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Humanitarian calamity

There is nothing more desirable than peace, prosperity and happiness. War wreaks destruction and devastation and is the foundation of acrimony and animosity. Justice, dialogue and reconciliation is the antidote for wars and conflicts.

The Holy Quran repeatedly condemns war, declaring it a catastrophic fire: “Whenever they kindle a fire of war God extinguishes it. And they strive to create disorder in the earth and God loves not those who create disorder.”

The Syrian conflict now is in its seventh year. Every day was painful, difficult and miserable. However, the latest chemical attacks leave one stunned and speechless.

The horrific videos and gruesome pictures of children gasping for air in the last moments of their life have shocked every sane and sensible person.

To me, such attacks are against humanity and should be sufficient to shake our consciousness and make us stand up against such brutalities and barbarism.

How many more deaths does the world need to witness before robust efforts are made to secure peace and find a political solution for the Syrian people?

The international community and, particularly, the neighbouring Muslim countries should play a vital role in extinguishing this fire of hatred and stop vested interests and thirst for power, which have caused mass destruction and shattered and ruined the entire country.

Moreover, the world powers should not stand by any of the parties involved in this war but act as mediators to bring both parties around a table and engage them in dialogue to find a political and permanent solution.

In the Holy Quran, God says: “And if two parties of believers fight against each other, make peace between them; then, if after that one of them transgresses against the other, fight the party that transgresses until it returns to the command of Allah. Then, if it returns, make peace between them with equity, and act justly. Verily, Allah loves the just.”

This verse provides a most effective remedy to quarrels and to settling disputes between two parties.

The United Nations can play a crucial role because the country in question is included in its charter. The UN should insist on settling any differences and resolve the dispute through dialogue. It should act as a facilitator so both parties would set the terms for peace and reconciliation.

In case the government refutes any political solution, collective measures should be taken against it and collective efforts made to force it to end the war.

To start the process of ending this massacre of innocent people, including children, I believe that, first and foremost, the provision of weapons to both parties involved in the conflict must be halted.

The Holy Quran also calls for Taqwa (righteousness) in the hearts of both rulers and masses, so an agreement can be reached.

It says: “And help one another in righteousness and piety but help not one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah; surely, Allah is severe in punishment.”

Prophet Muhammad also drew the attention of rulers to their responsibilities. He said that the day when there is no shade other than the shade of God, He will grant shade to seven people and first among them will be a just and fair Imam. He also said that, on Judgement Day, the most beloved and the closest to God would be a just and fair ruler and the most disliked and most distant from God would be an unjust ruler.

He also said that Paradise would be forbidden to a person who is given charge over and responsibility for the people but is negligent. These commandments are matters for rulers to ponder over. If they wish to be God’s beloved they have to stop injustice. If they wish to make it to Paradise, then they have to work for the well-being of everyone without any discrimination.

When highlighting the democratic system of selecting leaders and running the business of State justly, the Holy Quran states: “Allah commands you to make over the trusts to those entitled to them and that, when you judge between people, you judge with justice.”

In this verse, the right of authority has been called as trust. Hence, anyone who receives an opportunity to govern should understand that this is a trust, which has been endowed upon him by the people.

The concept of trust is further highlighted by the Prophet Muhammad; it is mentioned that, on appointing a companion as the Amir (leader) of a region he said: “You are a weak individual and rulership is a trust. On the day of judgement, rulership shall be the cause of humiliation and disgrace, except for such a person who completely fulfils its rights.”

May we absorb God’s mercy and do our utmost to establish peace and spread love and compassion.

May God protect the world from the horrors and destruction of war.

May God bring peace in Syria.

[email protected]

Laiq Ahmed Atif is president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta

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