Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, born in 1925, in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, is an Islamic spiritual scholar who is well-versed in both classical Islamic learning and modern disciplines. The mission of his life has been the establishment of worldwide peace. He has received the Padma Bhushan, the Demiurgus Peace International Award and Sayyidina Imam Al Hassan Peace award for promoting peace in Muslim societies. He has been called ’Islam’s spiritual ambassador to the world’ and is recognised as one of its most influential Muslims1 . His books have been translated into sixteen languages and are part of university curricula in six countries. He is the founder of the Centre for Peace and Spirituality based in New Delhi.


Paris Attacks—highly condemnable

ON November 13, 2015, six coordinated terrorist attacks occurred in and around Paris. Armed gunmen engaged in mass shooting and suicide bombing at several public places including  a concert hall, cafes and restaurants. According to reports, a total of 129 people were killed and over 300 injured. The deadliest attack was at the Bataclan theatre, where about 90 people were shot at by men wielding AK-47 assault rifles. A witness to the shootings at the theatre said that the terrorists shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) before opening fire. These self-styled mujahideen were practically saying, ‘Violence is great’, but used ‘God is great’ as their slogan. This incident reminded me of a saying of the Prophet of Islam, who once said to his Companions that a day would come when Muslims would commit unlawful acts. His Companions asked with surprise how this would happen. He replied: ‘They would give it a name other than its real name and thus make it lawful.’ 

The present-day violence in the name of jihad is a clear example of the above Hadith. These so-called mujahideen have given their acts of violence the name of ‘jihad’ and are thus engaged in perpetrating terror. This kind of violence can be termed ‘justified violence’. Since these people have sought justification for their violence, their conscience does not refrain them from killing others. Taking the lives of innocent people is an act for which there is no excuse whatsoever. Committing such an act in the name of God only aggravates the heinous nature of the crime. Those who perpetrate such acts have no relation whatsoever with Islam. To those who—based on such incidents—form an opinion that Islam is a religion of violence, I will say that Islam should not be judged by the acts of Muslims. Islam should be judged through its scripture and not through the practice of Muslims.

According to the Quran, killing of a human being is the worst act in God’s eyes. The Quran states that killing one person is like killing all of humankind. (5: 32) This verse certainly applies to people who went on a killing rampage in Paris. Those engaged in this self-justified violence should know that no self-styled justification can make an unlawful act lawful.

Taking the lives of innocent people is an act for which there is no excuse whatsoever.
Committing such an act in the name of God only aggravates the heinous nature of the crime.

How could we banish violence and terror from our lives? UNESCO has adopted the dictum: ‘Violence begins from the mind.’ Therefore any effort to meet this challenge needs to begin in our minds. We have to dispel from the minds of terrorists, the ideology they have adopted.

The Quran gives us an example. Before the revelation of the Quran, Arabs were continually engaged in warfare. The Quran offered them a message of peace, which reengineered their minds, and they became peaceful as a result. Reference to this incident has been given in a verse of the Quran. (3: 103)

In modern history, we find an example of this nature in Japan. Before the Second World War, the Japanese people had adopted the violent method to achieve their goal. One of the methods used was known as hara-kiri, a form of suicide attack. However, after World War II educated people of Japan rose up to guide people towards the path of peace by giving up violent means. Thus Japan emerged as a peaceful country. This miracle occurred by way of dissemination of peaceful ideas through literature and several public speeches and broadcasts. It helped bring about a transformation in the mindset of the Japanese people and as a result Japan became a peaceful nation.

This tested method has to be applied to those who have today taken to violence. God has blessed each one of us with the same nature. Just as it was possible to address the nature of the Japanese people, it is also possible to address the nature of present-day terrorists. 

Any individual or group having a target can succeed
in achieving it only by following the peaceful course of action.

We have to work for this cause at two levels: first, we have to condemn violence in unequivocal terms. We must tell the perpetrators of such acts that their actions go against both Islam and reason. No positive result is going to come out of it. On the other hand, we must present the peaceful teachings of the Quran to those who are under the influence of violence. For example, the Prophet once said: ‘God grants to peace what He does not grant to violence.’ (Sahih Muslim). Similarly, we must inform them of past events which clearly point out that violence has only carved out a history of death and destruction. 

All relevant facts go to show that war and violence are not options before us. Any individual or group having a target can succeed in achieving it only by following the peaceful course of action. No positive goal has ever been attained through violence. o

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
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Best Way of Settlement
The conciliatory approach always minimizes the problem.
In contrast, the confrontational approach aggravates matters
while leaving the initial problem unsolved.