The boundless peace from an Islamic prospective.
In the name of Allah the All-Merciful the Most-Kind, the Peace Who says in His book “There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book(15) through which Allah guides those who seek His pleasure to the ways of peace, brings them out of darkness and into light by His Will, and guides them to the Straight Path.(16)” (Qura’n,7:15-16)
Peace and blessings be upon the best of mankind, Muhammad, who was praised by Allah’s saying: “And you are truly leading ˹all˺ to the Straight Path— the Path of Allah, to Whom belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Surely to Allah all matters will return ˹for judgment˺.” (Qur’an, 42:52-53)
Dear respected audience,
I greet you with the greeting of Islam which is peace. May the peace, mercy and blessing of Allah be with you.
At the outset, allow me to express my heartfelt thanks, gratitude, and appreciation to professor Marco Impagliazzo and the members of the Community of Sant'Egidio for inviting me to participate in this meeting.
I am fully certain that peace in the sense of comprehensive intimacy ـــــby which the hearts are gathered and through which dreadful things are demolished from self and people ـــ is a principle in all heavenly religions including Islam. Once more, I am fully sure that there is no known religion, principle, or thought in which the idea of “ boundless peace” is perfected as in Islam. Obviously, numerous are the verses that emphasize the concepts of peace, tolerance, mercy, and justice. As the term peace and its derivatives are stated a hundred and forty times in the Holy Qur’an. The Islamic teachings frequently stress that the more the scope of peace widens on the hearts of people and on earth, the greater sense of contentment, comfort, and satisfaction man will feel. Moreover, the desired human acquaintance beautified with the cloak of piety will exist.
It is most worthy to be stressed that Al-Azhar Al-Sharif has a distinguished efforts in this field achieving the hopes of communities, implanting the global peace values within their individuals, assuring the bases of peaceful coexistence. The observer of the achievements of the grand Imam of Al-Azhar will notice clearly the efforts he exerts to establish peace with others, spread the culture of peaceful coexistence between mankind.
The concept of boundless peace: The concept of peace in our Islamic religion is a comprehensive concept whose meaning implies surrender, safety, reconciliation, contentment and good relation, affection, righteousness, and fairness with one’s self and others. It is obvious that the world today is eager for one of these senses to be achieved in reality.
The utmost nobility of that term or this concept is that it is one of the beautiful names of Allah, the Almighty, with which He called Himself in His Book. Allah says:“He is Allah, besides Whom there is no god; the King, the Holy, the Peace, the Granter of security, Guardian over all, the Mighty, the Supreme, the Possessor of every greatness Glory be to Allah from what they set up (with Him).” (Qura’n, 59:23).
However, the new meaning I want to clarify in my speech is the implementation and translation of the comprehensive meaning of “boundless peace” into reality, which the messenger of Islam and peace, Muhammad (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), transmitted practically as a comprehensive boundless peace within the community.
Imam Husain ibn Ali (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them both) narrated “I asked my father about the conduct of my grandfather the messenger in his assemblies' He replied.. the messenger of Allah was always cheerful and easy mannered. He was soft-natured. He did not speak in a harsh tone nor was he stone-hearted. He did not scream while speaking, nor was he rude or spoke indecently. He did not seek other's faults. He never over-praised anything nor exceeded in joking, nor was he a miser. He completely kept himself away from three things: from arguments, pride and senseless utterances. He prohibited people from three things. He did not disgrace or insult anyone, nor look for the faults of others, he only spoke that from which reward is attained. He exercised patience at the harshness and indecent questions of a traveler.”
The numerousness of the texts of the Qura’n and Sunnah (prophetic tradition) that support boundless peace implanting and spreading its culture among people makes it difficult to follow them up and encompass them in this short determined word. However, it may be sufficient to highlight a definite point that Islam repeatedly acts to achieve coexistence among the world’s various folks through implanting the principal of peace. Therefore, when we explore the guidance of prophet Muhammad(Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) we find that he achieved a real boundless peace as his peace encompassed him, his family, his clan, his tribe, and even the whole humanity. From his teachings springs the call of Islam to (the boundless peace) that was affirmed through the objectives of the Islamic shariea that necessitate the preservation of religion, life, intellect, offspring, and property. These objectives aim to guide man to achieve peace with himself, his family, his society and the whole world.
The first kind: Peace with oneself.
It is the first element and the main base of universal peace and the first step of the comprehensive and boundless peace. Therefore, once a person attains peace with himself, then he will enjoy peace with his family, his country, and his community.
The sign of this kind of peace is that the life of the individual goes on without hostility or hatreds. This is what the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) implanted into the souls of his companions when he informed them that there some unnoticed people will be among the dwellers of paradise for they bear no malevolence or hatred for anyone. The Prophet said: "A man among the inhabitants of Paradise will appear before you." Then a man known to people enters, upon his leave, one of the companions followed him in order to know his status and wondering “What do you do that the prophet promised you of dwelling paradise?” after he noticed the straight conduct of the man without any extra notable act that would render him to this privilege. Thus the companion asked “why did the prophet promise you with paradise?” the man replied “I swear by Allah .I pray as you pray, fast as you fast and pay zakat the same as you do rather that I sleep with a heart bears no malevolence or hatred for anyone.”
The most that threatens the world is when the person misses peace with himself, the matter that would lead to dangerous dimensions on the safety of others. The divine constitution (The Holy Qur’an) greatly addresses the personality of the corrupted souls that missed peace with themselves and with others. These souls conceal evils and express by tongue what contradicts that is in their hearts. They live a condition of deep and endless fear that reflects badly on himself and all around him.
So as the delinquent is among the most who miss peace and self-reconciliation, so how would he have peace with others?
The one who is morally and religiously delinquent can’t achieve peace with himself at first, so how would he achieve it with others while the people of mind agreed that “The dead tree gives no shelter”.
The second kind: The peace with one’s own family.
This kind is the second base in the project of (The Islamic Boundless Peace). It is an Islamic principle indicated by many of prophetic traditions such as what was reported by Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said “The best of you is best to his family, and I am the best of you to my family.” In addition, what was reported by Abdullah Ibn Amr who said the Messenger of Allah, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said “The best of you are the best to their wives”.
The prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) represented in dealing with his household a distinguished example for the humanity up to the day of Judgment. It is also a message to many families that were deprived of peace especially those who suffer domestic conflicts.
Obviously, you notice the Messenger of Allah (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) implants a boundless peace among his family ties. As he always was at the service of his family. In addition, he used to consider their excuses and listen to their counsels. During the incident of Hudaybiah, he followed the advice of Um Salamah, His wife, when she advised him to shave his head, slaughter his sacrifice and end his state of Ihram so his companions would follow him and act accordingly.
The third kind: The peace with one’s own community.
This kind is the third base in the project of (The Islamic Boundless Peace). It is a peace with the community which is represented by brotherhood in humanity regardless of the belief, nationality, color or gender. It prevents hatred, malic and hostility that lead to war, destruction and chaos. Therefore, Islam encourages peace for it urges loving and yet peace becomes against hostility. The Holy Qur’an supports this as Allah says: “Good and evil cannot be equal. Respond ˹to evil˺ with what is best, then the one you are in a feud with will be like a close friend.” (Qur’an, 41:34) i.e. to respond to evil by reacting peacefully and if this principle is applied, peace will prevail in the whole world.
The prophet of peace, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, summarized that in his speech on the day of Farewell Pilgrimage as saying ““The believer is the one from whom their (people’s) wealth and lives are safe, The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe”.
The fourth kind: The peace with the whole world.
This kind is the fourth base in the project of “The Islamic Boundless Peace”. It is the missing link in many thoughts, ideas and contemporary policies in spite of the peace with the whole world is the widest of the Islamic boundless peace’ links.
Islam produced through Islamic teachings the bright image of boundless Islamic peace with the Non-Muslims whether they live with us in the same community or not. No doubt this is more suitable to grasp their hearts towards Islam as Allah says:“Allah does not forbid you from dealing kindly and fairly with those who have neither fought nor driven you out of your homes. Surely Allah loves those who are fair.” (Qur’an, 60 : 8)
Among these teachings that Muslims are legally asked to grant protection for anyone from the polytheists seek protection and safely return him back to his home. Even more some scholars maintain that the visa that is granted by the country to the foreigners is considered a safe contract in Islam that must be fulfilled whether it is religiously or worldly. Allah says: “And if anyone from the polytheists asks for your protection ˹O Prophet˺, grant it to them so they may hear the Word of Allah, then escort them to a place of safety.” (Qur’an, 9 : 6)
ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we are here definitely to gain the fruits of peace with non-Muslims, which is mutual cooperation, and exchange of experiences in various fields of education, industry, commerce, and agriculture, which brings good and development for humanity and safety of the globe. In the Holy Qur'an, there included Surah AL Mumtahana that embodied the general concepts of treating No-Muslims. The Qur'anic Surah implies the concepts of affection, righteousness, and justice. Allah inputs these principles in the followers of the doctrine of prophet Abraham, the father of prophets, who is the head of the heavenly religions now. Allah says: “You certainly have an excellent example in them for whoever has hope in Allah and the Last Day. But whoever turns away, then surely Allah ˹alone˺ is the Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy.” (Qur’an, 60 : 6).
The Messenger of Allah (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) applied peace and encouraged his companions in his instructions to have peace, when he came to Madina he commanded them saying “O people, exchange greetings of peace (i.e., say: As-Salamu 'Alaikum to one another), feed people, strengthen the ties of kinship, and be in prayer when others are asleep, you will enter Jannah in peace.”
Thus, Islam has made the word of peace its greeting, spreading peace is a sign of love and sincerity, and a indicates the faith of those who pronounce and spread it among people. Therefore, the prophet (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) made it a condition to enter Paradise in the Hereafter. It was narrated that he (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) said: "By Allah, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you of something which, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread (the greeting of) peace among yourselves."
Moreover, he (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) clarified that the affirmed obligation upon those who sit by road side is to answer the greetings of peace made by those who cross over. Thus he (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Avoid sitting by the road side.” The people then said, ‘O Allah‘s Messenger (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him), we cannot do without those meeting places in which we converse” So he said, “Well, if you insist (on that) give the road its due rights.” They asked, ‘What are the road’s due rights?’ He replied, “Lowering your gaze, abstaining from anything offensive, answering greetings, enjoining the right and forbidding from evil deeds.
Consider how responding the salutations of peace to who cross over the road is a secure for them, and a sense of tranquility and friendliness from those who send them the salutations of peace. Therefore, they shall respond equally to them.
Islam forbids aggression by tongue or deed against non-Muslims who have taken the covenant and pact with Muslims as the prophet (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Whoever killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims, shall not smell the smell of Paradise though its smell is perceived from a distance of forty years.".
That is to set at the end that the way to " The Islamic Boundless Peace " is acquaintance merged with piety. As Allah (Exalted He is) says: " O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may ˹get to˺ know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware." (the Quran, 49:13)
The significance of peace is showed clearly in gaining its fruits among them are the following:
- The feeling of tranquility: The sense of comfort and security is interrelated to the concept of peace between States and communities where the state of psychological stability is prevailed among members of these societies.
- The preservation of lives and properties: wars cost many lives in various countries of the world, in addition to the serious material damages which these countries suffer in the state of war. And,
- The development of societies, there can be no humanitarian renaissance in countries that do not live in the state of peace, where permanent turmoil, fear of diospora and not to return. In addition to the impact of the state of war on the economic, social and living conditions of the individuals, and the effects on all industrial, agricultural and commercial levels.
In conclusion, I find no resort but to sincerely supplicate Allah, the Almighty, to shower the world with peace and harmony, and to let all people of different colors, ideas, beliefs to live as brothers in humanity in the way He, the Lord of the world, wishes for them. Only the sake of Allah is intended, and may Allah's peace and blessings be upon the Prophet of Peace, Prophet Muhammad, upon his Family and companions. And may Allah's peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.
The speech of the Grand Imam presented by His Eminence to the clergy in the West at the University of Münster, which was characterized by absolute frankness and sincerity, he said:
How can we then apply the concept of peace to this complicated reality? The answer -to conclude my speech- is that: we should make peace between leaders of different religions not to say among religious leaders of the same religion. This is a problematic issue that requires a painstaking dialogue that delves deeper into the common grounds between religions, especially these common grounds are numerous and so important. If men of religions do not establish peace with each other, there shall be no hope to get the fruits of their call for peace among people, as it is logically known that a person cannot give what he does not have.
His eminence (May Allah preserve him) confirms: " How did current world peace become the lost paradise with all these achievements? And how did the age of human rights witness all these unprecedented brutal acts? The answer over which I think you agree with me is that modern civilization has disregarded heavenly religions and their well-established moral values that would not change with the change of interests and purposes. The first of these values is that of fraternity and amity while keeping in mind that all mankind are the creation of Allah and the most people that are loved by Allah are those who benefit others most so that the world would not transform into a jungle of savage beasts that eat each other."
I think that the road now is paved so that religions would undertake their role in highlighting the value of peace and the value of justice and equality along with respect of man whatever their religion, color, race or language. We read in the Holy Quran- that is recited by Muslims all the day in which Allah says:" Indeed, We have honoured the children of Adam, carried them on land and sea, granted them good and lawful provisions, and privileged them far above many of Our creatures." (the Quran, 17:70). As we read in the context of acquaintance and compassion the saying of Allah:" O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may ˹get to˺ know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware." (the Quran, 49:13)
Meanwhile, Al-Azhar is still working for enhancing cooperation in the field of calling for the spread of the philosophy of co-existence and reviving the method of dialogue and respect of the creeds of others along with working together in the domain of highlighting the common principles – and indeed they are many- of all religions.. Let us work together for the sake of the helpless, the hungry, the scared and the detainees and tortured on earth without any discrimination or differentiation.