Islam and the Practice of Peace

This section of the RPP Series Archive features RPP talks on the topic of Islam and the practice of peace. Along with talks in the RPP Colloquium series, this section includes talks in the Islam and the Practice of Peace Lecture Series, which is sponsored by the Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program at Harvard in collaboration with RPP.

Haji Syed Salman Chishty discusses the Philosophy of Love."The Chishty Philosophy of Love: A Living Tradition of Spiritual Ethics in Service of Humanity"
Tuesday, April 7, 2015

This event featured Haji Syed Salman Chishty, 26th generation Khadim of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishty, the Gaddi Nashin of the Ajmer Sharif Dargah shrine and center, director and founding member of the Chishty Foundation and Ali S. Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard University, Director, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Program in Islamic Studies at Harvard University. 

Haji Syed Salman Chishty discussed the historical, devotional, social, cultural, and institutional dimensions of the Chishty Sufi tradition and its significance for humanity’s contemporary quest for sustainable peace. As honored at the United Nations in 2012, the Chishty Sufi order has been sharing the message of “Love Toward All, Malice Toward None” in South Asia and around the globe through its legacy of service to the needy and promotion of human unity, tolerance, and harmony. Since its founding in India in the 12th century CE by Sufi saint Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishty, the shrine and center has been a place of Peace for people from all backgrounds, regardless of religion, caste, creed, color, region, or nationality, and continues to draw millions of people every year.

Watch video: April 2015 Lecture with Haji Syed Salman Chishty

Haji Syed Salman Chishty hosts post film discussion. Post-Film Conversation with Haji Syed Salman Chishty: "Sulh e Kul: Peace to All"
Wednesday, April 8, 2015

This event featured Haji Syed Salman Chishty, 26th generation Khadim of Hazrat Khawaja  Moinuddin Chishty, the Gaddi Nashin of the Ajmer Sharif Dargah shrine and center, director and founding member of the Chishty Foundation. 

In the Sufi tradition of sohbat (conversational companionship), Haji Syed Salman Chishty spoke to Harvard University students after a screening of the award-winning documentary “Sulh e Kul: Peace to All.” The film won the Best Musical Documentary Award at the International Film Festival of Fiji. The legacy of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishty and the Chishty Sufi order in contributing to the culture and practice of human unity, tolerance, and harmony throughout South Asia was honored at the United Nations in 2012.

Nathan Funk discusses with RPP Working Group student before his presentation.RPP Colloquium: Making Peace with Islam: Islamic Approaches to Peacemaking
Islam and the Practice of Peace Lecture Series
Thursday, October 15, 2015

The session featured Nathan C. Funk, Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada and co-author of Islam and Peacemaking in the Middle East, and Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam: Precept and Practice. Examining Islamic peace teachings and paradigms within a larger comparative context, Dr. Funk explored both the distinctiveness of Islamic approaches to peacemaking and ways in which Islamic experiences of conflict and peace mirror those of other communities. Particular attention was given to keynote themes emphasized by Muslim peacebuilders, and to examples of various ways in which Islamic precepts have been applied to support restorative justice, nonviolent social justice advocacy, and interfaith understanding.

The event was moderated by Ali S. Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University.

It marked the launch of a new lecture series on Islam and the Practice of Peace sponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University and the RPP Initiative.

Watch video: October 2015 RPP Colloquium on Islamic Peacemaking

Imam Dr. Muhammad Nurayn Ashafa addresses the audienceIslam and Peaceful Coexistence: Conflict or Conciliation
Islam and the Practice of Peace Lecture Series
Friday, December 11, 2015

The event featured Imam Dr. Muhammad Nurayn Ashafa, Co-Executive Director, Interfaith Mediation Centre, Kaduna, Nigeria. Formerly a Muslim youth militia leader engaged in violent clashes with Christians in his native Nigeria, Imam Dr. Muhammad Nurayn Ashafa was inspired by religious teachings in Islam to pursue the path of peace. He presented his faith-based approach to promoting intergroup reconciliation and harmony and combating religious extremism and violence as he has been practicing it for two decades in the contemporary Nigerian context. He also shared the theology that informs his peace work and the lived practices that characterize his relations as an imam with members of his congregation, Muslims of other orientations, and people of other religions. This lecture was part of the Islam and the Practice of Peace Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program at Harvard in collaboration with RPP.

Watch video: December 2015 Lecture on Islam and Peaceful Coexistence

Profs. Asani, Hicks, and Seul give their remarksBeyond the Headlines: Understanding and Misunderstanding Islam
Islam and the Practice of Peace Lecture Series
Herbert C. Kelman Seminar on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution
Wednesday, February 17, 2016

This event featured Ali S. Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard University, Director, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Program in Islamic Studies at Harvard University and Jeff Seul, Lecturer on the Practice of Peace at Harvard Divinity School, Chairman of the Peace Appeal Foundation and Partner, Holland & Knight.

Watch video: February 2016 Lecture on Misunderstanding Islam

Jocelyn Cesari speaks to the panelRPP Colloquium: "Islam, Tradition, and Resources for Nonviolent Conflict Transformation"
Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Islamic tradition and Muslim communities have rich and long legacies of teachings, practices, and precedents for prioritizing nonviolent approaches to conflict transformation.  Join us as two leading scholar-practitioners discuss theological, spiritual, and practical resources for peace in Islamic scripture and tradition, historical cases, and implications for our contemporary world. 

The session featured A. Rashied Omar, Research Scholar of Islamic Studies and Peacebuilding at Kroc Institute, University of Notre Dame, MA from Kroc Institute, MA and PhD from University of Cape Town, speaking on “Justice and Compassion: Embodying the Core Values of Peacebuilding in Islam;” Afra Jalabi, vice-chair of the board, the Day After Association, PhD student at Concordia University, MA from Carleton University and BA from McGill University, speaking on “In Search of the Lost Hero: The ‘Muslim’ as a Peace-Maker—Reflections on the Theory and Practice of Islamic Nonviolence and Its New Possibilities;” and moderator Jocelyne Cesari, Professor of Religion and Politics, director of research at Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion at Birmingham University, Senior Research Fellow at Berkley Center, Georgetown University, and Lecturer at HDS. 

Cosponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University.

Watch video: March 2017 RPP Colloquium on Nonviolent Conflict Transformation