Why Muslims should lead peaceful nation campaign
A call from the pulpit has challenged Muslims across the country to be the vanguard of creating a peaceful society, and shuns all forms of violence and disruptive engagements.
A recent Friday sermon published by the Nasrul-Lahi-L-Fathi Society of Nigeria indicated that Islam a religion of peace and its practitioners are peace builders, hence all Muslims should partake effectively in the quest to building a united and peaceful nation.
The sermon, reads in part: “The relationship between religion and peace in general, is quite controversial. Some scholars, such as Asghar Ali, argue that Islam as a religion is all peace and does not allow for violence. On a wider scale, Engineer generally rejects drawing any integral relationship between any religion, including Islam, and violence. Rather, he sees violence as a social phenomenon that takes place as a result of certain negative conditions in specific societies where religion may be manipulated as a result.
“More generally, other scholars, such as Scott Appleby, argued that although violence may not be integral to religion, religion retains a capacity for violence. This capacity, according to Appleby, results from the ambivalent nature of most of the sacred texts, which, as a result, allows for manipulating their interpretations in a way that can be used to legitimize violence.
“What a religion teaches can, therefore, be different from how its followers hold it to be in practice, due to the influence of “self-justifying groups” such as religious or political institutions or cultural traits. As a result, one cannot easily label a specific religion as either violence-prone or as a catalyst for peace. Rather, most religious interpretations have a capacity for both violence and peace,” it stated.
Linking the word peace to quotations of the holy Quar’an, it stated that: “Salam (peace) was used in the Qur’an basically to refer to: one of the attributes of Allah, or “God” in Arabic, the same as the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus; staying away from the use of violence; greeting people, as well as agreement among people. In the hadiths, salaam carries some additional meanings, such as security from violence and corruption.
The meaning of Islam then becomes “the peace of spirit that comes from submitting one’s life to the will of God.”
Conceptualising the role of Islam and Muslims in peace building: A three-fold analysis was revealed to help practitioners capture and analyse the multiple ways Islam and Muslims can contribute in peace building processes.
These includes how religious beliefs may offer crucial intangible components of peace building; Muslims traditionally perform a certain number of social functions in the society that can be all the more important at the peace building phase such as humanitarian visit to sick persons at hospitals irrespective of religion, walk for interreligious harmony program; and how NASFAT played an important role in improving the welfare of the citizenry.