(Arab. Schidda, Turk. Şiddet)
Force is a broad term that, among other things, can denote the abuse of power or pressure, insult and terror. Under certain conditions, people resort to the use of force. Islam, however, strives to achieve a balance of powers and control of the exercise of power. Viewed from this vantage, Islam is a proponent more of limiting the resort to power than of abandoning it altogether. The result of this effort to strike a balance should be justice. In connection with the topic of the resort to force in Islam, one of the terms used most frequently, and one of the most controversial terms, is that of ‘jihad’. Initially, use of the word ‘jihad’ in the sense of war was a temporary reaction to the distress and hostility with which Muslims were confronted, and to the pressure to which they were subjected. Although ‘jihad’ tends to be equated with war today, a glance at the Qur’an shows that this is incorrect. For instance, Muslims were permitted to wage war only if their opponents threatened them with death, subjecting them to horrible suppression (22:39). War is conceivable only as a last resort for fending off injustice and worse. Yet even this permission is not without its limits: ‘Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.’ (2/190). Fighting may not continue if the opponents give up (2:193). Islam not only circumscribes the waging of war but also prohibits violent acts that pose a risk to society, such as murder or rape, and has developed legal sanctions in this connection. Islamic societies are still occasionally witness to violence against women, particularly in the family setting. These attacks have something to do with the images of men’s and women’s roles as conditioned by culture and tradition. They cannot be blamed on religion and Islamic ethics. Muhammad was always loving and solicitous in his conduct of familial relationships, and he never resorted to force.