Presentation on theme: "SOCIAL HARMONY THROUGH CULTURE OF PEACE & INTERFAITH DIALOGUE: AN ISLAMIC PERSPETIVE b y: Naghma Siddiqi The Global Peace Leadership Conference 2014 organized."— Presentation transcript:
SOCIAL HARMONY THROUGH CULTURE OF PEACE & INTERFAITH DIALOGUE: AN ISLAMIC PERSPETIVE b y: Naghma Siddiqi The Global Peace Leadership Conference 2014 organized by Interfaith Foundation India & IASE University, Rajasthan, India at New Delhi on 9-10 December, 2014.
SOCIAL HARMONY IN PLURALISTIC SOCIETIES Nature abhors uniformity.—Bradac Globalized societies are pluralistic. While differences and negative situations are an integral part of globalized life. No one has the power to eliminate them. This is due to the freedom given to all by God Almighty Himself to each person for the purpose of testing him. The only way these can be managed is by undertaking peaceful interfaith dialogue between different groups. We will look at the Islamic perspective of peaceful interfaith dialogue.
ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE “Peace is the best option.”—Quran, 4: 128 While certain Muslims conduct acts of violence using the name of Islam; Islam, in fact, is a religion of peace: Islam comes from Arabic ‘silm’ which means of peace. Islam is called the path of peace. Paradise: ‘home of peace’, dar as-salam –Quran, 10:25 Islam teaches to maintain peace unilaterally for the sake of peace. The Prophet demonstrated this in his method of the Hudaibiya Treaty. The target that Islam gives to man one, to undertake tazkia to inculcate a Culture of Peace in oneself and two, dawah illalah or peaceful interfaith dialogue with others in society. “Gardens of eternity, through which rivers flow—that is the recompense for those who purify themselves. – Quran, 20: 76 A Culture of Peace is a positive attitude within oneself at the level of the mind. When people become positive it results in social harmony.
ISLAMIC PRINCIPLES FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE Inculcating a Culture of Peace—tazkia—within oneself is the primary way of ensuring peace of mind. As more individuals inculcate a positive mindset within themselves social harmony will ensue. Some principles from the Islamic perspective are…
NON-VIOLENCE AND PEACE From the following tradition of the Prophet of Islam nonviolence is related to peace in contrast to violence. Non-violence is the method of peaceful and result-oriented people: “God grants to non-violence what He does not grant to violence.” – Hadith Prophet Muhammad taught non-violence. Mahatma Gandhi used the method to gain India’s freedom. “Whenever the Prophet had an option between two courses of action, he always chose the easier (non-violent) one.” – Hadith As such the non-violent option is both easier and result-oriented. When one behaves non-violently justification from violence is taken away from others. This breaks the cycle of violence resulting in social peace.
TOLERANCE: THE PRICE OF SOCIAL PEACE All members of society have freedom for the purpose of testing them. This has been given by God Almighty Himself. The only way to maintain social peace is to be tolerant of the negative actions of others in society. “Be tolerant; enjoin what is right; and avoid the ignorant. – Quran, 7: 199 Therefore, the only formula of social peace is Difference Management. Trying to eliminate differences will only lead to confrontation and violence. When one becomes tolerant and avoids confrontational situations one can be said to have developed a Culture of Peace in oneself.
PATIENCE: THE WAY TO MAINTAIN NON-VIOLENCE The Quran states: “Surely with every hardship there is ease; surely with every hardship there is ease.”—Quran, 94: 7 According to this verse there is opportunity with every problem. The only way to avail the opportunities is by ignoring the problems. This can only be done by remaining patient. “The Prophet of Islam once observed, ‘You must know that success comes with patience.” Patience is the price one has to pay for remaining non-violent. This results in social harmony and individual success.
CONCISE PRINCIPLE: FOLLOW UNILATERAL ETHICS Violence, though instinctive, leads to failure; while peace—nonviolence, while requiring higher ethics, leads to success. This can only be achieved by maintaining unilateral ethics, not ‘tit for tat’ ethics. This principle is given in the following verse of the Quran: “Repel evil with good. And you will find that one who was your enemy will become your dearest friend.” – Quran, 23: 96 A cow is an excellent example of maintaining unilateral ethics: It takes in non- milk (grass depicting something negative) and gives milk (something beneficial) in return. A cow is nature’s example of unilateral behaviour. By maintaining unilateral ethics one can remain peaceful oneself which will result in his individual success as well as social harmony.
ISLAMIC PRINCIPLES FOR PEACEFUL INTERFAITH DIALOGUE Social peace between multi-religious groups can be maintained through peaceful interfaith dialogue –dawah illalah—with the aim of mutual learning, not uniformity or debate. Some principles from the Islamic perspective are …
AIM OF INTERFAITH DIALOGUE—BUILIDING BRIDGES The aim of dialogue is to ‘build bridges’ between religious groups Peaceful interfaith dialogue is called dawah-ilallah in Islam. It is the best way to build bridges between people of different faiths. It should be understood that the method of dialogue is not to bring about uniformity between religions, nor to win debates. It should be undertaken solely with the purpose of mutual learning by giving mutual respect. “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation and reason with them in a way that is best. – Quran, 16:125 When dialogue is undertaken to ‘build bridges’ it results in social harmony and individual development.
BASIS OF DIALOGUE: MUTUAL RESPECT Differences in religions is a reality of life. The basis of any dialogue has to be mutual respect. This has been given in the Quran in Chapter 109, Verse 6 as lakum dinakum waliyadin which can be formulated in these words: “Follow one and respect all.” – Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Islam recognizes that there are differences in religion. At the same time, Islam advocates mutual respect between adherents of different faiths. Mutual respect is the only realistic basis for interfaith dialogue to attain social harmony in a multi-religious society.
AIM OF DIALOGUE: MUTUAL LEARNING Dialogue is undertaken for mutual learning. Mutual learning is the aim of dialogue from the Islamic perspective. We learn of this from the life of the second Caliph, Umar ibn Khattab. It is said of him: “He used to learn from everyone.” The Prophet of Islam said: “Wisdom is a believer’s own lost property. He should accept it wherever he finds it.” This tradition expresses the universality of learning—that knowledge and learning belong to all mankind. When interfaith dialogue is undertaken for mutual learning then its participants partake of the treasure of knowledge.
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