Page 108 - Islam In Focus

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pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques in which the name of
God is commemorated in abundant measure (22:40)
Although realistic in its approach, Islam never tolerates aggression from its own side
or from any other side, nor does it entertain aggressive wars or the initiation of
aggressive wars. Muslims are commanded by God not to begin hostilities, or embark
on any act of aggression, or violate any rights of others. In addition to what has been
already said in the previous chapter, some particular verses of the Qur’ an are of
significant bearing. God says:
Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, and do not transgress limits (begin not
hostility): For God loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever you catch them,
and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are
worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight
you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress
faith. But if they cease, God is Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until
there is no more persecution or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God;
but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression
War is not an objective of Islam nor is it the normal course of Muslims. It is only the
last resort and is used under the most extraordinary circumstances when all other
measures fail. This is the actual status of war in Islam. Islam is the religion of peace:
its meaning is peace; one of God’ s names is peace; the daily greetings of Muslims and
angels are peace; paradise is the house of peace, the adjective ‘Muslim’ means
Peaceful. Peace is the nature, the meaning, the emblem and the objective of Islam.
Every being is entitled to enjoy the peace of Islam and the kindness of the peaceful
Muslims, regardless of religious or geographical or racial considerations, so long as
there is no aggression against Islam or the Muslims. If non-Muslims are peaceful with
the Muslims or even indifferent to Islam, there can be no ground or justification to
declare war on them. There is no such thing as religious war to force Islam on non-
Muslims, because if Islam does not emerge from deep convictions, from within, it is
not acceptable to God, nor can it help its professor. If there is any religion or
constitution to guarantee peaceful freedom of religion and forbid compulsion in
religion, it is Islam and Islam alone. To this point the Qur’ an refers as follows:
Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error; Whoever
rejects Evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that
never breaks, And God hears and knows all things (2:256)
Even in the propagation of Islam a Muslim is not only forbidden to employ force but
is also commanded to use the most peaceful methods. To Muhammad God says:
Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue
with them in ways that are best and most gracious: For your Lord knows best who
have strayed from His path and who receive guidance (16:125)
And dispute you not with the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) except with
means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict
wrong (and injury): But say: ’ We believe in the Revelation which has come down to