Part of the activities lined up for Sheikh (Dr) Sa’ad bin Nasir Al-Shathary and other scholars in his team, as I indicated here last week, was a public lecture at the University of Abuja, held at the Lecture Theatre of Management Science Department, New Campus, on Monday, January 23rd, 2017.
Sheikh Al-Shathary started his lecture by giving ‘The true definition of peace in Islam’, which establishes camaraderie and love among people, in as much as the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has encouraged the faithful to ‘spread the salutation of Salaam, peace among’ themselves. Salaam extinguishes the flames of envy and hatred, as well as turn blazing fire into ‘coolness and peace’. (Al-Ambiyaa, 21:69)
Al-Shathary went further to enumerate 12 ‘Foundations of Peace’ as follows:
For peace to flourish the ruled must ‘listen and obey’ those in authority’ in what does not constitute disobedience to the Creator. ‘O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority; and if ye have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the messenger if ye are (in truth) believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end.’ (An-Nisaa, 4:59)
There has to be justice from those in authority towards the people; blood ties should be honoured, and all forms of evil and prohibitions must be avoided. (An-Nahl, 16:90)
Undertakings and ratified covenants must be fulfilled. (Al-Maa’idah, 5:1)
People must be kind one to another; ‘Allah loves those who are kind’. (Al-Baqarah, 2:195)
Cooperation in what will ensure mutual benefit, in righteousness and piety is enjoined; not ‘in sin and transgression’. (Al-Maa’idah, 5:2)
Resolution of disputes is through authentic references in Islam. ‘And in whatever you differ, the decision thereof is with Allah…’ (Ash-Shuurah, 42:10)
No one is to transgress against the other, for Islam forbids all kinds of transgression. (Al-Baqarah, 2:90)
Peaceful settlement of communal or domestic disputes is encouraged. ‘If a woman feareth ill treatment from her husband, or desertion, it is no sin for them twain if they make terms of peace between themselves. Peace is better.’ (An-Nisaa, 4:128)
Observing the rights and privileges of individual members of the society in such a way that kindness ‘is shown unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy,…’ Also, neighbours, whether they are related to us by blood or not, whether they profess the same or different religion or not, must be treated with kindness and respect. (An-Nisaa, 4:36)
Verification of the veracity or otherwise of any information is a binding duty on all. ‘O ye who believe! If an evil-liver bring you tidings, verify it, lest ye smite some folk in ignorance and afterwards repent of what ye did.’ (Al-Hujuraat, 49:6)
We all have to display sublime virtues and benign utterances in our dealings one to another. ‘And (remember) when We made a covenant with the Children of Israel, (saying): Worship none save Allah (only), and be good to parents and to kindred and to orphans and the needy, and speak kindly to mankind, and establish worship and pay the poor-due.’ (Al-Baqarah, 2:83)
Even to those who ill-treat us, we are to show kindness. ‘The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he, between whom and thee there was enmity (will become) as though he was a bosom friend.’ (Fussilat, 41:34)
Next, Sheikh Al-Shathary mentioned 5 Methods of Sustaining Peace:
Within one’s soul, the sustenance of peace is achieved when the heart is tranquil. ‘Who have believed and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!’ (Ar-Ra’d, 13:28)
The family consortium should be watered with tenderness and mercy for peace to be sustained. In that connection, men are forbidden from forcibly inheriting the women of their deceased kinsmen, but they should rather consort with their wives in kindness, and avoid displaying any form of hatred towards them; ‘you may hate a thing wherein Allah hath placed much good.’ (An-Nisaa, 4:19)
Good relationship must be maintained with near kindred so as not to sever the ties of kinship. ‘Would ye then, if ye were given the command, work corruption in the land and sever your ties of kinship?’ (Muhammad, 47:22)
At the community level, there should be equality and mutual respect among people; no superiority based on race, position or colour, except by merit and righteousness. ‘O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.’ (Al-Hujuraat, 49:13)
Nationwide, trust should not be betrayed through corruption; justice must prevail. ‘Lo! Allah commandeth you that ye restore deposits to their owners, and, if ye judge between mankind, that ye judge justly. Lo! comely is this which Allah admonisheth you. Lo! Allah is ever Hearer, Seer.’ (An-Nisaa, 4:58)
Sheikh (Dr) Sa’ad bin Nasir Al-Shathary ended the lecture with ‘The Benefits of Peaceful Co-existence’ which point was pertinent as his audience was comprised of both Muslims and Christians. Sincerity in religion ensures security because adherents will not knowingly wrong others, he said. This can only be achieved through knowledge with which the rights of the other are respected; availability of basic necessities will be guaranteed, ‘progress and development’, and economic growth, without usury, are realised. ‘…whereas Allah permitteth trading and forbiddeth usury.’ (Al-Baqarah, 2:275).
Al-Shathary’s concluding words were: ‘Then bear with them (O Muhammad) and say: Peace. But they will come to know.’ (Az-Zukhruf, 43:89)
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