ISLAMABAD - Islam literally means peace but those insisting to be the ‘true followers’ of the great religion seem poles apart – going on rampage and devastating life.

For the last three days, the activists of the religious groups made the life a living hell for the common man as roads were blocked, cellular services were jammed and public property was attacked.

To discourage the traffic on roads, the overly enthusiastic activists used sharp tools to puncture tyres leaving the people helpless in the middle of the highways.

The victims, waited for help to get their vehicles running again but there was always a risk of physical assault.

Even hours before the Islamabad sit-in was called off after successful talks between the government and the protesters yesterday, the activists were venting their anger on the poor citizens.

The Arabic word salaam (secured, pacified, submitted) has the same root as the word Islam. One Islamic interpretation is that individual personal peace is attained by utterly submitting to Allah. The greeting ‘As-Salaamu Alaykum’ favoured by Muslims, has the literal meaning ‘peace be upon you.’

The ideal society, according to the Holy Qur’an is Dar as-Salam, literally, ‘the house of peace’ of which it intones: ‘And Allah invites to the ‘abode of peace’ and guides whom He pleases into the right path.’

The root of the word Islam, silm, refers to ‘making peace, being in a mutually peaceful environment, greetings, rescue, safety, being secure, finding peace, reaching salvation and well being or being far from danger, attaining goodness, comfort and favour, keeping away from troubles and disasters, submitting the self and obeying, respect, being far from wrong.

Since Islam means living in a peaceful environment that emerges as a result of submission to God, the Holy Qur’an asks that all humanity should embrace silm, that is, peace, and reminds to avoid following Satan or devil.

In order to be able to portray a fair image of Islam, a Muslim – especially the religious scholars – need to consider its divinely inspired purposes, which yield, as a result, a just worldly order.

Since Allah and the Messenger of God (PBUH) are merciful and compassionate to believers, those who take the divinely prescribed ethics and the prophetic character as their example should obviously treat one another with mercy and compassion. Therefore, those who have received the Holy Prophet Mohammed’s message can never be severe, arrogant, antagonistic, or hostile.

Sughra Besharat, a 50-year-old woman, got her car punctured by the protesters as she was on her way to a hospital in Islamabad to see her sister.

“Thankfully they did not hit me but the agony was comparable. I waited and waited for help for hours,” she said as she stood with her children on the highway.

Murtza Hassan, another victim, said he tried to argue with the demonstrators when they attacked his car but then escaped for the fear of life.

“They could easily have beaten me up so sensing their designs, I fled with the damaged car,” he narrated.

As the government and the protesters reached an agreement, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced in future no public meeting would be allowed at the D-Chowk.

Khan denied any written agreement with the protestors, adding a strict action will be taken against those involved in ransacking of metro bus train and cameras of Islamabad safe city project.

Religious scholar Mufti Muneebur Rehman said Islam advocated peace and love and those trying to impose their will were not doing any service to the religion.

“Protest is a right but damaging properties is discouraged in Islam. Those who attacked innocent people have violated the teachings of Islam,” he said.

Another prominent cleric Dr Murtaza Alvi said Islam did now allow harming other fellow beings.

“Those who misbehaved with the women and children must be taken to task. Protest must be peaceful and aimed at betterment,” he added.

Senior Pakistan People’s Party leader Senator Sherry Rehman said the government had not been able to properly handle the latest sit-in.

“The government should not have allowed them to paralyse the normal life. The government failed to secure even the parliament,” she said.

The PPP has already submitted an adjournment motion in the National Assembly Secretariat, to discuss the prevailing security situation and the sit-in by the religious parties.

The protesters led by Sunni Tehreek leader Sarwat Ijaz Qadri, Sunni Ittehad Council Chairman Hamid Raza and Afzal Qadri meanwhile vowed to lodge a First Information Report against the Interior Minister for alleged murder of two activists.

The four-day protest started on Sunday after thousands of people, who gathered to attend the chehlum (40th day after death) of executed guard Mumtaz Qadri in Rawalpindi, forcefully entered Islamabad’s Red Zone and staged a sit-in.

Qadri – convicted of murdering Punjab Governor Salman Taseer in 2011 - was executed last month after all appeals were exhausted.