Islam Religion of Peace with One ExceptionThe Quran does not counsel turning the other cheek but teaches forgiveness and the return of good for evil when the circumstances warrant, but these are very different from not resisting evil.
Author: Farooq Mirza
In general, Muhammad's use of warfare was neither alien to Arab customs nor to that of the Hebrew prophets. Both believed that God had sanctioned battles with the enemies of the Lord. Biblical stories about the exploits of kings and prophets, such as Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Samuel, Jehu, Saul, and David recount the struggle of a community called by God and the permissibility, indeed a requirement, to take up arms when necessary against those considered enemies of God. There is, however, two major differences between the Biblical and Quranic concept of war. Biblical accounts of war clearly support the massacre of enemy noncombatants, including children, women, and even animals; in contrast, the Quran explicitly prohibits such crimes against humanity. Also, war, when under Quranic rules, is defensive in nature, without exception.Jesus first abrogated the law of genocide when he said: "love your enemies." The Quran, being a continuation of divine revelation, reiterated the message of Jesus and forbade the killing of innocents during the war. According to Islamic doctrine, the use of force is only allowed in self-defense, and the killing of noncombatants is strictly forbidden. The problem of violence lies with the Muslims and not the book itself. All the battles Muhammad fought resulted in the loss of less than a few thousand combatants on both sides. Women, children, and noncombatants were rarely harmed, and prisoners of war were protected. Arabia was chronically a violent society, and the Muslims had to fight its way to peace. Major social change of the type that Muhammad was attempting in the peninsula is rarely achieved without the use of some force. When Muhammad died in 632, almost all the tribes of Arabia had joined the ummah as either Confederates or converted Muslims. Since members of the Ummah could not attack one another, the ghastly cycle of tribal warfare, and of vendetta and counter-vendetta, had ended. Single-handedly, Muhammad had brought peace to war-torn Arabia with the use of a minimum force. Islam Religion of Peace with One ExceptionThe Quran does not counsel turning the other cheek but teaches forgiveness and the return of good for evil when the circumstances warrant, but these are very different from not resisting evil. Far from requiring the Muslim to turn himself into a doormat for the ruthless, the Quran allows punishment of wanton wrongdoers to the full extent of the injury they do. In the refusal to permit such punishments, morality evaporates into impractical idealism or sheer sentimentality. Islam is a religion of peace, with a notable exception: when aggression is committed against its adherents, it becomes mandatory for Muslims to fight in self-defense and that is the true meaning of jihad in the context of armed struggle. Any war of aggression is a mortal sin in Islam. All the campaigns of the Prophet were defensive, and so too were the wars undertaken by the Companions in the earliest period of Islam. Cure for TerrorismTo Quote from John Renard's book, 101 questions, and Answers on Islam, "Islamic criteria governing the call for jihad against an outward enemy are as stringent as Christianity's terms for waging a "just war." According to Muslim tradition, for example, no action can be justified as authentic jihad if any of the following actions occur: killing noncombatants, prisoners of war, or diplomatic personnel; use of poisonous weapons, or inhumane means to kill; atrocities in conquered lands, mutilation of persons and animals, and wanton despoliation of natural resources, and the sexual abuse of captive women. All of that, however, has not prevented horrors from being perpetrated in the very name of Islam, to the great sorrow of many millions of Muslims. Nothing can excuse those who engage in such atrocities, whatever their expressed motivation or avowed religious affiliation." The cure for terrorism is not less but more religion.