Peace in Islam

Peaceful Beginning

When the Qur'an began to be revealed, the first word of the first verse was iqra, 'read.' (96:1) When we reflect on this verse, we find the starting point of Islamic action. It is to start from where there is no fear of violent reaction, from the point where it is possible to continue one's movement along peaceful lines.

The Challenge of Fundamentalism

With reference to the Muslims of the present day, the news most highlighted in the media relates to Muslim fundamentalism. Experience has shown that there is nothing more destructive than fanaticism—the driving force of Muslim fundamentalism. However, it is not generally appreciated that Islamic fundamentalism, launched in the name of Islam, has been dealing a death blow to the image of Islam as a religion of peace and mercy. For it is this Muslim fundamentalism which, today, has converted the image of Islam into one tarnished by violence.

The Power of Peace in Islam

The very word ‘Islam’ (from the Arabic silm) connotes peace. According to a tradition of the Prophet, ‘Peace is Islam’ (Al-Bukhari). This means that peace is one of the prerequisites of Islam. Similarly, a Hadith states: A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands people are safe.

Islam and Politics

In making an assessment of Islam in relation to politics, one crucial point must be taken into consideration, which is that, politics is only a relative and not the real part of Islam. This difference between a real and a relative feature is that what is essential is relevant in all circumstances and at all times, whereas the relative is required only in relation to particular sets of circumstances. Wherever such circumstances do not exist, relative features lose their relevance and therefore their desirability.