There are numerous causes of peace deprivation. It begins at the individual level and progresses to the larger scale of life. Most of the areas of peace are affected as a result of both. The causes of peace deprivation can be subdivided into two topics: individual and global peace. Firstly, I shall discuss peace deprivation on an individual level.
On a family level, we notice peace deprivation due to family issues. It begins with one person, so that must be addressed first. Our family values, culture, and background, as well as how we grew up, all have an impact on our inner peace, with which we then endeavor out into the world. A child who grows up in a home where his or her parents fight has a greater chance of developing mental illness later in life. The definition of peace is the absence of disturbance. There is a proverb that says, “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without” (1).
As human beings tend to compete in almost every aspect of life, hence, the life of one person can become more stressful. Individually, this stress can magnify into plenty of difficulties and people often turn, for example, to drugs for relief. Various types of substance abuses are used in the hope of finding satisfaction, including the act of unnatural sex. People invest in competing to display their wealth to establish their status in society, which only provides temporary satisfaction. Exhibition of possessions merely for the sake of showing off narrows one’s thinking. As a result, one’s objectives and goals become materialistic. Islam discourages flaunting and teaches a remedy in the form of prayers and acts of worship that bring inner peace. According to a Hadith:
“If anyone wants to have his deeds widely publicized, Allah will publicize (his humiliation). And if anyone makes a hypocritical display (of his deeds) Allah will make a display of him” (2).
The media, movies, and television shows can induce damage to an individual’s peace of mind. We watch these programs repeatedly until our minds become numb and they no longer affect us, whereas Islam teaches us to follow the path of moderation. The following Hadith explains:
“O people, remain straight upon the path and you will have taken a great lead, but if you swerve right or left then you will be led far astray” (3).
The idea of following religion has rarely changed over the years. We have found traces of worshiping God, or gods, in every nation that has come and gone. This demonstrates that the concept of worshiping God has been embedded in the human mind; rejecting it causes mental health issues by disrupting inner peace.
The atheists’ way of thinking is another factor that disturbs inner peace for a believer. Unfortunately, the trend is becoming more common among educated people. Atheist thinking can put pressure on the human mind to the point where one cannot find an answer to the origin of the universe but may still be forced to believe in the explanation put forth by atheists. That disconnects us from our primary source of power, which is God, and we are left struggling to survive without our lifeline. As a result, it becomes difficult to seek God’s help, so turning to media entertainment for momentary and meaningless satisfaction seems like an easy way out.
Making connections with like-minded persons can help to achieve inner peace. Religion plays an important role in any community’s interpersonal connections. Living apart from one another does not have a positive impact on us over time, and as a result, we develop a variety of ailments related to mental health. We can then lose sight of the importance of connecting. If we are preoccupied with competing with one another, we may become unaware of the power of connecting and may not even have time to practice our faith, which would be a source of providing us peace of mind.
The second aspect of peace deprivation that affects us all on a global scale occurs when we are dissatisfied with ourselves. We fall victim to and can develop a variety of bad habits, including greed. Greed is another reason for destroying our peace because one is unhappy with what one has and wants more. Greed begins on an individual level and progresses to communal and eventually, to global issues. This is one of the many reasons for the current conflicts in many countries. We are motivated to work hard and achieve our goals, but not to uphold our moral values such as truthfulness, honesty, and faithfulness. The world bank states in its “Poverty” report: “Hunger and poverty have been increasing over time for a variety of reasons” (4). It is also a well-known fact that people in poor countries have few rights amidst dishonest and unfaithful leaders dictating their rights. In addition, there are numerous other causes of societal depression, which have resulted in increased local conflicts and, ultimately, in wars. This scenario also applies to advanced countries, as poverty has increased dramatically in recent years, contributing to societal depression and other mental health issues. The wealthy nations’ egoism and selfishness also contribute to the implementation of wars. Uneven wealth distribution is another cause of peace deprivation.
It has been assumed that religion causes conflicts between people, but we must examine whether this is true or not. Wars based solely on politics or other agendas, such as World Wars I and II, caused extreme devastation. Details of ongoing wars are provided by “ReviseSociology” under the topic “Ongoing Wars and Conflicts in the World Today” (5) as shown below:
Figure 1: Conflicts and wars going on in the world.
The brown color shows 10,000+ deaths, the red color shows 1000-9999 deaths, the orange color shows 100-999 deaths and the yellow color shows skirmishes and clashes with 10-99 deaths in current or past calendar years (6).
All wars or conflicts can be resolved through sincere mutual discourse. The conflict normally progresses to the point where the parties involved believe there is no solution. The ‘stronger’ party tries to suppress the opposing party and finds a solution in its own favor, no matter the cost. Or the ‘stronger’ ones are so sure of themselves that they believe that if a power is forming against them, they can simply finish it off by engaging in some extreme activity. In other words, their minds might have not evolved to the point where they can sit and discuss the problem without engaging in aggressive or inhuman activity.
Several verses of the Holy Qur’an mention how to establish peace. Surah Al-Baqarah says:
“And spend for the cause of Allah and cast not yourselves into ruin with your own hands, and do good; surely, Allah loves those who do good” (7).
In the following verse, we read what the Qur’an says about killing one innocent person:
“On account of this, We prescribed for the children of Israel that whosoever killed a person, unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind. And Our Messengers came to them with Clear Signs, yet even after that, many of them commit excesses in the land” (8).
Islam means “peace.” We see many examples of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) treating prisoners of war humanely, with kindness, and even forgiving the murderers of his daughter, Zainab (ra) (9). Islam’s teachings on peace are infused with these examples. The solutions to problems of peace deprivation provided by Islam are so satisfactory that, assuming one follows them correctly and with an open mind, no alternative solution needs to be proposed.
1. May be attributed to Buddha
2. Sahih Muslim 2986, Book 55, Hadith 59, USC-MSA web (English), Book 42, Hadith 7115
3. Sahih al-Bukhari 7282, Book 96, Hadith 14, USC-MSA web (English), Vol. 9, Book 92, Hadith 386
4. World Bank (2015). Overview. [online]World Bank. Available at: https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview#1
5. Thompson, A.K. (2021). Ongoing Wars and Conflicts in the World Today. [online]Revise Sociology. Available at: https://revisesociology.com/2021/03/03/ongoing-wars-and-conflicts-in-the-world-today/ [Accessed 10 Jan. 2022].
6. Wikimedia Commons, Ongoing conflicts around the world (2012) [online], Available at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22118731
7. Holy Qur’an (2:196)
8. Holy Qur’an (5:33)
9. Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, “Life of Muhammad,” (Edition: 1990), p. 257, Islam International Publication Ltd, Tilford, Surrey, GU10 2AQ, UK.
Last modified: March 2022