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Dt. 06/03/2011

Here is an interview with Maulana Wahiduddin Khan,founder of International Centre for Peace and Spirituality, New Delhi, and noted islamic scholar and reformer who has adpated peace as mission of his life. Maulana has written more than 200 books on Islam, prophetic wisdom and peaceful co-existence in a multi-ethnic society. and actively engaged in service of humankind for past 4 decades. Here follows the interview:

What is your ideology to bring peace in the world? Can you please highlight some of your life-long peace initiatives?

Answer 1. People are deprived of peace because they have added some unnatural conditions to attaining peace. According to my experience conditional peace is impossible in this world. We have to accept peace without setting any condition. If you are ready to accept the status quo, then, instantly you can establish peace. Generally, people say that they want peace, but they want peace with justice. This kind of thinking is completely wrong. The fact is that, justice is not a part of peace; justice is a part of your own struggle. Peace opens the door of opportunities for you and by availing these opportunities you can achieve your right and justice.

I have been advocating this concept since the past 40 years, and now I can say that Indian Muslims have accepted it completely. Pakistan, Kashmir and Russia too have accepted it partially.

This East and West divide, this ongoing unrest, how can we bring the world back in order?

According to my analysis, Muslims are responsible for this state of affairs. After the advent of modern civilization, Muslims found themselves at the backseat, so they became furious. Everywhere in the world they waged a war in the name of jihad and when they failed in this self-styled jihad they started suicide bombing. It is this negative reaction by Muslims that is mainly responsible for the present crisis. The only solution to this problem is that Muslims must accept that what is happening against them is due to their own backwardness in education, modern science and in the modern concept of organization. So they must abandon all those negative activities and violent activism. They must stop all these things and go back to education. They must consolidate themselves in terms of modernity otherwise there is no future for the present Muslim generation.

Muslims are directly or indirectly involved in conflicts. How can we address the issues therein?

The reason for this conflict is nothing but Muslims’ negative reaction to the present situation. According to the Islamic teachings you have to respond positively in all kinds of negative situation, but Muslims fail to give such kind of positive response. This failure of Muslims has led to the conflict in the present situation. This conflict by Muslims is a kind of self-destruction. Present Muslim mind is a negative mind, and a negative mind is difficult to address. The only thing we can do is that Muslims must abandon their negative thinking. They must put an end to all kinds of conflict and diversify their energies towards consolidation. They must consolidate themselves especially in terms of modern education. In this world of competition they cannot achieve anything simply by fighting or suicide bombing. They must prepare themselves. They must prove that they are competent to face the modern challenge otherwise there is no future of present Muslims.

Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance; unfortunately it is linked with terrorism, violence and hatred. Why and who is responsible?

According to my analysis, Muslims themselves are responsible for the present state of affairs. Present media is an industry of hot news and Muslims create hot news everyday. So, media does nothing but cover these hot news created by Muslims. It is true that present Muslim image is a negative image but the blame goes to none other than Muslims themselves. If Muslims want to change their image they must stop creating hot news. There is no other solution to this problem.

What is jihad actually about and how can it be separated from terrorism?

According to the Quran, jihad is peaceful struggle, especially peaceful struggle for Dawah. This is very clear from this Quranic verse: Do with them great jihad with the help of the Quran (25:52). Quran is a book of ideology, so, this Quranic verse means that do great ideological jihad. Or do great jihad by the help of the Quranic ideology. It is a misuse of this term to say that jihad means armed struggle. You have to declare that terrorism is a criminal activity. This declaration will automatically separate jihad with terrorism.

What should be jihad then in contemporary world and how can it be applied in peace building and development initiatives in a purely non-violent manner?

According to the scriptures, jihad has nothing to do with war. Jihad is a peaceful or non-violent activism. If we try to understand jihad as practiced by the Prophet of Islam, we will discover that jihad is a boon for mankind. According to the practice of the prophet of Islam, jihad is an ideology of peace. Jihad gives us a peaceful methodology i.e. a surest way to establish peace in the world. Why do people always indulge in fighting? The reason is that in every situation there are problems, problems are a part of life, so people take these problems as an obstacle and try to eliminate it. This kind of methodology is not feasible because problem is a part of life, so there is no escape from the problems. Prophet of Islam gave us a new formula of peaceful methodology i.e. ignore the problems and avail the opportunities. He told us that with every problem there are opportunities. So adopt this policy. Avoid the problem so that you may find time to avail the opportunity. For the first time this formula was presented by the Prophet of Islam. So Muslims must adopt this formula and must convey it to all mankind.

What does Islam say about the co-existence of other religions? What type of roles can Muslims play in bringing peace in this world?

In this regard there is very clear information in the Quran: Lakum deenukum waleyadeen (109:6). This Quranic verse gives us a very wise and practicable formula. This formula is: follow one and respect all. This verse was revealed in Makkah but after immigration when he settled in Madinah again he adopted this same formula. He included this provision in the Madinah Declaration for Jewish community: For Jewish community their religion and for Muslim community their religion.

What are your comments on the American foreign policy and the world disorder?

Before the Iraq war, I said in an interview published in the Times of India of New Delhi, in which I said that if America attacks Iraq, it will prove counter productive for it. So according to my assessment the policy adopted by America is not practical. America must have adopted, here, the same policy which it has adopted in regard to China and India i.e. solving the problem without taking an extreme stand like attack.

Yes to India, No to Iran in nuclear deal. How far will this American approach be successful in bringing peace in the world?

In terms of peace, I don’t know whether it will be successful or not but as far as the theoretical aspect is concerned it is correct because the Iranian leaders openly said that America is Satan, America is our enemy. They made the American Embassy their hostage. According to the international law if an embassy or some member of the embassy are engaged in objectionable activities then in such a situation the host country cannot intervene directly, they can only declare those people persona non greta. However, as far as India is concerned, it never acted in this manner against USA. India always adopted friendly behavior towards USA, so it is but natural that USA would adopt two different policies regarding Iran and India.

Media can play a role in peace building and conflict resolution. What are your comments on western media in highlighting the problems of Muslims?

I have no complaint against the western Media. My complaint is against the Muslims. It is Muslim militancy and extremism that supplies hot items to the modern media. If we want to stop this state of affairs we must advise Muslims to abandon violence and provide soft news to media. This is the only way by which we can repair the damages done against the Muslim community.

Do you agree that the Israel-Palestine conflict is the mother of all violence today? How can this problem be solved?

I do agree that Palestinian issue is the mother of all the problems facing the Muslim world, either directly or indirectly, but I don’t agree that the Palestine issue was created by Israelis. According to my analysis this issue was created by the Muslims or Arabs themselves. This problem began in 1948 when, under the Balfour Declaration (1917) approved by the League of Nations in 1922, Israel was established after the Second World War. According to this partition, about one-third of Palestine was given to Israel and near about two-thirds of it was given to Arabs. For both the parties it fell short of its expectation because both the parties wanted to occupy the entire land of Palestine but after showing resentment Israel accepted the partition, while Arabs rejected the whole scheme of partition and they waged a war against Israel as well as against their patrons i.e. Britain and USA.

This was completely an impossible politics for Arabs. So according to the law of nature they were destined to fail. Then after their failure they waged a planned war against their supposed enemy; this war has now reached the disastrous end of suicide bombing. According to a well-known formula, politics is the art of the possible. Arabs opted for a politics quite against this formula. So now they are paying the price of their wrong policy of adopting impossible politics. Now, the only solution to this problem is that that Arabs must accept the status quo and by abandoning their violent activism they must adopt peaceful activism. There is no alternative to this policy for Arabs.

Do you think a second Superpower is necessary for bringing peace in the world?

I don’t think so. After the Second World War we have experienced two-polar world with two superpowers but it was not a good experience, so it is useless to wish to have another world order of that kind. I think that the present world order is better than the previous world order. The only problem is with the Muslims. Muslims are not ready to accept the reality. It is this tendency, which creates problem; Muslims must reconsider about their extremist policy, instead of talking about evolving a second superpower. The concept of a second super power is nothing but living in Utopia. Muslims must abandon this kind of utopian thinking.

Can democracy bring peace in the world? What are the prerequisites of peace?

I do agree that democracy is a great political boon for us. The only problem is that some communities, especially Muslims, are not ready to adjust with democratic values. Democracy needs self-discipline and accepting the point of others and adopting the formula of co-existence but present Muslims lack all these values, so here lies the real problem. I completely agree that democracy is the only system that can bring peace in the world, but democracy has some prerequisites, democracy and total freedom cannot go together. Successful democracy needs limited freedom. Limited freedom is not a curb on freedom, instead it is a way of self-control and self discipline. According to my experience, Democracy is half administration and half limited freedom.

According to my experience, the prerequisite of peace, is, taking peace as an opportunity rather than the right to do anything. Peace opens the door of opportunity; it cannot give you your rights directly. As far as your rights are concerned you can achieve them by striving hard and availing the opportunity that presents itself in the peaceful atmosphere.

Who is responsible for the death of almost one million Iraqis and others displaced? How can the peace be restored there?

According to my analysis, the responsibility goes to no other than all the Muslim leaders who supported the stand adopted by Saddam Hussain. I would like to say that when USA demanded that Saddam must go then all the Muslim leaders should have advised Saddam to accept this demand, and then everything would have been saved. Here I would like to add that at that time Saddam Hussain was the owner of eight huge mansions in Iraq and also had abundant money. So it was good for Saddam Hussain to abandon political office and establish eight modern educational centers in Iraq. That was a million times better choice for Saddam Hussain. But all the Muslim leaders began abusing US and no one was able to tell Saddam Hussain except myself, to opt for such non-political proposal.

Whom do Shia and Sunni want to please when either of them blast bombs in mosques – house of Allah? Are they serving religion in any way? What are your comments?

Both wanted to please Satan. Both have adopted Satan as their advisor and they are doing all these heinous acts under the advice of Satan. According to a hadith man always acts either under the Satanic advice or under the Angelic advice, so all bad practices are performed under the advice of Satan and all good practices are performed under the advice of Angels. By taking this hadith of the Prophet that both are under the influence of Satanic advice because there is a verse in the Quran that one who kills a believer will surely go to hell. So Angel cannot give this kind of advice but Satan can.

No, they are not serving religion. They are serving the satanic cause. A verse in the Quran says, that, Satan wants to arouse hate and enmity among different communities and this act is clearly of such nature.

By- Dr. M. Ashaq Malik

This interview can be reproduced to spread the word of peace, but please do not forget to mention the source.

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