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Islamic Movement and Peace

In this paper the author addresses the Islamic movement in particular because of the difference of opinions there is amongst the various groups and sects of the movement. Otherwise he calls upon all Muslims, and upon all mankind for that matter, to adhere to peaceful and non-violent means in all as pects of life.

In line with his political views, Imam Shirazi calls for the creation of an international Islamic reform movement in order to help attain the salvation of the Muslim Community, as this can be seen in many of his works. Subsequently this in turn would then fac ilitate the salvation of mankind in general. In this work he emphasises on the Islamic movement although his discussions on peace and non-violence usually take up a more general tune. Imam Shirazi then goes on to emphasise that such a movement must adopt peaceful policies in all aspects and domains . . . This paper is an extract from Chapter 4 of Imam Shirazi's book Towards Islamic Revival pages 141 - 174. Chapter 4 of this book discus ses Axiom 4 of the 6 axioms the author envisages for the Islamic movement.

The Movement Must be Peaceful The motto of Islam is 'peace'. Hence when one Muslim meets with ano ther he will say to him: 'al-Salam Alaykum' meaning 'Peace be upon you' and the other will answer: 'Alaykum al-Salam' 'Upon you be Peace.' And in the same way that he begins with a greeting of peace upon his brother, he will end his meeting with a farewell greeting of peace, saying when he wishes to leave: 'Peace be upon you.

' Islam then is the religion of peace, hence Allah, Exalted is He, says in the Holy Qur'an: {Enter into a state of peace one and all.} (2:208) Wars, blockades, and other forms of violence are only emergency measures and not the norm and they go against basic Islamic principles.

Their nature is that of d ire necessity as in the eating of 'unlawful meat' or the like and the basic principle is that of peace. Hence in Islam, war is taken at face value. However, despite this, Allah Almighty says: {And whoever assaults you then assault him in the same way that he assaults you.} (2:194) Then in another place He says: {But to forgive is closer to piety.} (2:273)

The way of the Prophet (S) and Fatima (A) and the impeccable Imams (A) was thus. Peace was their watchword in all their affairs and even in their battles, and the unparalleled success of the Prophet o f Islam (S) and the Imams (A) was for reasons all stemming from the peace that they endowed themselves with in all their affairs.

Hence we find that the 'Abbasids, Umayyads, and Ottomans proceeded in a way that only earned them an ill reputation. Whereas the true leaders of Islam have only a good reputation and are known by the people for peace, kindness and forgiveness:

We ruled and forgiveness was our nature, when you ruled blood flowed as a river flows.

Enough for you now is this difference between us, for every vessel will show what substance it holds. The fact that Islam encompasses peace is one of the reasons for its initial progress and for its second age of progress after the attacks of the Crusaders from the west and the Moguls from the east. And through peace we hope for the advancement of Islam in this century which has been so full of attacks from east and west alike on its lands.

The Messenger o f Allah, Muhammad (S), progressed, as we have said, thro ugh peace that he adopted as a mantra. One example of this is Mecca 55 , the capital of unb elief and idolatry and the capital of waging war against the Messenger of Allah (S). The people of Mecca confronted the Messenger of Allah by every possible means. They banished him, killed his daughter Zaynab, confiscated his wealth and killed many of his followers.

Finally they tried to assassinate him so he fled secretly to Madinah but they continued their plots against his holy mission. Despite this, after more than twenty years, when the Messenger (S) wanted to conquer Mecca, he made preparations then proceeded to conquer that city peacefully without one drop of blood being spilt.

Among the preparations he made were when he took possession of Khaibar, he took as spoils a large hoard of golden vessels as many as twenty thousand in number and of differing sizes. The Messenger (S) sent a number of these vessels to be shared out amongst the poor of Mecca even though they were unbelievers, polytheists, and warring against the Messenger of Allah (S). When these golden vessels arrived for the people o f Mecca, they were confused and amazed.

They said: 'We fight this man, we confiscate his pro perty, we kill his fo llowers and his relatives and he deals with us in such a kind manner.'

This was an overture from the Messenger of Allah (S) to bring Islam to Mecca and to destroy the idols and to establish peace between the people. When the Messenger of Allah (S) conquered Mecca, Abu Sufyan, his archenemy, came and the Messenger of Allah (S) pardoned him. Not only this but he made his house a sanctuary saying: 'Whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyan is safe.

' Then he turned to the wife of Ab u Sufyan, Hind, the woman famous for her immoral acts and attacks on the Messenger of Allah (S). She who had torn open the abdomen of Master of the Martyrs Hamza, and amputated his ears and his nose and mutilated him in the most vile manner, taking out his liver and chewing it in her mouth.

This woman, this 'war criminal' was sent by the Messenger of Allah a document of pardon. By this, the Messenger of Allah (S) recorded the most magnificent example in the history of creation of forgiveness even of his most ardent enemies. The Messenger of Allah (S) accepted the Islam of Hind and he made it a condition upon her that she should not p rostitute herself which points to the fact that she was a famo us prostitute before Islam. The noble Qur'anic verse, which the Messenger of Allah (S) recited to Hind, also points to this fact where Allah says:

{And if the believing women come to you to pledge their allegiance to you on the basis that they do not associate partners with Allah, nor steal, nor commit adultery . . .} (60:12)

Similarly, the Messenger of Allah (S) forgave the people of Mecca and spoke the historical words: 'Go ye for you are at liberty.' He did not seek to reclaim his houses or the houses of his companions that had been confiscated by the Polytheists. And when he took the key to the Ka'bah from the custodian, the Qur'anic verse was revealed: {Allah orders you to convey all things held in trust to their rightful owners.} (4:58), as some exegeses have said, and after he destroyed the idols he returned the key to the custodian.

The Messenger of Allah (S) also opened the way to bring Khalid (Ibn al- Walid) to the religio n by saying to his brother Walid ib n al-Walid:

'I am amazed at your brother Khalid, he is a clever man, why has he not entered Islam?, And why has he not said the two testaments of faith (shahadatayn)?' When Walid came to his brother Khalid, and conveyed to him the speech of the Messenger of Allah (S) about him, Khalid was amazed that the Messenger of Allah (S) would seek to win him over with such kindness since he had been fighting a full-scale war against the Messenger of Allah (S). This became a reason for Khalid accepting Islam and joining the Muslim army as is well documented in the chronicles.

Through this peaceful means, the Messenger of Allah (S) gained dominion over the hearts of the people of Mecca before he gained dominion over their bodies. And when he did gain dominion over their bodies, they followed his lead and obeyed him and said of him: He is a noble brother and the son of a noble brother.

The chroniclers report that Mecca at this time was the capital of unbelief and Polytheism, hypocrisy and blood letting, selfishness and pride. When it surrendered to the Messenger of Allah (S), most of the people did not announce their entry into Islam but rather remained on the way of Polytheism. The Messenger of Allah (S) did not coerce them to accept Islam ever but instead left them to themselves so that they would live by themselves under the rule of Islam to enter Islam in the future.

The Messenger of Allah (S) made a man named 'Atab the governor of Mecca. He was a young Muslim man of deep faith who was nearly twenty years of age. He fixed the sum of nearly two talent of Silver as a daily pay for him.

The chroniclers mention that Mecca no longer made war after that and succumbed to the rule of 'Atab without any need for an army or security force or force of arms or other power. This because the Messenger of Allah (S) had gained hold of their minds and hearts and the heart, if it becomes allied to a person is not able to rebel o r resist.

In this way, the people of Mecca began to sense the correctness of the Islamic way and that in it they would still have their authority and leadership and their honour and their wealth would remain in their own hands and their sacred objects would remain sacred.

Sa'ad ibn 'Ubada took the banner during the first moments of the conquest of Mecca. Then he began traversing the streets of Mecca proclaiming: 'Today is the day of slaughter, today the women will be captured.' When the Messenger of Allah (S) heard this he said to Imam 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (A): 'O 'Ali, take the banner from Sa'ad and proclaim the opposite.

' Imam 'Ali (A) then took the banner from the hand of Sa'ad and began to proclaim in the streets and alleys of Mecca: 'Today is the day of mercy, today the honour of the women will be protected.'

Meaning that today we have come to you with mercy and to unite your ranks and to bring about a brotherhood between you, and today your women will remain with their honour and their chastity. These actions of the Messenger of Allah (S) were a prime cause for the unparalleled submission of the holy city of Mecca to the Messenger of Allah (S).

War, accusation, slander, backbiting, insinuation, enmity, hatred, egotism, pride, deception and the like are the causes of the decline of nations and individuals alike. On the contrary, the human being is a slave to virtues. Imam Amir-ul-Mu'mineen (A) says: 'I wonder at he who buys slaves with his wealth, why does he not buy the freemen with his mora ls?'

In any case, it is imperative that the Islamic movement that is striving to establish a worldwide Islamic state adopts peace as its mantra and syllabus and method to attract the widest possible audience. Through this God's aid and assistance may be achieved.

Notes:

55. The peace treaty between the Muslim and Quraysh (the Muslims' adversaries) was broken by Quraysh, and this consequently lead to the peaceful conquest of Mecca without any bloodletting.

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