Islam and Peace


Figure 1.--.

Most Muslims stress with great conviction that their religion is one of peace. An Islamic scholar writes, "Islam aims to build a peaceful society at all cost. It is because higher human objectives cannot be achieved in the absence of peaceful circumstances. The spiritual as well as moral progress of the individual is possible only in peaceful atmosphere. Hence the atmosphere of peace is essential for the building of good society. Academic research too is possible only in peaceful circumstances. The task of the propagation of truth too can be performed only in peaceful atmosphere." And there are certainly many passages of the Koran that promote peace aas well as the work of noted Islamic scholars. Islam, according to an Islamic scholar, "aims at making all individuals peace-loving to the ultimate extent". And a common greeting is, ĎAssalam-o-Alaikumí meaning peace be upon you. In speking with Muslim readers, there is a belief that Islam is a religion of peace, because it says so in the Koran. The Koran like the Bible, however, has many contradictory passages. While there indeed are passages promoting peace in the Koran, there are also passages promoting war. According to Islamic scholars there is only one kind of war permitted by Islam and that is a defensive war. Historically war, however, has been waged by Muslim countries that were not defensive wars and indeed the spread of Islam has been to a substantial degree by the sword. And in our modern world there have been unspeakable horrors committed by Muslims in the name of Islam which are difficult to understand when so many Muslims are convinced that Islam is a religion of peace.

Islam as a Religion of Peace

Most Muslims stress with great comviction that their religion is one of peace. An Islamic scholar writes, "Islam aims to build a peaceful society at all cost. It is because higher human objectives cannot be achieved in the absence of peaceful circumstances. The spiritual as well as moral progress of the individual is possible only in peaceful atmosphere. Hence the atmosphere of peace is essential for the building of good society. Academic research too is possible only in peaceful circumstances. The task of the propagation of truth too can be performed only in peaceful atmosphere." [Kahn]

Islamic Teachings

And there are certainly many passages of the Koran that promote peace aas well as the work of noted Islamic scholars. Islam, according to an Islamic scholar, "aims at making all individuals peace-loving to the ultimate extent". [Khan] And a common greeting is, ĎAssalam-o-Alaikumí meaning peace be upon you.

Islamic Proof

In speking with Muslim readers, there is a belief that Islam is a religion of peace, because it says so in the Koran. Muslims see the Koran as the literal word of God. Thus as the word of God, the Koran cn not be questioned. If the Koran promotes peace, than it must be so. Mo greatr proof can be offered. While this logic seems to satisfy many Muslims, it hardly satisfies those of us who are not Muslims and try to understand Islam.

Contradictory Pasages

The Koran like the Bible, however, has many contradictory passages. While there indeed are passages promoting peace in the Koran, there are also passages promoting war. Islamic scholars will say that jihad is not war, but that a more accurate trabnslation is "struggle". This may well be so and we would be willing to accept this, except for the fact that there are many in the Muslim world appear to interpret this as struggle against both non-Muslims and fellow Muslims that do not share their interpretation of the Koran. And here we are not talking about struggle in the sence of academivc debate, but struggle in the sence of vilent actions.

Defensive War

According to Islamic scholars there is only one kind of war permitted by Islam and that is a defensive war. Historically war, however, has been waged by Muslim countries that were not defensive wars and indeed the href="/chron/me/islam/is-spread.html">spread of Islam has been to a substantial degree by the sword. Those of us who warch the TV images of ISIS and other Islmic groups find it difficult to see Islam as a religion of peace. In conversations with Muslims, I am told that IIS is not really Islamic, rather than a pervision of Islam. This is acommonresponse. Any Islamic group that they do not like is simply defined away as not Islamic. But ISIS is very much Islamic and while not representing a majority view receives suntantial support within the Muslim Ulama. Whileonly a relatively small minority (varying from country to contry) are willing to conduct violence in the nme of Islam, a nore substbtil group are willing to tolerate violence in the name of Islam.

Modern Violence

Far more troubling is that in our modern world there have been unspeakable horrors committed by Muslims in the name of Islam. There have been such occurances in just about every Muslim state. These are difficult to understand when so many Muslims are convinced that Islam is a religion of peace. We are not saying that most Muslims around the world engage in violence or even support it. This would be an inaccurate interpretation. There seems to be a substantial mumbers of Muslims that are provoked to violence by Islamic teachings. We can not quantify the percentage of Muslims that have been so inspired, but in a major religion like Islam, even a small percentage can be a very substantial number of individiduals. The question we raise is can a religion that provokes such violence truly be a religion of peace. Here we will survey the Muslim world for such acts of violence.

Commentary

We note a number of essays which discuss the issue of Islam and peace or violence. We will pst here some of the essays we believe cogently address the issue. We find that Muslim readers generaally do not want to adress the issue, other than repating slogans like 'Islm is aeligion oof peace' and that such criticism is Islamophobia or hate speech. But readers can judgefir themselves. A canadian reader sent us this essay from a German source.

Sources

Khan, Maulana Wahiduddin. "Islam & Peace".







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Created: 2:03 AM 2/2/2007
Last updated: 7:17 PM 8/4/2015