We are living in a time of unprecedented troubles and tribulations, be they societal, economic, diplomatic or health-related such as the pandemic. Not a single day passes without another harrowing headline replacing the previous one, constantly revolving around the same issues pertaining to conflicts, health and humanitarian crises and law and order.
What is extremely worrying is that violence, marginalisation of different groups of people, violent revolutions, domestic problems, wars, poverty, crime and loss of human lives through wars and pandemics continue to increase.
Despite ground-breaking achievements and the technological advancements over the past few decades, the most sophisticated weaponry, the largest armies ever seen and billions spent on defence, the world is more fragile than ever before and, God forbid, could get worse.
In the pursuit of being better than their counterparts, leading countries around the world have made the world more unsafe and have exposed the global community to countless dangers and threats.
When a system is consistently failing, naturally a complete transformation or overhaul is required and changes become inevitable.
A rational doctor changes the prescription if the medicine he is administering does not have the desired effect on the patient. The same approach is required for the global community.
I think the critical and worrying moments that our world is currently passing through requires a complete overhaul of the entire system; it needs massive reformation. But where do we begin with such a restructuring? How do we go about redesigning the entire system? And what are the steps towards the reformation?
The Holy Prophet Muhammad gave a simple yet magnificent principle: “Like for others what you like for yourself.” This golden rule is the key to transforming our system and to establishing true and long-lasting peace in the world.
The reality is that it is extremely difficult to make a good friend but it is very easy to make an enemy. We, therefore, must strive to sow the seeds of friendships with others by genuinely caring for them and not just care for ourselves.
The narrative that devastating weapons are required for our own safety and for so-called ‘security reasons’, must be countered with a stronger, permeating and all-encompassing narrative of sincerity and friendship.
We must adopt a shift from guns to books, from bullets to pens, from tanks to libraries, from nuclear inventions to scientific innovations
The cornerstone of this alternative approach is the establishment of sincere and friendly relationships with neighbours because, if someone is safe with one’s neighbours and trusts them, then why would they buy a gun?
One radical change, which many may consider unfathomable, that is necessary to remove the danger of an atomic conflict is the demilitarisation of the entire world. Globally, trillions of dollars are spent annually on the budgets allocated for defence and weaponry, which actually makes the world a far more dangerous place instead of the intended purpose of making it safer.
If, instead, this money was spent on the welfare of mankind and resolving the issues that can lead to conflict, such as lack of education, food and water, and giving countries resources that belong to them, it would be a more effective and beneficial use of such money.
Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and gelignite, the most powerful explosives at that time, but the intended purpose was never to harm others.
He decided to leave his immense fortune to foster science, literature and peace leading to the establishment of the Nobel Prize; he wished that to be his legacy and not explosives; this should be a learning lesson for nuclear armed nations.
Use your wealth for the promotion of the betterment of humanity and not destruction of nations.
The race for weapons should instead be a healthy competition in the areas of health and education, which the world needs desperately.
The world urgently needs a shift from aggression and violence to dialogue and understanding; from ‘might makes right’ to ‘live and let live’; from exclusion to inclusion; from discrimination to acceptance; from inequality to equity; and from money-centred societies to love and justice-centred communities.
Furthermore, to say the least, a far more positive approach is needed. The focus should be on building bridges and healthy relationships instead of barriers and walls. We must extend an olive branch instead of challenging and threatening others; we should speak gentle and kind words instead of harsh and abusive language.
We must adopt a shift from guns to books, from bullets to pens, from tanks to libraries, from nuclear inventions to scientific innovations for the good of mankind that is beneficial for the entire humanity.
Let us, therefore, stand up and unite in forming and redesigning a new world, a world of love, care, respect, harmony and peace.
A world based on human values of compassion and human dignity; a world that is more vibrant and accepting and that believes in dialogue and education.
The brilliant saying applies so well in this age: “Swords can win territories but not hearts; forces can bend heads but not minds.”
Let us try to win the hearts because it is time to win hearts and not to bend heads; it’s a time of persuasion and not of power and force, It is a time of ‘Love For All and Hatred for None’.
Let us join hands and redesign our entire system for the betterment and prosperity of the entire human race, before it becomes too late.