Islam means peace. The word “Salam” means “Peace” is derived from the same Arabic three-letter root “S-L-M” as the word Islam.So the spirit of Islam is the spirit of peace. The first verse of the Qur’an breathes the spirit of peace. It reads:
“In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful”.
This verse is repeated in the Qur’an no less than 113 times. It shows the great importance Islam attaches to such values as Mercy and Compassion.
But people often answer back Muslims angrily or yell out at us when we say ISLAM is the religion of Peace.They say, “How can Islam be a religion of peace when it urges the believers to fight the disbelievers so on and so forth.”
Now, here is a problem with Non-Muslims in understanding the word Peace. If we look the word up in the Dictionary, the meaning it conveys is:
‘Freedom from civil disturbance, harmony in personal relations, public order and security, a state or period of mutual concord between governments and a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity’
Based on the above definitions of Peace,Islam is indeed a religion of peace, but it is not a pacifist religion,and people seem to mix the two together.Whenever a Muslim says Islam is a religion of peace, non-Muslims assume we’re saying that Islam is pacifist religion, No!! Certainly not. What we are saying is that Islam is not here to cause you trouble or to bring violence upon you. It only ensures peace,tranquillity,stability in social,national and international level.
But sometimes in order to maintain peace force has to be used . Each and every human being in this world is not in favour of maintaining peace and harmony. There are many, who would disrupt it for their own vested interests.Warfare is always evil, but sometimes you have to fight in order to avoid the kind of persecution or to preserve decent values. So,sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace. It is precisely for this reason that we have the Police and Military who use force against criminals and anti-social elements to maintain peace in the country and protect our nation against foreign attacks. Islam promotes peace. At the same time, Islam exhorts it followers to fight where there is oppression. The fight against oppression may, at times, require the use of force.In Islam force can only be used to promote peace and justice.
Islam is not addicted to war, and jihad is not one of its “pillars,” or essential practices. Islam does allow the Muslims to physically fight,in a self-defence situation,to help the oppressed who cry out for help,in retaliation to the breach and violation of solemnly concluded covenants, pacts and treaties, disciplinary actions against those Muslims who aggress and start hostilities without any just cause, and continue obstinately on the path of aggression, and to maintain social harmony and peace Islam uses force.
In fact it would be completely illogical and UN-PEACEFUL if Islam had taught the opposite, if Islam had said don’t fight back at all while you are oppressed,or don’t help the oppressed who cry out for help, or don’t fight who destroy peace ,then that would be the true definition of going against peace, because whether one likes it or not, when one allows oppression and murder to freely walk, it will only increase, and by you remaining silent and doing nothing about it, you become complicit in it because you did nothing to stop it when you could have. If someone were to come to your house, and rape your family, would you stop by and do nothing about it? Of course not, so why any different when it comes to a person who is oppressing and killing you off your own land? There is no difference between the two, pacifists have no moral high ground, they simply have a very illogical ideology which itself is cruel, unjust, and against peace. If we lived in a pacifist world then that would mean all the Jews of Germany would be murdered by Hitler, and all the Bosnian Muslims would have been murdered by the Serbs, and on it goes.True mercy and justice is when you are allowed to fight back against tyranny and oppression, that is the definition of justice, to fight against evil and to completely crush it out and replace it with good and something better. This is what physical Jihad is for, to fight against tyranny and oppression and Islam being the religion of peace teaches so.The Divine religion of Islam is a religion of peace, mercy, tolerance, kindness and benevolence. It stands upright against all brutality, wanton violence, and viciousness in order to promote and protect justice and peace.
Few commandments which shows Islam indeed is a peaceful religion are:
It forbids mischief,immorality,bad conduct and oppression on earth [Quran 28:77 & 16:90],
It forbids Muslims to force people to accept Islam [Quran 2:256],
It forbids us to begin hostilities [Quran 2:190] and cease the hostilities the moment enemy sues for peace [Quran 2:192-193],
It commands Muslims to stand for Justice and be just & fair. [Quran 4:58; 4:135; 5:8 ],
It says that the blood of the peaceful individual (one who is living under Muslim rule or who has been granted the protection of the Muslim state) is regarded as sacrosanct to such an extent that transgression against a single individual with no justification is regarded as equal to transgression against all of humanity.[Quran 5:32],
It also forbids us to fight those who don’t fight us on account of our faith nor turn us out from our homes and lands, instead it urges us to behave kindly with them [Quran 60:8-9]
And the list goes on.
Thus Islam is a religion of peace in the complete sense of the word. Every teaching of Islam is based on the principles of peace and justice. Any deviation from the model is a deviation from Islam and is due to misconceptions. We should, therefore, understand the ideology of peace given in Islam and base our actions upon this ideology so that peace will prevail in the world.