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The Noble Consequences of Peace

Those involved in the Islamic movement must be characterised by peace in their thought processes, in their speech, and in their actions in dealing with both the enemy and the friend. For the consequences of peace are noblest and it is fastest in reaching the desired goal. Peace and peace making are principles which bring about the advancement of the peacemaker. Whereas the non-peace-maker or the violent person will always remain behind.

The greatest Prophet (S) said to Imam 'Ali: 'O 'Ali, the noble traits of this world and the next are mildness of speech, magnanimity, and the forgiveness of he who wrongs you.'

What is no t meant here is the forgiveness of the unjust transgressor who does not repent, but rather it is the forgiveness when in power. The poet has turned these words of the Messenger of Islam into verse form saying: The noblest of virtues are epitomised in three;

Mild speech, magnanimity, and such forgiveness as can be. Meaning that if o ne is in position of power, to forgive and pardon The should do so, and be mild in speech not violent which, if he was, he would end up being distanced from the people.

In another hadith in praise of the faithful it is said that the believers are: 'humble', meaning that they are humble and not so unpleasant th at the people will fear to be around them and beside them, for the vio lent unpleasant person is generally avoided by the people.

The (Islamic) movement which wishes to bring together the people and guide them to the straight path ought to adopt mildness, for the people will gather round he who is humble, mild, cheerful and friendly as is found in the hadith about the qualities of the believer: 'The believer is humble, mild, cheerful and friendly, joy is on his face, sadness in his heart.' This is how the person who seeks to gather the people should be.

If the motto of the movement was to be violence, the movement would lose all legality in the eyes of the people and they will come to think that just as the movement is violent against its enemies, it will in evitably become violent against them some day. The poet says:

Have patience in the face of the envious, for your patience will kill him, Just as the fire will eat itself up if it does not find that which will fuel him.

This is a fact. The violent person acts violently with friend, foe and stranger alike, whereas the mild person acts mildly with both friend and enemy. Hence many hadiths carry the commendation of mildness, gentleness, compassion, and love. It is related from the Prophet Jesus (A) in a beautiful speech attributed to him: 'You have been told to love thy friends, but th is is not wha t is important, for even the tithe collectors love their friends. I say to you love thine enemies.

' It is clear from the speech o f Jesus that this does not result in benefiting the enemy as much as it results in benefiting the person himself, for the person who loves his enemy will try to establish good relations and a connection with him which is what can cause the enemy to cease his enmity.

There is a hadith from the Messenger of Allah (S) which says: 'Give gifts to each other, establish love between one another ', meaning that the giving of gifts to each other causes mutual love to be established between people. There are many other hadiths in the same vein reported from the Prophets and the Imams (Upon whom be peace).

The Islamic movement must then be characterised by peace and make peace its motto so that people may have confidence in it. Any movement which carries out a violent act or two vio lent acts will be blamed by the people for any subsequent violent acts which appear in society, just as the thief who has stolen once will be blamed for other thefts that take place.

In the proverb: 'The mind connects a thing with the most general and the usual.' If the movement is the subject of the suspicion of the people who connect it with violence and the like then the people will desert it and it will no t be able to reach its goal.

As well as adopting the conditions of creating awareness, organisation, and observing general principles, the Islamic movement must also be based upon the following four foundations of peace and peace-making, mild ness, compassion, and kindness. The hadith and traditions of the Messenger of Allah (S), his story, his history, his battles and military campaigns all make clear how mild and p eaceful he was and the fine results he gained because of this.

For example, we can see how the Messenger of Allah (S) after conquering Mecca dealt with the city's people in such a kind an d lofty way that he was able to achieve two things:

The first is that he was able to loan from Safwan ibn Umayyah, one of the major Polytheists, four hundred suits of armour. During the Age of Ignorance, Safwan had been in the position o f the minister of war for the Polytheists and he had many suits of armour which he would supply to the fighters in the wars which took place between the tribes and clans.

When the Messenger of Allah (S) requested from Safwan that he lend him this armour he had no hesitation in giving them to the Prophet because he had experienced his kindness and tasted peace under him during the conquest of Mecca.

The second, the Prophet (S) was able to create an army of two thousand men who were with him on the battle of Hunein which happened directly after the conquest of Mecca. Thirty thousand warriors from the tribe of Huwazin and other tribes had gathered in the valley of Hunein near Mecca to attack the Messenger and kill him and his companions.

The Prophet had with him ten thousand of the Mujahidin from Madinah and the two thousand men from Mecca making in all twelve thousand fighters, warriors, horsemen, and armoured men. Hence the Messenger was able to fight the peo ple of Hunein in this bitter war, which the Holy Qur'an mentions.

The Messenger of Allah (S), with his companions from Madinah, and those who had joined up with him from Mecca, was able to rout the enemy army and provide a victory for Islam, and this ended the resistance of the unbelievers throughout the entire Arabian Peninsula. This is because of the morals of the Prophet and his peacefulness, his compassion, kindness, open-handedness, truthfulness, and trustworthiness.

After the battle of Hunein had ended, he returned the armour to Safwan. The Muslims had won in this battle a great deal of booty and the chronicles report that Safwan looked at the camels, which had been won by the Messenger of Allah (S). The Messenger saw this and said: 'Do you desire these camels O Safwan.' He said: 'Yes O Messenger of Allah.' So the Messenger said: 'Give Safwan ten of the camels', so they gave him ten. Then he said: 'And another ten', and he continued to give him until he had given one hundred camels to Safwan.

In truth, this giving was to the people of Mecca as a whole because Safwan had an important family and relatives and in those days when the chieftain obtained something it meant that his followers and family would also obtain a share in that thing.

In this way, the Messenger of Allah (S) was able to draw the attention of the Polytheists in Mecca and they began to enter into Islam and testify the two testaments of faith without violence or warfare and without the spilling of blood but rather out of love for Islam, for they saw in Islam a refuge and a shelter, and leadership, friendship, wealth, fraternity, and a lessening of problems. Hence, the Islamic movement must learn from the Messenger of Allah (S) how to act and make peace.

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