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Explain how sacred texts provide understanding of peace is expressed in Christianity and Islam

The bible, Quran and Hadith are respected texts and are regarded as the books of truth. Believers take these sacred
texts as the revealed message from God the truth. As such, they are used as a guide to life in the pursuit of peace
between people and also between people and God. Jesus and Muhammad had a role in spreading the teaching of
peace. To understand how the Muslims and Christians view peace it is imperative to first understand what peace
means. Most people would refer to peace as freedom of war, disagreements, conflict and calmness of mind. To
understand the roles of Christianity and Islam in the teaching of peace the concepts of inner peace, world and society
peace has to be addressed, for both Christians and Muslims, inner peace refers to the state of calmness and
tranquility experienced by the individual. It is often understood to be associated with the spiritual peace with
God/Jesus for Christians and spiritual peace with Allah who desires peace for Muslims. Muslims believe that it is
through complete submission to Allah also called the Greater Jihad that an individual may achieve inner peace. The
Quran states clearly that in order to achieve world peace, all people must submit to Allah as they believe all people
of the Muslim community around the world are one community. They believe that there can be no world/universal
peace or the lesser Jihad without the greater Jihad which is misunderstood by many Islamic and non-Islamic people.
The NT of the Christian bibles idea of peace is derived from the two major Jewish understandings; one being the
fifth commandment and the other is the Jewish translation of the word peace. The fifth commandment; thou shall
not kill, found in Exodus 20:13 is mentioned in Matthew 5:21-26 in which Jesus refers to it not as a literal act of
ending a persons life but the murderous act of anger towards a persons brother in their heart. Just as a person who
has killed another will be subject to judgment, Jesus also explains that even if a person is angry at the his brother
(Matthew 5:22) or calls another a fool, then they too will be subject to the same judgment as the scriptures explain
murder begins in the heart. It later calls for peace with your enemies or the people who a person has hurt, in
Matthew 5:25 it says to; Settle matter quickly with your adversary. This explains that it is not wise to have
enemies; one should make peace as soon as possible because enemies are capable of causing great damage.
The Jewish word for peace is actually a Hebrew word referring to the spiritual and material well-being of
individuals and the religious community. It is often used in conjunction with other terms such as peace and
protection. In Jude 1:2 it says; Mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you peace refers to the state of a
person who rests in the Lord completely for salvation and protection
Other scriptures speak of the emphasis of peace between the people and between people and God. Hebrews 12:14
talks about living peaceably with all men in every effort to be holy, without holiness no one will see the Lord the
author of this scripture explains that it is the believers aim to live peaceably and if they do not they will not see
Christ because Christ is peace Prince of Peace. In John 14:27 explains peace as a special grant from Jesus. The
peace that Christ gives has the power to banish all free and dread from the heart, as Christ is in control of all
circumstances.
The Christian scriptures including the four Gospels present Jesus as the means of peace. He not only offers peace
mention in John 14:27, but ultimately embodies this peace in His ministry, death and resurrection Ephesians 2:14.
The Christian pursuit for inner peace also involves the cultivation of virtues, the building blocks of Christian moral
character. Christian teaching calls the believer to focus on others, not themselves, and to act with mercy and
compassion. The Beatitudes are the guide that Jesus gave to true happiness and inner peace.
The sacred text of Islam, the Quran and the way of the Prophet Muhammad as found in the Hadith are fundamental
to Muslims perception of peace. Muhammads attitude to the ethics of war and peace were different to those of preIslamic Arabia and this is demonstrated not only by the large body of literature comprising the Prophets sayings and
action and his biography, but also the divine revelation of the Quran. He showed no inclination towards the use of
violence or even self defense however on the contrary his policy can only be described as non-violent resistance.
This policy was maintained despite a rise in violent attacks against his followers and himself. He however endured

through this period on the virtues of patience and steadfastness. The Quran teaches the use of force should be
avoided unless it is the last resort and is clearly outline in Surat al-Shura 42:40-43 and in Surah 2:178; Where there
is external threat, Muslims have a duty to protect themselves and others. Where there is injustice, arms may be used
to overcome it Warfare is a means of correcting wrongs. The ultimate aim of Islam, however, is peace, for peace is
the will of Allah According to these verses, active non-violent resistance and open defiance of persecution by
non-believers is the proper Muslim response, and was in fact the Prophets own practice during this period. Clearly,
Jihad in this extended period of Muhammads life meant non-violent resistance.
Principle teachings: Christianity
Pacifism is the refusal to fight in wars; believers consider that war can never be justified. Peace is a high valued
belief and strong in groups like Pax Christi, Plymouth Brethren and Quakers. The main reason pacifists choose to
not participate in wars is based on Jesus teachings that peace will come when people refuse to fight one another e.g.
Matthew 5:9, 39 Turn the other cheek and following Jesus example of peace in Matthew 26:51-52 Jesus tells
Peter not to draw his sword against the Roman soldiers who came to arrest him.
Pax Christis believe in the reverence of life that life is sacred and that people are entitled to human rights and
dignity. This is often considered a sacramental and saintly model of life where the adherent follows the example left
by Christ of non-violent action/pacifism and to resist injustice and when faced by conflict use dialogues,
negotiations and peaceful protests. Pax Christis believe that peace is a virtuous ideal valued by God and should be a
way life. Their ideals are based on Christian teachings the peace is the matter of the heart, not policy or documents.
Peace comes with repentance, forgiveness, charity and justice.
Just War was a document of principles proposed by St Augustine in the 3rd century that meant a war could be
justified if it had a just cause/good reasons for war for example to remove aggression and injustice. Another
justification was if the fight had proper authority and was to restore peace e.g. the governments and UNs effort to
restore peace nationally and globally. This is based on the biblical support of war mentioned in the bible, Paul in
Romans 13, Titus 3 Christians are to obey orders of government and in Luke 7 Jesus did not condemn soldiers of
war but commended the faith of the Roman centurion.
Principle teachings: Islam
The term Islam is Arabic meaning submission to God and to the will of Allah and also peace which is derived
from the root slm. Peace and harmony is a fundamental and integral belief of Islam, Muslims believe that peace is
virtuous Allah who is the source and provider of peace. According to tradition of the Prophet, Peace is Islam Al
Bukhari, which basically means that peace, is one of the prerequisites of Islam.
Greater Jihad refers to the struggle to make oneself and society perfectly Muslim an inner struggle against evil,
desires and temptation. Muslims internally strive to behave in way of Allah, resisting selfishness and show caring
attitude towards other. The Greater Jihad is the struggle with oneself to do Allahs will everyday of their lives, the
Hadith states We have returned from the Lesser Jihad (battle) to the Greater Jihad (battle of the soul)
Lesser Jihad refers to the struggle with forces outside the person by means of war and only as a last resort after all
peaceful attempts fail and preferably with little suffering to the people. This may involve fighting an enemy who
threatens to destroy or to attack the umma/community and also to protect the community from an unjust
government. Based on the notion Fight in the cause of God those who fight you (Sura 2:190)

Identify a sacred text and explain how that text guides individuals in their quest for inner peace

Inner peace refers to a state of being mentally or spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to
keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress. Being "at peace" is considered by many to be healthy and the
opposite of being stressed or anxious. Peace of mind is generally associated with bliss and happiness. In the
Christian tradition the bible is deeply concerned with peace between God and people, between people, inner peace
and outward peace. And in the Quran of the Islamic tradition peace is the common theme, noting in Surah 2:11 v
224 speaks of not letting anything get in the way of doing good and guarding against evil and making peace.
In Christianity, the four Gospels, all the letters or epistles in the NT are valued for their contribution in guiding an
individual on their quest for inner peace. Inner peace is usually part of the salvation or greeting at the beginning of
the letter and is always seen as being Gods gift; for example 1 Timothy 1:2 says Grace, mercy and peace from
God. Sometimes peace was also part of the final greeting towards the end of the letter, for example Paul wrote to
the Thessalonians church, Now may the God of peace give you peace at all times, in all ways. It is clear that peace
is the central message of the letters, as it is of the gospels. The NT teaches believers that being reconciled to God
brings inner peace. Jesus told his disciples the night before he died; Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.
I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your heart by troubled and do not be afraid (John14:27). When Paul
wrote to the church of Philippi, he described peace as the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will
guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
The foundation of a Christians inner peace is being with peace with God, who is able through the death of Jesus, set
believers free from the guilt, penalty and power of sin. This peace flows from Gods love, Romans 5:1-11 teaches
that Christ died for the ungodly and so peace is available for everyone. Inner peace is maintained through a
continuing close relationship with God and through varies other means such as; in 1 John 1:9 teaches that if we
confess our sins, Godwill forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, according to this scripture
adherents who confess their sins agree with God that they are imperfect and need the grace and mercy of God to be
restored with peace. This practice also relates to the Catholics sacrament of confession to a priest on behalf of God.
If a believer confesses his or her specific sins to God, he will then cleanse all unrighteousness from that person.
Forgiveness and cleansing are guaranteed because God is faithful to his promises and his promises are legitimate
because God is just.
Jesus of Nazareth taught his disciples to pray for forgiveness; Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who
trespass against us. This scripture teaches adherents that in order to achieve inner peace through the confession of
sins to God, they too must show forgiveness which links back to the paragraph above where God is faithful to his
promises and will forgive the adherent if they show the same courtesy to others. Jesus also told Peter that he must
forgive others up to seventy times seven the point is not to keep count of it all but to always be willing to
forgive. Failure to forgive leads to suppressed anger and resentment. This destroys peaceful relationships with not
only God but others, it also damages the disobedient believers communion with God and ultimately breaks inner
peace.
Prayers together with meditation are seen as the means of achieving inner peace. The bible teaches adherents that
through prayer which may be personal or spontaneous, expresses the thankfulness or gratitude to God. Through
prayer believers experience inner peace and just like meditation Christians see it as a way of calming the mind and
clearing it of any troublesome or unwholesome thoughts, which is done in preparation to receive Gods inspiration
and peace John14:27. Prayer and meditation is not an alternative to Jesus Christ as a means of salvation, but a
spiritual discipline. Meditation is seen as a form of worship centered in love which brings about peace.
The sacred text of Islam, the Quran has a common theme of peace. The Quran are complied of the Prophets actions
and the divine revelation from Allah. The Quran guides adherents in their quest for inner peace through teaching
them to make peace with each other as Surah 49:10 states, the believers are but siblings, therefore make peace
between your siblings This scripture encourages Muslims to be at peace with one another.

The Qurans teaching of the Five Pillars contributes to inner peace. Some of them are personal in nature, while
others aim to contribute peace to the Islamic community and more broadly the world. The first pillar, shahadah, or
confession of faith helps Muslims to be at peace with themselves and with god. A Muslim proclaims that there is no
god but Allah, and Muhammad is Gods messenger. In other words, there is no other power in which they can or
should put their trust. This helps them to achieve inner peace. The forth pillar of sawm or fasting during the time of
Ramadan also reminds Muslims of their dependence on God and of Gods goodness in providing food. In being
reminded of these things, Muslims are reminded not to place too much importance on material goods. They are
reminded to place their trust in God for provision of food.
Praying five times a day is another pillar of Islam and is often seen as a mere ritual to most non-religious Muslims,
but for Muslims it not only reminds them of Gods closeness and the feeling of peace that it brings, but it keeps them
close to God. This teaches and encourages Muslims that it is not a chore but on the contrary, being close to God is
something to be desired knowing that they are drawing near or staying near to God, and turning their backs away
from the issues and concerns of the world, is in itself a source of inner peace. Naturally, reading and reciting the
Quran is not limited to prayer times. Even in English translation, some tracts of the Quran can be immensely
reassuring, reminding Muslims of Gods closeness.
The Quran is also very practical in guiding Muslims to achieve inner peace, Surah 2:224, speaks of not letting
anything get in the way of doing good and guarding against evil and making peace.
Surah 25:63 says that Gods servants are those who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant
address them, they say: Peace!. This scripture teaches that in order to achieve inner peace too must show peace
onto others.
Sacred texts provide adherents a guide in which to assist them on their quest to reach and achieve inner peace. It is
evident that in both religious traditions that it can be achieved through means of prayer and meditation of the
scriptures and includes practical techniques such as making peace with others. Both Christianity and Islam show
similar techniques of achieving inner peace, through the obeying and submission to their God. However from the
troubles faced by individuals in todays society of war, crime, racism and genocide, one can only conclude that the
quest for inner peace will continue.

Outline the principle teachings of peace in Christianity and Islam and discuss how these teachings contribute
to world peace
World peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations. It is the professed ambition
of many past and present world leaders. It is the utopian ideal of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly
cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance which prevents warfare. Both Christianity and

Islam explore the possibility of world peace in their principle teachings that peace begins with the individual,
without peace with oneself, peace with others cannot be achieved.
The NT strongly urges people to work at peace, even when it is difficult. In the famous Sermon on the Mount, which
appears in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told his followers, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called
the children of God (Matthew 5:9). Making peace with others is part of making peace with God. This contributes to
world peace as world leaders have the power to prevent war for example the World Council of Churches in 2001
participated in the Decade to Overcome Violence in hope to achieve world peace.
Jesus taught people not to escalate quarrels by taking revenge for wrongs. Turn the other cheek and go the second
mile are both teachings about peace from the Sermon on the Mount. Other words of Jesus in relation to peace
between people include, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Political leaders and others
who heed to this scripture have prayed for Osama and members of Al Queda to help bring peace to the world. The
reason he gave for this teaching is that God makes the sun to shine on good and bad people alike. Therefore, if
every person is one of Gods children, they should all be like God.
In the 3rd century, St Augustine was proposed the Just War theory explaining the only reason for waging war would
be to defend the nations peace against serious injury. St Augustine taught that there were three elements which
justified war; (1) defending against an external attack, (2) recapturing things taken, and (3) punishing people who
have done wrong. World peace stems from the individual to do his duty to create peace, not war. The bible teaches to
do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody Romans 12:18. Crusades in the past took
place as a first response by Western Christians when in the eleventh century were appealed by the Byzantine
emperor for help against attack on his empire by Muslims, so initially they met one of the criteria for a just war.
However, the behavior of the Crusaders certainly did not. But even at the time, some Christians opposed the
Crusades in principle, either because they supported the pacifist position, or because they accepted the just war
principle but were opposed to a war in defense of religion. Francis of Assisi was among those who thought that
Muslims might be won over to Christianity by persuasion, and who criticized the conduct of the crusading armies.
And even today the war in Iraq can be seen as an example of what the West believe to be a just war, but groups like
World Conference of Peace and the Peace Brigades all work towards the notion of peace.
Christian teachings encourage adherents and their churches to work for peace in the world. These teachings, which
do differ between different denominations, generally emphasize that Christians should recognize that within
Christianity unity there are differences, respect human dignity and promote respect for human rights, defend those
groups who are most vulnerable to human rights violations, work to change the attitudes in society that encourage
violence, support attempts to resolve conflicts peacefully and strengthen international cooperation for peace. Most
Australian churches have set up task forces to consider Christian approaches and teachings about current issues of
justice and peace, and to make statements about them when appropriate. For example, the Australian Catholic Social
Justice Council was set up in 1987 as the national justice and peace agency of the Catholic Church in Australia.
Another example is the Uniting Church in Australia, which has a Peace and Disarmament Task Group.
Through the Christian teachings of peace, organizations have contributed to the notion of world peace on varies
levels, for example the World Council of Churches set up an annual interfaith initiative called the international
Prayer for Peace, the Micah Challenge is a global Christian campaign to challenge leaders to achieve the
Millennium Development Goals, signed by all members of the United Nations, which aim to halve absolute global
poverty by 2015 and on a national level many churches have agencies devoted to various types of social services.
The St Vincent de Paul, The Brotherhood of St Lawrence, the Salvation Army and Mission Australia are some wellknown examples. As well as working with people in need, these agencies are advocates from them with the
government.

The Islamic tradition emphasize peace as a fundamental value; for a matter of fact the word Islam itself is derived
from the root slm which are the root letters for peace. Islam means establishing peace as well as surrendering to the
will of Allah and in the Quran there are repeated references to the concept of peace. Significantly, the Quran calls
upon Muslims, O ye who believe! Come, all of you, into complete peace and follow not the footsteps of the devil.
Surely he is your open enemy and those who believe and do good are made to enter Gardens (al-Janna or
Paradise) beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them by their Lords permission; their greeting therein is, Peace!
The world can become like al-Janna only if there is peace in the world and Allah says, Enter it (paradise) in peace
and justice. Thus the main attributes of paradise for which all Muslims aspire are peace and justice. While Muslims
believe that Allah desires peace and created humankind for that purpose, they also acknowledge that humans can
have a tendency towards aggression, violence and greed. So for a human being there will always be an internal
struggle against evil, a struggle to do Allahs will everyday for their lives. Jihad is supposed to run though all aspects
of a Muslims life as it is the Muslims duty in the world to do good and prevent harm and evil in every way. Of
course, this can entail the use of force when peaceful means are not successful, but Jihad does not necessarily
involve waging war (greater jihad).
For millions of Muslims, Islam is a deep spiritual experience and has nothing to do with politics or violence or the
use of Islam for ones interest. Because Islam is relatively new to Australia, world events overtook Australias
knowledge of Islam and Muslims, and many Australians regarded Islam and Muslims with suspicion. For
Australian Muslims, the first priority in achieving world peace has been to join in initiatives established to increase
non-Muslim Australians knowledge of what exactly Islam as a religion is and to enter into dialogue with Christians
and Jews which make up most of Australias religious landscape. These initiatives are repeated all over the world in
an endeavor to research, reflect upon and dialogue about the real and/or alleged sources of conflict between Islam
and the West. For instance, in 1989 the International Scholars Annual Trialogue was setup by a group of Jewish,
Christian and Muslim scholars.
Christianity and Islam both strive for world peace as indicated in their sacred texts: the Bible and the Quran. The
initiatives created by organizations of both religious traditions have played an influential role in the journey for
world peace. However world peace will still be difficult due to many factors such as the strong pro-war
personalities, world politicians, power mongering and religious fundamentalism. Unless principle teachings of peace
of both religions are interpreted and adopted true to the principles of pacifism, it will be impossible for world peace
to exist.