“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” Quran 5:32
Ever since 9/11, we all have seen these statements: “Islamic terrorists”, “Muslim fundamentalists”, “Extremists”, “Radicals”! 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 beautiful faith, which calls humanity to God, acknowledges the Jews and Christians as ‘people of the book’ and calls for the peaceful coexistence among other people practicing other faiths. The prevalence of media bias and ignorance regarding Islam can be countered by understanding Islam through its original source, being the Quran and the Hadiths. Through the proper understanding of these teachings, one will discover Islam to be completely against any form of extremism.
- So what does the Quran say about violence, extremism and how it can be misunderstood?
When reading through the Quran, one must understand the context in which the wording applies. The following verse of the Quran is the most favorite when cited by those who are ignorant of Islam, Quran and the hadiths of Muhammad.
“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.
The question one must ask is “kill who”, and “why” and “what is the reason for killing these people”. It is important to note that this verse was revealed at a time when the Muslims had been expelled from their homes on account of their faith. They endured more than 10 years of persecution and eventually had to flee to a safe land. The above verse was referring to the Arab pagans of Mecca during Muhammad’s time, who oppressed the Muslims and planned to attack them where the Muslims sought refuge. Hence the verse can only be applied in such circumstances, during that time period.
It is very important to note that AFTER this verse, we are given in this verse: “and if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful” Quran 2:192
As it is evident, if the pagans were to stop, so must the Muslim relent and not harm the person surrendering.
This example demonstrates that verses in the Quran should be understood in their proper context since verses were revealed in stages in relation to particular situations, over a period of 23 years. In the same manner, people must handle the bible in the same manner. The bible as well was written in a specific time, and certain verses were revealed for that specific time, that specific context and particular situations.
“And if they incline to peace, then incline to it and trust in God; surely He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower” Qur’an 8:61
“And let not the hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is closer to righteousness” Quran 5:8