Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

The very word Islam (from the Arabic silm) implies peace, and all the teachings of Islam are based directly or indirectly on this principle. There are traditions of the Prophet that say that ‘Peace is Islam’, and that, ‘God is peace’ (Sahih al-Bukhari). Similarly, there is another hadith that says that a Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands, people are safe. One of the attributes of God described in the Quran is ‘As-Salaam’, which means ‘peace and security’. That is to say that God’s Being itself is a manifestation or embodiment of peace. In the Quran, divine guidance is likened to the ‘path of peace’ (5: 16)

In Islam, Paradise, the eternal ideal and the ultimate objective of every man, is called the ‘Home of Peace’ (10: 25) It is also said that the people of Paradise will wish peace for one another, which is another indication of the importance of peace in the ideal society.

Peace is the norm in Islam; war is the exception. All the teachings of Islam and the life of the Prophet of Islam testify to this. There is a hadith that says that God grants to gentleness what He does not grant to harshness. That is to say, a peaceful approach is distinctly superior to violence.

The Quran is undoubtedly a book of peace, not a book of war and violence. This can be seen from the fact that all of the Quran’s pronouncements are directly or indirectly related to peace. Its opening invocation is — “In the name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful”, and this verse is repeated in the Quran 114 times. This is an indication that the greatest attribute of the Supreme Being who sent this book to us is His mercy. We could say that the theme of this entire holy book is God’s all-embracing compassion.

Judging by its consequences, the way of peace is far better than confrontation or conflict. According to the law of God for mankind, God has decreed success only through reconciliation, and not through violent courses of action. The Prophet's wife Aisha said that the Prophet’s general policy was always to choose the easier (non-confrontational) path (Sahih al-Bukhari). This means that violence should not be adopted if peaceful processes are possible. Just as countering aggression with aggression is a hard option and countering aggression with patience and forbearance is an easier option, radicalism is harder than gradualism. Peace is always the easier option in achieving the desired results.

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