Contemporary Debate on Peace, Politics and Religion: A Quranic Perspective
|Title||Contemporary Debate on Peace, Politics and Religion: A Quranic Perspective|
|Author(s)||Sheik, Sajid Iqbal|
|Keywords||Political Islam, peace studies, Quranic polity, Islamic resurgence, conspiracy theories|
|Chicago 16th||Sheik, Sajid Iqbal. "Contemporary Debate on Peace, Politics and Religion: A Quranic Perspective." Al-ʿILM 1, no. 2 (2017).|
|APA 6th||Sheik, S. I. (2017). Contemporary Debate on Peace, Politics and Religion: A Quranic Perspective. Al-ʿILM, 1(2).|
|MHRA||Sheik, Sajid Iqbal. 2017. 'Contemporary Debate on Peace, Politics and Religion: A Quranic Perspective', Al-ʿILM, 1.|
|MLA||Sheik, Sajid Iqbal. "Contemporary Debate on Peace, Politics and Religion: A Quranic Perspective." Al-ʿILM 1.2 (2017). Print.|
|Harvard||SHEIK, S. I. 2017. Contemporary Debate on Peace, Politics and Religion: A Quranic Perspective. Al-ʿILM, 1.|
In the contemporary era of conspiracy theories and practices through media prejudice, focused scholarship and policy oriented publication, Islam in general and Muslims in specific are being tinted as anti-peace and social prosperity entities. Quran as the primary source of Islamic jurisprudence provides principals for every aspect of society including polity one. This study focuses on basic Quranic injections regarding politics and their role in developing peace in contemporary society. The compatibility of Islam and democracy is one of the hottest debates among researchers of political science are also to be focusedon the study. Applyinghermeneuticsmethod and analyzing thought of key Muslim political thinkers and interpreters, this paper concludes that Quranic injections of polity and state are a vibrant source of developing peace and prosperity in historical perspective and same applicable in contemporary society, but hegemony forces feeling fear of Islamic resurgence state that Islam and democracy are incompatible and these Quranic sources are being used for creating panic in the present world.
The role of the Qur’an is very valuable as a basic source of Islamic orientation about all social and individual issues of a society including politics. The Holy Quran demonstrates us all basic fundamentals of Islamic political culture in a historical perspective and rendering to the modern era. More clearly stated that the Qur’an, with a focus on the Makkan verses on the Islamic politics. This particular information is throughout guidance and yardstick for the reader. The action of the situation can be measured with the help of the Qur’an and Hadith. It is obvious, that different scholars have gathered those components in a very large number of ways. Even though, they have added different sources to put forward their exit postulates in the same direction. Nevertheless, these components are providing broad-based values of political philosophy.
In other words, there is a fluent variation on the agreeability of the political
philosophy of Islam, but again the proper inferenceis derived from the majority of the Sunni orthodox in discourse of Islamic political view about the act. The main objective of the study is to extract political values from classicism which is measured political philosophy for every successive era as well as judge and represent the straight coherency of political philosophy.
The Qur’an is comprised on 114 ‘suras, also called (chapters), 30 ‘ajza’ called (parts) and 6, 349 ‘ayat’ called (verses). These chapters are different in context of the size and verses. But it is broadly classified into Makkan and Madani chapters and verses which aredepending upon its divine and almighty location of inspiration. Similarly, Makkan chapters are those which are received by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Makkan era before migration to Medina. These verses provide basis themes of political values in Islamic perspective. Now the question arises that why we should persist on the Makkan verses? Why we should not reveal Mecca and Medina collectively from single linkage of perspective? It is a fact that special feature of the composition is itself a unique feature of Qur’anic studies and both the composition is called ‘Ijaz’ or in other words inimitability. Furthermore, according to Hamid, the origin of Makkan verses deliver the basis of political thought which is further converted into political institution. He proceeds that the Qur’an is a united, unique, linguistic and fill up from a style of composition whose pronouncement of encourage is given in the first phases of revelation.
Although, the study focuses on Quranic political injections, political values of Islam can also be extracted from the prophetic saying which is in the form of Sahih Al-Bukhari collection. This Hadith literature is considered one the most authentic sourcesin all works, according the Sunni Scholarship. The silent feature of this collection consists of 9 volumes and 97 books. In fact, a variety of issues are written down by admirable personality with context of personal hygiene, marriage, wills and funeral rites. More precisely, the ninth volume and ninety-third book which is entitled in the name of “The Book of ‘Al-Ahkam’, or ‘judgments’, totally deals with political values.
These all together sources clearly constitute the silent features of political values in Muslim society. With the help of these political values the mind of the people will acculturate in future. Merely, the appropriation of past political values is not in terms of ‘an interpretation of romantic notion of largely mythical age’. Nor the values of primitive’s utopia time, both in the sense of that earliest time was the best time in the sense of simple society and most virtuous. Rather, these political values illuminate that which society is high in response of political values. The critical reason behind these values is to elucidate that ‘leader of a people is their servant’. It would be proved by the Medina model when Umar, the second caliph of Rahidune era, was the leader of that time. Once a Bedouin refused to obey him and he did not show himself as a strong person, but he tried to justify himself on a piece of cloth which he had taken from the shore of his son’s because he was a tall man. Thus, when we compare Muslim polities with the current political structure, then there is a big discrepancy. This type of discrepancy leads to create strain in Muslim polities. The critical scrutiny provides a normative framework and theoretical basis of the Muslim polities in the overall political culture. These parameters are best understanding and clear cut distinction between current political climate and Muslim political culture. Simply stating, we must think that this is the first step to understand the entire complexity of the political culture in Muslim political context.
Precisely, the characteristic of Muslim polities is not monolithic throughout in the history of political culture; it may often differ in some situation. No matter, how much varied manifestation of its characterization, but it considers ‘Islamic’ throughout in the generation of socialization. The presence of these underlying political values provides a better understandingto grasp the rationale of ‘idealistic insurrectionary tendency’ in Muslim polities. This type of struggle really differentiates that what role of Qur’anic political injection can develop peace and stability in contemporary society.
Political values of the Qur’an:
“Sovereignty belongs to God” is considered first and basic value of Islamic polity as prescribed in the Holy Qur’an. The Qur’an expresses in these words:
The above verse, absolutely, dictates occupancy of the sovereigntyof God. The ALLAH almighty gives sovereignty to those that they come under consideration of place. The explanation of this statement is very logical. This sovereignty shift to people and people try to maintain its position.It proved that God owns sovereignty and human beings empowered the virtue of the sovereigntyof their people. Now itdepends upon human trust that how much they freely act upon to recognize the fact of responsibility. According to the statement of the Sahih of Bukhari,
With the connection of the abovementionedHadith, most elementary pillar of Islamic Political thought which is called sovereignty. It is fact that a total independence is not possible in anything other than God. Hence, it is coming across that an individual cannot sort out the goals of sovereignty. Surely, people created sovereign from God side and it is the blessing of ALLAH almighty. The concept of good nature and equal is given them by choice. The belief of Muslim is to precisely perceive that “God alone as normative”, the will of God, his doctrine, his pattern as composing ethical aspiration of creating. From the above discussion it comes to mind that people are sovereign only by recognition of God’s sovereignty, these inferences provided with responsibility toward God and humanity. Henceforth, the order of political values can be established in the light of these objectives which can promote peace and stability in the ideal world.Securely, this interpretation of sovereignty connects to ‘Tawhid’, which elaborates most holy and complete conceptual and teleological value system of Islam. The rendition of ‘Tawhid’ is very greatest and richest in the whole Islam. This very concept is going to be explained briefly and connected with five interrelated principles in coming lines.
According to Al-Faruqi, that duality is of two kinds, the first one is God and the second one is non-God or in other words Creator and created. Through this way the emotional relationship between two orders of reality can be comprehend easily, and it is the reference point of the manner in which humans understand the will of God. The universe is teleological and helping an aim of its Creator and performing so out of design, Capability of the man and malleableness of nature. Hence, everything was created for the purpose, the sum of existence, nolessso; the knowledge of that purpose must be potential in space and time..
Firstly, these interrelated principles are giving association of the sovereignty with the perspective of Islamic theology. The Divine transcendence is giving potential to humans for reconstructing their social orders on the bases of self-transcendence. Distinctly, life is not egotistic, but it has a clear cut purpose. Then a constant interaction requires for serving the purpose of life, through this way two orders of reality can understand contextually and foundationally. It is the basic way to develop peace in contemporary society in that particular political injection.
Secondly, the Qur’an always gives us the idea of equality of all human beings. It is great lengths for the reader and researcher to know the demanding distinction of God-consciousness. When human creates then it declares from them, as prescribed in the following Quranic verse,
The quality of all human beings establishes from this verse. Similarly, it's God’s creation of humanity which is irrespective of gender or race. All human beings created from a single soul and single soul is the soul of Adam. Henceforth, there is no supremacy in Adam and Eva children on the basis of genetic origin, race, ethnicity and favored relationship to God. The lesson of Qur’an is proper equality and there is no supremacy on the basis of racial attributes. Thus, when all the human beings will realize this supreme thought then sovereignty of the One Who creates this world for their creature. The perfection of Din (faith) will embrace all the human beings in one direction. With this paradigm all the social structure will stable and polity will develop in peace.
Thirdly, the slogan of human equalityarisethe sentence of the independence of the judiciary.It is fact, if all human isequal, thenthe law should protect that equality for them. Thus, it is proved that no one is supreme in the context of law and all the leaders are equal in that circle. The order of equality is not separate fromanyone; all the judicial specialist and interpreter of the law cannot create an error. If such type of matter arises then majority of the people will decide. Here proper opinion would be needed for solving problem. The injection of such political value can bring peace and stability in contemporary society.
Fourthly, the verse of the Qur’an clearly states
This is real evidence that all human beings have identical and spiritual origins. Then good nature was injected intothem, which have parallel rights and equal nomination on earth. Everyone has right to equal water, food, clothing and shelter. The earth has divided equally for meeting their necessities and occupies equal land. The most powerful word in that verse is ‘Makkanah’, which means to establish power or authority. This explanation clear cut indicates that humans have a place of authority and sovereignty on earth. The earth is full up from minerals and natural resources which are made for them to fulfill basic needs. As a result, Islamic political thought revealed that this land is the cause of great societal tension for human beings. Since, it is come to debate that wealth and power are one of the problems which restricted peace in the contemporary society. In fact manipulation of land creates problems in the one soul human beings. Although, God has defined clear cut grant of land for the people that it is collective ownership. Hare, one question arises that what is the duty of rulers? The rulers should develop a mechanism of parallel values for everyone. Hamid agrees that supreme power is one Allah and all human beings are equal to Him. It is logical prove that equal rights are institutionalized for everyone to maintain peace in the world. The movement of the earth is not static. It can be exchanged to one another. Everyone has right to take benefit from it even though he has no land. The above statement explains clearly that this injection applies to all human beings, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims. No one has occupiedthe earth. The matter of equality has discussed there. The earth belongs only to One God. The God has command over the earth and His creation can share it among them. Thus, it is the peak of justice. More specifically, it is a plurality of religion and extension of political life.
Fifth one is a discourse which provides another aspect of political value. According to the Qur’an, there is social identity in the universe which is called ‘Ummah’. This term is under consideration in Lisan al-Arab, an Arabic dictionary of thirteenth century. The root of the word is very complex, but context and diction can make us easy to understand. Actually, ‘amma’ or ‘amama’ means “to seek”, “to go willfully precocious” or “to seek the right path”. When these definitions from the same root are clear, then another word comes to in the link which is called ‘umm’. Literary, this word means ‘mother’ which provides some rational sense to the reader. For example, it refers to the flag of an army followers, the leading direction of the people. These points of reference introduce some deeper meaning which is way, path, source and identity. The term ‘Ummah’ occurred sixty times in the Qur’an, which has different root meaning, but singular identification of the word is a ‘faith-centric community’. Al-Faruqi concurs that, as a group has one specific goal and then they unite to achieve it with proper identification. This identification becomes a slogan of unity. However, it is the injection of Islamic political thought which spread one’s identity in the world. Henceforth, Rahman summates that this is the uniqueness of Islamic political values which bring association in that modern world. Different nationalities are there, but again put stress on the principles of justice and equality to safeguard universal politics.
More interestingly, the word ‘Ummah’ has more dimensions in the context dictionary. It may be used for all humanity and sometime just for a single individual who acts in accord with different beliefs. However, the specific group of people that they have acted and behave accordingly, and then they come under consideration of this ‘Ummah’. The verse of Qur’an described that “This community of yours is one single community, which is called ‘Ummah’ and ‘I’ am your Lord; therefore worship me with belief of One God. Moreover, human beings have divided their unity means forgotten their promise which was made with God. Here, all of humanity represents a common ‘Ummah’. So far so, all the ‘Ummah’ is constituted fundamentally single, but they fragmented into different creeds, which stop people to come together.
Lastly, this political value is excerpted from the Holly Qur’an.
The political significance is coming from singular continuity and the real truth is conveyed to humankind by the help of prestigious Messengers. The sacrifices’ of the Prophets are for one purpose which was to organize one identity and bring law, moral codes of conduct for entire humanity. The words of Hamid were too much authentic and he concludes that the intention of the Prophets was inherently brought human beings to recognize one GodSupremacy. Therefore, God sends His Prophet to human beings reminding forgotten the values of the Qur’an. The prime obligation of the Prophets was to establish God’s prescribed political values in the light of the revealed knowledge. The effort of the culmination of these values has done by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)who implemented Islamic political order in an exemplary shape and so on.
Peace in historical and religious perspective:
Humannature loves peace and harmony. This ultimate reality can easily be testified by the commencement of human life on earth. Establishment and continuity of peace is utmost prerequisite for smooth and prosperous society. One can observe that current situation of world societies regarding peace is falling down and down. For instance! As a result of these circumstances academia realized to pledge “peace studies” Terrorism initiatives” and “conflict discourses” type centers and departments in the Universities and policy research institutes.It reflects, the peak desire of peace in this particular climate of violence and conflict. It is also a bitter historical reality that except individual peace struggle of some renowned personalities, no communal effort has been emerged in world societies in general to establish permanent peace. Is it possible to achieve the goal of human prosperity and social interests without peace? The answer is certainly in negative form. At personal level, every human requires peace based on any ideology of religion, socio-economic, socio-politic and socio-democratic etc. We can take democracy as an example. Although democracy and democratic based political system is prevailing now in most of the regions, but a historical view of democracy reveals that the narrative of democracy got its revolutionary status in its true letter and spirit, after transformation of democracy in the shape of comprehensive ideology and as an intrinsic ambition of humanity by the democratic philosophers of modern Europe.
Interestingly, peace is facing almost same particular situation. Humanity needs peace by default in every span of history, but the present age requires its core presence because of the uncertainty of human life. Now peace is becoming an ideology, which can be stated as ideology of life safety in the presence of peace and we will face ruin in its absence. From grass root level to international peace ideology must pay its role to transform itself a binding force for the welfare and prosperity of human life.
A peaceful society has been a dream of every population corner everywhere since the inception of this world. I present paradigm peace is much demanded and most important aspect for the mankind. Peace has also become the vital lifeblood aspect for the human life on planet. At all levels of human life from local, national to global peace has become a holistic paradigm living aspect. Peace is solution of all sorts of conflicts. In the modern age development, progress and more evolution of all aspects of social and scientific development has positive relation with the progress of peace process in the all walks of life on the globe.
Peace in religious perspective:
All religions including Islam have focused peace as one of their key aspects. There are many versus in the Holy Quran where followers are advised to implement peace. Quran has also addressed peace as a form of tolerance, moral and mystical expression to lay down strong foundations of society. The meanings of AS-SALAM are peace which is also a strong evident of importance of peace in Islamic culture. In inter-personal and inter-societies relations is Islam peace is considered as most important factor to prosper social behaviors.
In one of worse of the Quran the peace is addressed as“The slaves of the Beneficent are they who walk upon the earth modestly, and when the foolish ones address them, their answer is peace.” The peace related words in Islam i.e. “SLM” which means peace and submission, “ISLAM”, “MUSLIMUM”, “MUSLIM” all are based on the peace. The issues relating to violence, production of mass destructive weapons, atomic and nuclear arsenal development are as dangerous for Muslims as these are vulnerable for other religions and masses. Peace is must for the security of all religions. Quranic instructions are helpful for all populations on the globe to bring prosperity and peace. The Islamic even advised followers to accept peace offers from enemies even in the middle of wars.
Peace is very important method to convince people of other regions to accept Islam. Quran Says Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and exhortation and argue with them in the best manner.” As per Islamic teachings spreading peace is responsibility of every human being a divine principle of Allah Almighty. As mentioned in the Quran “Fear God and make peace among yourselves” It is Islamic principles of governance it is the duty of the governmental officials to adhere for peace and to strive for the elimination of violation of the rules of law in the society. It is also duty of the Islamic rulers to intervene in conflicts of rival groups and resolve conflicts peacefully. Peace is also a guarantee between societies of different thoughts and believes.
In the Holy Quran there are many places where the Quran is teaching about the importance of tolerance, love, compassion, helpfulness, moderation, mercy, ignorance, dearness for opponents and enemies having powerful focus on peace and harmony. The Quran has forbidden imposing retributive form of justice which is in close with Talmudic customs. The life and teachings of the Prophet of Islamic Muhammad (PBUH) are fully reflecting peace and compassion. The Prophet suffered from personal injuries, difficulties, social boycotts but He continued to preaching of Islam, even suffering from severe injuries during in Taif He prayed from Allah Almighty for the wellbeing of the people of Taif. The important part of the life of the Prophet of Islamic which was spent in Makka is full of suffering of pain and hardness but the Prophet (SAW) suffered all these problems without protest. The Prophet always advised His followers to be merciful, caring and humble to others in their relations and dealings with each other. There are hundreds of examples of this in the life of the Prophet. “The best men are those whose manners re good” (Bukhari and Mishkat) “You cannot be admitted to Paradise and cannot be true believers, unless you have affection for one another”. (Muslim) “God informed Prophet Moses that of all his servants the dearest to Him was he who was strong enough to take revenge and yet forgive”. (Mishkat)
The world has become global village which has resulted in the mixing of different cultures and norms in close contact. There is growing interaction between different religions, ethnic groups and interethnic and interreligious dialogues are increasing. Growing global grade, communication technology has brought the peoples of the world very close. The global impact is also resulting in cultural, religious, ethnic divisions. There is also re-emerging of identities and religious groups. There is also emerging of religious politicization and fundamentalism which is creating differences between different walks of society. The use of arms and brutal attacks against humanity are sabotaging the peace initiatives. In this age peace is matter of survival of the human life on earth. The delay in imposing of peace is dangerously increasing threat to destroy the world in limited span of period. It is the demand of the time to foster the qualities of justice, brotherhood, coexistence, mercy, mutual understanding, compassion, love, fellow felling, mutual cooperation, understanding, compassion and to eliminate the fear of enmity, clash. These initiatives are also very important to denounce the theories of Samuel P. Huntington and to again focusing on the peace as the hope of the last resort for betterment of the secure and peaceful life of the globe.
- Nasr, Seyyid Hossein, Ideals and Realities of Islam, (Chicago, IL: Allen and Unwin Press, 1975) P. 27
- Mir, Mustansir, Coherence in the Qur’an, (Kuala Lumpur: IBT Press, 2000) p. 9.
- Hamid, Eltigani Abdelgadir, the Qur’an and Politics: A Study of the Origins of Political Thought in the Makkan Qur’an, (Washington, DC: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2004) p. 8.
- Haleem, Muhammad Abdel. Understanding the Qur’an: Themes and Styles, (London: IBT Tauris, 2001) P. 6.
- Ibid,p. 9.
- The Translation of the Meaning of Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by Muhammad Mushin Khan. Volume 1, p. 17
- Ibid., p. 18
- Ayoob, Muhammad, The Many Faces of Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Muslim World, (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008) p. 2.
- Crone, Patricia. God’s Rule: Government and Islam, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004) p. 318.
- Bennabi, Malik. The Question of Ideas in the Muslim World, trans. Mohamed Tahir El Mesawi, reabridged by Meinhaj Hussian, http://www.grandestrategy.com/2001/04/chapter-frurteen-ideas-and-politices.html.
- Qur’an 3:26
- Qur’an 33:22
- The translation of Sahih Al-Bukhari. V. 2, Book 26, Number 261.
- Al-Faruqi, Ismail Raji, Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life. (Herndon, VA: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1994) p. 17.
- Ibid. p. 11.
- Qur’an 7: 172.
- Hamid, Eltigani. The Qur’an and Politics, P. 38.
- Ramadan, Tariq. To Be A European Muslim. (Leicester: Islamic Foundation, 1999) p. 13.
- Qur’an 21: 22.
- Qur’an 4: 135.
- Hattox, Ralph S. Coffee and Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East, (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1985) p. 6.
- Qur’an 7: 10
- Lisan al-Arab: Arabic Dictionary. Volumes 1-18. Dar Kotob al Ilmiyah. 2006.
- Hamid, Eltigani. The Qur’an and Politics, p. 40.
- Lisan al- Arab. As quoted in Al-Faruqi, Maysam J. ‘Umma: The Orientalists and the Quranic Concept of Identity’, in the Journal of Islamic Studies, 16(2005): 22.
- Al-Faruqi, Maysam J. ‘Umma: The Orientalists and the Quranic Concept of Identity’, in the Journal of Islamic Studies, 16(2005): 21.
- Ibid. p. 23.
- Holy Qur’an. The idea that humanity consists of one ‘Ummah’ occurs in Chapter 2: 213 and 10:19
- Qur’an 4: 38.
- Hamid, Eltigani. The Qur’an and Politics, p. 43.
- Ibid. p. 44.
- Qur’an 6:90
- Hamid, Eltigani. The Qur’an and Politics, p. 45
- Khanday, Bilal Ahmad. "Globalization, Peace and Development in the Twenty first Century: Religious as well as the Perspective of Fethullah Gulen. “Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies 2, no. 8 (2014).
- Ibid. p.142.
- Al-Quran 8:1
- Sunan Tirmidi Abwab-ul-Emaan Hadees#2612