In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.
Dear Brothers and Sisters! Let me start my today’s Sermon with the fact that the word “Islam” is derived from “Salam”, a word meaning peace. It also relates a person submitting himself to the will of The Mightiest, Allah, in order to seek eternal peace and tranquility. The crux of this observation is that the very origins of Islam are inclined towards peace and harmony.
Islam is the religion of peace. Over billions of people around the world are followers of Islam. There can be no greater argument supporting Islam as a religion of peace than the name of the religion itself. ‘Islam ’ literally means peace, therefore, it seems quite unnatural that a religion that names itself peace can teach or preach something that is violent or full of aggression. Allah Almighty in Quran has encouraged the establishment of peace and has told the followers of Islam to be moderate in their behaviours and adopt the qualities of kindness, tolerance, love, and respect for others. There are so many Hadith on the importance of peace in Islam that I will discuss in this Sermon In Shaa Allah.
● Islam – A Religion Of Peace
Dear Servants of Allah! The root of the word Islam is “silm”, refers to “making peace”, being in a mutually peaceful environment, finding peace, reaching salvation and well being or being far from danger, attaining goodness, comfort and favour, keeping away from troubles and disasters, submitting the self and obeying, respect, being far from wrong. Islam is a peaceful religion. It stands for peace and desires peace. The basis of Islam is peace. Islam wants peace for its followers and all the other residents of the world.
A true Muslim is the one who truly follows Islam, someone who is at perfect peace, with himself and with others. As our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, mentioned in the Hadith collections of Tirmidhi and Nasa’i:
“A true believer (Mu’min) is he from whom people’s lives and wealth are safe.”
Allah the Almighty wants a Muslim to live in a safe and peaceful environment and to make efforts for the spread and continuity of peace in society for him and for all others.
According to Islam, peace is not simply an absence of war. Peace opens doors to all kinds of opportunities that are present in any given situation. A true Muslim should seek to bring others close to him, not to drive them away from him. This is why the Prophet declared, in a Hadith report incorporate in the Sahih al-Bukhari:
“In him, there is no merit who is not familiar with others and with whom others are not familiar.”
Muslims should respect others and try to maintain peace and should follow the straight path. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was sent as nothing but mercy to all the mankind. If the bringer of a religion is nothing but mercy and in His brought Truth there is no compulsion then the impression that Islam promotes violence seems illogical. Thus, Islam in its true preaching is nothing but peace.
● The Importance Of Peace
A perfect Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands mankind is safe. In Islam, the right to life is an absolute value, In Quran Allah mentioned that:
“He who kills a soul unless it be (in legal punishment) for murder or for causing disorder and corruption on the earth will be as if he had killed all humankind, and he who saves a life will be as if he had saved the lives of all humankind.” [Quran, 5:32]
One of the main objectives of our religion is to introduce into the world an ideology that facilitates the spreading of peace at every level. Spread peace at an individual level as well as social level so that we can live a peaceful life with other Muslims and also we can portray a very good and peaceful image of our religion, Islam.
Virtuous deeds are acts that purify humankind of aggression and bring them to peace. These help to promote peace in society, peace, the original state that succeeds in relations between individuals and societies. Islam is a religion of peace in the complete sense of the word. Every teaching of Islam is based on the principles of peace and avoidance. Any disparity from the model is a disparity between Islam and is due to misinterpretation. We should, therefore, understand the ideology of peace given in Islam and our actions should base upon this ideology so that peace will overrule in the world.
● The Hadith’s Perspective On Peace
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the last Prophet of Almighty Allah. He (Peace be upon him) was sent for all mankind as a mercy. Quran is the divine Book of Almighty Allah and sent to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) so that He teaches Muslims what Allah has said in Quran. We should not take help from one source only rather we have to combine both the Wisdom of the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet of Allah together in order to benefit from them more effectively.
The two fundamental sources of Islam are the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). By Sunnah, I mean the actions, sayings and silent permissions (or disapproval) of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). Hadith is considered to be second to the Quran. It is impossible to understand the Quran without reference to the Hadith, and it is impossible to explain a Hadith without relating it to the Quran. So we should understand both Quran and Hadith in order to get benefits.
Quran is the message and Hadith is the verbal translation of this message that our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) did practically. We can take many examples from Hadiths of Prophet about peace that He (Peace be upon him) said and practically did to teach Muslims. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) took care to explain and demonstrate to his Companions and followers how the Quranic verses must be read and understood. That is to say, the importance of Hadith is linked to the importance of the Quran.
There are many Hadiths on spreading peace and importance of peace in Islam that Prophet (Peace be upon him) did exemplify for us and we should know about them and should follow the Sunnah of Prophet (Peace be upon him) to bring peace and harmony among Muslims and also to whole mankind. The Hadiths on spreading peace are as follows:
“O people, spread peace, feed the hungry, and pray at night when people are sleeping and you will enter Paradise in peace.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
Abu Umamah reported that: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“Verily, the best of the people to Allah are those who begin the greeting of peace.” [Sunan Abu Dawud]
Narrated Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) that: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The most hated person in the sight of Allah is the most quarrelsome person.” [Sahih Bukhari]
On the authority of Abu Hurairah (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), reported that: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), said:
“You will not enter Paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love each other. Shall I show you something that, if you did, you would love each other? Spread peace among yourselves.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
Respected Brothers and Sisters! Securing peace was a major expedition of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), which was crucial for conveying Allah’s message to others and for the sustenance of a society of individuals who followed Allah’s teachings in their personal and collective affairs. For the first thirteen years of his Prophethood, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) remained in his city of Makkah, using peaceful means of persuasion despite the powerful opposition that he had to confront. Despite horrific persecution, he and his followers remained steadfast and determined, preaching to the people and seeking to guide them to the right path. Later, when the situation became intolerable, he left for Madinah, where his first effort was to establish peace and to build bridges of love, tolerance, brotherhood, and harmony between the Muslim migrants.
From above example, we can conclude that no matter what’s the situation is we should try to maintain peace and harmony among us and with others, in this way we can follow the Sunnah of Prophet (Peace be upon him) and also spread our religion in a peaceful way.
The possible reason that one can come up with related to the presently defame image of Islam is perhaps the negligence of some Muslims when it comes to developing an understanding of Islam. It is due to lack of understanding that some Muslims have forgotten the true preaching of the religion and have succumbed to the false interpretations. We should spread peace to portray the real image of Islam.
Dear Brothers and Sisters! Terrorism and armed banditry has surfaced as the biggest menace of the current times, particularly in recent happenings. But unfortunately and unjustly, Islam and Muslims are deemed by most of the world population to be the root causes of this upsurge of terrorism all across the world. There is no doubt that this is far from accurate. However, a considerable majority of the world’s population still blames Islam and Muslims. This is mostly because of the “bad press” deliberately being created against Muslims and Islam by the big guns of world media.
The best way to authenticate or reject this claim for a common person is to see what the actual teachings of Islam are. Is it really a religion that promotes violence and terrorism, or is the reality totally opposite to this misconception? One convenient way of observing and analysing all this is to learn what the Noble Quran, the religious Scripture of Muslims, has to say about this.
– Islam prohibits violence and promotes peace and justice:
As mentioned earlier, the Quran – the noble words of none other than Allah Almighty – can best bear the witness for Islam’s inclination towards peace, justice, and harmony amongst human beings while negating and discouraging violence, terrorism, and injustice.
This becomes very evident if one vows to read the Quran and apply it on personal basis. Doing so in modern times is much more convenient as people can read the Quran online. Listed below are a few Quranic verses that support the claim that Islam is a true religion of peace and tranquility. Allah the Almighty said:
“O you who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well- acquainted with all that you do.” [Quran, 4: 135]
And He Most High said:
“Allah advocates justice, charity, and regarding the relatives. And He forbids evil, vice, and transgression. He enlightens you, that you may take heed.” [Quran,16: 90]
And He said:
“And if you do punish them, punish them no worse than they punished you: but if you show patience, that is indeed the best (course) for those who are patient.” [Quran, 16: 126]
These are just a few references from the Noble Quran. You may find many more of them that promote nothing else but peace and justice.
– Historical evidences favouring the peace-loving attitude Of Muslims:
The peace-loving attitude and behaviour of Muslims is not a myth. It is an absolute historical truth that is very evident from their deeds when they were in command of different areas of the world where multiple religions were practiced.
For example, Muslims ruled Spain for about eight centuries. No significance evidence is found that suggests Muslims used force or unnecessary means to oppress non-Muslims living there.
India is another place that was once ruled by Muslims for a period of over 1,000 years. Currently, about 80% of the population is comprised of non-Muslims. If Muslims had used force to convert people from other religions, the stats would have been quite different.
Arabia had been under Muslim influence for over 1,400 years. Yet there are about 14 million Coptic Christians found in that region. Had Islam used the sword for its propagation, the situation would have been very different.
– Islam believes in nothing but the sword of knowledge and intellect:
As mentioned earlier, the best way to find the truth about teachings of Islam with regard to its propagation can be seen easily from the content of the Quran. All you need to do is search the Quran online and see countless verses verifying this claim. The only sword Islam believes in, as far as propagation of the religion is concerned, is of logic and intellect. Allah the Almighty said:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion, truth stands out clear from error.” [Quran, 2: 256]
And He said:
“Invite (all) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most.” [Quran, 16: 125]
● Islam Versus Terrorism
1. The terrorists kidnapped innocent girls and forced them to change their religion, while Islam says:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion…” [Quran, 2: 256]
2. The terrorists have forcefully married off girls, while Islam says:
“…Do not inherit women against their will…” [Quran, 4:19]
3. The terrorists are aggressive towards those who do not follow their beliefs, while Islam says:
“If it had been your Lord’s will, all of the people on earth would have believed [in one religion]…” [Quran, 10: 99]
4. The terrorists have murdered thousands of innocent Muslims and Christians alike in cold blood, while Islam says:
“…If any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people…” [Quran, 5: 32]
5. The terrorists use the cover of Islam to commit their mayhem and claim they are doing Allah’s work or Jihad, while Islam says:
“…But do not transgress limit; for Allah love not the transgressors.” [Quran, 2: 190]
6. The terrorists believes once you are not with them you are an enemy, while Islam says:
“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other)…” [Quran, 49: 13]
7. The terrorists have unleashed tyranny and indecency in the land, while Islam says:
“Allah commands justice and doing good and giving to relatives. And He forbids indecency and doing wrong and tyranny…” [Quran, 16: 90]
Dear Brothers and Sisters! Upon all their false claims, its clear to see that terrorists do not represent Islam in any way because, they are acting against it.
Please note that, all those groups: ISIS, Al-Qa’idah, Taliban, Al-Shabab, Jabhat an-Nusrah, Boko Haram etc, are Terrorists and extremists. They are on their own. They don’t practice any religion.
● The Causes And Remedies Of Terrorism, Extremism And Armed Banditry
Respected Brothers and Sisters! Many countries have fallen victim to terrorist attacks recently, pointing to the cruelty of extremists and the importance of maintaining high vigilance against terrorism and armed banditry worldwide.
In the month of July alone, a terrorist and armed banditry attacks on many places in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Somalia, Mali etc, killed many innocent people, wounded dozens more and displaced millions. The ISIS, Al-Qa’idah, Taliban, Al-Shabab, Boko Haram and armed bandits claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.
This is not the first time that important places in the world have been targeted by the terrorists. Just over a year ago, Pakistan experienced one of the deadliest school attacks in its history near Peshawar. More than 150 people were killed, mostly children. Also on Jan 20, a Taliban suicide car bomber targeted a minibus in Kabul that was carrying journalists working for a private Afghan television channel, killing seven.
Prior to these, an attack on a hotel in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou on Jan 15, carried out by al-Qa’idah in the Islamic Maghreb, left at least 29 people dead and 30 others injured.
The day before, explosions and gunfire rocked downtown Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, killing seven people and injuring 20 others. Indonesian police said the ISIS terrorist group was responsible.
What is happening today in Northern Nigeria, especially Zamfara State of armed bandits attacks and terrorist attacks in the North-East, kidnappings in many places of Nigeria, are very dangerous and disgusting.
That so many countries have been targeted by terrorist and armed bandit groups within such a short period of time shows the rampancy of terrorism and extremism worldwide. The perpetrators may belong to different terrorist groups and be entrenched in different parts of the world, but they all employ similar methods to harm innocent people and produce as much fear and social panic as possible.
The global cancer of terrorism, extremism and armed banditry has not sprung up over night. It has its roots in countries and regions which have long been mired in marginalisation, economic stagnation, ignorance and illiteracy, domestic social unrest and acute sectarian rifts or ethnic tensions.
In such places, social backwardness and lasting poverty have resulted in a lack of education and high unemployment among young people who are thus easily influenced by extremist ideology.
The ineffectiveness of efforts to curb major extremist groups such as the ISIS, Al-Qa’idah, Taliban, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, armed bandits etc, has also inflated the arrogance of terrorists.
Since the rise of the ISIS terrorist group in the Middle East in 2014, the world has witnessed a rising number of terrorist attacks elsewhere as it has exported its extremism and terrorism to other countries and regions. This in turn has highlighted the pressing need to rally greater political will around the global fight against terror and for more effective international cooperation.
Both the symptoms and the root causes of terrorism and armed banditry need to be addressed. No single remedy and no country alone can eradicate the soil in which extremism and terrorism grows. It is necessary for countries to plug the loopholes in their national security and share intelligence with each other so as to curb the infiltration of extremists, terrorists and armed bandits.
It is crucial that our country and international community jointly raise anti-terror awareness among the public and make concerted efforts to address social injustices, such as marginalization, unemployment, ignorance and illiteracy, racial discrimination, income gaps and poverty, so as to eliminate the soil for homegrown terrorism and armed banditry.
Admittedly, the global campaign to contain terror through the use of force may only help address the symptoms of terrorism. Not to mention that the three major camps led by the Saudi Arabia, United States and Russia respectively are fighting isolated battles out of self-centered calculations. Obviously, better coordination and a united front are needed so that the military operations against the ISIS group, in particular, can yield significant results soon.
But efforts also need to be made to revitalise the economies of conflicts ridden countries and regions that have become hotbeds for extremism and armed banditry. The rest of the world should help these countries and regions find a successful development model so that they can play their part in the war against terror.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Dhul-Qa’adah 20, 1439 AH (August 3, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: email@example.com or +2348038289761.