Islam is a religion, the edifice of which has been raised upon the foundation stone of peace. It is like a thick shady tree, stems from peace and provides peace to the weary and pooped bands of travellers. It is also a safe and peaceful highway leading towards the house of serenity and tranquillity (Dar-us-Salam).
The word Islam is of Arabic origin, stems from Salama means peace and therefore Islam is what, based upon peace or that produces and breeds peace. It means that the flesh and blood of Islam is peace, tranquillity and harmony. So a person embracing Islam is called “Muslim” or “Momin”(faithful) ie one who comes into the fold of Islam, enjoys peace and developing himself into the source and fountainhead of peace, provides the same to those around him regardless of their colour, race and creed. One who refutes this basic and central theme has nothing to do with Islam. Following tradition of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) throws light on the same concept:
“The faithful is he, in whom people repose their confidence about their property and life.” (Tirmzi V.2, P.90) Allah Almighty has also been named in the Holy Qur’an as “Salam” (The Giver of peace and the Keeper of faith. 59:24) .
The etymology of the word Islam reveals that Islam is the synonym of peace and denies every form of terror and oppression. It enjoins upon believers to sink their aspirations into the Divine Will and enter completely and wholeheartedly into the fold of Islam (peace). (2:208). Islam stresses the propagation of peace and the Muslims all over the world, conclude their prayers, five times a day, asking Allah Almighty for peace:
“O Allah! The Giver and Keeper of peace, keep us alive in peace and admit us into the house of peace (in the life hereafter).” (Muslim V.1, P:218)
Islamic history bears the testimony to the fact that Islam is the only religion across the globe that can claim to be the most peaceful religion, which abhors the spillage of blood of innocent people. From Asia to Africa to Europe wherever the Muslims established their authority, the first priority was to maintain order and peace. There is no denying the fact that it was the very characteristic of Islam that dwelt into the hearts of the non-believers and enveloped them into its benevolent fold.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) himself set an unsurpassed example of mercy by declaring amnesty to those who depleted all of their human and financial resources and exhausted all of their energies to annihilate the Muslims from the face of earth. A non-Muslim historian Stanley Lane Poole pays homage to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) on his above mentioned act of mercy in the following words:
“The day of Muhammad’s (PBUH) greatest triumph over his enemies was also the day of his grandest victory over himself. He forgave the Qoraish all the years of sorrow and cruel scorn in which they had afflicted him and gave an amnesty to the whole population of Makkah.” He further states: “The army followed his example, and entered quietly and peacefully; no house was robbed, no women insulted.” He concludes the account of the glorious entry of The Holy Prophet (PBUH) into the Makkah, saying:
“It was thus Mohammad (PBUH) entered again his native city, through all the annals of conquest there is no triumphant entry comparable to this one.” (The Speeches and Table Talk of the Holy Prophet Muhammad) (PBUH).
The details, cited above, portray the vivid picture of Islam, the vivacious colours of which cannot be darkened by the filthy propaganda campaign launched by the Western media backed by the Western governments in the name of guarding their so-called “National Interest”. No doubt the propaganda is not based upon their hatred against Islam as a religion. It flows out of the fears and apprehensions regarding Islamic revival as a political power, that they consider, is detrimental to their “National Interest”.
Thus to put a curb on the activities of Islamic Movements aiming at Islamic Renaissance, they go to the extent of violating even their own centuries old democratic values by supporting tyrant dictatorial regimes in Islamic countries. The campaign swelled following the soul-searching and mind-boggling mass destruction of September 11 in the American cities of Washington and New York. Going by the tradition the champions of peace pointed their fingers at Islam. But how a peaceful religion like Islam can allow its followers to fall into the abyss of ignorance by sabotaging world peace? How can the followers of such a religion seize the fundamental right of life of the innocent people? It is impossible for a Muslim to commit such horrendous acts and claim to be true believer as it is the negation of the true spirit of Islam.
In the end I would like to leave an introspective comparison of a Christian writer Mr Arthur Gilman for the champions of Western media who are breathing fire at Muslims and leave no stone unturned to distort the fair picture of Islam. Mr Gilman says: “In comparison, for example with the cruelty of the crusaders, who, in 1099, put seventy thousand Muslims, men, women and helpless children to death when Jerusalem fell into their hands; or with that of the English army, also fighting under the Cross, which in the year of grace 1874 burned an African capital, in its war on the Gold Coast, Muhammad’s (PBUH) victory was in very truth one of religion and not of politics; he rejected every token of personal homage, and declined all regal authority; and when the haughty chiefs of Qoraishites appeared before him he asked: ” What can you expect at my hands? “Mercy, O generous brother. “Be it so; you are free! He exclaimed. (The Saracens)
The reason demands that a realistic approach aimed at getting down to the core of the matter should be pursued instead of hurling the blame at any religion so that the life may be worth living in this world.
(Mr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri is a prominent Pakistani scholar and politician.)