The Religion of Peace
by Maulana Mustafa Khan
The Light (Pakistan), 1st March 1922 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 6, p. 2)
A National Deity:
Like all other conceptions of the human intellect, the conception of the Deity has varied. The Israelites thought that they were the
“only chosen sons of God”
and the rest of the world was devoid of the divine light. The followers of the Vedas still hold that Arya Varta [Indian subcontinent] has been the only favourite resort of gods and has exclusively enjoyed this prerogative.
This prejudicial conception of the Deity is in fact due in some cases to ignorance and in others to jealousy and hatred. The Jews, for instance, invariably hated the “Gentiles” [non-Jews] who were, therefore, regarded outside the pale of God’s family.
The same spirit and national contempt is mirrored through the well-known passage of the New Testament in which Jesus is reported have said that
“it is not meet to cast children’s bread before dogs.”
Here, dogs stand for all people other than the Israelites and the word is evidently used in a most contemptuous sense. It is, however, one of the ironies of fate that the followers of Jesus who do not appear to have the least regard for this faithful animal now generally regard it as the noblest of pets for its fidelity [loyalty].
What were the feelings of the exponents of the Vedas who attribute this sort of nepotism to the Deity? I cannot definitely say. Perhaps they were mingled both with jealousy and ignorance. The old Brahmans’ religion was the primitive stage of Hinduism. The Brahmans were generally very rich in their sacred lore [traditional knowledge and stories], but they knew little of the world. They thought that Arya Varta was the only sacred place, and therefore it must be the only place for gods. This may be due to their ignorance. But the new turn which has recently been given to this religion by the late Pandit Daya Nanda has revealed the fact that there is a certain amount of national hatred as well. He, according to the Vedas, considers India to be the Holy Land and therefore in his opinion it should not be polluted by the footsteps of others than the followers of the Vedic religion.
Thus, the old Biblical religion and the Vedic religion as interpreted by the Brahmans and the Arya Samaj represent a tribal, a national Deity who is looking after a particular nation or country and is neglecting the rest of the universe.
The Universal Deity:
But the conception of Deity in Islam is quite different. It represents a Supreme Being, Who is the Lord of all the worlds; the Creator, the Fosterer, the Nourisher, and the Evolver of all the nations and the creatures, be they on this planet of ours or on others, above in the firmament of heaven.
Therefore, a Muslim believing in such a Catholic Deity cannot have any ill-will against any other nation. He, as the very name of Islam indicates, is supposed to make peace with his Maker on the one hand and with His creatures on the other. This universal peace, which is the ideal for humanity at present, was actually brought about in the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] among the wild tribes of Arabia which were constantly at war with one another. And the religion taught by him is meant to establish real peace throughout the world. It is, therefore, the sacred duty of every Muslim in particular, and of every lover of peace in general, to spread the Islamic principles in the world to unite the different factors of humanity into a peaceful compact of fraternity. The religion of Islam is the religion of peace and therefore it must be the religion of every peacemaker.