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Interview of Dr Tahir ul Qadri Islamic Scholar and Prominent Global Peace Leader on Hum Badlenge Desh Badlega on Etv Urdu with Adil Mohd. Social Activist and Blogger. Topic of the Day “Issues beofre people of Indo-Pak” and “Acts that bind and shatter differences”. For more do visit www.adilmohd.in and www.adilmohd.tv.
‘Peace for Humanity’ Conference was held in historic Wembley Arena under the banner of Minhaj-ul-Quran International UK on September 24, 2011. Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri presided over the Conference, which was also attended by human rights and peace activists, religious scholars, opinion leaders and key leaders and followers of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.
The representatives of all religions made special prayers for the establishment of peace in the world according to the teachings of their religions. Later on, the faith leaders gave their hands in hands of Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri to make a collective peace prayer. The peace candles were also lit on the occasion. Thousands of people, attending the historic Conference, stood up from their seats and the venue resounded with chants of ‘Allah is Great’.
Over 11 thousand people from North America, South Africa, Europe to Asia including Sahibzada Pir Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jamal-ud-Din Al-Gillani, Pir Sayyid Abdul Qadir Shah Gillani, Sahibzada Pir Amin-ul-Hasnat Shah, Dr Usama al-Abd, vice chancellor of renowned Al-Azhar University of Egypt, Dr Abdul Dayyan An-Nasir, Shaykh Muhammad al-Nanowy (USA), Dr Joel Hayward (UK), Noor Muhammad Jarral Mesut Kurtis (Macedonia), Ms Naeema Jaleel, Sahibzada Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri, Ms Ghazala Hassan Qadri, Ms Khadija Atkinson, Ms Swaba, Sahibzada Pir Fayyaz-ul-Hassan, Dr Raheeq Ahmad Abbasi and Qari Sayyid Sadaqat Ali. Shaykh-ul-Islam delivered his keynote speech on the occasion.
The proceedings of the Conference got underway with the recitation from the Holy Quran followed by recital of ‘Qaseeda Burda Shairf’ and Naat in different languages of the world. At the outset of the program, the leading participants and scholars held one another’s hands to show their solidarity for promotion of peace in the world.
Ms Khadija Atkinson read out a document with regard to establishment of global peace, which was named as ‘London Declaration’ meant to promote peace and foster resistance and opposition to extremism. The participants were told that about one million people from across different nationalities, cultures and regions would sign this document till December 2011 to demonstrate their support for peace. The document has been launched online as well as through broachers. Ms Atkinson said that MQI has done justice to its task of representing the Muslims at the international level. She said that Islam is a religion of peace, which espouses equality, social and economic justice in the world without any discrimination of any kind. Its followers have been ordained to take care of even animals and plants. She said that the Conference has given a clear message to the world that terrorism and extremism have nothing to do with Islam and it is unfortunate that actions of a select group of misguided individuals were being associated with Islam, which was unfair. She said that it was wrong to blame Islam in this regard. She demanded that the anti-Islam policies framed on these erroneous perceptions should be discarded. She reminded the international human rights organizations and the world powers of their moral duty to rid the Islamic countries out of oppression. She said that doing so would guarantee the establishment and durability of international peace.
Address of Shaykh-ul-Islam
Addressing ‘Peace for Humanity Conference on the subject of “Islam and establishment of global peace’, Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, the founding leader of Minhaj-ul-Quran International, said that the world needed peace, security and brotherhood more than before. He said that after 9/11, the difficulties of the Muslims around the globe have increased manifold. The picture of Islam spread in the world has nothing to do with Islam and 99% of Muslims are peace-loving. He said that terrorism and extremism had affected the Muslims more than the world. He said that thousands of people were killed in terrorist incidents, affecting millions of families. Extremism, he said, divided people and produced pessimism and despondency. He congratulated MQI UK on holding such a grand and purposeful Conference.
Addressing the leaders of different religions, who were present in the meeting, Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri invited them to join their forces and collectively launch a peace drive in the world. He said that the entire world had become global village and humanity had a shared stake in the establishment and maintenance of peace. He said that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) gave the lesson of brotherhood, tolerance, moderation and peace. All Prophets and religions propagated the message of peace and harmony in the world. He said that it was important to prove ourselves a true inheritor of this legacy and dedicate ourselves to establishment of peace in the world. He hoped that ‘Peace for Humanity’ Conference would become the basis for further strengthening interfaith ties between the Muslims and the non-Muslims.
Addressing the Muslim youth, Shaykh-ul-Islam asked them to unite for the establishment of peace, respect, dignity and welfare of humanity. He asked them to dissociate with the Islam of Osama Bin Laden and become the true followers of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He urged them to reject the ideology of Al-Qaeda and submit themselves to the real teachings of Islam. He said that MQI had established think tanks and planned lectures, conferences, and seminars for training and guidance of the Muslim youth. These think-tanks are playing their due role in promotion of peace.
Shaykh-ul-Islam said that after the 9/11, the blood of thousands of innocent people has been shed and the millions of families have been ruined. He said that the human life and values have lost their meaning. “It is about time, this process of de-humanization was stopped forthwith. The way the migration to the holy city of Medina paved the way for the beginning of a new age, likewise, the Wembley Conference would lay the foundation-stone for reviving the lost glory of Islam founded by the Holy Prophet (SAW). The Muslim youth should launch a sustained struggle for spreading the Islamic message of love and peace and expose and foil the conspiracies hatched enemies of Islam,” he added.
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the Western media supports 99% peaceful voice of majority Muslims, while only one percent is bent on projecting radicalized, bigoted minority. This one percent part of media should change its policy as well. “Gone are the days when extremist and terrorist mindset held sway. It is about time democracy replaced dictatorship, which is essentially part of Islam. The people must have inviolable right to enjoy fundamental rights and a free life,” he maintained.
Shaykh-ul-Islam made it clear that the time to heal wounds and bridge gulf had long come and the conduct of Peace for Humanity Conference condemned all forms and manifestations of terrorism and extremism in clear terms. He said that the people of the world must join their forces to eliminate fear, hatred and bigotry from the world and carve out a new direction for humanity where people have access to the necessities of life, enjoy socio-economic justice, live in an amicable and harmonious environment and have equality of opportunities to flourish in their lives. He urged upon followers of all regions to get united on the minimum agenda of humanity by keeping individual identities intact. “This is how peace can be established in the world,” he added.
Shaykh-ul-Islam said that he wanted to see the world transformed into a hub of happiness and peace from which issued forth the fountains of love, freedom, compassion, generosity and morality. He hoped that the international peace conference would lay the basis for establishment of brotherhood between the Muslims and non-Muslims.
The thousands of participants expressed their support and approval of Shaykh-ul-Islam’s mission by extending him a standing ovation, chants and slogans punctuated in between his speech.
The proceedings of the Conference were broadcast live throughout the world via Minhaj.tv and ARY QTV. The gatherings were also arranged in different parts of the country where people watched the proceedings of the Conference live from London.
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The world community is celebrating the International Day of Peace on September 21, 2011 today. The Day marks the humanity’s relentless struggle for the establishment of a peaceful, harmonious and just world order. The observance of this Day with traditional fervour across the continents, cultures and geographical boundaries reflects the shared stakes, opportunities and threats faced by the humanity without any discrimination of caste, creed, colour, race and religion. Hence the pursuit of peace becomes a shared goal warranting collective response and dedication. By holding seminars, workshops and other educative programs, the communities, on this day, highlight the importance of peace for socio-economic development and, by doing so, they also pay tribute to the individuals and organizations, which are working hard, day in and day out, to reduce differences and build bridges.
It was in 1981 that the UN General Assembly decided to celebrate the World Peace Day in a resolution sponsored by the United Kingdom devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace. The theme of 2011 namely “Peace and Democracy: Make your voice heard” also calls for concerted actions and employment of partnership approach to strengthen the ideals of peace and harmony in a world torn apart by wars, conflicts, wave of terrorism and extremism, bloodshed, civil strife, instability and chaos.
The right way to commemorate this auspicious day is to reflect on the challenges the world peace is faced with and come up with innovative and creative solutions to make this world a better place for our succeeding generations. The most immediate threats to global peace emanate from religious extremism, radicalism as well as from the menaces of poverty, denial of democratic and political rights and yawning gap between haves and have-nots. Developing a true understanding of nature and interplay of these threats constitutes the first necessary step towards eradicating them.
The goal of peace can be advanced through collaborative approach, which is inclusive and participatory in nature. The fight against extremism and radicalism is basically a battle between ideas, hearts and minds. The tendency to single out people on the basis of their religion, ethnicity, colour and race must end. The adoption of dialogue, accommodation and respect for dissent lays the necessary foundation to empower communities and people to join their forces for the shared wellbeing of humanity. It also means that investments need to be made in areas of fighting poverty, hunger, unemployment, building human resources, enhancing people’s access to education and justice, reducing gender disparities and population growth, ending violence, and putting in place sustainable structures to spearhead dialogue among followers of different cultures and religions. The use of hard power offers little prospect for enduring peace.
Minhaj-ul-Quran International has been engaged in a struggle for establishment of peace in the world since last three decades across the globe. It has initiated practical struggle to expose those extremist and bigoted elements who invoke the fair name of Islam to justify their heinous actions. The hundreds of educational centres, colleges, schools and university are busy imparting education of moderation, tolerance, love and accommodation. It has also put in place a sustainable mechanism to launch interfaith dialogue not only in Pakistan but also across the world with a view to building bridges and bringing people closer. The youths and women happen to be centre of special attention of MQI in this regard.
While celebrating the World Peace Day, we must make a vow to leave no stone unturned to make this world a place worth living. It calls for redoubling of our efforts. Failure in this context is not an option any more.
Minhaj Reconciliation Council (Norway) arranged a prestigious seminar in Oslo on the subject of “How to contain extremism?” on September 3, 2011. Shaykh Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri, chairman of WAAG Pakistan Branch, was the guest of honour on the occasion. This unique program in the Norwegian history was organized with the cooperation of Police and Justice Departments. The seminar was meant to unveil the authentic Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings issued by Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, describe the basic stance of the Holy Qur’an and Sunna on this issue and promote awareness against terrorism and extremism among the general public.
Chief guest of seminar, Shaykh Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri, who is also the chairman of WAAG Pakistan Branch and President of Supreme Council of MQI, presented a comprehensive, scholarly and research-based paper on the subject under discussion. Describing the kinds of extremism, he particularly threw light on religious and political extremism in his speech. He said that religious extremism flourishes due to literature of religious bigots. The youths are brainwashed to fulfil the international political agenda by invoking the name of religion. The political extremism, he said, take root because of poverty, unemployment, injustice and denial of fundamental rights. He said that terrorists had nothing to do with Islam. They were the enemies of Islam and humanity. He said that the literal meaning of Islam is peace and security. The Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) while describing the definition of a Muslim, said: ‘The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hands other Muslims remain safe.’ Shaykh Hassan said that following the migration of Medina, the society upon which the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) conferred rights for the first time was a multicultural society, which comprised of the Jews, Christians, Muslims and polytheists.
Shaykh Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri further said that Islam is a peaceful religion and no Muslim can commit terrorism nor can any Muslim be a suicide bomber. He said that Islam talks of human dignity and honour. Those who wrongly interpret the Islamic terms and slogans such as “Dar al-Salam’, ‘Dar al-Kufr’, and ‘Islamic Caliphate’ are those extremists who are bent upon destroying the world peace for the sake of their nefarious designs. He said that Minhaj-ul-Quran International is engaged in a struggle to eliminate the scourges of terrorism and extremism through peaceful and intellectual means without any discrimination of a Muslim and non-Muslim.
He said that the world-renowned Al-Azhar University has been propagating the values of moderation and tolerance for many centuries. MQI (UK) has also been organizing anti-terror camps such as ‘Al-Hayidah’ for last many years in which the hundreds of participating youths are imparted the lesson of peace, love, brotherhood, integration, harmony and tolerance. He said that MQI is holding Peace for Humanity Conference on the subject of ‘Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him): The Mercy of the World’, which will also be attended by Shaykh-ul-Azhar Dr Ahmad Muhammad al-Tayyab, Dr Muhammad Abd al-Fudayl al-Qawsi and other renowned scholars. This Conference, he added, would be a milestone in synergizing the efforts of Minhaj-ul-Quran International and Al-Azhar University against terrorism and extremism.
Expressing his views after the keynote speech of Shaykh Hassan, Mr Audun Lysbakken, Norwegian Child and Family Minister, appreciated this moot of Minhaj Reconciliation Council. Waving the historic Fatwa of Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, he said that this Fatwa was a great scholarly treasure and served to allay many misunderstandings and confusions. Referring to scholarly talk of Shaykh Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri, he said that he was sure that many misunderstandings about Islam and the Muslims would have been removed after the intellectual presentation of the Shaykh. He said that the facility with which the speaker threw light on the genesis of and possible solution to extremism was quite convincing and we must benefit from him. He also highlighted the need of working together without any discrimination of religion and culture in the larger interest of peace and harmony in the world.
Mr Barry White, the US Ambassador to Norway, attended the seminar along with wife and political secretary. He paid a tribute to the global services of Shaykh Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri.
Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri has been awarded “Peace Award 2006″. National Council for Inter Religious Dialogue and Ecumenism (NCIDE) arranged a Great Conference for this purpose on 13 th December 2006. Prominent National and International Figures including Principal Officer American Centre, Bishop Dr Andrew Francis, Dr. Cecil Chaudhary and others graced the occasion.
Bishop Dr. Andrew Francis paid warm tributes to the services of Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, Chairman Pakistan Awami Tehreek, and Tehreek Minhaj-ul-Quran for promoting peace, harmony, tolerance, sympathy and love at national as well as international level.
The Bishop greatly appreciated Dr. Qadri`s valuable contributions to education, welfare, inter-faith tolerance and said they are unique.
He then announced an award for Dr Qadri in recognition of his commendable efforts that laid the foundation of a Muslim-Christian Dialogue Forum.
The Principal Secretary to Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, Mr G M Malik received the award on behalf of Dr Qadri whi is currently abroad.
On this occasion Mr G M Malik, along with Sajjad-ul-Aziz, Dr. Ali Akbar, Dr. Tahir Hamid & Ghulam Rabbani presented a cake to the Bishop in connection with Christmas and the New Year, on behalf of Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri.
He said that Dr Qadri has always advocated and spread the message of Islam that is peace. He has been most vocal to denounce and condemn terrorism and extremism at all levels and has been one of the most dynamic leaders to promote the cause of peace round the globe. He said that Dr Qadri`s endeavors have brought about inter-faith and inter-civilization harmony. Dr Qadri is known as ambassador of peace and his anti-terrorism struggle has been recognized in the past on several international forums. He has indeed generated through his leadership new awakening to advancing peace and forbearance and promoting tolerance, moderation, harmony and non-sectarianism for a safe and secure future of mankind.
Luke Baker, Reuters
COVENTRY, England — Like any rousing Islamic preacher, Muhammed Tahir ul-Qadri’s voice rises to a shout and his index finger jabs as he hammers home a point.
But rather than angry calls for jihad or a vitriolic denunciation of the West and its aggressions against Islam, Mr. Qadri’s message, equally forcefully delivered, is about moderation, peace, inclusion and understanding.
Addressing a packed auditorium from a raised platform, his words beamed on to large screen behind him, more than 1,000 young followers hang on his every word, even as his lecture moves into its fourth uninterrupted hour.
“Islam is not a religion of seclusion, it is not a religion of detachment,” he thunders from the dais, occasionally pausing to wipe the sweat from his brow or adjust his spectacles.
“Any killer of a non-Muslim citizen, he will go to hell. Those who are committing terroristic acts from Pakistan and Afghanistan and claiming it is jihad – they do not know what jihad is. It is forbidden. There will not be janna [paradise] for them,” he hollers, to shouts of approval.
Mr. Qadri, 58, who was born in Pakistan but now lives in Canada, is a renowned scholar of Sufism, a long tradition within Islam that focuses on spirituality, emphasizing peace and moderation.
The author of more than 400 books on Islamic scholarship and law, he travels the world delivering sermons to Sufis, while his organization, called Minhaj ul-Quran, has spread to 80 countries, from Greece to Fiji, since its founding in 1981.
In Britain, he is the main draw at a three-day retreat for young Muslims called Al Hidayah (Guidance), which over the past five years has grown into the biggest spiritual camp of its kind, with more than 1,200 attendees from a dozen countries.
Mr. Qadri believes camps such as his, which attract teenagers – girls and boys wearing traditional dress who sit separately in the auditorium – as well as their parents and children as young as six, can play a part in combating extremism within Islam.
For Britain, that has been particularly important since 2003, when the country joined the invasion of Iraq, and 2005, when four young British Muslims carried out suicide bombings on the London transport network, killing 52 people.
“I feel it is my duty to save the younger generation from radicalization,” Mr. Qadri said quietly over lunch on Sunday, shortly after finishing the second of several lectures and question-and-answer sessions, which concluded yesterday.
“We need to prepare them mentally and academically, intellectually and spiritually, against extremist tendencies and radical and terrorist attitudes. We need to provide them with an awakening of the true picture of Islam.”
Around the world, and particularly in the United States, there has been a steady increase in adherence to Sufism in the past decade. Governments keen to tackle the spread of more radical branches of Islam in their countries have worked with Sufi scholars and tried to emphasize their teachings.
In Britain, home to about 1.7 million Muslims, mostly from Pakistan, the government at first worked to promote Sufism, supporting the creation in 2006 of the Sufi Muslim Council, a group that took a strong stand against Islamist extremism.
But since then, it has moved away from explicit support, saying that working via the Sufi community – whose exact number in Britain is not known – is just one element of a wider approach to countering Islamic radicalism.
“It’s part of a broader engagement. We don’t want to isolate any one group over another,” a government spokeswoman said.
Supporters of Mr. Qadri, though, are adamant about the benefits of his teachings, with students coming from as far as Denmark and Canada to hear him speak during the three-day retreat.
Women in particular like his emphasis on female equality within Islam, an element not always touched on by other Islamic scholars.
“What he says is mind-opening, it makes you feel good as a woman,” said Sofia Saeed, 27, a legal assistant who travelled from Manchester to attend the retreat with a friend.
“There’s no discrimination here. It makes you feel like a stronger believer, a stronger person,” she said, comfortably wearing both designer sunglasses and her full hijab head covering.
Mr. Qadri, a former minister in Pakistan and close associate of Benazir Bhutto, the assassinated former prime minister, does not believe his teachings can change radical minds overnight, but he is a believer that intellect can ultimately defeat extremism.
“If the terrorists are 10 people and the peaceful are 1,000, then they are more powerful than us with their arms, even if we are 5,000,” he said.
“But the point is that we have to make the 5,000 more powerful not with arms, but by the communication of the right message of Islam.”
www.onislam.net (Posted on Sunday, 18 Sep 2011)
CAIRO – A prominent Britain-based Muslim scholar announced his plans to issue a historic global peace declaration next week in London, protesting against terrorism and educating the whole world against anti-Muslim racism and xenophobia.
“We want to give the message to the whole of the Muslim world … that this is Islam and what it stands for: peace, harmony, tolerance, moderation and love and compassion for humanity,” Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri told The Independent on Sunday, September 18.
“This message will go out all over the world, from coast to coast.”
The peace declaration would be announced during the ‘Peace for Humanity Conference 2011’ at Wembley Arena next Saturday.
It will call for an end to terrorism and for the protection of human rights in new Arab regimes.
It is expected to be signed by major religious and political leaders, including David Cameron and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The announcement celebration would also be attended by Tariq Jahan, whose son was killed in the Birmingham riots.
Qadri said the “historic document” was needed a decade after 9/11 to ensure that the Arab Spring became an opportunity for democracy and upholding of human rights.
In addition to terrorism condemnation and upholding human rights, the declaration calls for supporting interfaith relations between the Muslim world and the West.
“Number one will be the absolute condemnation of terrorism; number two the protection of complete human rights, as it is seen in the Western world and endorsed by the United Nations,” Qadri said.
It will also call for “support for the concept of humanity and fraternity between all cultures, religions and human beings”; “democracy and good governance in the Muslim world” and “total ecological and environmental responsibility”.
The influential Pakistani scholar, who lives in Canada, has issued a fatwa last May condemning suicide bombings as a brazen violation of peaceful Islamic tenets.
Known for his unequivocal condemnation of terrorism, Sheikh Qadri has issued several fatwas against suicide bombings and violence against innocent people.
He is famous for his emphasis on promoting integration and interfaith dialogue to tackle Islamophobia in the West.
Among the events planned for the day, the influential scholar would hold the first collective cross-religious peace prayer instigated by a Muslim.
“Mankind is burning now in a fire of hatred and fanaticism and aggression and terrorism,” said Sheikh Qadri.
“The peace prayer is another way to show that all religions can come together to pray for global peace.”
The last collective peace prayer was called by the late Pope John Paul in Assisi a decade ago.
These events would help in stretching new bridges between Muslim world and the West.
“We want to emphasize education to bring an end to extremism, violence, hatred and racism,” he said.
“To educate the Muslim people and youth and at the same time educate the West so that the hatreds are removed.”
These connections can only be sustained through condemning xenophobia which mars the West relation with its Muslim population.
“We will be condemning every kind of racism and xenophobia and we will support all Muslims living in Western countries to have integration and citizenship and we will condemn isolation,” Sheikh Qadria added.
Muslims in Europe and America have been suffering from bigotry and Islamophobia over the past decade.
For example, British Muslims, estimated at nearly two million, have been in the eye of storm since the 7/7 attacks.
A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.
A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.
Scholar: Islam ‘Denotes Peace in Every Aspect of Life’ Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, a leading Muslim spiritual authority who denounces terrorism, says the term “Jihad” is incorrectly translated and widely misunderstood in Western countries.
“Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, a leading Muslim spiritual authority who denounces terrorism, says the term “Jihad” is incorrectly translated and widely misunderstood in Western countries.”
Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, one of Islam’s most influential scholars, stated during a lecture Thursday night at Elmhurst College that those who perpetrated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks violated the basic teachings of Islam and the Koran.
Tahir-ul-Qadri said acts of terrorism, such as those conducted on 9/11, are “outside the boundaries of Islam.”
“The true believer (of Islam) is the one who abstains from harming his neighbor,” he said. “The one who is the true believer of Islam is the one who honors his guests, cares for other people and ends suffering.”
Tahir-ul-Qadri gave the annual al-Ghazali Lecture, titled Islam and Peace Today, on Thursday before a capacity audience at Elmhurst College’s Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel.
Tahir-ul-Qadri is the founding leader of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an, which is an international welfare, human rights and educational institution. He has written more than 1,000 published or yet-to-be published books on Islam, and made headlines two years ago when he issued a 600-page fatwa, or legal edict, stating that terrorist acts are criminal and violate Islam, international law and human rights.
Islam ‘Denotes Peace’
Throughout most of Thursday’s lecture, Tahir-ul-Qadri emphasized that the three levels of Islamic faith—Islam, Iman and Ihsan—mean peace and “denote peace in every aspect of life.”
Tahir-ul-Qadri said the first level, Islam, means “the door to enter peace—free of aggression and free of any kind of cruelty and injustices” toward other human beings, regardless of whether someone is Muslim or non-Muslim.
“He alone will enter paradise who has a peaceful heart,” Tahir-ul-Qadri said.
The root word of Iman, the second level of Islam, means peace and security for all, regardless of one’s religious beliefs, according to Tahir-ul-Qadri.
Ihsan, Islam’s highest rank, means to do beautiful things that please Allah (God) and emphasizes benevolence, or performing kind and charitable acts.
The Koran, he said, also instructs Muslims to live in community and peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims, and to treat them with courtesy, kindness and generosity. He added that the Koran forbids Muslims from threatening or harming individuals who practice other religions, such as Christianity and Judaism.
In fact, Tahir-ul-Qadri noted that the Constitution of Medina, drafted by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, underscores peace and security for everyone in a community, as well as religious freedom for all community members.
What Jihad Really Means
Toward the end of his lecture, Tahir-ul-Qadri addressed Jihad, which many in the West believe to mean “holy war,” and a call for violence and acts of terrorism. He explained that the term has been incorrectly translated and, thus, widely misunderstood.
He said there are 35 verses in the Koran that contain the word Jihad, but the words “Jihad” and “killing” are not mentioned together in a single verse. In Islam, Jihad has no link to violence or terrorism, and means to struggle within oneself for good and eliminate evil. The actual term in Arabic for “holy war” is al-harb muhadassa, not Jihad, he said.
Tahir-ul-Qadri went on to say Jihad is a broad concept that does include what the Koran interprets to be grounds for a just war—one that is waged strictly for self-defense if a nation is attacked. In such a war, he said, the Koran makes it clear that innocent non-combatants are not to be hurt or killed.
“Only if war has been imposed on you are you allowed to fight for your defense,” he said.
Rev. Ronald Beauchamp, director of Elmhurst College’s Niebuhr Center, said he thought Tahir-ul-Qadri delivered “a wonderful message.”
“It was challenging, but inspiring,” he said, “because for those of us who have lived through the last 10 years (since the 9/11 attacks), it’s very climactic to hear someone talk about, ‘What does the Koran say? What does Muhammad say?’ and then try to put the pieces together as we try to move forward together in peace.”
Joshua Longmire, an Elmhurst College sophomore majoring in religious studies and exercise science, said he was pleased with what Tahir-ul-Qadri had to say, particularly when he spoke about how Jihad is misinterpreted.
“It was an eye-opening experience, especially his scholarly points of view,” said Longmire, a Woodridge resident. “Nowhere is it (Jihad) mentioned as war; it’s always mentioned as a (personal) struggle.
“All the things he said lined up with the base faiths of Christianity and all other religious sects. I think it was a very interconnecting speech, especially the way he spoke to all people of all different faiths.”