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Towards Peace in Human Society

M. RAFAT
9/5/2012
9917 views

Peace is one of the most basic human desires. In a negative sense, peace stands for "absence of discord, disharmony and conflict," while in the positive sense it means "cooperation, harmony and mutual goodwill." Justice and fair play are obvious preconditions for peace and without ensuring justice in the society peace will remain elusive. Another precondition is the existence of a rational and humane social order which keeps individuals well knit with another, conscious of each other’s rights and aware of their own duties. Such a harmonious social order ensures that each individual fulfils his own potential and at the same time does not hinder the progress of others.

 

Peace has a number of dimensions which may be identified as follows:

a) Peace with the Creator;

b) Peace with oneself;

c) Peace with the natural environment; and

d) Peace with other human beings.

PEACE WITH THE CREATOR

Among the various systems of thought and action, Islam explicitly recognizes the fundamental importance of man’s correct relationship with his Creator. Submission and surrender to God – Creator of the universe – is the essence of Islam. (Indeed this is literally what Islam means!) When a human being surrenders himself to Allah and offers his unconditional obedience to Him, he attains peace (with the Creator as well as with the whole universe.) About the true believers, the Qur’an mentions that on the Day of the Judgment, they would be thus addressed by the Almighty Allah: "O serene soul! Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with your blissful destination) and well pleasing (to your Lord). So enter among My (righteous) servants and enter My paradise." (Surah 89; V.27-30).

 

At another place, the Qur’an says: "…. Those who believe and work righteous deeds, they are the best of creatures. Their recompense lies with their Lord: Gardens of eternity beneath which rivers flow; therein they shall dwell, forever and ever. Allah is well-pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him." (ch. 98, V.7-8). At another occasion, the Qur’an says: "To those who feared the most Gracious One (unseen) and brought a heart turned in devotion (to Him), it will be said: "Enter the paradise in peace and security. This is a day of eternal life". (ch. 50, V.33-34(.

PEACE WITH ONESELF

A person who surrenders himself to Allah, fully and completely, is at peace with himself. His whims and desires are under control, his thoughts and aspirations are noble and pious, his heart is clean and pure and his actions are good and beneficial. This ensures all round peace and tranquility. The Qur’an says: "Allah puts forth a parable – A man belonging to many partners (who are) at variance with one another. (Compare his situation with) a man belonging entirely to One Master (Allah). Are these two (persons) equal in comparison! Praise be to Allah! But most of them have no knowledge" (Ch. 39; V.29(.

 

At another place, the Qur’an says: "Those who proclaim, "Allah is Our Lord" and then remain steadfast, upon them descend angels (and assure them thus): "Do not fear nor grieve, and receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised. We are your companion) in this world and in the Hereafter. There you shall have all that you desire and all that you ask for. This is by way of hospitality from Him, who is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful" (Ch. 37, V. 30-32).

 

PEACE WITH NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

A believer is aware of the fact that the whole universe is obeying the Almighty God. Hence he feels friendly with the natural environment surrounding him. The Qur’an says:

"All that is in the heavens and all that is on earth extols Allah’s glory. He is the Most Mighty, the Most Wise" (Ch.61, V.1(.

 

"All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, extols the glory of Allah, the Sovereign, the Holy, the Almighty, the All-wise" (Ch.62, V. 1).

 

The Qur’an tells human beings that the whole universe is for them:

"He (Allah) has subjected for you, the night and the day, and the sun and the moon and the stars have also been have made subservient by His Command. Surely there are signs in this for those, who use their reason…. And He it is Who has subjected the sea that you may eat fresh fish from it and bring forth ornaments from it that you can wear" (Ch. 16, verse 12, 14).

 

The Islamic attitude is that man should utilise the natural bounties but should not be wasteful:

"It is He Who produces gardens, with trellises and without; and dates, and tilth with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in variety). Eat of their fruit in their season. But render the dues that are proper, on the day of harvesting. But waste not, by excess. Indeed Allah does not love the wasters." (Ch. 6, V.141).

"O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer. Eat and drink but waste not by excess. Indeed Allah does not love the wasters." (Ch. 7, V. 31(.

 

PEACE WITH OTHER HUMAN BEINGS

Islam gives comprehensive instructions to ensure peace in society.

a) A person may not kill another (except when the Divine law of justice permits it). The Qur’an says: "(The true servants of the Merciful One are those) who do not take any (human) life save justly" (Ch. 25, V.68(

b) A person must respect the privacy of other people:

"Believers! Enter not houses other than your own houses, until you have obtained the permission of their inmates and have greeted them with peace" (Ch. 24, V. 27).

c) A believer should not make fun of others; because this act injures their feelings:

"Believers! Let not a group (of men) scoff at another group; it may well be that the latter are better than they. Nor let a group of women scoff at another group; it may well be that the latter are better than they!" (Ch. 49, V. 11).

d) Backbiting is not permitted: "Do not spy nor backbite one another." (Ch. 49, V.12)

e) Believers do not "impose" their opinions on others. The Qur’an says: (the believers) conduct their affairs by consultation" Ch. 42, V. 38).

f) Believers do not tolerate the "wrong". The Qur’an says: "When a wrong is done to them, they seek its redress…." (Ch. 42, V.39).

g) Believers are exhorted to be good and generous to people in general: "Do good to your parents, to near of kin, to orphans, and to the needy, and to the neighbour who is (also) of kin and to the neighbour who is a stranger and to the companion at your side and to the wayfarer and to those whom your right hand possesses." (Ch. 4, V.36).

h) Believers are warned, not to illegally usurp other peoples’ wealth:

"Do not usurp one another’s possessions by false means." (Ch.2, V. 188).

g) Finally the believers are commanded to do justice which is the most important precondition for peace:

"O believers! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing. Let not the hatred of others (to you) make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. (Always) be just; that is next to piety, and fear Allah." (Ch. 5, V. 8).

 






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