Book Review: The Age of Peace
By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Released in July 2015, New Delhi
Printed by: HT Media, Noida
Rating: Three and a half
I received this book from the Centre for Peace and Spirituality International, New Delhi for review and the good office of MaulanaWahiduddin Khan. It was facilitated by my good and spiritual friend, Kamal Kothari with whom I connected on Somali‘s blog.
At a time when there is a raging debate on growing global extremism, intolerance in the country and the fact that the youth is more vulnerable to radicalization, Maulana Wahududdin Khan’s book The Age of Peace comes at the right time to dispel several wrong notions about Islam as a religion. He tackles issues such as peace, conflict and Jihad among others, in a forthcoming and honest manner.
The founder of the Centre for Peace and Spirituality, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan painstakingly explains several facets such as peace, conflict, Non-Confrontational Methods, Counter Ideology and Islam, among others. He makes a strong pitch for peace in a world ripped apart by human conflicts and violence which makes our youth an easy prey.
The book throws light on the need for peace where religious books, in particular, Quran is being misinterpreted by people with vested interests. The author offers solutions to achieve an equitable win-win solution, at times idealistic, for people to live in religious harmony.
The book is a gem when we witness the research that the Maulana has done in treating a sensitive subject that deserves attention. What is Jihad? He gives a clear-cut definition as an act of ‘utmost struggle’. In his own interpretation, Jihad is, ‘a peaceful struggle for the dissemination of the message of God to mankind.’ In the same vein, Maulana Wahiddudin Khan rightly explains that war happens when mankind is adamant of going against nature and explains with clarity on the role played by Pakistan over the Kashmir issue that made them a country in shamble, constantly provoking on the Line of Control (LOC)-my words, not Maulana Sahab.
An eye-opener where the author speaks about the concept of ‘positive bomb’ to disseminate learning and use technology in the right manner to spread awareness among the people. He calls the Quran as a ‘literary bomb to spread the message of peace and this where the role of educated Muslims comes into play to make it their mission.
The verse 85:3 in Quran explains: “Muslims are shahid (witness) and all human beings are masshud (the witnessed). Our duty is to convey the message of God to all mankind.” Or, the verse that says, ‘Idilu’ meaning ‘Follow the principle of justice[in your life] (5:8).
Speaking about crisis management on how it is important to sort out conflict in an amicable manner with the focus on the development of a country rather than indulging in violence and bloodshed. The inference is made to Hong Kong and China on one side and Egypt who abandoned conflict over Suez Canal, for instance
He doesn’t shy away from broaching the burning issue of ‘radicalization of Muslim Youth’ where militancy is not based on reason but a false sense of purpose. Here, I feel that the answer lies in educating the youth, not necessarily Muslims alone on the true essence of Quran, a religion of peace which faces a wrong interpretation, as he rightly points out in the book. I feel this is largely untrue when he emphasizes that ‘Islamophobia’ doesn’t exist.
I strongly disagree with the perspective when we have witnessed seamless acts of violence against Muslims or burning of the holy Quran after several attacks where innocent Muslims are made the target and scapegoats. The generalization that every Muslim is a terrorist is in itself wrong when we see bigots in both Asia and the Western world wrongly label an entire community.
Maulana Sahib prefers the term, ‘Muslimophobia’ which addresses the wrong interpretation of Quran and urges the community to abandon guns which lead to the misunderstanding about Islam. On a technical point between Islamophobia and Muslimophobia, I agree with Maulana Sahib when he speaks of de-conditioning.
In the same way, I disagree with his view that ‘Disparity between men and women is not an evil: It is rather a blessing..promotes culture of cooperation.’
We have witnessed several instances where women are treated as second-class citizens and in many households their bodies are considered to be the property of men. In so many industries, we have huge wage disparity for the same work, harassment or for that matter, sexual assault.
“The concept of justified war-actually a wrongful war-has been developed by a wrong interpretation of the Islamic scripture, both the Quran and the Hadith.”
I will term the book Age of Peace by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan as a gem for peace and respect to him for his belief that violence is not the foundation of a society. His initiative is commendable in explaining the true meaning of the Holy Quran, like Hinduism and Christianity among many religions, that always believe that all routes lead to the good of humanity and seeking divinity. Being an agnostic, I give full marks to Maulana Sahab for coming with this gem for world peace and violence which aims to dispel false notions people may have on Islam. Despite few issues with Maulana vision, the Age of Peace is a book that everyone should grab to correct the misconceptions they may have with religious scriptures.
Do check out the website here for Maulana Sahab’s organisation.