Posted by: azizabusarah | April 25, 2010

Biblical examples supporting supporting peace

This post is was submitted as a  comment on my blog by Jonathan Misheiker from Jerusalem. I think it is worth highlighting .  Thank you Jonathan,

I highly commend Aziz for telling us that he and his friend Ibrahim respect Israel’s day of Independence’ despite their sufferings. I believe that many Israelis will congratulate the Palestinians when they have their own State, despite the loss of more than 6000 Israeli lives during Israel’s war of Independence. It is in the spirit of the Jewish Bible and the Christian Bible, which clearly teach us to respect, love and help our enemies: thereby we are elevated to a different moral plane of existence, and the enemy is an enemy no longer.

Here are some examples:

The Jewish Bible (called the “Old Testament” by Christians) gives specific examples and leaves it to us to work out the underlying principle:
1) “When you encounter your enemy’s ox or ass wandering, you must take it back to him. When you see the ass of your enemy lying under its burden and would refrain from raising it, you must nevertheless raise it with him.”
Exodus 23:4-5

2) Also, do not wish personal harm on your enemies.

“If your enemy falls, do not exult;
If he trips, let your heart not rejoice, lest the Lord see it and be displeased,
And avert his wrath from him.”
Proverbs, 24:17-18

3) The prophet Elisha had caused the capture of a band of the enemy Arameans. His ensuing conversation with the King speaks volumes on the subject at hand:
“When the king of Israel saw them [the Arameans], he said to [the Prophet] Elisha, “Father, shall I strike them down?” “No, do not,” he replied… rather, set food and drink before them, and let them eat and drink and return to their master. So he prepared a lavish feast for them and, after they had eaten and drunk, he let them go., and they returned to their master. And the Aramean bands stopped invading the land of Israel.”
2 Kings 6:21-23

New Testament
1) The New Testament displays the same wisdom, but sometimes prefers to state the principle itself, and leaves it to the reader to work the principle into real life situations:
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
Matthew 5:44

“But I say unto you which hear, love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.”
Luke 6:27-28.

The above sentiments are also expressed by the great Taosit sage, Lao Tzu, in his book, the Tao Te Ching, which teaches how to live one’s life:

1) Chapter 69 regards having an enemy as the greatest misfortune:

“There is no greater misfortune than feeling
“I have an enemy”
For when “I” and “enemy” exist together
There is no room for my treasure

When two opponents meet
The one without an enemy
Will surely triumph.”

2) Chapter 31 teaches that –
“One who … delights in the misfortune of others
Will never gain a thing
From this world below Heaven.”

I would appreciate contributions from others as to where such thoughts are expressed in the great Islamic tradition.

My purpose in the above is to show that the greatest leaders have pointed the way: we only have to walk in their footsteps. Do we have the courage to do so?


Examples from the Quran:

1- 2:62 (Asad) VERILY, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the christians, and the Sabians  -all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds-shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve. 

2- 41:34 (Picktall) The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he, between whom and thee there was enmity (will become) as though he was a bosom friend

3- 29:46 (Asad) And do not argue with the followers of earlier revelation otherwise than in a most kindly manner – unless it be such of them as are bent on evildoing and say: “We believe in that which has been be­stowed from on high upon us, as well as that which has been bestowed upon you: or our God and your God is one and the same, and it is unto Him that We [all] surrender ourselves.”

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