All monotheistic religions have a history blighted by violence. These were well contextualized acts of violence during an era which knew no sense of peace, order, stability or even organized society. Biblical pages have series of verses chronicling God’s commands to kill, slaughter, vanquish and plunder. The Quran has the same too.
The previous statement is a Captain Obvious. Of all the religions in the world, Islam gets scrutinized a tad more than any other religion. The reason is a bit complex. It is not because a majority of acts of violence in the world are caused by five times a day praying humans. The numbers are there to prove that. I will not bore you with it. Neither is the extra attention as a result of the religion being the only one with its followers carrying out religious sanctioned violence. In the middle of the African continent lives a man by the name Laurent Kony. You might have heard his name from #Kony2012, the hashtag movement which brought the Bible inspired atrocities of this man to the attention of the world.
It might sound apologetic but Muslims really do not have a hegemony over violence. The media is hell bent on letting you believe so, evident in how a killer with a Muslim name gets called a terrorist but a Christian murderer is most usually called mentally deranged.
These terrorists do get their inspiration from the very books mainstream non-violent Muslims get the command to be tolerant and appreciate peace. In these book, the story of Badr is told. Yesterday marked the anniversary of the first full out war fought by Muslims and led by the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Before the war, the Muslims had been forced to emigrate from their homes in Mecca to Madina. Robbed of what was lawfully theirs and sacked from their birth homes, they had no option but to pick up their swords and shields and fight for what was legally and legitimately theirs. But the encounter had not even started off as a battle. The Muslims in Madina had heard of a Mecca owned caravan and knowing what had been taken from them, they saw it as a golden opportunity to take what was theirs. It was this that led to the non-Muslims of Mecca quickly gathering all fighting hands and putting together an oversized army once compared to what the Muslims had.
It was a little above 300 fighters on the side of the Muslims fighting against more than a thousand non-believers. But winning did not lie in the bosom of man but that of God. The Muslims had a resounding victory and the entrenchment of Islam in Arabia began.
The battle of Badr, like Antietam to the Unionists or Normandy for the allies was that battle which changed everything for the Muslims. It was no longer an issue of being passive about your faith but asserting it without fear or favor except that of God.
Romanticizing this battle is never the same as condoning the atrocious actions of all the nut jobs currently running around the world in the name of Jihad. With Badr, you had a people wronged for so long engaging in a battle which protected the chartering of Islamic ethos, amongst which are the strictest of war time rules. Rules so deep running, it called on Muslim warriors to
…….not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy’s flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone
Islam was never a pacifist religion. Wars were a part of its history and are allowed in self-defense and righting wrong. What is not Islam is the buffoonery of suicide bombers and marauding weirdoes.