Islam also affirms that the way of calling [others] to God is founded upon kindness and gentleness: Call to the path of your Lord with wisdom and a beautiful exhortation, and debate with them in that which is most beautiful (ahsan). (16:125) Furthermore, it shuns cruelty and violence in how one faces and addresses [others]:
It is by some Mercy of God that you were gentle to them. Were you severe—cruel-hearted—they would have broken away from you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult with them in the conduct of affairs. And when you are resolved, put your trust in God; truly God loves those who trust [in Him]. (3:i59)
Islam has made clear that the goal of its message is realizing mercy and good for all people. The Transcendent has said, We did not send you [Muhammad] but out of mercy for all creatures. (21:107) And the Prophet Muhammad—blessings and peace upon Him—said, ‘The Merciful has mercy upon those who are merciful, be merciful to those on earth, He who is in heaven will be merciful unto you.’
Islam calls for treating others as one desires to be treated. It urges the tolerance and forgiveness that express the nobility of the human being: The recompense for an evil is an evil equal thereto, but who forgives and reconciles, his recompense is from God. (42:40) Good and evil are not equal. Repel with what is most virtuous. Then he between whom and you there is enmity will be as if he were an intimate friend. (41:34)
Islam confirms the principle of justice in interacting with others, safeguarding their rights, and confirms that one must not deny people their possessions: And let not the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is closer to piety; (5:8) God commands you to return trusts to their owners, and if you judge between people, you shall judge with justice; (4:58) So give [full] measure and [full] weight and do not deny the people their goods, and work no corruption in the land, after it has been set right. (7:85)
Islam requires respect for pledges and covenants, and adhering to what has been specified; and it forbids treachery and treason: Fulfill the covenant of God when you have entered into it, and break not oaths after they have been confirmed and you have made God your surety; truly God knows what you do. (16:91)
Islam recognizes the noble station of [human] life, so there is to be no fighting against non-combatants, and no assault upon civilians and their properties, children at their mothers’ bosom, students in their schools, nor upon elderly men and women. Assault upon the life of a human being, be it murder, injury or threat, is an assault upon the right to life among all human beings. It is among the gravest of sins; for human life is the basis for the prosperity of humanity: Whoever kills a soul for other than slaying a soul or corruption upon the earth it is as if he has killed the whole of humanity, and whoever saves a life, it is as if has revived the whole of humanity. (5:32)
The primordial religion of Islam is founded upon equanimity, balance, moderation, and facilitation: Thus have we made of you a middle nation that you might be witnesses over the people, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves. (2:143) The Prophet Muhammad—peace and blessings upon him—said: ‘Facilitate and do not make difficult, bear good tidings and do not deter.’ Islam has provided the foundation for the knowledge, reflection and contemplation that has enabled the creation of this deep-rooted civilization that was a crucial link by which the West arrived at the gates of modern knowledge, and in whose accomplishments non-Muslims participated, as a consequence of its being a comprehensive human civilization.
No day has passed but that this religion has been at war against extremism, radicalism and fanaticism, for they veil the intellect from foreseeing negative consequences [of one’s actions]. Such blind impetuousness falls outside the human regulations pertaining to religion, reason and character. They are not from the true character of the tolerant, accepting Muslim.
Islam rejects extremism, radicalism and fanaticism—just as all noble, heavenly religions reject them—considering them as recalcitrant ways and forms of injustice. Furthermore, it is not a trait that characterizes a particular nation; it is an aberration that has been experienced by all nations, races, and religions. They are not particular to one people; truly they are a phenomenon that every people, every race and every religion has known.
We denounce and condemn extremism, radicalism and fanaticism today, just as our forefathers tirelessly denounced and opposed them throughout Islamic history. They are the ones who affirmed, as do we, the firm and unshakeable understanding that Islam is a religion of [noble] character traits in both its ends and means; a religion that strives for the good of the people, their happiness in this life and the next; and a religion that can only be defended in ways that are ethical; and the ends do not justify the means in this religion.
The source of relations between Muslims and others is peace; for there is no fighting [permitted] when there is no aggression. Even then, [it must be done with] benevolence,