There is No Justification for War in Islam
Those who allege that Islam is a religion of war must realize that such a perspective is in fact diametrically opposed to the teachings of Islam. There is no justification for attacking the other side in the Qur’an. The Qur’an provides the very finest description of democracy and freedoms. It is impossible in a climate of democracy and freedom to denounce the other side as the enemy or to seek to silence it. That climate is one in which everyone is respected and everyone can speak freely and Islamic Sharia describes just that environment. Therefore, there is no justification for offensive warfare in the Qur’an. Let us examine this fact through the words of verses of the Qur’an:
War to Enforce Conversion to Islam?
Those who employ war, force or coercion to impose Islam on someone are betraying the Qur’an. One of the most explicit statements in the Qur’an is that “there is no compulsion in the religion”:
There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned.... (Qur'an, 2:256)
This is an explicit commandment of the Qur’an. No Muslim can disobey that command and force anyone else to be devout. That is expressly forbidden in the Qur’an.
Our Prophet (pbuh) is only an adviser. He has a responsibility to preach and introduce communities to Islam, the last revealed religion. At that time, some of those who heard about Islam from the mouths of our Prophet (pbuh) and other Muslims came to believe, while others did not. As explicitly required by the Qur’an, neither our Prophet (pbuh) nor the other Muslims with him ever resorted to compulsion. That is prohibited in the Qur’an. Our Prophet (pbuh) is reminded in the Qur’an; “So remind them! You are only a reminder. You cannot compel them [to believe].” (Qur'an, 88:21-22) Compulsion is therefore absolutely forbidden.
According to the Qur’an, all Muslims have a duty to tell people of the moral values of Islam, but nobody can use compulsion and say, “You must become a Muslim” or “You must perform the religious observances.” The purpose of the Qur’an is to bring love and peace to the world. Such pressure is therefore incompatible with the Qur’an.
Other verses in which compulsion is prohibited read:
Say: “It is the truth from your Lord; so let whoever wishes have faith and whoever wishes be irreligious”… (Qur'an, 18:29)
If your Lord had willed, all the people on the earth would have had faith. Do you think you can force people to be believers ? (Qur'an, 10:99)
We know best what they say. You are not a dictator over them. So remind, with the Qur’an, whoever fears My threat. (Qur'an, 50:45)
Say: “Unbelievers! I do not worship what you worship
and you do not worship what I worship. Nor will I worship what you worship nor will you worship what I worship.
You have your religion and I have my religion.’ (Qur'an, 109:1-6)
Since force and compulsion are prohibited in the Qur’an, there is no justification for war, aggression, enmity or anger. What things, apart from converting, would Muslims compel polytheistic communities to do? It is clear that it is unlawful for someone to be forced to convert. Therefore, according to the Islam in the Qur’an, imposing Islam can never be a pretext for war.
War for ideological or ethnic superiority?
Islam respects all ideologies, all nations, all ethnic groups, all ideas and all faiths. Islam is a religion in which all ideas are listened to and that permits the maximum possible freedom of ideas. War due to any clash of ideas or ethnicity is of course impossible in a faith with such a conception of democracy.
War for the Purpose of Spreading the Rules of Islam to be Introduced by a Muslim Leader?
As we have already seen in detail, according to the Qur’an, a Muslim leader must be someone who also embraces Christians, Jews, atheists, communists, agnostics, Buddhists and people who adhere to other beliefs and ideological systems in the community he leads. He must implement complete freedom of ideas. He must allow people complete liberty. Conflict, slander and hypocritical people appear where there are no freedoms. He must prevent that and do what the Qur’an requires. As stated in the verse “You who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for God alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives.” (Qur'an, 17:70)he has a responsibility to maintain justice without regard for individuals, beliefs or origins, even if that works against himself.