this viewpoint on Islam. So what is the truth about Islam? What are the explanations to dismiss the myths which have been formed and spread so wildly?
The best way to examine Islam is to merely scrutinize its belief system. Go through its sources – Quran and Sunnah, and find what they have to say. This is the best way of finding truth about what Islam says about terrorists and terrorism. A person who is honestly probing the truth, will do it no other way. The very name Islam comes from the Arabic word 'Salama' and that means peace. Islam is a religion which is based upon attaining peace through the obedience to the will of Allah.
Thus, by this very simple definition, one can determine as to what the nature of this religion is. If a religion is standing on the idea of peace, then why is it that so many acts done by its believers are conflicting to peace? The answer is humble. Such actions, if not certified by the religion, have no place in it. They do not qualify to be Islamic and should not be considered as Islamic.
In particular, the word jihad spends shivers down the spines of many Westerners. They naively associate this term with ferocity and oppression. Nevertheless, it should be clarified that the meaning of jihad, as a 'holy war', is something which is totally distant from Islam. By going through the authentic 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 call be both nonviolent and physical. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "The best jihad is (by) the one who strives against his own self for Allah, the Mighty and Majestic."
By monitoring and fighting against one’s desires, the Muslims can then also physically wield themselves in the path of Allah. It is the physical or combative jihad which gets so much disapproval. Because of the utter obliviousness about this type of jihad, Islam is viewed as terror, and Muslims are considered as terrorists in the West. Conversely, the very purpose of this physical jihad is to elevate the word of Allah as the uppermost. By doing this it frees and unshackles all those who are crying out for freedom all over the world. If only the pacifists had their way, then the world would certainly be filled with disorder and malice. The combative jihad seeks to correct this as Allah says in holy Quran: "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 AI-Baqarah 2:251).
This combative jihad is mostly defensive, and it is something which is ordered by Allah upon the Muslims. Through this order the troubled and weak are liberated from the domination 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 is aware of the early history of Islam, will recognize that all those nations and empires which came under the fold of Islam were undeniably oppressed. When the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) went out for the offensive jihad against the Egyptians, the Persians and the Romans, we see that the people did not repel them at all. Conversely, they accepted Islam on such a scale that it is unimaginable that the jihad of Islam could be anything else without a liberation for these people; a liberty from centuries of despotism.