Notes and Comments

No Comments | May 2012

To the prince and the pauper peace is equally prized and equally cherished. To this end everyone within his own sphere of influence has something to offer, be it a prayer, a kind word or good deed, or indeed all three. The simple fact is that the more we can do for the cause of peace the more we stand to gain and in view of the state of the world today few issues could be of greater importance or urgency. In this regard religion has much to offer, but Islam goes beyond mere offerings by requiring Muslims to engage in a holy struggle, or Jihad, for the sake of peace. This Jihad is very different from the Jihadist acts that confront us on our screens and in our newspapers, for this Jihad seeks no self-glory, power or grandeur, rather it is a jihad that is spiritual, submissive and sublime. It springs from the realisation of the insignificance of man before an Almighty Being, without Whom no progress is possible. In this respect the Holy Qur’an emphatically declares that:

Only that which Allah wills comes to pass. There is no power save in Allah…. (Ch.18:V.40)

Such clear teachings bring into sharp focus the utter fragility of human endeavour in the absence of Divine succour. This is why the Holy Qur’an repeatedly draws attention to the remembrance of God, and at every turn and juncture we are urged to draw sustenance from this blessed spring, for those who receive God’s blessings are,

Those who remember Allah standing, sitting and lying on their sides… (3:192)

If one can grasp the import of this principle only then can one begin his journey towards true peace, for peace that is not rooted in God is no peace at all. This is the true Islam that was revived in this era by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, who was the Reformer promised for this age, the Promised Messiah and the Imam Mahdi. His peaceful renaissance of Islam has been carried forward through his Khulafa, or spiritual successors. Over the past century, they have urged their community to play a positive role in uniting mankind for the sake of peace. On countless occasions they have counselled the world to hearken to call of God and to abide by man’s obligations to God and His creation. One such forum for this call to peace has been the UK National Peace Symposium, which has been held at the Baitul Futuh Mosque since 2004. The symposium seeks to enlighten people about the real teachings of Islam and build understanding and respect between all people. Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), the worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community delivered the first keynote address at the symposium in 2004, in which he stressed that for the cause of peace one should: “Never stop struggling unless we establish peace in the world.” His Holiness has certainly held true to this and the symposium has grown from its humble beginnings to become a major national event for all faith communities, which is now attended by people from all sections of society. In his speeches at the symposium, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) has repeatedly drawn the world’s attention to the principles of peace espoused by all faiths, but especially in Islam. In national and international affairs, for example, he has explained that:

“…the foundation of justice will be laid in this world only when the lowest individual of the society, realises that he has to win the pleasure of his Creator and has to follow His commandments; and such individuals collectively try to create peace on a broad basis.” (2007)

This truly reflects the power and obligations of citizens in the affairs of the state – if the electorate is sincere in its belief and actions then this will infuse the whole system of governance with a moral imperative that also implores the leadership to act with honour and justice. He presented a stern warning of failure to embark on such reform by noting that:

“We must not let our future generation sink into that pit of darkness from which our ancestors brought us out to where we are today. It will be a height of selfishness if for the sake of our false pride or for a temporary gain, we forget the future of our future generations.” (2007)

Whilst the theme of his speeches have touched on different aspects of peace, they have also reflected a growing anxiety that the increasing unrest and conflicts around the world, coupled with the relentless economic crises, is pushing mankind to the brink of disaster. The most worrying aspect is that rather than turning to God the superpowers (in particular) are choosing to play God and that is a sure path to self-destruction. In the speech by Holiness at this year’s symposium, he provided perhaps the starkest warning yet that by denying others their rights, by rejecting the principles of absolute justice and by refusing to accept and follow God’s teachings, mankind faces an impending catastrophe on a global scale. He said that:

“We must remember that when human efforts fail, then God Almighty issues His Decree to determine the fate of mankind. Before Gods Decree sets into motion and compels people towards Him and towards fulfilling the rights of mankind, it would be far better if the people of the world should themselves come to pay attention to these crucial matters…In todays world, one terrifying manifestation of Gods Decree could be in the shape of another World War. There is no doubt that the effects of such a war and its destruction will not be limited to the war itself or even to this generation.  In fact, its horrific consequences will be exhibited for many generations to come.”

As His Holiness beautifully put it, the fact is that true peace cannot be achieved by “insincere words and hollow agreements” (2007), and this applies as much to one’s relationship with God as it does to ones relationship with each other. There needs to be clarity in one’s intention and honesty in one’s deeds for peace to have any chance of existing. This can only take root if one’s own ego is cast aside, for as they say, man is his own worst enemy. This is why in Islam the greatest Jihad is against one’s self, and to conquer that requires no swords, bombs or bullets but rather a pure heart and a sincere appreciation of a word from the wise. In 2005, His Holiness reminded us that, “Peace can be secured only when the world recognises its Creator.”

One can only hope and pray that the world takes heed.

Fareed Ahmad is the National Foreign Affairs Secretary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK

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