Abdul Matin, Ph.D Research Scholar,
Department of Arabic, Aliah University, Kolkata.
Introduction: Nowadays, the world is beset with enormous social problems, and human beings are undergoing anxious, depressed and tense situations. The peaceful and harmonious environment has become of paramount significance for all societies and cultures around the globe. Islam literally means peace, stands for universal love, harmony, and mutual co-existence. Islam calls for peace, tolerance and kindness, which is a state of physical, mental, spiritual and social harmony. In an Islamic society, religious education is the fundamental right of all individuals, which promotes the formation of well-organized and well-socialized masses with appropriate social norms and values. It is true to say that religious education is a real backbone for Muslim societies. The Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) are divine sources of religious education, which provide guidance and instruction for every sphere of life. An extensive review of Islamic teachings reveals that religious education predominantly aims at building a peaceful, tolerable, patient, and harmonious society for the welfare of humanity. The basic aim of Islamic education is to produce masses fulfilling Allah’s rights and human rights, as well as adorning human being with good characters and ethics for peaceful living around the world. Indeed, Islamic education lays down sound foundations for individual, family, and social life to promote true believers of Islam and good citizens for a peaceful and harmonious society. However, this study reveals a real picture of the impacts of Islamic education on the development of peaceful masses and harmonious environment.
Key Words: Islamic Education, Peace, Society, harmonious environment.
What is Islamic Education?
Islamic education can be seen as a process through which a person learns something which his society believes is related to Allah. However, the term Islamic education stands for Islamic education derived from the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
In Promoting Peace and Harmony Islamic education is confined in the divine book the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) that refers to his deeds, words, and indirect commandments. The Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah (Hadith) are the two streams coming from the same source [from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)]. The Prophet (PBUH), as a great teacher, has provided complete guidance in all fields of life. Whilst Islamic education refers towards the straight and practical path to achieve universal peace and unity. Basically, Islamic education is peace education that promotes a culture of peace. The teachings of Islam are fully aware of human nature and human needs. The various aspects of Islam including, ideological, spiritual, legal, social, economic, and political, are mutually consistent and supplement for each other. (Marwan Ibrahim, p, 14.). Islam is a comprehensive and universal religion for all races and classes of people aimed at addressing the needs of humanity with its spiritual, moral, social, legal, political, and economic systems. Human history clearly testifies the reality that Islamic education has played a major role in building a peaceful, decent, and harmonious society. The truth of happiness and peace is completely mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH).
Allah Almighty highlights the dignity of human being in order to protect one’s life:
“If anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land, it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind (Surah Al-Maida 5: 32).”
The verse reveals Islamic standpoint towards saving humankind. Killing one humankind is considered as killing of all humankind; in the same way, saving one humankind is a saving of all humankind. Indeed, this verse reflects upon the universal message of Islam towards constructing a peaceful and harmonious society.
- Meaning of Peace:
Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups. Throughout history leaders have used peacemaking and diplomacy to establish a certain type of behavioral restraint that has resulted in the establishment of regional peace or economic growth through various forms of agreements or peace treaties. Such behavioral restraint has often resulted in the reduction of conflicts, greater economic interactivity, and consequently substantial prosperity.
“Psychological peace” (such as a peaceful thinking and emotions) is perhaps less well defined yet often a necessary precursor to establishing “behavioral peace.” Peaceful behavior sometimes results from a “peaceful inner disposition.” Some have expressed the belief that peace can be initiated with a certain quality of inner tranquility that does not depend upon the uncertainties of daily life for its existence. The acquisition of such a “peaceful internal disposition” for oneself and others can contribute to resolving of otherwise seemingly irreconcilable competing interests.
- Islamic Education and Individual Peace:
Islamic education draws attention significantly on individual peace. Peace requires self-control and Islamic education promotes it; whereby individual life leading towards family and social life. Islam calls every person to cooperate with one another in material and moral fields. Iman (to have belief/ belief in Allah) provides inner peace and happiness whereas Islam (to submit or to surrender [for Allah will]) does external peace and harmony. Muslim is not only forbidden to harm others, but he is commanded to be positive by preventing any harm to others that could be done to them. Human peace solely depends upon the equilibrium state of thoughts and actions (deeds) and giving everything its due; and is far away from guesses, arbitrariness, exaggerations, and negligence. Islamic education considers pious believers more honorable to Allah Almighty than other Muslims; although all human have the same dignity, equality, and status. The Qur’an mentions clearly:
“Whoever is pleased that he be granted more wealth, and that his lease of life be prolonged, then he should keep good relations with his kith and kin.”( Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 5985,Vol.8, p 25 .
“He, who is not merciful to others, will not be treated mercifully.” (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith (6013).
In addition, Islamic supplications recommend Muslims supplicating for good character, actions, and deeds
“O Allah, I seek refuge in you from evil character, evil actions, and evil desire” ( Jami At-Tirmidhi, Hadith (3591).
“O Allah! I ask you for guidance, piety, abstinence, and independence of means” ( Sahih Muslim, Hadith (6904).
“O Allah! I seek refuge with you from weakness, and laziness, from cowardice and from senile old age, and I seek refuge with you from the punishment of the grave, and I seek refuge with you from the Fitnah (trial and affliction etc.) of life and death” (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari, Hadith (6367).
The above discussion demonstrates that Islamic education specifically refers to a healthy and peaceful individual life that is an important key to family and social peace.
- Islamic Education and Family Peace:
Family is a natural and fundamental unit of a society. The term family is used to designate a special kind of structure, whose principles relate to one another through blood ties and/or marital. In Islam tradition, the family is recognized as the basis of a society; in which good values and conducts are placed at the highest rank to keep family relationships healthy and harmonious. As individuals constitute families, families set up nations and nations establish the whole world. By ensuring a happy and peaceful family, Islam aims at securing peace for a nation and peace for the world.
Generally, the family consists of parents, children, spouses, brothers, sisters, relatives. Islamic education has prescribed the responsibilities and rights of the members of a family in order to maintain happiness, well-being, and welfare in a family. The status and respect of all family members mentioned clearly including: mother, father, brother, sister, children, paternal and maternal uncles, paternal and maternal aunts. Islamic teachings also provide awareness regarding neighbors, friends, and servants. Islamic code of ethics requires treatment even with those relatives and family members who cut asunder the blood-tie.
Islamic education has greatly stressed on the rights and responsibilities of all family members. For instance, the Qur’an clearly mentions the rights of parents: “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you are dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honor. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them your mercy as they did bring me up when was young.” (Surah Al-Unbiya 17: 23–24)
Similarly, the Qur’an promotes good treatment with relatives and other people:
“Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor (al-Masakin), the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess.” (Surah Al-Nisa 4: 36).
Prophetic traditions highlight a number of strategies for the sound foundations of a family life. For example,
“Verily, Allah will ask every responsible [individual] about all those, whom he was made responsible; he protected or wasted, even if a man will be asked about his family members.” ( Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith (4943) Shaykh Nasiruddin Albani said: [This Hadith is] Hasan Ṣahih.
Islamic education addresses mutual responsibilities and rights of spouses for a healthy, decent, caring, and loving home environment. For instance, the traditions recommend a Muslim husband to fulfill the rights of his wife:
“The best of you is the one who is best to his wife.”
“Treat women nicely.” (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith (3331).
“And I command you to take care of the women in a good manner.”( Sahih Bukhari, Hadith (5185–5186).
In the same way, the traditions recommend a Muslim wife to fulfill rights of her husband:
“A woman is a guardian of her husband’s house and responsible for her charges.” (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith (2558)
This shows that Muslim spouses can provide strong foundations for a happy and peaceful family life by practicing Islamic guidance. Furthermore, traditions prohibit praying against family members and wealth, hitting or beating a woman. For example:
“Do not supplicate against yourselves, and do not supplicate against your children, and do not supplicate against your servants, and do not supplicate against your wealth, for (it is possible) that it will coincide with an hour in which requests are granted, so your supplication will be responded to as well.” (Suanan Abu Dawud, Hadith (1532.
“The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) never hit anyone with his hand, nor any woman or servant.” (Sahih Muslim, Hadith (6050).
The above discussion highlights the beauty of Islamic education in dealing with family life, as social relations depend on harmonious concord between husband and wife.
- Islamic Education and Social Peace:
Islam is a complete way of life embracing all aspects of life. Islam is confined to economic, political, devotional, legal manners, values, attitudes, customs, and manners in all reaches of human concern and relationship. Principally, Islam aims at producing a distinct culture based on Islamic ideals and values. Islamic education ensures the strong basis of a peaceful environment in the society. Islamic teachings provide complete guidance and direction to establish a pacific social life. Islam is also a complete integration of cultural diversity in the society. Islam is a complete faith that had achieved intellectual peak, introduced ethical dimensions, freedom of mind and knowledge for meaningful actions.
The Holy Quran and the Sunnah mainly focus on protection of Muslims and non Muslims. The teaching of the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has fostered a society of peace, harmony, tolerance, and forgiveness. The Prophet (PBUH) through his character eventually won the hearts of people. Promoting peace in a society is highly encouraged in the verses of the Holy Qur’an. The Qur’an mentions that Allah Almighty does allow making mischief on earth:
“Eat and drink of that which Allah has provided and do not act corruptly, making mischief on earth.” (Surah Baqarah 2: 60).
Similarly, Allah does not like mischief-making human being.
“But seek, with that (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world; and do good as Allah has been good to you, and seek not mischief in the land. Verily, Allah likes not the Mufsidūn (those who commit great crimes and sins, oppressors, tyrants, mischief-makers, corrupt).” (Surah Al-Qasus 28: 77)
Additionally, the Qur’an stresses on reconciliation in foreign relations in various verses. For instance, “But if they (the enemies) incline to peace, you also incline to it, and have trust in Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. (Surah Al-Unfal 8: 61)
So, if they withdraw from you, and fight not against you, and offer you peace, then Allah has opened no way for you against them. Fulfillment of promise, gratefulness in mutual dealings strengthens the bond of love and affability among human beings. Hospitality and entertainment find a prominent place in Islamic teachings. Handshaking is also a symbol of goodwill. Islamic way of greeting is by uttering the word Salam which carries the meaning of peace:
“A good, pleasant, friendly word is a Charity (Sadaqa).” (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith (6021).
“A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other.” The Prophet then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced.”( Sahih Bukhari, Hadith (6026))
“The best among you are those who have the best manners and the best character.”( Sahih Bukhari, Hadith (6029).
“The worst people before Allah on the Day of Resurrection will be the double-faced people who appear to some people with one face and to other people with another face.”( Sahih Bukhari, Hadith (6058).
“The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith (6114).
A man said to the Prophet:
“Advise me!” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Do not become angry and furious.” The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet (PBUH) said in each case, “Do not become angry and furious.” (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith (6116).
“The example of a believer is like a green tree, the leaves of which do not fall.” Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repel (them) (i.e. to make them hate good deeds and to run away from Islam).” (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith (6125).
Islam offers a number of comprehensive principles for the problems of human societies in different ages. Generally speaking, Islamic education promotes good ethics, including: repentance, love, patience, hope, honesty and trust, control of desire, unity, hospitality, humbleness, and fulfillment of promises, forgiveness. At the same time, Islamic education forbids bad manners, including: the lust of wealth, bad use of tongue, vain talking, anger, falsehood, malice, jealousy, mystery, greed, hypocrisy, religious controversy, false deposition, disputes, pride, backbiting, flattery, and dissensions, disclosure of secrets, sorcery, unethical jokes, immoral songs, name calling, and deceit. By putting social etiquette into practice, we can still have a society free from malice, hatred, ill-will, tension, conceit, greed, ostentation, envy and numerous other social evils.
The historical evidence proves that Prophetic period was an ideal period and Muslims should construct and develop a peaceful and harmonious society based on Islamic teachings. The Prophet (PBUH) was sent as a mercy for all humankind:
“And we have sent you (O Muhammad) not, but as a mercy for the worlds (Alamin mankind, jinn and all that exists).” (Qur’an, 21:107)
This study provides an insight into the Islamic education as a means of promoting peace and harmony in a society. The findings of this study reveal that Islamic education primarily plays a key role in attaining individual, family and social peace. It also helps in promoting tolerance, humbleness, and harmony in a society. The findings highlight that individual peace leads to family peace that leads to the social peace; likewise, individual disorder eventually leads to family disorder that leads to the social disorder. Moreover, Islamic education evidently preserves and protects the rights of humankind in general and Muslims in particular aiming at social peace, integration, and cohesion.
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