Terrorism is in our living rooms, today. We are watching Europe deal with fear. All the while we hear pundits and every-day people speak about peace in Islam: remind us that Islam is a religion of peace. It is. But the question we fail to ask is “What is the meaning of peace in Islam?”
Words have different meanings through time and in different countries. Fag and gay are two words whose meanings have changed over time and in different countries. Peace is another. In the West peace means a state or period of mutual concord between governments and a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity.”
In Islam peace has a different meaning. And it is important that we understand that meaning when we talk about peace with Muslim leaders, especially those who represent Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, al Qaeda.
Peace in Islam means submission to Allah. The ultimate meaning of Islamic peace is all of us living in Dar-al-Islam—the house of submission. This is not a “radical” interpretation. Modern-day Islamic scholar, Ibrahim Sulaiman, says submission and peace can be very different concepts, even if a form of peace is often brought about through forcing others into submission.
“Jihad is not inhumane, despite its necessary violence and bloodshed, its ultimate desire is peace which is protected and enhanced by the rule of law.”
Armed responses are only permitted when all peaceful possibilities have failed. And once armed resistance begins it doesn’t stop “until the war lays down its burden” as Allah has mentioned in the Qur’an 47.
These ideas are foreign to us in the West. But that does not make them any less true or binding on those who believe. To shrug them off as radical is to disrespect Islam. Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti, until his recent death, was the leading Islamic scholar in Syria, professor and a retired Dean at the College of Islamic Law at Damascus University and Bashar al-Assad, a prominent Sunni Muslim who supported Assad and teh Syrian regime. He is the author of Jurisprudence of the Prophetic Biography, regarded as one of the best Prophetic biographies written in the 20th century. He wrote:
“The theory that our religion is a peaceful and loving religion is a wrong theory. The Holy war as it is known in Islamic jurisprudence is basically an offensive war, and it is the duty of all Muslims of every age…because our prophet Muhammad said that he is ordered by Allah to fight all people until they say ‘No God but Allah,’ and he is his messenger. It is meaningless to talk about the holy war as only defensive, otherwise, what did the prophet mean when he said, “from now on even if they don’t invade you, you must invade them.”
The late Egyptian scholar, Sayyid Qutb, a prolific,well-respected author whose works are quoted in the Muslim world and influenced members of the Muslim Brotherhood has written
“The theory that our religion is a peaceful and loving religion is a wrong theory. The Holy war as it is known in Islamic jurisprudence is basically an offensive war, and it is the duty of all Muslims of every age…because our prophet Muhammad said that he is ordered by Allah to fight all people until they say ‘No God but Allah,’ and he is his messenger.”
He also wrote that western democracy is infertile of life-giving ideas, that obedience to Shari’ah is necessary to achieve harmony and peace for mankind. He preached “When Islam strives for peace, its objective is not that superficial peace which requires that only that part of the earth where the followers of Islam are residing remain secure. The peace which Islam desires is that the religion (i.e. the Law of the society) be purified for God, that the obedience of all people be for God alone.”
Qutb specifically claims the conquest of non-Muslim states as “a movement to wipe out tyranny and to introduce true freedom to mankind. A true Muslim not only has no loyalty to any country “where the Islamic Shari’ah is not enforced,” but must be prepared to fight against such countries.
Translations of his work exist in every Arabic language, including Farsi, the language spoken in Iran. Ayatullah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, who was appointed as Iran’s Supreme Leader after the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989, did the translations.
The leaders of Iran are followers of Qutb.
Anjem Choudary, the British Muslim cleric who has a very large following clearly defines the meaning of peace in Islam. “Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people’s desires.”
We are not being tolerant of others when we dismiss them as radical, we refuse to listen to them, to their understanding of the meaning of peace and submission. It isn’t a question of promoting one culture as better or worse than another. It is being realistic. Believe the meaning of the words that others say. When talking peace nothing could be more important.