It was a good morning today, and I had a good time, too, resuming at my Mission Office, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria.
After spending a few hours deep at work, I felt I should come online to see, read and feel what is trending in my global village. As I was opening the page of one of my social media groups, I felt I couldn’t wait to read about the world around me. However, after scrolling a little bit down the page, I spotted a 38-word short post that, in turn, caught/got my attention. Below is the attention-drawing post:
“We have started chain of Aayat-e-Karima 250,000,000 times. “LAA ILAHA ILLAA ANTA SUBHANAKA INNI KUNTU MINAZ ZALIMEEN” for peace everywhere in the World. Just read ONCE and forward it to all your Muslim contact and please DON’T stop….”
For the benefit of those who are not familiar with Arabic, the above statement is a prayer offered by the Prophet Yunus [Biblical Jonah] as documented in the 88th verse of Chapter 21 of the Holy Quran. It translates as: “There is no God but You, Holy are You. I have indeed been of the wrongdoers.”
After reading the content, I could have gone on to view the rest of the page, but two reasons beckoned on my concern to write on the post: firstly, the demand of my profession as an Islamic Missionary; and secondly, I was reminded of what our University lecturer had taught us in a Mass Communication class, that we must always exert our journalistic muzzle by writing about anything and everything we see, read and feel around us. Accordingly, I felt duty-bound to push my pen to pen my feelings, my thoughts on the post and pass across, with love, to my fellow humans.
Well, my opening thought is that, not just 250,000,000, but there are over 1.8 billion Muslims in the world today who have been reading not MERELY the above Qur’anic prayer-phrase but the WHOLE Qur’an, and yet, there’s no peace in the world, not even in the Muslim-dominated countries!
What sense does that make to you and me? It means bringing about peace in the world requires not mere verbal READING of a prayer! It means practical commitment to the moral imperatives and ideals of those Qur’anic verses….
Historically, it is a Qur’anic decree that no change would come about in the world until humans first change themselves [Qur’an, 13: 12]. Even change itself would have to first change itself! No peace will come until we first become peaceful with ourselves, with our God and with our universe. In fact, as Islamic theology posits, God, the Ultimate Being, is the Absolute Peace [As-Salaam], the Fountainhead of peace and Ultimate end of Peace [Qur’an, 59: 24]. This means that to bring peace back to our contemporary godless postmodern world is to first bring our human world back to God!
Come to think of this: you read the above Qur’anic prayer once, pass it on to others, but thereafter move ahead and take interest [Ribaa] which God Himself [Quran, 2: 276-281] had declared to mean warring with Him! Those who are familiar with the history of the First and Second World Wars know the ominous role played by interest.
The contemporary world economy is interest-based. From the World Bank to IMF and the Paris Club etc., it’s all about war with God. Notably, following the triumph of capitalism over socialism in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall in the late 1980s, the world has been abuzz with the West’s triumphalist globalization of the capitalist economic ideology. Yet, since over 1,400 years ago, the Quran had passed its own verdict on the major characteristics of any capitalist society along with their invariable disastrous effects. It declared: “Nay, but you honour not the orphan. And you urge not one another to feed the poor. And you devour the heritage of the other people wholly. And you love wealth with exceeding love.” [Quran, 89: 18-21]
Similarly, our contemporary world politics typifies diplomatic duplicity or double standard. It is, observably, existentially giving cosmic expressions to the theory of clash of civilization propounded by Samuel Huntington’s 1994 controversial thesis. It is all about the trends of exclusive global imperialist suzerainty by the Superpowers who glory in their nuclear armaments on the one hand, and their corruption-laden political domination of the Third World countries, on the other hand. More so, our modern world religion is merely a religion of body [materialism] and heart [sentimentalism], not of mind [rationalism] and spirit [spiritualism]. World religions are embroiled in politicization of religion and “religionization” of political issues.
I am here reminded of the note I had once made in my Towards Global Harmony, Peace and Development – A Case for Inter-religious Collaboration  that, in spite of the overarching role of religion which accorded it a centrality of place in the world, it is disheartening to note that most of the adherents of world religions have not come to realize the need for all world religions to collaborate together to collectively address global challenges. On the contrary, the trend has been that, because of the respective individualistic and exclusivist ideologies put forward to address world problems, the world of religions itself has constantly been embroiled in unhealthy and destructive inter-religious ideological rivalry, conflicts, hatred and division. History is replete with various cases of small and large-scale conflicts, which were caused by unhealthy inter-religious relations. Many religious practitioners have failed to realize the dire need for the world religions, which demographically hold sway over larger segments of the world population, to embrace the increasing demand for plurality and inclusivity and collaborate in the collective effort to address the multifarious challenges currently bedeviling humanity.
Dear readers, are all these challenges what a person just wants the world to merely read a sentence of prayer ONCE and get 250,000,000 readers to bring about world peace? Please my comment is not intended to evoke pessimism in people about efficacy of prayer, but to encourage pragmatism. Indeed, prayer has a deep secret between God of man, and a man of God. Instructively, however, we should appreciate that Quranic prayers should be respected and not just be reduced to a mere child-play by the gullible. Importantly, I feel that, to bring peace to man and bring man to peace, the world must go by the lofty and pragmatic Islamic approaches being increasingly stressed by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad [atba], the World Khalifah of Islam and the Supreme World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, particularly, as enunciated in his epoch-making book titled World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace  [read online at: www.alislam.org]
Meanwhile, instead of having 250,000,000 just reading a sentence of prayer and sit back, let them, and humanity of all continents and religions, in general, begin to be truly godly and maintain justice and equity; imbibe inter-religious, inter-racial, inter-ethnic and international mutual love, respect, understanding and harmony; and develop and show genuine and selfless human sympathy, humaneness and cooperation for common good and humanity. Then, you will see how peace will be discovered, recovered and uncovered, signaling the end of global search for peace and the beginning of a world of peace! Until then, however, those who would not buy the forgoing ideas may continue to read their short-sentence-prayer without practice!
About the Writer: Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo is an Islamic Missionary and the National Secretary of the Muslim Writers Guild of Nigeria. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org mobile contact: 08057437643