Islam is derived from the word ‘salaam’ which means peace. It is a
religion of peace whose fundamentals teach its followers to maintain and
promote peace throughout the world.
How can Islam be called the religion of peace when it was spread by the sword?
It is a common complaint among some non-Muslims that Islam would not have millions of adherents all over the world, if it had not been spread by the use of force. The following points will make it clear, that far from being spread by the sword, it was the inherent force of truth, reason and logic that was responsible for the rapid spread of Islam.
1. Islam means peace.
Islam comes from the root word ‘salaam’, which means peace. It also means submitting one’s will to Allah (swt). Thus Islam is a religion of peace, which is acquired by submitting one’s will to the will of the Supreme Creator, Allah (swt).
2. Sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace.
Each and every human being in this world is not in favour of maintaining peace and harmony. There are many, who would disrupt it for their own vested interests. Sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace. It is precisely for this reason that we have the police who use force against criminals and antisocial elements to maintain peace in the country. Islam promotes peace. At the same time, Islam exhorts it followers to fight where there is oppression. The fight against oppression may, at times, require the use of force. In Islam force can only be used to promote peace and justice.
3. Opinion of historian De Lacy O’Leary.
The best reply to the misconception that Islam was spread by the sword is given by the noted historian De Lacy O’Leary in the book “Islam at the cross road” (Page 8):
“History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myth that historians have ever repeated.”
4. Muslims ruled Spain for 800 years.
Muslims ruled Spain for about 800 years. The Muslims in Spain never used the sword to force the people to convert. Later the Christian Crusaders came to Spain and wiped out the Muslims. There was not a single Muslim in Spain who could openly give the adhan, that is the call for prayers.
5. 14 million Arabs are Coptic Christians.
Muslims were the lords of Arabia for 1400 years. Few years British ruled, and for a few years the French ruled. Overall, the Muslims ruled Arabia for 1400 years. Yet today, there are 14 million Arabs who are Coptic Christians i.e. Christians since generations. If the Muslims had used the sword there would not have been a single Arab who would have remained a Christian.
6. More than 80% non-Muslims in India.
The Muslims ruled India for about a thousand years. If they wanted, they had the power of converting each and every non-Muslim of India to Islam. Today more than 80% of Indian population are non-Muslims. All these non-Muslim Indians are bearing witness today that Islam was not spread by the sword.
7. Indonesia and Malaysia.
Indonesia is a country that has the maximum number of Muslims in the world. The majority of people in Malaysia are Muslims. May one ask, “Which Muslim army went to Indonesia and Malaysia?”
8. East Coast of Africa.
Similarly, Islam has spread rapidly on the East Coast of Africa. One may again ask, if Islam was spread by the sword, “Which Muslim army went to the East Coast of Africa?”
9. Thomas Carlyle.
The famous historian, Thomas Carlyle, in his book “Heroes and Hero worship”, refers to this misconception about the spread of Islam: “The sword indeed, but where will you get your sword? Every new opinion, at its starting is precisely in a minority of one. In one man’s head alone. There it dwells as yet. One man alone of the whole world believes it, there is one man against all men. That he takes a sword and try to propagate with that, will do little for him. You must get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can.”
10. No compulsion in religion.
With which sword was Islam spread? Even if Muslims had it they could not use it to spread Islam because the Qur’an says in the following verse:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error....” [Al-Baqarah 2:256]
11. Sword of the Intellect.
It is the sword of intellect. The sword that conquers the hearts and minds of people. The Qur’an says in Surah Nahl, chapter 16 verse 125:
“Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious…” [An-Nahl 16:125]
12. Increase in the world religions from 1934 to 1984.
An article in Reader’s Digest ‘Almanac’, year book 1986, gave the statistics of the increase of percentage of the major religions of the world in half a century from 1934 to 1984. This article also appeared in ‘The Plain Truth’ magazine. At the top was Islam, which increased by 235%, and Christianity had increased only by 47%. May one ask, which war took place in this century which converted millions of people to Islam?
13. Islam is the fastest growing religion in America and Europe.
Today the fastest growing religion in America is Islam. The fastest growing religion in Europe in Islam. Which sword is forcing people in the West to accept Islam in such large numbers?
14. Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson.
Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson rightly says, “People who worry that nuclear weaponry will one day fall in the hands of the Arabs, fail to realize that the Islamic bomb has been dropped already, it fell the day MUHAMMED (pbuh) was born”.
Doesn’t Islam promote violence, bloodshed and brutality since the Qur’an says that Muslims should kill the kuffar where ever they find them?
A few selected verses from the Qur’an are often misquoted to perpetuate the myth that Islam promotes violence, and exhorts its followers to kill those outside the pale of Islam.
1. Verse from Surah Taubah
The following verse from Surah Taubah is very often quoted by critics of Islam, to show that Islam promotes violence, bloodshed and brutality:
"....Kill the mushriqeen (pagans, polytheists, kuffar) where ever you find them...." [At-Tawba 9:5]
2. Context of verse is during battlefield
Critics of Islam actually quote this verse out of context. In order to understand the context, we need to read from verse 1 of this surah. It says that there was a peace treaty between the Muslims and the Mushriqs (pagans) of Makkah. This treaty was violated by the Mushriqs of Makkah. A period of four months was given to the Mushriqs of Makkah to make amends. Otherwise war would be declared against them. Verse 5 of Surah Taubah says:
"But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is oft-forgiving, Most merciful." [At-Tawbah 9:5]
This verse is quoted during a battle.
3. Example of war between America and Vietnam
We know that America was once at war with Vietnam. Suppose the President of America or the General of the American Army told the American soldiers during the war: "Wherever you find the Vietnamese, kill them". Today if I say that the American President said, "Wherever you find Vietnamese, kill them" without giving the context, I will make him sound like a butcher. But if I quote him in context, that he said it during a war, it will sound very logical, as he was trying to boost the morale of the American soldiers during the war. Same way nowadays USA & coalition forces in Afghanistan have got an order that wherever you find “Taliban” kill him. Taliban means student, is that at the end of war, this will apply?
4. Verse 9:5 quoted to boost morale of Muslims during battle
Similarly in Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 the Qur’an says, "Kill the Mushriqs where ever you find them", during a battle to boost the morale of the Muslim soldiers. What the Qur’an is telling Muslim soldiers is, don’t be afraid during battle; wherever you find the enemies kill them.
5. Shourie jumps from verse 5 to verse 7
Arun Shourie is one of the staunchest critics of Islam in India. He quotes the same verse, Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 in his book ‘The World of Fatwahs’, on page 572. After quoting verse 5 he jumps to verse 7 of Surah Taubah. Any sensible person will realise that he has skipped verse 6.
6. Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer
Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer to the allegation that Islam promotes violence, brutality and bloodshed. It says:
"If one amongst the pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure that is because they are men without knowledge." [At-Tawbah 9:6]
The Qur’an not only says that a Mushriq seeking asylum during the battle should be granted refuge, but also that he should be escorted to a secure place. In the present international scenario, even a kind, peace-loving army General, during a battle, may let the enemy soldiers go free, if they want peace. But which army General will ever tell his soldiers, that if the enemy soldiers want peace during a battle, don’t just let them go free, but also escort them to a place of security?
This is exactly what Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur’an to promote peace in the world.
I see Muslim believers full of hatred, and hostility like killing, revenge, cursing others in the name of Allah. Do you think that Islam will destroy itself, since Jesus said, Evil will destroy itself?
You blame Muslims, but in the USA alone 60,000 babies are killed through abortions every year, Christians dropped two atomic bombs killing thousands of innocent people, Christians were involved in two world wars that killed over 50 million people. Hitler was a Christian who killed six millions Jews. And see the Christian justice that they implanted the Jew state in Muslim area in Palestine instead in Germany. Christians killed millions of Native Americans. Christians committed GENOCIDE against the innocent people of Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan and so on.
Take only example of a Christian state, USA. USA is involved in almost all turmoil of the world. Since 1945 the United States has intervened in more than 20 countries throughout the world. Post World War II, the United States has also assisted in over 20 different coups throughout the world, and the CIA was responsible for half a dozen assassinations of political heads of state.
Islam is under siege politically and under attack militarily. No Muslim nation has come to invade Europe or the US, yet rule Islamic world has been the foreign policy of the US, the UK, France and Russia for the last 80 years. And this is what has bought us to where we are now.
USA is the one who supported Saddam to invade Iran, which resulted killing a million people and destruction of both countries. Again USA was the one who encouraged Saddam to invade Kuwait. This, it done to finally invade Iraq to control Oil Resources. As it could not openly control the state, so it planned to make second invasion on false excuses. So all this was under a plan.
In Iraq, after second invasion more than 1,000,000 (approximately) and 5,000 (approximately) Americans and allied troops are killed for what? Had there been still cruel Saddam, would there had been so much killing, as has done by innocent President Bush and Premier Blair (both Christians) with lame excuses. Saddam was hanged for killing 182 Iraqis, then what about Bush, by whose action thousands and thousands of innocent has been killed (two Iraq wars and Afghan war), with no justification except the control of Oil, and bases in Afghanistan. There was no so called Al-Qaida in Iraq but Bush has rooted it there, thus creating it by his illegal action. The world is more in danger than before this invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Being a Christian American ruler, having huge power of destruction, destroyed Iraq and now want to leave that where democracy is dancing naked. They have conducted agreement with Iraqi government,( which is dependant on itself ) the rights of controlling its oil resources with only 25% to it and 75% to USA.
In Afghanistan, Christian nations are killing Afghanis on the pretext of Twin Tower fall, which itself is disputed in USA and world. Innocent Muslims are being killed whereas they were so much sensitive of their own innocent people of World Trade center. Is this justification, that against 2863 Twin Tower casualties, they have killed about hundred thousand in Afghanistan.
Tell us who have more killed innocent people of the world, Christians or Muslims. Obviously Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) would have objected to such acts, but religion of Christianity has nothing to do with such atrocities that were committed by followers of Christianity. Bush is worldwide (including USA) is being treated as number one terrorist of world. World peace is in danger of a Christian terrorist not by any Muslim. This is not we say, but it is the survey which is conducted by their Christians friends.
Now the world is under the terror of Bush than any other one. It is not we say, but see the protests all over the world and public opinion. He is treated number one terrorist of the world. It is not Muslim saying but people of western world. He terrorizing all the Muslim world, can you still say that Muslims are terrorist.
Iran is under the danger of Terrorist Attack by USA, why? USA and Israel has right to have Atom Bomb, but Iran is not given even the right of even having processing right for peaceful use. What a Peaceful Jews and Christians of world, no shame at all? Israel has occupied Palestine since 58 years and have killed thousand of innocent Muslims. USA Christian ruler eyes are blind to see that but as a retaliation if any Jew is killed than that is a terrorist attack. East Temore people being Christians, won independence within two years from Muslim state, but Palestinians problems is not solved in 58 years because here occupier is Jews, supported by Christians.
What more you want to know about the terrorism. Terrorism is intentionally being spread in Islamic world to destabilize and control their natural resources at the end when they will be weak, as you see is being done in Iraq. Instead of decreasing, terrorism is on the increase, and it is all due to actions of Christian stats. But still I will say, judge the religion not by the people who don't know the religion. Therefore, try to learn about Islam objectively and not see it through the prism of popular media.
The word “Islam” means peace and submission to the divine nature created by the One All Mighty God. Some books you may want to read on Islam are: “Islam and the Destiny of Man” by Charles Le Gai Eaton and “Life of Muhammad” by Martin Lings. If you meet good practicing Muslims you will find that they care about their neighbors regardless of their religion, they don't take drugs, alcohol, and don't have pre-marital sex, they don't cheat, don't deal with usury and interest, etc.
Also, try to see why Islam is the fastest growing religion in the West, why Christian priests, Jewish Rabbis and learned people, from all backgrounds are reverting to Islam. Also, try to learn about Christianity, how the Bible was recorded, and why authentic Gospels (like the Gospel of Barnabas) which were written before the Canonical Gospels, were banned. At the end, I have to mention what God says about Islam which you like it or not:
"Abraham was not a Jew nor Christian; but an upright Muslim...." (Aale-Imraan 3:67)
"....This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion...." (Al-Maa'idah 5:3)
"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah (God) never will It be accepted of Him...." (Aale-Imraan 3:85)
Allah is a loving God true? Why do Moslems, in order to serve a loving God, murder innocent women and children? Will the wrath of Allah not find the guilty and punish them? Why do the Islamic nations expect other nations to allow them to worship freely, when they themselves forbid other religions from existing in their countries?
Just a clarification before answering your questions, Allah is not 'a' loving God. He is God. Therefore, it would have been more correct to say: Allah is loving or God is loving. Allah is the Arabic name of God, and therefore, Jewish and Christians who live in Arab countries worship Allah, the same way Jews, Christians, and Muslims in France worship 'DIEU', and those living in the States worship God. Still, we try to refer to God as Allah since it is His Proper name rather than differentiating Him with the Capital letter of god and God. Allah after all is closer to Elohim and to Alleluia (Hallelujah).
Now back to the questions: Muslims who understand their religion correctly don't kill innocent people, regardless if they are women, children, or adult men. What you hear in the news which is taking place for example in Algeria has been documented in many credible sources to be the work of mercenaries who have used the name of Islam. In other countries, the same thing is happening. While the people executing such acts may be Muslims, their hidden leadership has been supported by covert operations to discredit the rise of Islamic movements. This is the only way Islam can be portrayed to be bad, because ethically, economically, politically, and socially, Islam has already proven to be a viable and an alternative solution to the current systems.
As to your second question, it shouldn't be connected to the first one because if the wrath of God should fall on guilty people (not the innocent ones mentioned in the first question), then it is the Muslim's duty to do his/her best to stop the guilty from doing harm on earth, because from an Islamic point of view, human beings are on earth to worship God and establish His Kingdom. That's the way Jesus (peace be upon him) understood it, and that's why he turned violent against the money lenders of the Temple who were abusing the people and dealing with usury. Fighting injustice is a duty on each Muslim.
As to your last question, you should really separate Islam (as a religion) and 'Muslim' nations on one side, and also, research the way non-Muslims live in Islamic countries. While in some places non-Muslims are prosecuted, Muslim activists get prosecuted in Muslim countries much heavily. In addition, it is known that Christians and Jews have always found a shelter in Islamic countries and until now enjoy great powers in Islamic nations. The Jews escaped the Inquisition and left to live in Islamic countries peacefully. This took place all the way until the second world war, when they escaped European prosecution. The Christians also have trusted the Muslims in their livelihood and Holy sites. Up until today, Christian sites in Jerusalem are entrusted to Muslims in honor of the pact that dates back to 1400 years ago, when the Christians allowed Muslims to protect them under the condition of not letting the Jews control Jerusalem.
Is 'suicide bombing' acceptable as part of Jihad?
This is a very general question and certainly it needs further details such as the necessity of this type of bombing, its consequences, its out coming, the target etc.. All these aspects would help in recommending it or rejecting it.
said, I would like to say that Jihad is considered as a noble obligation
upon Muslims when they are oppressed or suppressed and Jihad is a
defensive in its nature. Meaning, Muslims would have to defend
themselves against oppression by using all means and weapons leading to
take back their rights or to liberate their lands.
In other words, the individuals or organizations are not allowed to call for Jihad without the permission of Imam. Meaning that calling for Jihad is an obligation upon Imam only not upon individuals or organization. The verses in the Qur'an that talk about Jihad always refer to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) on his capacity as Imam not as an individual. This has been clearly stated and justified by scholars such as Imam Qarafi, Ibn Taymiyah, Ibn Qayim, Sheikh Shaltut and Sheikh Al-Qaradawi and others.
Through out Islamic history, the call for Jihad has always been a prerogative of Imam not individuals or organizations. The Prophet was leading and calling for Jihad on his capacity as a leader and Imam. In the event that Imam doesn't call for it, then the individuals and organization should counsel and advise Imam to do so on the basis on nasihah or advice as stated by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
individuals are advised to use all peaceful means and ways to convince
Imam about the necessity of calling for Jihad, if they fail in doing so,
they shouldn't call for it by their own on the ground that Imam is not
good Muslim, but they should believe that they have done the best and
they wouldn't be subject to any sin on the Day of Judgment.
As for amaliyat istishhadiyyah or the so called ‘suicide bombing’, I do believe that it is classified as a means and its has the ruling of means in Islamic laws. In other words, using it or avoiding it depends on the out coming, consequences, target and the necessity. Meaning, the lawfulness of using it must be based on further investigation of the said related issues. For example, it should not be used to kill or attack innocent people such as women and children and non-combatants. An the same time, it should not be used if it does not lead to the achievement of the goals of Jihad. Furthermore, it should not be used when its out comings or consequences are found to be less meaningful and important.
Having said this, I shall call upon Muslims to
investigate and review all means and ways that they are using in Jihad.
They should not fix themselves with one means or method but they have to
look for more means and ways and they should also review old means in
light of the new development and advancement of technology.
There was once a man who was an enemy to Islam. He had three famous questions that no person could answer. No Islamic scholar in Baghdad could answer his three questions...thus he made fun of Islam in public. He constantly ridiculed Islam and the Muslims. One day a small boy, whose age was 10, came along and heard the man yelling and screaming at Muslims in the street. He was challenging people openly to answer the three questions.
The boy stood quietly and watched. He then decided that he would challenge the man. He walked up and told the man, "I will accept your challenge".
The man laughed at the boy and ridiculed the Muslims even more by saying, "A ten year old boy challenges me. Is this all you people have to offer!"
But the boy patiently reiterated his stance. He would challenge the man, and with Allah’s help and guidance, he would put this to an end. The man finally accepted.
The entire city gathered around a small "hill" where open addresses were usually made. The man climbed to the top, and in a loud voice asked his first question.
"What is your God doing right now?"
The small boy thought for a little while and then told the man to climb down the hill and to allow him to go up in order to address the question.
The man says "What? You want me to come down?"
The boy says, "Yes. I need to reply, right?"
The man made his way down and the small boy, age 10, with his little feet made his way up.
This small child’s reply was "Oh Allah Almighty! You be my witness in front of all these people. You have just willed that a Kafir be brought down to a low level, and that a Muslim be brought to a high level!"
The crowd cheered and screamed "Takbir"...."Allah-hu-akbar!!!"
The man was humiliated, but he boldly asked his Second question... "What existed before your God?"
The small child thought and thought.
Then he asked the man to count backwards. "Count from 10 backwards."
The man counted..."10, 9 ,8 , 7 , 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,0"
The boy asked, "What comes before 0 ?"
The man: "I don`t know...nothing."
The boy: "Exactly. Nothing was before Allah, for He is eternal and absolute."
The crowd cheered again...."Takbir!"...."Allah-hu-akbar!!!!"
The man, now completely frustrated, asked his final question. "In which direction is your Allah facing?"
The boy thought and thought.
He then asked for a candle. A candle was brought to him. The blessed child handed it to the man and asked him to light it.
The man did so and remarked, "What is this supposed to prove?"
The young boy asked, "In which direction is light from the candle going?"
The man responded, "It is going in all directions."
The boy: "You have answered your own question. Allah`s light (noor) goes in all directions. He is everywhere. There is no where that He cannot be found.
"The crowd cheered again...."Takbir!"...."Allah-hu-akbar!!!"
The man was so impressed and so moved by the boy`s knowledge and spirituality, that he embraced Islam and became a student of the young boy.
So ended the debate.
Who was the young boy?
The young boy was one of our leaders and one of the greatest scholars, Imam Abu Hanîfa (May Allah bless him).
Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://www.livingislam.org/
What distinguishes the Nation of Islam from traditional Islam? Why do they worship Elijah Muhammad? Who is he?
Islam and the so called "Nation of Islam (NOI)" are two different
religions. NOI is more of a political organization since its members are
not limited to a single faith. Muslims consider this group to be
Islam and Farakhanism differ in many fundamental ways. For example, Farakhan followers believe in racism and that the 'black man' was the original man and therefore superior, while in Islam there is no racism and everyone is considered equal in the sight of God, the only difference being in one's piety. There are many other theological examples that show the NOI's teachings have little to do with true Islam. There are many groups in America who claim to represent Islam and call their adherents Muslims.
Any serious student of Islam has a duty to investigate and find the true Islam. The only two authentic sources which bind every Muslim are
1) the Quran and
2) authentic or sound Hadith.
Any teachings under the label of "Islam" which contradict or at variance with the direct understanding of fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam form the Quran and authentic Hadith should be rejected and such a religion should be considered a Pseudo-Islamic Cult. In America there are many pseudo-Islamic cults, Farrakhanism being one of them. An honest attitude on the part of such cults should be not to call themselves Muslims and their religion Islam, such an example of honesty is Bahaism which is an off-shoot of Islam but Bahais do not call themselves Muslims nor their religion, Islam. In fact Bahaism is not Islam just as Farrakhanism is not Islam.
The teachings of the Nation of Islam are extremely far from mainstream Islam in all matters, including those of doctrine. For example, Wallace Fard (known as Master Wali Farrad Muhammad) who organized the Nation of Islam in Detroit, claimed to be a prophet from Allah to the African American population.
Elijah Mohammad, who took leadership after Fard disappeared, preached racism, stated that whites are an inferior race. There is a lot that can be said about the difference between the Nation of Islam and mainstream Islam. What we can tell you is that many African Americans who joined the Nation of Islam learned about the correct Islamic teachings and have joined the ranks of mainstream Muslims of all colors and races.
In Islam, it has to be blieved that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was the last prophet and his teaching along with Quran are final. Somebody not believing on this is a Non Muslim.