Islam and Violence
Excerpted from Link
Muslims who commit acts of violence and terror in the name of God, can find ample justification for their actions, based on the teachings of the Qur’an and the sayings and examples from prophet Muhammad himself!
Muslims who take upon themselves to destroy their alleged enemies in the name of God, can rightly claim to be following the commands of God in the Qur’an and imitating their prophet as their role model.
Groups in Islam who resort to violence, are not an aberration to Islam, but in fact can legitimately claim to be working within the basic parameters of Islamic Jihad. We will now turn to the evidence in support of our claim.
The following are only some of the verses in the Qur’an that can and have been used in the history of Islam in support of violence in the name of God and the glories of martyrdom in a holy war.
2:190-193 “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you … And slay them wherever ye catch them … And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression and there prevail justice and faith in God …”
2:216 “Fighting is prescribed for you and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But God knoweth and ye know not.”
2:224 “Then fight in the cause of God and know that God heareth and knoweth all things.”
3:157-158 “And if ye are slain or die in the way of God, forgiveness and mercy from God are far better than all they could amass. And if ye die, or are slain, Lo! It is unto God that ye are brought together.”
3:169 “Think not of those who are slain in God’s way as dead. Nay, they live finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord.”
3:195 “… Those who have … fought or been slain, verily I will blot out from them their iniquities and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing beneath; a reward from the presence of God …”
4:101 “… For the Unbelievers are unto you open enemies.”
4:74, 75 “Let those fight in the cause of God who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of God whether he is slain or gets victory, soon shall we give him a reward of great (value). Those who believe fight in the cause of God and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil, so fight ye against the friends of Satan, feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.”
4:89 “They but wish that ye should reject faith as they do, and thus be on the same footing as they. But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of God. But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them…”
4:95 “Not equal are those believers who sit at (at home) and receive no hurt and those who strive and fight in the cause of God with their goods and their persons. God hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than those who sit (at home).
5:36 “The punishment of those who wage war against God and His apostle and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land. That is their disgrace in this world and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.”
5:54 “O ye who believe. Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily God guideth not a people unjust.”
8:12-17 “Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you. Give firmness to the believers. I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers. Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips off them. This because they contend against God and his apostle. If any contend against God and his apostle, God is strict in punishment … O ye who believe. When ye meet the unbelievers in hostile array, never turn your backs to them. If any do turn his back to them on such a day, unless it be a stratagem of war … he draws on himself the wrath of God and his abode is Hell, an evil refuge (indeed).”
8:59-60 “Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of the godly). They will never frustrate (them). Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of God and your enemies and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom God doth know …”
8:65 “O apostle! Rouse the believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred. If a hundred they will vanquish a thousand of the unbelievers, for these are a people without understanding.”
9:5 “… 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) …”
9:14 “Fight them, and God will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame …”
9:29 “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and his apostle nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth (even if they are) of the people of the Book, until they pay the Jizya [religious tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
47:4 “Therefore, when ye meet the unbelievers, smite at their necks, at length when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them) … but if it had been God’s will, he could certainly have exacted retribution from them (himself), but (he lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the way of God, he will never let their deeds be lost.”
61:4 “Truly God loves those who fight in His cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure.”
A simple reading of such Qur’anic passages makes it obvious how easy it is for many Muslims to feel hatred and enmity against Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims. Although, many Muslims are very fond of quoting some of the more “open-minded” and “inclusive” verses of the Qur’an, one cannot ignore the weight and impact of the above passages on a devout Muslim who wants to find and obey the will of God as found in the Qur’an. Before, we go on to other examples from prophet Muhammad himself, we need to respond to two issues that some Muslims bring up at this point.
Many have claimed that Qur’anic verses in support of fighting, were for a special historical situation concerning the beginning of Islam. They argue that since prophet Muhammad, was persecuted in Mecca for the first thirteen years of his ministry, he was justified in his military actions in the last ten years of his life in Medina and for the support of the budding Islamic movement. The problem with this reasoning is that nowhere in the Qur’an itself the above commands to fight are restricted to a special time period or against a special people group. Unlike the divine commands found in the book of Joshua in the OT, that were specific to a time, place and people group, Orthodox Muslims believe that the Qur’anic commands are universal and thus applicable for all times and places.
A second objection that one hears is that Islam is a religion of peace and war in Islam is only for self-defense. Jamal Badawi, a popular Muslim apologist, claims, “Actual armed jihad is permissible under two conditions alone: one is for self-defense, and the other is for fighting against oppression.” (cited in Diana Eck, A New Religious America, HarperSanFrancisco, 2001, p. 238).
Although, Badawi is quite accurate in describing the conditions of armed jihad in Islam, what he fails to say is that the definitions of “self-defense” and “fighting against oppression” are much broader than usually understood. Many Orthodox Muslims believe that if a nation’s leaders do not acknowledge the rule of Islam, then those rulers are “oppressors” and thus a legitimate target for war (see John Kelsay, Islam and War, Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993, p. 35).
Many Muslims argue that America is a cultural aggressor by exporting its Hollywood values all over the world, and thus any fight against Americans is done in self-defense (see the article by Mark Galli, “Now What? A Christian response to religious terrorism,” Christianity Today, Oct 22, 2001). Therefore, there is no end to how a Muslim group can define “self-defense” and “oppression” and thus find an Islamic justification for violence.