The Light and Guidance from Allah is the path to true peace. Allah says, “Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a Light and a clear Book wherewith Allah guides all those who seek His Good Pleasure to ways of peace, and He brings them out of darkness by His Will unto light and guides them to a Straight Way” (5:15-16). In fact, Allah is calling humans to the abode of eternal peace: “Allah calls to the home of peace (Paradise) and guides whom He wills to a Straight Path” (10:25).
True and complete peace can only be had when the individuals themselves achieve internal peace. This results from Islam or the true submission to Allah alone. This is the only way of life consistent with the nature of human beings. In fact, this is what can be called the “true life.” Thus, Allah says, “O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he calls you to that which will give you life” (8.24).
Knowing Allah is what can bring about true contentment in the soul. If the individual does not know his Creator, his soul will always be yearning for something that is missing in his life. Unless there is contentment in the soul and the heart, the individual can never achieve true contentment. All of the wealth and the goods of this world will not be able to bring the human such true contentment. The Prophet said, “True richness is not via much property and belongings but true richness is in self-contentment.”1 He also said, “True richness is the richness of the heart. True poverty is the poverty of the heart.”2
Once an individual is at peace with himself and free of any internal agitations, he can then enter into truly peaceful relations with others. This starts with those closest to him in his family and extends to his neighbors and others in the community, eventually extending to all of humankind as a whole. Thus, Islam establishes an entire social structure in which people interact with others, based on relationships, rights and obligations, in ways that bring about a peaceful coexistence.3 Children recognize the rights of their parents upon them while parents recognize their roles towards their children. Husbands and wives come together not as competitors but as partners cooperating to produce a home filled with peace and love.
Indeed, Allah points to this relationship that He has created as a great sign: “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect” (30:21). Thus, Allah has laid down stringent laws that protect the sanctity of the home, such as the laws concerning adultery, fornication and slander. The reason is that the home is truly the foundation for the society as a whole. If there is no peace in the home, one can hardly expect that people will exit their home in a troubled state and be peaceful, fulfilling members of society.
Since the guidance of Islam covers not only what is traditionally known as “law” but also ethical behavior and conduct, Islam provides detailed guidance for the manner in which members of a society should interact with one another. There is a great emphasis on mutual respect, with each member of society realizing that he is part of a larger unity entailing rights and obligations. This mutual feeling produces a society that is filled with peace, wherein each individual looks after the welfare and needs of the other members of society.
Thus, when Islam is enacted, the individual finds peace all around him, from within himself and throughout the entire society. In fact, even world peace can only truly come about when there is justice. In recent years, more and more people have realized this fact and emphasize, “There is No Peace Without Justice.” (Justice is often a slogan used when going to war but it is usually not more than that, a slogan.) But there can be no true justice or peace until people raise themselves above national or ethnic economic or political interests. True justice can only occur when people dedicate themselves to Allah, applying His guidance while removing their egos and desires from their decisions.
In the Hereafter, of course, it will only be through believing in God and following His guidance that one will achieve eternal peace. Again, Allah makes it very clear that this is what He is actually calling the humans to: “Allah calls to the home of peace (Paradise) and guides whom He wills to a Straight Path” (10:25).
Jammaal al-Din M. Zarabozo