In the previous article “The True Victories”, we have began by tackling “peace” and how people are in dire need of it, as attaining peace is a true victory that a man could achieve in life; for it is the path towards construction and progress, which both could be reached only in the presence of peace. It is the cornerstone of work and development, the first spark to unleash people’s creative energies; I refer to the importance of peace value, which is well-established in religions as they call people to pursue it by all means, to work on securing peace, placing it among them. Hence, peace has become a mission sought after by people, and this is what today’s article is destined to tackle.
Peace is the way towards good; for that, the Bible commands one who truly seeks the good to shun evil and strive for peace: “Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Peace brings happiness to those who seek it: “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy.” God has commanded His people to speak the truth and pursue peace: “These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace.” And to love peace: “Therefore love truth and peace.”
Lord Christ has instructed His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Making peace raises man to a high rank that he becomes a son of God, thus, the disciples commanded working peacefully: “Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” They also commanded serious pursuit of peace: “Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”, and to make it for everyone: “Pursue peace with all people”.
Peace brings comfort to the righteous, while the wicked do not know it: “The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace.”
In the Quran, peace has many meanings and signs: it is one of the names of God, a way of greeting, safety from evil, a way of praising and goodness, and to express that something is void of impurity; among the verses which mentioned peace: “O believers! Enter into peace wholeheartedly” and “And Allah invites to the Home of Peace”,a call is also made to acquaintance and compassion among all people: “O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may get to know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you.”
As for the believers who are reverent, modest, fearful, and quiet, they counter the speeches of the ignorant with speeches of peace and patience, or (as many interpretations have mentioned) they speak with what is right and to make sound speeches: “The true servants of the Most Compassionate are those who walk on the earth humbly, and when the foolish address them improperly, they only respond with peace.”
The commandment to spread peace is reiterated in prophetic hadiths: “Spread peace among yourselves”, and “Spread the peace, speak gently, uphold the ties of kinship, and pray during the night when people are sleeping, and you will enter Paradise with peace.” and “Feed others, greet with peace those whom you know and those whom you do not know”. Spreading peace elevates and raises people: “Spread peace so that you can rise”. On the other hand: “The meanest among people is he who is tight-fisted with greeting, the most incapable are those who are incapable of supplication”
Thus, peace has become an important commandment presented to humankind so that they can pursue it in life towards one another, achieving peace is a sign of people’s abiding in religious teachings and commandments, the way to heaven, and true knowledge of God. Truly, peace is a luminous sign in the life of the believers, and a path lost through the life of the wicked, as they went astray, lost the knowledge of the truth and lost the path of life. And … Stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center18 November 2020