By Mohd Abbas Abdul Razak & Machouche Salah
A world without war is a utopian idea embraced by most peace-loving citizens of the world. Contrary to the wish of the vast majority of the world population, war happens for one reason or the other. So long as the war-mongers and the war industry exist, wars are here to stay depriving humanity of the prospect of world peace. Some of the reasons why nations go into war are over a territorial dispute, natural resources, annexation of a neighbouring country, etc. Despotic leaders wage war for the purpose of spreading their ideologies and establishing their fame and glory. At times, in their hunger for power, they are prepared to kill their fellow citizens of the country. History provides ample evidence as to the number of people killed in wars perpetrated by tyrannical leaders. Leaders like Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), architect of the Holocaust, Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), Joseph Stalin 1878-1953), Mao Tse-tung (1893-1976), Slobodan Milosevic (1941-2006), and many others waged war to establish their power. Pol pot (1925-1998), Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) and the likes brutalize their own people to be in the seat of power. After fighting wars on land, sea and sky, superpowers are heading towards a space war.
They are planning to install missiles in space and fire them with a push of a button from their command centre on earth. In realizing the agony and horrors of war, the unanswered question in all of our minds is that, after hundreds of years of our human civilization and modernization, why have we not come to think of a way how we can end the war and achieve global peace. While leaders are still thinking of holding on to their power and glory, peace-loving citizens of the world are still hopeful of a better world that can be created in the absence of war in the world.
War Should Have Ended After 1945
Ever since the end of the 2nd World War and the establishment of the United Nations, the world that we live in should have been a peaceful place for the whole of humanity. Diametrically opposite to the idealism of world peace, many regions of the world were caught in armed conflicts, genocide, civil and sectarian wars, territorial disputes, etc. A number of coups d’états did take place which caused political and economic instabilities in those countries. In all these man-made conflicts, the ones who had to pay a heavy price were none other than the civilian population. In the actual sense, they are the least involved in any combatant position. It has been the same in all countries that the civilian population always wished and prayed for peace to prevail in their countries. They wanted peace in order for their families and themselves to go about conducting the normal routine of life; work, schooling for their children, spending their leisure time reading, watching TV, listening to music, attending wedding and birthday parties, etc. A rough estimate claims that 60 million people were killed in the First and Second World Wars, mainly innocent lives. The wars that took place after 1945 in many parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East have caused the death of a great multitude of people and ruined the infrastructure in those regions of the world.
The Horrors of War
When war erupts things can get ugly, gory and chaotic. Combatants as well as ordinary people on the street tend to lose their psychological state of mind. Nations involved in war would do anything possible to win. To achieve their goal, warring nations are most likely to break all international norms and conventions. More often we hear on the news that in the war-torn regions of the world, crimes like genocide, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, rape, sexual enslavement and other inhumane acts are carried out by the occupying forces. Soldiers on both sides of the divide have no choice but to carry out orders given to them. In America itself, many war veterans who return from the Middle East would choose to say bye-bye to the army and join the anti-war organization and reveal the stories of the killing of the innocent which they committed by paralyzing their consciousness.
War in Islam
The claim made by many orientalists that Islam was spread at the point of the sword is a false accusation. Reading the Qur’an and biography of Prophet Muhammad SAW will explain to us that it was spread through beautiful preaching. Contrary to the opinion of the orientalists, the Qur’an and Sunnah highly encourage peace negotiations in solving all racial and religious matters. As a universal prophet sent for all nations, Muhammad SAW was a good role model in peace negotiations. During the twenty-three years of his prophetic life, he made many compromises with the infidels of Mecca, united the Aus and Khazraj tribes in Medina long before his Hijrah to Medina, united the Muhajir (migrant Muslims from Mecca) and Ansar (Muslims of Medina) under the Islamic brotherhood emphasized in the Qur’an. Like the other Abrahamic religions (Judaism and Christianity), Islam values all human lives as precious and asked the Muslims to avoid the killing of innocents (Al-Qur’an 5:32). Apart from the idealism of the Qur’an, Muslims are permitted to defend themselves, their families and countries when attacked by an outside force. Even in such a situation, they are not allowed to kill civilians, priestly people in the places of worship regardless of what religion they follow, women, children, the old and decapitated, plus they should not destroy places of worship, burn the crops in the fields, kill animals, pollute water sources, etc. In addition to that, Muslims must stop all combat activities when the enemy force shows a “White Flag”. The last thing they should do is to treat all prisoners of war in a humane way.
An Idealism for World Peace
The war between Russia and Ukraine should come to an end immediately and the warring countries should come to the negotiation table. Eventually, all matters should be resolved amicably. Most geostrategists predict that if this uncalled war goes on, it will be inevitable for the world community to witness an alarming rate in death toll. Moreover, the harm done to the infrastructure and environment will be devastating. At the moment, this war has caused a hike in fuel and food prices. This war could affect economically other parts of the world, particularly the European continent. In order to avoid the vicious circle from getting bigger and bigger, the UN and world leaders should lobby for the end of the war between Russia and Ukraine. Europe should have learnt a lesson from the mistake it made during the Bosnian war (1992-1995). A delay in reacting to the situation caused death to many innocent Bosnians.
Although in modern times, most European countries under the EU don’t go into war with one another, they should aspire the same for other parts of the world, especially in the Middle East. These countries should not align blindly with other superpowers to launch a preemptive war against countries in the Middle East. What has happened to Iraq and Libya should be a good lesson to them. In Iraq, by eliminating Saddam Hussein, the world did not witness the stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction in his arsenal. Eliminating Saddam did not bring the much-lobbied peace and prosperity to Iraq. Now many Iraqis claim that their lives were far better off during the time of Saddam than now. Today, there is rampant sectarian violence and the country is in total chaos. The same situation is also seen in Libya. The West should adopt a new policy of “Live and Let Others Live”. All human lives are equally precious, regardless of the East or West.
There should be a call for a world free from all deadly chemical weapons and nuclear missiles. It will be hypocritical on the part of western countries to call for a ban on others, particularly Muslims, while they have a large stockpile of such armaments in their own backyard. Since these deadly weapons are a threat to world peace and human lives, countries that have them should abolish them.
No Muslim country should support or sponsor terrorism. The so-called terrorists in Muslim countries should go back to the true teachings of Islam found in the Qur’an and Sunnah and be at the forefront in promoting world peace, tolerance and peaceful co-existence with others and nature.
All sectarian (Mazahib) conflicts, disputes, violence and wars in the Muslim world should stop. The warring parties should come to their senses as they are one Ummah (nation), worship the same Allah, face towards a common direction (Mecca) during Solah, follow the same prophet (Muhammad SAW), follow the same Qur’an, etc. Let the warring parties look into the similarities and not at what divides them. Leave the judgment of who is a better Muslim to Allah in the hereafter and not enter into the domain of Allah to pass verdict and kill others who do belong to the same denomination (Mazhab).
OIC as a Muslim organization should work closely with all Muslim countries without favouring any particular group. It should be proactive in settling a dispute among its member countries. Peace talks in the Middle East should be inclusive of all Muslim countries, particularly those in that region. The Islamic Republic of Iran should be included at all levels of discussion on peace, security and stability in that region.
If all armed conflicts in the Arab world could be resolved with the intervention of OIC, then there will be no refugees seeking help in the West. If Muslims fail to resolve their difference on their own, then we have failed to understand the concept of brotherhood and other idealism present in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
The people of America are good in many ways. They are contributing in a great way to the whole world in the areas of art, music, literature, science and technology. The same cannot be said of the policy-makers in the White House. The policy-makers are the ones who have led America into many uncalled wars. In WW2 and all other major wars that took place after 1945, America was either actively involved or took the role of the “warmonger”. As a result of these wars, millions of people died. Looking into the horrors of war, it is about time, America should stop going into war and take a leading role as a ‘messenger of peace’.
The nuclear race in the Indian Subcontinent should stop. Both India and Pakistan should work on a peace deal that can benefit people living in these countries. These two nations should put away their differences and look into the commonalities they have, in terms of food, culture, ethnicity, language, past history, etc. The two countries should spend much of their national budget on development and improving the living conditions of the people, and not on stockpiling their nuclear arsenal. Learn from Malaysia and Singapore on co-existence, mutual respect and non-interference in the domestic affairs of the other. Although Singapore was part of Malaysia before the separation on 9th August 1965. India should not also intimidate the lives of the Dalits, Christians and Muslims. These three minorities should be given equal rights as citizens of India. They should be given the freedom to practice their religion and culture in democratic India.
Provocation and confrontation between the two Koreas should stop. The two countries should work on a unification plan. If long ago the unification of West and East Germany was possible, then the two Koreas too can come together as one nation. The benefit of the outcome of this possible unification will be enjoyed by the civilian population, especially families separated and living on both sides.
The state of Israel should learn to co-exist with Palestinians as its neighbours. The Israeli government should recognize the rights of the Palestinians for a homeland of their own. Unless and until Israel stops terrorizing the Palestinians, the resistance from the oppressed Palestinians will continue to go on, and this will make Israel live in constant fear of retaliation from the displaced people. On the humanitarian ground, Israel should give back the illegally occupied lands that belong to the Palestinians. If justice could be done to the Palestinians, there is no need for Israel to have walls all around her protecting an imminent attack from the oppressed people. Countries like Israel, Myanmar and the like should emulate the good example shown by countries that treat their minority population well.
China should drop her ambition to conquer the whole world economically and politically. Since it is a big country with vast territory, it should stop its infiltration into Tibet. It should not impose its Chinese identity on the Tibetans, marginalizing or eliminating the Tibetan language and culture. At present, a large number of Chinese present in Tibet has made the Tibetans a minority in their own country. China has to stop its ill-treatment of the Buddhist monks and nuns in Tibet. Besides the Tibetans, China should also stop intimidating the lives of its 25 million Muslims who live there. More often we hear of media reports on how over a million Uyghur Muslims are detained in concentration camps where they are indoctrinated with the communist ideology. Not only that, the Muslims are forced to consume pork and the beautiful long hair of the Muslim women is cut and sold as a commodity in the international market. China should also think of the sovereignty of the Taiwanese people and let the country coexist as a good neighbour. Other than Taiwan, China should not threaten Japan, a country that stopped going into war after 1945. The last thing that China has to do, is to stop its brutality toward the people of Hong Kong. It should listen to the wish of the vast majority, especially of the young ones in the universities. Despite the call from the international community for China to stop its atrocities in Tibet, Hong Kong and within its own territories, China is still persistently carrying out its clandestine mission of indoctrinating Communism in its people and neighbours.
In order to stop war, racism and prejudice all over the world, the young and upcoming generation should be educated on the devastating effects of the three. They should be taught the bygone history of the great wars that have killed millions of people. As a way to educate and to show their protest to their governments, an anti-war movement should be established in every country of the world. Seating in the realm of such a movement will be veterans of war and retired soldiers. Definitely, their life experience can inspire the young ones to go on a forward march against war and racism. Through such a movement, citizens in every country will learn to respect the human diversity and preciousness of human lives.
In learning the devastating effects of war, humanity should join forces in the eradication of war and in bringing down the heavenly abode on earth. The researchers would like to end the essay by sharing the following quotes:
“Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind” (J.F Kennedy).
“A clash of civilizations brings disharmony. Co-existence of civilizations inspires us to see beauty and acceptance of one another” (Mohd Abbas Abdul Razak, 2017).
“What makes the rainbow beautiful and interesting is the different shades of colours. What makes humanity interesting is the variation of our race, colour, language, culture, etc. So, why fight and kill one another” (Mohd Abbas Abdul Razak, 2017).***
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