Al-Huda           the Message Continues 1/38

       Foundation, NJ USA                                               Newsletter for September 2004 





Article 1 - Article 2 - Article 3 - Article 4 - Article 5 - Article 6  

Article 7 - Article 8 - Article 9 - Article 10 -Article 11 - Article 12

Peace: The Universal Message of World's Religions 
by Shahid Athar

Peace is from God as one of His attributes is As-Salaam, the Giver of 
peace. Peace and the desire for peace were built into man just as other human  instincts, such as hunger, thirst, love and truthfulness. No wonder that all  religions universally talk about peace and call for peace. Thus, when we say  assalamulaikum, we are not only wishing peace on others but assuring them of  peace as well. As Prophet Mohammad said "Desire for your brother as you desire  for yourself". In other words, if you like peace for yourself then make sure  that others also live in peace. To extend the manifestation of peace in the  saying of Prophet is "None of you is a believer when he goes to bed with his  stomach full while his neighbor sleeps hungry". This message can extend to  education, healthcare and playgrounds of children for our "enemy" as well. I firmly 
believe if soldiers consider children of their enemies as their own children 
and vice versa there will be less bloodshed and more peace . 

Unfortunately,  while Prophets of religion talk of peace, sometimes their followers in religious  garbs and military uniforms glorify war. While peace is desirable, war  becomes inevitable. In matters of peace, we must define the need and objective that  will bring us into peaceful coexistence as the late Indian Prime Minister,  Nehru, once said "live in peace and let others live in peace". In matters of  war, we also must define our enemy. The enemy of peace is the promoter of war  that with whom we are at war with. I am opposed to WMD (weapons of mass 
destruction) or" Weapons of Mutually Assured Destruction."(You kill us and we will  kill you). While there is joy in peace and love, there is anger and hurt in war  which leaves bad scars. Late Dr. M.L. King and before that Mahatma Gandhi's  movement of non-violent non-cooperation with oppressors is what Quran asks us  to do "Cooperate with one another in righteousness and piety, and do not  cooperate in sin and transgression" (5:2).

Man can begin the process of peace by being at peace with himself, with 
his Creator, then with his family and co-workers, then with his neighborhood  and with everyone else. The same process can also be adopted by governments,  nations and religions. As Confucius, the great Chinese Philosopher had said "If  we have harmony in our beliefs and in our actions, there will be love in our  homes. If there is love in our homes there will be order in the nation. If  there is order in the nation then there will be peace on earth". Prophet  Mohammad (p) said "Shall I tell you what is better than prayer and fasting and  giving alms to the poor? It is making peace between one another as animosity and  malice destroy all virtues." There are examples of how peaceful actions and  words can prevent war. Even before he received the revelation at age 40, as a 
young man, Mohammad (p) was known by his people for his peace making efforts. 

But when a flood had displaced the sacred black stone in the Kabaah - and it  had to be replaced, moving the sacred stone was an honor that all tribes of  Mecca wanted to have. A war was about to break out on this issue about which  tribe would have the honor of moving the sacred stone. Mohammad (p) proposed a  solution. He asked for a sheet of strong cloth and put the stone on the cloth  himself. Then he asked one leader from each tribe to hold the corner of the  cloth so that they could all share the honor of lifting and moving the sacred  stone together. Thus, the war was prevented. 

It is reported that two kings were on the verge of war. The possession 
of a certain area of land was being disputed by them. Then Buddha seeing the  kings with their armies ready to fight requested them to tell him the cause of  their quarrel. Having heard the complaints on both sides, he said "I  understand that the land has value for some of your people. Does it have any  intrinsic value, aside from its service to your men?" It held no intrinsic value  whatsoever was the reply. The Buddha continued, "Now when you go into battle, is  it not certain that many of your men will be slain and yourselves, the kings,  are likely to lose your own lives. They said "yes it is sure that many of our  men will parish and our own lives will be in jeopardy. Then Buddha -asked,  "Is the blood of men, however less value that the mound of land?" "No", the  kings answered, "the lives of men and above that the lives of kings, are 
priceless". Then Buddha continued, "Are you going to sacrifice that which is  priceless for that which has no intrinsic value at all"? The wrath of the two  monarchs abated and they came to a peaceful agreement. We need to engage the war  mongers in an intellectual discourse to prevent war and install peace.

Men and women of faith have a duty to get involved as team players to 
win peace over the course of war. They have a great coach, God almighty, to  help achieve their goals. Religions should be used as a weapon for peace, not a  tool for war. As mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew about the inner-struggle  for peace, " Seeing the crowd, Jesus went up on the mountain and when he sat  down, his disciples came to him and he opened his mouth and taught them, saying  "Blessed are the poor in spirit , for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek for  they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for  righteousness and they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful for they  shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." I echo what  the Jewish Tradition the Talmud says "More knowledge- more life, More Justice-  More peace". 
In these troubled times as we are going through since Sept.11,2001 , I 
conclude with the prayer for peace as taught to us by Prophet Mohammad (p) who said,  "Lord, You are peace. From You comes peace. Let us live in peace. Let us  enter in the house of peace. Blessed are You O Lord, Most High, Most  Honorable.".

Presented on May 1, 2004 at the 11Th annual convention of  I.A.S., held at  San Jose , Ca. Dr. Athar author of "Healing the wounds of Sept.11, 2001"



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