Friday, April 29, 2011

The Importance of Peace in Islam

by Abu Hamzah bin Yusuf Alamo

In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. Peace be unto you. All praise is due to Allah, and that is enough for a man (or a woman) to understand. I bear witness that there is nothing worthy of worship, and no deity in reality, except for Allah (who has no partners) and I bear witness that Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) is His willing slave and messenger. Know that the best of speech is the speech of Allah, and that the best of guidance is the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him). Remember that the most evil of affairs are the newly invented matters; the things we innovate into Islam ourselves. Every innovation leads to sin, and every sin leads to the Hell-Fire. To begin: Islam does not promote pacifism. Most assuredly, Allah has prohibited for us the criminal act of murder (i.e. indiscriminate killing). The proof of this is from the speech of Allah: {The Noble Qur'an [6:151] - Say: “Come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from”: Join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want;- We provide sustenance for you and for them;- come not nigh to shameful deeds. Whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.} However, He never told us to "turn the other cheek" and He never forbid us the right to self-defense should someone attempt to harm us or our families. Allah willing, should someone attempt to break into our homes and hurt our loved ones, we should defend them to the fullest extent with our very lives. This concept of honor and justice does not endorse terrorism. Life is sacred in Islam. Innocent, non-combatant life even more so. This is why we are (at times) required to defend against physical attack in order to protect that life. This is an unpleasant truth for some, but it is still the truth and you don't have be to a Muslim to relate to this. Local Police and other forms of Law Enforcement in every country all over the world will concur with the reality of this truth. So, we shouldn't (in our zeal to promote Islam as a peaceful way of life) give off the impression that Islam promotes pacifism. It doesn't. Islam promotes the attainment of peace both in this world and in the hereafter. How can you have peace in this world if you don’t feel secure and protected? Ultimate peace (in the hereafter) can only be attained through salvation from the Hell-Fire, and salvation from the Hell-Fire can only be attained through the mercy of Allah, and the mercy of Allah can only be attained through submission to His will alone without equating anything other than Him as being as worthy of worship or allegiance (i.e. Islam). The proof of this is from the speech of Allah: {The Noble Qur'an [3:85] - If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).} {The Noble Qur'an [24:55] - Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion - the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: 'They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me. 'If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked.} {The Noble Qur'an [6:16] - "On that day, if the penalty is averted from any, it is due to Allah's mercy; And that would be (Salvation), the obvious fulfillment of all desire.} {The Noble Qur'an [59:23] - Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god;- the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him.} Pacifism is (in fact) an irrational, illogical response to a person (or a group of people) seeking to break the law by causing physical harm to ordinary law-abiding civilians. While I agree that violent extremism should not be endorsed within Islam, I hold the idea that pacifism is another kind of extreme that should not be endorsed within Islam either. Islam does not promote extremism of any kind; whether it be extreme violence or extreme consumption. Islam promotes a moderate approach to everything in our daily lives. This includes matters of self-defense. The proof of this is from the speech of Allah; In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful: {The Noble Qur'an [2:190] - Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.} {The Noble Qur'an [2:224] - And make not Allah's (name) an excuse in your oaths against doing good, or acting rightly, or making peace between persons; for Allah is One Who heareth and knoweth all things.} {The Noble Qur'an [4:90-91] - Except those who join a group which between you and they there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them) Others you will find that wish to gain your confidence as well as that of their people: Every time they are sent back to temptation, they succumb thereto: if they withdraw not from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace besides restraining their hands, seize them and slay them wherever ye get them: In their case We have provided you with a clear argument against them.} {The Noble Qur'an [8:61] - But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things.} {The Noble Qur'an [49:9] - If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah; but if it complies, then make peace between them with justice, and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just).} Islam came to wipe out the injustice and barbarism that was practiced before and during the early period of Muhammad's Prophetic career (Peace and Blessings be upon him). Islam had come during the dark ages within the Arabian peninsula and (with the help of Allah) united what was once a land of warring tribes into one mighty nation under the banner of Islam (i.e. peaceful surrender and submission to the will of Allah). Many of the avenues toward achieving this goal was due to a series of practices and prohibitions given to us in stages throughout (and following) the course of the twenty-three year Qur'anic revelation. Among these are: the establishment of monotheism and it's implementation in the daily lives of the Arab people, the prohibition and removal of all idols from the the Sacred House (i.e. the Ka'bah in Mecca), the establishment of mandatory prayers conducted in congregation at fixed times five times daily, the prohibition of murdering female infants, the establishment of compulsory alms for the poor, the prohibition of pork and alcohol consumption (as well as it's distribution), the establishment of government, the prohibition of gambling, the establishment of women’s rights, the regulation of servitude and marriage, the establishment of worker’s rights, the establishment of a military, the prohibition of usury and other illegal business practices, the establishment of fair and open trade, the prohibition of killing civilians during the course of war, the prohibition of the abuse and misuse of animals, the establishment of a judicial court, the prohibition of ethnic prejudice and racism, the prohibition of abusing or torturing prisoners of war, the establishment of quarantines and hospitals, the establishment of educational centers of learning and trade schools (for women as well as men) in the fields of literacy, poetry, language, calligraphy, business, journalism, medicine, law, agriculture, cartography, ship building, sea faring, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, as well as many other useful contributions to society that we utilize to this day which are too numerous to count. Unfortunately, the world today is in turmoil because we (Muslims) are not practicing and implementing Islam as much as those who preceded us and because we are divided due to our own rebelliousness, elitism, nationalism, arrogance, stubbornness, xenophobia, and tribalism. Islam's purpose is (and has always been) the attainment of Peace through it's proper practice and implementation and through the elimination of conduct resembling that of the time of ignorance (Pre-Islamic Arabia). May Allah grant us the strength of faith needed to unite our nation and return us to the practice and implementation of Islam as revealed in the Glorious Qur'an, taught by our Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him), and followed by his righteous companions (May Allah be pleased with them), ameen.

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