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Islam, the Religion of Violence or the Religion of Love?
Question:

Christians claim that Christianity is a "religion of love". Their reaction to violence is kindness. For example, one of the common phrases amongst them is," ... to him who gives you a blow on the right side of your face let the left be turned."(1)  Another phrase in this regard is, "If someone kills your child, do not take revenge because God has sacrificed His own son for human guidance." How is Islam in comparison with Christianity?


Answer:

"Love" and "striving for truth" are two key elements in the religion of Islam. This fact can be easily inferred by taking a quick glance at the life of the Messenger of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was faced with many hardships and calamities put forth by the disbelievers; yet, he remained kind and forgiving towards them. Even after establishing a Muslim state over the disbelievers, he forgave them all. In difficult conditions he remained keen on guiding them with his kind and tender manner. Regarding this attitude of the Prophet towards the people and his sympathy for them, Allah (SWT) describes him as the "Mercy for all mankind". (2)  Furthermore, Allah (SWT) states that the difficulties people face, are extremely hard upon the Prophet (PBUH&HP). (3) (Other examples of the love and compassion shown toward the people can be seen in the lives of other Infallibles (PBUT), however in order to prevent elongating this answer, we recommend that you refer to the "Occasion Letters" section of the website in order to read more about this subject.)

Islamic teachings have identified two scenarios in how Muslims should deal when faced with oppression. One case is that the oppressor confesses and regrets confiscating one's right. In this case, Islam teaches us that although the oppressed person has the right to avenge his right; it is however highly recommended that the oppressed forgives the oppressor, for if he does such Allah (SWT) will forgive his own sins. In this respect, our Lord teaches us: "And the recompense of evil is punishment like it, but whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah; surely He does not love the unjust." (4) And in another verse, Muslims are taught to: "Repel evil by what is best (respond evil by fine actions) …" (5) It should be noted that this behavior of the Muslims should be in such a way that it does not encourage the oppressor to continue his oppression.      

In the second case however, forgiving the criminal will only cause him to continue and repeat his crimes. Or by taking advantage of this forgiveness, he will continue oppressing and hurting the community. For this case, Muslims are taught to stand firm against the oppression.  Even these cases may lead in battle and Jihad in the way of Allah (SWT). It is stated in the Holy Quran that:" … whoever then acts aggressively against you, attack him in same manner as he attacked you…" (6).

Thus, it could be concluded that Islam is the religion of kindness and graciousness, but it also pays attention to the rights of people and the society. It strongly believes in protecting the public and the human rights.


 
1- Bible, Matthew 5:39
 
2- ''And we haven't sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.'' (The holy Quran, 21:107)
 
3- ''Certainly a messenger has come to you from among yourselves; grievous to him is your sufferings, excessively solicitous guiding you; to the believers (he is) gracious and compassionate.'' (The Holy Quran, 9:128)
 
4- The Holy Quran, 42:40
 
5- ''Repel evil by what is best; …'' (The Holy Quran, 23:96)
 
6- ''The Sacred month for the sacred month! (If the enemies did not respect it and entered in war with you, you also have the right to repel.) And all sacred things are (under the law of) retaliation; whoever then acts aggressively against you, attack him in same manner as he attacked you and be careful (of your duty) to Allah and know that Allah is with the pious people.'' (The Holy Quran, 2:194)