According to Muslim scholar Nevin Reda, Islam being defined as submission is a poor translation and is better understood as wholeness making, peacemaking, and well-being making......
Reda makes this arguement based on word eytmology, Quranic intertextuality, historical context, and Islamic Tradition. In a similar vein Reda argues for the redefination of the word arbab, which is commonly understand as rabbi. The word is to be understood more generally as religious-legal authority, the scholarly elite, and all political systems. The Quran gives a stern warning against turning these ideologies into false idolatry. Reda uses this argument (amongst others) in the specific context of the past debates for the use of Sharia Law in Canada. Law and Authority of whatever kind should never inhibit the Quranic principle to “let there be no compulsion in religion” and true divine law will always be deeply imbedded in Justice (which classical Sharia law often is not). While I do not have time to get into the specifics of these arguments now, I would like to show a couple of inspiritational qoutes from Muslim pacifist from both the past and present:
The fifth Imam of the shi'ite tradition Muhammad al-Baqir in response to the oppressive Umayyad Caliphate:
"I admonish you regarding five things; if you are wronged, do not commit wrong doing to others, if you are betrayed, do not betray anyone, if you are called a liar, do not be furious, if you are praised, do not be jubilant, if you are criticised do not fret and think of what is said in criticism, if you find in yourself what is criticised about you, then you are falling down in the eyes of God; when you are furious about the truth, it is much greater calamity then your falling down in the eyes of the people. And if you are opposite of what is said (in criticism) about you, then it is a merit you acquired without having to tire yourself in obtaining it".
Modern Muslim pacifist Jawdat Said in response to the the recent murder of his brother in Syria:
"Weapons are now the means by which the wicked control the ignorant. Believing in arms and force, and seeing this as the only path, is our own modern idolatry. It is a new polytheism, which renders all our good works obsolete. In all our diverse traditions, schools and juristic ways we let go of reason when we decided to let go of freedom of belief and sanctioned the killing of apostates."
May we honour the courage of these individuals in our own fight against violence and oppression