Uploaded on 02 April 2020
Peace as an essential condition for human dignity
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam
Peace is so critical for Islam that its very name is derived from the root salaam, which means peace. Without it a central Quranic text Allah laid down in the Quran that he made the children of Adam respectable. Not the Children who follow a certain faith, or no faith at all, but all of “Bani Adam”. That means all of Bani Adam, without distinction dignified, worthy of a dignified life.
Despite this clear injunction in the Quran, Muslims have as often violated it in Islam’s history as any other group. Today’s situation is even more seriously indicative of the global Ummah’s failure to keep their societies together. Within several countries there are either pre-civil war conditions, or full-blown civil wars destroying families, the economic structures, mass murders and expulsion of citizens who are forced to seek shelter in peaceful areas in Europe.
European societies have accommodated hundreds of thousands of Muslims, but living in Europe makes it incumbent to follow European ethos. Muslim refugees and citizens who came in seeking refuge cannot enforce Islam on the host societies. A fatwa by al-Azhar’s chief mufti stated this some years ago. Islam is not there to destroy its own societies and those of other societies who allow them to liven in their societies. This needs a more nuanced and deeper understanding of jihad to protect Islam.
To know what impact international wars leave on societies and countries one would do well to read historical and literary accounts of it. In international wars like World Wars I and II devastated entire countries, killing hundreds of millions, leaving behind hundreds of millions of orphans and widows, without a livelihood and perished hopes.
The 20th century’s most celebrated poet and writer, TS Eliot, wrote the twentieth century epic, The Wasteland, around this subject, portraying Europe as a “wasteland”, where the war had reduced everything into rubble, where nothing could grow. The “wasteland” had lost everything, including human values. There was nothing valuable left to live for.
There is no support in Islam for unjust war, whatsoever. There is no permission for street rioting, which is described in the Quran as fasad with strong disapproval and condemnation. The Quran describes jihad with approval for protecting the lives and properties of the community of believers and is monopolised by the state. This is not a freelance activity. It is an official activity of the ministry of defence meant to control random violence, yet protect the Islamic state.
In other societies, there is so a powerful defence ministry of defence that has most powerful and advanced and powerful weapons, yet they see themselves as peace-loving. Mahatma Gandhi ran a peaceful freedom movement, yet India is one of the largest weapon buyers. The demonising groups build an image of Islam as war loving. On a close study it does not turn out to be true.