Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad – Khalifatul Masih IV
fourth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community
We present below the transcript of part of a Question and Answer session with Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru), fourth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, recorded at Cologne, Germany on the 21st August 1996.
Transcribed by Amatul Hadi Ahmad
Questioner: There are many people who have no inner peace. What does Islam say about this?
Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru):
The idea of ‘inner peace’ is something which is not properly defined. Unless it is well-defined you cannot attempt to attain it. Peace is a concept which differs among the different schools of philosophies. For instance, the Yogic peace has a different meaning. It only means that by exercise or by delving deeper into one’s soul, a person finds himself to be without any agitation. So, the absence of agitation in man’s desires is called peace. A similar concept of peace is found in Buddhism as well as in some other Chinese religions. For instance, in Taoism, peace means delving deeper into one’s own soul until one strikes the fountain-head of truth. So what is called Buddha in Buddhism is called Tao in Taoism, which means truth that is found in every nature – so when you reach truth, you reach peace. This is a different view about peace which is found in various oriental religions. However, in the major divinely revealed religions of the world, which are Judaism, Christianity and, at the end, Islam, peace is not just one dimensional or [an] individual concept. Peace is, first, to be at rest with one’s own desires and ambitions and having a balance, which is an internal affair, and then, secondly, to have peace with the world around and to assure everyone that one poses no threat of danger to them – ‘no danger will emanate from me in the other’s direction’. It is this wider concept of peace which you find in major religions. In this concept of peace, no one can be at peace with himself until he is also at peace with his neighbours and with others. This is also the concept of peace in Islam.
In Islam the concept of peace is two-fold. Firstly, to be at peace with God and then, secondly, to be at peace with oneself and with the rest of the world.
The concept of peace in Islam is the most comprehensive of all the religions and philosophies that I have just mentioned and the key to it lies in the fact that in Islam the word ‘peace’ does not only mean to be at rest or to have a compromise of a perfect understanding with the rest of the world. It also means submission. The meaning of this one single word has two aspects. One is peace as ordinarily understood and the other is peace in the sense of submission. So, according to the Qur’anic concept of peace, no peace on earth can ever be conceived, not to mention established, by human effort. It cannot even be conceived theoretically without man finding God, the Creator, without recog-nising the hand of the Creator universally at work in nature. So, once man recognises his Creator then the second step is to be at peace with Him and this peace has this dual meaning: Firstly, you are not to do anything which creates a distance between you and the Creator, and secondly, submission. So, both these meanings join hands at this stage. Submission to the will of God is the only means of attaining peace with God and this is a declaration which is proven by human experience. It has a profound wisdom which is universally experienced by man. If children are at peace with their parents, it is impossible for them to defy their orders and wishes and yet be at peace. Hence, if you delve deeper into the meaning of peace you will realise that ultimately the meaning of peace is submission. If you submit to the authority or the will or the desire of someone so completely that nothing in you is at war with the desire, will, or the way of life or the style of someone whom you love, (you will be at peace with that person). Unless you do this, you can’t get peace. So in Islam the journey to peace begins with the attainment of peace with your Lord the Creator and for this you must understand his attributes. We must know what He is and this in Islam cannot be achieved through delving deeper into yourself because you can make many mistakes. If there is a God, He has to be an external reality. If He is an external reality, then He must introduce himself to man and that is what actually happened in all the divine religions – it was God who revealed himself to mankind. It was never man or woman who by his/her own efforts reached God, without help from God. First this much should be understood. I will then come to the latter part of the concept of peace, peace within a person and peace between people.