Islam and Peace
Peace is a central part of any form of Islam. In fact, the typical greeting between Muslims means “Peace be upon you”, where the word peace (Salaam) has the exact same root as the word Islam, which means to surrender oneself (to God.) In fact, it is also very similar to the Hebrew word for peace, Shalom. The prophet Muhammad and the Qur’an are quite clear about loving each other and a famous saying of the prophet defines a believer as one that loves his brother and wants for his brother the same as for himself. In this case, most Muslims understand “brother” as any other human being, regardless of religion, race, or social status.
According to the Qur’an, all people on the world are descended from Adam. Strife and violence among people is caused by Satan, as he is the enemy of all human beings. The messengers from God, that is, the long line of prophets, delivered a message from God for humanity. A message that urged all people to return to a state of love and peace all united under the one true God. Therefore it is correct to say that the aim of Islam is for everyone on Earth to live at peace with one another, to promote a happy and harmonious society. This is exemplified best in the central tenet of one of the Prophet’s last sayings: “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.” The concept of compassion and mercy are a central part of Islam and are the two most important attributes of God (Rahman and Rahim, both from the same root.) So the Qur’an and the Hadith are replete with proverbs and verses exalting the importance of justice, giving each person what they are entitled to, to show one’s affection to others, to avoid coveting what others have, to place the needs of others above one’s own, to love one’s neighbor, and to treat others as one would treat oneself.
Islam considers that the last prophet, the prophet Muhammad, brought the message of God to the nations of the world. Unlike previous prophets that were charged with bringing the message to specific communities, Muhammad was addressing the world. Because of this, Islam considers national boundaries and identities as constructs of man. For Islam, all of humanity is a single family, a brotherhood united under God. That is why the main goal of Islam is bringing Islamic law to the whole Earth. Not as the sinister thing that many ignorant right-wingers talk about, but as a tool for breaking down the walls between nations, races, and classes. Islam emphasizes that the choice to become a Muslim is the right of each individual person and that it goes beyond nationality or social status. While patriotism and social position tend to be involuntary and decided for each person before their birth, Islam is a voluntary and conscious step each man takes towards the straight path to God and peace.