The root word of the term Islam is Silm, which means peace. Islam, correctly understood, is a religion of peace. In Islam, one name of God Almighty is As-Salam, which means Peace. So, God Himself is peace and is the source of peace. In the Quran, Paradise is called Dar us-Salam or the home of peace (10:25). In the Quran, the Prophet of Islam is referred to as Rahmatun Lil-Alamin, meaning ‘a mercy to all mankind’ (21:107).
So, this is the real picture of Islam.
I think that peace is the SummumBonum, the greatest good, because peace has no limit. We all say that we want peace. We never say that we want ‘limited peace’, because peace has no limit. Peace is indispensable for every sort of progress. Without peace, you can’t do anything properly, not even walk on a street with peace of mind. All positive activities will come to a halt if there is no peace. Whether it be in religion or in secular affairs, in every sphere of life peace is essential for progress. That is why it is the SummumBonum.
All the verses of the Quran have a connotation of peace, either directly or indirectly. For instance, the Quran says as-SulhKhayr, “reconciliation is best” (4:128). It means peace is best. From this teaching, some Sufis adopted the formula of Sulh-E Kul, which means peace with all.
The very first verse in the Quran has a connotation of peace. It says: AlhamdulillahiRabbilAlameen, which means “All praise is due to God, the Lord of the Universe.” (1:2) here, praising God means giving thanks to Him and acknowledging Him. When you realize that God has created you, that He has created every single thing in the universe, you feel a certain thrill. You feel that God is so very great! You are amazed thinking of the many blessings He has blessed you with, and so you want to acknowledge this by praising Him. You express this acknowledgement by saying Alhamdulillah (praise be to God!).
Now, you can truly be thankful to God for His blessings in this way only when you are at peace, only when your mind is filled with positivity. Unless your mind is free from agitation, from conflict, from negativity, you cannot truly praise God in this way. If you are living in hate and violence, you cannot say Alhamdulillah! Or maybe you could do it only as a matter of lip-service, but not from the heart. To utter the phrase Alhamdulillah! in a spirit of thrill, you have to forget about all negativity, you have to be free of all hate and revenge.
‘Alhamdulillah’ requires positivity. It requires a positive mind. It requires a positive personality. So, in such a situation, terrorism has no place in Islam. Violence and hate have no place in Islam. Islam requires positivity.
Once, a Companion of the Prophet asked him: “O Prophet, give me a master advice by which I may be able to manage all the affairs of my life.” And the Prophet replied: “Don’t be angry.”
‘Don’t be angry’ means don’t be angry even when provoked. Anger is a reaction to provocation. Without provocation, there is no anger. So, what the Prophet was teaching was that even if you are provoked, you have to try to live without anger.
Since human beings are compelled to face negativity and provocation every now and then, how can they live without anger? For that, you have to learn the art of anger management. And the art of anger management is the art of converting your anger into forgiveness. You have to be able to respond positively even in negative situations. Then only can you can live without anger.
Alhamdulillah is the gist of all the teachings of Islam, of all the forms of worship in Islam. The greatest experience for us is that we are receiving great blessings from God at every moment. God supplies us with sunlight, without which we cannot see. God supplies us with oxygen day and night, without which we would die. We need so many things just in order to survive, and God gives all of these to us without us having to pay anything for them! So, when you feel you are a blessed person, that every moment you are receiving great blessings from God, then you say Alhamdulillah! This is the greatest worship, the greatest act of Islam. You cannot say Alhamdulillah in the true spirit if you are living in hate and negativity.
So, you can say that a true Momin or believer is one who lives in positivity. A believer is a positive personality in the complete sense of the term. All the Islamic requirements—Kalima(reciting the Islamic creed), Salat(prayer), fasting, Zakat (almsgiving) and Haj—can be properly performed only if you have a positive mind. All these teachings of Islam require positivity.
A well-established principle of Islam is Ar-Rahilu Lil-Imam. It means that to declare war is the prerogative of the state. According to Islam, no agency other than the state is allowed to go to war. In other words, the use of arms is the prerogative of the state. If this were not so, society would be engulfed in anarchy.
Every society consists of two parts: the state, and individuals. The state is authorized to use arms. It is responsible for the administration, for ensuring justice and implementing laws. As far as individuals or groups other than the government are concerned, they can act using only peaceful means. If they find others doing wrong, they can try to persuade them to change their ways. They can reach out to them in love. They can pray to God for their guidance. They can offer them advice. They can engage in dialogue with them. They can use logic and reason. But they cannot use arms, which is the prerogative of the state alone.
The Prophet Muhammad started his mission in Mecca in 610 CE. He was appointed by God as a prophet in this year. He continued to live in Makkah for 13 years, during which period some people accepted his message, but the majority of the Quraysh remained hostile. They wanted to kill him. At this time, some of the Muslims wanted to engage in fighting against theQuraysh, but the Prophet said: “I have not been given the permission to fight.”
Now, what is the meaning of this sentence? It’s not a simple sentence. It reflects a philosophy of war and of state. In Makkah, Islam was not in a position of government or state. When the Prophet was there, he was simply a prophet, a reformer and a preacher. So, at that time he told his disciples that they had to keep patience.
Patience, or Sabr in Arabic, is not cowardice. It is not passivity. Patience itself is a great action. It means to engage in peaceful activism, in educational activism, in intellectual activism, in spiritual activism and in prayer activism. It includes all these peaceful forms of activism. Sabr means to think in a positive way. It means peaceful planning, peaceful thinking and a peaceful response to a situation. All these things are forms of patience. So, when the Prophet advised his Companions to keep patience, it was no simple matter. It was actually a great advice. It meant that although they couldn’t use arms, there were, at the same time, many peaceful fields that were open to them. Even today these fields are wide open. Even today you can engage in Dawahactivism, in educational activism, in intellectual activism, in spiritual activism and so on, using entirely peaceful means. This was the meaning of that advice of the Prophet.
There is so much scope in these fields of peaceful activism. And the Prophet availed of all these opportunities of peaceful activity, and the result was miraculous. During the 13 years when he was in Makkah, he was able to make a great team, of people who later went on to become his most senior Companions and who have a great status in Islamic history, such as Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan, Ali ibn AbiTalib, Muadh ibn Jabal and many other Companions. All these people were born in Makkah and accepted Islam when the Prophet was there. While in Makkah, without going to war the Prophet was able to engage in Dawah work and attract all these intellectuals.
In the days after the treaty of Hudaybiyyah, Khalid ibn al-Walid decided to go to Madinah and accept Islam at the hands of the Prophet. At that time, he said something very meaningful. When he wanted to embrace Islam, someone asked him why, and he said: “People have entered Islam and now no man of taste is left in Makkah.”(Al-Bidayahwal-Nihayah) That is, all those people who have wisdom, sincerity, or are people of taste have embraced Islam.
So, the Prophet was able to extract all those men of taste, those intelligent people of Makkah, without going to war or using arms. This success was the miracle of sabr.
Sabr means peaceful planning, constructive planning. Sabr is a very important concept in Islam. It is not something passive. It is completely active. It means planning, but without using arms.
Bijbehara: 40 polling booths with zero votes
Bijbehara, Apr 23: Home turf of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, the Bijbehara assembly segment under the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, reported highest concentration of polling stations where zero votes were cast.
Among the 65 booths in Anantnag where zero votes were cast, 40 were located in Bijbehara, one of the six assembly constituencies where voting took place in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections Tuesday.
People cast their votes in 714 polling stations in Anantnag. Bijbehara, the home constituency of PDP president Mufti, had 120 polling booths set up for a population of 93,289 people.
A total of 1,893 electorate or 2 per cent exercised their franchise when the polling ended at 4 pm. The voting time for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat was reduced in view of security considerations. The Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, where voting took place in the first phase, saw 17 polling stations with zero while the Srinagar Parliamentary seat, which went to polls in the second phase, recorded zero votes in 90 booths.
Polling in Anantnag, which has 16 assembly seats, has been divided into three phases. The first phase was completed on Tuesday while remaining two will be held on April 29 and May 6. The decision for staggered polling was taken keeping in view the security situation in South Kashmir which has seen many encounters between security forces and militants.
On February 14, over 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a miliant attack in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Clubbing of booths kept voters away
Srinagar, Apr 23: The clubbing of the polling booths in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency Tuesday discouraged many voters, who preferred to stay at home rather than walking long distances to cast their votes.
District Anantnag, which went for polls first in the three-phased schedule Tuesday, recorded 13.63 voter turnouts in six segments including Anantnag, Dooru, Kokernag, Shangus, Bijbehara and Pahalgam.
Scores of the voters said that many gave up their plans to cast vote after authorities announced clubbing of the polling booths in the constituency.
In Lisser Chawalgam village of Kokernag segment, at least three polling stations catering to different locations were accommodated in a local higher secondary school.
It included polling station of Shalnaad village as well, which is at least three kilometers away from the station.
Those who casted their votes claimed that they had to enter secretly into the booth as the area had witnessed stone pelting.
“More people could have come to vote if the locations of the polling booths were not changed at the last moment. Many women didn’t cast their votes as they too had to travel kilometres to reach to the polling station,” said a voter, who had come from Shalnaad to cast his vote at higher secondary school Lisser.
Similarly polling booths in rural areas of Anantnag, Pahalgam too were clubbed, which reportedly affected the voting percentage of these areas.
“South Kashmir usually witnesses low voting percentage. The change in the location of polling booths has further the participation,” said a polling officer.
National Conference Candidate for Anantnag, Retired Justice Hasnain Masoodi, told The Kashmir Monitor that the clubbing of the polling booth was the main reason behind the low voting percentage in many areas.
“The polling booths of Jeshnaad and Makawora have been accommodated in government buildings, which are five to eight kilometers away from these villages. It has made the entire voting exercise inconvenient for the people,” he said.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) earlier also said that clubbing of the polling stations for Parliament elections in Jammu and Kashmir will affect the participation of people in the elections.
Security bandobast not up to the mark: Mir
Srinagar, Apr 23: The Congress Candidate from Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency Ghulam Ahmad Mir Tuesday conveyed his gratitude to voters for participating in polling in Anantnag and hoped that the people of other districts will follow suit.
Mir, in a statement, also expressed serious concern over the lack of security arrangements in Anantnag, saying that “the fool-proof security as was assured by the ECI were not visible on the ground, describing it as a lack of concern on the part of ECI.”
“I express my gratitude to voters for participating in polling in Anantnag,” he said saying that he was pleased to observe that the day has passed incident free.
Taking a jibe at ECI for lack of security arrangements in the district during polling, Mir said the required security arrangements were not seen on the ground in the Anantnag.
“The assurances of ECI with regard to fool-proof security arrangements have fallen flat, which was a matter of serious concern and should not be repeated in coming phases in South Kashmir,” he said.
Mir urged upon the ECI to look into the security aspect of south Kashmir and ensure that fool-proof security arrangements are put in place to ensure free, fair and incident-free elections.