Islamic Perspectives

ISLAM: THE RELIGION OF PEACE!

Dr. Shaista Bano, Aligarh

Islam means peace and submission to the Will of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Islam preaches, propagates and promotes peace. The peace of a person, peace in family, society, country and the world is the cherished goal of this faith. For our guidance, the Holy Qur’an has been revealed. The subject of this Book of God is Man. The holy Book says “We have revealed for you (O men!) a book in which is a message for you. Will ye not then understand? (21:10). And the holy Qur’an declares “We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all Creatures” (21:107). However, it is to be borne in mind that Islam does not operate in human life in a magical and incomprehensible manner without any consideration for human nature, its innate potentialities and limitations. The holy Qur’an addresses all aspects of human life. The guidance given in it is complete. It is for all people and for all times to come. According to the noble Book, “Those who strive on our account, them will We guide to our path” and “Truly God does not change the state of a people until they change that which is within themselves” (13:11). The realisation of this path of Divine origin for human life, however, depends on the exertions of human beings within the limits of their capabilities and shortcomings under given circumstances. The holy Qur’an does not only enunciate the principles and rules concerning the social, moral and spiritual aspects of human life, but also provides clues to the laws of Nature that govern the Universe.

Peace is meaningless if it does not provide security. Security from all sorts of violence, damage and destruction. Security from inequality, injustice and intolerance. Safety from disease, and from ill effects of alcohol and drugs etc.
Health is one of the most precious gifts of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe to man. Without health life becomes a burden. Every thing that is good for health is permitted while harmful ones are prohibited in Islam. Alcohol is a dangerous substance for humans to imbibe. It does not only affect a person physically and socially but also morally, economically and spiritually. It disturbs the peace of the whole family and society. Drinking alcohol is prohibited in Islam. Prohibition means prohibition of manufacture, sale and serving it to anybody, on any occasion. Drinking has  been termed as umm ul-khabais (the mother of all evils) in the words of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Unfortunately drinking has become a status symbol in modern society. In the age of Internet and social media, and with rapid advancement in medical sciences and technology, the cost of maintenance of health is increasing with each passing day.

Humans have made tremendous progress in many fields like medical sciences, other science and technology, industry, space technology and Internet. The pertinent questions are if humans are secure today? Are they healthy and happy? And, the most important one, “have they found peace”? No, not at all! Instead of being healthy, happy and peaceful, humans have found misery, anxiety, fear and frustration.

The fundamental rights and duties as well as prohibitions necessary for peaceful coexistence of all living beings are described in a comprehensive manner in Islam. The duties of one person are the rights of another individual. There is a harmonious equilibrium between the rights and duties essential for the survival of mankind. Interestingly, there is much hue and cry about human rights without any mention of duties. Today humanity is suffering from indifference and lack of interest and seriousness with regard to all beliefs, ideologies and principles. There is chaos and confusion everywhere. These prevailing conditions are big obstacles in the way of following the path of God. Therefore, today, we are living in an environment, full of disrespect for the role of religion. All efforts should, therefore, be focused on the issues which are most effective in reducing the sufferings of mankind.

Islam is the Religion of God, Who is the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the universe. The Creator loves It’s creation. There is no space in Islam for hate and violence against anybody. The following verses will illustrate the point:
(a) “Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate” (41:34). Thus Islam teaches to foil hatred with love.
(b) “To those who believe in Allah and His Messengers and make no distinction between any of the Messengers We shall soon give their (due) rewards: for Allah is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful” (4:152).
(c) “Allah Commands justice, the doing of good, and liberty to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition” (16:90).
(d) “O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witness to fair dealing and let not the hatred of Others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice…” (5:8).
(e) “…if any one slew a person - unless it is to be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our Messengers with: Clear Signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land (5:32).
(f) “But those who believe and work righteousness will be admitted to Gardens beneath which rivers flow…. Their greetings therein will be: “peace” (14:23).

It can not be justified to malign a particular community or religion for the violence perpetrated by certain misguided and fanatic groups of that community or religion. And if it is justified, then why not the religion of the people of Myanmar should be criticised for the victimization of Rohingiya Muslims in that country? No nationality or voting right; no education for their children and no security for their lives. Now with formation of the new civilian government of National League for Democracy one does hope for the solution of this crisis. Why are powerful countries bombarding and crushing the people of countries whose governments are not of their choice? Even duly elected governments are toppled under one pretext or other. Why this double standard? It is unfortunate that we have adopted Islam partially and have not succeeded in presenting Islam’s true picture. The sight of a picture creates an imprint on human mind deeper than a thousand words. We do project the real image of Islam by practising it in our daily life. All the great religions of the world must unite and create a friendly atmosphere which will definitely reduce the hatred and violence among communities and societies. This is the only and the best option available for having peace the world over. To make this planet a beautiful and livable place will be a precious gift to our younger generations.    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2016 on page no. 20

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