International Day of Peace
September 21, the International Day of Peace
Keywords: war, peace, crime, justice, poverty, human rights, discrimination, Islam, history, the Prophet of Islam, injustice, violation, rebel, peace, the United Nations, Security Council, veto power, arms, faith
The Necessity of Establishing Peace for the Development of the World
Following the catastrophes of World War I and II, the United Nations was established to gradually pave the way for the establishment of peace in the world and prevent the recurrence of atrocities such as the ones committed in WWI and II.
This was a goal which later proved to be unattainable or at least very difficult to attain with the resumption of various conflicts and wars around the world. These wars finally brought the UN, in 1982, to symbolically name one day of the year the “International Day of Peace” in order to further emphasize the importance of peace in the world.
Since then, September 21 is commemorated every year as the “International Day of Peace” in order to remind everyone of the adverse consequences of war, from the spread of injustice and poverty to the non-development of nations. This day is commemorated in order to call upon all governments, NGOs, and human rights activists to devote all their efforts to the establishment of sustainable peace and justice in the entire world.
This is because only through peace will it be possible to completely eradicate such world-wide problems as poverty, hunger, contagious diseases, illiteracy, climate change, gender discrimination and social injustice.
Islam, the true Harbinger of Peace for all Nations
Anyone who has the slightest familiarity with the Islamic culture and teachings knows that Islam considers peace to be the norm and it considers conflict and war to be an exception and an abnormality which must be avoided as far as possible.
According to history, the death toll of the defensive wars during the time of the Prophet (ṣ) does not exceed 1000 souls. This is while, according to official statistics, tens of millions of people were killed and wounded in World War I alone. Islam strongly opposes war and promotes peace, and it does not authorize fighting a war unless it is imposed on the Muslims.
Theoretically, Islam has emphasized the importance of the establishment of widespread peace in different ways. For instance, in verse 25 of Surah Yunus, Paradise, as the reward for the sincere devotion of the righteous, has been defined as an abode of “peace” among other things. Similarly, in verse 208 of Surah al-Baqarah peace and conciliation have been enj o i ned upon all the believers.
As regards the practical promotion of peace, Islam has emphasized the need for the creation of an atmosphere of peace and conciliation within the society. For instance, in verse 61 of the Surah al-Anfāl, Allah instructs the Muslims that if their enemies show a desire for peace during wars, they too must accept to make peace with them.
In addition, in verse 94 of surah al-Nisā’, the Muslim warriors have been called upon not to attack the one who calls himself a Muslim and seeks peace, and not to hurt them seeking the short-lived worldly wealth and spoils of war. Rather, they are to accept their offer of peace.
Similarly, according to verse 9 of Surah al-Ḥujurāt, whenever war breaks out between two groups of Muslims, the other Muslims are obliged to settle their disputes and to establish peace and reconciliation between them. If one of the two groups refuses to desist from wrongdoing and aggression and continues to
“invade” the other party though the other party is ready to make peace, it is considered a “rebellious group” from the Islamic point of view. Under such circumstance, Islam even allows Muslims to go to war with that “rebellious group” and fight it.
In addition to these verses, the conduct and way of life of the great Islamic leaders is replete with instances where peace has been emphasized and promoted.
For instance, When Imam Ali (ʻa) was sending one of his commanders (Miʻqal ibn Qays al-Riyāḥī) to lead his army against Muʻāwiytah’s army, he explicitly instructed him that he was not authorized to fight them, out of personal hatred, before having invited them to peace and back to Allah’s path.
The Roots of international wars and conflicts
International statistics and reports indicate that, since the day the United Nations was established, the aggregate number of the days in which there has not been any civil or international war going on anywhere in the world does not exceed a few weeks!
In order to understand the reason behind this, one can refer to the role of various economic, political, religious, ethnic, and historical issues. However, it seems that the root of all these conflicts must be initially sought within the UN itself and in its regulations, because for more than half a century the UN has been responsible for the protection and promotion of world peace.
It should be kept in mind that in order for any effort by the United Nations to lead to effective results, they must be backed by the resolutions of the most important part of the organization, the Security Council. This is while this council is mostly ruled by five permanent member states which also happen to have veto power! Clearly then, the UN was founded upon injustice and discrimination among different nations from the very beginning.
These powerful countries have always used their financial and military power to interfere in the affairs of other countries both directly and indirectly in order to secure their selfish interests, paving the way for bloody conflicts in various regions. Examples of such catastrophic interventions are the Vietnam War, the Korean War, numerous wars in Afghanistan, and the invasions of Iraq and Yemen.
Furthermore, by abusing their veto power in the Security Council, these countries also undermine the efforts of the United Nations and the justice -and freedom-seeking countries toward the establishment of peace. Examples of this are the countless cases of US veto against anti-Israeli Security Council resolutions which condemned the war crimes of the Zionist regime against the Palestinians. This itself has been a major reason behind the increased war crimes committed by the Israeli regime against the oppressed Palestinian Muslims.
Additionally, a glance at the overall turnover of the arms industry, one realizes that the major arms exporters, in particular the US as the largest manufacturers of lethal weapons, benefit greatly from constant conflicts and wars around the world.
In conclusion, it should be noted that peace is possible to achieve only by means of faith, and the mere reliance on human laws will never eliminate war and insecurity from the world. This is because this world and the love for its mundane pleasures and glitters are always the source of conflict and war, and peace is impossible if man’s spiritual power of faith does not control him.
It is faith in Allah and submission to His commands that is the uniting factor for the human societies and the key to the peaceful interaction of nations. On the contrary, when man refuses to have faith in Allah and act upon it, he will be controlled by the dark forces of Satan. This has been corroborated by verse 208 of Surah al-Baqara where it is stated that those who do not have faith in Allah will follow Satan and will constantly fan the flames of discord and prevent the establishment of peace. That is to say, peace and reconciliation is divine in origin, whereas violence, aggression, and warmongering are evil and Satanic in nature..
 For more information in this regard, refer to: Makarem Shirazi, N. Az To So’āl Mikonand: Majmū’eh ye So’ālāt-e Qorani az Payāmbar Akram. Compiled and edited by: Aliannajad, A. pub: The Publication of Madrasah Imam Ali ibn Abiṭālib (ʻa), Qom, 1387 Sh, pp. 90-91.
 “And Allah invites to the Abode of Peace and guides whomsoever He wills [and deems worthy of guidance] to a straight path.”
 “Of course when the life of this world takes on a monotheistic and spiritual hue, it will turn, from a home of destruction and ruin, in to a blessed abode of peace and security.” For more information in this regard refer to: Makarem Shirazi, N. Tafsīr Nemūneh. Pub: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyyah. 10th ed., Tehran, 1371 Sh. Vol. 8, p. 264.
 “O’ you who believe! Enter peace and conciliation [as you all share the same faith] and do not follow in the footsteps of Satan, for he is to you a manifest enemy.”
 “And if they incline toward peace, then you too incline toward it, and put your trust in Allah, for He who is the Ever Hearing, the Ever Knowing.”
 “O’ you who believe! When you set out on a journey [for Jihad] in the Way of Allah, investigate; and do not say to he who offers you peace and calls himself a Muslim “You are not a Muslim”, being covetous of the transitory gains of the life of this world [and the spoils of war]”
 “And if two groups of the believers happen to fight, make peace between them. And if one of the two groups lays on the other, fight the invading group until it returns to Allah’s ordinance. And once it returns [and is ready for peace], make peace between them fairly and be just, for Allah loves those who are just.”
 For more information in this regard refer to: Makarem Shirazi, N. Ā’īn Rahmat. Compiled and edited by: Aliannejad, A. pub: The Publication of Madrasah al-Imam Ali ibn Abiṭālib (ʻa), 1st ed., Qom, 1385 Sh., p. 74.
 “وَ لَايَحْمِلَنَّكُمُ شَنَآنُهُمْ عَلَى قِتَالِهِمْ قَبْلَ دُعَائِهِمْ وَ الْإِعْذَارِ إِلَيْهِم” Sharif al-Raḍī, Mohammad ibn Ḥusain. Nahj al-Balāghah. Researched/revised by: Feyz al-Islam. Pub: Hejrat Publication. 1st ed., Qom, 1414 Ah. P. 372.
 For more information, refer to: Tafsīr Nemūneh, ibid, vol. 2, pp. 82-83.