Islam is the religion of peace, which means Muslims have been commanded to spread peace on earth. This was the Prophet’s first command to the Muslims when he arrived in Medina.
Abdullah ibn Salam said: When the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, came to Medina, the people rushed towards him and it was said, “The Messenger of Allah has come!” I came along with the people to see him, and when I looked at the face of the Messenger of Allah, I realized that his face was not the face of a liar. The first thing he said was:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَفْشُوا السَّلَامَ وَأَطْعِمُوا الطَّعَامَ وَصَلُّوا بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّاسُ نِيَامٌ تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ بِسَلَامٍ
O people, spread peace, feed the hungry, and pray at night when people are sleeping and you will enter Paradise in peace.
Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 1334, Grade: Sahih
Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
اعْبُدُوا الرَّحْمَنَ وَأَطْعِمُوا الطَّعَامَ وَأَفْشُوا السَّلَامَ تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ بِسَلَامٍ
Worship the Most Merciful, feed the poor, and spread peace. You will enter Paradise in peace.
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1855, Grade: Sahih
And Abu Umamah reported:
أَمَرَنَا نَبِيُّنَا صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنْ نُفْشِيَ السَّلَامَ
Our Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, commanded us to spread peace.
Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 3693, Grade: Hasan
The command to spread peace applies to people we know as well as people we do not know.
هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ ضَيْفِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْمُكْرَمِينَ إِذْ دَخَلُوا عَلَيْهِ فَقَالُوا سَلَامًا ۖ قَالَ سَلَامٌ قَوْمٌ مُّنكَرُونَ
Has there reached you the story of the honored guests of Abraham? When they entered upon him and said: We greet you with peace, so he answered: I greet you with peace, a people unknown.
Surat al-Dhariyat 51:24-25
Abdullah ibn Umar reported: A man asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, “Which Islam is best?” He said:
تُطْعِمُ الطَّعَامَ وَتَقْرَأُ السَّلاَمَ عَلَى مَنْ عَرَفْتَ وَمَنْ لَمْ تَعْرِفْ
To feed the hungry and to greet with peace those you know and those you do not know.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 28, Grade: Sahih
The meaning of spreading peace to “those you do not know” is to spread peace to the world in general.
Ammar ibn Yasir, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
ثَلَاثٌ مَنْ جَمَعَهُنَّ فَقَدْ جَمَعَ الْإِيمَانَ الْإِنْصَافُ مِنْ نَفْسِكَ وَبَذْلُ السَّلَامِ لِلْعَالَمِ وَالْإِنْفَاقُ مِنْ الْإِقْتَارِ
Whoever has three qualities will have completed the faith: fairness from yourself to others, offering peace to the world, and spending in charity even while poor.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 28, Grade: Sahih
Consequently, Muslims have been commanded to spread peace and practice patience even with those who insult them.
وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا
The servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say words of peace.
Surat al-Furqan 25:63
And Allah said:
وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا اللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَا نَبْتَغِي الْجَاهِلِينَ
When they hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say: For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. Peace be upon you, for we seek not way of ignorance.
Surat al-Qasas 28:55
Furthermore, Muslims have been commanded to accept the peace offering of a hostile enemy, even if they suspect the enemy is only trying to trick them.
وَإِن جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
If they incline to peace, then incline to it also and rely upon Allah. Verily, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing.
Surat al-Anfal 8:61
Ibn Kathir comments on this verse, saying:
وَقَوْلُهُ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ أَيْ صَالِحْهُمْ وَتَوَكَّلَ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَافِيكَ وَنَاصِرُكَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا يُرِيدُونَ بِالصُّلْحِ خَدِيعَةً
This means trust in Allah, for Allah will suffice you and support you if they only intend by their peace offering to deceive you.
Source: Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr 8:61
And Allah said:
فَإِنِ اعْتَزَلُوكُمْ فَلَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ وَأَلْقَوْا إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ فَمَا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ سَبِيلًا
So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not made for you a cause for fighting against them.
Surat al-Nisa 4:90
Likewise, the Muslims have been commanded to end all conflicts in peace whenever possible and never to desire a fight with the enemy.
Ali ibn Abu Talib reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
إِنَّهُ سَيَكُونُ بَعْدِي اخْتِلَافٌ أَوْ أَمْرٌ فَإِنْ اسْتَطَعْتَ أَنْ تَكُونَ السِّلْمَ فَافْعَل
Verily, after me there will be conflicts or affairs, so if you are able to end them in peace, then do so.
Source: Musnad Aḥmad 697, Grade: Sahih
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
لاَ تَمَنَّوْا لِقَاءَ الْعَدُوِّ فَإِذَا لَقِيتُمُوهُمْ فَاصْبِرُوا
Do not wish to meet the enemy, but if you meet them, then be steadfast.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 2863, Grade: Sahih
For this reason, the Prophet taught Muslims to pray for peace at the end of every prayer.
Aisha reported: Whenever the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would invoke peace while sitting in prayer, he did not sit but long enough to say:
اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ السَّلَامُ وَمِنْكَ السَّلَامُ تَبَارَكْتَ ذَا الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ
O Allah, you are Peace and from you is peace. Blessed are you, O Majestic and Generous.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 592, Grade: Sahih
In sum, Islam is the religion of peace and an offer of peace to the world. We have been commanded to spread peace on earth, to invoke peace in our prayers, and to end all conflicts in peace.
May Allah grant us guidance in fulfilling this most important duty for the benefit of all humanity.
Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.