Christianity's Protest Against Islam
Previously we said that one of the points that, in its own view, the world of Christianity considers to be a weak point of Islam is the issue of Islamic jihad, which prompts it to say that Islam is a religion of war, not a religion of peace, while Christianity is a religion of peace. It says that war is totally bad and peace is good, and any religion that is divinely founded must advocate peace which is a good thing, and not advocate war, which is a bad thing. Until yesterday Christianity looked at things from the angle of morals; morals exclusive to Christianity; morals that have entered the stage of "turning the other cheek;" morals that foster limpidity. But Christianity today has switched positions.
It has changed its face. It now looks at things from a different angle, and carries on its propaganda through a different channel, through the channel of essential human rights and the essential human right to freedom. Through the channel of "war being totally opposed to the right to freedom." To freedom of belief, to freedom of will, to freedom of choice of religion, nationality and other things. But we Muslims look at the issue from both angles, both from the moral angle and the standards of morals, and also from the angle of human rights and the "new" human standards. I stated the answer to this matter in the previous sitting. It is self-evident and clear that what the Christians are saying is not at all valid.
Of course peace is good. There is no doubt about it. And war, for the sake of aggression against other people - people who have no intentions against the aggressor, no intentions against that aggressive society - war for the sake of occupying that unsuspecting nation's lands and of grabbing their property, for the sake of enslaving its people, for the sake of subjecting them to the influence and laws of the aggressors, is undoubtedly bad. That which is bad is transgression and aggression. Aggression is bad.
But all war, on all sides, is not always aggression. War can be aggressive and it can also be a reply to aggression, for sometimes the reply to aggression must be given by force. There are times that force is the only reply that can be given.
Any religion, if it is a complete religion, must have thought about what it will do on that day when it is faced with aggression, or, let us suppose, it is not itself faced with aggression but another people are. It is for such a day that religion must have a law of war, a law of jihad. The Christians say that peace is good, and we agree; peace is good. But what about submission, humiliation and misery? Are submission, humiliation and misery also good? If one power is faced with another power and both advocate peace, both of them desire, in today's terms, to live in peaceful coexistence without one power wishing to aggress the other, but both of them willing to live in peace with reciprocal rights and mutual respect, then this is called peace and is good and essential. There is a time, however, when one group is the aggressor and, on the pretext of war being bad, the other group accepts surrender, which means that the humiliation of having to tolerate aggression becomes imposed upon it. The name of this is not peace. The name of this is willing acceptance of humiliation and misery. Such a submission in the face of force can never be called peace. For example, while you are passing a desert, an armed bandit attacks you suddenly and orders you to "get off your car quickly, raise your hand and give me anything you have."
Here you submit yourself and say to him: "I am an advocate of peace and opposed to war completely. I'll accept anything you order. I give you my money, my luggage and baggage, my car and I'll obey anything you say. Say anything you want and I will give it to you. Because I advocate peace." This is not advocation of peace. This is the acceptance of humiliation. In this case a man must defend his property, his prestige unless he knows that if he wants to defend, his property will be abolished, his blood will be shed and there will be no use in it. Of course it must be known that sometimes the blood is very effective and fighting is very worthful and it is not that someone's blood be shed at defile and then everything comes to end. No, resistance here is not wise and one must sacrifice one's money and wealth in order to save one's life.
There is a difference between the advocation of peace and the acceptance of humiliation. Islam never gives permission to be humiliated, while at the same time it strongly advocates peace.
What I want to stress is the importance of this issue which Christians and others have used to attack and protest against Islam, claiming it to be Islam's weak point, adding that the life of the Holy Prophet was exactly this: that Islam is a religion of the sword; that Muslims raised the sword over the heads of people and said, "Choose Islam or die;" and that people accepted Islam in order to stay alive. Therefore, I think it is necessary for us to discuss this issue thoroughly and minutely, and we will use not only verses from the Quran, but also confirmed traditions of the Prophet and glimpses from his life.
Adapted from the book: "Jihad; The Holy War of Islam and Its Legitimacy in the Quran" by: "Ayatullah Morteza Mutahhari"
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