Islam and World Peace
The pace at which peace is fast disappearing from the world today has caused each sane and sensible person to worry. This includes religious people, and also those people who do not believe in any religion. It includes believers in God whether one God or many gods, and atheists who deny the very existence of God. Each group has its own arguments.
Whatever their personal beliefs, they all have valid concerns about peace. Man, who considers himself to be educated and civilized, is reverting back to the period of ignorance when personal ego and false pride, led people to cut each other’s throats so much so that whole tribes and dynasties indulged in such barbaric acts.
If for the sake of our personal gain or loss or for the sake of our own rights, or for the rights of our dear ones, we fight only for our rights, but neglect the rights of other people, or usurp their rights in the process, we can never establish peace. In short, to establish true peace, we must understand the spirit of true justice.
God Almighty tells us in the Holy Qur’an that peace will only come about with justice and benevolence.
‘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 that with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah, Surely Allah is aware of what you do.’ (5:9)
The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has explained the meaning of this verse as follows:
Allah the Almighty says about justice that it cannot be achieved without truthfulness, that your enmity towards enemy nations should not hinder you from dispensing justice. Remain just, because righteousness lies in it. Now you know that those nations that unjustly harm and hurt and cause bloodshed, chase and murder women and children, like the unbelievers of Makkah, and do not desist from waging wars, how difficult it is to deal with such people. But the Holy Qur’an has not taken away the rights of even such mortal enemies and has enjoined justice and truthfulness. I say to you in truth that it is easy to deal with an enemy with hostility; but it is very difficult to safeguard the rights of opponents and to deal justly with your enemy.
So, this is the way to establish peace. Do justice! And if you want to establish real peace, then not only do justice, but the strong should treat the weak with equity and treat them in the same manner as one treats one’s dear and beloved ones and ignores some of their defaults. Every problem cannot he solved with force, but good and just treatment fosters a feeling of bonding and trust. The urge for real peace comes from the heart and the voice that comes from the heart is the only one that establishes real peace because it is based on love and warmth.
When man spreads disorder on earth, peace and security declines and righteousness all but disappears, God sends his Prophets to save the world. Over 1400 years ago, when righteousness had completely vanished from this world and disorder was at its pinnacle, God sent his final message through the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and thus facilitated the saving of the world from complete disaster. Through the message of Islam, man was taught ways to honour the rights of God and the rights of mankind, which had either been forgotten by those who had believed in the earlier Prophets, or because these were new commandments of excellence which had not been revealed before.
The Holy Qur’an addresses all nations of the world on the basis of humanity:
‘0 mankind We have created you from male and female; and We have made you into clans and tribes that you may recognise one another. Verily, the most honourable among you, in the Sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, Allah is All Knowing, All-Aware.’ (49:14)
This is the Islamic teaching of brotherhood. A righteous believer is enjoined to adhere to this teaching and indeed to propagate it. This alone can foster love, affection and equality. Peace and security can only be guaranteed in the world when the false and oppressive notion of supremacy for some nations is eradicated. Peace and security cannot be established until people of each race and nation are able to recognize that they are indeed the children of Adam and created by a male and female and are therefore equal. If one is better than the other, it is in terms of righteousness alone. However, whose righteousness excels others, only Allah knows. No one can judge this for oneself.
Islam says that all mankind is like a family and it can only look after the peace and security of each member, only if it lives like a close-knit family. The apparent differences in mankind are only for identification as to who is European, who is Asian and who is African. As humans we are all the same and therefore a person in Africa has the same sentiments as those of a person in Europe or America or a person living anywhere else in the world. Peace and security can only prevail when each other’s sentiments are cared for. These are the measures for durable peace and security that Islam presents. Otherwise, no matter how many United Nations or Security Councils are formed, durable peace cannot be maintained.
Those countries who want to be the standard-bearers of peace should sit down together and work how the world can be saved from destruction. When thinking of that, they should remember their Creator and then think for the betterment of His creation. But remember that the path which the world has chosen today, the effect of instability will not be confined to just one country but will spread all over the world. It is quite possible that we will witness many examples like Hiroshima and Nagasaki even worse.
Therefore, my request to you is search inside yourself and look at the Benevolent Creator. We must not leave our next generation handicapped and disabled because of our mistakes. Today we must establish peace and save our future generation from a life of disability. We must not let our future generation sink into that pit of darkness from which our ancestors brought us out to where we are today. It will be a height of selfishness if for the sake of our false pride or for a temporary gain, we forget the future of our future generations.
It is my fervent prayer that Allah the Almighty makes the world understand this reality. Amin.
We Condemn Terrorism
It is unfortunate that Islam, the religion of peace, hope, harmony, goodwill and Brotherhood had been badly tarnished by the perpetrators of various terrorists acts and barbarism as seen in recent years.
The purpose of this community is to set forth the teachings of Islam so that manifestations of various terrorist acts are fully exposed in the light of Islamic teachings under whose shelter these activities are being committed.
We Are Loyal to Our Country
The Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has repeated his call for Muslims the world over to show loyalty to their respective countries. In a speech delivered before thousands of Ahmadi Muslims in London he said that love and loyalty to one’s country was a fundamental principle of Islam. His Holiness also spoke with regret about the widespread problems faced by Pakistan. He said the fundamental cause for its current state was a failure to maintain a separation of religion and State. In particular, extremist elements had permeated all segments of society.
Speaking about the current situation in Pakistan, His Holiness said that every day there was news of killings, protests and strife. The entire country had become engulfed in discord. He said that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat had always counselled the Pakistani leaders to maintain a distance from extremist elements. However out of a fear of losing their grip on power the majority of leaders had failed to heed such warnings and had involved themselves with various forms of negotiation and deals with the extremist religious right. He said that any system that bowed down to such religious elements was bound to fail and lead to turmoil and despair.
It was the duty of every Ahmadi Muslim to profess love to his chosen country. Each Ahmadi Muslim had an obligation towards working for a better future for his country and his fellow citizens. Citing Pakistan as an example he said Ahmadis were treated as inferior citizens and had suffered the most barbaric cruelty, however this had never stopped them from being utterly loyal to the nation. He said that Pakistan had been founded upon the sacrifice of thousands of lives and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat would always do its utmost to make sure that those lost lives were not taken in vain. He said:
“As citizens of any country, we Ahmadi Muslims, will always show absolute love and loyalty to the State. Every Ahmadi Muslim has a desire for his chosen country to excel and should always endeavour towards this objective. Whenever a country requires its citizens to make sacrifices the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat will always be ready to bear such sacrifices for the sake of the nation.”
His Holiness continued:
“We feel pain and distress when any nation suffers and we share the grief and pain of others. Thus whenever any country faces difficulty we try our utmost to alleviate their suffering. That is what the founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, taught us. It was the Holy Prophet who counselled that you should put your own pain to one side in an effort to alleviate the suffering of all of mankind. It is thus that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat is involved in spreading humility, love and kindness.”
Separation of Religion & State
Shariah is a misunderstood and misused concept. Critics of Islam frequently employ terms like “creeping shariah” to stoke fear amongst the masses. The Park 51 controversy and the increasing media focus on Islam provide an opportunity to educate Americans about the true teachings and practices of Islam concerning shariah.
Shariah literally means “a path to life-giving water,” and refers to a defined path upon which all God-fearing people are advised to tread. It is grounded in the recognition of God’s existence. Shariah presupposes that there is a God. God reveals His desire of how man should shape his destiny, and God’s will is manifested in the form of certain laws or principles. These laws or principles constitute shariah.
Shariah is not unique to Islam. Every faith has its own form of shariah. In the United States, for example, our legal system already permits some narrow civil matters to be settled through alternative dispute resolution. Among such alternative mechanisms is the beit din, or rabbinical law courts. American Jews routinely go before beit din to arbitrate real estate deals, divorces and business disputes.
In Islam, shariah can be divided into five main branches: ibadah (ritual worship), mu’amalat (transactions and contracts), adab (behavior)> (morals and manners), i’tiqadat (beliefs), and ‘uqubat (punishments). Islam prescribes certain laws or principles that govern all five main branches. At its core, shariah is intended to develop and sustain a moral and just society.
The Qur’an does not specify any specific form of government other than a beneficent one that is based on adl or absolute justice:
“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.” (16:91).
There is no mention of religion in this verse. Pluralism and religious tolerance are Islamic values. The Qur’an stresses: “There is no coercion in religion” (2: 257). Legislating shariah would mean imposing practices on people who do not share the underlying beliefs behind those practices. Shariah mandates the strict practice of absolute justice regardless of differences in faith, race, creed or any other distinction. True Islamic teachings, as practiced by the Prophet of Islam, promote a secular government with equal rights and privileges for its citizens and a separation of mosque and state. For example, the Prophet of Islam famously applied Talmudic law in resolving disputes among the Jews.
Unfortunately, certain Islamic countries have failed to observe the precondition of absolute justice before imposing shariah. Instead, they have unjustly imposed shariah as an instrument of power and control. Western nations scrutinize and magnify these examples. Countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have enmeshed religious extremism with political power resulting in a brutal brand of governance they brand “shariah.”
Extremists and their religious clerics invoke shariah to justify the killing of the innocent and vulnerable. They abandon the Quranic principles of governance in favor of discriminate and grossly improper applications of Islamic law. They view shariah as an instrument of conquest and carnage instead of justice and decency.
Religion should not be the business of the state. As Muslims who believe in the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has a clear vision that religion should not legislate in the domain of man’s relation to God. Islam offers guiding principles in matters of man’s relation to man. These principles can easily be translated into secular laws based on justice, tolerance and love for mankind. The law of one’s homeland has predominance over all other laws. True shariah is conducive to a system of government that is beneficent, ensures universal human rights and minority protections and dispenses absolute justice for all people.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the oldest Muslim organization in North America, has consistently advocated the principles of non-coercion, absolute justice and separation of mosque and state. Its motto is: “Love for all hatred for none.” For the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, there can never be any contradiction between being observant Muslims and being loyal, law-abiding citizens.
Nasim Rehmatullah, a physician, is Vice Chairman of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. Amjad Mahmood Khan, an attorney, is National Director of Public Affairs for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA.