Islam is the religion of compassion far removed from force and compulsion

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Recently it has become clear that some circles have an inaccurate impression about the morality of Islam. No doubt this situation arises from inadequate information about the morality of Islam or erroneous briefing. People having such impressions do not properly recognize the beauties brought by this superior morality to a society, because they are wrongly indoctrinated that “a society living by the morality of religion lives under pressure.” However contrary to this erroneous reasoning, the morality our All-Mighty Lord commands in the Qur’an is based on love, respect, compassion and justice and is far removed from force and compulsion. As a consequence of this, the history of Islam abounds with the examples of tolerance our Prophet (saas) and other Islamic scholars showed to people from all ideologies and faiths.

The morality revealed in the Qur’an, which is the basis of Islam and is revealed as an admonition and guidance to all Muslims, is based on the concepts of love, compassion, mercy, modesty, self-sacrifice, and peace.

Consequently Islam is the deterrent to all forms of force, compulsion and unrest, and is the sole solution.

However due to erroneous thoughts arising from  a lack of knowledge about the morality of the Qur’an, some people ignore this fact and try to present the morality of Islam as a so-called threat to the society’s well-being.

However, in a society living by the morality of Islam:

  • Pressure does not exist; on the contrary, peace, compassion and mutual love and respect reign.
  • Extremely gentle, tactful, modest, just, reliable, compatible individuals develop, who spread peace and happiness.
  • People from different faiths and thoughts are embraced, as long as they do not pose a threat to the integrity of the state and peace in the society. These people are treated kindly. People meticulously avoid acts of tension that source from exclusion and segregation, which are acts of ignorance.

How does this effect of the morality of Islam, which is the solution to prejudice, conflicts and segregation, come into being?

How did this positive effect of the morality of Islam enlighten the societies in past periods?

The Source of Peace and Safety: The Morality of Islam

The Qur’an is a Book revealed to people as a guide to the true path and in this Book, Allah commands man to adopt good morals. This morality is based upon concepts such as love, compassion, and mercy. The word “Islam” is derived from the word meaning “peace” in Arabic. Islam is a religion revealed to mankind with the intention of producing a peaceable life through which the infinite compassion and mercy of Allah manifests on earth. Allah calls all people to Islamic morals through which compassion, mercy, and peace can be experienced all over the world. In Surat al-Baqara, verse 208, Allah addresses believers as follows:

O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of satan. He is an outright enemy to you. (Surat al-Baqara, 208)

In the Qur’an, our Lord relates that “security” of people and “peace” among them can only be established by living by the morality of the Qur’an. Whether Muslim or non-Muslim, a person who is devout according to the measure of the morality of the Qur’an, is responsible for treating other people with justice, protecting the poor and the innocent, and preventing corruption on the Earth. Corruption is all sorts of circumstances that remove security and peace on Earth. Putting pressure upon people who have free will, thought and faith for some reason is something incompatible with the morality of Islam and it causes corruption within the society. Consequently, as a requisite of the provision “Allah does not love corruption.” (Surat al-Baqara, 205), Muslims meticulously avoid such an erroneous act. On the contrary, Muslims are responsible for preventing people and activities disrupting the society’s peace through ideological means, enjoining the good and forbidding evil, removing corruption on Earth and providing a peaceful environment for all people. It is evident that a person having fear of Allah could never be responsible for causing the slightest harm to his state, nation or humanity, or for showing no compassion to them. 

 

Displaying the Truth and Falsehood and Falsehood as Truth is a Scheme of the Antichrist

In the End Times all sorts of ideologies and systems of thought that carry people to disbelief, distance people from the morality of religion and stir fitnah and conflict among people, represent the antichrist, who is described in the hadith as the one who will organize mischief on Earth. One of the definitions of the antichrist is “the one who mixes truth with falsehood and presents the falsehood as good by embellishing it.” Some of the hadith in which it is told that the antichrist presents truth as falsehood and falsehood as truth are as follows:

“Then the antichrist will come forth accompanied by a river and fire. He who falls into his fire will certainly receive his reward, and have his load taken off him, but he who falls into his river will have his load retained and his reward taken off him.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, p. 4232)

“He will also have Paradise and Hell with him. Though his Paradise will appear as Jannah [Paradise], in reality it will be Hell, and likewise, though his Hell will appear like Jahannam [Hell], in reality it will be Paradise...” (Sahih Muslim)

As is also stated in the hadith, what the antichrist presents as good are in fact those events that will cause evil for humanity and even cause its destruction. On the contrary, the values that the antichrist presents as evil are to the benefit and advantage of people. However, because some people do not assess incidents according to the morality of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our Prophet (saas), they will assume that the antichrist calls them to good and be subject to him. Meanwhile they will turn their faces away from those to whom they should actually subject themselves. They will understand what a big mistake they have made by means of the environment of cruelty that the antichrist generates. For this reason our Prophet (saas) warned people and said that people should act in awareness that what the antichrist displays as wicked is, in fact, good:

“The antichrist would appear and there would be along with him water and fire and what the people would see as water that would be fire and that would burn and what would appear as fire that would be water and any one of you who would see that should plunge in that which he sees as fire for it would be sweet, pure water.” (Sahih Muslim)

Surely one of the methods that the antichrist will employ in this scheme is to display the morality of religion as wicked and the system of the antichrist as good. People who do not know the morality of the Qur’an or do not live by it properly may unknowingly remain under the influence of the propaganda carried out by the antichrist against religion, and be convinced by groundless and inaccurate thoughts about the morality of Islam.

One of the striking features of the antichrist is that even when he assumes such a wicked attitude, he tells the lie that his intention is to do good. As the hadiths relate, although he aims to spread mischief on earth, he will claim that he only wants good for the people. No doubt this is a great lie. The answer that those who have genuine faith will give to this call of the antichrist to a life distant to the morality of religion, immorality and mischief is obvious. The related verse reads:

Say: “Are we to call on something besides Allah which can neither help nor harm us, and to turn on our heels after Allah has guided us, like someone the satans have lured away in the earth, leaving him confused and stupefied, despite the fact that he has companions calling him to guidance, saying, ‘Come with us!’?” Say: “Allah's guidance, that is true guidance. We are commanded to submit as Muslims to the Lord of all the worlds.”(Surat al-An’am, 71) 


Freedom of Faith is Essential in the Morality of Islam

Forcing people to believe in a religion or to adopt its forms of belief is completely contrary to the essence and spirit of Islam. That is because according to Islam, true faith is only possible with free will and freedom of conscience. Of course, Muslims can advise and encourage each other about the features of Qur’anic morality. All believers are charged with explaining Qur’anic morality to people in the nicest manner possible. They will explain the beauties of religion in the light of the verse, “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition...” (Surat an-Nahl, 125), however, they must also bear in mind the verse, “You are not responsible for their guidance, but Allah guides whoever He wills.” (Surat al-Baqara, 272) They will never resort to compulsion, nor any kind of physical or psychological pressure. Neither will they use any worldly privilege to turn someone towards religion because the decision whether or not to believe, or whether or not to observe the religious obligations, is the responsibility of the individual concerned, as commanded by Almighty Allah. In fact, Allah commands believers in the Qur’an:

We know best what they say and you [O Muhammad] are not a compeller over them. But warn by the Qur’an whoever fears My warning. (Surah Qaf, 45)

A model of society in which people are forced to worship is completely contradictory to Islam. Belief and worship are only of any value when they are directed to Allah by the free will of the individual. If a system imposes belief and worship on people, then they will become religious out of fear of that system. From the religious point of view, what really counts is that religion should be practiced for Allah’s good pleasure in an environment where peoples’ consciences are totally free.

There is no compulsion in religion. True guidance has become clearly distinct from error. (Surat al-Baqara, 256)
 

 

There is no Compulsion and Pressure in Islam

Islam is a religion which provides and guarantees freedom of ideas, thought and life. It has issued commands to prevent and forbid tension, disputes, slander and even negative thinking among people. In the same way that it is determinedly opposed to terrorism and all acts of violence, it has also forbidden the application of even the slightest ideological pressure:

There is no compulsion in religion. True guidance has become clearly distinct from error. (Surat al-Baqara, 256)

So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them. (Surat al-Ghashiyya, 21-22)



Examples of compassion from the life of our Prophet (saas)

Muslims know that they can earn Allah’s good pleasure when they are compassionate, peaceful and just. While striving to spread the morality of Islam, our Prophet (saas) treated each person with compassion and peace, without making any distinction between them.

When our Prophet (saas) was first given prophethood, the Arabian Peninsula, and especially Mecca, was shaken by social problems. In the period preceding the Age of Bliss, which is called the "The Age of Ignorance," there was severe discrimination between races and religions. Disputes among tribes, an unjust economic order, plundering, intolerant attitudes between members of different religions, differences between the poor and the wealthy and many other injustices were the natural consequences of such discrimination. The maintenance of justice could not be established; the poor were oppressed by those in power and were subjected to violence because of their race, religion or language. People were forced to work under very harsh conditions, and were virtually tortured. Our Prophet (saas) was sent to communicate the truth to such an ignorant tribe and call them to good morality. The communication of our Prophet (saas) and his moral perfection had a great impact in the Arabian Peninsula and in his time people embraced Islam in crowds. The just commandments related in the Qur’an, the moral perfection, compassion and peace, brought order and tranquility to social life. One of the most important reasons for this peace was the justice maintained by our Prophet (saas) among all people without making any distinction between them. This was a requisite of the verse, “Allah commands you … to judge with justice.” (Surat an-Nisa’, 58)

After the migration of the Prophet (saas) from Mecca to Medina, he encountered many different communities. During that period, Jews, Christians and pagans who held power were all living together. Under such circumstances, the Prophet Muhammad (saas) united the cosmopolitan structure to secure social unity and peace by making social agreements—either by sending letters or holding face-to-face meetings—with more than a hundred communities, and thus achieved social compromise. (Muhammad Hamidullah, Introduction to Islam, Publications of Centre Culture, Paris, 1957, p. 228) Prof. Thomas Arnold stresses the importance of the social unity established by the Prophet Muhammad (saas) in these words:

"Arabia that had never before obeyed one prince, suddenly exhibits a political unity and swears allegiance to the will of an absolute ruler. Out of the numerous tribes, big and small, of a hundred different kinds that were incessantly at feud with one another, Muhammad's word created a nation.” (Prof. Thomas Arnold, The Spread of Islam in the World, Goodword Books, 2001, pp. 32-33)

These examples of exemplary conduct that appeared as a result our Prophet’s (saas) meticulous obedience to Allah’s commandments also depict the compassionate and peaceful order brought by messengers to society. In an environment where the morality of the Qur’an is experienced to the letter, it is obvious that a life of brotherhood and peace can be established.


Respect shown to Different Thoughts and Culture in the Ottoman Empire

The most important step in establishing peace and ease in a society is to respect the individuals and their beliefs, without trying to change their faiths, thoughts and culture. The Ottoman Empire that established a perfect “co-existence system” is historically the most beautiful example of this.

The Ottoman Empire was an age of bliss for all people from all faiths and thoughts who lived under its reign. For more than a period of 600 years, people from all cultures, faiths, religions and races lived within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire in peace. During this period nobody was subjected to injustice due to his faith or identity, since the Ottoman Empire attached importance not only to the comfort and bliss of the Muslim and Turkish people, but also of all other people of different languages and religions. As a requisite of the morality of Islam, the Ottoman sultans provided help to anyone in need, without taking their faiths or creed into consideration and they did this as a requisite of their responsibility to Allah. Starting from the time of Osman Ghazi (a title given to a victorious Muslim military leader), the founder of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, and other emperors became role models for all humanity to follow with their elevated manner and the justice they displayed in their administrations. Under their authority, people of different religions and creeds co-existed in peace. Furthermore, there existed some communities which did not resist at all, and of their own free will submitted to the rule of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. This alone amply illustrates the great satisfaction people derived from his fair treatment.

European historian Richard Peters expresses how Muslim Turks exercised exemplary justice in the countries they conquered:

“For ages, Turks ruled many nations but never attempted to assimilate them. They granted them their freedom and allowed them to live by their religious principles and culture.” (Richard Peters, Die Geschichte der Türken, W. Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart, 1961, p. 8)

All these examples clearly reveal that within the Ottoman boundaries, on the very same lands, people from all nations, religions and cultures lived in peace, without any conflicts or negativism. If the Ottoman leaders had not adopted a just attitude towards these people, they would certainly have failed to found such well-established empires and keep them intact for so long. However, we see that the elevated values and traits with which Islam endowed these administrators helped them attain a high level of culture and civilization.
 

Conclusion: Muslims’ Conciliatory and Compassionate Morality Defragments the Society

The examples shown in this article reveal that Muslims are responsible for treating the societies from different religions and cultures with which they co-exist with compassion. Consequently, contrary to erroneous impressions that have been expressed for some time, a Muslim who is raised with the moral perfection revealed in the Qur’an approaches everyone with the love envisaged by Islam; and he attaches importance to artistry. He displays an all-embracing attitude that is conciliatory and moderate. In societies made up by such people of superior morality, it is evident that an advanced civilization, elevated social morality, happiness, peace, justice, security and abundance prevails.

Because some people do not know these facts or due to misinformation, they may have some erroneous opinions about Islam. However when they learn and experience that Islam is instrumental in approaching people with love and respect as well as not presenting any threat to modernization, freedom of faith and thought, they will, by Allah’s leave, put aside these attitudes and thoughts. In one verse of the Qur’an, our All Mighty Lord of infinite mercy relates thus:

“Say: ‘Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Falsehood is always bound to vanish. (Surat al-Isra’, 81) 

 

 

So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them. (Surat al-Ghashiyya, 21-22)

 

 
2010-11-10 23:12:12

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