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Religious Rejection of Violence

Islam always invites to moderation and justice.

The world nowadays is full of violence and we can find extremism in individual and social aspects. Sometimes it is covert and sometimes it is overt. As a religion of peace, Islam considers violence as a moral vice and thus rejects it totally. On one hand, from the moral point of view, in his book Ja’mi’ al-Sa’adat, the famous moral scholar Mulla Mahdi Naraqi considered violence as a moral vice. On the other hand, from the political point of view, you can see the great philosopher al-Farabi who called the political dictatorship violence and considered it a political evil character. And from the philosophical point of view, we can see views like that of Ikhwan al-Safa who call violence, a philosophical evil entity.

Islam always invites to moderation and justice. According to the Qur’an and hadiths, being immoderate implies faithlessness or weakness of faith.

It is notable to distinguish between being firm and strong in faith and showing negative violence. Since, such violence has roots in injustice and irrationality, therefore there is no space for negative violence in religion. This is why social violence in a religious society comes from the lack of knowledge about the religion.

In other words, we have two kinds of negative violence:

  • Violence of religious people (not religious violence):

The history has had lots of unjust wars between followers of different religions and denominations which have been justified as religious wars, having some justifications such as preaching while they were all wrong and only weak excuses. So, a lot of faithful innocents were scarified in such wars. And it differs from the many defensive wars based on truth, defending souls and lands.

Reasons behind rejecting negative violence by religion:

A: not fully understanding the religion; due to which, instead of deep understanding of the truth of the religion, some people grasped superficial understanding and  the religion as only at what happened in the history by people. It is notable that the extremists are those who become far from true religious leaders and even accuse them of having comfort-seeking worldly lives. Since they think they are totally right, they feel satisfied with such violence. But we can clearly see the call of religious scriptures towards peaceful coexistence, mercy and respecting other thoughts.

B: Misunderstanding other(s) with no consideration of commonalities. In other word, every one or group think that God is totally at his side or his group and others are totally wrong. This is extreme assumption of rightfulness and seeing oneself rightful.

C: Non-religious profit-seeking reasons. Those unjust political and rich ones who misuse religion for misleading common people. Harsh people always justify their wrong deeds and avoid losing their reputation, they bring religious justifications. Thus, misusing religion brings about violence.

  • Secular violence:

The point is that you can find the same happening and violence in personal, social or political actions of secular governments as well.

The root of violence:

Quran talks about three kinds of ignorance with the common meaning of no wisdom and no virtue:

Verse 154 chapter AliImran talks about thinking of Allah other than the truth – the thought of ignorance and verse 26 chapter Fath says chauvinism is the chauvinism of the time of ignorance and verse 33 chapter Ahzab speaks about the display of the former times of ignorance.

The Way of Rejecting this:

Islamic philosophers think of anger as the root of the violence and see the reason in contrast to it. This meaning of reason opposes all kinds of ignorance.

The problem that the human being suffers nowadays is the problem that reason was not considered as the virtue and wisdom in the modern world. Moral and theological ignorance with this meaning cause the increase of political ignorance and extreme violence.

Therefore, it is necessary to correct individual beliefs and morality first, and second, in the level of social aspect, we need to remove irrational faith and also irrational secularism through the social systems and go towards the rational faith.

According to the Qur’an, within the family we understand lots of concepts like kindness, reformation, purity, sacrifice, righteousness, worshiping, forgiveness, etc. The Qur’an displays these concepts practically in the life of prophets and other faithful ones.

Therefore, we need to focus on some human features such as patience, sacrifice and having logic of discourse for rejecting the violence.

Among other factors are brotherhood and common human rights and also paying attention to the differences with focus on mutual cooperation.

Mostafa DrayabariBy: Seyyed Mostafa Daryabari
PhD in Islamic Studies, International Institute for Islamic Studies
Vice president in the International Institute for Islamic Studies and Head of Philosophy of Religion scientific group

About Alireza Mosaddeq

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