Misconception: Islam and The Quran promotes fighting, war and terrorism

Background: Some think that Islam, Muslims and The Quran promote fighting, killing, war and terrorism, especially for reasons of differing faith or in order to establish Muslim rule.

The idea of fighting people only because of a difference in faith does not exist in The Quran. In fact, it warns about accusing other people of being misguided in order to seek worldly gains:

O you who believe, if you go forth in the cause of God, you shall investigate carefully. And do not say to those who greet you with peace: “You are not a believer!” You are seeking the vanity of this world; but with God are many riches. That is how you were before, but God favoured you, so investigate carefully. God is expert over what you do. [4:94]

O you who acknowledge, let not a people ridicule other people, for they may be better than them. Nor shall any women ridicule other women, for they may be better than them. Nor shall you mock one another, or call each other names. Evil indeed is the reversion to wickedness after attaining acknowledgement. Anyone who does not repent, then these are the transgressors. [49:11]

The Quran clearly states fight those who fight you, not non-combatants or civilians:

Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not aggressors. [2:190]

Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just. [60:8]

O believers! Stand out firmly for God, as witnesses for the sake of justice, and let not the hatred of a people cause you to turn away from justice. Do justice, for that is akin to piety... [5:8]

All examples of fighting in The Quran are related to self-defence of oneself or in defence of others who are clearly oppressed, never as aggressors, for example

Except for those who reach a people between whom you have a covenant, or if they come to you with a reluctance in their chests to fight you or to fight their own people. Had God willed He would have given them strength and they would have fought you. But if they retire from you, and did not fight you, and they offer you peace; then God does not make for you a way against them. [4:90]

And why should you not fight in the cause of God and the weak and oppressed among men, women and children who say, "Our Lord rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors. And give us from You, a protector. And give us from You, a helper" [4:75]

Retaliate with equivalence:

And if you take your turn, then retaliate with the like of that with which you were afflicted; but if you are patient, it will certainly be best for those who are patient. [16:126]

The sanctity of life:

For this reason did We prescribe to the children of Israel that whoever kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for corruption in the land, it is as though he killed all men; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men; and certainly Our messengers came to them with clear arguments... [5:32]

If we take the above verse into account with The Quran's very strong condemnation of oppression below, it is surely a poignant message to reflect upon:

...oppression is worse than murder... [2:191, 2:217]

Even during open war, believers are ordered to be compassionate and offer protection if requested:

And if anyone from the polytheists seeks your protection, then you may protect him so that he may hear the word of The God, then deliver him to his safety/security. This is because they are a people who do not know. [9:6]

Emphasis on opting for forgiveness, peace and that which is good/righteous:

But if the enemy incline towards peace, then you also incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that hears and knows (all things). [8:61]

And those who, when gross injustice befalls them, they seek justice. The recompense for a crime shall be its equivalence, but whoever forgives and makes right, then his reward is upon God. He does not like the wrongdoers. And for any who demand action after being wronged, those are not committing any error. The error is upon those who oppress the people, and they aggress in the land without cause. For these will be a painful retribution. And for he who is patient and forgives, then that is an indication of strength. [42:39-43]

God guides with it (The Quran) whoever follows His acceptance, to the ways of peace; and He brings them out of the darkness and into the light by His leave; and He guides them to a Straight Path. [5:16]

The true servants of the Beneficent are those who walk upon the earth humbly, and when the ignorant ones address them, they say, "Peace!" [25:63]

Not equal are the good and the bad response. You shall resort to the one which is better. Thus, the one who used to be your enemy may become your best friend. [41:34]

To these We grant twice the reward for that they have been patient. And they counter evil with good, and from Our provisions to them, they give. [28:54]

To each is a direction that he will take, so you shall race towards good deeds. Wherever you may be, God will bring you all together. God is capable of all things. [2:148]

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