The Miracle of “Smart Salaam”

May 18, 2007

The foundation of true and lasting peace on earth and in any society is justice, love, safety, security, compassion, integrity, truth, reasonableness and sound morality.

Where this foundation is absent or weak, and where people’s most basic needs and legitimate rights and aspirations are not met, and are persistently and blatantly denied, chances of stable and lasting peace are minimized or jeopardized.

All too often, then, those who have been systematically denied their basic and legitimate rights, and who are not allowed by nations, societies and governments any rightful recourse to the redress of their lawful grievances, begin to resort to force and violence as an instrument of resistance to their domination, subjugation and exploitation by others and for the amelioration of their situation.

There are all kinds of university books, full of all kinds of theories, that explain why and how people develop violent tendencies and behavior.

For example, extreme poverty, deprivation, hopelessness, oppression, marginalization, cruelty and systematic discrimination, exclusion and abuse may potentially move people toward violence. So also may serious perceptions of injustice, usurpation of property, abuse of power, violation of basic rights and deeply held values such as honor, personal dignity and the life, honor and dignity of family members.

Colonization, mass enslavement, social and political tyranny, occupation of lands, exploitation and stealing of resources will all make nations and societies rise up in revolt.

This has been the history of the world. And everyone knows that.

Right to Self-Defense Guaranteed
by Civilized World

That is why the constitutions of practically every civilized country in the world, as well as the United Nations Charter Article 51, guarantee people individually and collectively the inherent right to self-defense and the defense of their family and property. 

What Islam does is it takes this universal and fundamental human right of individuals, families, societies and nations to self-defense and canonizes it – to use a Christian religious expression. That means Islam makes that right a sacred and not just a mundane or secular one.

So, self-defense in Islam is not just a legal right but also a natural and sacred one, blessed by God.

So, some of those who assert that “Islam is a peaceful religion” seem to want to cover up this fact.

They have been thoroughly intimidated and demoralized by the relentless and ruthless propaganda that brands Islam and Muslims as inherently violent and incorrigibly irrational.

So, is Islam “peaceful” then? Of course, it is. In fact, Islam is peace, period, no matter how you look at it.

But Islam is also about truth – quite possibly much more than any other system in the world.

And Islam also is strongly about human rights.

And Islam is also against all forms of injustice, inequity, cruelty, oppression, exploitation, domination, tyranny and abuse.

But does Islam permit self-defense? Of course, it does. How can it not?

Which constitution of the world, and the law of which civilized country, does not permit self-defense?

Islam is thus as perfect a synthesis of Jesus’ model of personal compassion on the one hand and of Moses’ model of social justice and supremacy of the law on the other hand.

Anyone whose heart is not filled with lust and greed, and whose soul is not scarred by hate and prejudice, can see that Islam thus is really the entire old Bible in a brand new bottle.

Turning the Other Cheek

Is Islam about “turning the other cheek“?

No more than Christianity is. And no more than the 1000-year practices, policies, legal frameworks, criminal codes, and politics of the Christian nations and societies are.

No more than any other system of law, morality or government in the world is.

No more than international law is. And no more than the UN Charter is.

But Islam does offer you the higher option of turning the other cheek, and forgiving those who sin against you, should you choose to exercise that option.

But Islam does not mandate it. How can it?

How can any sane or sensible system of thought or laws or government in the world mandate that every thief, murderer, rapist, arsonist, bank-robber, child-molester and traitor be ab initio forgiven and coddled as a long-lost brother or sister?

With all this, are there some Muslims in this world who go overboard, lose control of their emotions and better judgment, and resort to violence? Of course there are.

Are there others who are not Muslim who do that sort of thing? Of course there are.

Is that acceptable behavior on the part of anyone of them – Muslim or non-Muslim? No, it is not.

Does Islam condone or sanction behavior like that? No, it does not.

Should we criticize and condemn senseless and irrational violence when it is perpetrated by Muslims? Of course we should.

In the same way as we and all Muslims and non-Muslims should also criticize and condemn senseless and irrational violence when it is perpetrated by non-Muslims.

Does Islam condone or sanction violence against civilians, women, children, the aged, the infirm and the priests, pundits and the clergy? Of course it does not.

Does international law condone or sanction such behavior? Do any of the other religions and legal systems of the world? Of course none of them do.

Does Islam condone or sanction torture? Of course it does not.

Does international law condone or sanction torture? Of course it does not.

Do any of the other religions and legal systems of the world sanction or condone torture? Of course they do not.

In the end, is Islam then a “peaceful religion“?

First of all, Islam is not a “religion.” Islam is a comprehensive divine system of life that was devised by God to guide, illumine and direct human life and activity in every thing and that was practiced and modeled in his life and society by Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in its entirety.

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