According to Qur’anic teachings, aggression is completely prohibited in Islam. No circumstance whatsoever permits believers to indulge in any act of aggression. Chapter Al-Tawbah (Repentance) makes this quite clear. The translation of the relevant verse is as follows: As long as they act straight with you, act straight with them. God loves those who are righteous. (9:7)
This verse in the Qur’an stresses the need for peaceable conduct towards others, but it is implied that if others breach the peace, you must reassess the whole situation, re-plan your strategy and reconsider your future course of action. This does not mean that, in the case of a breach of peace, you should at once commence hostilities. This kind of instant reaction is not permitted in Islam. In fact, war is a last resort, at a stage when all efforts to defuse the situation have failed, and there is no other alternative. It must be conceded that peace is good for everyone. Initially, everyone has the same peace-loving nature that you have. So, if there is a breach of the peace, do not act in haste.
Perhaps there are options other than war. For example, if there is a misunderstanding, you should try to clear it up by amicable means. The option to wage war is the hardest option in human life and is counterproductive for both sides. It is permitted only under the law of necessity. In a normal situation, Muslims would be expected to carry on their affairs by peaceful methods—a course of action that will continue to bear fruit, unless there is some unavoidable breakdown.
Aggression, being an expression of anger, and not the outcome of any reasoned planning, cannot serve any positive purpose. It should not, therefore, be a course that anyone should consider following. Experience shows that aggression, a form of uncontrolled behavior, is bad for both the aggressor and the victim of aggression. Indeed, leaping into aggression is leaping to one’s own destruction. Considering that aggression entails great losses in terms of money and human life, and also in terms of opportunity, what drives one to aggression? It is nothing but anger and vengefulness, or the urge to exploit. All these stimuli are negative, and no negative action resulting from them is going to yield any positive results. Positive ends can be achieved only through positive action. No wise man can countenance aggression.
Aggression breeds hatred, and hatred is the source of all kinds of evil. Aggression, therefore, is disruptive of the fabric of society. People who follow aggressive instincts cannot, therefore, play any constructive role in building a better society and should ponder upon how even the animals in the jungle live peacefully without indulging in aggression. The alternative to aggression is peace. Peaceful behavior is the best course, leading inevitably to peaceful ends. There is no logic to aggression. But there is every reason to support peace. Constructive activity, of whatever nature, stems from long-term, unflagging efforts, and aggression only disrupts this process. Aggression is the ugliest form of human behavior, while peaceable action is the finest conduct in which both men and women can engage.