The Age of Peace : Book Review

Reviewed by: Somali K Chakrabarti | New Age Islam

Some books entertain, some educate, and some leave a lasting impression on the mind. Age of Peace, written by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, is one such book that falls in the latter category.

It is an enlightening and well researched book, which conveys the message of peace in a very rational, simple and convincing manner. The book has changed my perception that achieving social peace will always be an ever elusive condition that finds mention, perhaps only in mythological stories.

Age of Peace not only upholds the need for peace, it also provides the rationale for establishing peace, and outlines the general principles based on which it is possible to establish peace in the society.

The author, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is a noted Islamic scholar and the founder of Centre of Peace and Spirituality in New Delhi, who has been internationally recognized for his contribution to world peace.

Peace, the author says, is a pre-condition for progress and social development. It is the ‘summum bonum’ or the greatest good that is devoid of any negative effects. The author writes about individual peace (peace of mind) which results from self-management, and social peace, for which social management is needed.

Negating the general perception that peace would ensue from social justice, the author says, that this is an obscure theory, for as long as we think of peace as a derivative of social justice, it will remain elusive. The key, he says, is to accept peace as the status quo.

Just like most of us recognize the contribution of our family in shaping up our lives, similarly if we recognize the contribution of humanity at large and its role in providing us with the comfort and luxuries that we enjoy, then gratitude and compassion would replace negativism and serve as an intrinsic check to violence.  

Peace brings normalcy, it throws opens the door for opportunities, which when availed increase the chances of success. With peace one can achieve what one cannot achieve with violence.

This very thought changed my perception of peace. Accepting peace as the status quo, the present for what it is rather than what it should be, not living in denial and working calmly towards the goal is a very balanced approach, which is advocated by all religions.

Backed by innumerable examples from different parts of the world, from the past centuries to the modern age, the author advocates the use of non – confrontational method, peaceful activism, and spreading the message of peace through education and awareness.

The author touches upon sensitive issues such as the menace of terrorism, political dichotomy of muslims and issues facing the muslim community, militancy, misinterpretation of ‘jihaad’ to legitimise militancy, and suicide bombings. Stressing upon the need for a counter ideology, the author says that the present militancy has no sanction in Islam.

He also talks about the futility of wars, and stresses upon the role of third party in putting an end to wars. Fighting, he says, is an archaic and outdated concept in the present age that provides people with alternatives to fulfil their ambitions without resorting to violence.

Quoting some excerpts from the book  

The human mind has greatest potential, but it can only work in a peaceful atmosphere. In the absence of a peaceful environment for work, the minds capability will remain unutilized.  

The secret of success in life is not to make others suffer loses at your hands. The secret of success in life is to plan one’s time and energy wisely to avail of the opportunities within one’s reach.

History tells us that war is like a rootless tree. A storm can completely uproot it. But a peaceful plan is like a tree which stands upright on its own strong roots and remains unaffected by storms.

Violence or terrorism is a negation of God’s creation plan.

Terrorism is an unnatural act. Neither reason nor conscience can ever sanction it. Terrorism always ends in repentance.

I had received a copy of this book from a blogger friend and after going through it, I found that it is a very relevant book for all particularly the youth in the turbulent times that we are living in.

The book has reinforced my belief that no religion can preach violence. Extremism, terrorism and wars are all a fallout of greed of a few, who misinterpret religion and use it to their convenience.

It is a book that I would like to read over and over again. 

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