Peace better than political victory

Peace better than political victory | The Sunday Guardian | July 17, 2011 | Page 15

People are generally obsessed with politics. They believe that their acquiring a territory and establishing political rule over it is the greatest kind of success. According to the Quran, peace is the summum bonum. While political victory is limited in its scope, the ambit of peace is unlimited. Peace is greater than political rule. In the chapter entitled Al-Fath (Victory), the Quran refers to the Hudabiya agreement — a peace treaty drawn up between the Prophet and his opponents, which was finalised in the sixth century of the Hijra calendar. The Quran mentions it as a "clear" victory (48:1) — a victory which is beyond any doubt. Then in the chapter entitled Al-Nasr (Help), the Quran refers to political victory over Mecca in the eighth century of the Hijra calendar. Here the Quran uses the word fath (victory). This difference of terminology proves that, according to the Quran, political victory is the superseding of opponents in the control of a particular area, whereas establishing peace, a "clear" victory, is the greater victory. It means that establishing peace has more importance than a political victory. Why is there this difference? Because political victory gives you only one thing and that is administrative control over a piece of land. But peace has greater potential than this. Peace opens the door to multiple opportunities and by availing of those opportunities, you can achieve all kinds of success, including political rule. The early history of Islam is clear proof of this. For example, before the peace agreement of Hudabiya was signed, Islam seemed to be trapped in a blind alley. But after the Hudabiya agreement, the Prophet of Islam and his companions endeavoured to avail of all those opportunities that had been opened up to them and, within two years, Islam had spread all over the Arabian peninsula.