THE PROPHET OF PEACE
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, president of the Islamic Centre, New Delhi, founded the Centre for Peace and Spirituality (CPS International) in 2001. These
organizations are dedicated to presenting Islam in the modern idiom. The Maulana is the author of The True Jihad, Islam Rediscovered, Islam and Peace and
numerous other best-selling books on Islam.
The Prophet of Peace
Teachings of the Prophet Muhammad
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
A Blinkered Approach to History
History from a Muslim Perspective
The Quran's Plan for Man
The Islamic Model
A Prophet of Peace
Political Islam and Its Proponents
The Muslim Brotherhood
Political Extremism and Islam
Analysing the Phenomenon of Terrorism
Countering the Terrorists' Ideology
Does the Quran Support Terrorism?
Negative Thinking Alien to Islam
Jihad or Terrorism
Arguments against Suicide Bombing
Jihad against Muslim Rulers
Who Are Kafirs?
The Difference between Enemy and Attacker
Dealing with Oppression
Peace for the Sake of Peace
Democracy and Political Islam
The Role of the Muslim Media
Intellectual Development in Religion
Islam and Modern Science
Who Is Dajjal?
An Abode of Peace
The Gifts from the West
The Problem of Palestine
The Difference between Islam and Muslims
Terrorism is one of the gravest threats the world is facing today. The tragedy and irony of it is that most acts of armed violence by groups or individuals are being
carried out in the name of religion, especially Islam.
Any terrorist, indeed any individual, can fulfil a given mission properly only when he is ideologically convinced of its validity. Ideology provides man with the
necessary inspiration. Without an ideology, he fails to summon the requisite energy and enthusiasm so vital to the success of any struggle. This is as true of terrorism as
it is of any other field of human endeavour.
Some countries are engaged in crushing terrorism in the name of Islam through military action, but that alone will not suffice to eliminate this phenomenon. Apart
from often being armed to their teeth, today's terrorists are consumed by the ideology of their cause. So, engaging them is not simply an issue of gun versus gun. It has
to be an issue of gun versus ideology.
Violence always begins in the mind; it needs to be uprooted therefore from the mind itself. We have to find an ideology of peace with which to confront the
ideology of violence; without that there will be no end to the violence. The horrendous events that took place in New York and Washington on 11 September 2001
are adequate proof of this point. They effectively demonstrated that, with a violent bent of mind, man can wage a war without even being in possession of arms. He
can bombard without a bomb. Therefore, we have to eradicate the violent mindset and inculcate instead a peaceful way of thinking.
Let us not forget that where even a superpower cannot afford an endless war, the terrorist can. Terrorists are people of a different breed; their ultimate goal is not
necessarily victory. Death too is a desired goal. According to their self-devised ideology, they believe that if they die in a militant struggle, they will instantly enter
Paradise. Thus, for them, both victory and defeat have equal value—in either case, they believe that they are the winners. On the strength of this misleading ideology,
terrorists can sustain their militancy for an indefinite period of time, even for many generations. But although they belong to a different breed, they are not a people
apart. They are an integral part of the contemporary society they live in. And the greatest source of their strength is the ideological factory they run, aimed at
brainwashing the youth. This brainwashing process goes on unceasingly, and there is always a long queue of those who want to be recruited and end up as
Terrorism will persist in one form or another until the ideology of violence is countered with another ideology based on peace. But let us first understand the
ideology of violence that is resulting in terrorism. This ideology is that Islam is a political system and that it is the duty of all Muslims to establish the political rule of
Islam in the world. This kind of thinking was not prevalent during the time of Prophet Muhammad or his early companions. It is a later innovation. This was developed
over the last few centuries by a handful of people and has become widespread in the Muslim world today. This has led to the present-day violence.
A large number of Muslims, especially many among the youth, have become obsessed with this ideology and are trying to establish the political rule of Islam,
thinking it to be their ticket to Paradise. Having failed to achieve this objective of establishing Islamic rule by peaceful methods, they have started resorting to suicide
bombing. The reasoning behind this seems to be 'If we cannot eliminate non-Islamic rule, let us at least destabilize it and pave the way for Islamic rule'.
After studying Islam by referring to its original sources— the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (the Hadith)—one can say with certainty that the
political interpretation of Islam is an innovation and the real Islam, as followed by Prophet Muhammad and his early followers, is based upon peace, compassion and
A new strategy must now be adopted, a strategy that requires developing a full-fledged ideology of peace to counter the ideology of violence. The ideology of
violence is prevalent all over the world and is so deep-rooted in the minds of not only the extremists but also of many common Muslims that it is important to expose
this ideology for what it is and show in detail how it contradicts Quranic teachings. Everyone will thus see the stark difference between the two.
Time and again, throughout the ages, people have risen in rebellion and made their mark on human history, but seldom did they attain the level that the 'Islamists'
of today have taken it to. There are two main reasons for this state of events—modern weaponry and modern media. These are the twin factors that have propelled
terrorism into the limelight.
In earlier times there were neither aeroplanes nor 110 storey buildings. That is why no person could conspire to hijack aeroplanes and crash them into high-rise
buildings. This has become feasible only with modern technological progress and development. Moreover, it is only very recently that it has become possible for such
events to be televised as they take place and to be communicated by the media almost instantly to people all over the world. The plain truth is that a terrorist is
an ordinary human being; and if he has been accorded the status of an internationally acclaimed militant activist, it is thanks in no small measure to modern
Another aspect of this phenomenon which must be questioned is the terrorist's ideology. The extremists call their terrorist culture 'Islamic jihad'—clearly a
misnomer— and portray their actions as having been carried out under the banner of Islam. In this manner, the religion of Islam gets falsely linked with terrorist
activities, and its name gets besmirched. It was repeated acts of terrorism that led the Daily Times, London, to study Islam with reference to bin Laden, and
then, upholding sensationalism over objectivity, produce an article entitled 'A Religion That Sanctions Violence'.
Contrary to common belief, Islam, by definition, is a religion of peace. The very word 'Islam' (from the Arabic silm) means 'peace'. According to a
tradition of the Prophet, 'Peace is Islam',1 in other words, peace is a prerequisite of Islam. The same is stated in the Hadith:
'A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands people are safe.'2
Further, one of the attributes of God mentioned in the Quran (59:23) is As-Salam, which means 'peace and security'. Thus, God's Being itself is a
manifestation of peace. Indeed, 'God is Peace'.3 The Quran (5:16) likens divine guidance to the paths of peace. Paradise, which is the ideal human
abode, is called the 'Home of Peace' (10:25). It is also said that the people of Paradise will wish one another peace— this indicates that the social culture of the
people of Paradise will be based on peace.
At a three-day symposium held at the American University in Washington, in February 1998, I made a speech on 'Islam and Peace', where I said:
It is no exaggeration to say that Islam and violence are contradictory to each other. The concept of Islamic violence is so obviously unfounded that prima facie it
stands rejected. The fact that violence is not sustainable in the present world is sufficient indication that violence as a principle is quite alien to the scheme of things in
Islam. Islam claims to be an eternal religion and, as such, could never afford to uphold any principle which could not stand up to the test of time. Any attempt to
bracket violence with Islam amounts therefore to casting doubt upon the very eternity of the Islamic religion. 'Islamic terrorism' is a contradiction in terms, much like
'pacifist terrorism'. The truth of the matter is that all the teachings of Islam are based directly or indirectly on the principle of peace.
As regards suicide bombings, according to Islam, life is so precious that it should never be terminated at one's will on any pretext. Islam is a harbinger of life. It
has no room for death. That is why the principle of patience is given the utmost importance in Islam.
The problem is that while the study of Islam always used to be done with reference to the Quran, it is now being done with reference to terrorist activities and the
ideology that supports them. This calls for an objective review so that a proper distinction may be made between Islam and the politically motivated 'Islamic
This book takes an objective view of the self-styled jihadi terrorist movements and attempts to examine how these movements stand in relation to the Islamic
ideology based on the Quran and the Hadith—the original sources of Islam. This book may be regarded as a study of Islam with reference to terrorism, or,
conversely, as a study of terrorism
with reference to Islam. Today, both issues are so closely interlinked as to be almost inseparable. The study of one becomes the study of the other.
The terrorists have concocted a wrong interpretation of the Quran; this interpretation has it that the killing of non-Muslims whom they refer to as kafirs is
an act of worship and a guarantee of entry into Paradise. The movement of the terrorists is a movement against humanity. To put an end to this movement, what is
required is to bring about a de-conditioning of its adherents. This can be done only by meeting them on an intellectual level and impressing upon them the true and
positive picture of Islam based on the ideology of peace rather than on their deceitful ideology of violence.
What is jihad? What is the Quran's position on terrorism? What did the Prophet Muhammad say of those who took their own lives?
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, one of the most eminent scholars of Islam in the contemporary Muslim world, draws on original Arabic sources to correct
misconceptions about Islam's early history and to establish that the revolution brought about by the Prophet was entirely bloodless. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad
formulated an ideal ideology of peace which he faithfully and rigorously put into practice. In his time, there were some minor skirmishes, but no full-fledged wars.
The Prophet of Peace deals with the significant issues associated with the ' life of the Prophet, including jihad, ijtihaad, the concept of war and the
relationship with other religious communities. Quoting extensively from the Quran and the Hadith, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan illuminates the Islamic view of
modernity, secularism, democracy, freedom of speech and the relevance of Islam in the modern age, clarifying that Islam as revealed in the Quran is not
anti-modernity, nor does it advocate violence.
Persuasive and compelling in its breadth and wisdom, this book presents an authentic picture of the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and is a must for
all those who wish to understand Islam and its place in the world today.