With Ramadan 2019 getting all the attention worldwide, the time-old question – Is Islam about empathy or violence? – being frequently asked.
As things stand, Islamophobia is at its peak right now. Muslims worldwide are being de-humanized and their religion, Islam is being de-legitimized. The anti-Muslim and anti-Islam rhetoric has become way too mainstream around the globe.
Consider the recent Christchurch shootings – a massacre – in which it has been reported that 49 people were shot and many injured. Why? Simply, because they were Muslims. Then comes the case of Notre Dame fire. Could you believe that this tragic incident was being used to spread hate against Islam and Muslims? Such is the state of nature nowadays.
However, why is this the case? Well, this is because Muslims are seen as a threat who push their beliefs on others, and Islam is regarded as a religion of violence. However, the reality is completely different than what mainstream media portrays and what politicians utter in their speeches to simply climb the polls.
Islam is about empathy and not violence. Ever since Islam’s inception and rise, one thing was common. It called for a system of justice and responsibility for all human beings. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the last messenger of Allah who introduced Islam always used to care for the needy and help those who were less fortunate. Plus, Quran – the holy scripture of Muslims – reiterates that it is the responsibility of Muslims to help other members of the society and that they should strive hard to ensure social justice as well as welfare. This is why campaigns such as Syria Relief are promoted.
Note that Islam is not a pacifist religion as in it doesn’t say that war, as well as violence, are never justified. Rather, it says that there are two types of violence: legitimate and illegitimate. The former, in some particular contexts, is indeed allowed. However, the guidelines of violence are not only limited but also defined by Allah in the Quran and by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The thing is that these instructions are cherry-picked and quoted in order to portray Islam as a religion that encourages violence. However, to get to the truth, all one needs to do is examine the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as through them it will be crystal clear that Islam does not preach Muslims to kill as well as hate others.
Islam only legitimizes violence in the case that Muslims are attacked and they have to defend themselves. Even then, it urges Muslims to always be fair and equitable with their enemies. Also, note that the basis for fighting in Islam is not a religion but rather defense. Muslims are allowed to fight when they are oppressed and in danger, but they are not allowed to fight injustice with injustice as even in difficult circumstances, they are urged to be empathetic to others.
Christian and Jews are constantly referred to in Islam in a positive light, and they are called “The people of the book”. Furthermore, the holy Quran strictly prohibits Muslims from speaking ill and insulting the Idols or Gods of other religion. In addition to this, Islam even allows Muslims to eat with people of different faiths and even marry them. Ask yourself: Would this be allowed if Islam preached violence? Obviously not. After all, sharing food and marrying involve cordial relations Don’t they?
So, the takeaway is that Islam is indeed a religion of empathy and not violence. If you see someone telling you otherwise, then do question their motives and try to guide them for the better. This is in the collective interest of society.