Is Islam a Religion of Peace?
When a person reads the original source documents of Islam, The Qur’an, the Hadiths, the biographies of Muhammad and his early followers, and its histories, one is struck by the casual and matter-of-fact manner in which Muhammad and his followers trafficked in violence and bloodshed. This writer and others have noted is that nothing was more influential in the spread of Islam than the edge of the sword. As we will see from its inception down to today, Islam is a bloody religion. This leads straight thinking persons to question whether or not Islam is a religion of peace.
What does Islam say about itself? Islamic scholars point out that the root Arabic word in Islam is s-l-m. In Arabic this root can mean both surrender and submission to Allah, or peace, soundness and safety. So is this true? Does Islam offer peace, soundness and safety? According to the thereligionofpeace.com, there have been 16,270 (as of this post) Islamic terrorist attacks around the world since September 11, 2001. Is this a religion that promulgates peace through peaceful means or a religion that enforces its will on people through the use of violence?
This is not just a modern issue with Islam, but an issue that dates back all the way back to its inception. Muhammad used to send letters to kings and leaders in the communities that surrounded Mecca and Medina, inviting them to surrender to his authority and to believe in him as the prophet of Muhammad. He always ended his letters to these leaders with the following two words, “Aslim taslam!” Although these two words are derived from the same Arabic word, “Salama,” i.e., “peace,” neither one of them implies peace. Rather the sentence “Aslim taslam” means “surrender and be safe” or, “surrender or face death.” It is clear that Muhammad promised peace to those who surrendered to Islam at the threat of their lives. Is this a religion of peace?
As I mentioned above, it is clear from the historical record documented in the Hadiths that Islam would not have existed or even survived today if it had not been for the violence Islam perpetrated on Arabia and the rest of the known world. A prime example of this violence is seen in the wars of Al-Riddah, or the wars against the apostates, that began immediately after the death of Muhammad. It is apparent that feeling the relief from the death of Muhammad caused Arabic tribes who had been coerced to join Islam to revolt and refuse to pay the taxes imposed on them by Muhammad’s theocracy. In response to this revolt, the first caliph, Abu Bakr, moved on these tribes and eventually brought them back into the fold of Islam.
These wars were not just ordered by Abu Bakr, but ultimately came from Allah through his prophet, Muhammad. The Qur’an clearly states that those who turn away from Islam are to be punished by death, “But if they turn renegades seize them and slay them wherever ye find them and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks” (Surah 4:89). This verse has been commented on by the Hadiths. Note what Al-Bukhari says, “If somebody - a Muslim - discards his religion, kill him."
Muhammad said that it was not only necessary to kill those that fall away from Islam, but also to fight those nations that are not Muslim until they submit and recite the Shahada (the oath that once recited makes a person a Muslim), or pay the Jizya tax (which was the cause of the Barbary Coast war).
“Fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem ...” (Surah 9:5)
"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the last day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and his apostle nor acknowledge the religion of truth of the people of the Book (the Jews and the Christians) until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” (Surah 9:29)
Much of Islam’s early success can be directed traced to the looting of caravans, the selling slaves and the ravaging of women done on the order of Muhammad from Allah. Does this sound like a religion that is a religion of peace?
Further evidence that Islam is not a religion of peace can be seen from how Islam views those that are not Muslims.
"Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah"(Surah 4:76).
"I will instill terror into the heart of the Infidels, strike off their heads then, and strike off from them every fingertip" (Surah 8:12).
"Kill those who join other gods with Allah wherever you may find them" (Surah 9:5-6).
Contrast what you find in Qur’an with what is found in the Bible. While the war is a tool of God to bring the Israelites into the Promised Land and to protect her from outside invasion, it is not how God spread his message. Jesus said that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. No where do we see, in the initial spread of Christianity as recorded in Acts, and the early church history (up to Constantine’s Edict of Toleration) that Christianity ever used the sword to spread the Gospel of Jesus.
While it is true that Christianity did use the sword during the Crusades, the Inquisition, and other dark times in her history, it has abandoned these tools as it has matured. Sadly, there is no sign of maturity in Islam.
Today we see the irrational screams of death to those that criticize, no matter how justly, the actions of radical Muslims. We see the irrational hatred of Israel and Jews that border on, if not exceed any anti-Semitic rants of the Third Reich. Just look at some of these pictures gleaned from a search of Google images:
These are just three of a myriad of photographs I could have posted. These are devotees of the Islam, and are truly practicing their religion as it has been prescribed in the pages of the Qur'an. It is clear that based on Islam's history and the actions of its adherents today, Islam is not the religion of peace Muslims claim it to be.
Next time, Is Islam a Religion of Love?