Inner Peace in Islam
The notion that Islam means peace has almost become a cliché in a world where Islam’s relationship with peace is emphasised in an attempt to reclaim it from any association with terrorism. Islam does mean peace. Not only does Islam mean peace, but it also has a strong affiliation with inner peace through the tranquillity and peace it offers as a result of internalising the Islamic faith.
Despite this strong affiliation with inner peace, there is minimal contemporary English literature regarding the relationship between Islam and inner peace. This is not because there is no connection between the two, but rather, it is a matter of language and conceptualisation. Most of the Islamic literature related to inner peace is encompassed within tasawwuf (Islamic spirituality) and extensively discussed in Arabic, Persian and Turkish. On the other hand, contemporary English literature on inner peace is predominantly from a Buddhist perspective, but also includes Hindu, Christian, Jewish and non-religious perspectives.
When tasawwuf is delved into, various Islamic concepts can be identified that have a strong association with inner peace. The three concepts that will be analysed in this paper are riḍā (contentment), sakīna (serenity) and itṃ īnān (peace). These concepts can be brought together to produce a definition of inner peace that is true to the Islamic tradition: inner peace is attained when life and events are given a tawhị̄d-centric meaning in a way that satisfies the heart and mind.
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