A UNIVERSAL MESSAGE TO MANKIND
Abdullatif ALJIBURY PH.D.
Danville. CA USA
Islam is a religion of Peace
The fact that Islam is a religion of peace is at once clear when we go to the root meaning of the word Islam. The word Islam means the surrender to the will of God.
The criteria for the surrender to the will of God are mentioned in Verse 2:82
Those who attain to faith (the believers) and do righteous deeds are destined for Paradise, where therein they abide
Again and again these criteria are repeated in several verses in the Quran (2:62 & 5:69):
Verily those who have attain to faith in this divine writ
as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians and the Sabians who believe in God and the last day and do righteous deeds
shall have their reward with their sustainer and no fear need they have and neither shall they grieve
Criteria for the submission to the will of God specified:
The first criterion is the belief in one God the One and only and to be conscious of Him throughout one’s lifetime. In being conscious of God all the time insures the person is acting according to the will of God and that a person’s actions are to be carried out in keeping with the standards set by the Almighty in His divine Code of ethics(1).
The second criterion is for the person to do righteous deeds and avoid the wrong actions as set forth in the divine code of ethics and to be socially conscious and considerate to others and work to achieve a better world for all to share. That is a Muslim should strive to be a true vicegerent or representative of God on earth.
As expected, the divine code of ethics instructs the believers to perform good and worthy acts towards the others which enhance peace and security and improves social standards and instructs the believers to refrain from malicious acts and to shun oppression.
Noteworthy among these commands are:
- The ones that order the believers to keep good relations with people of other faiths (3:113-115) and that there is no compulsion in religion (2:256).
- The other point which is of importance and direct relevance to our topic is the order not to kill and harm others, to save lives (5:32) and avoid aggression and incline towards peace.
- In verses 7:55 and 2:208 God specifically commands the believers to enter peace in total
Oh you who believe enter peace in totality
and do not follow Satan’s footsteps, for he is verily your enemy
Furthermore, the believers are urged to incline towards peace if the opposition shows signs towards peace (Quran 8:61)
But, if they incline to peace, incline thou to it as well, and place your trust in God
The believers’ surrender to God entails their commitment towards peace and aspiration to live in peace and security in paradise. Islam is but a reflection of peace and security of the hereafter in this world. The believers are constantly reminded of this in God’s revelation to mankind that they must incline towards peace whenever the opportunity presents itself.
It is a historical fact that the Early Muslims and during their life in Mecca and for thirteen years were living a peaceful life. They were content in their dedication to prayers and supplications and were very patient throughout that period in their history bearing under duress the harsh physical abuse and suffering that they had to endure on the hands of the infidels. Upon emigrating to Medina when their religion and their very existence was threatened by the aggressors of the infidels, only then that God had ordered them to prepare themselves and to take up arms to defend themselves and their, then, fragile religion.
God had ordained fighting in His Cause even though the early Muslims did not look forward to it. In 2:216 God ordered:
Fighting is ordained for you, even though it is hateful to you,
but it may well be that you hate a thing while it is good for you
and it may well be that you love a thing and that it is bad for you:
and God knows and that you do not know
Taking up arms was a necessity that the early Muslims had to acquiesce to even though they hated the idea of killing and the sufferings as a consequence. They would have rather stayed peaceful and endured the sufferings had it not been that their very existence and their religion were at stake.
The Quran declares that the Believers are given permission to fight ONLY when their faith is in danger and whenever they have been prevented from freely practicing their faith in God Almighty. This is called “fighting for the cause of God” which is very clearly stated in the Koran in (22:39):
Permission to fight is given to those who have been fought against
because they have been wronged
and verily God is most powerful to come to their aid
The believers are, therefore, given permission to fight only in self-defense and because they have been persecuted and unjustly treated and their freedom in the practice of their faith has been endangered.
FROM FUNDAMENTALS TO APPLICATION
Having expounded on the fundamentals of Islamic thoughts and practices, what remains for the Muslim is to conduct him or herself according to the way our Creator intended. This, after all, is what religion is all about.
It is essentially a code of manners or behaviors and a set of general directives and principles that a Muslim can follow that will assure a decent and productive life that is preserved and protected against adverse happenings by these regulations and practices.. In other words, these codes and principles are the framework of an Islamic way of life.. This is what is called the Shari’ah or the path of Islamic living.
The Shari’ah is not exclusive procedure or program for Muslims alone, Quran(5:48) states that”
To every people we have prescribed a Path or a Divine Code (Shari’ah) and a way of life.
Indeed, and if God willed, He would have made you a single spiritual community.
But He made you different so as to test you with what He has bestowed upon you
Clearly, God has intended that other religions or beliefs may have their own ways or Shari’ahs and they will all be judged in the final day as to who will have adhered more to their Shari’ah and had been more conscious of God each on his own way.
It is to be understood that God’s intent through the implementation of these ethical rules and regulations is to protect and preserve the individual and the communities and people as well as the environment against adversity and to promote justice and equity for all. What is unique about His rules and regulations is that they are by no means rigid.
There is a built in dynamic mechanism of flexibility so as to keep up with the changing times. That is, the field of research is wide open to present solutions within the wide framework of the Shari’ah that are sure to confront the individual or the society as life and days unfold for ( Quran 55: 29 ).
every day there is a new event that reveals His Glory