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Khutba # 31

Islam’s Attitude towards Violence


Let us all practice Taq’wa (piety and righteousness), and be in reverence to Allah and obey His divine commands.  Let us be heedful of our choices in this life and their likely consequences in the hereafter.  Be aware of our final destination, our eventuality and departure into the everlasting life. 


We ask Allah to protect us from evilness and falsehood and help us lay a foundation with moral values according to the rules of our Lord.  We know all God’s Messengers have gone through much hardship in their quest to elevate humanity to a higher standard of morality.


The Holy Quran says in Surah 5 (al-Maa’ida), Ayah 3:


الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا

“…Today have I perfected your religion for you,

and have completed my favor unto you, and have chosen for you Islam [as your] Religion  …”

For centuries mankind has confronted problems, which have challenged some tenets of religion.  These problems have in some cases destroyed much of the civilization created by religion.


Numerous Muslims, especially the young, journey to the West in quest of modern education.  Many others confront the challenge of the modern world within the geographic confines of the Islamic world itself.  Many are alienated from Islam, while others react mostly with emotional outbursts and occasional violence.


They asks questions, and legitimately so.  We want to know what is our responsibility? What can we do? Or what must we do?

Islam is a religion based on surrender or giving in (Tasleem) to the Will of God.  Islam gains peace (salaam) by virtue of the surrender or (Tasleem) itself.  Islam is no more than living according to the Will of Allah (God) in order to gain peace in this world and felicity in the world to come (the hereafter).


Islam does not regard religion as part of life; it regards it as the whole of it.  In fact, Al-Islam or Al-Din as Islam sees itself, is life itself and it incorporates all what we do, what we make, what we think and what we feel, and it addresses the question of where we come from and where we are going as well. 


From another point of view, Islam is the final religion.  Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the seal of Prophets (Khatam Al-Anbiya). The fourteen centuries after the Prophet have proven the validity of Islam’s claim: that Islam is the final heavenly religion.  Since the death of the Prophet (pbuh), no heavenly religion, of the caliber of Judaism, Christianity, and the like has appeared.


By expressing the doctrine of unity (Tawhid) in the most complete, total, and perfect manner, and by applying the doctrine of unity to all facets of human life, Islam is, in a real sense, the very perfection of the Message of Unity.  That is why in the last verse of the Quran it says in Surah 5 (al-Maa’ida), Ayah 3:


الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا

“…Today have I perfected your religion for you,

and have completed my favor unto you, and have chosen for you Islam [as your] Religion  …”

The Tawhid (Unity) concept in Islam is extremely important; it is important to understand the modern world from the Islamic point of view.  We must gain a deep enough knowledge of the modern world to be able to perceive Islam not only in the light of the challenges of the world, but also to succeed in providing the necessary Islamic response to the problems posed by current ideologies.


What is needed, therefore, is first the reassertion of the eternal truths of Islam.  This is as revealed in the Holy Quran and explained in the Hadith and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and commented upon by centuries of Muslim scholars and thinkers. We have a Hadith from the Prophet (pbuh) that says:[1]


     اذا التبست علیکم الفتن کقطع اللیل المظلم فعلیکم بالقران

“When confronted with confusing [malicious] tribulations, refer to the Quran for an answer”



Such a presentation requires a contemporary language which can be understood by the great majority of Muslims who have not experienced the traditional education and are therefore, not familiar with the intellectual language of the classical Islamic texts.


Moreover, the guide for the Muslim to the modern world must be based on a thorough and in depth knowledge of the Western religions, the intellectual tradition, and the modern West.


We quote Imam Al-Saadiq saying:[2]


 العالم بزمانه لا تهجم علیه اللوابس

“One who is aware of the [social problems of his] times is less likely to be burdened by doubts or commit errors”.



Both Islam and the West must be understood in their cores.  In the past the West has produced many orientalists who have studied Islam from their own point of view.


The most important step, which must be taken in Islamic studies, is to study this field within the framework of religion.  Unfortunately in most institutions of learning in the West, Islam is studied as history, language, culture, a political system and the like, but not as a religion.

The heart of Islamic studies must be moved from all these disciplines and placed in religion departments.  In this situation the religious significance of all things Islamic can be brought outside the Islamic world.


Islam has many rich teachings in the process of life.  Muslims in the west need to have centers and organizations dedicated to delivering the Islamic perspectives on issue of concern to mankind. Such Islamic perspectives as “Justice and Grace”, “Security and Stability”, “Excellence and Prosperity”, “Guidance and Development”, “Knowledge and Piety”, “Freedom and Peace”, “Compassion and Faith” are but important examples needing research, and write-ups.

In identifying these aims and objectives, we must draw from the best guide and leader, namely the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his family Ahlul Bayt.  This should be without any preferences to any specific group or sect.


We ask Allah to help us in this sacred goal and grant us salvation in this world and in the hereafter.


For the end of the 1st part of the Khutba, read Surah Al-Asr, take a short intermission, then start the 2nd part of the Khutba with a short Du'aa.


Let us deal with the subject of violence in the second part of the Khutba.  Violence is a phenomenon that has spread among societies in general, on a wide scale, and has afflicted humanity since its inception.


The Prophets came to replace violence with human brotherhood, peace, justice, freedom, humanity and to pay attention to human rights.  The Prophets also came to save mankind from the darkness of ignorance, by instilling belief in people’s hearts, through their heavenly teachings.  The Holy Quran says in Surah 7 (al-A’raaf), Ayah 157:


وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالأَغْلاَلَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ

“... [Muhammad] will lift from them their burdens and the shackles upon them…”

This is said because religion has a great impact on the conduct of man, his way of thinking, and on his heart.  This impact manifests itself in the religious daily life.


Islam, as other religions, rejects all forms of violence, it rejects oppression and tyranny, and it rejects cruelty and injustice, among other things.  The Islamic faith built its call on peace and peace making.  Islam is based upon surrender (Tasleem) to the will of Allah.  The Arabic word for peace is Salam, and the word Islam is derived from the same root.  Islam also means gaining peace (salaam), and submission (silm).


Allah says in Surah 2 (al-Baqarah), Ayah 208


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ادْخُلُواْ فِي السِّلْمِ كَآفَّةً وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ

“O you who believe: Enter you one and all into submission wholly and do not follow the footsteps of Satan; surely he is to you an open enemy”.

This verse, together with the one that follows it, guides us toward the way to preserve religious unity in human society.  For obtaining this goal we must enter into total submission and limit ourselves to the word spoken by Allah.

    There is a strong relation between Unity (Tawhid) and Peace (Salam).  Peace is one of God’s names. The concluding words of the daily prayers of every Muslim are words of Peace.

    The greeting of the Muslims when they return to God is peace.

    The daily salutations among the Muslims are expressions of peace.

    The adjective Muslim means, in a sense, (peaceful) and

    Heaven in Islam is the abode of peace.


It is well known about the Messenger of Allah and the honorable members of his household had fully implemented this principle.  They all stressed justice, peace, and integrity in their teachings and behavior.  For example, when Imam Ali (a.s.) dispatched Malik ibn al-Ashtar as his Waali (provincial governor) over Egypt, he wrote him a covenant, which clearly reflects the Imam’s attitude towards significant issues relevant to the way a Muslim Waali, treats his subjects even if they are non-Muslims, for the Imam (a.s.) said:[3]


 فانهم صنفان:  إمّا اخ لک فی الدین او نظیر لک فی الخلق 

“They [the subjects of the Waali] are of two kinds:

either a brother-in-faith, or an equal in creation”.



A difference in view, creed, race, color, religion, or trend must not cause harm or application of violence against others’ rights.  Allah, the great creator, granted mankind the freedom in their choice, making togetherness and agreement between them the language of communication, not the language of violence.


Islam, as a religion, a cosmic system, and a life program, takes a stand against violence, terrorism, aggression and oppression.  There is no difference between Muslim and non-Muslim, Arab and non-Arab, black and white. These are not acceptable in every era and every country or place. 


Finally, let us read Surah Al-Nasr with a short Du'aa to close the Khutba.


[1]  Usool Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 599.

[2] Usool Al-Kaafi, Vol. 1, Page 26 and 27.

[3] Nahjul Balaaghah, Letters of Imam Ali, #9 and 53.

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