Juan Cole, “The Idea of Peace in the Qur’an” (Kluge Center Blog)

Juan Cole | Library of Congress | John W. Kluge Center | – –

The past summer I had an appointment at the John W. Kluge Center that allowed for research in the Library of Congress collections, and have written most of a book about peace in the Qur’an or Koran, the Muslim scriptures. This short blog post distills a few pages of that study. – Juan

Posted August 19, 2016 by Jason Steinhauer

The following is a guest post by Dr. Juan Cole, 2016 Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South.

In contemporary debates on the roots of Muslim radicalism and the character of the religion, it is important to go back to the Muslim scripture or Qur’an (sometimes spelled Koran). Like the Bible, the Qur’an has verses about war as well as peace, but those on peace have been insufficiently appreciated.

The Qur’an is believed by Muslims to have been revealed to Muhammad ibn Abdullah, a merchant of Mecca on the west coast of Arabia, between 610 and 632 of the Common Era. Muhammad was one in a long series of human prophets and messengers from the one God, standing in a line that includes Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth. Each apostle of God, Muslims hold, has reaffirmed God’s oneness and the need to have faith and live a moral life. In each of these religions, adherence to the basics in the Ten Commandments given to Moses is necessary, including avoiding sins such as theft, adultery, and murder.

islam-is-peace

Perhaps because it arose during a great seventh-century war between the Byzantine and Iranian empires, peace (al-salam) was a profound concern for the Qur’an. An early chapter (97) of the Qur’an comments on the first revelation given to the prophet, in 610, while he was meditating at a cavern at Mt. Hira near Mecca. It speaks of a descent of angels and of the Holy Spirit on the night of power when the revelation was sent down, ending with the verse “And peace it is, until the breaking of the dawn.” This verse identifies the night of revelation, and therefore the revelation itself, with peace. Peace in Semitic languages like Hebrew and Arabic is not only conceived of as an absence of conflict, but as a positive conception, of well-being. The revelation and recitation of scripture, Chapter 97 is saying, brings inner peace to the believer.

The Qur’an says that Muhammad was sent as a warner to his people and to the world, that the Judgment Day is coming, when people will be resurrected from their graves and judged by God. The good, or the people of the right hand, will go to heaven, while the wicked will be consigned to the torments of hell. Heaven, a repository of human aspirations, is depicted by the Qur’an as suffused by peace. In 50:34, the Qur’an says that the virtuous admitted to paradise are greeted by the angels with the saying, “‘Enter in peace!’ That is the day of eternity.” The Qur’an admits that most of those who will be resurrected are “ancients,” not “moderns, i.e. that most of the inhabitants of heaven will be Jews, Christians and members of other religions. This multi-cultural Muslim paradise is described as lush and verdant, with water flowing and a cornucopia of delights provided. Qur’an 56:25-26 assures the believers, “Therein they will hear no abusive speech, nor any talk of sin, only the saying, “Peace, peace.”

In heaven, Qur’an 56:90-91 promises “And they are among the companions of the right hand, then they will be greeted, ‘Peace be to you,’ by the companions of the right hand.” And 36:54-56 says that after the Resurrection, “The dwellers in the garden on that day will delight in their affairs; they and their spouses will repose on couches in the shade. They will have fruit and whatever they call for. “Peace!” The word will reach them from a compassionate Lord.” Commentators have noted that this verse seems to demonstrate a progression, from delight and repose to the heavenly fruit and finally to the highest level of paradise, where God himself wishes peace and well-being on the saved.

This word comes from the Lord because, in the Qur’an’s view, it expresses his own essence. Qur’an 59:23 discloses that peace is one of the names of God himself: “He is God, other than whom there is no god, the King, the Holy, the Peace, the Defender, the Guardian, the Mighty, the Omnipotent, the Supreme.”

Read the whole thing

34 Responses

  1. Peace = Well being?
    The absence of war in heaven wouldn’t be a selling point, so this “peace” must indeed be different from our practical concept of peace.

    • The Hebrew word for peace is shalom, and includes not only absence of war, but having enough (enough food, enough money, enough stuff), being healthy and knowing that your family is healthy, being free from all earthly worries/concerns, and being confident in God’s good presence in your life. The article indicates that the Arabic word has substantially the same meaning as the Hebrew.

      • Indeed, shalom/salaam mean the same thing. The larger meaning is about God’s will that we live in harmony with him, with our neighbours and with ourselves. Essentially, this concept was expressed by Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) when he was asked which of the Jewish commandments (there were over 600) is the greatest. He said, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.” And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these and on these two depend all the Law (Torah) and the Prophets (nevi’im, prophetical scripture).

  2. From the perspective of a Sufi Muslim, there are two entities in every human being:

    a) The self, which is unique in every individual and is ever-changing in its states.

    b) The soul, which is called “ruh” in Arabic, is the Divine Spark from the Cosmic Consciousness — the Reality that encompasses and permeates all other realities. This entity is constant and same in every individual, and shines the Divine Light upon the self.

    The relationship between the self and the soul is that of the one between the moon and the sun, which shines its light upon the moon, and the more the moon is facing the sun, the more it will reflect the sun’s light.

    Eternal peace, and access to the Cosmic Consciousness (known as Allah in Arabic, but there are other names in other traditions), comes when the self yields, or submits to, the light of the soul.

    This yielding is what is called, the inner state of peace (“islam” in Arabic). The more the self turns to the light of the soul, the more it reflects its light.

    This universal phenomenon of inner peace due to the yielding of the self to the soul is a spiritual journey that is unique in every individual.

    As the Sufi saying goes: There are as many ways to the Truth as there are hearts.

    All outer religious paths are like the radii of the same circle. They differ on the circumference, which represents their outer forms, but merge at the center, where the Truth resides, as the inner essence.

    The more a person’s self yields to the soul, the closer they are to the center along the radius of the outer form the person has inherited or chosen for themselves.

    To us Sufi Muslims, the inner reality (essence) of every religion is the same (“islam” — eternal peace, which is the result of the self yielding to the soul — the word “islam” to us refers to an inner state, and is not a label to refer to a specific religion).

    The soul is also referred to as the higher consciousness.

    So, live like the higher consciousness regardless of the outer path you have chosen for yourself (religious or non religious), and there’ll be inner peace and joy.

    When more and more people are at peace with themselves and do not see otherness, their collective consciousness will result in collective peace.

    Sadly, those who are in position of power and control do not generally reflect the higher consciousness — they are full of selflessness, self-pride, anger, arrogance, attachments, lust for power and control, vengeance, hatred, and see otherness, etc.

    The results are seen in what’s currently happening in the world in regards to peace.

    The higher consciousness reflects qualities that are opposite: selflessness, love, truthfulness, peace, forgiveness, detachment, lack of lust for power and control, humility, seeing no otherness, generosity, empathy, etc.

    When a nice old lady living in a remote village in, say Peru, reflects the higher consciousness, the positive energy she’ll emit will be limited.

    If those who are managing world’s affairs reflected the higher consciousness (i.e., their individual selves yielded to the inner light of the souls to a good degree), the positive results in terms of peace would be much wider and deeper.

    Sadly, the political systems of the world generally produce those leaders who generally reflect the lower consciousness.

    Imagine if a politician was selfless, humble, lacked lust for power and control (and instead their motives were selfless service to others), were truthful, etc.!?

    Chances are, they won’t rise to the top.

    • Yikes, a typo.

      I stated: “Sadly, those who are in position of power and control do not generally reflect the higher consciousness — they are full of selflessness, self-pride, anger, arrogance, …”

      It should read: “Sadly, those who are in position of power and control do not generally reflect the higher consciousness — they are full of selfishness, self-pride, anger, arrogance, …”

    • India presents a good example of how the Sufism brought a revolution among the untouchables(outcastes in Hindusim) Millions of Harijans, Dalits (untouchables )came into the fold of Islam because of Sufism and such converts have now risen on the social ladder .

      Many earlier Dalits and now Muslims have become Imams (leaders ) of mosques and thousands pray behind them. Something impossible in Hinduism even today

      India, whose social structure was fossilized by the caste system, was ready to accept a universal concepts of Sufism

      In a predominantly Hindu society, the position of a person was determined at birth.

      The untouchables were denied the use of public wells and were condemned to drink any filthy water they could find.

      Their children were not admitted to schools attended by the caste Hindu children. Though they worshiped the gods of Hindus and observed the same festivals, the Hindu temples were closed to them.

      These untouchable Hindus were treated by the caste Hindus as sub-human, less then men, worse than beasts . . .”

      In this social matrix, the message of Sufism with its emphasis on the brotherhood of man and the transcendence of God found a ready reception.

      But the most important reason for the success of the Sufis lay in the spiritual bent of the Indian mind.

      During the Dark Ages in Europe it was the monk.

      In medieval Japan it was the Samurai.

      In the Muslim Middle East it was the traditionalist.

      In India, it was the sadhu and the rishi. Gautama Buddha personified this archetype; so did Shankara Acharya and Tulsi Das.

      These men of faith enjoyed and continue to enjoy an honor and respect that is the envy of kings and emperors.

      As Islam entered the subcontinent, it adapted its mode to fit the spiritual paradigm. The Sufi could intuitively and immediately relate to the Indian psyche in a manner that the learned doctors of law could not.

      Thus it was the great Sufis who not only succeeded in introducing millions of Indians to Islam based Sufism but also contributed to the evolution of a unique Hindustani language, culture, poetry and music which amalgamated the ancient inheritance of India with the vibrancy of Islam.

  3. “the Qur’an has verses about war as well as peace, but those on peace have been insufficiently appreciated.”

    Granted, that the verses in the Qur’an on peace have been insufficiently appreciated. But there are plenty of verses in the Qur’an whose meaning of “Jihad” is clearly war or armed conflict. and don’t forget that one of the primary tenets of Islam has always been that the world is divided between the “Dar al Islam” (House of Islam) and the “Dar al Harb” (House of War), i.e. between Islamic believers and infidels.

    In discussing the obligation of “Jihad” as Holy War, classical Muslim Jurists distinguish between offensive and defensive warfare. And for most of the fourteen centuries of Muslim recorded history, Jihad has been waged via armed conflict either to advance or defend Muslim power.

    In order to understand Islam, it is crucial to understand all aspects of the Qur’an, the Hadiths, and Shar’ia Law, including those on peace. But it would be a distortion to act as an apologist for Islam by omitting those aspects that clearly suggest the need for Jihad as war and armed conflict.

    • Bill, there is nothing in the Qur’an about Dar al-Harb and all the verses on warfare in it I can think of pertain to defensive war. Really, you want to argue with me about this?

      Hadith are very problematic; they were collected from oral tradition 200 years after the fact and reflect the feudal militaristic atmosphere of Abbasid Baghdad, which ruled much of the civilized world. We historians don’t view most of them as very likely to reflect the ideas of the Prophet Muhammad in early 7th century Mecca.

      • During the 10 years between Muhammad leaving Mecca and his death (in the year 632)the Muslims were engaged in desperate struggle for survival against his opponents in Medina and the Quraysh of Mecca all of whom were ready to exterminate the militarily and politically weaker Muslim community. Muhammad was not only a spiritual leader, he was the Head of a nation.

        Hence he had to engage in defensive war to save his nation. He never fought an aggressive war. Once he took 3000 of his followers to perform pilgrimage and his followers were camped at Hudaibiah 15 miles away from Mecca.

        The Meccans refused to let him visit the Temple and his followers were ready to fight it out but Muhammad negotiated a deal and withdrew agreeing to perform the pilgrimage a year later.

        In the West Muhammad had been presented as a warlord who forced Islam on reluctant world by force of arms. The reality was quite different. Muhammad was evolving a theology of the just war in the Quran with which most Christians would agree.

        He never forced anybody to convert to his religion. In the Quran war is held to be abhorrent, the only just war is war of self defence. Sometimes it is necessary to fight in order to preserve decent values, as christians believed it to fight against Hitler.

        Muhammad took over the city of Mecca without bloodshed. If any Muslim King/s had violated the Islamic principles, the blame is not on the Quran but on the wronged politicians

      • I understand that the Qur’an does not make a distinction between the “Dar al Islam” and the “Dar al Harb,” and I didn’t write that. I stated: “And don’t forget that one of the primary tenets of Islam has always been that the world is divided between the “Dar al Islam” (House of Islam) and the “Dar al Harb” (House of War), i.e. between Islamic believers and infidels.”

        • The division of the world into “houses” or regions was a latter-day invention promoted by Ibn Tamiyyah, among others. This geo-political division of the world is not founded on any specific teaching in the Qur’an or the ahadith. In some elaborations there is a house of justice (dar al-‘adl) and a house of entente (dar as-soulh) and others. The dar as-soulh was a region that was not at war with the Muslim state and was not considered to be an enemy. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made treaties with several non-Muslim countries, which were not invaded and their people were under no coercion to convert to Islam.

          There is a great danger in applying to Islam a dualistic or manichean construct that requires everything “good” to be Islamic and everything else to be evil and worthy of destruction. I call this the “cowboy conception” of Islam. Us vs Them. Totally good vs totally evil. Good guys vs bad guys. Black vs White. A universe in which there is no gray. The U.S. justice system is perfectly good; Shari’ah law is absolutely evil (although the two systems share many aspects).

        • “Dar al Islam” (House of Islam) and the “Dar al Harb” (House of War) are not “primary tenets” of the religion of Islam, which is based on the Quran.

          It’s the Quran that sets the framework for what is Islam.

          The primary tenets are seeing unity in diversity, connecting with the Real through spiritual practices and detaching from the un-real, and serving others without expecting anything in return.

          If some Muslims divided the world into these two abodes, they did so for the reasons of their own, and these superficial divisions are relics of the past.

          In today’s world, we need to live in the Dar al-Ehsan (Abode of Selfless Action).

      • One further thought on the subject, Professor Cole. While, as you state, the Hadith are very problematic for the reasons mentioned and historians don’t view most of them as reflecting the ideas of the Prophet Muhammad, they have had a major impact on, and have been incorporated into, Islamic thought and belief. With all due respect (and I hold the historian’s profession in the highest regard), Western historiography does not determine Islamic world view and belief.

        I do look forward to publication of your book on the subject.

        • Indeed!

          Hadith has had a major impact on Islamic thought and belief, and is one of the primary reasons for the Muslims at large to deviate from the original transformative Islam.

          It is the Quran that sets Islam’s parameters. So whatever is in the secondary sources must fit the Quranice patterns for them to be useful.

          Generally speaking, the Muslims have done a disservice to themselves and Islam by adopting those ahadith (plural of hadith) that do not fit the Quranice patterns, such as apostasy laws, stoning of adulterers, etc.

          But even the Quran needs to be interpreted in its own light as well as its historical context.

          When we start with the Quran and then go to other sources, examining them in light of the Quran, we come to conclusions on many issues that are different from the ones that one comes to if one were to go from the secondary sources and then to the Quran, interpreting the Quran in light of these secondary sources.

      • Dr. Cole,

        I share your views on Hadith. It would be a service to the students of Islam to have a book on Hadith by you.

        Many thanks,

      • Muslim hadeeth scholars have proof that hadeeth were not only passed on orally, but many were also written down and handed down to family members. Also, oral transmission doesn’t mean fabrication. The veracity of hadeeth has always be accepted by Muslim historians, jurists and scholars. PhD in Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan

        • If ahadith (plural of hadith) were as important as the Quran, they would’ve been preserved exactly the way the Quran has been preserved.

          That is not the case.

          Some reports suggest that the Muslims were forbidden from writing ahadith, and this prohibition was lifted by Umar bin Abdul Aziz (The Second Omar).

          Then there are ahadith that are in conflict with the Quran. For example, the ones on stoning.

          Frankly, the Muslim scholars need to carry out a collective investigation of all ahadith and examine them in light of the Quran, which is Islam’s primary and most authentic source.

          Realizing that the collections of ahadith have problems, some scholars are now making a distinction between the Sunun (plural of Sunnah — Prophetic model) and the written accounts (ahadith), suggesting that the Prophetic model (or models as there are many) that are relevant and fit the Quranice patterns have come down to us in the form of religious practices in unbroken chains as these Prophetic models could not have relied on the accounts that were collected and written down a a few generations later.

        • Hi, Dr. Antar. As you know, there have been many positions in Western academia (what I was talking about) on the hadith corpus, from Schacht to Juynboll.

          I am not from Near Eastern Studies but from History, and I don’t know of any historian who would be comfortable with a set of oral sources collected 200-300 years after the fact for which there are no early manuscripts. It would be like flying to Corsica today and asking people their family reminiscences of Napoleon.

          Historians weight sources by a set of criteria: Was the source by an an eyewitness? Was it written down soon after the event? Do we have the original document?

          A source by an eyewitness written down 30 years later is not as good as one written down immediately, e.g.

          Historians of the medieval world routinely do use later sources, which are thought to preserve earlier ones in some form, but they weight them less heavily than the earlier ones.

          As a result, an academic historian working on the Qur’an would typically admit of hadith, sira, etc. only if it accorded closely with the text of the Qur’an and was plausible in the context of the late antique world.

          We historians will just have to say to others, to you your methodology and to us, ours.

      • “Hadith are very problematic… We historians don’t view most of them as very likely to reflect the ideas of the Prophet Muhammad in early 7th century Mecca.”

        Hey Juan – where did you get the below from – I couldn’t find any reference to a revelation on Mt Hira in the Quran. I’m sure you’ve got some really reliable historical source to back it up…

        “An early chapter (97) of the Qur’an comments on the first revelation given to the prophet, in 610, while he was meditating at a cavern at Mt. Hira near Mecca.”

        • Dr. Cole did not provide a thorough analysis of Hadith. He made a general comment about them. And his point is valid.

          What he said was this:

          “Hadith are very problematic… We historians don’t view most of them as very likely to reflect the ideas of the Prophet Muhammad in early 7th century Mecca.”

          What he said and what you have stated: “An early chapter (97) of the Qur’an comments on the first revelation given to the prophet, in 610, while he was meditating at a cavern at Mt. Hira near Mecca.”

          do not conflict.

          What you present is information about the chapter 97 of the Quran.

          What he stated relate to the “ideas of the Prophet Muhammad in early 7th century Mecca.”

          It’s the ideas of him that constitute what is Islam and what a Muslim tries to figure out and adheres to.

          Dr. Cole is not rejecting all ahadith (plural of hadith) outright, throwing all of them unreliable.

          There is not much harm in accepting certain pieces out of the secondary sources that may not be 100% accurate as those things do not form the essentials of the religion of Islam.

          But look at how many ahadith on some key issues, like apostasy, jihad, stoning, etc., have caused serious issues since many Muslims rely on them to derive laws instead of relying on Islam’s most authentic and the primary source, the Quran!

        • The Qur’an prescribes lashes for adultery. Hadith prescribes stoning, which is an importation of Jewish law from the Talmud.

      • William and Juan Cole ………….

        These terms ( Darul Islam and Darul Harb) were coined by Muslim jurists after many years of the advent of Islam with respect to the situation which prevailed in their contemporary world.

        Moreover, the scholars coined different terms for different regions according to the situations prevailing therein like
        Dar al-amn (territory of security),
        dar al-silm (territory of peace) and
        dar al-muwada’ah (territory of mutual peace) etc.

        As is obvious from these terms, they were applied to various regions according to the practical or legal conditions prevailing therein vis-a-vis the Muslim state and its citizens.

        The basic concept behind this was that law and shari’ah prevail only in Dar al-Islam (territory of Islam) while

        dar al-harb (enemy territory) territories were lawless where rulers and dominant people forced their whims on residents and therefore one’s life or property was not safe there. This is why Muslims were discouraged from living in such areas.

        In other words, the basic difference between dar al-Islam and dar al-harb was the rule of law in the former and the lawlessness in the latter. So it is a dar al-Islam wherever Muslims’ lives and properties are legally safe and they are legally allowed to follow their religion.

        A place is not a dar al-Islam where Muslims’ lives, property and faith are not safe although its ruler may be a Muslim.

        It is evident today that in many ‘Muslim’ countries Muslims’ lives, honour and right to follow Islam are not safe while there are ‘non-Muslim’ countries, like India or European nation or in North America where Muslims’ lives and properties are safe legally.

        Moreover, we enjoy legal rights to follow our religion and preach it.

        Therefore, it is a mistake to apply the old concept of dar al-Islam and dar al-harb on the contemporary world. It is an indication of one’s ignorance of the wisdom of his religion. No new category is needed today.

        It is sufficient to understand that it is a dar Islam wherever Muslims enjoy religious freedom and wherever Muslims do not enjoy such freedom is a dar kufr (rejection) although its ruler or majority may be ‘Muslim.’ 

        • There was also Dar al-Sulh or realm of conciliation for friendly non-Muslim countries like Ethiopia.

    • This is wrong perception based on prejudice

      Selective reading by many readers makes them blind to the real Islamic spirit of Jihad

      There is a well known saying of Muhammad(pbuh). He was returning from a battle.

      He said,

      Quote “WE RETURN FROM THE LITTLE JIHAD TO THE GREATER JIHAD”.

      The little Jihad he mentioned was the battle and the greater Jihad he mentioned was conquering the forces of evil in oneself and in one’s own society in all the details of daily life.

      The Quran amplifies this forcefully,

      quote

      “ Had God not driven back the people, some by the means of others, the earth had surely been corrupted ; but God is merciful unto all beings.”

      When the people of a territory were chased out of their land like morbid dogs by the merciless hordes and aggressors ( as it happened in Palestine) the people of Palestine can engage in Jihad but strictly under the laws of Islam following their spiritual leader. You want a present day example , you got one.

      The Quran says

      “Fighting is an evil thing, but to bar people from God’s way, disbelief in Him and the Holy Mosque, and to expel its people from it —that is more evil in God’s sight. And persecution is worse than
      killing.” Holy Quran 2: 213.

      So the example the persecuted Palestinians have every right to do physical fighting if necessary to get back their stolen lands

    • I have seen translations of the Quran in which the translators have used the word ‘Jihad’, where the text of the Quran has not.

      The term, Jihad, is by far the most distorted term — distorted both by many Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

      Here’s an article on the spiritual significance of Jihad, by Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an eminent scholar and philosopher:

      link to al-islam.org

      Excerpt:

      And those who perform jihad for Us, We shall certainly guide them in Our ways, and God is surely with the doers of good. (Quran 39:69)

      You have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad. (Hadith)

      The Arabic term jihad, usually translated into European languages as holy war, more on the basis of its juridical usage in Islam rather than on its much more universal meaning in the Quran and Hadith, is derived from the root /jhd/ whose primary meaning is to strive or to exert oneself.

      Its translation into holy war combined with the erroneous notion of Islam prevalent in the West as the ‘religion of the sword’ has helped to eclipse its inner and spiritual significance and to distort its connotation.

      Nor has the appearance upon the stage of history during the past century and especially during the past few years of an array of movements within the Islamic world often contending or even imposing each other and using the word jihad or one of its derivative forms helped to make known the full import of its traditional meaning which alone is of concern to us here.

      Instead recent distortions and even total reversal of the meaning of jihad as understood over the ages by Muslims have made it more difficult than ever before to gain insight into this key religious and spiritual concept.

      To understand the spiritual significance of jihad and its wide application to nearly every aspect of human life as understood by Islam, it is necessary to remember that Islam bases itself upon the idea of establishing equilibrium within the being of man as well as in the human society where he functions and fulfills the goals of his earthly life.

      This equilibrium, which is the terrestrial reflection of Divine Justice and the necessary condition for peace in the human domain, is the basis upon which the soul takes its flight towards that peace which, to use Christian terms, ‘passeth understanding’.

    • There are 5 pilars of islam that are the foundation or tenet and none include the false information you claim.

  4. That “peace” / Salaam / Shalom represents a kind of wholeness. . .a coming together of all the loose parts and pieces. . . a reconciliation. When such a state is embodied in a person the Arabic puts an “m” in front of the consonant root “slm” and makes the word muslim.

    I’ve used lower case letters here because there are no upper and lower case letters in Arabic and so I think we confuse the word when we translate it into English and give it a capital “M” as in “Muslim” – turning it into some kind of private club for which one holds a membership card (as in Democrat vs. democrat).

    I think this is the way we should read the Qur’an’s references to previous prophets as “muslims”. . . for the only word in Arabic for a person embodying such attributes is the word “muslim” (otherwise it sounds like some kind of wacky plagiarism). It is how the language works!

    We use the same grammatical rule is changing a school lesson DRS/darasa into a school/madrasa, a grave QBR/qabar into a cemetery/maqbar. . . and so on.

  5. No one’s interpretation is the last word on war and peace or other such principles on Islam.

    But it was and remains a duty for Muslims to commit themselves to a struggle on all fronts- moral, spiritual and political-¬–to create a just and decent society, where the poor and the vulnerable are not exploited, in the way that God had intended man to live.

    The Quran amplifies this forcefully¬, quote

    “ Had God not driven back the people, some by the
    means of others, the earth had surely been corrupted ; but God is merciful unto all beings.”

    The Quran says “Fighting is an evil thing, but to bar people from God’s way, disbelief in Him and the Holy Mosque, and to expel its people from it—that is more evil in God’s sight. And persecutio¬n is worse than killing.”

    Holy Quran 2: 213”

    Every Ayat ( verse) must be interpreted against the background of the Quran as a whole.

    Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors. Sura 2: 190 and turn against you, you shall fight them, and you may kill them when you encounter them in war. You shall not accept them as friends, or allies.

    [4:91] You will find others who wish to make peace with you, and also with their people. However, as soon as war erupts, they fight against you. Unless these people leave you alone, offer you peace, and stop fighting you, you may fight them when you encounter them. Against these, we give you a clear authorization.
    Thus the Quran does allow fighting in self defence with a further condition that if they desist behold God is much forgiving a dispenser of grace ( 2:192)

  6. Juan cole!

    You must speak the facts.That fact is what we find in the scriptures.That truly speaking the Quran has far more peaceful verses than the bible.That through centuries Islam has been more peaceful ,not only than other Abrahamic faiths,ie Christianity,and Judaism but also other pagan faiths.

    That truly speaking Islam was first religion to recognize peaceful co-existence,though dhimmi it was.

    And that the knowledge of Hadith,its analysis,and its exhaustive digging far more surpasses western exhaustive scholarship

    And Hadithes are classified in categories

    Sahih-the most reliable

    Hassan-reliable,and

    Dhaif-weak,or unreliable.

    And that Time,you say Abbasid period,was of no essence to these highest scholars..ie people like Imam Shaffi

    I think you know one story regarding one of Shaffi’s sojourn in pursue of Hadith.Introduced to the a would-be narrator,and thought not a slightest sin to the man who baited chickens with some small food in order to slaughter them,in shafii’s eyes that was enough to discredit what the man would narrate to him.He balked away.

    These were great Muhaddithiin

    These were distinguished scholars

    These were not affected by so called Abbasid’s feudal societies.

    • You are distorting the Quran. The issue is very complex and has to do with a person’s level of consciousness and rejecting the Truth knowingly.

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