The Value of Peace
Then bear with them (O Muhammad) and say: Peace. But they will come to know. (AL-ZUKHRUF: 89)
Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; But turn away from the ignorant. (AL-A’RAF: 199)
Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition. (AL-NAHL: 90)
Whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. (AL-MA’IDA: 32)
Do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. (AL-BAQARA: 190)
Do no mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order (AL-A’RAF: 56)
But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things). (AL-ANFAL: 61)
The Concept of Peace and its Place/Importance/Standing in Islam:
• Peace (Al-Salaam) is at the same time one of God’s Almighty’s names and one of His characteristics. He says, “He is Allah, than Whom there is no other Allah, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him).” and informs us that it is the greeting with which He meets his servants in Paradise. “Peace!” – a word (of salutation) from a Lord Most Merciful!” as well as ”Their prayer therein will be: Glory be to Thee, O Allah! and their greeting therein will be: Peace. And the conclusion of their prayer will be: Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds!” .
It is the greeting with which the Angels address the believers, in Paradise. ”And those who feared their Lord will be led to the Garden in crowds: until behold, they arrive there; its gates will be opened; and its keepers will say: “Peace be upon you! well have ye done! enter ye here, to dwell therein.”” And He u gave the name House of Peace (Dar al-Salaam) to Paradise when He said ”But Allah doth call to the Home of Peace: He doth guide whom He pleaseth to a way that is straight” and ”For them is the abode of peace with their Lord. He will be their Protecting Friend because of what they used to do.” The inhabitants of Paradise neither hear any utterances nor speak any language other than the Language of Peace (lughat al-Salaam) ”There hear they no vain speaking nor recrimination. (Naught) but the saying: Peace, (and again) Peace.”
And God u in His wisdom rendered guidance to the Pathways to Peace (subul al-Salaam) a reward to such as follow His guidance and obey Him. He u proclaims ”Whereby Allah guideth him who seeketh His good pleasure unto paths of peace. He bringeth them out of darkness unto light by His decree, and guideth them unto a straight path.” and commands the faithful to incorporate the word “peace” into the formulaic greeting with which they address one another.
He u commanded that it be used symbolically in all of life’s arenas, whether in the mosque, at places of learning, in industrial settings, or in commercial ventures. “Peace” is a saying which the faithful employ upon gathering together as well as upon dispersing. It is even the response with which the faithful are enjoined to reply when addressed by ignorant individuals. ”And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!”;” “Peace” is distributed, as it were, by the faithful five times each day at the very least, when it is pronounced during the closing of the canonical prayers in the utterance, “Peace be upon you, as well as God’s mercy and blessings” two separate times. On top of that, there are a great many verses which demonstrate the fact that peace is considered to be among the greatest of the moral and ethical virtues by the religion of Islam.
• Imam Al-Ghazaali said, “’Peace’ (Salaam) is to free oneself of defects, one’s qualities from deficiencies, and one’s actions from evil. In fact, there is no safety (salaama) except that it is attributable to and originates with Peace (al-Salaam, which means both God, who is “The Peace,” and “peace” as an abstract concept). Every servant of God who is protected from fraud, hatred, envy, or the desire to engage in evil and whose faculties are unmarred by sins and temptations and whose character is protected from relapse, it is he who ‘comes to God with a sound heart.’…..What I mean by relapse is that his mind is a prisoner to by his lusts and his anger; The truth is the opposite of this: that his lusts and anger are under the control of his mind and subservient to it. When this is reversed, he has relapsed.” (Each of the words which have been variously rendered as “peace,” “safety,” “protected,” and “sound” is a permutation of the Arabic root “sa la ma.”)
• God u emphasizes the value of peace in His book inasmuch as He makes it compulsory upon those who believe to grant security to those who offer up “peace” to them. He commands, “And do not say to those who offer you peace, you are not safe and secure” The readings of Nafi’, Ibn Aamir, Hamza, and Khalaf express this permutation of the root “sa la ma” as the opposite of war, such that the grammatical subjects of the construction are understood to be offering peace. The other authoritative readings indicate the denotative presence not only of peace, the abstract opposite of war, but of peace as a greeting in and of itself, namely, “Peace be upon you.”
• The Messenger of God made a pact of peace with the Christians of Najran and accorded them a portion of his mosque in which to perform their religious rites. The terms which he dictated for them included that, “Najran and it courtiers are granted security by God and placed under the protection of the Prophet Muhammad, God’s Messenger, who shall undertake to protect their lives, religious identity and group, property, possessions and wealth.
These guarantees apply to those among them who are absent, present, and trading. No bishop shall be removed from his bishopric, nor shall any devotee be separated from his order, nor shall any hermit be forced to depart from his hermitage.” (An alternative reading switches the final protected category to that of a watch-person at a site containing a Christian crucifix.) He had these terms witnessed by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, Al-Aqra’ ibn Habis, and Al-Mughirra ibn Shu’aba, among others.
• Similarly, he recorded in his treaty with them that they had rights to what was in their control, i.e., their sales, and prayers, and clergy. They would not be pressured, nor tithed. The army would not trespass on their property. None of their rights would be changed, nor their authority or responsibility to advise or correct .
• The Prophet did likewise with the Jews who lived in Medina. No sooner had he arrived than he contracted a treaty with them which is considered to be a constitution of unification and deals with fifty two distinct subjects running the gamut from issues relating to social cohesiveness and economic integration, to legal ties among the various Jewish and Arab tribes, to rules governing mutual aid and wartime alliances among one another. These alliances are the result of God’s instructions to, “But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things).”
• Psychological and spiritual peace are achieved by putting one’s faith in God, for faith is the yielding of one’s soul to the certainty and knowledge that there is a controlling power which prefers good to evil. By means of faith determination is strengthened, inspiration is elevated, and the soul is set free of unbridled passion, overwhelming ambition, indecisiveness, hesitation, and disturbances rooted in anxiety. In terms of the importance of spiritual peace, the highest priority set by the Messenger of God was disciplining the character of the individual Muslim such that he would be focused upon keeping his soul safe and sound, with a strong conscience, clean heart, and pure motives.
– Prohibition of Abuse and Injustice:
1. Jaber Ibn Abdullah narrated that the Messenger of God said, “Beware of injustice, for injustice shall come as darkness upon darkness on the Day of Judgment. Beware of scarceness, for scarceness did, indeed, destroy those who came before you. It led them to shed each other’s blood and the prohibited lawful.
• Implicit is the disciplining of oneself to reject transgression and miserliness as well as a clarification of their ultimate results in both this world and the hereafter. In this world, they lead to bloodshed, rationalization of the permissibility of things forbidden, and the lack of peace and security among mankind. As far as the hereafter goes, they cause one to receive punishments and be shrouded in veils of darkness. Peace exists only in the shade cast by just dealings among individuals and with one’s soul; peace is impossible in the absence of tolerance and forbearance.
2. Abu Huraira narrated, “The Prophet said, ‘Keep your heads about you and consciously avoid injustice. Certainly, injustice is naught but a fold of darkness in the presence of God on the Day of Resurrection. Also, be ever alert in regards to obscenity, for God loves neither obscenity nor lewdness. Similarly, be on the alert when it comes to scarceness, for privation called out to those who preceded you and they answered it by violating their sacred trusts, spilling one another’s blood, and cutting the ties of kith and kin.’”
3. Aamru Ibn Al-Ahwas Al-Jushamy said, “The Messenger of God said, ‘Truly, your lives and wealth enjoy protection and are to be regarded by one another as sacrosanct in exactly the same manner and to the same degree as is sanctified this holy day of yours, during this holy month of yours, within the confines of this holy land of yours. Let it be known that every matter which has its roots in primordial ignorance is subject to abrogation at my discretion. Blood claims originating in the Days of Ignorance are nullified, and the first blood fued which I declare invalid is that pertaining to Rabia Ibn Al-Harith, who was nursed among the Banu Sa’ad and whom Hudhail killed. All interest having its roots in the Days of Ignorance is null and void, and the first interest which I declare to so be is that which belongs to us; the interest owed to Al-Abbas Ibn Abd-ul-Muttalib. It is, in its entirety, abrogated.’”
4. Ibn Umar said, “The Messenger of God ascended the pulpit and called out in a loud voice, ‘Oh ye whose tongues declare them to be Muslims while faith has yet to enter into their hearts! Do not bother Muslims, nor impugn them, nor search out their flaws in private matters. Truly, any who seeks to expose his Muslim brother’s weaknesses, God will seek to expose him, and any who God seeks to expose will be humiliated, no matter how carefully he attempts to conceal his shortcomings.’”
• The lesson is that peace can never be achieved within a society until injustice, transgression against the rights of others, and abuse are eliminated within it. Note how the Prophet here made use of his voice as a pedagogical instrument to influence the listener.
5. Abu Huraira narrates, “(I heard) the Messenger of God say, ‘No resident of an urban area ought to conduct sales for a resident of a rural location, nor ought any of you to engage in price fixing, nor ought you to outbid your brother on a commercial deal which has already been agreed to, nor ought any one of you to propose marriage to a woman who is already engaged, nor ought any woman to request the divorce of her fellow woman in order that she herself may drink out of her vessel.’”
As regards trade between urban and rural individuals, what is meant is that a person who is familiar with a particular market must not use his prior knowledge of local conditions to take advantage of a person approaching from afar who is at a disadvantage due to his unfamiliarity with the market, in order to cheat him out of his goods or assert their lack of worth. By price fixing is meant the driving up by bidding of the value of merchandise not in order to buy it oneself but in order to trick others into purchasing it at inflated prices. As for a woman drinking out of the vessel of her fellow woman, what is meant is that no woman ought to seek the divorce of another woman in order that what is apportioned for the latter should be diverted to the former.
6. Abu Huraira narrates, “The Messenger of God said, ‘Engage not in mutual jealousies, nor price fixing, nor engage in mutual hatred, nor turn your backs on one-another as though you find one-another burdensome or repulsive, nor conduct business such that you are stealing each others’ sales. Rather, be servants of God, a brotherhood. The Muslim is the brother of other Muslims; he does not treat him unjustly, nor does he disappoint him, nor does he degrade him. Piety is here –and he pointed to his chest three times. The act of degrading one’s brother Muslim is an indication of evil inclinations within a person. Every aspect of the Muslim is forbidden territory to Muslims, whether his wealth, blood, or honor. ‘”
• Implicit in the prohibition against treating others with disrespect and contempt is the prohibition against disdaining listening to others and allowing them the opportunity to express themselves and their points of view. The physical act of turning one’s back on others is inherently disrespectful of their humanity and a violation of their right to express their opinion. When one turns his back upon his fellow it indicates that an impasse has been reached which will not permit further progress towards a peaceful solution to be achieved. That is, communication at the intellectual, societal, and humanistic levels ceases to take place. When individuals or nations engage in turning their backs on one another it means that they have failed to persuade one another or arrive at convictions by means of an intellectual approach, which leads to each side employing aggressive or inhumane means to express themselves and make their presence known.
7. Abu Huraira narrated that the Messenger of God was passing by a pile of food and put his hand into it and found it to be damp. He said, “What have we here, oh vendor of foodstuffs?” to which he replied, “It was rained upon, oh Messenger of God. ” He then said, “Why did you not, then, put it on top so that people could see its state? Whoever commits fraud is not to be associated with me.”
• Fraud demolishes societal security and cohesiveness and destroys economic activity by introducing a state of lack of trust among commercial partners, just as it brings an end to psychological peace by spreading fear, anxiety, and apprehension among mankind. Notice here how the Prophet made use of dialogue as a style for imparting character discipline, and how he used the word “mankind” as an indication that the damage associated with fraud encompasses everyone, and that it is prohibited in all cases. This meaning is emphasized by the way the Prophet made use of the verb “to commit fraud” without specifying a direct object, then followed it up with, “is not to be associated with me,” which stands out in contradistinction to separate instances wherein Hesays, “Whoever commits fraud against us is not to be associated with us.”
8. Abdullah Ibn Masood narrates that the Prophet said, “Insulting a Muslim is an act of depravity, and engaging in combat with him is disbelief itself.”
• This is a general principle and a parcel of wisdom which comprehensively forbids all forms of assault, whether verbal or bodily, declaring simultaneously that verbal attacks are depravity and physical attacks are tantamount to disbelief. Therefore controlling the tongue and the hand and preventing them from engaging in assaults is the lowest level of peacefulness, in the absence of which a person cannot really be considered to be a follower of the religion of peace, that is, a Muslim.
9. Abdullah Ibn Aamr narrated that the Prophet said, “The Muslim is he from whom Muslims are safe and at no risk of being attacked by in that they are threatened neither by his tongue nor his hand, and the migrant is he who flees and boycotts that which God has prohibited.”
• Abu Huraira narrates to us that the Messenger of God said, “The Muslim is he from whom mankind is safe and at no risk of being attacked by in that they are threatened neither by his tongue nor his hand, and the person of faith is he in whom mankind puts their faith as regards their lives and wealth.”
• The Prophet here made use of the word “mankind” in order to convey the general nature of the peacefulness and security which Muslims and people of faith are required to spread among mankind. The wording of the hadeeth indicates either that these are definitions of “Muslim” and “person of faith” or that this is a reply to a question which the Prophet posed and went on to answer on his own. It is as if he is saying, “Do you know who the Muslim is?” Or, perhaps, one of his companions posed such a question and he answered it.
• This also points out that the achievement of peacefulness is a testimony of true faith, for peace flows from correct faith.
10- Abdullah Ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of God said, “Muslims are brothers one of another. They neither violate each other’s rights, nor do they deliver one another up. Whoever is busy taking care of his brother’s needs, God sees that his needs are met, Whoever relieves a Muslim of distress, God will relieve him of one of the distresses of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever covers the flaws of a Muslim, God will cover his flaws on the Day of Resurrection.”
• This demonstrates the inculcation of character discipline by means of positive reinforcement and interaction with others, including exertion of effort to assist in solving their problems. Muslims do not violate each other’s rights, nor do they forsake one another and refrain from advocating for one another in the face of injustice. Herein is an encouragement from the Prophet to assist Muslims, take care of their needs, and conceal their flaws as well as an announcement that whoever does so in whatever limited manner available to him is deserving of the same consideration from God, in this world and the hereafter, according to God’s unlimited power.
11- Abdullah Ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of God said, “Whoever seeks refuge in the name of God, offer him protection. Whoever asks in the name of God, give to him. Whoever extends an invitation to you, accept it. Whoever does a favor for you, pay him back. If you find yourself unable to repay the favor, pray for him until such time as it seems to you that you have requited him.”
• The generality implied by the use of the relative pronoun “whoever” is noteworthy, and among the various hues of the concept “peace” here expressed are the provision of protection to such as request it as well as the provision of materials, the acceptance of invitations, and the return of favors even if only by means of offering prayers. The Prophet here sets forward several ways and means of spreading peace. After having called in the previous hadeeths for the rejection of injustice and abuse and issuing warnings regarding their consequences, he here enjoins the offering of protection, materials, and recompense. Peace first dispels harm, later conferring benefits and blessings.
12- Al-Nuaman Ibn Basheer said, “My father made a charitable gift to me and my mother, Amrah Bint Rawaaha, said, ‘I will not be satisfied until the Messenger of God has been made a witness to this.’ So, my father set off to see the Prophet with the intention of making him a witness to the charity which he had bestowed upon me. He asked, ‘Have you done this for all of your sons?’ to which he replied, ‘No.” He then said to him, ‘Fear God, and treat your children equitably.’ Afterwards, my father returned and withdrew that particular bequest.”
Fairness among children in matters of gifts, provisions, and love guarantees familial peace, and just treatment as regards children prevents the stirring up of petty jealousies and rivalries among them and psychologically prepares them to be accepting and content.Peace versus war
1- Al-Miswar Ibn Makhzama reported the following:
At the time of the Hudaybiya [treaty], the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) set out [in the company of his Companions [to perform ‘umrah]. After they had proceeded for some distance, he told them, “Khaled Ibn al-Waleed leading a cavalry contingent is at al-Ghamim, so take the right route.” Al-Miswar continued and said, “By Allah! He [Khaled Ibn al-Waleed] did not see the Muslims until the dust from the Muslims’ [mounts] reached him, so he set off hurriedly to inform Quraysh. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) reached ath-Thaniyya from where it was possible to descend upon [Mecca], his camel knelt down and refused to go any further. They prodded it get up but it refused. So they said, “Al-Qaswa` has become headstrong.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Al-Qaswa` has not become headstrong as this is not its nature but the One Who restrained the elephant [from the Ka’bah] is holding it back.” He then continued saying, “By He in Whose Hands is my soul! If they [the people of Quraysh] ask for anything by which they respect the sacred things of Allah, I will grant it to them.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then scolded al-Qaswa` and it got up.
Al-Miswar said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) turned from them and walked until he reached the farthest end of al-Hudaybiya by a pit containing some water. The people continued taking small amounts of water from the pit. When all the water was used up, they complained of thirst to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him.
Taking an arrow from his quiver, the Prophet commanded them to put it in the water pit. By Allah! Water continued to gush out until they all quenched their thirst and departed. At this point, Budayl Ibn Warqa` al-Khuza’i arrived with some members of his tribe, Khuza’a. They were his advisors and confidants from the people of Tihama. Budayl said, “I left Ka’b Ibn Lu`ayy and ‘Amer Ibn Lu`ayy accompanied by a great number of men, who have camped at the water spot at Hudayibya. They brought their wives and children along with them. They intend to fight you and prevent you from entering the Ka’bah.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “We did not come to fight anyone but only to perform ‘umrah. War has weakened Quraysh and they suffered great losses. So, if they wish, I will make a truce with them during which time they are not to interfere with my mission [of calling to the way to Allah]. If they [the Quraishites] so wish, they may embrace Islam. If not, then they will enjoy respite [from war]. But if they do not accept the truce, then by He in Whose Hands is my soul, I will fight them in defence of my mission until I either perish or Allah carries out His command.” Budayl answered and said, “I will convey to them what you have said.”
Al-Miswar continued his narration and said, “Budayl took off and when he reached the people of Quraysh, he told them, “We have come to you from Mohammed. We heard him say things that concern you so if you so wish we will disclose it to you.”
The foolish from among [the people of Quraysh] said, “We have no need for what you have to say of him.” But the wise from among them said, “Tell us what you heard him say.” He [Budayl] said, “I heard him say such-and-such,” and related what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said.
At this point, ‘Urwa Ibn Mas’ud stood up and addressed his people and said, “O people! Are you not like fathers to me?”
“Yes,” they replied.
He asked, “Am I not like a son to you?”
“Yes,” they replied.
He then asked them, “Do you suspect me?”
“No,” they replied.
He then said, “Do you not know that I called upon the people of ‘Ukaz to fight [Muhammad] and when they refused I came to you with my relatives and sons and those who obeyed me?”
“Yes,” they replied.
He said, “This man [the Prophet ] has offered you a reasonable plan so accept it and let me meet him.”
When they agreed, he met the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and talked with him. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told him what he told Budayl and so ‘Urwa said, “O Mohammed! Do you not see that if you fight us, you will be fighting against your people? Have you heard of anyone of the Arabs before you who has destroyed his people? That is if you are victorious. But what if you are not? By Allah! I do not see nobles among you but a motley of people who would only turn their backs on you and flee [if you are defeated].”
At this, Abu Bakr insulted ‘Urwa and said, “Do you say that we would abandon him?!”
‘Urwa asked, “Who is this?”
“Abu Bakr,” he was told.
He said, “By he in whose hands is my soul, were it not for a favor you did me which I did not recompense, I would have answered you in kind.”
‘Urwa continued to speak with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and whenever he spoke, he gripped the Prophet’s beard. Every time he would stretch his hands to towards the Prophet ‘s beard, al-Mughira Ibn Shu’bah, who was standing next to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), holding a sword and wearing a helmet, would hit his [‘Urwa’s] hands with the hilt of the sword and say, “Take your hands off the beard of the Messenger of Allah!”
‘Urwa raised his head and asked, “Who is this?”
“Al-Mughira Ibn Shu’ba,” he was told.
“O traitor!” exclaimed ‘Urwa. “Did I not strive to redress your treachery?”
Before embracing Islam, Al-Mughira had travelled with a group of people whom he killed and stole their property.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told al-Mughira, “I accept your Islam. But as for your money, I have no need for it.”
Miswar continued narrating and said, “‘Urwa kept eyeing the Prophet ‘s men. By Allah! Whenever the Messenger of Allah spit and the spittle fell on the hands of one of his men, he would rub his face and skin with it and whenever he ordered them to do something, they would hasten to carry out his orders. And whenever he performed ablution they would fight over the water left over from his ablution. And whenever he spoke, they would lower their voices and none of them would fix his gaze upon him out of respect.
‘Urwa returned to his people and said, “O people! By Allah! I have held court with kings and visited Caesar, Kisra and an-Najashi. By Allah! I have not seen any king who is respected by his people as much as Mohammed is respected by his. By Allah! If he spat, and the spittle fell on one of his men’s hands, he would rub his face and skin with it. And if he ordered them to do something, they would hasten to carry out his orders. Whenever he performed ablution, they would fight over the water left over from his ablution. And when he spoke to them, they would lower their voices before him and none of them would fix his gaze upon him out of respect for him. He offered you a reasonable plan, so accept it.”
A man from among the tribe of Bani Kinana said, “Let me to go to meet him.”
They agreed and when he approached the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his men, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “He is so-and-so and he belongs to people who value sacrificial animals so drive them in front of him.”
When the animals were paraded before him and the people received him with talbiyah, he said, “Glory be to Allah! These people should not be prevented from visiting the Ka’bah.”
When he returned to his people, he told them, “I saw garlanded and marked animals. In my opinion, these people should not be prevented from visiting the Ka’bah.”
A man from among his people called Mikraz Ibn Hafs stood up and said, “Allow me to meet him.”
They agreed and when he was close to the Muslims, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “This is Mikraz and he is a shameless man.”
As Hafs was speaking with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), Suhayl Ibn ‘Amr approached them and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Now the matter has become easy for you.” Come. Make a treaty with us.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) summoned the scribe and dictated to him to write, “In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.”
Suhayl said, “As for the most Gracious, I do not know who he is. Write, ‘By your name, O Allah’ as you used to write.”
The Muslims exclaimed, “By Allah! We will not write anything except ‘In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful’.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then said, “Write ‘In your name, O Allah’. This is the pact concluded by Mohammed, the Messenger of Allah.”
At this, Suhayl responded, “By Allah! If we had known that you are the Messenger of Allah, we would not have prevented you from visiting the Ka’bah nor fought with you. Write Mohmmed Ibn ‘Abdullah [instead].”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “By Allah! I am the Messenger of Allah even though you do not believe me. Write ‘Mohammed Ibn ‘Abdullah.’ “He then continued, “On the condition that you allow us to visit and circumambulate the Ka’bah.
Suhail said, “We will not allow you to visit the Ka’bah this year lest the Arabs say that we yielded to you but we will allow you next year.”
When this was written down, Suhayl dictated to the scribe to write, “On the condition that you return to us any man who comes to you from us, even if he had embraced your faith.”
The Muslims said, “Glory be to Allah! How can we return someone who has embraced Islam to the polytheists?!”
At this point, Abu Jundal Ibn Suhail Ibn ‘Amr came from the valley of Mecca, dragging his chains and staggering, and threw himself down amongst the Muslims.
Suhayl said, “This, O Mohammed, is the first term of our agreement — that you return him [Abu Jandal] to me.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The treaty has not been written down yet.”
Suhayl replied, “By Allah! Then I will not make peace with you over anything.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Allow me keep him.”
Suhayl replied, “I will not allow it.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Let me keep him.”
Mirkaz said, “Indeed, we will allow you to keep him.”
Abu Jundal then spoke up and said, “O Muslims! Am I to be returned to the polytheists after I have become a Muslim?! You do not know what I have endured — I was severely tortured for the sake of Allah.”
‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab said, “I went to the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and asked him, “Are you not truly the Prophet of Allah?”
“Yes,” the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Indeed, I am.”
‘Umar then asked, “Is not ours the true cause and our enemy’s the false cause?”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Yes, indeed.”
‘Umar said, “Then why should we make concessions in matters concerning our faith?”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “I am the Messenger of Allah and I do not disobey Him — He will make me victorious.”
‘Umar then asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon), “Did you not tell us that we will visit the Kab’ah and circumambulate it?”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Yes. But I did not tell you that we will visit it this year?”
“No, you did not,” replied ‘Umar.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then said, “You will visit the Ka’bah and you will circumambulate it.”
‘Umar then said, “I went to Abu Bakr and asked him: ‘O Abu Bakr! Is he not truly the Prophet of Allah?”
“Indeed, he is,” he replied.
I asked, “Is not ours the true cause and our enemy’s the false cause?”
“Yes, indeed,” replied Abu Bakr.
Then I said, “Then why should we make concessions in matters concerning our faith?”
Abu Bakr said, “O [‘Umar]! Indeed he is the Messenger of Allah and he does not disobey his Lord — He will make him victorious. Hold on to his commands, for his is the true cause.”
‘Umar asked Abu Bakr, “Did he not tell us that we will visit the Ka’bah and circumambulate it?”
Abu Bakr said, “Indeed, he did. But did he tell you that we will visit it this year?”
‘Umar replied, “No, he did not.”
Abu Bakr then said, “You will visit the Ka’bah and circumambulate it.”
‘Umar said, “After this, I performed many [good] deeds to expiate for my impertinence.”
When the peace treaty was concluded, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) told his Companions, “Get up and slaughter your offerings and then shave your heads.”
Miswar continued his narration and said, “By Allah! None of them got up although he repeated the order thrice. When no one followed his instructions, he went to Um Salama and told her of what had passed.
She told him, “O Prophet of Allah! If you want them to follow your orders, do not speak a word to any of them until you slaughter your sacrificial animal and have your head shaved.”
So he went out to the people and did not speak to any of them until he slaughtered his sacrifice and had his head shaved. When the people saw this, they got up and slaughtered their offerings and shaved each others’ heads, though reluctantly.
• The above narration demonstrates the Prophet ‘s eagerness for peace. Islam is a religion that is propagated through peaceful measures and in peaceful circumstances. The Prophet ‘s peace treaty with the people of Quraysh at Hudaybiya was the greatest victory for Islam. Over the next two years after the conclusion of the treaty, the number of people who embraced Islam doubled. At the time, some of the Companions considered the treaty and its terms a defeat and a sign of weakness. They wanted to fight Quraysh and enter Mecca but the Messenger was eager to make peace to teach them that, to feel peace and its blessings it is necessary to extend it to others and to reach a compromise. Moreover, he wanted to teach them that abstaining from war in favor of peace is a great advantage for a call that needs to implement persuasion through rational discourse for its propagation.
Peace and Love as Hallmarks of Men of Faith:
1. Abu Huraira narrated that the Messenger of God said, “You will not enter Paradise until you have faith, and you will not achieve faith until you love one another. Shall I not point out a thing which, should you engage in it, will cause you to love one another? Spread peace among yourselves.”
• The posing of questions and inquiring as to what a person understands are among the most important interactive educational tools and catalysts for thought of which the Prophet availed himself in the course of imparting to his companions untold numbers of lessons touching upon moral concepts and values and associated with character discipline. The questions he set before them allowed their minds to acclimate to the idea of employing thoughtfulness in formulating answers. Sometimes they would offer responses on their own while at other times they would request that he provide the answer.
Either way, they gained training in imaginatively exploring possible solutions while diligently developing a love of knowledge. The Prophet’s question in the previous text comprises a goal which is incumbent upon Muslims to strive towards the achievement of and to discover the best means of attaining, that goal being the expression of love. Love, at the societal level, is what is indicated by the Prophet ’suse of the verb “to love one another,” which falls, morphologically, within a category of verbs which are explicit as to the reciprocity of the expressed action. That is, the verb itself is indicative of joint action and reciprocation among the parties engaging therein; each one loves and is loved by the other party or parties. The Prophet ’sresponse follows as a reinforcement of the principle that peace is the means by which love can be achieved among mankind. Giving the student the chance to actively participate in the lesson by means of formulating inquiries pushes him to train his mind and sentiments to be ever on the lookout for virtues and means of developing them.
• The repeated use of “peace be upon you” as a greeting is but a symbolic echo of the actual peace and serenity which governs human interactions, confirming the sentiments which abide within the Muslim’s conscience and are expressed in his behavior towards others. The use of “peace be upon you” as a greeting expresses a peaceful inner state, reassures others, and contributes to feelings of security. It trains everyone to love peacefulness, endorse it as a default state and motto, and refer back to it in establishing parameters within which to live.
• The Prophet established protocols to be adhered to in greeting one another with peace. For example, if a person who is riding or driving and another who is walking come upon one another, the one who is riding or driving ought to initiate the greeting of peace. If a pedestrian comes upon a stationary person, he initiates the greeting. In like manner, the lone individual is enjoined to greet the group, as are youths enjoined to greet elders. These are various forms of showing respect for each other, for gatherings, and for elders.
• Abu Huraira said, “The Messenger of God said, ‘Riders greet pedestrians, pedestrians greet the stationary, and the few greet the many.’”
• Abu Huraira said, “The Messenger of God said, ‘Youths initiate the greeting of peace with their elders, those who are in movement greet those who are stationary, and the few greet the many.’”
• By following these instructions we avoid scenarios where both parties, when they come upon one another, simultaneously begin greeting one another. Similarly, it precludes situations wherein all parties wait for someone else to first greet him, with the outcome of neither party greeting the other.
• Abu Ayyoub Al Ansari tells us that, “The Messenger of God said, ‘It is not permissible for a person to boycott relationships with his brother for more than three consecutive nights such that they ignore each other’s presence, each turning away from the other, and it is the better of the two who takes the initiative in extending peace.’”
When he takes it upon himself to greet his brother with “peace be upon you” he simultaneously undertakes reconciliation and puts an end to alienation and grudges, which helps to preserve and reinforce cooperation and mutual assistance in matters of daily life.
Peace as a Means of Effecting Reconciliation among Mankind:
1- Abu Al Dardaa said, “The Messenger of God said, ‘Shall I not inform you of a degree more excellent than that of fasting, prayer, and charity?’ They responded, ‘Of course,’ and he continued, ‘The mending of relationships, for, truly, the spoiling of relationships is the sharpest razor.’”
2- Sahl Bin Saad, may God be pleased with him, said, “The people of Qubaa’ fought among themselves until they reached the point where they were throwing stones at one another. When the Messenger of God was informed he said, ‘Take us to them; we will reconcile them to one another.’”
• Notice that the Prophet s, when informed that relations among the people of Qubaa’ had gone bad, called upon his companions to form a group which would accompany him on the mission to bring an end to the fighting among their brothers. It was an object lesson in how to implement reconciliation and spread peace among mankind.
3- Jabir said, “The Messenger of God said to a man from Thaqeef, ‘Oh brother of Thaqeef, how is chivalry known among you?’ He replied, ‘Oh Messenger of God, it is to be just and seek reconciliation.’ Heresponded, ‘Thus is it also with us.’”
• Regarding making amends among people, God declares, ”There is no good in much of their secret conferences save (in) him who enjoineth almsgiving and kindness and peace-making among the people. Whoso doeth that, seeking the good pleasure of Allah, We shall bestow on him a vast reward.”
Peace as Security:
1- Abu Huraira said that the Messenger of God “came upon some individuals who were seated and said, ‘Shall I not distinguish, for you, the best from the worst among you?’ They fell silent, and he repeated it thrice. Then a man spoke up, saying, ‘But of course, Oh Messenger of God ; tell us how we may differentiate the best among us from the worst.’ He said, ‘The best among you are those from whom good is expected as a matter of course and from whose evil all are secure; the worst among you are those of whom no good is expected and from whose evil nobody can be secure.’”
• Security is the highest level achieved by peace. It makes its presence known in more than the mere establishment of peace and its corollary phenomena. In fact, security manifests itself as the ongoing presence of peace. The Prophet described the best of those who have faith as individuals who engage in on-going goodness, demonstrating their uprightness so consistently that the entire society trusts and feels secure with them, expecting that nothing other than peacefulness will ever be brought to the table by them. They feel secure in anticipating that neither malfeasance nor enmity will issue from them.
2- A parable touching upon this comes to us from Abu Huraira, who tells us that the Prophet said, “Such persons as whose neighbors are not safe from their meddling will not enter Paradise!”
• The Prophet urged us to maintain peaceful relations with our neighbors, by which he meant that we ought not to aggravate them. At a higher level, he enjoined us to provide security to our neighbors by sparing them both our interference and evil inclinations. That is, the Muslim ought to make his neighbor expect no ill behavior or encroachment upon his rights from him, and that cannot be achieved except if he consistently behaves with good character and peacefulness towards his neighbor.
• The concept of the neighbor, in Islam, is a comprehensive construct. It includes Muslims, non-Muslims, free, enslaved, rich, poor, relatives, non-relatives, the far flung, the nearby, the individual, and the group.
-The Establishment of Peace and the Resolution of Conflict:
1- Um Salama, may God be pleased with her, tells us, “The Messenger of God said, ‘Indeed, you come to me presenting conflicts for resolution, and there may be some among you who are more eloquent in presenting their arguments than are others. Be aware, therefore, that, whosoever among you, by virtue of his skill at speaking, I judge in favor of regarding something that ought to have been awarded to his brother, my judgment is naught but my tailoring for him a garment made fire, and he ought not to accept it.’”
2- In the case of Samura Ibn Jundub, we hear that he owned a palm tree which had some branches encroaching upon the wall of an Ansari man. The report goes, “The man had a family, but Samura would go and climb his palm tree, annoying him and causing him difficulties, so, he requested that he sell it to him, but he refused. Then, he requested that he transplant it elsewhere, but he refused. He then went to the Prophet and told him about it. Consequently, the Prophet requested that he sell it, but he refused. Then, he requested that he transplant it, but he refused. The Prophet told him, ‘Then make a gift of it to him, and you shall receive such-and-such,’ encouraging him to accept it by offering in recompense something he found desirable. Still, he refused, and Heremarked, ‘It is your loss,’ after which the Messenger of God instructed the man from the Ansar to “go and chop down his tree.”
• The Prophet refused to honor this transgressive ownership due to the encroachment upon another’s rights which it presented, ordering that it be removed in order to eliminate the damage it was causing. This he did after first suggesting solutions which eliminated the Ansari man’s troubles while not impinging upon personal property rights.
3- Jabir tells us that a man came to the Prophet saying, “Somebody has a palm tree which encroaches upon my wall, and he bothers me there-from such that the place where his palm tree is located has become a source of great difficulties for me.” The Prophet sent him a message which said, “Sell me the palm tree which is in your neighbor’s boundary wall.” He said, “No.” The Prophet then requested that he gift it to him. Again, he responded, “No.” So Hesaid, “Sell it to me in exchange for a palm tree in Paradise,” but still he said, “No.” The Prophet responded, “Never have I come across a person less generous than you unless it be such as stingily withholds peace and security.”
• The Prophet s, in seeking solutions to disputes of this nature, searched for their origins, which were rooted in the freedom afforded by individual ownership and the misuse thereof to transgress upon the rights of others. After all, the individual’s right to enjoy the benefits of ownership within his society is contingent upon him not harming others. Freedom is the right of every human being, and each human being must respect the freedom of others, for freedom cannot be achieved unless rights and responsibilities are in balance.
4- Abu Huraira said, “A man came to the Prophet complaining about his neighbor. He told him, ‘Go, and be patient.’ He approached him two or three times, so Hesaid, ‘Go and spread your issue in the street. So, he spread his issuein the street, and people began questioning him, and he told them his story. Then, people began cursing him, saying, ‘May God do such-and-such to him, and such-and-such, and such-and-such.’ Then, his neighbor came to him and said, ‘Retreat to your home; you will see nothing more from me that causes you displeasure.’”
• Islam guarantees individual liberty, but in a manner which protects the collective freedoms within a society while neither diminishing human dignity nor trivializing society’s best interests. Therefore freedom, in Islam, bears a sociological definition, and justice is the scale upon which every act is measured. Only a freedom which equitably grants to its bearer that which it demands of others can be considered to be among the refined moral characteristics.
Injunctions and Teachings Which, by their Nature, Heighten the Value of Peace:
1- Abu Tharr said, “The Messenger of God told me, ‘Fear God, wherever you may be. Also, follow up bad deeds with good deeds; they blot them out. Furthermore, when you interact with people, use good manners as your tools.’”
2- Abu Al Dardaa reported that the Prophet said, “Such as has been granted his portion of kindness has been granted his portion of all that is good, while such as has been deprived of his portion of kindness has been deprived of his portion of all that is good.’”
3- Jabir Ibn Abdullah told us, “The Messenger of God said, ‘God is merciful towards such a man as is generous in selling, purchasing, and exercising judgment.”
4- Abu Shareeh Al Khuza’ey said, “The Prophet said, ‘Whoever believes in God and the Final Day, let him treat his neighbor well. Whoever believes in God and the Final Day, let him honor his guest. Whoever believes in God and the Final Day, let him speak good words or hold his silence.’”
5- It is related that Ali said, “The Messenger of God ordered me to sell two young servant boys who were brothers. So, I sold them, separating them in the process. I mentioned it to the Prophet and he said, ‘Catch up with them and reclaim them. Then, sell them not but as a pair and do not be the cause of their separation.’”
6- Abu Ayyoub Al Ansari said, “I heard the Messenger of God say, ‘Whoever separates a mother from her offspring, God will separate him from those whom he loves on the Day of Resurrection.’”
7- Abdullah Ibn Masood said, “Once, while we were on a journey with the Messenger of God and he had gone to answer the call of nature, we saw aةً sparrow-like bird accompanied by two fledglings. We grabbed the fledglings and their mother began fluttering her wings, whereupon the Prophet returned and inquired, ‘Who has traumatized this bird by stripping her of her offspring? Give them back to her.’”
8- Abu Huraira told us that the Messenger of God said, “Once, a man was travelling and found himself seized by severe thirst. He spotted a well, descended into its shaft, and drank. Then, upon exiting the well, he suddenly spotted a panting dog which, due to the severity of the thirst it was experiencing, was lapping up dirt. The man reflected, ‘Thirst has driven this dog to the same place it drove me.’ So, he went back into the well and filled his shoe with water, grasped it in his mouth, and gave the dog a drink. In appreciation of that God granted him forgiveness.’ They replied, ‘Oh Messenger of God, are we to be rewarded as regards what we do with animals?’ He responded, “In every being which possesses a functional liver rewards are to be found.’”
9- Abu Huraira said, “The Messenger of God said, ‘The strong man is not he who can overpower others. Rather, the strong man is he who can control himself in a fit of rage.’”
In another narration we find, “Abdullah Ibn Masood said, ‘Who among you do you consider to be stong?’ We replied, ‘The one whom men dare not challenge.’ He said, ‘Not so; rather, he is the one who maintains control of himself while enraged.’”
• The noble verse which describes people of faith says of gentle forbearance, “Those who spend (of that which Allah hath given them) in ease and in adversity, those who control their wrath and are forgiving toward mankind; Allah loveth the good.”
• This touches upon mechanisms for practicing self control, existential purposefulness, and control of one’s reactions while angry. The Prophet changed his companions’ understanding of the concept of strength when he questioned them as to whom they considered to be possessed of it and they replied that the strong man is he whose muscles are fine tuned and is capable of overcoming his foe when challenged. He pointed out that the definition of strength, in his estimation, was tied up with the ability to maintain control of one’s mind and soul even when one’s body is under the influence of the spirit of rage, preventing that strong flowing emotion from sweeping away one’s self-control in such a manner that evil actions inevitably follow in its wake.
• The Prophet ’suse of querying during a discussion is a bit different this time, for this question concerns a concept which needed correction among those who were asked regarding it. They were somewhat confident that the answers they provided were correct and on the mark when, suddenly, the teacher informed them that their understanding of the concept was flawed and incorrect, saying, “Not so,” then clarifying the correct understanding of the concept as conceived of and accepted intellectually by the instructor, bestowing benefits on both the individual and the group.
• If each of them had been left to understand that the strong man is he who overpowers others, their lives might have been transformed into wastelands, each individual desiring to prove to his self and others that he, in fact, was strong and severe. The Prophet altered the concept, transforming it such that the meaning of true strength was understood to be that peacefulness which allows a man to achieve fulfillment and success in the human endeavor. Thus did he free them from conflicts and confrontations potentially ruinous to men’s lives and disruptive to their best interests in that they halt seriousness of purpose, work, and advancement in their tracks.
10- Abu Huraira said, “A man came to the Prophet saying, ‘Advise me.’ He said, ‘Do not become angry.’ He repeated it numerous times, and he said, ‘Do not become angry.’”
11- Abu Tharr said, “The Messenger of God told us, ‘When one of you becomes angry while standing up he should sit down. Then, if the anger leaves him it is well; if not, he should lie down.’”
• The Prophet ordered people experiencing anger to undertake a physical movement by which his position and appearance would be changed and through which he could ease his burden such that it would become a reaction when he experienced anger. Thus would the impulse to resort to cursing, foul language, or attack be redirected, and thus did the Prophet point those overcome with anger towards honorable and mannerly behavior during fits of rage.
12- Abu Bakra wrote to his son, while he was in Sijistan, that, “you ought not to judge between two litigants while you are angry. Indeed, I heard the Messenger of God say, ‘Let no Judge issue a ruling in the case of two litigants at a time when he is angry.’”
Peace as Regards Preservation of the Environment:
1- Abu Huraira said, “The Messenger of God remarked, ‘Beware of the two that curse.’ They replied, ‘What or who are “the two that curse,” oh Messenger of God ?’ He said, ‘They are the one who relieves himself in the streets which people traverse and the one who does so beneath the shade wherein they take refuge.’”
2- Jabir tells us that the Messenger of God prohibited against urinating in stagnant water.
3- Abu Barza told us, “I said, ‘Oh Prophet of God, teach me something which will benefit me.’ He said, ‘Take what is bothersome out of the paths traversed by Muslims.’”
Peace and the Establishment of Equitable Relationships among Members of other Religions and Cultures:
1- By way of Ibn Abbas, “Regarding the revelation of these verses ”If they do come to thee, either judge between them, or decline to interfere;” and ”If you judge, judge between them with equity”, he said, ‘The tribe of Banu Al-Nadeer, if they killed someone from the tribe of Banu Quraitha, would pay them but half of the blood money while, if the Banu Quraitha killed someone from the Banu Al-Nadeer, they would be paid the blood money in full, but The Messenger of God put them upon equal footing.’”
2- Jabir tells us that the Prophet said, on the occasion of the death of the King of Abysinnia, “Today has the Najashi passed away; today has a righteous man passed away, so stand up and pray for your brother, Ashama.”
• This comprises evidence that peace can be achieved by learning more about one another, whatever physical or temporal distances may separate us, for peace means that we appreciate all cultures, despite their differences from our own.
• The Prophet already knew the Najashi before he asked his companions to flee with their religion and core beliefs, migrating to his lands, for He told his companions, “He is a king in whose realms no-one is treated unjustly.” Justice is the goal towards which all migrants aspire, even as it is the thing which human beings, in all lands, wish to experience. Injustice makes people hate any land, fleeing from it with their money, thoughts, and core beliefs. The Prophet did not find it shameful to order his followers among the Arabs to emigrate from their homeland due to the torture, injustice, and intransigence they were experiencing therein, nor was it difficult for them to accept and implement this command. The Companions, despite their simplicity, realized that a fair idea built upon sound logic and persuasive arguments will prevail in any land, even an adopted land, as long as it is characterized by an atmosphere of justice and tolerance. They realized, as well, that remaining in their native land and acquiescing to injustice would put an end to the truth and their religion.
(دار الإفتاء المصرية – eng.dar-alifta.org)