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Quranic Principles of Nonviolence


Table of Contents

The Promotion of Kindness and Justice

Islam promotes the values of kindness and justice, and as part of these principles, Muslims are instructed to treat others with compassion and fairness. In the Quran, Allah commands: “Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the near of kin, the neighbor who is of kin and the neighbor who is not of kin, and the friend and the wandering stranger (you do a good deed for Allah’s sake)…For those who do not expect to meet Me [i.e. Deniers of Resurrection] is a severe torment.” (42:36-39)
These verses illustrate the importance of kindness and justice in Islam. It emphasizes that these virtues should be practiced towards one’s parents, relatives, neighbors, and strangers because they are all part of the human family. This principle of compassion and fairness is founded on the idea that human beings are created equal and should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their social standing or creed.

Resolving Conflicts Through Dialogue

The Quran elaborates on the virtues of dialogue and negotiations as means of resolving conflicts. In the Quranic narrative of Prophet Joseph, it is revealed that Joseph’s brothers arranged to imprison him. After realizing the severity of their action, they eventually regretted their decision and asked for forgiveness. Joseph responded: “No blame shall be attached to you this day; Allah will forgive you: and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful” (12:92). This story underlines that dialogue and forgiveness are keys to resolving conflicts peacefully. This principle of dialogue is engrained in the Quran, where Allah commands: “And let not the hatred of any people prevent you from being just and equal: be just; that is nearer to righteousness; and fear Allah; for Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do” (5:8).

The Justification of Self-defense

While Islam places a high value on nonviolence and peace, it also recognizes the right to self-defense in situations where one is physically threatened. In such circumstances, Muslims are commanded by the Quran to defend themselves and their communities authentically saying: “So fight (O Muhammad) against the disbelievers collectively as they (also) make a general attempt to suppress you collectively…” (42:39)
This verse provides Muslims with a justification for self-defense in situations where their religion, life, and property are under attack. However, this defense should be a last resort and should be limited only to the extent of protection required.

The Avoidance of Hostility and Aggression

Islam also advocates the avoidance of hostility and aggression, as these create enmity and bitterness between individuals and communities. Allah in the Quran explicitly declares: “And let not the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just: that is nearer to righteousness; and fear Allah: for Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do” (5:8). This verse emphasizes the importance of justice and fairness above petty hatreds and animosities towards others. This principle of non-aggression underlines that the ends do not justify the means, and the promotion of social justice should not be at the cost of harming one’s neighbors.

The Importance of Mercy and Forgiveness

Finally, Islam encourages the values of mercy and forgiveness as keys for overcoming conflicts and promoting peace. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said on many occasions: “Allah’s mercy is just like the ocean, whoever wants to receive a portion of that mercy, should forgive others.” (al-Bukhari and Muslim) Islam teaches us that forgiveness and mercy are virtues that promote peace and harmony amidst conflicts. Muslims are encouraged to forgive and be merciful towards others, as it is a reflection of the mercy that Allah has showered upon them. Forgiveness and mercy are the key to bridging the gap between adversaries and promoting peace and harmony.


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Ramadan Kareem

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