Islamic Activism: Shifting the Focus from Battlefield to Peace
Every mission has to adopt a way or method of activism. The Islamic method is very unique. In every other field, the methods adopted involve denying others. But the method of Islam is very unique, that is, it is based on acceptance of others. For example, the greatest incident of the Prophet’s life was the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. It has been called ‘clear victory’ in the Quran. At the site of Hudaybiyah, the Prophet and his opponents entered into negotiation with each other. Then an agreement was concluded between the two sides. It was a no-war pact. Everybody knows that when the treaty was concluded, the Prophet began to dictate its terms on paper. He said to Ali to write: “This is what Muhammad the Messenger of God and Suhayl ibn Amr have agreed upon.” But when he mentioned this, the Makkan leader Suhayl objected to this. He pressed the Prophet to address himself as Muhammad ibn Abdullah and to strike out the phrase Messenger of God. The Prophet accepted this condition. Hazrat Ali had been writing what the Prophet was dictating to him. When the Prophet asked Ali to write “This is what Muhammad the Messenger of God and Suhayl ibn Amr have agreed upon”, the opponents rejected this saying they denied that the Prophet was indeed a messenger from God. They demanded him to refer to himself as Muhammad ibn Abdullah in the treaty document. The Prophet did not disagree with his opponent nor was he adamant over what he had got written. Within seconds, the Prophet asked Ali to write “This is what the Muhammad ibn Abdullah and Suhayl ibn Amr have agreed upon.” The entire group of Companions became unhappy over this. But this is what the Prophet finally got written. He concluded the peace treaty at Hudaybiyah and decided to return to Madinah. On the way back, a verse was reveled which said that the Prophet had been granted clear victory. Later history also established that this event proved to be one which laid the path for greater victory for the Prophet. It is strange that a treaty of defeat became a treaty of victory. I reflected on this and realized that the way of Islam is not one of confrontation. Rather it is to create an opportunity and to avail of it. This is why the Prophet prevented conflict at Hudaybiyah and entered into an agreement. Thus peace was established between the two sides. How did this help? It opened up opportunities for work. All fighting ended. Swords were put away. So, the Prophet managed the problem, brought it to an end and then planned for his mission in a peaceful atmosphere. This is a very wise method. I believe that no one after the Prophet understood this method in entire history. This is why after the Prophet it was never utilized again. In the present age we again have an opportunity. Muslims have a chance to do planning along right lines by understanding the opportunities available to them. In the present age, as you know, Muslims are fighting everywhere with other communities, in Africa, Asia, Europe and so on. But they haven’t availed anything. This is because they do not adopt the prophetic method. The method of shifting matters from the field of war to the field of peace is a victorious method. This is because it gives you opportunity to do planning. This is how the Prophet did planning after the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. Islam tells us to plan, manage problems and subsequently achieve success. In the events after the Prophet, the opponents desired to bring Muslims into the battlefield. But due to the guidance of the Prophet, Companions diverted the opponents to the field of peace from the field of war, they entered into agreement with their opponents and planned by doing negotiation. The result was great success. Muslims in the present age only complain and speak negatively. This is because they do not follow the method prescribed by Islam. This is a very wise method. I have written about it in detail in my book ‘The Prophet of Peace’. If you want to understand this method, you must read my book. Question and Answer Session Q1. What is the meaning of maqam-e-mahmud? A1. There are a lot of differences between scholars in this matter. I consider this as a sign that will be shown in the world. That is, it means to gain establishment in the world. A non-Muslim scholar studied Islam and studied the lives of other saints. Then he finally studied the life of the Prophet and then he exclaimed: “O what a relief to find after all a truly historical prophet to believe in!” That is, God made the Prophet Muhammad a historically established personality. You can read about this in my books. Maqam-e-mahmud means that the Prophet was established as a historical personality. Other persons or prophets are only part of belief or faith, while the Prophet Muhammad has become a historically established personality. You can read about this in my book ‘Islam Rediscovered.’ Q2. Surah Anfal says that “when God is mentioned before them, their hearts tremble.” Another translation says, “when God is mentioned before them, their faith increases.” Which is the right translation of this verse? Why should our hearts tremble when God is mentioned? A2. It is common sense that when God Almighty who has made the whole universe is mentioned, a person should be overwhelmed by His glory. God is great and when He is mentioned it should entail a proportional response. Q3. Will it not be correct to understand that confrontational attitude satisfies the ego, so it is easy to adopt? A3. This is true. Q4. Please tell something about durud? A4. Durud is nothing mysterious. It is prayer (dua). We have received a big blessing from the Prophet of Muhammad. That is, we are born into this world, but we do not know the purpose of our lives and we are unaware of how to achieve success. All this is unknown to us. The Prophet showed us a way and brought a Book which give us knowledge of the straight path (sirat-e-mustaqeem). Durud is dua for the Prophet for this blessing that he brought to us. The Prophet received guidance from God and transferred it to us. If you receive guidance from someone, you should pray for him. Durud is therefore a high kind of dua. There is no mystery about it. Maqam-e-mahmud means a position which is historically accepted. There is nothing mysterious about it. An Orientalist and several other people have written that Muhammad (pbuh) was the only Prophet who gained a historically established position as a prophet. Q5. The Quran says: “We will give them lesser punishment before the greater punishment of the Hereafter so that they turn to Us.” Is coronavirus the same lesser punishment which the Quran mentions? A5. We cannot precisely apply this verse to coronavirus. I can only state a matter of principle, that is, God gives lesser punishments as warnings before the greater event in the Hereafter. This is God’s way of warning. This is not anything mysterious. Before a grave event, God gives a shock or a warning to awaken us. Q6. Should we prostrate when we come across verses of prostration (ayat-e-sajdah) in the Quran? A6. No, you can prostrate whenever you want. you need not immediately prostrate when you read the verses of prostration (ayat-e-sajdah). Q7. What to do when one’s actions are not getting the desired results? A7. Desired result is not what we want. Desired result is that which God wants according to His thinking. A human being only plans based on immediate situations, but God thinks on the basis of future as well. Q8. When anything is done to satisfy the ego, it becomes devilish. What do you have to say? A8. This is right. Q9. If an invisible virus has scared all of humanity, why doesn’t the invisible God scare them? A9. I will say that the virus has made people alert, and not scared. It is right that everyone has become very cautious. Q10. In the past two months, there have been around 1,27,000 deaths due to Covid. This has set everyone thinking. Why don’t people take lessons from deaths they see everyday? A10. I believe that God is not visible, which is why it is difficult to understand the reality of God. People understand only that which they can see directly. Q11. Which commentary on the Quran is most relevant to the modern age, especially for the youth? A11. I will not point out any one commentary, as there are many perspectives. Maulana Ali Miyan had said that the special aspect of Tafsir Usmani is that it gives a gist of various commentaries. There is no particular commentary for the youth. They must read and understand on their own. They should read various commentaries and try to understand which one is best for them. Q12. Please tell something about managing negativity according to the Prophet of Islam? A12. Read the biography of the Prophet. You will come across many incidents wherein he managed negativity. Q13. Why has the community raised durud to the level of worship? A13. Everything is worship. If you remove an obstacle from the path, then that is also a form of worship. Q14. How to prove God’s all-encompassing nature? A14. The universe is so vast. To this day no one could measure it. This in itself is a proof that God is limitless (la-mahdud). Einstein has shown that the universe is expanding continually. You can read ‘God Arises’ for further detail on this. Q15. Please share a tip on how to get rid of confusion. A15. Confusion will always remain. It will never come to an end. The Quran says that the element of doubt will always remain. You will have to think and contemplate. Confusion can never be eliminated.