By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
November 09, 2014
Three consecutive attempts to spark communal riots in Delhi have largely hurt the peaceful citizens among both Muslim and Hindu communities. After the rioting in Trilokpuri, the peaceful environment of Delhi as a whole was in danger. But thanks to the Delhi police, Aman (peace) committees were set up to thwart further conspiracies of the rioters. The attempts made by a 20-member Aman committee with 10 Muslims and 10 Hindus to rebuild broken ties in Trilokpuri coincided with simmering tension in another area of Delhi in Bawana. This was followed by a heart-wrenching incident in a mosque of Okhla in which a dead pig was surreptitiously put to stir communal violence. But Muslims acted with restraint, behaving as tolerant devotees of Islam and maintaining the ideal of retaining a peaceful environment of co-existence.
After such evil attempts of some miscreants, Delhi police has been asked to keep tight vigil at religious places and help maintain peace. But it is essential now for Muslims too to retain the same restraint, tolerance, patience and wisdom in order to defeat the dirty game of the ruffians. Muslims need to rejuvenate themselves with Islamic teachings of peaceful co-existence.
Islamic Teachings of Peaceful Coexistence
Peaceful coexistence of Muslims with non-Muslims directly obtains its legitimacy from the primary sources of Islam. It was not a result of jurisprudential Ijtihad; rather it is one of the injunctions brought out by the Qur'anic text and also by another major source of guidance, the Hadith. Islam introduced it some 1400 years ago immediately after the revelation came to the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.
At the outset, Islamic theologians, scholars and all of the four prestigious jurisprudential schools of thought also identified the communities of non-Muslims through the following Qur’anic verse:
“Indeed, those who believe and those who are the Jews and the Sabeans and the Christians and the Magians and those who are polytheists—verily, Allah will judge amongst (all of) them on the Day of Resurrection. Surely, Allah is witnessing everything” (22:17)
Then they adopt the legitimacy of peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims adhering to what God Almighty said in the holy Quran.
“And, (O believers,) do not argue with the People of the Book but in a suitable and decent way” (29:46)
Muslims should remember that the origin of Islam is peace, so they should practice peace and make every possible effort to eliminate communal violence and avoid clashes. Allah Almighty said:
“O believers! Enter Islam (religion of peace) perfectly and wholly, and do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is certainly your declared enemy” (2:208)
Fundamental to the Qur’anic ideology of peaceful co-existence is the view that all human beings whether Muslim or non-Muslim are united under one God:
“(In the beginning) all the people agreed upon the same Din (Religion. And later, when differences emerged amongst them,) Allah sent His Messengers as Bearers of good news and Warners and sent down with them the Book based on truth, so that it might judge those matters amongst the people in which they had developed differences. And none differed over the Scripture except those who were given it - after the clear proofs came to them - out of jealous animosity among themselves. Then Allah, by His command, made the believers understand that matter of truth about which they had differed. And Allah guides whom He pleases to the straight road.” (2:213).
The Qur’anic ideology of peaceful coexistence is that all human beings need to strive towards virtuous deeds, because the noblest person in the eyes of Allah Almighty is the one who is most pious:
“O people! We created you from a male and a female, and (divided) you into (large) peoples and tribes, so that you might recognize one another. Surely, the most honourable amongst you in the sight of Allah is he who fears Allah the most. Certainly, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware” (49:13).
Also, God Almighty says, “Allah does not forbid you to be good to them and treat them with equity and justice who did not fight against you on (the question of) Din (Religion), nor did they drive you out of your homes (i.e., homeland). Surely, Allah likes those who conduct themselves with equity and justice.” (60:8)
These and other verses do allow Muslims to build bridges of understanding and mutual cooperation with fellow human beings regardless of religion, caste, creed, race and nation in order to create a just social order.
The Qur’anic conception of peaceful coexistence requires that Muslims should come out to renounce violence, intolerance, and encourage respect for differences among all religions and international conventions to such an extent indeed that they should not contradict the Qur’an and Hadith. The Qur’an says:
“Follow this (Qur’an) which has been revealed to you from your Lord. There is no God except Allah, and turn away from those who associate partners with Allah. And if Allah had willed (to prevent them forcefully), these people would (never) have set up partners with Him. And We have (also) not made you a guardian over them, nor are you a protector over them” (6:106,107)
Islam establishes peaceful coexistence not only with Ahle-Kitab (the people of divine book) but also the idolaters by providing them with protection, as the holy Qur’an says:
“And if any of the idolaters seeks asylum with you, provide him with protection until he listens to the Words of Allah. Then escort him to his haven. This is because these people do not possess the knowledge (of the truth)” (9:6)
Just as some miscreants are fomenting hate and prejudice among Muslims and non-Muslims in India, so too some jihadist Muslims in Muslims countries are sparking violence. They use terms like Sharia law, Jihad, Islam, to misguide Muslims and non-Muslims, creating false arguments as if there were great religious enmity among them. Such hypocrites and so-called Muslims existed even during the era of the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him when they waged war among Muslims themselves. Their false propaganda detrimental to global peace-environment is still touching our communities. But Muslims should not forget applying traditions of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, the embodiment of good morals, peace, mercy and love even in retaliation for hatred.
Muhammad as Mercy Personified
God Almighty says: “And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.” (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:107). Prophet Muhammad.
This reflects that his distinctive quality was that he was blessing embodiment in word and deed not only for a particular community but for the entire world. His impassioned engagement and dedication was just with the distribution of love, peace and tranquillity among all mankind.
Blessings of the Prophet in Retaliation for Persecution
According to a tradition recorded in the Sahih of Imam Muslim, when the Prophet’s opponents greatly increased their persecution, his companions asked him to curse them. At this the Prophet replied, “I have not been sent to lay a curse upon men but to be a blessing to them.” His opponents continued to treat him and his companions unjustly and cruelly, but he always prayed for them.
Once, while he was on the way to Ta’if where the Hijaz aristocracy used to while away their summer days, he was so badly stoned by his enemies that blood streamed from all over his body. When he attempted to call them to Islam, instead of listening to his words of wisdom, they set the street urchins upon him, who kept chasing him till nightfall. Nevertheless the Prophet (pbuh) did not curse them. When he was completely exhausted and bleeding from head to toe, all he said was: “O my Lord, guide my people along the true path, as they are ignorant of the truth”.
A Hadith Teaches Love In Return For Hatred
According to a Hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) once said, “A true believer is one with whom others feel secure and one who returns love for hatred.” The Prophet made it clear that we should never think that we should treat the people well only if they treat us well. Not only Love for love but we should rather practice being good to those who may have hatred for us.
A Hadith Teaches Safety of Neighbours
According to another Hadith, the Prophet once said, “By God, he is not a believer, by God, he is not a believer, by God, he is not a believer, with whom his neighbours are not secure.”
This Hadith teaches us that we should live with others like flowers, and not like thorns, without giving trouble to anybody. One of the great qualities of Muhammad (pbuh) was that he never sought revenge on his own behalf for any wrong done to him personally. Only if God’s commandments had been broken, would he mete out retaliation for the sake of Allah Almighty.
Forgiveness of the Prophet towards His Persecutors
The Prophet's wife Hazrat A'ishah reported that Allah's Messenger was not unseemly or obscene in his speech, nor was he loud-voiced in the streets, nor did he return evil for evil, but he would forgive and pardon”. The people of the Quraysh rebuked him, taunted and mocked at him, beat him and abused him. They tried to kill him and when he escaped to Madinah, they waged many wars against him. Yet, when he entered Mecca victorious with an army of 10,000 Muslims, he did not take revenge on anyone. He forgave all. Even his deadliest enemy, Abu Sufyan, who had fought so many battles against him, was forgiven, as was anyone who stayed in his house.
Once, the Prophet was seated along with his companions at some place in Madinah. During this time a funeral procession passed by. On seeing this, the Prophet stood up. One of his companions remarked that the funeral was that of a Jew. The Prophet replied, “Was he not a human being?”
Kindness of the Prophet towards an Old Woman Who Threw Rubbish on Him
In early days of Islam in Mecca, one old woman made a habit of throwing rubbish on Prophet Mohammed (saw) whenever he passed through her house. Prophet Mohammed (saw) had to pass through her house daily on the way to the mosque. Even when the old woman threw rubbish on him, he would pass silently without showing any anger or annoyance. This was a daily event.
One day when Prophet Mohammed (saw) was passing by, the woman was not there to throw rubbish. Prophet Mohammed (saw) stopped and asked the neighbour about her well-being. The neighbour informed the Prophet (saw) that the woman was sick and lying in bed. Prophet Mohammed (saw) went to her house and politely asked for her permission to enter her house. When he (pbuh)entered her house, the old woman thought that he had come there to take revenge when she was unable to defend herself because of her sickness. But Prophet Mohammed (saw) assured her that he had come to her, not to take any revenge, but to see her and to look after her needs, as it was the command of Allah (SWT) that if anyone is sick, a Muslim should visit him and should help him or her if his help is needed. The old woman was greatly moved by this love and kindness of the Prophet (saw).
By the example of kindness of Prophet Mohammed (saw), she understood that he was truly the Messenger of Allah (SWT) and Islam was the true religion. She accepted Islam at once by reciting the Shahadah.
Besides, there are many Hadiths which show how he developed the notions of peace regardless of differences of religion, caste, colour etc. There is a message that If we desire peace, we must tolerate many unpleasant things from others. Indeed, there is no other way to establish peace in society. The outstanding perfection of his prophetic mercy can be extended to te entire mankind, family, children, orphans, widows, sick and animals.
Religions do not teach violence. Every religion promotes peace. Hindus who read Vedas and their holy books are well-acquainted that he is not a true Hindu who engages in communal violence, kills any innocent Muslim just for expressing his hatred and prejudice towards Muslims. Similarly, those who engage in terrorism and deny the rights of non-Muslims in Muslim countries are not true Muslims. Same is the case with followers of every religion. Peaceful co-existence is the basic principle of all religions. All Muslims and non-Muslims should exercise this principle and make every possible effort to tackle the riot-like situations, as, thankfully, did Muslims in Okhla.
A regular columnist and English-Arabic Translator for New Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background. He has completed the classical Islamic sciences from a Delhi-based Sufi Islamic seminary Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Zakir Nagar, New Delhi with specialization in Tafseer, Hadith and Arabic. He completed his Alimiat and Fazilat respectively from Jamia Warsia Arabic College, Lucknow and Jamia Manzar- e- Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He has graduated in Arabic (Hons) and is pursuing his M.A in Arabic from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.