Every year September 21st is celebrated as international day for PEACE, so scarce in 21st Century! It is irony of fate that the very religion which is rooted in ‘peace’ is labeled as a threat to the world peace. This year 21 September is also likely to be the day of “Eid-ul-Fitr“, [in most parts of Muslim world] the day of thanks and celebrations for Muslims at the end of holy month of Ramadan (fasting). All Muslims and non Muslims to please join in to celebrate 21 September 2009 as the day of “Peace and Eid”.
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Now few words about ‘Peace’: “Word ‘ ’ “Salaam” in Arabic, “Shalom in Hebrew and ‘Shel-awm’ in Aramaic literally means “PEACE” and are cognates of each other, derived from the Semitic Triconsonantal of Ś-L-M (realized in Hebrew as Š-L-M and in Arabic as S-L-M). In Greek ‘eirene’ i-ray’-nay means peace. The word ‘ISLAM’, derived from Arabic root ‘S-L-M,’ means ‘PEACE’ or ‘submission’. There is a very common misconception that ‘Islam’ (or Muslims, the adherents of Islam) are ONLY the people who believe in Qur’an and follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), though true in a restricted sense, the word has larger connotation, for God says:“In matters of faith, He has ordained for you that (Din-way of life) which He had enjoined upon Noah – and into which We gave thee [O Muhammad] insight through revelation – as well as that which We had enjoined upon Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus: Steadfastly uphold the [true] faith, and do not break up your unity therein. [And even though] that [unity of faith] to which thou callest them appears oppressive to those who are wont to ascribe to other beings or forces a share in His divinity, God draws unto Himself everyone who is willing, and guides unto Himself everyone who turns unto Him” (Qur’a n;42:13) ”
PEACE THROUGH SELF SURRENDER TO GOD:
In religious context ‘Islam’ means ; ‘Attainment of peace through complete submission to the will of God or his laws’; correspondingly, Islam denotes “self-surrender to God”:
“Say: It is only inspired in me that your God is One God. Will ye then surrender (unto Him)!”(Qur’an;21:108); “And who is better in speech than him who prays unto his Lord and does right, and says: Lo! I am of those who surrender (unto Him) [Muslim”].”(Qur’an;41:33).
Thus the term Muslim signifies “one who surrenders himself to God”:
“..your God is the One and Only God: hence, surrender yourselves un to Him (in Islam)…(Qur’an;22:34). Both these terms are applied in the Qur’an to all who believe in the One God and affirm this belief by an unequivocal acceptance of his revealed messages preached by all the messengers of God: “..He has chosen you and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship; the creed of your forefather Abraham. He has named you in bygone times as well as in this (Scripture) “those who surrender themselves to God” (Muslims)…..(Qur’an;22:78)
“Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian but he was true in faith and bowed his will to God’s (which is Islam) and he was not of the idolaters.(Qur’an:3:67)
“And who, unless he be weak of mind, would want to abandon Abraham’s creed, seeing that We have indeed raised him high in this world, and that, verily, in the life to come he shall be among the righteous? When his Sustainer said to him, “Surrender thyself unto Me!”-he answered, “I have surrendered myself unto [Thee,] the Sustainer of all the worlds.” And this very thing did Abraham bequeath unto his children, and [so did] Jacob: when he said: “O my sons! God has chosen for you this way of life (Deen), therefore, die not unless you have surrendered yourself un to Him. “Nay, but you [yourselves, O children of Israel,] bear witness that when death was approaching Jacob, he said unto his sons: “Whom will you worship after I am gone?” They answered: “We will worship thy God, the God of thy forefathers Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, the One God; and unto Him w1ll we surrender ourselves.”(Qur’an;2:130-133).
The Qur’an has over 6000 verses; out of which hardly 40 verses are about legitmate warfare (qital, specially in self defence and against opression) [less than one percent], while 99% verses are designed to awaken man’s intellectual faculties & guidance to attain ultimate peace and salvation. God says:
“O people of the Book (Jews and Christians)! Now Our Messenger (Muhammad) has come to you to reveal much of what you have concealed from the Holy Books and to pass over much which is no longer necessary. There has come to you from GOD a new Light and a clear Book (Qur’an), with which GOD will guide to the ways of peace all those who seek His good pleasure and bring them out of the depth of darkness into the light of His grace and guide them to the Right Way.”(Qur’an;5:15-16)
“Say: “Praise be to GOD and peace be on His servants whom He has chosen to deliver His message. Ask them: ” Who is better? GOD or the deities they associate with Him?”(Qur’an;27:59)
“If the enemy is inclined towards peace, do make peace with them, and put your trust in GOD. He is the One Who hears all, knows all.”(Qur’an;8:61)
“The believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers: And fear Allah that ye may receive Mercy.”(Qur’an;49:10)
It is mentioned in Bible:
“Moreover I (GOD) will make a ‘Covenant of Peace [shaw-lome, Salaam in Arabic] with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them:…”. (Ezekiel;37:26)
“And the work of righteousness shall be ׁ, shaw-lome (peace); and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah;32:17)
“You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy;4:2, 12:32)
“These are the statutes and judgments, which you shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of your fathers gives you to possess, all the days that you live upon the earth” (Deuteronomy;12:1).
Obedience to God, His commandments and covenant has also been emphasized at Deuteronomy;13:4 and Exodus;19:5. “Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it” (Psalms;34:14). Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was the last Hebrew prophet, who was sent by God to preach the implementation of the Law of Moses to the Jews (Mathew;5:17-20), he said;
“I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.”(John;5:30)
“Thy will be done” (Mathew;6:10,26:42).
Hence Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) like all the other prophets from Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Ishmael – – – Muhammad (peace be upon them all) being a true Muslim, surrendered to the will of God. The religion from God has always been ‘submission to His will’ (Islam) (Qur’an;3:19). God says;
“Mankind was once just one nation; later on they became divided through inventing different creeds. If your Lord had not already given His word (specified time for the life of mankind on Earth), the matters in which they differ would have certainly been decided.”(Qur’an;10:19).
“If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God) never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).”(Qur’an;3:85)
COMMON SALUTATIONS AND GREETINGS:
‘Salam & Sholam is frequently used to express greetings, salutation by Hebrews and Muslims. It is evident from the Bible (Genesis;43:23, Exodus;4:18) that the Israelites used to greet as Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) is reported to have greeted in Hebrew ‘Sholam alay kum’ (Luke;24:36, John;20:21 & 26), this is similar to the Islamic greeting in Arabic: “Salaamu alai kum”, both meaning ‘Peace be on you’. The word ‘peace’ occures at about 400 places in the Bible (Old Testament:296, New Testament:104). “There is no peace, says my God, to the wicked” (Isaiah;57:21). Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (figuratively– closer to God)” (Matthew; 5:9). While Christians have discarded, the Muslims strictly adhere to this salutation, as God says: “When those who believe in Our revelations, come to you, say ‘Salaamu alai kum’ (Peace be upon you). Your Lord has decreed mercy upon Himself…”(Qura’n;6:54, also emphasized at 24:27, 61 & 37:181). This salutation has a spiritual connotation comprising the concepts of ethical soundness, security from all that is evil and, therefore, freedom from all moral conflict and disquiet by seeking the Mercy of God. The greeting of dwellers of paradise (righteous believers) therein will be: ‘ ’ “Salaam” (Qura’n;10:10, 14:23,19:62). ‘As-Salam’ ‘The Giver of Peace’ is one of the Holy names of GOD (Qur’an;59:23).
CONCEPT OF PEACE & METHODOLOGY BY THE LAST PROPHET (PEACE BE UPON HIM):
The teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his exemplary way of living show that he not only projected the concept of peace, but that he was also able to develop a complete methodology of peaceful activism. The successful revolution he brought about was a practical one based on the ideology of peace. It would not be an overstatement that the Prophet of Islam was the greatest pacifist in history. He exploited peace as an unconquerable force. He is reported to have said; “God grants to peace, what he does not grant o violence”(Sahih Muslim). The study of the life of the Prophet reveal that he discovered peace both as a complete ideology and methodology which were productive of the most effective strategy in all matters. But this aspect of the Prophet was over shadowed by the political history of Islam. Now, if there is to be rediscovery of the Prophet of Islam as he actually was, this veil of politics needs to be removed. Narrated Um Kulthum bint Uqba, that she heard Allah’s Apostle saying: “He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar.”(Sahih Bukhari Hadith No.3.857).During the battle of Badar, Angel came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and said; “God has sent you a message of peace.” On hearing this the, the Prophet of Islam said; “God is peace, peace is from Him and peace returns to Him”(Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah, vol.3, page 267).[Excerpts from ‘The Prophet of Peace by Maulana Waheed-uddin Khan, Tazkeer, Dec 2008’]
This year all Mulims and non Muslims to please join in to celeberate 21 September 2009 as the day of “Peace and Eid”.