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Ethics

Peace Safeguards Islam

Allah Almighty is He says in the Qur'an: {O you who have faith, enter into a state of peace one and all.} (2:208)

Peace then is the general principle whereas violence is the exception, and exceptions are taken at face value. In the previous chapters we have mentioned the peaceful treatment by the Messenger of Allah (S) with his enemies and friends, his relatives and with strangers, and also that of Imam 'Ali (A). The Messenger of Allah and Imam 'Ali (S) are models for us as are the rest of the prophets and infallibles.

Hence we should follow their lead whether we are in the beginnings of government or we have actually achieved government by the leave of Allah.

A question has been raised here: The Messenger of Allah (S) although he was infallible and will not be questioned about his actions, our task is not like his task. We see that he spared many hypocrites which led to many problems being caused for the Messenger of Allah.

Had he killed Abu Sufyan and Mu'awiya on the day o f the conquest of Mecca then the Umayyad state which ditched Islam completely would not have b een formed, and it would not have caused the innumerable pro blems for the Muslims. Similarly, if Imam 'Ali had killed Marwan on the day of Basra, then he would not have been able to assume power and cause along with his descendants many problems.

Therefore the point is made that we should adopt another task, while we should be aware of their conducts, but as far as their conducts is concerned they know what they are doing. This idea is refuted. Firstly, because the Prophet and the Imam are models, and the model should be followed whether we understand the reasoning behind their actions or not.

The Qur'anic verse says: {And not a messenger have we sent except that he be obeyed by the lea ve o f Allah.} (4:64)

and in another verse: {What the Messenger brings you then adopt it and what he forbids you then leave it.} (59:7)

and in another verse: {No by your Lord, they will not truly believe until they adopt you (the Messenger) as a judge in those matters in which they disagree amongst themselves, then do not find in themselv es any complaint about your judgements and they submit completely.} (4:65)

This is from the point of view of belief and Divine Law. From the point of view of the intellect, we believe that had the Messenger of Allah (S) killed Abu Sufyan and his like then Islam would not have been supported nor would it have taken root and sprouted because the Polytheists would have buried Islam in its cradle. Abu Sufyan was not alone. In the Arabian Peninsula there were a thousand Abu Sufyans and each of then had relatives, friends, family, and clan.

They would have buried Islam in its cradle and we would not even hear any mention today of the Messenger o f Allah (S) in the same way that we do not hear about many of the other prophets of Allah who were killed. The Qur'anic verse says: {Then why do you kill the prophets of Allah if you have faith} (2:91) and this shows that many prophets were killed.

The Messenger of Allah Muhammad (S) was faced with a choice between leaving the hypocrites who, if they caused a few problems would be effaced by time eventually as time has effaced the Umayyad clan and consigned them to the mists of history, or the other choice of raising his swo rd and killing and killing until the tribes arose and killed him and his loyal companions leaving no trace of Islam left.

The same applies to Imam 'Ali (A). Was he to unsheathe his sword and kill them and face the consequences of their tribes and relatives and friends moving against him helped by the Romans, and by this uprooting Imam 'Ali (A) which meant uprooting Islam itself and it being changed into a corrupt religion like Judaism and Christianity as the Qur'anic verse says: {And they change the words from their rightful places.}. (5:13)

Or was it better to spare those people who if they denigrated Islam it would only be for a sho rt time.

This then was the plan of the Messenger and Imam 'Ali, a very wise plan indeed. Hence we find that one of the companions of Imam 'Ali (A) describe him as being: 'Farsighted and with powerful faculties.' We see Imam 'Ali (A) now after almost 1400 years since his martyrdom has more than 1000 million people believing in him, Muslim and non- Muslim alike. Whereas the Umayyads and the 'Abbasids have been consigned to the mists of time and are only mentioned with disdain. So the Messenger of Allah (S) remains and those who opposed him like Ab u Jahl, Abu Sufyan, and Abu Lahab were destroyed.

One of the benefits of peace is that the memory of the peace-maker remains as do his laws, checks and balances and methods whereas memory of the non- peace-maker does not remain even if it is assumed that he was one- hundred percent right. Hence the Messenger of Allah (S) said:

'Whenever the Angel Gabriel descended upon me he ordered me to maintain good relations with people.'

In recent history, we see that Stalin and Hitler and Mussolini and the like inclined to violence as did Yasin al-Hashimi in Iraq , Pahlevi in Iran and Ataturk in Turkey and there are many o thers like them and all of them have gone. Stalin was exhumed and his corpse burned and all the Stalinist principles destroyed.

As for Hitler, up until recently his country was split between the Americans and the Russians. Mussolini's country was in chaos and disruption and the 'Red Brigades' was widespread as was murder, assassination, and theft for more than forty years. The first Pahlevi was expelled and assassinated in Mauritius. Yasin al-Hashemi was expelled from Iraq and killed, and Ataturk was killed.

In addition to these people becoming the accursed of history, they have vanished, as have their principles. History only regards them now as a lesson to be learned from as Pharaoh, Shidad, and Nimrod became lessons, and also Mu'awiya, Yazid, al-Hajjaj, Ibn Ziyad, and Harun.

Those who come after them may learn from them not to incline to dictatorship and violence but rather to right thinking, decisiveness and peace, and conferring freedoms, and looking towards the people with the eye of friendship and brotherhood even if they were infidels. As Imam 'Ali (A) said: 'People are of two types; Either your brother in religion or your equal in creation.'

Allah Exalted is He, in the Qur'an speaks about the believers and the non-believers being brothers when he says: {And to the people of 'Ad we sent their brother Salih.} (6:65). Salih is a messenger and prophet whose tribe 'Ad were infidels but Allah still calls him their brother.

The important thing for the people concerned with the Islamic movement is to be aware of this reality of brotherhood and to remain patient and to pay attention to the p revious nations. {Say, Travel throughout the land . . .} (16:69, 29:20, 30:42), {Walk in the uplands of the earth and eat of what He provides you with . . .} (67:15). One must look and think about the p revious nations and the state of modern nations.

Those who incline to p eace remain well known in their own lands and elsewhere whereas those who tend to violence and coarseness and force if they are known at all are despised and disowned.

Allah says regarding His Prophet: {By the mercy of Allah, you were mild mannered with them. Had you been ill ma nnered and hard hearted they would have deserted you.} (3:159) If we adopt peacefulness as a practical principle always, we will, by the leave of Allah, be able to initiate a general trend towards an authentic Islamic movement which will be a prelude to rescuing the Islamic lands from the colonialists and dictators and to establish the law of Allah for one billion Muslims. For Allah this is not difficult.

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