In the international sphere also, we are taught that economic development should be promoted through beneficent co-operation between different peoples, rather than through the exploitation of the resources of one people by another, in as much as prosperity that is achieved through the former method is alone lasting and of permanent benefit.
The sanctity of treaties and engagements is repeatedly stressed in the Qur’an, (see for instance, Ch.5: V2) The Holy Prophet(sa) set the example of the most scrupulous observance of treaties and engagements even when such observation placed the Muslims at a disadvantage and appeared likely to occasion serious damage or injury. The strict observance of the very harsh and unequal terms of the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah outstanding instance.
Just and equitable treatment must be accorded circumstances, even to the Muslim state.
O ye who believe! be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah,. Surely Allah is aware of what you do. (Ch.5: V.9)
There is a host of directions and admonitions in the Qur’an designed to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace. It would take us too far afield to draw attention to them in detail. There is, ever, a very clear direction with regard to the rest of armed conflicts which might well be followed advantage in certain contingencies with which we find ourselves faced. It is in the following words:
And if two parties of believers should fight against, other, make peace between them; then if after that one of them transgresses against the other, fight the party that transgresses until it returns to the command of Allah.. Then if it returns, make peace between them with equity and act justly. Verily Allah loves the just. (Ch.49: V10)
This means that if fighting should break out between two States, other States should intervene and should settle the terms on which peace should be restored. If a party should refuse to carry out the terms proposed should be treated as an aggressor. If it persists intransigence, force should be used against it until it; to carry out the terms proposed. The peace terms proposed in accordance with this procedure, for the purpose bringing an armed conflict to an end, are described as, ‘the command of God’. When the recalcitrant State submits to the award and carries it out, the matter be treated as concluded. No ulterior questions are to be raised as part of the settlement, nor are the intervening States to seek any advantage for themselves out of settlement.
This is a very brief outline of some of the general principles on the basis of which Islam seeks to regulate racial, economic and international relations. If these other principles inculcated by Islam for the regulations and human intercourse were generally accepted and put into effect, most of the problems with which we are faced today would be put in course of solution. A good many of these problems are, however, magnified in consequence of the very rapid advance recently made in the fields of technology and applied science. In one sense the problems, though vastly magnified, are not entirely novel. In other words, the question is one of degree and not of kind.
The vast accession to man’s power over the forces of nature has multiplied manifold his capacity for beneficent action, as well as for destruction. The process is going forward very rapidly. The problem that troubles mankind is: will those who control this power, and are in a position to determine and direct its application, be anxious and able to ensure that it shall be used for the service of man and not for his destruction? The problem extends into many spheres. We are concerned with the answer, if any, which religion is able to furnish.