Marhum Sayyid Sa’eed Akhtar Rizvi (1927-2002)
Lecture 1: Islam, Religion of Peace
A lecture delivered at the University of California Merrill College, Santa Cruz on 28th October, 1987.
The name Islam and the Arabic word for peace, salam, both come from the same root, salima which indicates peace. So we may say that Islam and peace are twins. This peace and tranquility pervades the whole structure of Islam. The Muslims greet each other by saying salamun ‘alaykum peace be on you). It is a much better way of the old an’im sabahan or the modern ‘l-kahyr (Good morning). The ritual prayer of on Islam ends on peace, when the Muslims say: as-salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh (Peace be on you, and mercy and blessings of Allah). In Islam one of the names of God is Salam; many Muslims address Him in these words after every prayer: Allahumma anta ‘s-salam wa minka ‘s-salam wa ilayka ya’udu ‘s-salam (O Allah! You are Peace; from You originates peace and to You it returns.)
That is why the final abode which Allah has provided for the believers, and to which He invites them, is called daru ‘s-salam (the abode of peace). The Qur’an says: They shall have the abode of peace with their Lord. (6:127)
And Allah invites to the abode of peace. (10:25).
And when they shall reach that final destination, they shall be greeted by the angels in these words: Peace be on you, because you were patient; how excellent is then the issue of the abode. (13:24).
Peace Based on Justice
If we want to study Islamic peace, we shall have to do so in the framework of the overall Islamic ideology. Islam is, in a manner of speaking, a single entity. We should not look at any Islamic concept in isolation; we must have the whole structure in view. We may describe the whole Islamic ideology in one word: Justice. God has laid the foundation of Islam on justice. Justice has been defined as “putting a thing in its rightful place”. A judge does justice when
he awards or restores a disputed item to its rightful owner. This brings us to the concept of peace. When every thing is kept in its rightful place, when every member knows not only his rights but also his duties towards others, then peace reigns in society; and the society works smoothly like a well-balanced watch. It is what we call balance, harmony and
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