A Month of Peace

All major paths of faith have teachings which place peace making at the center of their values. Sadly most followers of religious paths find ways around the peace teachings of their founders or their scriptures.

The month of Ramadan, which began in mid-May and will end in mid-June, is one of the ways the founder of Islam created to promote disciplines that lead to peace. Granted, not all the followers of Islam have historically followed the norms that lead to peace, and even the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) had to engage in battle. The teachings of peace making that are present in Islam were best applied by a man who has largely been ignored even by people who promote nonviolence as a method to overcome difficulties. That man was Badshah Khan, the nonviolent Soldier of Islam.

The most important feature of Badshah Khan’s approach was the creation of an army with officers and uniforms but without guns. The military discipline used by Badshah Khan included drills to prepare the troops to face the British forces that were going to shoot many of them to death. The preparation for battle included prayers and readings from the Holy Qur’an. He felt that only nonviolent opposition would be congruent with the teachings of Islam.

Badshah Khan is often referred to as the Muslim Ghandi, but in fact he was influenced more by his own faith than by his acquaintance with the Mahatma. He studied in Delhi at a college, now a university, founded by Sayed Ahmed Khan, a profoundly religious man who was very much interested in interfaith cooperation, the education of those living in British occupied India, and the preservation of the Pashtun language, Badshah Khan’s mother tongue. Rather than referring to him as the Muslim Ghandi it would be far better to use the language of one of his biographers, who called him a Muslim St. Francis.

We are living at a time when Muslims are portrayed primarily in negative light. It would benefit us much to learn about this great man. The following are links to sites and sources where one can learn much more about this incredibly faithful Muslim who believed that the way of peace is deeply woven in the fibers of Islam, the religion of peace.