Islam is not a Religion of Extremism
“…Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind…” Qur’an 5:32
“Islamic terrorists!” “Muslim fundamentalists!” “Extremists!” “Radical Islamists!” These are just some labels that have been wrongly applied to Muslims and certain Muslim groups in recent years.
The media’s portrayal of Islam often misleads those whose knowledge of the religion is limited, into making negative assumptions about this very peaceful and tolerant way of life.
The prevalence of media bias and ignorance regarding Islam can be countered by understanding Islam through its proper teachings. That means referring to the Holy Qur’an and the authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). Through the proper understanding of these teachings, one will discover Islam to be completely against any form of extremism.
How the Holy Qur’an can be misunderstood
When reading through the Holy Qur’an or the sayings of the Prophet (ﷺ), one must understand the context in which the wording applies. The following verse of the Holy Qur’an is a favourite amongst those seeking to mislead people about Islam:
“And kill them wherever you find them, and expel them from where they expelled you, as persecuting people to sway them from God’s Religion is worse than killing. But do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque, unless they fight you there. But if they do fight you, then slay them; This is the recompense of the disbelievers.” Qur’an 2:191
On occasions, this verse has been dangerously trimmed down to the following:
“And kill them wherever you find them…” Qur’an 2:191
The obvious question is, “Kill who?”. To answer this question, one should read the verses before and after verse 2:191.
“And fight in the way of Allah those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.“ Qur’an 2:190
The above verse mentions fighting as a means of self defence (i.e. with those who fight you). The verse after 2:191 is:
“But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” Qur’an 2:192
These verses were revealed at a time when the Muslims had been expelled from their homes on account of their faith. They endured more than ten years of persecution and eventually had to flee to a safe land.
The above verses were referring to the Arab pagans of Mecca during the Prophet (ﷺ)’s time, who oppressed the Muslims and planned to attack them where the Muslims sought refuge. Hence, the above verse can only be applied in such circumstances.
This example demonstrates that verses in the Holy Qur’an should be understood in their proper context since verses were revealed in stages in relation to particular situations, over a period of 23 years. It is also important to note that the Holy Qur’an was revealed in Arabic. Therefore, translations into different languages may be misleading and/or inaccurate.
Islam Denounces Terrorism
The act of inciting terror in the hearts of defenseless civilians, the wholesale destruction of buildings and properties, the bombing and maiming of innocent men, women and children are all forbidden and detestable acts according to Islam and the Muslims.
If an individual Muslim were to commit an act of terrorism, this person would be guilty of violating the laws of the very religion they claim to follow – Islam. Would it be fair to condemn all Muslims as a result, when the religion itself is against such acts? Muslims follow a religion of submission to Allah Swt, peace, mercy, and forgiveness. The vast majority have nothing to do with the violent events some – notably the media – have associated with Muslims. Islam is not a religion of extremism.
“Allah does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. Allah loves those who are just.” Qur’an 60:8