The Center for Non-violence and Peace Studies is an integral part of Madina Institute, a premier destination for Islamic education in which Muslims from all backgrounds engage traditional Islamic teachings in a healthy and tolerant environment. The Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies continues the Madinan School of Nonviolence and Peace as laid down in the Prophetic example, as a to challenge global extremism in both its violent and nonviolent forms.
The concept of nonviolence can be traced back to the very first human beings on earth: Adam and his immediate children, Abel and Cain. Abel’s refusal to retaliate against Cain and his insistence that those who fear God would never allow envy to cause them to harm another human being, serves as a powerful example and reminder of the importance placed upon nonviolence in Islam. Throughout human history, prophets, saints, reformers, and activists have continued the path of nonviolence. Jesus son of Mary, Prophet Muhammad, al-Husayn bin Ali, Abu Hanifah, Shafi’i, and others exemplify nonviolence and they continue to guide us today in the frame of the Madinan School of Nonviolence.
Modern schools of nonviolence were spurred by Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), leading to the independence of India. Gandhi himself credits al-Husayn bin Ali for some of what he learned about nonviolent resistance by saying, “I learned from Hussain how to be wronged and be a winner; I learned from Hussain how to attain victory while being oppressed.”
Other schools of nonviolence include that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) who led a nonviolent movement in the United States in his persistent struggle for civil rights and equality.
Badshah Khan (1890-1988) AKA the Muslim Gandhi waged a nonviolent war, established the first army of peace, and left behind a school and methodology of nonviolence and peace. His methodology of nonviolence was considerably influenced by al-Husayn bin Ali’s methods, philosophy, tactics, and approach.
The Madinan School of Nonviolence
The Madinan concept of nonviolence goes back to the Prophet Muhammad, particularly during the first 13 years in Mecca which were war-free despite relentless small-scale violence by his opposition. For the next 10 years, Madina benefited greatly from the nonviolent practices of the Prophet Muhammad, whose life is rich with examples of nonviolent and peaceful practices in a time when wars and violence were imposed upon him and his followers.
A collection of the Prophetic nonviolence and peace methods and practices are composed in a book by the founder of Madina Institute and the Madinan School of Nonviolence, Dr. Muhammad al-Ninowy. His book, Nonviolence: a Fundamental Islamic Principle, serves as a simple guide in the continuous effort toward nonviolent solutions.
The Madinan School of Nonviolence also draws its methods and practices from the example of the Prophetic companions and family, such as al-Husayn bin Ali, the Prophet’s grandson who led the most famous nonviolent resistance movement in Islamic history. Many other reformers and activists throughout history followed suit and were innovative in waging peace and nonviolence, epitomizing the mission, vision, philosophy, teachings, and methodologies of the Madinan School of Nonviolence: Love for all; malice toward none.
To make distinctive separation between Islam as a religion and violence portrayed in its name, whether old or new. Basically, that:
- Violence violates the very core principles of Islam;
- Islam teaches us first and foremost that all of our fellow human beings, irrespective of religious, racial, ethnic, gender, or other differences have an inherent and immeasurable worth and dignity; each human life is considered sacred;
- Our radical equality before God leads us to think no less of another human for being “different”.
To institutionalize and internationalize nonviolence as a process that reduces and eases human suffering, promotes love and unconditional compassion among all people.
To foster mutual understanding among all people, in which nonviolent processes are used for conflict resolution, peace building, tolerance, unconditional compassion, and love.
To increase awareness about the evils of violent and nonviolent extremism, and to counter hate with love.
To increase awareness about the abuse of religion when it comes to violence; the focus being that the causes of violent conflicts and wars are usually greed, envy, and ambition, but in an effort to sanitize them, these self-serving emotions have often been cloaked in religious rhetoric.
To help Muslim minorities living in the West to cope with Post-Terrorism Stress Disorder, especially children affected by bullying, verbal, emotional, and/or physical abuse.