Islam, Warlike or Peaceful?
June 2004 version

The Ayatollah Khomeini taught, "Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for Holy Warriors! These are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim." quoted from Ibn Warraq Why I am Not A Muslim Prometheus Books 1995 p.11-12. (p.381) Amir Taheri. Holy Terror. London, 1987. p.226-227.

Now one has to admit it would be easy for non-Muslims to jump to the conclusion that Islam exists mainly because of the sword, and is warlike. Yet many Muslims say that is not true Islam; true Islam is a religion of peace. How can someone objectively learn which of the two views is correct? One must recognize there are different Muslim voices claiming to speak for Islam, so let's rephrase the question: how can someone objectively learn which view Mohammed and the earliest Muslims would say is the original, genuine Islam?

One way to find an answer is to ask Muslims what they think, and ask them for an explanation of these teachings of Mohammed.

Ask a Muslim

Sura 9:29 in the Qur'an says, "Fight those who believe not... even if they be People of the book [Christians and Jews] until they have willingly agreed to pay the Jizya tribute in recognition of their submissive state."

Now one Muslim explained that verses like this in the Qur'an have been "abrogated" and are no longer to be obeyed today. However, the conservative Muslims appear to never have gotten the message that they were abrogated. My question then is: when were they abrogated, by whom, and what evidence can they show the conservative Muslims that they are not supposed to be warlike today.

Offensive, not just Defensive: Bukhari Hadith vol.4:196 p.124 "Narrated abu Huraira : Allah's Apostle said, 'I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' and whoever says, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' his life and property will be saved by me except for Islamic laws and his accounts will be with Allah, (either to punish him or to forgive him.)'"

Attacks on unsuspecting, peaceful people: "Ibn 'Aun reported : I wrote to Nafi' inquiring from him whether it was necessary to extend (to the disbelievers) an invitation to accept (Islam) before engaging them in fight. He wrote (in reply) to me that it was necessary in the early days of Islam. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) made a raid upon Banu Mustaliq while they were unaware and their cattle were having a drink at the water. He killed those who fought and imprisoned others." Sahih Muslim vol.3:4292.

To understand some of the context of this, here is the hadith after that: "Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from then and desist from fighting against them. Then invite them to migrate from their lands to the land of Muhajirs and inform them that, if they do so, they shall have all the privileges and obligations of the Muhajirs. If they refuse to migrate, tell them that they will have the status of Bedouin Muslims and will be subjected to the Commands of Allah like other Muslims, but they will not get any share from the spoils of war or Fai' [(property abandoned by fleeing non-Muslims] except when they actually fight with the Muslims (against the disbelievers.) If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from the Jizya [tax]. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them." Sahih Muslim vol.3:4294

In Mohammed's lifetime the Muslims made a surprise attack on an unsuspecting Christian king [chieftain] of Dumah and killed him. al-Tabari vol.9 p.58-59

"By Him in Whose Hands my soul is but for Jihad (i.e. holy battles), Hajj, and my duty to serve my mother, I would have loved to die as a slave." (Abu Huraira is speaking in Bukhari vol.3:724 p.435.) ["Holy battles" is in the text of the English translation by Muslims.]

Sheer Volume: Around 926 hadiths in the Bukhari Hadiths and 181 hadiths in Sahih Muslim (that is over 710 pages in English and Arabic) leave no doubt that Jihad is fighting for Allah. The 69 pages in Sahih Muslim mention just military fighting and collecting booty (both captured after battle and abandoned)

Violent: Sura 9:14 says, "Kill them, and Allah will torment them by your hands. He will humiliate them and give you victory over them..." The 29th saying in the An-Nawawi hadith also says that the peak of Islam's prominence is Holy War.

Ka'b bin Ashraf the Jew was deceptively assassinated in Sahih Muslim vol.3:4436 (p.990-991) Bukhari vol.3:687 p.415; Bukhari vol.4:271 p.168. Abu Dawud vol.2:2762 p.775

Abdullah bin 'Atik and some other Muslims were sent to assassinate Abu Rafi the Jew. He was attacked in the dark while he was sleeping. Bukhari vol.5:371 (p.251-252) An assassin broke his leg escaping, but Mohammed miraculously healed it.

Is Jihad Just Striving After Righteousness?

Fighting is jihad. Abu Dawud vol.2:2503-2504 p.693

Fight out of anger for Allah and his Apostle. Abu Dawud vol.2:2531 p.705

Horses are more useful for Jihad than mules. Abu Dawud vol.2 footnote 1921 p.711

Western Muslim have been told, and have told others, that Jihad is striving after righteousness, nothing more. While Jihad does mean that to the Ahmadiyya and other groups, the previous quotes show that a person claiming Jihad does not include warlike action is either uninformed or else deliberately not true to the teaching of Mohammed.

Submit to the Religion of Peace

If you want to follow the religion of peace, great, but be sincere. Muslims and Christians agree that Jesus never said to attack anyone or kill anyone. While Romans shows that the state has the right to bear the sword against evildoers, in the New Testament we are not to kill anyone because they have a different religion.

The Crusades (Christian Jihads) of centuries past were not based on the teaching of Jesus; rather they were an evil thing Europeans learned from Muslim armies. All Jihads are wrong, whether they are Christian or Muslim. We should try to be at peace with all men, but we more importantly have peace with God.

How to Have Peace With God

God's Word, the Bible, shows that God is Holy and punishes sin. He is loving, but not at the expense of His justice and holiness.

We are born "at war" with God. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, we all have a sinful nature. We have a desire to live selfish lives, to seek riches, pleasure, and fame more than God. Not only can pictures and stones be idols, but materialism, lusts, and the opinion of others can be an idol standing between us and God. Perhaps one of the more common idols today is religion. Not only strange unusual religions, but any religion that a person would rather follow, even if it was not from God. God will never compromise and let these sins into His perfect Heaven.

God is not loving at the expense of His justice and holiness, but love triumphs over judgment. When all of man's options to reach a holy God fell short, God reach down to us. In a miracle only an all-powerful God could do, God came down to earth as a man, Jesus Christ, and paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross. Not only did God provide forgiveness for all who accept this wonderful gift, but God will purify all of His own so that they can enter Heaven. A just God could not be capricious and just wink at sin, but God satisfied the demands of justice by Jesus, the sinless one, taking the punishment for us.

You need to respectfully talk with God, and ask Him to show you the truth. You need to ask Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior. We would love to talk with you about this. God bless.

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