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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