I want to begin with my viewpoint on how terror and Islam cannot be linked to each other. First of all, the Qur’an, which is the Divine Book of Islam, always teaches believers to keep a well-balanced life; always deal with justice, and abstain from immoral actions. It describes the believers as ‘the people of the middle path’ which are away from all types of radicalism. So this is the basics of the Qur’anic view on dealing with people in general.
Aside from the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, was a representative of this middle path by becoming the symbol of the Qur’anic teachings. He always sought for peace in his dealings. Some people want to depict him, as a ‘prophet of war’ who fought and shed blood. In fact, he never wanted those wars to happen. Actually he tried to avoid all the fights and killings as much as possible. I think this is the most important part. He never became a man of war, because his agenda was not fighting with people in battlefields to eliminate them and send them to Hell. His agenda was to ‘save’ each individual. He came to make everyone live not die. Because it was his mission. ..Also, when we take into account the whole 23 years of his prophethood, we can say that those wars took –only two and a half months– including the preparations and other work related to the battles. He never killed one single human being throughout his lifetime, because he would not do that!
Some may ask what were the reasons that the prophet was involved in some battles?
If we go back, and take a look at the life of the Prophet, we see that Muslims never engaged in fighting, in the first 15 years of Islam. Even in the Meccan period when Muslims had to face the worst torture and harsh conditions in their lives, they were not involved in war; they did not retaliate for the torture with violence. Some early Muslims were even killed by Meccans, but they stayed patient. The prophet said that they had to stand firm and be patient against all the tortures, because it was not only them who were suffering such troubles, there were many previous believers who suffered similar things or even worse tortures at the hands of disbelievers. He was telling the Muslims that they had to bear certain difficulties in order to attain Paradise.
When it comes to the Medina period, the first two years were peaceful, because both believers and non-believers lived together within one community, which is called the Ummah of the Prophet. So all the Jews, Christians, and people from other faiths signed the Medina Charter and agreed upon living under the leadership of the Prophet. With this pact, the prophet had secured the life and properties of non-Muslims who lived under the Islamic State in Medina. He also said: Whoever unjustly treats a non-Muslim living under the constution unjustly treats me.
Muslims and non-Muslims lived peacefully in Medina until the Meccans began to prepare an army to attack Muslims in Medina. A few other battles followed it when Meccans were defeated in the first war and wanted revenge for their defeat.
Another aspect of the Prophet is that he set some strict rules and limitations on the battles. He ordered his companions to always treat everyone with justice, and that no injustice will be accepted. And he told them to be careful about children, and not touch the elderly and women; he said: do not touch the clergy; do not to destroy nature, like trees, fields and buildings. His companions obeyed his orders. Not even one child or woman was killed during all the battles. Also, non-combatants were never hurt in any of the battles. The prophet commanded that the companions not do anything to the enemies beyond what was done to them. He was saying “you can only fight with those who fight with you”
Another incident is that after the battle of Badr, there were 70 captives and we see that he treated to them kindly. He said to his companions: untie the ropes of the captives, do not touch the women, buy new clothes for them, share your food with them. After this good treatment from the Muslims, some of the captives actually became Muslim. After a few days, the prophet released all of the captives…
When we come back to today, we see some minor groups, who cause terror in the name of Islam. They call themselves Muslim but what they do is not really related to the Islamic principles which value human dignity and human life. There is no terror or chaos or anarchy in Prophet Muhammad’s life. He actually came to save the World from all the anarchy and injustices in his time.
As for these contemporary people who cause terror and anarchy, most of them are ignorant, poor, having phsycological or social problems and who had been used by other evil intentioned or ignorant people. For instance, many of them appear to be, either in need of money, or having identity problems. The people who manipulate these ignorant youth obviously misinterpret some of the Qur’anic verses on fighting without looking at their historical context and lead them, to a radical way which makes all Muslims suffer. So, if they were able to understand the Qur’an as a whole and know the life of the Prophet in its true sense, it would surely be different.
I think the solution to the problem of terror and anarchy is to get proper religious education through studying the main resources of Islam, which is the Qur’an and the Life of P.M. pbuh.