What Does Islam Say About Terrorism?

Posted: 26 Jamad-u-Thani 1422, 14 September 2001

Of course Islam stands firmly against terrorism. To be sure, "terrorism" is a recent term and for obvious reasons you cannot find it in the Qur'an, Hadith, or any old scriptures of other religions for that matter.

What Qur'an and Hadith do spell out clearly is that human life is sacred and that spilling blood of innocent people is a major sin and a major crime. Islam declares that killing another human being is a crime against humanity. "On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people." [Qur'an, Al-Maidah 5:32]. It does not distinguish between believers and non-believers in granting that sacred right to life.

It tells us that even in war, Muslim soldiers are not to kill women, children, and even non-combatant men. They are not even to destroy trees.

Islam does emphasize justice most strongly and calls for "an eye for an eye." But it does not mean an innocent eye for an innocent eye. It means the eye of the perpetrator for the eye of the victim. The perpetrators must be punished but you cannot punish one person for the crime of another.

The indiscriminate killing of innocents is repugnant to Islam, whether it is given the label of "terrorism" or of "war against terrorism."