Peace, an often-elusive concept in our fast-paced lives, is lost somewhere between our struggle for survival and success in a competitive world, the demands of an ever-expanding digital society, and a disturbing background of international tensions, economic depression – and a pandemic to boot.
In such a challenging setting, it is often difficult to find momentary peace let alone create a prevailing state of inner peace. So how can we obtain true peace in our souls? Philosophers, thinkers, physicians of physical and mental health, leaders of various communities have proposed a two-fold concept comprised of peace with oneself and peace with the world. This concept, while logical, is incomplete. Just as a child cannot truly be at peace if they are in conflict with their parents, neither can man, a creation of God, attain true peace without Him. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rh) the Fourth Successor of The Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), explained the Islamic concept of peace in a Question-and-Answer session in 1996 as “Peace with The Creator and Peace with oneself and the rest of the world” (1).
These two aspects are inextricably interconnected; it is not possible to be at peace with oneself and the world without being at peace with the Creator and vice versa.
In the Holy Qur’an, God is described as the true Source of Peace:
“He is Allah, and there is no God beside Him, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, the Bestower of Security, the Protector, the Mighty, the Subduer, the Exalted. Holy is Allah far above that which they associate with Him” (2).
Being the Source of Peace, God is free from all suffering, pain, self-imposed injuries, and death that are ascribed to Him and inflicted or implemented in His name by ignorant people. Rather, peace and security emanating from Him in abundance cannot be achieved without forming a connection with God, without being at peace with Him.
The solution and outcome of being at peace with God have been explained in the Holy Qur’an:
“Verily, those who believe and do good works, they are the best of creatures. Their reward is with their Lord, Gardens of Eternity, through which streams flow; they will abide therein forever. Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord” (3).
Similarly, the Qur’an also says:
“Nay, whoever submits himself completely to Allah, and is the doer of good, shall have his reward with his Lord. No fear shall come upon such, neither shall they grieve” (4).
Thus, the key to true peace of the heart is complete submission to the will of Allah. This can only happen when every action is guided by the commandments of Allah. This is what is meant by the worship of Allah, as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me” (5).
If we explore the meaning of the Arabic word, “Abd”, it becomes evident that to worship God is not limited to the physical act of praying. An “Abid”, a true servant, obeys his master in word and deed so completely that he becomes a reflection of the master. This is what is meant by worship, to immerse oneself in the attributes of Allah. We read in the Holy Qur’an:
“Say, ‘We will adopt the religion of Allah; and who is better than Allah in teaching religion, and Him alone do we worship” (6).
Here we see the beauty of the Arabic language, where a word can have different but interconnected meanings that together give a profound depth and layers of insight to that word. The word “Sibghat” used in this verse means religion as well as color or dye. What it means is that religion is like a dye that has the power to change the characteristics of the person who colors himself with it. And what is a better religion for man to adopt than the religion of God, the Being Who created man? We read in the Holy Bible that “God created man in His Own image” (7).
Thus, the Qur’an explains that the true worshiper of God is one who immerses himself in the Divine attributes and qualities of Allah. His actions and words reflect the image of God just as a mirror reflects a true likeness.
One may ask, what are the attributes of God? The teachings of many religions, distorted and blemished over centuries by the interpolations of some ignorant human minds, describe their gods to be weak, silent spectators who could only intervene in the past by either sacrificing their own lives or those of their chosen ones. Such gods hardly inspire faith let alone act as role models in our lives. But the God described in Islam, the All-Powerful, Just God, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, Merciful, Gracious, the Pardoner, the Bestower of Reward and Punishment, the Compassionate, the Protector, and the Guide. He alone is worthy of worship, the Divine Being with perfect attributes, free of flaws. The Holy Qur’an is a treasure house that describes all the Divine attributes of Allah we can aspire to and attempt to incorporate in our daily lives to create peace in ourselves and in our societies. The very first chapter describes the mother attributes, to which all others can be traced:
“God whose name is Allah is worthy of every kind of praise and all praise pertains only to His Glory, for He is the Creator-Sustainer of all the worlds; He is the Gracious, He is the Merciful and He is the Master of the Day of Requital” (8).
The attribute of the Creator and Sustainer (ar-Rabb), mentioned above, is who creates, leads, and sustains to perfection all that is in the universe, not just the physical but also the spiritual universe. Through this attribute, we are encouraged by the Divine Being who is the Source of all capacity and ability, to achieve endless progress in knowledge, in doing good, and in the worship of God. With the use of the phrase, “all the worlds” we are directed to the good and welfare of others and not just of one’s own. Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (ra), the Second Successor of the Promised Messiah (as), explains:
“By linking up the clause ‘all praise belongs to Allah’ with the phrase ‘Lord of all the worlds’ God has drawn our attention to the fact that one man’s good is really linked to, and dependent on, the good of all mankind. A true believer should, therefore, look not only to his own good but to the good of all. One who does not do so has failed to grasp the true spirit of Islam and the universality of God’s providence. Happiness for one lies in happiness for all” (9).
Commenting on Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (ra), explains:
“‘Ar-Rahman’ is One Who shows mercy gratuitously and extensively to all creation without regard to effort or work, and ‘Ar-Rahim’ is One Who shows mercy in response to, and as a result of, the actions of man but shows it liberally and repeatedly” (9). In our small circle of family, friends, and neighbors, these attributes guide us to give without expecting anything in return, to be merciful in our dealings with others, and be generous in rewarding and promoting good deeds.
On the attribute of ‘Malik-e-Youmidin’ Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (ra) expounds that “The use of the word ‘Master’ serves a twofold purpose. On the one hand, it encourages a person who has, in a moment of weakness, committed a sin, not to despair because God, being his Master, has the power to forgive. On the other hand, it serves as a warning against taking undue advantage of God’s mercy. For if as God, the Master could, and no doubt would forgive, He would also hate to see His servants degraded by sin. God, the Master, inspires man both with hope and with fear, and this is essential for man’s spiritual progress and development” (9).
Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (ra) further explains how a man can progress spiritually using just these three attributes. He says,
“…. man, first of all, becomes the manifestation of the attribute of ‘Maalik’ (Master); he begins to manifest in himself the attribute of ‘Adal’ or justice, tempering it with mercy and forgiveness. Having developed in his person the attribute of ‘Maalik,’ man reaches the second stage of spiritual progress where he becomes the manifestation of the attribute of ‘Ar-Rahim,’ i.e., He begins to reward the actions of man liberally and generously. This is the stage that is termed ‘Ihsan’ or beneficence. The next stage relates to the attribute of ‘Ar-Rahman.’ Here the sphere of man’s beneficence becomes widespread; his goodness extends to believers and non-believers alike, He begins to treat them just as a mother treats her children, prompted only by a natural instinct and without hope of any return. This stage has been termed ‘Ita-e-zil Qurba,’ that is, doing good to others as one would do to one’s near relatives. Then comes the attribute of ‘Raabil Alameen’ which marks the highest stage of man’s spiritual development, when he becomes a manifestation of “Lord of all the worlds. At this stage, man makes himself responsible for the welfare and guidance of the whole world. He is not satisfied if he or only those who immediately surround him are guided or otherwise provided for, but desires the good of the whole world, and begins to use his God-given powers for the achievement of this great end” (9).
The Holy Qur’an, with every verse and chapter, brings to light the innumerable beautiful attributes of God, which can help resolve conflict in any situation, be it personal or communal. It guides us towards the path of righteousness through which true peace can be achieved. By adopting the colors (Divine attributes) of God, we can create a world of peace that starts within our souls when we forge a bond of love with God; this bond can extend to our community when our actions and interactions with others truly reflect our love for God and His Creation.
1 The Attainment of Inner Peace. The Review of Religions, February 1997.
2 The Holy Qur’an (59;24)
3 The Holy Qur’an (98;8-9)
4 The Holy Qur’an (2;113)
5 The Holy Qur’an (51;57)
6 The Holy Qur’an (2;139) English translation with Short Commentary Edited by Malik Ghulam Farid.
7 Genesis 1:27
8 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Commentary of the Holy Qur’an, Vol, 1, Surah Fatiha. P. 27
9 Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad, The five-volume Commentary of the Holy Qur’an, Vol. 1, Pp. 11-15.
Last modified: February 2022