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Islam for Peace

It is strange  that Islam, the religion wich is rooted in ‘peace’ is labeled as a threat to the world peace. Word  “Salaam” in Arabic, “Shalom”  in Hebrew and ‘Shel-awm’ in Armaic literally means “peace” and are cognates of each other, derived from the Semitic Triconsonantal of  Ś-L-M (realized in Hebrew as Š-L-M and in Arabic as S-L-M). In Greek ‘eirene’ i-ray’-nay means peace. The word ‘ISLAM’, derived  from  Arabic root  ‘S-L-M,’  means  ‘PEACE’ or ‘submission’.

There is a very common misconception that ‘Islam’ (or Muslims, the adherents of Islam) are ONLY the people who believe in Qur’an and follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), though true in a restricted sense, the word  has larger connotation, for God says:

“In matters of faith, He has ordained for you that (Din-way of life) which He had enjoined upon Noah – and into which We gave thee [O Muhammad] insight through revelation – as well as that which We had enjoined upon Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus: Steadfastly uphold the [true] faith, and do not break up your unity therein. [And even though] that [unity of faith] to which thou callest them appears oppressive to those who are wont to ascribe to other beings or forces a share in His divinity, God draws unto Himself everyone who is willing, and guides unto Himself everyone who turns unto Him”(Qur’an;42:13).

Peace and Self Sruurendr to God:

In  religious context ‘Islam’ means ;   ‘Attainment of peace through complete submission to the will of God or his laws’; correspondingly,  Islam denotes “self-surrender to God”:

Say: It is only inspired in me that your God is One God. Will ye then surrender (unto Him)!”(Qur’an;21:108); “And who is better in speech than him who prays unto his Lord and does right, and says: Lo! I am of those who surrender (unto Him) [Muslim”].”(Qur’an;41:33).

Thus the term Muslim signifies “one who surrenders himself to God”:

“..your God is the One and Only God: hence, surrender yourselves un to Him (in Islam)…(Qur’an;22:34).

Both these terms are applied in the Qur’an to all who believe in the One God and affirm this belief by an unequivocal acceptance of his revealed messages preached by all the messengers of God:

“..He has chosen you and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship; the creed of your forefather Abraham. He has named you in bygone times as well as in this (Scripture) “those who surrender themselves to God” (Muslims)…..(Qur’an;22:78)

“Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian but he was true in faith and bowed his will to God’s (which is Islam) and he was not of the idolaters.(Qur’an:3:67)

“And who, unless he be weak of mind, would want to abandon Abraham’s creed, seeing that We have indeed raised him high in this world, and that, verily, in the life to come he shall be among the righteous? When his Sustainer said to him, “Surrender thyself unto Me!”-he answered, “I have surrendered myself unto [Thee,] the Sustainer of all the worlds.” And this very thing did Abraham bequeath unto his children, and [so did] Jacob: when he said: “O my sons! God has chosen for you this way of life (Deen), therefore, die not unless you have surrendered yourself un to Him. “Nay, but you [yourselves, O children of Israel,] bear witness that when death was approaching Jacob, he said unto his sons: “Whom will you worship after I am gone?” They answered: “We will worship thy God, the God of thy forefathers Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, the One God; and unto Him w1ll we surrender ourselves.”(Qur’an;2:130-133).

Islam and Bible:

It is mentioned in Bible:

“Moreover I (GOD) will make a ‘Covenant of Peace [shaw-lome , Salaam in Arabic] with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them:…”. (Ezekiel;37:26)

“And the work of righteousness shall beׁ, shaw-lome (peace); and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah;32:17)

“You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you take away  from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy;4:2, 12:32)

“These are the statutes and judgments, which you shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of your fathers gives you to possess, all the days that you live upon the earth” (Deuteronomy;12:1).

Obedience to God, His commandments and covenant has also been emphasized at Deuteronomy;13:4 and Exodus;19:5.

“Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it” (Psalms;34:14).

Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was the last Hebrew prophet, who was sent by God to preach the  implementation of the Law of Moses to the Jews (Mathew;5:17-20), he said;

“I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.”(John;5:30)

“Thy will be done” (Mathew;6:10,26:42).

Hence Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) like all the other prophets from Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Ishmael – – – Muhammad (peace be upon them all) being a true Muslim, surrendered to the will of God. The religion from God has always been ‘submission to His will’ (Islam) (Qur’an;3:19). God says;

“If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God) never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).”(Qur’an;3:85)

“Mankind was once just one nation; later on they became divided through inventing different creeds. If your Lord had not already given His word (specified time for the life of mankind on Earth), the matters in which they differ would have certainly been decided.”(Qur’an;10:19).

Common Salutation & Greetings:

‘Salam & Sholam’ is frequently used to express greetings, salutation by Hebrews and Muslims. It is evident from the Bible (Genesis;43:23, Exodus;4:18) that the Israelites used to greet as Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) is reported to have greeted in Hebrew ‘Sholam alay kum’ (Luke;24:36, John;20:21 & 26), this is similar to the Islamic greeting in Arabic: “Salaamu alai kum”, both meaning ‘Peace be on you’. The word ‘peace’ occures at about 400 places in the Bible (Old Testament at 296 & in New Testament at 104 places). “There is no peace, says my God, to the wicked” (Isaiah;57:21). Jesus said:

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (figuratively– closer to God)” (Matthew; 5:9).

While Christians have discarded, the Muslims strictly adhere to this salutation, as God says: “When those who believe in Our revelations, come to you, say ‘Salaamu alai kum’ (Peace be upon you). Your Lord has decreed mercy upon Himself…”(Qura’n;6:54, also emphasized at 24:27, 61 & 37:181). This salutation has a spiritual connotation comprising the concepts of ethical soundness, security from all that is evil and, therefore, freedom from all moral conflict and disquiet by seeking the Mercy of God. The greeting of dwellers of paradise (righteous believers) therein will be: ‘’ “Salaam” (Qura’n;10:10, 14:23,19:62).

Amen:

‘Amen’ is the most widely known word in human speech; very familiar to Muslims, Christians, and Jews. The word Amen [Arabic:آمين ; Hebrew:Nma Greek: Αμήν] is used at the conclusion of a prayer, or in other connections, to express affirmation, approval, or desire. It is a declaration of affirmation found in the New Testament [50 times,(twice in Mathew, once in each of other 3 Gospels) and Old Testament /Hebrew Bible (23 times).

In Islam, آمين (Amen) is the standard ending to Dua (supplication), also recited at the end of obligatory recitation of Surah Al-Fateha’ (Chapter-1, Opening of Qur’an) in each prayer. This word can also be used colloquially to express strong agreement. Similar word ‘Ameen’  in Arabic, means “Trustee, Trustworthy” which is one of the honorary titles attributed to the last Prophet of Islam by the pagans of Makkah, due to his honesty and trustworthiness. In this meanings it occurs 14 times in Qur’an.  أمن ‘Aman’ is an other similar Arabic word, means  ‘safety, peace’, like Salam or Salm., while ‘Aiman’ إيمان stands for Faith or Belief. All the three faiths have the spiritual links, with Abraham.

Conclusion:

Despite their divergent perceptions and doctrinal differences, focus on common aspects will help in developing batter understanding wjhich can become basis for dialogue rather than confrontation to achieve peace: “Let us get together on what is common between us and you: that we shall worship none but God; that we shall not associate any partners with Him and that we shall not take human beings for our lords besides God;” If they turn away then tell them: “Bear witness that it is we who have surrendered ourselves un to Him. Lo! those of mankind who have the best claim to Abraham are those who followed him, and this Prophet and those who believe (with him); and God is the Protecting Friend of the believers.”(Qur’an;3:64-65).

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