The Islamic Religion is the Path to Peace and Bliss

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The Islamic Religion is the Path to Peace and Bliss([1])

 

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Esteemed attendants, the Peace of Allah and His Mercy and Blessings upon you…

The Populations’ Conviction regarding the characteristics of Islam:

Islam is the main motive of all populations in this critical part of the world. This is due to several reasons which I will briefly point to in the following:

 

1- Their conviction that religion is the system capable of providing humanity with bliss in this world. Religion is Allah’s revelation, and Allah is the creator of all things including humanity. As the Creator of mankind, Allah knows best what redeems human life and straightens its crookedness and heals its misgivings. We know this even from simple examples in our lives: If a device you bought does not work properly, you find it only logical to return it to its manufacturers as they are the ones who know its components best. This is self-evident and needs to proof.

The peoples of this region found out through an experience which went on for centuries that Islamic Shari’ah provides them with a moral and spiritual framework which organizes all aspects of their individual and social lives. All affairs major and minor, including sitting at the dinner table, going into the bathroom, and sexual intercourse have been organized. They cite the following saying from their Imams: “Every occurrence has a ruling”.

 

2- The failure of man-made systems in the organization of human life. In the not too distant past, we have seen how communism fell apart in its own stronghold and from within. All indicators point out that the “capitalist giant” is heading in the same direction as social, psychological, and economic maladies corrode it, and as the populations of the West fidget with the political and economic systems which hold the reins in their lives. We have seen expressions of this in several anti-globalization conferences and protests such as the ones which we in Seattle and Davos, and even the murder of some demonstrator as what happened in Italy.

The failure of those systems, as far as we can tell, is expected. In the end, they were created by humanity itself, and only reflect the all too finite limits of its knowledge and capability. In the end, man does not properly know the closest of things to him: his own self, so how can he know other things? Has not the human mind come up with the book: “Man, The Unknown”?

 

3- The Imams of Islam and the Scholars of Islamic religion have always reflected qualities of righteousness, integrity, transcendence above this world, and self-denial. Those qualities raised their status in the eyes of the people, and made them trustworthy examples whose actions deserve to be followed, and whose words deserve to be obeyed. We see, for instance, the Prince of the Faithful Ali Ibn Abi Taleb (Peace upon him), and who at the time was the head of a vast empire, state at Al-Kufah Mosque’s pulpit, when he moved the Islamic capital from Medina to Kufah: “If I leave you owning anything more than the clothes I came to you with then I would be a traitor”.

 

4- People believe in an Afterlife in which each human being encounters the results of his actions in this life. Each human being will be rewarded for his good deeds in Paradise, and will be punished for his evil deeds in Hellfire. We were told about this by trustworthy men whose lofty characters are beyond questioning and doubts, namely the Prophets. Over thousands of years 124,000 Prophets were sent by Allah, and they all agreed to this basic fact, so no space remains for denying it. Commitment to religion guarantees to its followers Paradise and deliverance from Allah’s torment in that everlasting world, so no heedful human being would think about wasting that away.

 

5- For Muslims, the Islamic religion does not merely represent rituals of worship performed by the individual only in the places dedicated for that purpose. Muslims find Islam in all aspects of their civilization, culture, history, traditions, and customs.

Due to all of these reasons, religion has a profound influence in the psyches of the peoples, the direction of their emotions, and the determination of their positions. The world has seen this through the different media which covered the interaction of the Islamic populations with religious rituals such as the pilgrimage to Mecca, or the visit of Al-Arba‘in (the passage of forty days) to the tomb of Imam Al-Hussein (Peace upon him), and their general responsiveness to religious callings.

Nevertheless, this situation is not new as far as we are concerned. One only has to look at the recent history of the peoples of this region to see many examples of this influence. The true freedom rebellions in this region over the last century derived their strength from the foundations of this great religion. Most of its leaders were religious figures such as Ibn Badiss in Algeria, Omar Al-Mukhtar in Libya, Abd Ar-Rahman Al-Kawakibi in Syria, and the many Shia Marjas figures in Iraq and Iran.

The Influence of Religion on Life:

As religion has this powerful influence over people’s hearts, it can be used to gain many achievements which would benefit the peoples of the region and in ways which cannot be achieved through any other means. As example of this, billions of dollars were spent in anti-smoking campaigns, the formation of centers and associations which handle this issue, but none of them succeeded in their actions. However, history does maintain for us an instance where half a line from the religious Marja’iyah solved this issue once for all. The case I referee to is at the end of the nineteenth century when the British government signed a treaty with the Qajar Shah of Iran by which it bought all privileges for buying, manufacturing, and exporting tobacco in Iran for fifty years. Many people understood the economic and political dangers this treaty will bring Iran as it will open the door of subservience and corruption for the people of Iran. Those people referred to the High Marja Sayyid Muhammad Hassan Ash-Shirazi –who lived in the Iraqi city of Samarra at the time- and convinced him about the importance of handling the issue, so he wrote in a small piece of paper: “Whoever smokes wages war on the Imam of the time). The entirety of the Iranian people stopped smoking! Even the Shah’s wives broke his pipe in obedience to the religious authority, and the British plan failed.

 

Also the Iraqi people experienced the power of the religious feelings in the nation’s life in 1998-1999 when the martyred Sayyid Muhammad Muhammad Sadiq As-Sadr raised the blessed Friday Prayer in Iraq, and how that led to the reduction of crime and deviation in the country by no less than 90% according to official statistics and despite the background of poverty, deprivation, authoritarianism, and government corruption which were prevalent at the time.

The Islamic Perspective on Humanity and the Universe:

Religion focuses on lofty human ideals, and works deeply root them in the hearts of its followers. For that reason it is the most successful way to deliver humanity from the hardships, turbulences, and fear which surround human life from all directions. Even the West began to recognize the positive role religion plays in human life, and when they failed to eradicate AIDS they maintained that the best way to handle its issue was to treat it through a return to a more spiritual and moral form of education which takes into consideration religious values in human relations. This, as far as we’re concerned, is a sound opinion which should have been adopted earlier, if not for anything then for the two following crucial considerations:

First, what we said about the human being as Allah’s creation. No one can describe the best remedy for humanity’s ailments and issues except the One who created humanity, namely Allah (Exalted is He).

Second, the laws ruling humanity and universe are interconnected as the One who acts in them is one and the same. Any flaw, deviation, or disobedience committed by man against Allah (Exalted is He) will disturb the whole order of nature in all of its parts.

We perhaps could not, at first, perceive this dialectic connection. However, I will mention an instance of it when central Europe, and Bavaria in particular, suffered from terrible floods a few years back. The floods were the worst in 150 years and caused the death of dozens, the injury of hundreds, and much destruction. It was said that the cause behind this was the United States’ refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol which was devised to preserve the environment and which led to the continuation of the greenhouse effect and global warming and the melting of greater amounts of polar ice, and thus to those floods.

So, the disobedience of this human principle which corresponds to the Divine teachings and value will lead to natural disasters. The opposite is also true: the commitment to the Divine teachings and lofty human ideals will lead all of humanity to live in a state of love, peace, bliss, and blessing. Allah (Exalted is He) says in the Holy Quran: “If the people of the towns had but believed and feared Allah, We should indeed have opened out to them (All kinds of) blessings from heaven and earth; but they rejected (the truth), and We brought them to book for their misdeeds” [Surah of the Heights: 96].

Islam and Lofty Ideals:

Religion is filled with those ideals, for the perfection of human manners and qualities is the main purpose of the Prophet Muhammad’s message of Islam, as the Prophet (Prayers of Allah and His Peace upon him) said: “I have only been sent to perfect the noble manners”. Religion calls to peace, as Allah (Exalted is He) says: “O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one; for he is to you an avowed enemy” [Surah of the Cow: 208], and its greetings is “Peace”, and the refinement required from its followers include the proliferation of peace in society. Religion commands its followers to be just and beneficent: “Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition” [Surah of the Bees: 90] even to non-Muslims provided that they do not transgress against Muslims: “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just” [Surah of She That Is To Be Examined: 8].

Also religion calls for dialogue with other faiths: “Say: "O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah, that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.” [Surah of the Household of Imran], organizes the manners of dialogue with others: “And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation)” [Surah of the Spider: 46], and says: “Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious” [Surah of the Bee: 125]. It also gives the human being full freedom to select the faith which agrees with his convictions: “Let there be no compulsion in religion” [Surah of the Cow: 256]. Furthermore, it commands Muslims to provide security and all proper circumstances for anyone who seeks the truth, leaving him the freedom of choice: “If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah” [Surah of the Repentance: 9]. The Quran states that sending the Prophet (Prayers of Allah and His Peace upon him) is a mercy for the people, for delivering them and brining them happiness as Allah (Exalted is He) says: “We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures” [Surah of the Prophets: 107] and did not say: only for Muslims. The Prophet is mercy for all creatures.

I do not wish to prolong this point with mentioning too many examples, as interesting, beneficial, and exciting it may be.

Brothers, and sisters:

When you established “The International Conference for Religions for Peace”, you undertook a grave responsibility on the one hand, but one which is lofty, admirable, worthy of respect and admiration. I call upon you here to activate its role in establishing those lofty ideals, spreading the culture of love, peace, harmony, and mutual respect, not the culture of extremism and war which destroyed life and property.

We, as Iraqi citizens living in a country suffering from great wounds, groan under the yoke of aggression and injustice, and deprivation of our most basic rights under many pretexts. We call upon you to help us and to give us a proper role. After all, we are a people of an ancient civilization, we have all what it takes to build a prosperous and great country. The first step in that direction is to clearly understand our needs, and to deal with them justly in application of Allah’s saying: “nor withhold from the people the things that are their due” [Surah of the Heights: 85].

 

 



([1]) Speech prepared for the representative of Ayatollah Sheikh Muhammad Al-Yaqubi in the third International Conference for the Religions for Peace Organization in Amman on March 10th, 2004. The representative, however, was unable to attend the conference due to administrative and logistic difficulties.