Islam is a word derived from the root words silm Islam is a word derived from the root words silm and salamah. It means surrendering, guiding to peace and contentment, and establishing security and accord.
Islam is a religion of security, safety, and peace. These principles permeate the lives of Muslims. When Muslims stand to pray, they cut their connection with this world, turning to their Lord in faith and obedience, and standing at attention in His presence. Completing the prayer, as if they were returning back to life, they greet those on their right and left by wishing peace: "Remain safe and in peace." With a wish for safety and security, peace and contentment, they return to the ordinary world once again.
Greeting and wishing safety and security for others is considered one of the most beneficial acts in Islam. When asked which act in Islam is the most beneficial, the Prophet replied, "Feeding others and greeting those you know and those you do not know."
Accusing Islam of Terrorism
How unfortunate it is that Islam, which is based on this understanding and spirit, is shown by some circles to be synonymous with terrorism. This is a great historical mistake; wrapping a system based on safety and trust in a veil of terrorism just shows that the spirit of Islam remains unknown. If one were to seek the true face of Islam in its own sources, history, and true representatives, then one would discover that it contains no harshness, cruelty, or fanaticism. It is a religion of forgiveness, pardon, and tolerance, as such saints and princes of love and tolerance as Rumi, Yunus Emre, Ahmed Yesevi, Bediüzzaman, and many others have so beautifully expressed. They spent their lives preaching tolerance, and each became a legend in his own time as an embodiment of love and tolerance.
Jihad can be a matter of self defense or of removing obstacles between God and human free choice. Our history is full of examples that show how this principle has been implemented in life.
Of course there are and should be occasions where war is unavoidable. However, the Qur'anic verses on jihad that were revealed for particular conditions have been generalized by some shortsighted individuals. Whereas in actual fact war is a matter of secondary importance, it has been given priority as an essential issue by these people. Such people do not understand the true meaning and spirit of Islam. Their failure to establish a proper balance between what is primary and what is secondary leads others to conclude that Islam advocates malice and hatred in the soul, whereas true Muslims are full of love and affection for all creation. Regarding this, how apt is the following couplet: