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islamandterrorism.peperonity.net

War in the Quran

taken from www.harunyahya.com

…God is All-Gentle, Most Merciful to mankind. (Qur´an, 2:143)


According to the Qur´an, war represents an ´unwanted obligation´ which has to be carried out with strict observance of particular humane and moral guidelines and which must not be resorted to except when it is absolutely inevitable.

In one Qur´anic verse, it is explained that those who start wars are the disbelievers and that God does not approve of wars:

…Each time they kindle the fire of war, God extinguishes it. They rush about the earth corrupting it. God does not love corrupters. (Qur´an, 5:64)

In the case of a conflict, before engaging in a war, believers must wait until fighting becomes compulsory. Believers are allowed to fight only when the other party attacks and no other alternative except war remains:

But if they cease (fighting), God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur´an, 2:192)


A view of present-day Madinah, the city to which the Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims emigrated and established their own polity.
A closer examination of the Prophet Muhammad´s life reveals that war was a method resorted for defensive purposes only in unavoidable situations.

The revelation of the Qur´an to the Prophet Muhammad continued for a period of 23 years. During the first 13 years of this period, Muslims lived as a minority under a pagan order in Mecca and faced much oppression. Many Muslims were harassed, abused, tortured, and even murdered, their houses and possessions plundered. Despite this, however, Muslims led their lives without resorting to violence and always called the pagans to peace.

When the oppression of the pagans escalated unbearably, the Muslims emigrated to the town of Yathrib, which was later to be renamed Madinah, where they could establish their own order in a freer and more friendly environment. Even establishing their own system did not prompt them to take up weapons against the aggressive pagans of Mecca. Only after the following revelation, the Prophet commanded his people to prepare for war:

Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against because they have been wronged - truly God has the power to come to their support - those who were expelled from their homes without any right, merely for saying, ´Our Lord is God´… (Qur´an, 22:39-40)

In brief, Muslims were allowed to wage war only because they were oppressed and subjected to violence. To put it in another way, God granted permission for war only for defensive purposes. In other verses, Muslims are warned against the use of unnecessary provocation or violence:

Fight in the Way of God against those who fight you, but do not go beyond the limits. God does not love those who go beyond the limits. (Qur´an, 2:190)

After the revelation of these verses, several wars occurred between the Muslims and the pagan Arabs. In none of these wars, however, were the Muslims the inciting party. Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad established a secure and peaceful social environment for Muslims and pagans alike by signing the peace agreement of Hudaybiya which conceded to the pagans most of their requests. The party who violated the terms of the agreement and started hostilities once again were the pagans. With rapid conversions into Islam, the Islamic armies mustered a great force against the pagan Arabs. However, Muhammad conquered Mecca without bloodshed and in a spirit of tolerance. If he wished, Muhammad could have taken revenge on pagan leaders in the city. Yet, he did not do harm to any one of them, forgave them and treated them with the utmost tolerance. In the words of John Esposito, a Western expert on Islam, ´eschewing vengeance and the plunder of conquest, the Prophet instead accepted a settlement, granting amnesty rather than wielding the sword toward his former enemies.´ 2

Pagans, who would later convert to Islam of their own free will, could not help admiring such nobility of character in the Prophet.

Not only during Mecca´s conquest, but also in the course of all the battles and conquests made in the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the rights of innocent and defenceless people were meticulously protected. The Prophet Muhammad reminded believers numerous times about this subject and by his own practice became a role model for others to follow. Indeed, he addressed believers who were about to go to war in the following terms: ´Go to war in adherence to the religion of God. Never touch the elderly, women or children. Always improve their situation and be kind to them. God loves those who are sincere.´3 The Messenger of God also clarified the attitude Muslims must adopt even when they are in the middle of a raging battle:

Do not kill children. Avoid touching people who devote themselves to worship in churches! Never murder women and the elderly. Do not set trees on fire or cut them down. Never destroy houses!4

The Islamic principles God proclaims in the Qur´an account for this peaceful and temperate policy of the Prophet Muhammad. In the Qur´an, God commands believers to treat the non-Muslims kindly and justly:

God does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you over religion or driven you from your homes, or from being just towards them. God loves those who are just. God merely forbids you from taking as friends those who have fought you over religion and driven you from your homes and who supported your expulsion... (Qur´an, 60:8-9)

The verses above clarify how Muslims should behave towards non-Muslims: A Muslim should treat all non-Muslims kindly and only avoid making friends with those who show enmity towards Islam. In a case where this enmity causes violent attacks against Muslims, that is, where they wage a war against them, then Muslims should respond to them justly by considering the humane dimensions of the situation. All forms of barbarism, unnecessary acts of violence and unjust aggression are forbidden by Islam. In another verse, God warns Muslims against this and explains that rage felt towards enemies should not cause them to fall into injustice:

You who believe! 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 heedfulness. Heed God (alone). God is aware of what you do. (Qur´an, 5:8)


The Meaning of the Concept of ´Jihad´

Another concept that deserves clarification due in the context of our discussion is that of ´jihad´.

The exact meaning of ´Jihad´ is ´effort´. Thus, in Islam, ´to carry out jihad´ is ´to show effort, to struggle´. The Prophet Muhammad explained that ´the greatest jihad is the one a person carries out against his lower soul´. What is meant by ´lower soul´ here is selfish desires and ambitions.

Assessed from the Qur´anic point of view, the word ´jihad´ can also mean a struggle carried out on intellectual grounds against those who oppress people, treat them unjustly, subject them to torture and cruelty and violate legitimate human rights. The purpose of this struggle is to bring about justice, peace and equality.

Apart from these ideological and spiritual meanings, struggle in the physical sense is also considered as ´jihad´. However, as explained above, this has to be a struggle carried out solely for defensive purposes. The use of the concept of ´jihad´ for acts of aggression against innocent people, that is for terror, would be unjust and a great distortion of the true meaning of the term.


Killing Oneself (Committing Suicide) is Forbidden in the Qur´an


One of the main purposes of terrorist bombings, arson attacks and other such vicious acts is to create fear, anxiety, insecurity and a sense of panic in people.
Another important matter that arose in the wake of the latest terrorist assaults against the United States is that of suicide attacks. Some people who are ill-informed on Islam have made utterly erroneous statements to the effect that this religion of peace allows suicide attacks, whereas in Islam killing oneself and killing other people are both prohibited. In the words, ´Do not kill yourselves.´ (Qur´an, 4:29) God has declared suicide to be a sin. In Islam it is forbidden for anyone to kill himself or herself, for no matter what reason.

The Prophet reveals suicide to be a sin in a parable, when he says that those who commit suicide will be punished:

Indeed, whoever (intentionally) kills himself, then certainly he will be punished in the Fire of Hell, wherein he shall dwell forever.5

As this makes clear, committing suicide, and thus carrying out suicide attacks, and causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people while doing so, is a total violation of Islamic morality. God says in the Qur´an that it is a sin to put an end to one´s own life. For that reason, it is quite impossible for someone who believes in God and says he abides by the Qur´an to do such a thing. The only people who can do such things are those who have a very mistaken perception of religion, have no idea of true Qur´anic morality, fail to use their reason and conscience, are under the influence of atheist ideologies, and who have been brainwashed with feelings of hatred and revenge. Everybody must oppose such actions

And do not kill yourselves. God is Most Merciful to you.
(Qur´an, 4:29)

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Compassion, Tolerance and Humanity in the History of Islam

To sum up the facts we have seen so far, we can say that the political doctrine of Islam (in other words, Islamic rules and principles regarding political matters) is exceedingly moderate and peace-loving. This truth is accepted by many non-Muslim historians and theologians. One of these is the British historian Karen Armstrong, a former nun and an expert on Middle East history. In her book Holy War, which examines the history of the three divine religions, she makes the following comments:

... The word ´Islam´ comes from the same Arabic root as the word ´peace´ and the Qur´an condemns war as an abnormal state of affairs opposed to God´s will… Islam does not justify a total aggressive war of extermination… Islam recognises that war is inevitable and sometimes a positive duty in order to end oppression and suffering. The Qur´an teaches that war must be limited and be conducted in as humane a way as possible. Mohammad had to fight not only the Meccans but also the Jewish tribes in the area and Christian tribes in Syria who planned on offensive against him in alliance with the Jews. Yet this did not make Mohammed denounce the People of the Book. His Muslims were forced to defend themselves but they were not fighting a ´holy war´ against the religion of their enemies. When Mohammad sent his freedman Zaid against the Christians at the head of a Muslim army, he told them to fight in the cause of God bravely but humanely. They must not molest priests, monks and nuns nor the weak and helpless people who were unable to fight. There must be no massacre of civilians nor should they cut down a single tree nor pull down any building.6

After the death of the Prophet, the Caliphs who succeeded him were also very sensitive in exercising justice. In conquered countries, both the indigenous people and the newcomers led ...
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