Live Your Life Spreading Peace and Compassion Rather Than Inciting War And Bloodshed
1. India is a democratic country in which people of all faiths live side by side.
2. Majority of Indians believe in slogans of peaceful coexistence and pluralism, while others want to destabilise the relationship.
3. Whenever war was permitted during the Prophet's era, peace be upon him, it was only for the sake of humanity's safety.
4. Instead of focusing on wartime passages, we should promote verses that are suitable in a peaceful society.
By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam
India is a democratic country in which people of all faiths live side by side. The majority of Indians believe in slogans of peaceful coexistence and pluralism, while others want to destabilise the relationship. In theory, the Indian Constitution prohibits any action that may jeopardise pluralism and a peaceful environment. Both Muslims and non-Muslims in India swore to live up to the promise of abiding by the constitution when it was drafted. This implies that they must live in harmony with one another. At the same time, the same Constitution guarantees religious freedom, protection for individuals regardless of faith, caste, or culture, and prohibits Indian citizens from making derogatory remarks about religious leaders and personalities.
This means you must live your life spreading peace and compassion rather than inciting war and bloodshed. Islamic principles of peace and mercy can also be used to support this simple idea. Islam emphasises that Muslims should treat others with respect regardless of their nationality. Islam forbids discrimination based on race, caste, or ethnicity and it condemns all forms of violence.
We are confronted with a slew of initiatives by those with malicious purposes who want to wipe out humanity in the name of vengeance. They harass and afflict the defenceless in the name of religion and by exposing the awful element of what they term 'humanity.' Such people aim to dismantle humanity in the name of humanity. And we're dealing with a serious problem here.
Ethnicity, race, caste, and religion are all used to make decisions. In his verdicts, our Prophet (peace be upon him) did not allow any such distinction. He instilled human ideals in his comrades and encouraged them to protect the weak. He opposed supremacy based on race, ethnicity, or culture. Instead, he emphasised that an individual's quality is determined solely by his or her piety.
It is reported in a hadith that the Prophet (peace be upon him), "O People! Know that you Lord is One, your father (Hazrat Adam peace be upon him) is one. No Arab is superior to a non-Arab only because of being an Arab. No non-Arab is superior to an Arab simply because of being a non-Arab. No white complexioned person is superior to a black one and no black person is superior to a white complexioned one, except by piety."
The Quran has taught humanity to appreciate one another. "We have honoured the Children of Adam," it says (17:70). This is a moral aspect that has influenced people all across the world. In the Islamic civilization and practices of Sufis and Mashaikh, we surely discover the highest intellectual and practical traces of human respect.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) would tell a governor in a given area to be nice and gentle and not to intimidate anyone, demonstrating the principle of human respect expressed in this verse. There is an incident narrated in Sahih Muslim that when the Prophet sent Hazrat Muaz bin Jabal as the governor of Yemen, he said,
"Make things easy and do not make things difficult. Give glad tidings and do not repel people. Cooperate and do not become divided". (Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari)
And when Hazrat Ma'ad ibn Jabal was ready to go and put his foot in the stirrup, the Prophet further said, "Make your character excellent for the people, O Muaz ibn Jabal" (Muwatta, Sahih Muslim)
Please take note of this hadith, in which the Prophet warned Hazrat Muaz ibn Jabal not to use his position of authority to wrong or oppress anyone, even if they are unbelievers, as Hazrat Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, "Beware of the oppressed's supplication, even if he is a disbeliever, for there is no screen between it and Allah" (Musnad Ahmad, Grade – Sahih)
Hazrat Umar would ask people about the attitude of governors. Once he asked Jarir about Hazrat Saad b. Abi Waqqas, he replied saying, "I left him (Saad b. Abi Waqqas) in governorship while he was the gentlest man. He was as kind and friendly to the citizens as a mother is to her children. He would manage the livelihood of the citizens as the ants do" (Al-Isaba fi Marifat al-Sahaba, vol. 3, p.3)
Islam holds equal status for humanity. Once the Prophet peace be upon him said, "All creatures of Allah form the family of Allah and he is the best-loved of Allah who loves His family best" (Mishkat Sharif)
The Prophet is also reported to have said, "…I affirm that all Human beings are brothers to one another" (Abu Dawood) and "…respect the ways of Allah (or the laws inherent in Nature) and be affectionate to the family of Allah" (Baihaqi).
It's worth noting that the addresses in all of these Ahadith are to all people, not only believers or Muslims, and they form one family. (This is not to be confused with the figurative use of the word "family" to refer to "Allah's people.")
We urgently require the dissemination of the attitude of human respect that leads to spiritual and mental development. When a man loses humanity's respect, he begins roaming through the forest of horrors, where it is practically difficult for him to escape until he purifies his heart and mind.
Several indicators of a real believer and his spiritual progress can be seen in the Prophet's holy sayings (peace be upon him). One of the signs is that the believer always succeeds in good actions and will continue to do so as long as he does not spill forbidden blood, for if he murders someone unjustly and causes chaos (Fasad) in the nation, he will become discouraged and fail in his quest for success. (Abu Dawud)
Bloodshed is strictly forbidden in the Quran and Sunnah. And whenever war was permitted during the Prophet's era, peace be upon him, it was only for the sake of humanity's safety. The Qur'an declares in clear words that "whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had killed mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors" (5:32)
Some people do not want to hear teachings about peace, harmony, and justice because of their negative motives. Such people commonly try to persuade and discourage righteous people from following the path of peace and justice. The Quran, on the other hand, encourages these good people to continue striving for peace and justice, saying, "O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do". (5:8)
During the time of Hazrat Umar Farooq (May Allah be pleased with him), one of his Emirs complained about the desertion of his city and wanted money from Amir al-Muminin Hazrat Umar to re-establish the city. "After reading my letter, protect your city by establishing justice, fairness, and removing oppression from the routes of the city because oppression leads to the desertion of the city," Hazrat 'Umar Farooq replied.
This planet is home to individuals of various faiths and religions. They have different creeds and beliefs, and the powerful frequently enslave the weak in order to uphold their ideals. They don't realise that God is One and that all creatures will be judged on the basis of their actions on the Day of Judgment. So they should at the very least live in harmony and do honour to one another's lives. The following Quranic verse expresses this concept clearly:
"........Say (this): 'I believe in every Book that Allah has revealed, and I have been commanded to do justice between you. Allah is our Lord as well as your Lord. For us are our deeds and for you are your deeds. There is no debate and dispute between us and you. Allah will gather us all together and to Him is the return (of all)." (42:15)
Islam's ideas for fostering peaceful mutual coexistence can undoubtedly assist the globe in overcoming oppression, violence, riots, and confrontations.
Islam does not like polytheism (shirk) but at the same time, the Quran has taught its followers ways to deal with the Mushrikin or idol-worshippers.
The Quran says,
"And, (O Muslims,) do not abuse those whom these (polytheists) worship besides Allah, lest these people should (also, in retaliation,) revile Allah's Glory wrongfully due to ignorance. Thus, have We made the conduct of every sect (and faction) seem attractive to (their own eyes and they regard only that as truth)? Then all have to return to their Lord, and He will inform them of (the results of) their deeds which they used to do." (6:108)
This scripture forbids Muslims from disparaging other gods for fear of their followers abusing their God in a fit of fury. This is an area where it is reasonable to believe that the majority of riots between followers of other faiths have occurred as a result of negative campaigning against each other's God and prominent figures. Many communal riots and conflicts have undoubtedly resulted from this. May Allah lead the people in the right direction!
Various people object to the word 'Mushrikin' appearing in some war-time verses of the Quran. In reality, the term 'Mushrikin' used in these verses refers to Mushrikin who had violated the Hudaybiya Peace Treaty and were seeking to eradicate Muslims and Islam. However, competent thinkers and intellectuals are aware of this truth.
Instead of focusing on wartime passages, we should promote verses that are suitable in a peaceful society. Here are some verses that promote the values of peace, harmony, justice, forgiveness, and peaceful coexistence among people of many faiths.
God Almighty says:
"On account of this, We prescribed (this commandment in the Torah sent down) to the Children of Israel that whoever killed a person (unjustly), except as a punishment for murder or for (spreading) disorder in the land, it would be as if he killed all the people (of society); and whoever (saved him from unjust murder and) made him survive, it would be as if he saved the lives of all the people (of society, i.e., he rescued the collective system of human life). And indeed, Our Messengers came to them with evident signs. Yet, even after that, the majority from amongst these people are certainly those who commit excesses in the land." (5:32)
"And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right. And whoever is killed unjustly - We have given his heir authority (of retribution as per the legal procedure), but he should not exceed the just limits in [the matter of retributive] killing. Indeed, he is to be helped." (17:23)
"And these are the people who do not worship any other god apart from Allah, nor do they kill the soul whose killing without any lawful cause Allah has forbidden, nor do they commit adultery. And whoever does this will receive the punishment due for the sin." (25:68)
"And among men is one whose conversation may please you in the life of this world, and who calls Allah to witness to that which is in his heart, whereas [in truth] he is the most quarrelsome! (2:204) And when he turns away [from you], he goes about the earth to create turmoil in it [i.e. the earth] and destroy crops and lives; and Allah does not like turmoil and violence". (2:204-205)
"And seek the abode of the Hereafter with what (wealth) Allah has given you, and do not forget your portion of the world, and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to cause turmoil in the earth; indeed, Allah does not like those who violate the peace." (28:77)
"And those who break the promise of Allah after making it firm and sever all (the relations and obligations) that Allah has commanded to be kept unified, and do mischief and strife in the land—upon them is the curse and for them is an evil home;" (13:25). This verse is a guiding principle for not going against the promise of abiding by the Constitution.
"Indeed, Allah decrees the commands of justice and kindness, and of giving to relatives, and forbids immorality and bad conduct and rebellion; He advises you so that you may receive admonition." (16:90)
"The way (to persecute) is only against those who oppress people, and wrongfully spread rebellion in the land. It is they for whom there is a painful punishment. (42:42) And indeed whoever patiently endures and forgives – this is sure of the acts that demand great courage and determination". (42:42- 43)
"The retribution of a harmful deed is the harm equal to it; so, whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah; indeed, He does not love the unjust" (42:40)
"Tell the believers to forgive those who do not fear the days fixed by Allah, so that He may give a nation the reward of what they used to earn." (45:14)
"And if you want to punish, then punish only (as severely) as you were afflicted, but if you remain patient, then certainly that is better for those who keep patience. And, (O Glorious Beloved,) be patient and your patience is by Allah alone. And you should not grieve over their (defiance), nor distress (your gracious and benevolent heart) on account of their deceptive plots. Surely, Allah blesses them who live with God wariness and who (also) live with spiritual excellence with His (special) companionship." (16:126-128)
"There is no compulsion in Din (Religion). Surely, the guidance has been distinguished from error. So he who rejects false gods and believes in Allah has grasped such a firm handhold that will never (possibly) give way. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing." (2:256)
"And had Allah so willed, certainly, all inhabitants on the earth would have believed. (When your Lord has not made them believe by force,) will you coerce the people until they become believers?" (10:99)
"We know best what they say, and you are not the one to coerce them. So advise through the Qur'an anyone who fears My threat of punishment." (50:45). This verse rejects the narrative of forced conversion as one is not allowed to force any other to accept one's religion.
Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam.
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