ISLAM AND PEACE
Dr. Noor M Larik, IAEWP National Chancellor of Pakistan
& IAEWP International Vice President for Statistics
Peace means non-violence within a family, neighborhood, nation and the world at large.
Non-violence encourages us to be harmonious and make progress in all fields which bear fruit for the welfare of people and discourage them to work in destructive ways that harm society at national and international levels.
The main causes of violence are:
iii) Inequality in all aspects of life,
vii) Religious dissent and differences.
ISLAM AND PEACE:
There are three main sources from which one can learn about peace in Islam.
i) The Holy Book of Quran,
ii) Sayings of The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) i.e, Hadith,
iii) History and life of the Prophet.
Now first we will see what Quran says about peace.
QURAN AND PEACE:
Quran teaches love, tolerance, justice, compassion, freedom of religion, brotherhood and equality in distribution of resources etc. There are few quotes from the Quran that support this view:
i) Peace is the cornerstone in Islam: the word ‘Islam’ means peace and teaches us how to live a peaceful life on the earth. The infinite compassion and mercy of God manifests itself on earth. God wants all the people to live by the moral values that God has set, so that compassion, peace and love can be experienced all over the world.
ii) No one should be forced to believe in Islam: "There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned."
iii) Freedom of thought and religion is paramount: God does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you or driven you from your home, or being just towards them. God loves those who are just.
iv) Compete with each other in doing good.
Muslims who share these values and believe in the need to act together with Christians and Jews are considered good Muslims. They should strive together to spread moral virtues and peace across the world. Had God willed, He would have made the world a single community, but he wanted to test people regarding their conduct and performance.
v) In Islam, killing of one person, is, in fact, equated with like killing of mankind.
vi) Tolerance: The root cause of violence is intolerance. The degree of tolerance, truthfulness, honesty to do justice, avoiding greed and inequality are virtues which have eternal value and need to be adopted. Today, tolerance is generally considered as a sign of weakness but in fact it is not.
In January 1995, the UNO proclaimed 1995 as the Year of Tolerance. The ability to be tolerant of actions, beliefs and opinions of others is a major factor in promoting world peace.
The secret of having peace in life and hereafter is tolerance and no disturbance of harmony and peace. Diversity of opinions is, in fact, a positive quality of life. If you behave nicely with those who have different views from you, then you display an excellent character. True Islam is a tolerant religion and desires peace to prevail in the world.
Few sayings of The Prophet in favour of nonviolence are:
1) God has no mercy for him who has no mercy for his fellows.
2) A man asked the Prophet, “How many times should I forgive a servant? The prophet replied forgive servant 70 times every day.”
3) Someone asked, ‘What is Islam’ The Prophet said, “Purity of speech, and hospitality.”
4) “Visit the sick, feed the hungry, and help to relieve people’s misery.”
5) Faith is to restrain oneself against all violence.
6) Honest difference of opinion among many people should be accounted as a blessing.
7) In his Farewell address, the Prophet said: “You are all brothers and are all equal. None of you can claim and privilege or any superiority over any other.
An Arab is not to be preferred to a non-Arab nor is non-Arab to be preferred to any Arab; nor is a white man to be preferred to a coloured one, or an Arab with a non-Arab, except on the basis of righteousness.”
Efforts by the Prophet during his lifetime of creating a nonviolent society included by saying and demonstrating Islam emphasises to seek solution to matters of controversy through peaceful means; for instance, the first agreement made during the life of the Prophet was of Hudaibiya through which peace was established between Muslims and non-Muslims. The Holy Quran describes Sulhe Al-Hudaibiya, in the early period of Islam as a clear victory of peace between believers and non-believers.
In this regard, three times Prophet called a conference of learned people from three major religions i.e, Jews, Christians, and Muslims to discuss the issue of peace and harmony in the society.
This is the indication that if educated people come together and advocate the virtue of tolerance, then the whole world could achieve peace, which beside other religions, is the cardinal principle of Islam.
The modern technology and communications have greatly reduced distances physically, but the task of bringing peace and unity in the minds of human beings is yet to be accomplished.
All human beings appear to be different, though spiritually they are one.
As mentioned above, the Prophet of Islam in his last speech emphasised that there is no difference between Arabs and non-Arabs, white or blacks. They all are brothers.
The circumstances that confront man in this world lead to the veil of arrogance and jealousy which makes him see himself as separate and superior to others. The aim of Islam is to encourage the sense of spirituality.
In fact, the main concern of all religions is to produce spiritual unity within and between all human beings. Without spiritual unity there is little hope of creating peace and harmony throughout the world and where there is no peace and harmony, the dream of progress, welfare and morality will remain elusive.
Unity of God, unity of nature, unity of mankind, suggest that all humans are brothers.
The Muslim Sufis embraced the values of Islam as love, peace and kindness and spread them all over the world. It is clear that the power of peace is stronger than the power of violence in all religions of the world. Quran calls the way of Islam as the path of peace.
In the end, I would like to mention that Islam is a religion of peace which by its very name “Islam” means peace. So is the basis of all world religions.
Let us all work to establish peace and harmony in the world which is the bedrock on which all human progress rests.
Reference: Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (1999) "Islam and Peace"