By Maria Khan, New Age Islam
23 September 2015
noted New Delhi-based Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan and members of
the Centre for Peace and Spirituality (CPS), of which he is the head, were
recently in the USA for a two-week visit (from August 26 to September 8, 2015).
The Maulana had been invited by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) to
felicitate him. In the course of this visit, CPS members participated in a
number of programs in Washington D.C. and Wallingford, Pennsylvania before
attending the ISNA convention.
August 27, the Maulana and CPS members visited the United States Institute of
Peace (USIP) in Washington D.C. The USIP is an institution established by the
US Congress to increase the nation’s capacity to manage conflicts without
violence. Part of its mission is providing analysis, education and resources
for peace-building. The Institute’s Religion and Peace-building team hosted a
roundtable conversation with the Maulana to discuss Islam and peace. After a
welcome note by USIP’s director of the Rule of Law Centre, Colette Rausch, the
program began with the release of the Maulana’s most recent book The Age of
Peace, which was introduced to the audience by Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National
Director for the Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances for ISNA.
Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
his opening remarks, the Maulana explained that in The Age of Peace he has
discussed the nature of the modern age and the changes brought about by it,
because of which people can achieve their goals by opting for peaceful means.
The freedom to do what one wants without harming others and the numerous
opportunities for work opened up in the present age have made it needless to
resort to violence. It is unawareness of the opportunities presented by the
modern age that has led some extremists to choose violence as a means to attain
brief introduction to the book was followed by an interactive session.
Sheherazade Jafari, the moderator of the roundtable, asked the Maulana to
elaborate on his idea of ‘peace without conditions’. Many people speak of peace
with justice—that is, insisting that if they do not get justice, they would not
be ready for peace.
According to the law of nature, the Maulana
explained, first of all peace has to be established without laying down any
conditions. This is because peace opens up tdoors to opportunities. By availing
of these opportunities, one can achieve everything one wants, including
justice. Justice, therefore, cannot be bracketed with peace. Peace can only
provide a base for achieving justice, and not justice itself. So, according to
the Maulana, firstly, one has to establish peace for the sake of peace and then
in the peaceful atmosphere that ensues one can work towards achieving one’s
Another question came from Arsalan Suleman,
Acting U.S. Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, who asked how the
extremists groups that cited examples from the life of the Prophet and his
companions to justify their deeds, should be dealt with. The Maulana answered
that the Prophet was born in a tribal age, which was an age of violence. Due to
this age factor, the tribal chiefs who were opponents of the Prophet tried to
involve him in war at several occasions. However, the Prophet tried to manage
conflicts. It was because of his efforts at avoidance that wars happened only
briefly and were reduced to skirmishes. Therefore, the Maulana stressed, war is
not an Islamic teaching. Rather, the Prophet had to engage in war only out of
compulsion. Peace is, accordingly, the rule in Islam.
next day, the Maulana had a meeting with officials of the United States
Department of State (DoS). The conversation there centered on the method of
work of the CPS and its role in conflict-resolution and peace-building. The
Maulana gave the example of his mission’s efforts in Kashmir where he has been
working since 1968. Maulana’s writings, which present the peaceful teachings of
Islam, have been disseminated on a large scale among the people of Kashmir, and
this has helped decrease militancy there. Since violence begins from the mind,
peace, too has to begin from the mind. The Maulana said his method of
transforming people towards the culture of peace is based on re-engineering the
mind. Bringing about a change in the way of thinking is the way of rooting out
the problem of violence.
August 29, the Maulana delivered a talk at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society
(ADAMS) Centre in Sterling, Virginia. He spoke on ‘Contemporary Intellectual
Challenges for Muslims’. ADAMS’ Centre President Syed Moktadir and Dr. Sayyid
Syeed were among those who attended the talk.
Maulana began by explaining that challenges are a part of life. One should not
consider a challenge as arising due to an ‘external conspiracy’. Rather,
difficulties, both physical difficulties and intellectual problems, are part of
this world. There are two kinds of challenges: crippling and non-crippling
challenges. It is a crippling challenge that is a problem. Otherwise, a
challenge is a booster for a community as it serves as a shock treatment,
which, in turn, enhances one’s creativity. It is one’s response to challenges
that determines one’s success in dealing with them. Chapter Yusuf of the Quran
tells us that the right kind of response is one based on Taqwa, or
God-consciousness. When the Prophet Joseph was offered the position of
administrator of the country by the then king of Egypt, he accepted the offer
without confronting the political authority of the king. This non-political
response is, the Maulana said, the best response when faced with challenges.
One should not try to fight with the challenges or give a negative response,
but, instead, accept them with a positive mind.
There is a Quaker study and retreat centre
located in Wallingford where the Maulana and the CPS team stayed during their
stay in Pennsylvania. The centre, called Pendle Hill, was established in 1930
to foster peace, spirituality, and social equality. The CPS group visited the
centre and interacted with the Pendle Hill community. The Maulana spoke here on
spirituality as the link between God and man. Later in the day, Pendle Hill’s
Director of Education, Steve Chase, and Director of Advancement, Anne Harper,
came over to interview the Maulana on his work related to Islam. A point that
figured in the discussion was the goal of Islam, which the Maulana explained
was to develop an individual along positive and spiritual lines. The Quranic
word for this process is Tazkiyah. Since this is basically a peaceful aim, one
that can be attained only in a peaceful environment, violence and war are
naturally outside the scheme of things of Islam.
During the team’s ten-day stay at Wallingford,
several individuals and groups came to meet and interact with the Maulana,
among them being members of the movement founded by the Turkish Islamic scholar
Fethullah Gülen, members of the Positive Thinkers’ Club based in New Jersey,
and Anuttama Dasa, who serves as ISKCON’s International Director of
Maulana and the team travelled to Chicago on September 4 to participate in the
52nd annual ISNA convention. The CPS USA had set up a stall at the convention
to distribute Maulana’s books, mainly The Age of Peace and Quranic Wisdom.
the convention’s second day, the Maulana was presented the ‘Lifetime
Achievement Award’ at the 18th Annual Interfaith Unity Banquet. The award
recognized Maulana’s decades-long work in presenting Islam according to the
contemporary idiom and developing an ideology of peace based on Islam. The
program was attended by David N. Saperstein, US Ambassador-at-Large for
International Religious Freedom, Azhar Azeez, President of ISNA, Imam Mohamed
Magid, Executive Director of ADAMS, and Naeem Baig, President of the Islamic
Circle of North America (ICNA). At the event, Dr. Sayyid Syeed urged the
audience to read and discuss The Age of Peace. In his acceptance speech, the
Maulana said that peace could be achieved only by following the law of nature.
The law of nature is based on tolerance. If you want to establish peace, you
will have to tolerate other human beings.
Maulana spoke on ‘Dealing with Extremism in the Muslim Community’ on September
7, the third and last day of the convention. In his address the Maulana said
that in the seventh century there was a peace agreement at Hudaybiyyah between
Muslims and their opponents. The treaty gave peace and freedom, which the
Prophet and his companions availed of in favour of Dawah or preaching. The
result was that they were able to spread their mission in large parts of Arabia
and its adjacent areas. The Maulana noted that at the time of the Prophet, the Hudaybiyyah
Agreement had led to limited and local freedom for the Muslims for a few years.
However, today we were living in the age of Hudaybiyyah, as everyone in every
part of the world enjoys freedom to carry out his or her activities without
being violent. In the conditions we live today, one is free to make progress in
both religious and secular domains. The Maulana cited ISNA and the educational
movement initiated by Brother Fethullah Gülen as two examples of organizations
that are peacefully carrying out religious work in the United States without
facing any restrictions. When one can successfully achieve one’s goals
peacefully, there is no need at all for violence. Thus, the Maulana stressed
that those who adopt violent methods need to be made aware of the great scope
opened up by the modern age to attain goals solely by peaceful means.
New Delhi-based Maria Khan is a member of the CPS
Bhai Sahib, Maulana ke kai kitabon ka Hindi mai anuvad ho chukka hai. Aap unko nishulk [free] download kar saktey hain yahan se: cpsglobal.org/books/mwk/hindiAgar aapko inke hard copies [printed version] chahiye, to aap Centre for Peace and Spirituality, New Delhi, se sampark kijiye. Website: cpsglobal.org email id: email@example.com'
"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions simply because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."Then, I say, the Muslims did not do 9/11. U tube David Chandler. I know him to be true because I was married to a gent that was involved with the pyro technic guys that took down many casinos in Las Vegas, NV, US. Same stuff. I know what was behind it, I just do not know who would be so evil to do the computer work to take it down. Fingers point to the Saudi's. A Saudi who visited Pres Bush got killed shortly after. Prior to 9/11. Curious. I know it was not the Muslims. I do not know. However, I know of the Saudi's involment with ISIS along with the Americans. Watch, The Gun Runners. However, it goes much deeper than that. Selah.In the Light Amy, A Servant of the Lord.
"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions simply because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."
Then, I say, the Muslims did not do 9/11. U tube David Chandler. I know him to be true because I was married to a gent that was involved with the pyro technic guys that took down many casinos in Las Vegas, NV, US. Same stuff. I know what was behind it, I just do not know who would be so evil to do the computer work to take it down. Fingers point to the Saudi's. A Saudi who visited Pres Bush got killed shortly after. Prior to 9/11. Curious. I know it was not the Muslims. I do not know. However, I know of the Saudi's involment with ISIS along with the Americans. Watch, The Gun Runners. However, it goes much deeper than that. Selah.
In the Light Amy, A Servant of the Lord.