Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Chaiwat Satha-Anand

Inamullah Khan argues that although Islam permits fighting, it

insists that the use of force be minimal. Furthermore, the Muslim

conduct of war must be as humane as possible. A Muslim soldier

does not fight for self-glory or plunder, and he is ordered not to kill

indiscriminately. Given this mandate, Islam prohibits nuclear

weapons because they are weapons of mass destruction and can in

no way distinguish between combatants and noncombatants nor

between military targets and fields and factories.

Islam does not tolerate such indiscriminate methods. Nor

does it allow God’s creation—human lives, trees, animals, the

environment—to be destroyed. For example, the use of napalm is

unacceptable, as are explosions in department stores, hijacking and

killing hostages on any means of transportation, and bombing

civilian targets. The modern world has made primitive weapons

obsolete, but the encompassing moral sphere of Islam also renders

modern weapons morally illegitimate.

Because nonviolent alternatives do

exist, an argument can be made that for Muslims to be true to their

faith, they have no alternative but to utilize nonviolent action in the

contemporary world. The question then is whether Islam embodies

conditions conducive to the use of effective nonviolent actions.

The eight theses on Muslim nonviolent action that follow are

suggested as a challenge for Muslims and others who seek to

reaffirm the original vision of Islam so that the true meaning of

peace—the absence of both structural as well as personal

violence—can be obtained:

1. For Islam, the problem of violence is an integral part

of the Islamic moral sphere.

2. Violence, if any, used by Muslims must be governed

by rules prescribed in the Qur‘an and Hadith.

3. If violence used cannot discriminate between

combatants and noncombatants, then it is unacceptable in Islam.

4. Modern technology of destruction renders

discrimination virtually impossible at present.

5. In the modern world, Muslims cannot use violence.

6. Islam teaches Muslims to fight for justice with the

understanding that human lives—as all parts of God’s creation—

are purposive and sacred.

7. In order to be true to Islam, Muslims must utilize

nonviolent action as a new mode of struggle.

8. Islam itself is fertile soil for nonviolence because of

its potential for disobedience, strong discipline, sharing and social

responsibility, perseverance and self-sacrifice, and the belief in

the unity of the Muslim community and the oneness of mankind.

That such theses of Muslim nonviolent action are essential to peace

in this world and the true meaning of Islam is evident from the


Peace!—a Word

(of salutation) from the Lord

Most Merciful! 36:58)


Chaiwat Satha-Anand

(Qader Muheideen)

The Nonviolent Crescent:

Eight Theses on Muslim

Nonviolent Actions


Islam and Nonviolence

Edited by

Glenn D. Paige, Chaiwat Satha-Anand (Qader Muheideen), and Sara Gilliatt



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