Dr. Ali S. Awadh Asseri
(Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon)
The Islamic Perspective on Terrorism
O, Mankind, we have created you from male and female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you before God is the one who is most pious.
This eternal call from Almighty God represents the true spirit of Islam, a religion of peace, love, tolerance, and brotherhood relevant for all ages and the entire humanity. Islam does not advocate or condone terrorism. The term “terrorism” is not mentioned in the holy Qur’an literally, but it is expressed in other words such as mischief in the land, trespass, war or injustice. A careful examination of the holy Qur’an reveals deep concern about the security of souls, money, and honour. Accordingly, the holy Qur’an emphatically decries deeds that spoil these benefits (blessings) for the common people.
The overwhelming theme of the Qur’an is peace, as long as there is no oppression or injustice. According to the holy Qur’an, relations of the Muslims with non-Muslims are strictly based on peace, confidence, tolerance and respect for each other. Islam forbids the killings of innocent people irrespective of their religions or beliefs. The holy Qur’an clearly commands: ‘There shall be no compulsion in religion’, instructing the holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) not to force people to convert to Islam, unless they wish to do so by their own conviction. This reflects the tolerance of Islam. After all, the essence of almost all religions, including Islam, is peace, tolerance, love, freedom of beliefs and mutual understanding.
While Islam clearly calls upon all Muslims to defend themselves, it simultaneously obliges them not to be the aggressors. Islam is also very clear about the conduct of Muslims in war and in peace. Kindness and tolerance are the main teachings for Muslims in both situations. Muslim fighters are not allowed to harm a child, a woman or the elderly during a military campaign. They are not even permitted to cut down a tree in an enemy’s land. The Qur’an emphasizes that ‘killing one person without justice is as if killing the whole of humanity, and saving one person is as if saving the entire humanity’. How then could a religion such as Islam condone terrorism?
 The holy Qur’an, Surah 49, Verse 1.
 Ibid., Surah 2, Verse 256.
 Ibid., Surah Al-Maida, Verse 32.