At present the general notion or the opinion of people about Islam is that of a religion that preaches aggression, terrorism, hatred among people detests any kind of worldly learning and progression. Thus, for the rest of the world, the followers of Islam are no more than savages who follow a religion that does not bring any good to the society. This notion is wrong and based on false pretence.
The true preaching of Islam is nothing what the world at present perceives them to be or how the general notion goes about it. Islam is a religion of peace, that promotes equality among its followers and encourages them to establish the system of justice where all get access to justice and no injustice breeds in the society. The lines below discuss the message of peace, justice and equality preached by Islam.
There can be no greater argument supporting Islam as a religion of peace than the name of the religion itself. ‘Islam’ literally means peace, therefore, it seems quite unnatural that a religion that names itself peace can teach or preach something that is violent or full of aggression. Allah Almighty in Quran has encouraged establishment of peace and has told the followers of Islam to be moderate in their behavior and adopt the qualities of kindness, love and respect for others.
The biggest allegation against Islam is that it resorts to aggression because it wants to spread itself. This notion is wrong as in Islam there is no such compulsion when it comes to religion. As Allah Almighty says in Quran:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” (2:256)
From the ayah it is clear that there is no compulsion in Islam when it comes to matters of religion, therefore, considering Islam as a violent religion because it wants to force others towards Islam is wrong. All Islam wants is peace for its followers and all the other dwellers of the world.
At another place in Quran, Allah Almighty says:
“ (O Prophet) ‘We have not sent you except to be a mercy to all mankind:” Declare, “Verily, what is revealed to me is this, your God is the only One God, so is it not up to you to bow down to Him? ‘But if they turn away then say, “I have delivered the Truth in a manner clear to one and all, and I know not whether the promised hour (of Judgment) is near or far.” (21:107-109)
These ayahs clearly state that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent as nothing but mercy to all the mankind and His instructions regarding preaching was just to tell people about the truth and not compel them. Therefore, if the bringer of a religion is nothing but mercy and in His brought Truth there is no compulsion then the notion that Islam promotes violence seems absurd. Thus, Islam in its true preaching is nothing but peace.
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A society cannot survive without justice. It is the establishment of justice that enables harmony and peace in the society where all the members know their rights and keep care of the rights of others as well. If the element of justice is removed from a society the consequent result is anarchy and tyranny. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in one of His hadiths:
“O My slaves, I have forbidden injustice for Myself and forbade it also for you. So avoid being unjust to one another.” (Muslim)
From the hadith it is clear that injustice is forbidden in Islam and a Muslim cannot be unjust to the other, whether the other is a Muslim or non-Muslim. Islam encourages its followers to strictly observe justice in society and when it comes to standing for justice a Muslim is to stand strongly with justice and oppose any kind of injustice. In Quran, Allah Almighty says:
“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor….” (4:135)
This hadith clearly resonates with the ideals of justice where justice is without any bias and nepotism. Therefore, if a religion promotes such kind of justice ideals, then the notion that Islam is a religion that does not care about justice is plainly wrong, the fact of the matter is quite contrary.
Another preaching of Islam is equality among its followers. When there exist a schism between the members of the society, then despite all the efforts the society cannot produce unity among its members, which eventually results in the society falling apart. Therefore, Islam preaches equality among its followers without any discrimination of wealth, color, race or culture. As Allah Almighty says in Quran:
“O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes for you to know one another. Truly, the noblest of you with God is the most pious. Truly, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (49:13)
This ayah of Quran tells of two things. The first thing that it tells about is the origin of people. All the human beings come from a single mother and a father, therefore, boasting about one’s lineage is as lame as it can get. Moreover, the reason why people of the world are in the form of different tribes and sections is just to help them reach out to each other and know one another as of the same origins. Secondly, this ayah also tells of the single element that caused differentiation among people. That element is piety and righteousness. In the eyes of Allah all are equal, except for when it comes to piousness and righteousness. Those who have these two qualities have a better standing in the court of Allah, other than that they are all the same. Therefore, thinking that Islam has something to do with racial, cultural or social discrimination is a false pretence.
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In a nutshell, the possible reason that one can come up with pertaining to the presently tarnished image of Islam is perhaps the negligence of Muslims when it comes to developing an understanding of Islam. It is due to lack of understanding that Muslims have forgotten the true preaching of the religion and have succumbed to the false interpretations.