Religion and Violence: A Matter of Approach

محمد راسخ


In this paper, we examine the relationship between religion and violence. The idea is that religion, as a collection of texts, is single, but various kinds of actions have been taken under its name. The reason lies in the fact that religion, as a textual entity, is prone to various interpretations. Each of the interpretations indeed, in its turn, embodies a particular approach to the religion. It is in fact the approach and its resulting interpretation that lead to actions on the part of the believers. Some of the approaches to religion may amount to violence and they have indeed amounted to such a phenomenon. We will conclude that the spiritual approach, as compared with the jurisprudential and theological ones, is less likely to give rise to violence

واژگان کلیدی

Religion, Violence, Approach, Jurisprudential path, Theological position, Spiritual approximation

تمام متن:


منابع و مآخذ مقاله

The interpretation, no doubt, amounts to their beliefs, which in their turn to actions. It is, then, worth mentioning that, here, we rely on the following model of action: belief + intention = action.

We focus our attention on those approaches which have been “actually” taken to the religion of Islam by the faithful, as delving into “possible” approaches will make our discussion and analysis unnecessarily lengthy and, worse, speculative.

On the origin and unfolding of the enterprise, see, for instance, Schacht, J. (1950), The Origin of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, Oxford: Clarendon Press. For a critical approach to this work, see Hallaq, W.B. (1997), A History of Islamic Legal Theories, Cambridge: CUP.

See, for example, W.B. Hallaq (2005), The Origins and Evolution of Islamic Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

T. Izutsu (2002), Ethico-Religious Concepts in the Qur’an, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

See, for instance, Qur’an, Surat al-A`la (87), Verse 17: «و الاخرة خیر و أبقی»; and Surat al-Qesas (28), Verse 60: «و ما اوتیتم من شیئ فمتاع الحیاة الدنیا و زینتها و ما عند الله خیر و أبقی أفلا تعقلون».

For an interesting recent work on this issue, see Abu `Omran, Sheikh (2012), Mas’alat al-Horriya Fi Fekr al-Islami, Damascus: Elahiya al-`Amma al-Suriya lil-Ketab.

See, in general, Al-Ghazali, Abi Hamed (1945), Ihya`o `Olum Al-Din, Beirut: Dar Al-Ma`refa Li-Tiba`a Wa Nashr; and Hilli, Hassan B. Yusof (2000), Bab Hadi `Ashr, Tehran: Daneshparvar.

The phrase “O you the faithful” (یا ایها الذین آمنوا) has been the constant expression by which the faithful are always addressed and referred to in Qur’an. Apart from the derivatives (أمن، مؤمن، مؤمنون، مؤمنات، ایمان، یؤمن، یؤمنون و ...), the exact aforementioned expression has been recurred in Qur’an for more than hundred times. The core meaning of all the related and derived words is no doubt “faith”, rather than “belief”.

Almost all the times, in Qur’an, the faith (ایمان) is mentioned along with the righteous act (عمل صالح). Even in Surat al-Fater (35), Verse 10, it is, inter alia, said that “[t]o Him ascends pure word, and righteous act raises it.” (الیه یصعد الکلم الطیب و العمل الصالح یرفعه). Interestingly, `Allameh S. Mohammad Hossein Tabatabai, in his exegesis of this Verse, explicitly points out that the pure word should ultimately denote the right beliefs, the most certain part of which is the word of monotheism (... فالمراد به الاعتقادات الحقه ... و المتیقن منها کلمة التوحید ...). The intertwinement of the two concepts of faith and righteous act can be evidently seen here. See his (No Date), Al-Mizan Fi Tafsir Al-Qur’an, Qom: Dar Al-Kotob Al-Islamiyah, the exegetical text under the Verse.

Interestingly, in Qur’an, Surat al-Ma’edah (5), Verse 32, wrongful killing of a person is considered the same as killing the entire mankind and, vice versa, saving a man is taken as the same as saving the entire mankind. This verse by itself bears witness to the inclusiveness nature of the religion, though we may also refer to Surat al-Anbiya (21), Verse 107 stating that the Prophet has not been sent except as a mercy to all the people (و ما ارسلناک الا رحمة للعالمین). `Allameh Tabatabai’s interpretation of the Verse is that it denotes “mercy to all human groups” (أی أنک رحمة مرسلة الی الجماعات البشریة کلهم). See his Almizan Fi Tafsir Al-Qur’an, op. cit., footnote 11, the exegetical text relevant to the Verse.

(بعثت لأتمم مکارم الاخلاق). See, for instance, Ahmad B. Hussein Bayhaqi (1424 H.) Al-Sunan Al-Kubra, 3rd ed., Beirut: Dar Al-Kutub Al-`Ilmia, Vol. 10, p. 323

See, for example, Qur’an, Suart al-Hadid (57), Verse 25: (... لیقوم الناس بالقسط ...).

Ibid., Surat al-Ma’edah (5), Verse 8 (اعدلوا هو اقرب للتقوی).

See Ibid, Surat al-Qaf (50), Verse 16.

See Ibid, Surat al-Baqara (2), Verse 186.

See, for instance, Koleini (1986), Al-Kafi, Tehran: Dar al-Kotob al-Islamiya, Vol. 2, P. 78, for a saying of Imam Sadeq (PBUH) stating that “invite people not by your tongue, let them see piety, hardworking, paryer and goodness in you” (کونوا دعاة الناس بغیر السنتکم لیروا منک الورع و الاجتهاد و الصلاه و الخیر).

See B.Foruzanfar (ed.) (2006) Kolliat Diwan Shams Tabrizi, Tehran: Eqbal, Ghazal number 1092, p. 468.


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