We find a model in Prophet Muhammad’s (Pbuh) life on how to establish peace in a multicultural society.
By Sufia Khan
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan delivered the Third Shah Waliullah Dehlavi Memorial Lecture at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi on February 10. The lecture was organized by the university’s Centre for Arabic and African Studies. The topic of the lecture was ‘Living in Peace and Harmony in a Multicultural World.’ The Maulana said that as every astronomical body revolves on its own orbit because of which there is peace in the universe, human beings too must adopt the policy of non-interference if they wish to establish peace in society. This very principle is expressed in the Quran as ‘as-sulh khair’ (4:128), which means reconciliation is best. In a world where every human being enjoys freedom, there is no other workable formula for establishing peace. If we are peaceful, we are absolutely free to pursue any goal in life. The only restriction on the use of freedom is that one should not cause harm to others. The Maulana said that we find a model in Prophet Muhammad’s (Pbuh) life on how to establish peace in a multicultural society. When the Prophet migrated to Medina, there were many Jewish tribes settled in the city. To promote harmonious relations between the Jews and Muslims, he drew up a charter called the Charter of Medina which guaranteed religious freedom: “To the Jews their religion and to the Muslims their religion”. This echoes a Quranic verse which states, ‘You have your religion and I have mine.’ (109:6). The lecture was followed by a question-and-answer session. To a question regarding why extremists quote the Islamic texts as justification for their actions, the Maulana answered that we must differentiate between Islam and Muslims. We must judge Muslims in the light of Islamic teachings and not vice versa.