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The Role and Contribution of Islam in Promoting the Culture of Peace in a Globalized World

Apr 11, 2008, 4:53 AM | Article By: By Dr. Omar Jah Jr. Head of the Humanities Department University of the Gambia

(Part 3)

1-Peace: A definition and History

In the Oxford Popular English dictionary, peace is defined as the state of freedom from war or disturbances. Some define it as absence of anxiety so on and so forth

Happiness is the final target of every human being and since happiness is only attainable through peace, Allah revealed His religion, Islam in order to instill and promote peace. Islam being the sole heavenly religion is naturally peaceful by origin, by etymology and by substance:

a)-Originally speaking, Islam is the product of Allah (the Peace). Allah has about ninety nine names and none of them is "war". Instead He names Himself "the Peace"

b)-Etymologically, Islam is an Arabic word derived from the word salam, which means peace.

c)- Substantively, Islam is the religion of justice and equilibrium. The difficulty of peace is mainly due to the difficulty of its price. The price of peace is justice. Whosoever could give absolute justice would receive in return absolute peace, and whoever could grantee relative justice, would in return receive relative peace

Accordingly to Islam, peace may be defined technically as "a state of being in harmony with the divine order". Order here refers both to the physical and legislative orders. The former is seen in the Islamic epistemology as reflected partly in the following verse:

The most beneficent, has taught (youmankind) the Qur'a. He created man. He thought him eloquent speech. The sun and the moon run on their fixed courses calculated with measured out stages for each and the herbs and the trees both prostrate. And the heaven He has raised high and He has set up the balance. In order that you may not transgress the balance, al-Rahman, 55: 2-9

And the latter is seen in the Islamic greeting "peace be onto you" strictly commanded by Allah as the only condition to enter His paradise. The Prophet is reported to have said:

You cannot enter paradise unless you believe and you will not believe until you love each other. Would I tell you something if you do you will love one another, spread the word of peace

Most of our family, social and world problems emerge because of absence of a smile and a greet

So, peace is the original state of affairs. In the beginning, the angels, jinns, planets and galaxies all enjoyed that state of peace until one very sad day came and Iblis (the devil) interrupted the peace and confused the order by none-compliance with the divine order. Thinking wrongly and arrogantly that continuity of peace was a threat to his position, the devil persisted on disobedience

And since then, his disciples who suffer from similar vices and entertain the same wrong belief are the ones who have always been planning designing and financing all major wars in the world.

To be continued