In the Quran, Christians are often referred to as among the “People of the Book”. This means that they have also received and believed previous revelations from God’s prophets. The Quran praises the humility of Christians:

Nearest among them in love to the believers will you find those who say “We are Christians”, because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. (5:82)
The Quran praises the dedication of those Christians who have been persecuted for their faith, saying: “They are those who have been evicted from their homes without right — only because they say, “Our Lord is God (Allah).” Not only are they praised as being holy, non-Muslim people of the book are promised a heavenly reward for their faith:

Surely those who believe and those who are Jews and the Christians and the Sabians — whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord. And there will be no fear for them, nor shall they grieve. (2:62, 5:69)

The Prophetic Methodology shows that during his lifetime Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) sent a message to the monks of Saint Catherine in Mount Sinai. It is worth quoting at length:

This is a message written by Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, far and near, we are behind them. Verily, I defend them by myself, the servants, the helpers, and my followers, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be changed from their jobs, nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they (Christians) are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, this is not to take place without her own wish. She is not to be prevented from going to her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation is to disobey this covenant till the Day of Judgment and the end of the world.

With such a clear directive from the Prophet, how can IS behead innocent journalists, humanitarian aid workers, Christians, Muslims, women and children?

IS isn’t motivated by the commands of Islam. Its members are taking out their frustrations with Western governments’ foreign and military policies in Iraq and Syria. But killing innocent people is not the answer. Not only are the IS fighters causing pain and suffering in this world, they are destroying their Hereafter for the sake of worldly gains, and their conduct is turning people away from Islam. The purpose of striving for the cause of God is establishing peace and justice on earth through Islamic Jihad. Properly understood, the word “Jihad” simply means “to struggle for God.” It includes both the spiritual and the physical struggle to live our life according to Islam. The Prophet Muhammad said, “The ink of a scholar is more sacred than the blood of martyrs.” He also said that “The best Jihad is the word of Justice in front of an oppressive ruler.” This means that Muslims must struggle for education and justice, as this is the real cause of God. One cannot be a true flag-bearer of Islam while committing violent atrocities.

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