Monday, 23 October 2017

Tafsan 

 

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TOPIC: ISLAM: THE RELIGION OF PEACE

 

Alhamdu lillah al ladhee khalaqa kulla shayin was salatu was salamu ‘al Rasulihi al Kareem.

 

One thing that the world continues to search endlessly for is peace. A troubling report by the Institute for Economics and Peace found a mere ten nations on the planet are not at war and completely free from conflict. According to the Global Peace Index 2016, only Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, Japan, Mauritius, Panama, Qatar, Switzerland, Uruguay and Vietnam are free from conflict. Iceland tops the list of most peaceful countries in the world, followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Portugal, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, and Slovenia — while the United States ranked far lower, at 103.

 

The World Peace Day is celebrated on September 21 every year and for this year, it was yesterday. Perhaps a very good time to discuss this issue is now.

 

Islam is a religion of peace in the fullest sense of the word. The Quran calls its way "…The ways of peace…" [Quran: 5:16] It describes reconciliation as the best policy [Quran: 4:128], and states that God abhors any disturbance of peace [Quran: 2:205]

 

The root word of Islam is 'Silm', which means peace. So the spirit of Islam is the spirit of peace. The first verse of the Quran breathes the spirit of peace; it reads: "In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate."

 

This verse is repeated in the Quran no less than 114 times. It shows the great importance Islam attaches to such values as Mercy and Compassion. One of God's names, according to the Quran, is As-Salaam, which means Peace. Moreover, the Quran states that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was sent to the world as a mercy to mankind. [Quran: 21:107]

 

A perusal of the Quran shows that most verses of the Quran (and also the Hadeeth) are based on peace and kindness, either directly or indirectly. The ideal society, according to the Quran is Dar As-Salaam, that is, the house of peace [Quran: 10:25]

 

The Quran presents the universe as a model, which is characterized by harmony and peace [Quran: 36:40].  When God created heaven and earth, He so ordered things that each part might perform its function peacefully without clashing with any other. The Quran tells us that "It is not allowable [i.e., possible] for the sun to reach the moon, nor does the night overtake the day, but each, in an orbit, is swimming." [Quran: 36:40] For billions of years, therefore, the entire universe has been fulfilling its function in total harmony with His divine plan.

 

According to Islam, peace is not simply an absence of war. Peace opens doors to all kinds of opportunities which are present in any given situation. It is only in a peaceful situation that planned activities are possible. It is for this reason that the Quran says: "…And settlement is best…" [Quran: 4:128] Similarly, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has observed: "God grants to gentleness (Rifq) what He does not grant to violence ('Unf). [Abu Daawood]

 

According to Islam, peace is the rule and war is only an exception. Even in defensive war we have to analyse its result; if the result is doubtful, Muslims should avoid war. Stray acts of aggression are not enough for Muslims to rush into war. They have to assess the whole situation and adopt a policy of avoidance when war is not certain to achieve a positive result.

 

In actual fact, the mission of all the Prophets from Adam to 'Isa, (ASW), was one and the same - of establishing the ideology of monotheism in the world, so that man might worship the One God alone. 

 

In ancient times, the system of monarchy was entrenched throughout the world. The kings, in order to secure their political interests, adopted the course of religious persecution. These kings suppressed all religious movements that were different from the state religion. They would nip all 'apostasy' in the bud since they saw religion as a matter of affirming one's loyalty to the state. If a person adhered to a religion other than the state religion, he was regarded as a rebel.

 

 

That is why in ancient times, prophetic movements could go no further than the state of Da'wah, or invitation to Islam. No sooner would a movement based on monotheism arise than the coercive political system would be activated to pull it out by its roots. The reason for the absence of any historical record of Prophets (besides the Prophet Muhammad) in antiquity is traceable to the intense opposition of these coercive political systems.

 

It is no exaggeration to say that Islam and violence are contradictory to each other. The concept of Islamic violence is so obviously unfounded that, it stands rejected. The fact that violence is not sustainable in the present world is enough to convince one that violence, as a principle, is quite alien to the scheme of things in Islam. Islam claims to be an eternal religion and such a religion cannot afford a principle in its scheme which will not be sustainable in later periods of human history. An attempt to bracket violence with Islam amounts to casting doubts upon the very eternity of the Islamic religion.

 

No wonder then that the Prophet Muhammad so earnestly used to entreat his Lord in his daily prayer: "O God, you are the original source of Peace; from You is all Peace, and to You returns all Peace. So, make us live with Peace; and let us enter paradise: the House of Peace. Blessed be You, our Lord, to whom belongs all Majesty and Honour!"