Religion of Peace

The Model World according to Islam is a world of peace. Islam in itself means a religion of peace. The Qur’an says: And God calls to the home of peace. This is the message of Islam to mankind. It means that ‘Build a world of peace on earth so that you may be granted a world of peace in your eternal life in the Hereafter’. Now what are the basic elements of building of a culture of peace, according to Islam? To be brief, these are three: compassion, forgiveness and respect for all. Let’s take compassion first. If you go through the Qur’an and Hadith, you will find many verses in the Qur’an and Hadith, which lay great stress on compassion. For instance, the Prophet of Islam said: O people, be compassionate to others so that you may be granted compassion by God. Thus Islam makes compassion a matter of self¬-interest for every man. As one’s own future depends on one’s compassionate behaviour to other fellowmen. In this way Islam motivates us to be compassionate in our dealing with each other. One who wants to receive God’s grace will have to show compassion to others. Let’s take forgiveness. The Qur’an has to say this in this regard “when they are angered, they forgive.” There are a number of verses in the Qur’an, which promote forgiveness. Then there is a hadith. Once a person came to the Prophet and asked him, “O Prophet, give me a master advice by which I may be able to manage all the affairs of my life.” The Prophet replied: “Don’t be angry.” It means that ‘forgive people even at provocation.’ That is, adopt forgiveness as your behaviour at all times. Now let’s take the third principle – Respect for all. There is a very interesting story, recorded by al-Bukhari in this regard. The Prophet of Islam once saw a funeral procession passing by a street in Madina. The Prophet was seated at that time. On seeing the funeral the Prophet stood up in respect. At this one of his companions said: ‘O Prophet, it was the funeral of a Jew (not a Muslim). The Prophet replied: ‘Was he not a human being?’ What it meant was that every human being is worthy of respect. There may be differences among people regarding religion and culture, but everyone has to respect the other. For, according to Islam, all men and women are blood brothers and blood sisters. And all are creatures of one and the same God. These three principles are the basic pillars to form a peaceful society. Wherever these three values are to be found the result no doubt will be a society of peace and harmony. The above references are enough to show that Islam is a culture of peace. It is true that some Muslims are engaged in violence in the name of Islam. But you will have to differentiate between Islam and Muslims. You have to see Muslims in the light of Islam and not vice versa.