The Origin of the Term “Religion of Peace”
By Louis Palme
President Bush said it on Sept. 16, 2001, “Islam is Peace.” President Obama said it on numerous occasions, for example on Nov 7, 2010, in India, “Islam embodied a religion of peace.” This mantra is also used by the typical Muslim-on-the-street who is trying to defend against Islam’s well-earned reputation for violence and terrorism. When asked where in the Quran does it say that, Muslims cannot cite a verse. It just isn’t there – at least in those words.
So where did that expression come from? It turns out that there was a book printed in India in 1930 (and again in 1988) with the title – The Religion of Peace. The author was Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi, a British-educated historian who was later involved in the establishment of Pakistan. His argument centered around the origin of the word Islam, which he claimed to be from the same root as peace. Actually, as you will read below, it is derived from the word submission (to Allah and Sharia Law).
Due to the Quran being comprised both of revelations received in Mecca when Muslims were outnumbered by non-Muslims and of revelations received in Medina when Islam was the dominate religion, Muslims can find Meccan verses supporting a peaceful Islam which were later overturned (abrogated) by the more militant verses revealed in Medina. However, Muslims have no problem believing both A and B, even if those two statements contradict. That is nonsense to non-Muslims.
Qureshi engages in some sleight-of-hand to underscore the brotherly love of Muslims for all people. His book, of course, was written before the partition of India, when millions of Muslims fled India to the newly-created Pakistan to avoid living in a mixed community ruled democratically by both Muslims and non-Muslims. Qureshi misquotes Surah 2:213 as “All men are a single nation.” The text actually explains that all men were a single nation until, through envy of one another, people began to dispute the good news and warnings of the prophets. A more revealing verse regarding “brotherly love” is Surah 48:29: “Muhammad is Allah’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.”
Abode of Muslim Peace finally found:
According to Qureshi, “A true Muslim’s life after death shall be perfect peace; for according to Islam, salvation is nothing but the attainment of complete peace. Paradise is ‘the abode of peace’ — for the Quran says, ‘And their greetings there shall be; Peace.’(Surah 10:10)”
Qureshi adds another verse to underscore his point: “They shall not hear therein vain or sinful discourse except Peace, Peace.” (Surah 56:25 – 26)
There you have it. Peace for Muslims is realized only after death when they arrive in Paradise. The important question, then, is what must Muslims do to get to Paradise?
How to be assured of Peace in Islam:
The Quran reminds Muslim that those who “fight for the cause of Allah” are superior in Allah’s estimation than those who stay at home. (Surah 4:95)
“Allah has purchased from the faithful their lives and worldly goods and in return has promised them the Garden. They will fight for the cause of Allah, slay and be slain. . . .Rejoice in the bargain you have made.” (Surah 9:111)
A reliable Hadith compiled by Bukhari states, “I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “The example of a Mujahid (“one who engages in jihad”) in Allah’s Cause– and Allah knows better who really strives in His Cause—-is like a person who fasts and prays continuously. Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty.” (52:46)
The promise of Paradise for women may be even more challenging: One hadith says, “If a woman dies while her husband was pleased with her, she will enter into Paradise.” (Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi – one of the six canonical collections of hadith)
What Honest Muslims Say about Peace:
In April 2010, in the United Kingdom, Anjem Choudary, an Islamic radical, said, “You can’t say that Islam is a religion of peace, because Islam does not mean peace. Islam means submission. So the Muslim is one who submits. There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam.” He also said, “The Koran is full of, you know, jihad is the most talked-about duty in the Koran other than tawhid belief. Nothing else is mentioned more than the topic of fighting.” (There are 164 “jihad” verses in the Quran, including passages that mention a military expedition, fighting, or distributing war spoils.)
In June, 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-appointed caliph of the Islamic State (ISIS), said, “Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting. No-one should believe that the war that we are waging is the war of the Islamic State. It is the war of all Muslims, but the Islamic State is spearheading it. It is the war of Muslims against infidels.” (Sharia Law – Reliance of the Traveler – defines under “objectives of jihad” as the caliph making war on Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax – (Para. o9.8.)
So the next time someone touts Islam as the “Religion of Peace,” ask him/her to show you where it says that in the Quran or in a hadith. They can’t, because it isn’t there, and it never will be.