Violence is a phenomenon that has spread among human societies in general on a wide scale and has accompanied humanity since its inception. Divinely revealed creeds came to substitute this phenomenon with human brotherhood, peace and toleration. These creeds have also tried to save mankind from the darkness of ignorance, entering in their hearts belief and tranquility through their heavenly teachings and the believers' implementation thereof. This is so because religion has a great impact on the conduct, way of thinking, and on nations. This impact has manifested itself in the Islamic legacy and it can be noticed from the tremendous effect it has on the Muslims' daily life. It is Islam: a program for every day life, an honorable covenant and a law that incorporates a Muslim's life in all its aspects.
Islam is a religion that rejects violence, does not endorse it, condemns any fanatic or extremist. It does not accept violence; it hates it, prohibiting terrorism, not endorsing it at all. Islam, as a heavenly creed, rejects dictatorship, too, substituting it with shura (consultation) and exchanging views.
The Islamic faith built its call upon peace and peacemaking; Allah Almighty has said, "Enter into peace, all of you" (Qur'an, 2:208); therefore, Islamic history, the Islamic legislative system (Shari`a) and Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) all are fraught with stands by the Messenger of Allah (P) and by the Infallible Imams (as) from among his Ahl al-Bayt; they all stress the same. For example, when Imam Ali (as) dispatched Malik al-Ashtar al-Nakh`i as his wali (provincial governor), he wrote him a covenant which clearly reflects Islam's attitude towards precise and significant issues relevant to the way whereby a Muslim wali treats his subjects even if they are non-Muslims, for the Imam (as) said, "They (wali's subjects) are two kinds: either a brother-in-faith or an equal in creation."
The ideological and practically applicable basis of the Islamic faith stands on the humanity of mankind, regardless of one's religion, "race," color, belief or affiliation. Allah, Glory and Exaltation are His, has said, "We have honored the offspring of Adam" (Qur'an, 17:70).
A difference in view, creed, sect, religion, ideology or trend must not cause any harm or renunciation or the application of violence against others, for Allah, the Great Creator, granted mankind the freedom and the choice, making between him and the members of his kind the language of communication, togetherness and agreement, not the language of violence, cruelty and aggression. The Almighty, Praised and Exalted is He, has said, "Let whoever wishes believe, and let whoever wishes disbelieve" (Qur'an, 18:29), "Had your Lord willed, He would have made all people one single nation, and they shall remain many" (Qur'an, 11:118); all these verses endorse the freedom of choice and, hence, renunciation of violence, cruelty, aggression and the forcing of a creed or a norm of conduct on others.
Islam, as a religion, a cosmic system and a life program makes a stand of an opponent of violence, terrorism, aggression, intransigence and extremism, be it relevant to an ideology or a norm of conduct. The greatest of all Prophets (P) used to call upon people to believe through reason because Islam is not accepted as a creed from anyone except if he embraces it willingly, believing therein. Allah, Glory and Exaltation are His, has said, "Shall you really force people to believe?!" (Qur'an, 10:99). There is no compulsion in religion, nor is there violence but the good method, the pleasant word, the beautiful dialogue, the greeting of goodwill, the listening to the views of others and the attempt to convince others.
Islam, moreover, took a giant stride in sketching the nonviolent program. This is manifested in praying for the foe and supplicating for him. Despite the harm afflicted on him by the foes, the Messenger of Allah (P) used to repeatedly supplicate for them saying, "Lord! Forgive my people for they know not." Such a magnanimous spirit was personified when Imam al-Husain (as) wept for the army that stood against him at Kerbala'. When he was asked why he was weeping, he said, "I weep over a people who shall enter the Fire because of me."
Such are the limits of Islam's stand vis-a-vis violence. Add to the above the fact that the Islamic faith, in all its sects and beliefs, does not agree with anyone who believes in violence as a method for change, or in order to force an ideology, even if such a person is Muslim and a follower of a sect or belief. The wave of violence was ingrained in the mentality of some extremists, and it nested in their imagination the desire to physically eliminate others and to cause destruction first and foremost as an alternative to an ideological dialogue.
To sum up, the Islamic faith does not believe in the concept of violence, nor in the concept of any abusive treatment, nor in oppressing others, nor in using cruelty or intransigence against other humans. The acts of violence in all its types which take place in societies and aims at hurting others and which many sometimes reach a level of extremism and harshness or violating all laws are all regarded as abandoning the creed and its tolerant teachings and call for peace and peacemaking, for Allah has said, "Say what is good to people" (Qur'an, 2:283).



It is well known about the Messenger of Allah (P) and the honorable members of his household from what is recorded about them in reliable sources, in the legacy, in the books and manuscripts that they are members of a family that implemented this principle from the very beginning of the Islamic call in addition to their having acquired these merits through what Allah revealed in the Holy Qur'an.
The most honored Prophet (P) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as) are the callers to peace and the bearers of the humane principle with regard to nonviolence and the renunciation of anything to the contrary in every day life. Imam Ja`fer al-Sadiq (as) has said, "We are the members of a House whose manliness is forgiveness of those who oppress us;" this truly expresses the highest degrees of implementing the principle of nonviolence.
Nonviolence as a concept and a principle recently appeared in political and social writings of the middle of the 19th century, and it is an expression of denouncing the policy of the government of the United States and its war against Mexico and the lingering of the problem of the South. Then the work according to this principle extended into the 20th century when it was implemented by the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi in his struggle against British colonialism which occupied India. He was followed by others to act upon it. But this concept was well known and clearly prevalent with the Seal of Prophets Muhammed (P) when he invited his people to embrace Islam and to smash the idols since they were stones of neither benefit nor harm, guiding them to the right path through a peaceful and nonviolent way as we are told by Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He, in these verses: "Enter in peace all of you" (Qur'an, 2:208), "There is no compulsion in religion" (Qur'an, 2:256) and "If you forgive, then it is nearer to piety" (Qur'an, 2:237).
As regarding the Messenger of Allah (P), the principle of nonviolence has occurred in many of his ahadith. He has said, "Causing reconciliation between contenders is better than the performance of the prayers and the fast put together." He also said with regard to applying forgiveness and to the principle of nonviolence: "Forgive each other and hatred among you will be gone." he also said, "A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe." Imam Ali (as) says, "Forgiveness is the crown of all merits." The Messenger of Allah (P) applies the principle of peaceful coexistence and nonviolence as testified by his statement saying, "Forgiveness is the best of what is acted upon." Imam Ali (as) has said, "The worst of all people is one who does not forgive a slip nor veils an ugly weakness."
Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) is rightfully regarded as the advocate to peace and peaceful coexistence, and he observed nonviolence despite his great abilities such as courage and wisdom, for he was the knight during the time of struggle and bravery while being equally peace-loving, a caller to nonviolence and to controlling various sentiments. He says, "If you gain the upper hand on your enemy, let forgiving him be your way of thanking God for gaining the upper hand over him." Imam a-Husain son of Ali (as) says the following in this regard: "The most forgiving of all people is one who forgives while being able not to." Imam Ali son of al-Husain (as), "Zainul-`Abidin" has said the following regarding the principle of seeking peace and nonviolence in a most sublime and kind way: "It is the right of one who wrongs you to forgive him, and if you get to know that forgiving him is harmful, you can enjoy your victory over him." Imam Ali (as) has said, "Shake hands with your foe even if he hates to do so, for it is something which Allah, the most Exalted and the Greatest, has enjoined His servants to do saying, `Repel (evil) with what is best when he between whom and you there is enmity becomes as though he were a warm friend. And none are made to receive it but those who are patient, and none are made to receive it but those who have a mighty good fortune" (Qur'an, 41:34-35). There is no rewarded harder for your foe to swallow more than you obey Allah in his regard.
The members of the household of the Prophet (P) practiced nonviolence in all its shapes and dimensions throughout their lives, admonishing the Muslims who would succeed them to follow in their footsteps. They were righteous callers who advocated harmony among all people, callers for peace and righteousness. Imam al-Sadiq (as) says, "A reformer is not a liar." Imam Ali (as) warns against using force, against violence and oppression against others, calling for resorting to peacemaking and nonviolence when he said, "Beware of despotism and going to extremes, for despotism causes one to be expelled while extremism drives to the use of the sword." In another place he says, "One who is not good enough to forgive will be quite bad when avenging." Imam al-Baqir (as) says the following in reference to the principle of nonviolence and peacemaking: "Be a candidate for mercy and forgiveness from Allah by thoughtful consideration, and use the vehicle of supplication and invocation to be good in upholding thoughtful consideration with regard to injustice." Imam Ali (as) has said, "It is through forgiveness (of others) that one earns mercy (from Allah)." He also says, "The most effective way to earn mercy (from Allah) is by wishing mercy to all people," adding the following in reference to the application of mercy in dealing with the principle of nonviolence: "May Allah have mercy on one Who knows his own value and did not go beyond the limits." It is to the same meaning that the Prophet (P) points out saying: "The wisest of all people is one who tolerates people the most." Imam Ali (as) says, "Mix firmness with kindness; be kind when kindness is the best to do." Imam Hasan (as) al-`Askari (as) says the following: "If one's demeanor is piety and is adorned by doing favors to others, he achieves victory over his foes by earning good praise."