Islam is like any religion that talks about the spiritual side of life; it tells us how to behave in the right way. Moreover, Islam surpasses every religion that ever existed because Islam is not just a way of what or how to believe; it addresses everything in Muslim life. Islam provides guidance for both private and social life; for example, it includes directions from how to go to bathroom as well as the right way to rule. So, naturally, Islam also discusses war and peace. We have to understand the concept of war and peace in Islam to fully understand why it talks about it if it is a religion of peace.Peace is a natural human desire; everyone wants it because it is a good thing to have peace. Islam talks about it in a lot of different ways. First, it talks about the inner peace between the person and his soul because we as Muslims believe that we are in a struggle between our souls and ourselves, and we have to win to achieve inner peace. It functions in the way that other religions function; that is, it is “deeply implicated in individual…conceptions of peace” (Abu-Nimer & Kadayifci-Orellana 550). Second, there is a need for peace between people living the same society even when they don’t share the same beliefs. According to Islam Muslims must not deceive anyone; to do so will lead to bad consequences. In fact, Muslims have long viewed “ethnic and religious differences as a God-given challenge” and have “tried to find pragmatic solutions for living together” peacefully (Hüsseyin 107). The third thing Islam addresses is peace with our enemies. Muslims are directed to find ways to avoid war if possible because our prophet Mohammad said, “Do not wish to meet the enemy on the battlefield.” Therefore, Islam insists on peace and insists on avoiding war if possible. In fact, “fighting in Islam is only sanctioned within the context of da’wah or a calling to Islam” (Bashier 17).
War is not a new thing to mankind; our history is full of it. There are different kinds of wars, from a war because of an animal to a war because of faiths. From that perspective Islam established some laws on how and when to take a human life. For example, you can kill in self-defense, or if you are trying to save someone else, “as a means of survival” (Bashier 22). Even in war Islam has laws about whose lives can be taken and how to take those lives. For example, we cannot kill women, children, old people, or unarmed men. We cannot kill an animal if we are not going to use it for meat. In addition, even with killing we cannot abuse the body of the dead enemy because we are obligated to respect his body even if is the body of an enemy. Generally, Muslims are taught not to fight unless they are being oppressed or abused because fighting “to oppose religious persecution is deemed essential for the progress and well-being of humanity at large” (Bashier 22).
In the end, Islam is a religion and a way of life. It talks about almost everything with great detail. So when it talks about the concept of war and the concept of peace, Islam provides reasons with examples and details. Islam prefers that humans live a peaceful life rather than living a turbulent life, and that is why in Islam we have a lot of regulations and limits: to point us on the right way and to guide us in the right direction. We have to understand that Islam the religion of peace talks about the concept of war to fully explain why it is the religion of peace. Muslim has made the “peaceful coexistence of religions possible” (Hüsseyin 111).
- Abu‐Nimer, Mohammed, and S. Ayse Kadayifci‐Orellana. “Muslim peace‐building
actors in Africa and the Balkan context: challenges and needs.” Peace & Change 33.4 (2008): 549-581.
- Bashier, Zakaria. War and Peace in the Life of the Prophet Muhammad. Kube
Publishing Ltd, 2015.
- Hüsseyin, Inam. “Models of Religious Coexistence: A Muslim Perspective.” European
Judaism (2008): 105-112.