Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi (Toronto, Canada) is a researcher and a world-renowed author and speaker of the Shia faith. He is currently translating the 13th volume of Tafseer al-Mizan.
Lecture 1: Islam, Religion of Peace
A lecture delivered at the University of California Merrill College, Santa Cruz on 28th October, 1987.
Leaving all other categories aside, 1 would like to briefly mention the rights of some adversaries from
that Charter: Right of a claimant in a law-suit: “…If his claim against you is correct then do not try to break his argument and do not labour to refute his claim, instead, you should be your own adversary in his favour ,and be the judge against yourself, and be his witness for his claim without any need of other witnesses, because it is the duty imposed upon you by Allah.
“If his claim is wrong, then deal with him gently and put the fear [of Allah] in his heart and adjure him by
his religion and dull his wrath against you by reminding him of Allah…”
And what are your rights on him? He is addressed in these words: Rights of a defendant: “If your claim against him is correct, then talk with him benevolently in describing that claim, because the sound of a
claim itself is harsh enough [so do not add to it the rudeness of your language too]; and explain your
arguments gently; give him time, make your talk clear, and deal with him kindly….” If both parties of a conflict follow these rules, no dispute can ruin the society’s peace.
Then the Imam mentions the “Rights of One who was unjust to you”. He writes: “…If he did knowingly and intentionally then forgiveness is more suitable for you. Because it will weed out the enmity between you two. And further, there are many people like him in this world, and if is better to deal with them with good grace…”
As I mentioned before, these are the minimum rights which cannot be violated. Rut the same Imam has
guided us to the peak of the moral standard in another place. In one of his famous invocations, called
Makarimu ‘l-akhlaq (The Noble Virtues), Imam Zaynul’ Abidin prays to Allah: “O Allah! Send blessings on Muhammad and his progeny; and help me so that I wish well to him who works secretly against me; and treat him with kindness who forsakes me; and reward him generously who harms and injures me; and perform all my obligations to him who violates the ties of kinship; and in return speak well of him who backbites me; and that I be thankful for good and overlook evil.”
If a society is based on such a foundation, then obviously it will be a heaven of peace. As everyone’s rights and duties will be clearly demarcated, it will leave no room for friction and strife. When man has
established peace with his Creator, within his own soul and body, with his family and relatives, with his
neighbours and friends, and even with his adversaries, then surely PEACE will reign over the world. And
it will not be a peace imposed by some outside forces, but a peace which will spring from people’s inner
selves, from the collective character of the society.