Islam and Peace Project conducted a preliminary research of the primary sources of Islam, Quran and Sunnah, to see if Islam is a religion of peace or does it sanction violence. The following are the interim results of the research.
Islam is actually a religion of peace and humanism. The very word ‘Islam’ (from Arabicsilm connotes peace). Not only Islam, but also all other religions may be defined in this way. The Qur'an calls its way 'the paths of peace' (5:16). It describes reconciliation as the best policy (4:128), and states that God abhors any disturbance of peace (2:205). So the spirit of Islam is the spirit of peace.
One of God's names, according to the Qur'an, is As-Salam, which means peace. Moreover the Qur'an states that the Prophet Muhammad was sent to the world as a mercy to mankind. (21:107) The ideal society, according to the Qur'an is Dar as-Salam, that is, the house of peace (10:25).
The Qur'an presents the universe as a model that is characterized by harmony and peace (36:40). According to a tradition of the Prophet of Islam:
“God grants to gentleness (rifq) what He does not grant to violence (unf).” (Sunan Abu Dawud 4/255)
That is to say, in the eyes of God, the peaceful or gentle method is superior to the violent method. It is a well-known fact of life that in a situation of violence and war feelings of hatred and enmity flares up between people while an atmosphere of peace enables normal relations to be established between people. It makes it possible for feelings of love and friendship to prevail. In a favourable atmosphere constructive activities flourish and the existing resources can be used for development or other creative activities. A positive bent of mind will prevail which will help develop academic and intellectual advancement.
The research concluded that Islam is a religion of peace in the fullest sense of the word.