Is Islam a militant religion?

In Islam, the use of force is allowed only in special situations, particularly when the Muslim community is threatened by hostile forces. This is indeed natural and logical for any nation. Then again, the use of force in a campaign of jihad is determined by the leader of the Muslim community in a very ordered and ethical way.

Islam considers all life forms as sacred, but particularly emphasizes the sanctity of human life.
Allah says in the Qur’an: “And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right.” [6:151]
Allah says:
“Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul (in legal retribution for murder) or for corruption [done] in the land ( that requiring the death penalty) – it is as if he had
slain all mankind. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” [5:32]

Such is the value of a single human life, that Allah equates the taking of even one human life unjustly with killing all of humanity. It is important to understand that in Islam, war is only permitted in specific and dire circumstances. It is despised and only permitted as a last resort when all other attempts at peace have been made. It keeps warfare at a level of mercy and respect for the enemy such as none other has been able to reach. The Prophet (pbuh), sometimes had to fight for the mere survival of his mission, but once security was ensured, he immediately reverted to peace and
diplomacy.

Even in a state of war, Islam enjoins that armies deal with the enemy justly in the battlefield. Islam has drawn a clear line of distinction between the combatants and the non-combatants of an enemy country. The Prophet (pbuh) told his armies,
“Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman.”

And he said: “Do not kill the monks in monasteries.”

Upon seeing the corpse of a woman on a battlefield, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) angrily asked his companions why she had been killed, and he strongly condemned the atrocious act. For those enemies active in combat and those taken as prisoners of war, the list of rights is lengthy. There should be no torture; no killing of the wounded or
defenseless, no mutilation of enemy bodies and return of corpses to the enemy must be honored. In light of the aforementioned, it becomes crystal clear that Islam does not permit aggression, violence, injustice, or oppression. At the same time, it calls for
morality, justice, tolerance, and peace.

Far from being a militant dogma, Islam is a way of life that transcends race and ethnicity. The Qur’an repeatedly reminds us of our common origin: “O mankind, indeed We created you from male and female, and made you peoples and tribes
that you may know one another. Verily the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.” [49:13]

It is the universality of its teachings that makes Islam the fastest growing religion in the world. In a world full of conflicts and deep schisms between human beings, a world that is currently plagued with terrorism, perpetrated by individuals and by states, Islam is a beacon of light that offers hope for the future.

(Facebook / 26.05.2011)

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