Rafed English

Peace Amongst Members of the Movement

We have discussed the principle of peace from a number of viewpoints including peaceful social interaction and peaceful interaction with the enemy. Now we will discuss the same principle but from another angle namely the peaceful interaction amongst the members of the Islamic movement itself.

This means that the members of the movement should be in complete accord and there should not be any differences or disputes. Often there occurs amongst the members of an organisation unhealthy competition and wrangling and disputes and mutual hatreds. This problem has two bases:

The first is that some people seek to exploit others and the second is that those people of higher rank look to the lower ranking members with disgust and the lower ranking member look to the higher ranking members as exploitative and arrivists and opportunists. Islam provides solution to both of these problems:

The decision making process must be that of mutual consultation (Shura) so that every individual has an opinion which must be considered. By this, exp loitation leading to the break-up and death of the movement will cease. As for he who says: I have a greater understanding, or my vision of the future is deeper so I have the right to decide in the matter, this is exactly what is meant by exploitation. This will solve the first problem.

As for the second problem, people should not have contempt for one another or belittle one ano ther. {O you who believe, avoid suspicion, for some suspicion is a crime.} (49:12)

Suspicions must be avoided. Imam Amir-ul-Mu'mineen (A) said: 'Give your brother the benefit of the doubt', and in another tradition from Imam al-Saadiq (A) who said: 'If fifty people swear to you that he said something and he says that he did not say it then believe him and do not believe them.' Meaning that do not doubt him on the basis of what those traito rs say.

One of the impeccable Imams (A) visited one of the Caliphs during an emergency situation. The Caliph said to the Imam: 'O son of the Messenger of Allah (S), advise me.' The Imam (A) said: 'The Muslims are either older than you in which case you should treat them as you would your father. Or they are younger than you in which case you should treat them as you would your son. Or they are equal to you in age in which case you should treat them as you would treat your brother.

Honour your father, treat your brother equally and have mercy upon your son.' This is the way a person should look towards everyone; with kindness and mercy, sympathy and compassion and if not then he will not be able to progress however powerful he is. These are the foundations upon which the Messenger of Allah (S) built the Islamic state and upo n which the imp eccable Imams built the personalities of the Muslim believers.

It is related that Imam al-Saadiq (A) went to Karbala to visit the grave of Imam al-Hussein (A) and he said to one of his companions: 'Go around and invite whoever you see to visit Imam al-Hussein (A).' The man went but returned without anyone. The Imam said to him: 'Why have you returned alone?' The man said: 'O son of the Messenger of Allah, I didn't think the people I met were good enough.' The Imam said to him:

'Then I think of you what you think of them.' Meaning that if there is a difference in the levels of people then the difference between you and them is the same as the difference between myself and you, and as it is not right for the higher ranking person to reject the middle ranking person, it is also not right for the middle ranking person to reject the lower ranking person.

In the same way, there should be a state of harmony and peace amongst those involved with the Islamic movement, and not a state of exp loitation, antipathy, and contempt.

The Islamic movement will not be able to guide the peop le to the straight path as long as it itself does not follow the straight path. There is a well- known principle in reasoning that says: 'That which lacks something cannot b estow that thing.' If you do not have knowledge how can you bestow knowledge? If you do not own a Dinar how can you give away a Dinar? Similarly, if the building blocks of the Islamic movement are not equality, justice, the love of people, and humility it will not be able to plant these things in other people. It is just not possible.

Those involved in the Islamic movement therefore should look to one ano ther with equality, fraternity and justice so that they might progress by the leave of Allah. If not then the people will say: If there were any good in their movement they themselves would have adopted what they were calling for.

Many Islamic movements have failed in the past because of a failure to adopt the ethics of action and peace. These failed movements should be a lesson to us so that we act in a way that will make the movement righteous so we can achieve, by the leave of Allah, the international Islamic state of more than one billion Muslims.

Adapted from the book: "War, Peace & Non-Violence" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq Shirazi"

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