Q. I have been told that Islam is not a peaceful religion and
that the Qur’an is a book filled with ranting and ravings from
Muhammad (peace be upon him). So are there any verses in the
Qur’an that would tell me that people of Islam do not want war and
A. Thank you for your message which shows that you are a person
who does not accept what is said without questioning its truth. This
is the mark of an intelligent person. What you have been told about
the Qur’an is certainly untrue.
It is the word of someone who either does not know what he is
talking about, or someone whose grudge against Islam blinds him to
It is as the saying goes: The proof of the pudding is in the
eating. You only need to open the Qur’an and read to realize that
what it calls for is peace, not war. Besides, the Qur’an is not
Muhammad’s book; it is God’s book. A person who wants to know
what the Qur’an says should start with an objective outlook and
read it, seeking some help where he finds difficulty.
I suppose we would agree that if we have it on highly reliable
authority that Beethoven stated that he did not write one of the
best symphonies the world attribute to him, we need no further proof
to strike it off the list of his musical works. Similarly, if we
have a reliable statement by Shakespeare that he did not write
Hamlet or King Lear, we can no longer attribute that play to him.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has always maintained that he
did not write or compose the Qur’an, which is universally agreed
to be a book of surpassing literary excellence. Yet Muhammad’s own
statements, which we know to be his, are also superb.
So, how can anyone attribute the Qur’an to Muhammad when he has
repeatedly disclaimed any part in its authorship? Besides, the
Qur’an provides numerous proofs that its only author is God
These begin with its style, which is unlike any human writing,
and include its subject matter and different statements.
The Qur’an certainly speaks about war and jihad. But when we
take all statements in the Qur’an about war, and also take into
consideration the circumstances prevailing at the time of the
revelation of each, and relate this to the final statements, we are
bound to have a firm conviction that war in Islam is a defensive
one. But we have to add here that its being defensive does not mean
that Muslims must wait until they are attacked before taking to
arms. It means that they may take measures to remove the threat of
I do not wish to go into what the Bible say about war, but you
undoubtedly realize that human beings often resort to war without
You only need to look at what the US and UK have been doing over
the last couple of years to realize this. Hence, a religion that
provides a code of living, as Islam does must address the
possibility of war. The Qur’an certainly does so, and the code it
provides is more civilized than any in the whole history of
humanity, even in our modern times.