Islam and World Peace
Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari
A peace imposed by an imperialist power controlling the masses for its own benefit is no peace. “‘Divide and Rule” generates no peace. Conferences, agencies and idealist slogans beget no peace. The U.N. Security Council debates limitations of armaments and gets nowhere. The Eastern bloc and the Capitalist camp both say they want a worldsystem: but they cannot agree on its shape. Class differences rage in both their camps. Both err in thinking that economics is the sole cause of divisions, and in believing that economic measures will by themselves suffice to eradicate conflicts and substitute peace.
For Islam, peace is only one among many ingredients in the effective recipe for human happiness. People must be free to think what they will as they will, to weigh all possibilities, and. having thought them through in the light of reason, to decide on the best way to live together. This is the Qur’anic prescription as laid down, for instance, in verse 256 of the Sura II (Baqara– “The Heifer”) “In religion is no compulsion. Truth stands out clear from error ” etc. or Sura VI: Ana’am -“The cattle” (verse 104): “Proofs from your Lord come to you. He that hath eyes to see, let him see. Whose will see will do so for his soul: Whose refuses, does so against himself. I am not your guard or warder.” Or again in verse 22 of Sura LXXXVIII: Al-Ghashiyya -“The Overwhelming Events”. “Admonish! Thou art for admonition, not for surveillance, of them!”
Conviction and faith are matters of heart. No compulsion can force the heart to conform. Education, training, instruction, logic, demonstration, can help. But whatever the lips say, the heart remains unmoved. Even Galileo murmured. “Eppure si muove” after his recantation! or so we are told. Only his lips and his pen recanted, in effect.
Christian propagandists sedulously spread lying reports that Muhammad forced his religion on people by the sword. They cite the Prophet’s proclamation of the Jehad, and his raids from Medina. We have shown how false is this misinterpretation.
What of their own religious wars and nationalist wars and imperialist and expansionist wars? What of the pressure brought by the Inquisition on non-Christians and on Christians suspected of heresy? Were they better than the Tartar barbarism of the ant-like hordes of Genghiz and Tamurlane?
One item of the pact of Hudeibiyya made between the Prophet and the Qureishi idolaters of Mecca read: “Any Qureishi who shall flee from Mecca without the permission of his superior and join the Muslims and accept Islam, the Prophet of Islam binds himself to send him back to the Qureish. But if a member of the Muslim forces flees to the Qureishi side, the Qureish are not obliged to return him to the Muslims.”
Some of the Muslims, rendered uncomfortable by this clause, asked the Prophet: “Why do we have to return refugees from the Qureish while they are not obliged to return a fugitive to us?” The Prophet replied: “Any so-called Muslim who is ready to desert the banner of Islam in favour of idolatry, and to prefer an inhuman religion and idolatrous environment to the sound sane environment and religion of monotheistic Islam, simply proves that he had never entered into the inwardness of Islam and that his faith had never been so real as to satisfy his soul. Such are not the Muslims we need. Whereas we are quite sure that the Lord of Heaven will Himself take measures for the salvation of anyone whom we may hand back to the Qureish, if he was sincere in his flight from them.”
So true was this prophecy and so shaking the series of events which occurred amongst the Qureish on behalf of Muslims who had been sent back to them, that in terror the Qureish themselves very soon requested that this item be annulled, and that no more of their refugees be sent back to them to become conscious missionaries or unconscious instruments of divine action in this world.
Islam condemns the territorial and commercial wars of modern great powers, with their merciless involvements of the innocent. Islam demands that ethical values, humanity and respect for the rights of others, in submission to truth and to what is right, shall be made regnant over the thinking and living of all mankind, and insists that until that demand is realised the world can never find its way to peace and quiet.
The more progress technology and the material side of civilisation makes, the more men quote the maxim “Si vis pacem, para bellum” as a pretext for an arms race not merely in quantities but also in destructiveness, the more obvious is the truth made that humanity stands at a crossroads of choice between mass suicide or salvation by faith, annihilation or acceptance of ethical principles, the brutal dictatorship of a man or the merciful government of God. When man wakes up to this situation – and the very horrors which face him may themselves open his eyes – we pray that the light of reason and of heavenly wisdom will lead him onto “‘the good road, the road of those to whom God is gracious, not the road of those who continue to grope in darkness.” It is our conviction that mankind will choose this superior way.
On the warp of individual change Islam weaves the woof of social structure. It brings to human living the delicate feelings of brotherhood and of belonging together. It designs a beautiful pattern of longsuffering, gentleness and goodness in the hearts of people; and omits all the ugly tears and rents and weaknesses that injustice and the pulling and hauling of rival interests cause in a fabric. The result is a harmonious whole like that of the most beautiful carpet in which every colour and shape is fully itself and the ensemble so fitly joined together that it presents a perfect picture.