What Does Islam Say about Terrorism?
Islam, a religion of mercy, does not permit terrorism. In the Quran, God has said:
God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (Quran, 60:8)

The Prophet Muhammad used to prohibit soldiers from killing women and children,1 and he would advise them: {...Do not betray, do not be excessive, do not kill a newborn child.}2 And he also said: {Whoever has killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise, though its fragrance is found for a span of forty years.}3

Also, the Prophet Muhammad has forbidden punishment with fire.4

He once listed murder as the second of the major sins,5 and he even warned that on the Day of Judgment, {The first cases to be adjudicated between people on the Day of Judgment will be those of bloodshed.6}7

Muslims are even encouraged to be kind to animals and are forbidden to hurt them. Once the Prophet Muhammad said: {A woman was punished because she imprisoned a cat until it died. On account of this, she was doomed to Hell. While she imprisoned it, she did not give the cat food or drink, nor did she free it to eat the insects of the earth.}8

He also said that a man gave a very thirsty dog a drink, so God forgave his sins for this action. The Prophet was asked, “Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?” He said: {There is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human.}9

Additionally, while taking the life of an animal for food, Muslims are commanded to do so in a manner that causes the least amount of fright and suffering possible. The Prophet Muhammad said: {When you slaughter an animal, do so in the best way. One should sharpen his knife to reduce the suffering of the animal.}10

In light of these and other Islamic texts, the act of inciting terror in the hearts of defenseless civilians, the wholesale destruction of buildings and properties, the bombing and maiming of innocent men, women, and children are all forbidden and detestable acts according to Islam and the Muslims. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the vast majority have nothing to do with the violent events some have associated with Muslims. If an individual Muslim were to commit an act of terrorism, this person would be guilty of violating the laws of Islam.



(1) Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #1744, and Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #3015.

(2) Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #1731, and Al-Tirmizi, #1408.

(3) Narrated in Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #3166, and Ibn Majah, #2686.

(4) Narrated in Abu-Dawood, #2675.

(5) Narrated in Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #6871, and Saheeh Muslim, #88.

(6) This means killing and injuring.

(7) Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #1678, and Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #6533.

(8) Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #2422, and Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #2365.

(9). Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #2244, and Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #2466.

(10) Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #1955, and Al-Tirmizi, #1409

Is Islam really a Religion of Terror?

Every time speculation arises that a bomb is responsible for a tragedy, such as the TWA Flight 800 crash, Non-Muslims & Muslims alike suspect the Islamic connection. Of course the disclaimers abound, but a lingering suspicion about Muslims is left in the general views of terrorism, even if other groups are identified as the main culprits for any particular incident.

This perception is not due to any intrinsic resentment of Islam by the American people. It is understood that the mainstream of Muslims, the vast majority of them, like in every other faith, is peaceful and pay their taxes, trying to make America a better society, trying to improve relations with neighbors and colleagues.

But images and terminology influence public opinion, and a bitter taste is left when Islam is reported in the daily headlines. The term "Islamic fundamentalism", whatever it means, has been repeated enough times in relation to violent incidents that naturally, any thinking human being has to be uncomfortable with the fact that America is home to a vibrant Muslim community. The problem stems from negative images about Islam. In the court of public opinion, Islam is guilty until proven innocent.

Even though the Middle East was home to fewer terrorist incidents than Latin America and Europe, for example, it is still regarded as the region where terrorism is rooted. According to a recent US State Department report, Patterns of Global Terrorism, issued earlier this year, 272 terrorist events occurred in Europe, 92 in Latin America and 45 in the Middle East. Sixty-two anti-US attacks occurred in Latin America last year, 21 in Europe and 6 in the Middle East. These numbers represent the terrorist trend and not an anomaly, whereby the majority of perpetrators are not linked to the Middle East or Islam. The Red Army Faction in Germany, the Basque Separatists in Spain, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the Shining Path in Peru and the National Liberation Army in Columbia are not viewed with the same horror as terrorist groups of Muslim background.

There is no moral justification for terrorism regardless of the ethnic or religious background of the perpetrator or the victim, but the factual basis of terrorism has been either hidden or twisted in the public's perception of this policy problem, especially in congressional hearings on terrorism. The countries with the worst terrorist records in the world are not in the Middle East either. They are not even Muslim countries outside the Middle East. They are Columbia and Germany, havens for drug lords and neo-Nazis.

The negative association of Islam with terrorism exists, but no one has ever asked "Why?". Could it be that American society cannot overcome the Khomeini phobia, even though he is dead? The US Congress found it necessary to push $20 million towards covert operations in toppling the Iranian government even at the dissent of people in the CIA. The Arab countries, both friend and foe, are run by tyrants who kill more of their own people than those outside their countries. The presumption that these countries represent a threat to American interests or that any one of them can dominate the region or even rival the only remaining superpower is indeed generous. So the issue is not these countries' hegemony in their region or the world, but about who can dominate their people and exploit their resources