Does Quran preach violence? If terrorists swear in the name of Islam to justify the terror attacks that they carry out then should not we make a genuine effort to verify what Islam says about killings of innocent people? Islam heavily draws upon the preachings of Quran. So I made an honest effort to look out for the particular verses in Quran which may answer my question- Does Quran preach violence?
“Gunmen siege shopping mall in Kenya’s Nairobi, 68 dead”
“78 dead in twin bomb blasts at a Christian church in Peshawar”
The two headlines are from two geographically very apart regions of Africa and Asia. Still there is a common factor in both the events which made me write this piece. The location of terror attacks and method of killing innocent people might be different but the philosophy which has fuelled both the unfortunate attacks is the same- Radical Islamic Ideology. Ironically, Islam is a religion of peace which spreads the message of brotherhood and peace all over the world but people who conduct killings of innocent people hide behind Islam to justify their acts.
I am a Muslim myself who has friends from other religions as well. My friends usually ask me several questions regarding what makes these Islamic militants kill innocent people in the name of religion. It surprises them great deal when they discover the peaceful aspects of Islam such as their young friends offering five times prayer a day, going for tablig jamat(an Islamic movement that emerged from India and which believes in ultimate peace), fast month long during Ramzan and above all follow teachings of Islam as a source of peace in both individual and social life.
Sometimes I go through the Qur’an, my book of belief to relate my understanding of these terror incidents with Islam. In order to understand Islam, go by the book. Like all other religions where believers have twisted the preachings to justify their own ends, Islam faces the same trouble of being misunderstood. It should be known by all that you cannot understand or generalize Islam on the basis of what you understand from the actions of its believers especially the militants!
What I found in Qur’an regarding these killings?
Yesterday I was searching for some verses which justify such killings in Qur’an. I have found, according to Qur’an, it is a great sin to kill innocent people.
“…So We decreed for the tribe of Israel that if someone kills another person – unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth – it is as if he had murdered all mankind. And if anyone gives life to another person, it is as if he had given life to all mankind.” (Qur’an 5: 32)
It is said; killing one innocent person is regarded as equivalent to killing all of mankind! Here one question may arise who is innocent? I agree, there may be different definition of innocence in legal terms. But in this context if we concentrate in another verse of Qur’an then we can understand by innocent what is meant there:
“Allah does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you in the religion or driven you from your homes, or from being just towards them. God loves those who are just. (Qur’an 60: 8)
How a Muslim should maintain relationship with different races and beliefs in social communities is also said clearly in the above verse. For a Muslim, there is no point to diverge from this philosophy/law and if anybody does so is convicted for violating law.
Any Muslim who believes in God with a sincere heart, who scrupulously abides by his words and fears suffering in the hereafter will avoid harming even one other person. That is because he knows that God is the Lord of Infinite Justice, and will suitably reward him for all his deeds.
The lesson of justice given in Qur’an is quite significant where it is applicable to anyone- a muslim or a non muslim including enemies of any kind. No muslim can make a spontaneous decision on the basis that the person he is dealing with once harmed him or left him in a difficult situation, or that he is a personal enemy!
“You who have Faith! Show integrity for the sake of God, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to taqwa (God consciousness). Have taqwa of God. God is aware of what you do.” (Qur’an 5: 8)
Now let me come to the point of blood shedding in relation to ‘just’. The Islamic Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) listed the kinds of people who are not pleasing to God:
“Those who act cruelly and unjustly in the sacred lands, those who yearn for the ways of the ignorant and those who wrongly shed human blood.” (Sahih Bukhari, the second reliable source for Muslims)
So, it is clear that, nobody can go near to God and his mercy by being unjust and shedding human blood!
These verses are the very foundation of a believer’s view of all other people in society. A muslim’s attitude towards others is formed not by the nature of the person he is dealing with, but rather by his teaching from his religion. According to the view of justice as set out in the Qur’an, the religion, race and gender of the person one is dealing with are of no importance. That is because Islam maintains that all races and genders are equal.
There are lots of verses in Qur’an which talk about social cohesion, mutual coexistence, plurality etc. But, nowhere has it supported innocent killings. So, what religion these people are following who are attacking people in shopping malls or bombing out churches to kill innocent peoples?
How can we call them Islamic fundamentalist, when the fundamental spirit of Islam is not to shed blood, but save blood! And it came from a desert where it was able to stop conflicts going on from centuries and unified the wild people from different tribes and races of Arabs and showed the world a path of being universal by accepting all identities under the veil of one identity.
Those terrorists who kill innocent people and break the chain of a peaceful society have no relation with the Islamic belief and teachings. Rather according to Qur’an, they are sinner and will be punished on the judgement day. Thus when you ask, “Does Quran preach violence”, Muslim believers who practice Islam in its pure sense will say no it definitely does not!
I feel sorry for the people who were killed in Kenya and Peshawar. I dream of a world where people of different religions, races, colours, castes etc. can be proud of their differences and diversities and can progress towards a peaceful society.
Truly, my dream for such a society also comes from my belief- Islam!