We need the special language of peace
PEACE has its own special language, but only the virtuous deep thinkers and people who use their intellects are truly aware of it. The special language of peace is a most privileged one that breaks all boundaries, reaches all hearts and eliminates all frontiers.
It takes patience, determination and intelligence to use this language. This language must exhibit its effects even in the very harshest of times, and must not become caught up in rage and provocation. This language must not be influenced by unkind words, insults or defamation. People who use this language must be intelligent and know what can damage peace. They must be soft-spoken and be aware of the destructive effects of harsh language.
The world today is shrouded in darkness as never before. According to the latest statement by Mehmet Görmez, head of Turkey’s Department of Religious Affairs, some 1,000 Muslims are dying every day and 90 percent of them are killed by their own brothers; to put it another way, Muslims are slaughtering their Muslim brothers. It is astonishing — or more appropriately — terrifying how mankind can take such pleasure in another’s death.
As time passes, this tragic picture has begun angering people even more. The destructive power of some of the mainstream and social media is huge. As a result of this manufactured rage and provocation, much of the world believes that aggression should be responded to with more aggression, and anger with more anger. This mindset is one that will have no qualms about turning its rage against you if you speak of peace; it wants only to talk of hatred. It insistently demands more slaughter, further tragedies and even stronger hatred.
If Muslims wish to escape this horrific picture in which even children are being slaughtered en masse, if they want the tragedies afflicting them to ease and if they truly want peace, then they must follow the path shown by Islam and constantly demand peace. They must not forget that hatred will inevitably create more hatred and end in tragedy, and that war cannot put an end to war. They must always take the road of peace, as our Lord commands in the words, “You who believe, enter absolutely into peace!” (Surat Al-Baqarah, 208) This is the greatest responsibility, incumbent not only upon Muslims, but on all rational people of good conscience.
It must not be forgotten that actions intended to provoke war are used for the benefit of a very small community that will profit from it; wars harm the innocent most of all, while those who provoke them sit far from the frontlines, watching out for their own comfort. They care not one jot for the sufferings of the innocent.
Some so-called keyboard commandoes who say, “We don’t want peace, we want revenge” from the comfort of their easy chairs do nothing but generate a laughable sense of false heroism; these people generally seek to ease their consciences by saying, “I did not remain silent” yet they are not facing shelling and neither are they in danger in an active war zone. They simply do not care that the people in that region need peace and security. Rational people must not fall for this ruse put forward in the name of the victims in the middle of a conflict.
What people of good conscience need to do is to use all the means at their disposal for peace and adjust their language accordingly. When demanding peace, they must ignore those reactions or words that might fundamentally undermine that peace; there must be no destructiveness in the special language of peace; the paths of reconciliation must be found. The anger of the other side can only be quelled through calming and gentle language, not bullying. We need virtuous people who can do that now more than ever before.
Without that, there can be no prayer for peace. Without that, the peace and security commanded by Islam cannot spread across the world. Without that, radicals will simply become even more radical and angry voices will be raised ever louder and then war will be impossible to prevent. In order to stop that, we need people of virtue, even in angry communities, to say “Peace is best.”
Some people point to the wicked to justify their anger yet the language of peace is the precondition for educating the oppressor. Expressing anger toward or cursing an aggressor will just make him more aggressive. That same aggressor can only be taught to lose his aggression and turn to peace through the special language of love. Wickedness can only come to an end through careful education.
It is hard to bring that about at a time when everyone is burning with rage and the most vile invectives are being hurled but goodness always accompanies determination and difficulties. Allah wants the efforts we make for peace. If our common aim is for no more children to die and for innocent people not to be driven from their homes, then we must follow a common path.
Rational and sensitive people of good conscience must use the language of peace to build and encourage peace across the world. They must believe that this — and this alone — has the power to defeat the machinations of war-mongers and to protect the innocent. Allah’s help will most definitely be with them.
• The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science.