By Aleem Zia
The Ahmadiyya Muslim prize for the advancement of peace is given to an outstanding contribution for the cause of peace and is awarded to either an individual or an organisation. This initiative was launched by Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V (aba) over a decade ago and is awarded in recognition of services to peace. This award is an excellent way for the Jama’at to promote peace and announce to the world that Islam is not a violent religion; rather it is a religion of peace and it recognises, appreciates and acknowledges efforts made to achieve peace. This prize is announced during the concluding session of the Jalsa and is awarded at the national peace symposium the following year.
Some of the previous winners include Barbara Caroline Hoffmand of Switzerland. She has been at an international bank and companies for almost seven years. She participated in a humanitarian mission to Mozambique in 1989 and was struck by the terrible situation of children the first victims of war that had lasted for 30 years in Mozambique. She decided to dedicate her life to their welfare in the conviction that if the roots are not cared for, the tree will not be able to live. Her work is well-known and respected throughout the world.
In 2018, the annual peace prize was awarded to Dr Fred Mednik, the founder of teachers without borders launched in 2000. His mission is to connect teachers to information and each other in order to close the education divide and based upon the premise that teachers are community chains exchange agents and key drivers of global developments. Initiatives include education in emergencies, girl’s education, peace and human right’s education etc…
Islam is a religion which has been promoting peace from its outset. In fact, one of the meanings of the word Islam are peace. The Holy Prophet (sa) signed the treaty of Hudaibiyyah with the Meccan disbelievers in an attempt to establish peace. This was signed 6 years after the migration to Madinah and was a 10-year treaty where the Meccans and the Muslims would not go to war with one another. Although the terms of the deal apparently favoured the Meccans, within 2 years of the treaty being signed, Islam spread and over 10,000 people came into its fold, which interestingly enough proved that Islam was not spread by the sword, but it was its true teachings that attracted so many people. (Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets (sa), Vol. 3, Pg. 117)
This tradition of attempting to establish peace is being kept alive by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in this day and age.