LAHORE: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said Saturday that religious fragmentation, without understanding the true spirit and philosophy of religions, has given rise to terrorism and extremism and is affecting global peace.
He was speaking at the “Peace through Law” International Conference in Lahore.
The chief justice said that Islam was undoubtedly a peaceful religion as were all other religions. It was the lack of understanding of the true spirit of the religions that was creating these differences.
“Islamic teachings are oriented towards achievement of peace, brotherhood and human welfare,” he said.
“I believe that like Islam, all major religions of the world carry the message of peace-making and peace-keeping,” he added.
“It is unfortunate that human kind has got fragmented into religious and ethnic sects and groups without understanding the true spirit and philosophy,” said Justice Chaudhry.
“These deep-rooted rifts have given rise to terrorism, bloodshed, extra-judicial killings, human rights violations and other evils that are perpetuating extremism and radicalism and affecting global peace,” he added.
He said that the best way to address these issues was “through bridging the gap amongst individuals and states by common understanding and sharing of knowledge about law, peace and religion and exploring the factors that can help in achieving the objective of global peace”.
“Restoration or maintenance of peace and harmony through adherence to rule of law is the increasingly acceptable mean for resolving conflicts and terrorism, be it at the international or domestic level,” he added.
‘Islam a religion of peace’
“It is a matter of importance undoubtedly that as far as our religion Islam is concerned, being a great religion, conveys the message of peace,” said the chief justice.
“There is no basis for violence of Islam.”
Quoting from the Quran, the chief justice said that the opening verse read ‘in the name of Allah, the most Merciful and the most beneficial’ which was repeated 114 times throughout the Holy Book.
He said this verse shows mercy and compassion to be dominant traits of Islam.
Moreover, he said, the Holy Book sets peace as the destination of Islam and quoted another verse from the Quran.
“Most verses of the Quran are directly or indirectly aim at propagating peace and abhorring oppression and violence,” he added.
Justice Chaudhry said that the conquest of Makkah under the leadership of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is a great example of peace when Muslims, despite being in a dominant position, conquered the whole city without bloodshed or violence.
“Peaceful methods of settlement of dispute are preferred options of contemporary religion,” added the chief justice.
“In my view genuine peace between those who are in a state of conflict can only be brought about through peaceful settlement… such a settlement can be made acceptable to conflicting parties only when they are assured that the settlement is fair and will be enforced through the force of law,” he said.
The chief justice said that without the guarantee of law behind it, no settlement can last very long and without such settlements, peace cannot be established, and added that the reverse of this was also true: If the disputes can be settled legally, people have no need to start a conflict.
Correction: An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that the opening verse repeats 140 times in the Holy Quran instead of 114. The error is regretted.