The Spirit Of Islam
Islam is a Religion of Peace, love, and tolerance, and a true Muslim is a loving, affectionate, and tolerant person. Islam, derived from the root words silm and salamah, means surrendering, guiding to peace and contentment, and establishing security and accord. Islam is a religion of security, safety, and peace. These principles permeate the lives of Muslims. When Muslims stand to pray, they cut their connection with this world, turning to their Lord in faith and obedience, and standing at attention in His presence. Completing the prayer, as if they were returning back to life, they greet those on their right and left by wishing peace: “Remain safe and in peace.” With a wish for safety and security, peace and contentment, they return to the ordinary world once again.
Greetings and wishing safety and security for others is considered as one of the most beneficial acts in Islam. As reported in Abu Dawud, when asked which act in Islam is the most beneficial, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) replied, “Feeding others and greeting those you know and those you do not know”. It is very much unfortunate that Islam, which is based on this understanding and spirit, is shown by some circles to be synonymous with terrorism. This is a great historical mistake; wrapping a system based on safety and trust in a veil of terrorism just shows that the spirit of Islam remains unknown (to them). If one were to seek the true face of Islam in its own sources, history, and true representatives, then one would discover that it contains no harshness, cruelty, or fanaticism. It is a religion of forgiveness, pardon, and tolerance. Many scholars and saints spent their lives preaching tolerance, and each became a legend in his own time as an embodiment of love and tolerance.
The Pride of Humanity, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was a man of love and affection. One of his names was Habibullah (the Beloved of God). In addition to meaning one who loves, habib means one who is loved, one who loves God, and one who is loved by God. Sufi masters like Shaykh Ahmad al-Sirhindi (Mujaddid-i-Alf-i-Sani), Hazrat Khalid al-Baghdadi (Naqshbandi sufi master considered the mujaddid of the thirteenth Islamic century), and Shah Waliullah Dehalwi state that love is the ultimate station of the spiritual journey. God created the universe as a manifestation of His love for His creatures, in particular humanity, and Islam became the fabric woven out of this love. In the words of a Saint, love is the essence of creation. Just as a mother’s love and compassion compels her to allow a surgeon to operate on her sick child to save his or her life, jihad allows war, if needed, to preserve such fundamental human rights as the right to life and religious freedom. Jihad does not exclusively mean war.
It is an Islamic principle to love those things or people who must be loved on the way of God and dislike those things or people who must be disliked on the way of God. But this principle is often misunderstood, for in Islam all of creation is to be loved according to the rule of loving on God’s way. “Disliking on the way of God” applies only to feelings, thoughts, and attributes. Thus, we should dislike such things as immorality, unbelief, and polytheism, not the people who engage in such activities. God created humanity as noble beings, and everyone, to a certain degree, has share in this nobility. His Messenger (PBUH) once stood up out of respect for humanity as funeral procession of a Jew passed by. When reminded that the deceased was a Jew, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) replied: “But he is a human,” thereby showing value Islam gives to human.
—The author holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from Aligarh Muslim University (India) and is a regular Columnist.
Islam: Religion of Love & Tolerance | Dr Tauseef A Parray