Terrorism has surfaced as the biggest menace of the current times, particularly in past few decades. Unfortunately and unjustly, Islam and Muslims are deemed by most of the world population to be the root causes of this upsurge of terrorism all across the world.
There is no doubt that this is far from accurate. However, a considerable majority of the world's population still blames Islam and Muslims. This is mostly because of the “bad press” deliberately being created against Muslim by the big guns of world media.
The best way to authenticate or reject this claim for a common person is to see what the actual teachings of Islam are. Is it really a religion that promotes violence and terrorism, or is the reality totally opposite to this misconception? One convenient way of observing and analyzing all this is to learn what the Holy Qur'an, the religious Scripture of Muslims, has to say about this.
In Arabic, the word Islam derives from the root word 'salama' which means to be at peace, to agree to something or to have security. A Muslim is a person who surrenders, submits and obeys the laws of God. In a Muslim kingdom, citizens are allowed to enjoy both private and public rights. Among the private rights, the most important is the right to safety which according to Islamic law is guaranteed to all inhabitants irrespective of race and religion. Islam has never been a religion of oppression or excessiveness. The Holy Qur'an states, "There is no compulsion in religion.” The Holy Qur'an has given severe warnings to those who through violence and disorder, put life and property of people in jeopardy.
The Holy Qur'an says, "O you who have faith, when you go forth in the way of God investigate matters, and do not say to him who offers you peace, 'You are not a man of faith.' You desire the ephemeral life of this world, yet with God are many bounties. Thus were you before, but now God has bestowed His favor upon you. Investigate, therefore, for God is well aware of what you do."
During the Battle of Uhud, the Prophet Muhammad's (may God bless him and his family and grant them peace) tooth was broken, his lower lip was ruptured, and he had a bleeding wound on his forehead. He was constantly drying up the blood to keep it from falling upon the ground, saying, "If any of this blood falls on the ground, Divine Punishment would descend upon them (the Quraysh)." The situation weighed on the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and his family and grant them peace), and they implored, "Why do you not pray against them?" He replied, "I have not been sent to damn people. I have been sent as a caller and a mercy. O God! Forgive my people for they know no better."
The life of the practitioners of other religions in the Muslim society was also given protective status. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him!) said:
“Whoever kills a person who has a truce with the Muslims will never smell the fragrance of Paradise.” (Saheeh Muslim)
The Prophet Muhammad is not only the trademark of peace for Muslims but the eminent Non-Muslim personalities across the globe regardless of cultural, geographical and political differences have rated the Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and his family and grant them peace) most highly and given due recognition to his greatness.
George B. Shaw, in 1936 wrote in his book The Genuine Islam that
"I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make it appeal to every age. I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the savior of humanity."
Even the leader of most judgmental nation Mr. Mahatma Gandhi couldn’t stop him to confess his sentiments and published his statement in ‘Young India’ in 1924 that
"I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle."
The enemies of Islam will always say that Islam was spread by the sword, but they will have to accept that Islam is the world's fastest growing religion with a total of approximately 1.4 billion adherents. It would be fitting to end the subject of the peaceful religion of Islam with a quotation from a Christian historian, "A primary reason for the rapid progress in Muslim education is that the Caliphs of Islam greatly valued the scholars of all faiths and all people and always enriched them with awards of gifts and bounties. They had no concern with their religion or their nationality or their caste or creed. Amongst them were Christians, Jews, Sabians, magicians, soothsayers and in fact people from every group, every culture and every religion. The Caliphs dealt with them with extreme reverence, respect and esteem. The non-Muslims had the same rights and freedoms that the Muslim leaders and governors enjoyed." So it should be questioned, "What sword is making Islam the world's fastest growing religion?" The answer is, "The sword indeed", it is the sword of intellect, the sword of love, the sword of brotherhood and of course the sword of PEACE.