Peace in Islam

In making an assessment of Islam in relation to politics, one crucial point must be taken into consideration, which is that, politics is only a relative and not the real part of Islam. This difference between a real and a relative feature is that what is essential is relevant in all circumstances and at all times, whereas the relative is required only in relation to particular sets of circumstances. Wherever such circumstances do not exist, relative features lose their relevance and therefore their desirability.

If we are to put ‘fundamentalism’ in the correct perspective, we should be clear about what actually constitutes the fundamental principles of Islam. There is a hadith, which gives us clear guidance on this subject.

In the present time, Muslim fundamentalists are responsible for actions resulting from hatred and marked by violence taking place in the name of Islam. A justification of what they are engaged in is presented in the following couplet by the famous poet Iqbal: To every vein of falsehood every Muslim is like a surgical knife. (Shikwa Jawab-e-Shikwah).

At the very beginning of the Qur’an, the first invocation reads: “In the name of God, the most Merciful, the most Beneficent.” Throughout the Qur’an, this verse is repeated for no less than 114 times. Even one of God’s names is As-Salam (Peace). Moreover, the Qur’an states that the Prophet Muhammad ‘may peace be upon him’ was sent to the world as a mercy to mankind (21:107).

Hatred is a crime and ideological hatred is the greatest crime. The so-called Islamic fundamentalism, if judged by its result, is the greatest crime of this kind against humanity. Any thing can be eliminated, but what is impossible to eliminate is the hatred produced by a sacred ideology: Hatred generates violence and ideological hatred generates unlimited violence. It can kill all of humanity without suffering any feelings of remorse or repentance. Hence the self-styled Islamic fundamentalism turns into an un-Islamic theory.

According to the Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace, a believer is one with whom one can trust one’s life and property. That is because Islam is a religion of peace. The Qur’an calls its way ‘the paths of peace’ (5:16). It describes reconciliation as the best policy, (4:128) and states quite plainly that God abhors disturbance of the peace (2:205).

So far as Islam is concerned, it is an entirely tolerant religion. Islam desires peace to prevail in the world. The Qur’an calls the way of Islam ‘the paths of Peace’ (5:16). The state of peace can never prevail in a society if a tolerant attitude is lacking in the people. Tolerance is the only basis for peace; in a society where tolerance is absent, peace likewise will be non-existent.

On January 1st, 1995, the newspaper flashed the news that “the United Nations has proclaimed 1995 as the “Year of Tolerance,” saying that the ability to be tolerant of the actions, beliefs and opinions of others is a major factor in promoting world peace. Amidst the resurgence of ethnic conflicts, discrimination against minorities and xenophobia directed against refugees and asylum-seekers, tolerance is the only way forward, said the statement of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, (UNESCO).

There is no doubt about the fact that the terror attacks being made worldwide are highly condemnable. However, the big question in the minds of everyone is how to solve this problem? People the world over are trying to find a solution to this menace. On the one hand, the authorities are trying to crush the terror menace through legal action; and on the other hand, reformers are trying to curb it by engaging in condemnation. However both of these methods are, apparently, proving to be ineffective. Then what is the solution?