ISLAM AND PEACE
Posted on November 8th, 2012

By A. Abdul Aziz.

(Given below is the script of the address by Honourable Senator Dr. Iftikhar Ayaz OBE at PEACE SYMPOSIUM held at Taj Samudra “”…” Colombo, organized by  Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Sri Lanka on 3rd November 2012.)

 Dr. Iftikhar Ayaz OBE.

  • OBE (Officer of the Excellent Order of the British Empire)
  • Alfred Einstein Nobel Medal for Peace
  • Man of the Year in Human Rights 2010
  • International Peace Prize
  • University of Cambridge Ambassador of Knowledge
  • Honoured as a Cambridge Blue
  • Included amongst the Great Minds of the 21st Century and 500 Greatest Geniuses of the 21st Century.
  • Dr Ayaz is the Consul General for the Pacific islands of Tuvalu in the U.K. He is Senator of the World Nations Congress.
  • Vice Chancellor World Academy of Letters
  • Deputy Governor of the American Biographical Institute
  • Deputy Chair of the Pacific Peace Forum and a member of several organisations related to Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Peace.

Dr Ayaz is an eminent member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and currently in Sri Lanka and attended as Chief Guest at the Peace Symposium organized by Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Sri Lanka.

I witness that there is no God but Allah.  He is ONE and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.  I seek Allah’s refuge from the Satan, and I begin in the Name of Allah, the Gracious, Ever Merciful.

Respected Chairman, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Assalamo Alaikum

Peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.

It is my special privilege and honour to be invited to share my thoughts on “Islam and Peace”, a subject which is of key interest in the world of today. The pace at which peace is fast disappearing from the world has caused each sane and sensible person to worry.  This includes religious people and those who do not believe in any religion.  In my humble, brief submission, I will present to you the teachings that are given in the Holy Quran to establish peace on earth.  The vision of God that is given in the Holy Quran with reference to peace is:

“He is Allah, and there is no God beside Him, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, the Bestower of Security, the Protector, the Mighty, the Subduer, the Exalted.  Holy is Allah, far above that which they associate with Him”.   (Ch. 59: V24).

Similarly, according to the attributes of God that have been mentioned in the Holy Quran, He dislikes those who violate peace.  According to our belief, He metes out punishment to them, if not in this world then certainly in the next.  And, he who spreads peace, security and love here, God will bless him in this world as well as in the next.

All religions according to Islam endeavoured to bring man back to his Creator on the one hand, and to establish an ideal relationship with his fellow human beings on the other.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community upholds this fundamental point of love and peace and preaches it to others, and believes Peace can be established in this world only when everyone recognises God and understands this point that it is by loving the Creator alone that we can love His creation.

This will increase our vision that we have not only to establish peace in our own surroundings, but also create peace and security in the whole world.  In short, to establish true peace, we must understand the spirit of true justice.  How can we establish true justice and what is its spirit?

In this connection, God Almighty, who calls himself King of all kings in the Holy Quran, tells us that peace will only come about with justice and benevolence. 

In The Holy Quran God Almighty says: 

“O Ye who believe! Be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice.  Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness.  And fear Allah.  Surely, Allah is aware of what you do.”  (Ch 5: V9)

The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (PBH) states in this respect, while explaining this verse:

“Allah the Almighty says about justice that it cannot be achieved without truthfulness, that your enmity towards others should not hinder you from dispensing justice.  Remain just because righteousness lies in it.  Today we are witnessing some states and rulers that unjustly harm and hurt and cause bloodshed of their own people.  It is not easy to deal justly with such people.  But, the Holy Quran has not taken away the rights of even such mortal enemies and has enjoined to remain steadfast in pursuing the path of justice and truthfulness”.

Therefore, the foundation of justice will be laid in this world only when each and every individual of the society realises that he has to win the pleasure of his Creator and has to follow His Commandments; and it is such individuals who collectively try to create peace on a broad basis.

Although this Commandment of God Almighty is addressed to Muslims, it holds a status of a charter for all humanity for general peace in the whole world. 

The Holy Quran says:

“And if two parties of believers fight against each other, make peace between them, then if after that one of them transgresses against the other, fight the party that transgresses until it returns to the command of Allah.  Then, if it returns, make peace between them with equity, and act justly.  Verily, Allah loves the just.”  (Ch 49: V10).

This great teaching can guarantee peace within the States, and amongst the Nations and the world but we must rise above personal and political interests; only then can we act in this manner.  If today, the world community adopts this divine principle stipulated in the Holy Quran for all countries, great and small, then the injustices or the greed to capture the resources of other countries or to subdue other countries, or their people can be nipped in the bud.

Although some of the world’s countries are trying to do something, their efforts ignore the dimension of the Creator and in whatever they do their personal and political interests become paramount. When this happens, it often becomes difficult to fulfil the requirements of true justice and equity.  In this respect, Islam teaches:

“Verily, Allah enjoins justice and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency and manifest evil and transgression.  He admonishes you that you may take heed.”  (Ch 16:  V.91).

We can see many such examples in the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBOH) and Islamic history.  We witness in that a real urge for peace that comes from the heart, and truly the voice that comes from the heart is the only one that can establish real peace because it is based on love and warmth.

There are many such incidents during the time of the Holy Prophet (PBOH) and the real reason was that those people were standard bearers of justice and equity because they had real fear of God in their hearts.

Much of Prophet Muhammad’s life after being commissioned was devoted to ensuring that all conflicts in society were minimised or reduced.  Thus, when a Muslim had an argument with a Jewish person, as to who was in fact a greater Prophet, Moses or Muhammad, the Prophet actually scolded the Muslim for saying that Muhammad was superior to Moses.  While it was clearly an act of great humility on the part of Prophet Muhammad (PBOH),  it was also an act that promoted peace and relations between a fairly large population of Jewish people and Muslims.

On arrival at Medina, after his emigration from Mecca, the Prophet devoted himself to the organisation of the city.  The Prophet’s sense of conciliation and harmony quickly realised that a lasting peace was only possible if it was based on goodwill and support of all sections of the society.  With this objective in mind, the Prophet formulated a Charter for the people of Medina which was also known as the Constitution of Medina.

Under this Charter, all blood feuds were abolished and equal rights were given to all residents of the city.  Fighting and killing was so abhorring to the Prophet’s nature that seldom in the many armed conflicts in which he participated, did he actually use his own weapon.  Most of the time, even during the heat of the battle, he preferred to pray to his Lord rather than injure another human being.

The Holy Prophet (PBOH) had suffered many personal injuries and indignities during his stay in Mecca.  Even in Medina, he remained the target of personal abuse by many people.  But throughout these tribulations, he never once raised his own hand against offenders “”…” not even in self defence.  Many a time, this irritated even his closest companions who were more than ready to lay down their lives to protect the Prophet’s honour.  When he did participate in armed conflict, it was more to defend his followers than to cause pain and suffering to others.  Not until the enemy actually marched against him in battle “”…” and not until specific injunctions had come down from Allah in the Holy Quran regarding action in defence “”…” did the Prophet feel it necessary to fight in self defence.

One reason that the Prophet Muhammad (PBOH) was so strongly inclined towards peace is the fact that the very name of the religion of Islam means peace.  It is therefore, little wonder that he practised peace throughout his life.  For, the Prophet (PBOH) always practised what he taught.

As the Muslims started to exercise greater influence in Medina, the Holy Prophet’s keen vision perceived possible deprivation of the rights of certain minorities.  To safeguard against such an eventuality, the Prophet (PBOH) granted a special Charter to the Christians.  Under the terms of this Charter, the Christians were free to practise their faith and carry out their pilgrimage and no unfair taxation was to be imposed upon them.  No churches were to be pulled down for the building of mosques and the Muslims were in fact required to help the Christians in the repair of their churches.

The conquest of Mecca itself is a glowing example of the Prophet’s love for peace.  All historians agree that in the history of conquests, there has never been a more triumphant entry than this one.  Hardly any blood was shed and all the enemies were pardoned.  The Muslims had been tortured in this city and were eventually driven out of it.  The residents of this city had perpetrated heinous acts against the Muslims and had not let them live in peace even after their emigration to Medina.  They had persecuted them when they lived in Mecca, and had waged three battles against them even when they had left the city.  But on this day, when the enemy lay vanquished, helpless and at the mercy of Muslims, a general pardon was declared and no revenge was taken.  Some of his arch enemies could not believe their own ears that such a general forgiveness could indeed be granted by the Prophet.  Such examples of greatness and such love of peace and forgiveness are truly rare in the history of conquests.

Recurrently, at numerous instances the Holy Quran emphatically condemns the use of force against disbelievers or for that matter against anyone.  We read:

Allah says in the Holy Quran:

“And if thy Lord had enforced His will, surely, all who are on the earth would have believed together.  Wilt thou, then, force men to become believers?” (10:100).

And again Allah says:

“This is the truth from your Lord; let him who will, believe, and let him who will, disbelieve.” (18:30).

In contrast to force, the Quran encourages believers to invite others to faith through arguments and dialogues:

“Invite to the path of your Lord with wisdom and comely admonishment and argue with them in the best manner”. (16:126).

How then could the Prophet of Islam have condoned behaviour directly contrary to what he claimed God revealed to him?  In fact, not a single historical incident can be cited for the contention that the Prophet spread Islam by the sword.  On the contrary, his message of love and compassion for his fellow human beings won them over to his message.  The Prophet loathed war and destruction.  For thirteen years, he and his followers patiently endured bitter persecution in his home city of Mecca solely because they professed belief in One God.

The Holy Quran categorically forbids coercion or compulsion in matters of faith.  Islam ensures everyone the freedom of faith and belief.  This strongly dispels the misapprehension about the purpose of “ƒ”¹…”Jihad’ which is an Arabic word meaning to strive or to struggle for a good purpose.  The Holy Prophet (PBOH) said that the real jihad, the greater jihad, is to strive for self reformation and spiritual advancement.

Today the Jihad is to enlighten humanity through the power of the pen and media and unify mankind in bonds of fraternity and love of God to achieve eternal peace in this world and the hereafter.

Unfortunately, in the world of today, in some quarters, there is the notion of Islamophobia.  Islam is portrayed as a religion sanctioning violence, extremism, fundamentalism and terrorism.  The fact is that in Islam human life is sacrosanct and any act related to violence or disrupting the peace is to incite the wrath of God Almighty.  In reality, all these terms have no connection with Islam or its teachings at all.  They are forms of deviant criminal human behaviour which is abhorred not only by Islam but by all religions.

 Terrorism emerged as a topic of interest in the 1980s and interest in it surged after the 9/11 attacks in America.  It was defined by Borum, an American Sociologist, as acts of violence intentionally perpetrated on civilian innocent people with the goal of furthering some ideological, religious or political objective.  I do not have the time to go into the details of radicalism and vulnerabilities to terrorism and fundamentalism and extremism.  They are all related to principles and evil practices which have nothing to do with any faith, let alone Islam, which is an embodiment of peace.

Basically, Islam structures a society which is founded on the spirit of true fraternity where the blood of a Muslim is unlawful upon another Muslim.  What a beautiful teaching imbued with the love of God and humanity, condoning purity of heart and mind and emphasizing the fact that in Islam punishment is a forceful positive power of rectification, moral rehabilitation and reformation for the sustenance of a pure God-loving society.  With regards to the practise of stoning to death in some Muslim States, those who commit adultery or for apostasy or blasphemy, I would like to submit that in Islam, all these are the most heinous crimes.  The fact is that Islam looks upon the purity and chastity of a man or a woman as one of his or her most precious possessions.  As far as the nature of punishment for blasphemy or apostasy is concerned, they are crimes of such horrendous magnitude that God has taken on Himself to determine and accord punishment for such crimes.

Nowhere in the Holy Quran has stoning to death been laid down as punishment of adultery and for that matter apostasy or blasphemy or for any other crime.

However, peace cannot be achieved simply by treaties and truces and the enforcement of Penal Codes.  Peace requires humility, honesty, trustworthiness, righteous conduct, and equitable treatment of all members of a given society.

Thus the foundation of peace rests upon the love of the Creator in our hearts and proper respect of human life and recognition of the rights of all individuals.

Today, in every country people of different religions live side by side.  Therefore, it is necessary and it is the need of the time that within our cosmopolitan societies, the bond of love and affection should be strengthened.  Respect and honour for one another should be inculcated.  Allegiance to one’s country should be infused amongst the entire society, and most importantly, the love of God should be instilled in the hearts of the people.  The members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are admonished to always remain absolutely loyal and law abiding to the country in which they reside and never join in any protests or demonstrations to disrupt peace.  Peace is not something that is practised only at the level of the State, but it begins in the very homes where people live with their families.  This deep and profound philosophy of peace is so elegantly preserved in the farewell address of the Holy Prophet (PBOH) given during his last Pilgrimage to Mecca.  It was his last will and testament to the Muslims, and indeed to entire mankind.  The Prophet’s farewell sermon was devoted more to the theme of establishing a lasting peace among his people than anything else.  His injunctions to respect the life and possessions of other people; his exhortation to treat other people with justice and equity; his constant reminder to take care of wives, and the respect and rights of women, to treat slaves well and to be like brothers to each other; his parting injunctions to forget all blood-shed and forgive interest on all borrowed money “”…” these are fundamental principles of constructing a peaceful society and harmony and accord among the various factions of  a society.

Today we witness a yearning amongst all sections of humanity and all nations, big and small, for peace to pave the way for our security and save our future generations from a life of torment.

It is a very painful tragedy that the Muslim States which have this beautiful Charter from Allah for the establishment of peace, not only in their own states but all over the world, have completely discarded it and are today reaping its bitter consequences.  In his Friday Sermon, delivered from London, the present Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community admonished the leaders and the rulers of the Muslim States to turn to Righteousness with the fear of Allah in their hearts and fulfil their obligations to Allah and their people and follow the path of justice and equity to avoid the path of destruction which may turn into an uncontrollable bush fire for the rest of the world. He has this year travelled to several countries with a message of peace and sent messages of peace to several Heads of States in the world.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat today presents to the world a pristine pure model of Islam and it is moving on rapidly to convey the message of Islam and light the beacons of Peace in every corner of the world.  The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at is here in Sri Lanka as well with its message of peace and love for all and hatred for none.

We trust that by the blessings and true following of the teachings of Islam, a society can be established which will be governed by the Rule of God’s Law to ensure peace, purity, security, justice, equality and prosperity for all humanity without any discrimination or distinction whatsoever and the sanctity and dignity of human life will prevail.

It is our prayer that Sri Lanka may continue to flourish in peace and one day become a Monument effusing the shine of peace to the corners of the earth.

I thank you for your gracious attention and the President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in Sri Lanka for according me the privilege and honour of addressing this august Assembly.

 God bless Sri Lanka, God bless the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in Sri Lanka and God bless you all and reward you with His love abundantly.

And my last words are that All Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!    

4 Responses to “ISLAM AND PEACE”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    My friend – the proof of the pudding is in the eating. No amount of whitewashing can clean up the bloody history of Islam. Even today the whole of the Middle East is awash with blood – now mostly Muslims killing Muslims. Islam is not a peaceful religion. It is a predatory religion dispensing blind faith.

    The fact that whole of 1800 years of Islam has not produced a peaceful religion that can co-exist peacefully with other faiths and beliefs is testimony to its inability to establish peace with mankind.

    What more can be expected from a religion whose founder himself has drawn his sword to kill!

  2. Dham Says:

    Ratnapala,
    Not only Islam but alos Christianity is not peaceful. Bible and Quran bear the evidence in black and white.

    Father having intention to kill son, to earn stupid God’s faith – the story of Eid is exactly the same in both religions.
    These two religions and evil – not peaceful.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    My comment has been deleted. My apologies if it violated posting rules.

    All I said was the Ahmadiyya sect seems to be the only peaceful Muslim sect.

  4. M.S.MUDALI Says:

    What is the meaning of ISLAM? “SUBMIT” without questioning is the simple meaning. If a person refuse to submit, he will be killed. Those who refuse to accept Islam are branded as “KAFFIRS” and they must be killed or converted and enslaved.

    How can this kind of philosophies work in the modern world? Hindus/Buddhists have their freedom and not necessary to follow an Ayatollah!

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