Islam is a common topic of debate in today’s day and age, and whether it condones or condemns violence is still a controversial issue. To answer this question one should look into the primary and most revered text among-st Muslims ; The Holy Quran.

It is interesting to note that both the critics of Islam, as well as the self proclaimed “Islamic state” have reached a similar conclusion; that Islam permits chaos and anarchy. They usually single out the following verses (2:191)“Kill them wherever you encounter them, and drive them out from where they drove you out, for persecution is more serious than killing. Do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque unless they fight you there. If they do fight you, kill them- this is what such disbelievers deserve”, or the infamous sword verse(9:5);”When the [four] forbidden months are over, wherever you encounter the idolaters, kill them, seize them, besiege them, wait for them at every lookout post; but if they turn [to God], maintain the prayer, and pay the prescribed alms, let them go on their way, for God is most forgiving and merciful”. These are among-st the few verses that militant groups quote to justify their inhumane actions.

Now what should one make of this ?Go out and start beheading anyone who refuses to submit to God? The answer, unsurprisingly, is a big “no”. The Quran doesn’t start and end on these verses, the problem lies in the approach. One cannot simply pick verses out of context and use them as fundamentals for their individual desires, as is the case with the extremist militants. The Holy Quran clarifies on who is to be fought against in the following verse(60:8):“and He does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you for your faith or driven you out of your homes: God loves the just. ” (60:09):“But God forbids you to take as allies those who have fought against you for your faith, driven you out of your homes, and helped others to drive you out: any of you who take them as allies will truly be wrongdoers.”These verses clearly differentiate between those who are to be fought and those who are to be dealt with kindness. Muslims are not permitted to go on killing sprees. They are only supposed fight back against oppressors i.e. person or persons who deny them their basic human rights .In fact, as mentioned in the above verses, God encourages kindness and sympathy to non-Muslims. Thus, to call Islam the source of terrorism due to the actions of a few actors is like judging a book by the cover of another book.

There are numerous verses in the Holy Quran that promote peace and harmony. For example, in (6:108)“[Believers], do not revile those they call on beside God in case they, in their hostility and ignorance, revile God. To each community We make their own actions seem alluring, but in the end they will return to their Lord and He will inform them of all they did.”A critic would then say that either the Quran contradicts itself or the peace promoting verses were written when Islam was in its early stages, If this were the case, why would the verses that promote peace and harmony be allowed to exist ?

In conclusion, to call Islam a direct source of terrorism is highly inaccurate, as the verses from the Holy Quran suggest otherwise. Islam is a religion that was introduced into this world to preach peace and humanity, during times when all these were scarce. And it’s being associated to unnecessary violence and blood shed is a sign of blatant ignorance.

Note: All translations of verses are taken from The Qur’an (Oxford World’s Classics) by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem.

ARHAM RAHMAN BROLLA,

Islamabad, November 25.