- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
The Prophet of Peace
The Prophet of Peace
Throughout his life as a prophet what did the Prophet do? He recited to the people non-war-related Quranic verses, such as: “Read in the name of your Lord who created.” (96:1) He kept asking them to discover God, the Creator and Sustainer. He taught them how to worship and make supplications to God. He taught them about morality and humaneness. He told them that when others troubled them, even then they must behave with patience and avoid conflict. He gave people the teachings of the Quran, as a book for reforming themselves and for sharing divine wisdom with others. He taught them that real success is entry into Paradise, not entry into the institutions of power in this world. By his own practical example, he showed people how to carry on the mission of Islam through peaceful means and without resorting to confrontation. He demonstrated how it is possible for people to save themselves from falling prey to hatred of others in even the most turbulent situations, and how, at such times, one can remain peaceful and carry on working for the true welfare of others.
All these non-violent activities of the Prophet are undoubtedly exalted Islamic actions. In fact, it is these that are the very essence of the mission of prophethood. As far as war is concerned, it is only as an exceptional necessity. War always aims at removing external obstacles, not at producing an inner state of higher consciousness within individuals. For the latter purpose, the appropriate method is advice, exhortation and guidance. It has nothing to do with war.
The lesson that we learn from the life of the Prophet is to avoid confrontation at all costs, and avail of the opportunities. No constructive work can be accomplished in the absence of a peaceful environment. Whether is it economic progress, social welfare, spiritual development, even worship, can be performed only in peaceful conditions. This is why Islam stresses the avoidance of war and confrontation. It commands its followers to establish peace at all costs. This is expressed in a verse of the Quran which states, “Reconciliation is best.” (4:128)
Peace is thus inextricably linked to Islam. The goal Islam gives to its followers cannot be achieved in the absence of peaceful conditions, or in a situation of war and violence. In Islam the spiritual goal of a believer is the discovery of God through study, contemplation and reflection over nature, the universe and life. This kind of a spiritual and intellectual work cannot happen when people are continually engaged in war or are living in a society where
violence is perpetrated as a norm. For this reason, Islam places the utmost significance on the establishment of peace at any cost, as without peaceful conditions the very goal or objective of Islam is jeopardized and remains unachieved.
Source: Discovering Islam