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Shi'a Pundit

Devoted to the viewpoint of Islam of Muhammad SAW and Amir ul-Mumineen, Ali ibn Abi Talib SA, in the Shi'a Fatimi Ismaili Dawoodi Bohra tradition.

December 9, 2002

Religion, not Culture, of Peace.

The question remains. Is Islam a Religion of Peace? The social, cultural, and political entity is clearly not, by simple fact that counter-examples to peaceful muslims (namely, violent muslims) do exist. QED. But what about the religion itself?

I have already answered this question:

True Islam - even if mis-practiced by a billion Wahabi fanatics, is eternal. It cannot be suppressed. As long as a single Muslim like myself practices it in accordance with the original teachings of the Prophet, it cannot be extinguished from this world. As a Muslim, it's not my place to worry about how Islam is perceived by you. It's to worry about how Islam is practiced by me.

The peaceful message of Islam the Religion itself is clear, apparent even from the crudest translations. Those who espouse a violent interpretation are in violation of the clearest possible aspect of the religion - the Qur'an - and this is why you will never see such a craven dog as Osama bin Laden even acknowledge the existence of ayats 2:256, 109:6 5:32-33, 2:190, 5:61, and the full version of 4:91.

To argue that Islam has a religious message of intolerance and violence, and that violent interpretations are as valid as non-violent ones, is willful ignorance. An analogy would be to infer from a selective reading of the US Constitution that the Self-Evident Truths mentioned in the Declaration applied only to white males, or that there was no right to free speech, press, or separation of church and state. By ignoring parts of the Constitution (such as the Bill of Rights), certain people can always invoke other parts of it to justify actions drastically at odds with the intent of the document.

But should Muslims go around parroting the phrase "Religion of Peace" ? No. It's a useless and meaningless excercise. If you believe in the Qur'an, live by its teachings, and leave the opinion making to the opinion makers.

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Nahj-ul Balagha

About Shi'a Pundit

Shi'a Pundit was launched in 2002 during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The blog focuses on issues pertaining to Shi'a Islam in the west and in the Islamic world. The author is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. Bohras adhere to the Shi'a Fatimi tradition of Islam, headed by the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS).

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