By Sikandar Azam
Islam means peace and submission. These two meanings of the word ‘Islam’ apparently seem to be poles apart. People want peace; even diehard criminals want peace. What way of life they adopt to attain peace is another matter. Some try to find peace in the accumulation of wealth, some others in exercising power, some yet others in having large properties. But the Islamic concept of peace is that one can attain peace only when he responds to the call of conscience and submits to the Will of God. That is, peace sans submission to God is impossible. This is why all the teachings of Islam revolve round establishing a society on the bases of peace, equity and justice in the light of the Divine guidelines.
After submitting to the Will of God, the believers more often than not face trials and tribulations. They are opposed, harassed and subjugated. On many occasions, especially in the year of Hudaibiyah, the believers were debarred from entering the Sacred Mosque. This opposition was bound to arouse emotions of hatred in the hearts of the believers. But God prohibited them from following the path of aggression, for it would go against the role they have to play on earth. The Qur’ān (5:2) says: “Do not let your hatred of people who would debar you from the Sacred Mosque lead you into aggression.” Then God gives them guidelines as to what they have to do in such circumstances: “… but rather help one another in furthering righteousness and piety, and do not help one another in furthering evil and aggression.”
The Qur’ān guides the believers that they must overlook what happens to them even if that happening causes harm to their sensibilities for the time being. This is the standard of self-control and compassion that Islam teaches them. This is necessary to give to humanity a great model of righteous behaviour that can be achieved only by following Islam. Thus the believers must not help anyone in furthering any evil and aggression.
Then the Qur’ān enjoins them to fear God: “Have fear of God, for God is severe in retribution.” Besides the commandment to have fear of God, the Qur’ān says that ‘God is severe in retribution’. It means that the believers have to fear God in all conditions and never take law into their own hands; and if they fail in doing so, they would be subject to the Divine punishment. As a result of fury or hatred, they do not have to transgress and be unjust to others. They have to curb the emotions of hatred. Only then they would be able to assume the task of leadership of mankind.