War and Peace

Quick revise
Reasons for war

Reasons might include:

  • To defend your own country or another country.
  • To fight for your beliefs or freedom
  • To stop an unjust government in your country (civil war)
  • To gain more territory or resources (e.g. oil)
The effects of war

The effects might include:

  • A large number of deaths – both military and civilian.
  • Destruction of people’s homes and families.
  • Some people might become refugees.
  • Millions of pounds spent on weapons and on fighting the war.
  • It can take years for a country to recover from a war.
  • Many people are scared that ‘dirty bombs’ that spread radioactive material will be used in warfare.
  • Nuclear weapons cause massive destruction on a huge scale and pollute the atmosphere for years.
  • Other weapons include conventional weapons (like guns, tanks, etc.), chemical weapons (e.g. mustard gas bombs) and biological weapons (that spread viruses, etc.).
Muslim teachings on war

Islam is a peaceful religion, despite its reputation in the media.

‘The person who struggles so that Allah’s word is supreme is the one serving Allah’s cause.’ (Hadith)

‘To those against whom war is made; permission is given because they are wronged.’ (Qur’an, surah 22:39)

‘Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.’ (Qur’an, surah 2:190)

A Muslim view on the Palestinian conflict

This video shows Reverend Peter Owen-Jones visits Muslims in Palestine, asking the question, 'What drives people to kill for their religion?' He visits a refugee camp and meets Samir, a Sunni Muslim, who worships at the mosque. He then explores the common roots of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Samir, whose daughter was a suicide bomber, gives his opinion that the conflict in Palestine is not a religious conflict but one about land.


The idea of Jihad is the struggle of each Muslim against things that get in their way of following the way of Allah. The Greater Jihad is the everyday fight against sin in their lives and the Lesser Jihad is military struggle and more rare.

Those killed in jihad are martyrs and they will come to paradise. These are the conditions for a Lesser Jihad:

  • It must be organised by a religious leader 
  • It must have a just cause
  • It must be a last resort
  • Suffering must be kept to a minimum 
  • Innocent civilians should not suffer 
  • The land should be protected, including plants and animals
  • It must not be fought for personal gain
  • It must aim to bring about good, not evil
  • Pacifism is the idea that it is always wrong to use violence.
  • Muslims strive for peace – ‘Islam’ comes from the word meaning peace.
  • The Qur’an teaches that reconciliation and peace is a better way than fighting and you should not try to get revenge on people.
Muslim teachings on peace

‘If two parties of believers take up arms … make peace between them.’ (Qur’an, surah 49:9)

‘Repel the evil deed with what is better, then he will become as though he was a bosom friend.’ (Qur’an, surah 41:34)

‘Paradise is for … those who curb their anger and forgive their fellow men.’ (Qur’an, surah 3:134)

‘Hate your enemy mildly; he may become your friend one day.’ (Hadith)