Peace and Nonviolence in Islam

Authored by: Ramin Jahanbegloo

The Routledge Handbook of Pacifism and Nonviolence

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138194663
eBook ISBN: 9781315638751
Adobe ISBN:


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Although Islam is sometimes disparaged as a culture and religion of violence, there are deep resources within Islam for understanding and developing peace and nonviolence. In Islam, non-coercion is more important than violence, which requires strong moral justification and which must end at the first opportunity. This chapter considers concepts such as salam and jihad. One of the first things that a devout Muslim is likely to teach a non-Muslim is that Islam is a religion of peace, and not a doctrine of violence and cruelty. Islam and the Arabic term salam (“peace”) derive from the same trilateral root, sa-li-ma, “to be safe, secure, free from any evil or affliction.” As a noun derived from this root, salam denotes a condition of peace or safety while also connoting “freedom from faults and defects.” For Muslims the related term Islam, conventionally translated as “surrender or submission to the will of God,” suggests a state of peace and security that comes through renunciation of willfulness and resignation to a higher power (see Funk and Said 2009: 61).

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