Books and Documents

Interview (26 Jul 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Why This 91 Year-Old Islamic Scholar Refuses To Stop Working For Peace!

By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam

24 July 2016

Internationally-renowned Islamic scholar based in New Delhi, 91 year-old Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has been working for decades to promote peace and dialogue between Muslims and others and is still actively engaged in the cause. In this interview, he explains why:

Q: Even after so many years, you continue to write on issues related to Islam, peace, non-violence and interfaith and inter-community dialogue with great passion, seeking also to counter extremism in the name of Islam. What drives you?

A: In 1967, I started my mission of peace in New Delhi. At that time, a Delhi-based Muslim magazine wrote an article critical of me, bearing the title ‘A Lonely Voice’. However, in the past 40 years, my way of thinking has been adopted by thousands of people in India as well as abroad; these people have become part of my peace mission. This positive experience is my driving force. I am certain that a person can deny everything else but he cannot deny his own nature. Thus, those who, after reading my writings, discover the truth cannot afford to deny it any more. This fact has been proved true in the past, and, with God’s help, it will be proved correct in the future on a greater scale.

Q: You are more than 90 years old now. Given your age and also given how serious the situation today is, someone else might have given up all hope for a better, more peaceful world. He might have turned cynical and bitter. He might have lost all interest in these issues that you have been working for—peace and inter-community harmony and so on. He might have felt that trying to transform others and the world is pointless. But not you! What continues to inspire you to be so engaged in seeking to promote peace and to counter extremism, including and especially among Muslims?

A: My confidence is based on a verse of the Quran which says that a believer always has an option of one of two goods: the good of the Hereafter or the good of both the present world and the Hereafter (9:52). I am hopeful of both the good of this world and that of the Hereafter. In such a situation, I do not need to fall prey to frustration. I am hopeful of the good of the Hereafter because my mission is based on the Quran and Sunnah, the practice of the Prophet. As far as the good of this world is concerned, I am hopeful of it because many people have abandoned their violent ways and have come to the path of peace after becoming familiar with the ideas laid down in the literature of our Centre for Peace and Spirituality.

Q: Terrorism engaged in by self-styled Islamic groups seems to be becoming even more devastating. Almost every day now there is a terrorist attack by such groups somewhere. Given this, what makes you continue to be hopeful about peace, including and especially among Muslims and between Muslims and others?

A: My hopes are based on nature. I believe that radicalized Muslims are misguided. They wrongly consider their violent acts as Islam. This thinking of theirs is based on a wrong, ‘Jihadi’ interpretation of Islam. In comparison to this, I present an interpretation of Islam based on Dawah (inviting people to God). Thousands of Muslims all over the world have corrected and reformed their thinking after reading my writings, because they found them in accordance with their inner nature. This phenomenon has created hope in me in that I believe that others, too, can similarly be changed along peaceful lines. I continually make an effort to change the minds of people. From past experience, I can say that when people’s minds are addressed, they abandon violence in favour of peace.

Q: It is said that several Muslims have been radicalized through the Internet. What practical measures do you suggest for countering this and for bringing Muslims to actively work for peace and harmony?

A: Spread of peaceful literature and dissemination of peaceful ideas on the Internet alone can counter the radicalization that is seen among Muslims today. De-radicalization will take place in the same manner as radicalization has taken place, that is, through the spread of ideas. There can be no other way. Misleading interpretations of Islam have been uploaded on websites on a large scale. A similar pattern will have to be followed with regard to the peaceful interpretation of Islam. There is enough matter in the literature of our Centre for Peace and Spirituality for doing this work.

Q:    I’m not sure if this is the case, but I think it might be: why is it that many people are more easily swayed by negative propaganda, propaganda directed against and critical of others, than by positivity? Why do protest movements—directed against this or that government, country, community etc.—often seem to find more sympathizers that movements working for a positive cause, like world peace, harmony etc? Do you think this attraction for negativity/hate rather than positivity/love is inherent in human nature or do you think it is a result of wrong social conditioning (and, therefore, something that can be changed)?

A: The basic reason for this is that many people cannot do a wise analysis of events. Negativity is the price to be paid for not being able to engage in a wise analysis of events. Because people do not wisely analyze the situations that present themselves, they easily become negative about trivial issues and then take to complaining and protesting. This is a worldwide phenomenon, not specific to Muslims alone.

Q: What message do you have for people who, seeing the violence that’s happening across the world today, including in the name of Islam, might feel despondent and helpless and might lose hope about prospects of peace?

A: There is no room for hopelessness in this world. All problems are due to wrong planning, and they can be overcome through right planning. The right way is to determine the root cause and make people aware of it. The violence among Muslims seen in the present age is a result of their unawareness of the importance and effectiveness of peaceful methods. Once this unawareness is removed, they would become peaceful. For example, during the Second World War, Germany and Japan had been violent nations. When they incurred losses, they developed a rethinking and have today become entirely peaceful. The same holds true for Muslims.

I am also seeing all the violence happening today. But I do not develop helplessness. Rather this situation led me to analyze the problem. I understood the root cause for the violence, and began to inform people about how to reform themselves. Through this approach, I have been able to help transform many people along peaceful lines. I think this method of changing people’s way of thinking needs to be made more popular.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/interview/maulana-wahiduddin-khan-for-new-age-islam/why-this-91-year-old-islamic-scholar-refuses-to-stop-working-for-peace!/d/108079


  • The peace-makers are happy people. They love, and desire, and delight in peace. It is no surprise Maulana is living beyond 91 years. Son of Mary exalt these people and said "Blessed are the peace makers for they will be called children of God"(Mathew 5:9)
    If the peace-makers are blessed, woe to the peace breakers.

    By Royalj - 7/27/2016 5:10:18 AM

  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan knows how to get the right message from the Quran. Equally eligible for the title of Aalim of the Subcontinent is the wise and sensible preacher Javed Ahmad Ghamidi.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 7/26/2016 11:39:10 AM

Compose Your Comments here:
Email (Not to be published)
Fill the text
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.