The three Arabic words for “peace”

Jack Wheeler has a good article on the requirements of a real peace treaty between Israel and the Arabs. He explains that there are three words for “peace” in Arabic; that only one of them actually means peace; and that the Arabs consistently refuse to use that word when indicating their interest in “peace” with Israel.

Since articles at his site are only for subscribers (a reader sent this one to me), I copy the entire text below. Notice at the end of the piece that Wheeler has not joined the emergent neocon rejection of Giuliani.

Jack Wheeler
29 November 2007

Karl Marx was an evil fool, but he did utter an occasional witticism—such as history does get repeated: “The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

You can imagine his bitter laughter if he had witnessed Condi’s Farce in Annapolis this week.

There have been a number of first times, efforts of bottomless naiveté to “achieve peace in the Middle East.”

After Jimmy Carter’s bringing Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin together at Camp David in 1978, Moslem fanatics murdered Sadat. The Oslo Accords of 1993, with the infamous picture of Yitzhak Rabin shaking hands with Yassir Arafat while Bill Clinton hovered above them, legitimizing Arafat’s terrorism. Clinton holding Camp David II in 2000, where Ehud Barak gave away the entire store only to see Arafat re-initiate intifada violence.

It’s hard to believe, after all of this, that Condi Rice and her boss can be so actually naïve to think another Snipe Hunt for Peace is anything but. Cynics, of whom there many here in DC, will assure you Condi wants to follow in her predecessor’s footsteps. Colin Powell was on the Saudi payroll during his civilian years in the 90s, and the cynics point darkly to Condi’s having been on Chevron’s board.

Less cynical folks attribute Condi’s Snipe Hunt to a desperate desire to achieve something, anything, to show for her years running Foggy Bottom—the “legacy syndrome.”

I think it’s the latter—and that it’s Condi’s show, not Bush’s. He’s not that naïve to bet his legacy on a snipe hunt. Texans know what a snipe hunt is. So he let Condi stage her extravaganza, delegates from 49 countries including a gaggle of Arabs from such places that don’t recognize Israel as Bahrain, Qatar, Morocco, and Pakistan. The main achievement was they all agreed to continue talking.

In the Middle East, continuing to talk is considered close enough, like in horseshoes and hand grenades.

But if the talk is to actually accomplish peace between Israel and her neighbors, then three requirements have to met.

First, it’s got to use the actual word in Arabic for “peace,” not the phony substitutes.

For it turns out there are three different words in Arabic for “peace.” Only one of them is for real. And it’s not the one used at Annapolis, just like it wasn’t the one used at Camp David II, Oslo, or Camp David I. All failed a linguistic test, a test which any real Arab-Israeli agreement must pass, the Test of Suhl.

The three Arabic words translated as “peace” in English are salaam, hudna, and suhl.

Salaam is the peace of submission. It’s the drawn out pronunciation of “slm” in “Islam,” (written Arabic has no vowels) the Arabic word for submission and obedience, and in “Moslem” or “Muslim,” the Arabic word for “one who submits.”

There is peace, salaam, among Moslems when they submit to Allah and the teachings of the Koran. There is peace, salaam, between Moslems and kafirs, infidels, only when the latter submit to the rule of the former.

In other words, salaam, Moslem peace, is not the absence of violence as it is for us, but the absence of disobedience. Just like it was for the Communists. In Lenin’s words:

As long as capitalism and (Soviet) socialism exist, we cannot live in peace. In the end, one or the other will triumph—a funeral dirge will be sung over the Soviet republic or over world capitalism.[1]

Or, as the Soviet Military Encyclopedia stated it:

Peace is impossible without Soviet socialism. A truly lasting peace is impossible and cannot be achieved without a proletarian revolution.[2]

Compare Lenin’s words to the words of Allah, as dictated to Mohammed in the Koran:

Fight and slay the unbelievers wherever you find them. Seize them, confine them, lie in wait for them in every place of ambush. (Sura—verse—9:5)

Believers! Do not befriend your fathers or your brothers or your sons if they choose unbelief in preference to belief in Allah. (Sura 9:22)

Fight those who do not believe in Allah, those who do not forbid what Allah and his apostle have forbidden, fight them until they pay tribute to the believers and are utterly subdued. (Sura 9:29)

Mohammed is Allah’s apostle. Those who follow him are merciless towards the unbelievers but kind to each other. (Sura 48:29)

O Unbelievers! We renounce you. Enmity and hatred will reign between us until you believe in Allah alone. (Sura 60:4)

Just as there could not be peace with the Soviets until we sang a funeral dirge over the Soviet Union, there cannot be peace with Moslems who believe that salaam requires Islam to be a religion of the sword.

Hudna, the second Arabic word translated in English as “peace,” means cease-fire, a temporary truce.

When the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, for example, proposes a hudna with Israel, it’s hailed in the Western media as a peace proposal. It is instead a tactical, temporary break in hostilities, giving Moslems time to re-organize, re-arm, then renew the Jihad against the kafirs when they can be most caught off-guard.

Suhl, the third Arabic term for “peace,” is the most interesting, the one we must insist on Arabs using, the one they always avoid and refuse to use. Suhl means reconciliation.

The Encyclopedia of Islam describes sulh as a concept of Islamic sharia law:

The purpose of sulh is to end conflict and hostility among believers so that they may conduct their relationships in peace and amity….In Islamic law, sulh is a form of contract (aqd), legally binding on both the individual and community levels.[3]

Note that it applies only between believers. Once again, it’s deuces wild with unbelievers.

Nonetheless, insistence on using the word sulh in any Arab-Israeli agreement, putting it in writing in the Arabic version of the documents that this agreement is not a hudna and not a salaam, but a sulh, makes it a legally binding aqd, even though one of the signatories is not Moslem.

That these words matter is shown by Arab resistance to signing an agreement that makes it a binding contract using sulh.

Anwar Sadat, for example, in signing the Camp David Accord insisted on “salaam” and refused to have the word “sulh” in the Arabic version of the document. The absence of reconciliation meant that Egypt could abandon the peace agreement if and when circumstances changed.

So, insisting on use of the Arabic term sulh is the first requirement.

Second is insistence on Arab assimilation of Palestinian “refugees.” The situation is so completely insane most folks, if you describe it to them, think it can’t be true. But here’s the reality:

In the years following World War II, vast numbers of people were displaced, uprooted, or moved in desperation away from their homes to become refugees in other lands.

12 million ethnic Germans had to move out of various Eastern European countries, to be absorbed into West Germany.

The Partition of the British Raj into India and Pakistan in 1947 resulted in the largest human movement in history, 18 million Hindu, Sikh, and Moslem refugees having to be assimilated.

There are many more examples. Two of them are the 711,000 Palestinian Arabs fleeing the newly-born Israel, and the 856,000 Jewish refugees fleeing from Arab countries, during the Arab-Israel War of 1948 (numbers from the UN Conciliation Commission). The Jewish refugees were absorbed and assimilated into Israel.

The Palestinian refugees fled to Arab countries which refused to absorb and assimilate them. They were forced into refugee camp ghettos where they and their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren have remained for 60 years to this day.

Thus the original batch of 711,000 has ballooned into over 3 million Palestinian “refugees” confined to human cesspools of hate and poverty: 1.8 million in Jordan, 432,000 in Syria, 404,000 in Lebanon, 240,000 in Saudi Arabia, 70,000 in Egypt.

For 60 years, Arab government have refused to assimilate them, telling that they have the “right of return” to Israel, or the Palestinian State that emerges once Israel is wiped off the Earth.

In all these 60 years of political insanity, not one US president, not one Western leader, has ever delivered a speech informing Arab governments that the “refugee” status of Palestinian Arabs in their midst is no longer recognized, and they are to assimilate and absorb them as any civilized nation would be expected to do under similar circumstances.

Needless to say, neither Bush nor Condi made any such pronouncement at Annapolis. The Arab demand of the “Right of Return” of 3 million Arabs to Israel for the purpose of Israel’s demographic suicide was “diplomatically” avoided. Again, for the Arabs, “peace” can only be achieved by Israel’s ceasing to exist.

So, insisting on ending the fiction of Palestinian “refugees,” insisting they be absorbed and assimilated by their fellow Arabs, is the second requirement.

Third is exposing the myth that Jerusalem is somehow a Holy City of Islam.

TTP old-timers learned this four years ago (December 3, 2003) in The Moslem Myth of Jerusalem. The word al-Quds, Arabic for Jerusalem, does not appear in the Koran. The claim that the city sacred to Jews and Christians is also sacred to Moslems is based on a single line in the Koran referring to Mohammed’s vision of visiting “the most distant mosque.”

After Mohammed’s death, the tradition arose that this most-distant mosque was in Jerusalem. And just happened to be right on the Jews’ Temple Mount. What a coincidence!

But since there were no Moslems in Jerusalem during Mohammed’s life—all Moslems confined to his followers in Mecca and Medina—there could not possibly be a mosque there when he had his vision. As Egyptian Islamic scholars show, the most-distant mosque has to be in Medina.

So, insisting that the claim of Islamic holiness to Jerusalem (and therefore the capital of a Palestinian state must be Jerusalem) is bogus must be the third requirement.

There could be others, but any serious effort to actually achieve any semblance of genuine Arab-Israeli peace has got to begin with these three.

So, here’s a prediction. They will be the very first three items to be discussed in any Arab-Israel negotiations hosted by President Giuliani. No snipe hunts for Rudy.

- end of Wheeler article, end of initial entry -
Mark E. writes:

When Muslim convert Yusef Islam—f/k/a Cat Stevens—who has recently taken up music performance again—sings “Peace Train,” I wonder which of these Arabic/Muslim meanings of “peace” he is thinking of? Back in his hippy-dippy New-Agey prime, in the early 1970s when he wrote the song, he surely meant “Sulh Train.”

Is he now singing, “Submission Train,” i.e., “Islam Train”?

LA replies:

Very good. someone should ask him. But, seriously, even “Sulh” is not real peace, is it, but the peace made by a non-Muslim society in accepting the status of tributary to Muslims? I’ll have to check that out.

Mark E. writes:

Re your comment, “But seriously …,” I was not trying at all to be funny. I was being completely serious in asking the semi-rhetorical question, which occurred to me when reading the article about the three meanings of “peace” in Arabic, and seeing a bit of Mr. Islam on TV singing “Peace Train” at some big concert event recently.

I believe that Stevens/Islam—who is an intelligent, sincere and devoted Muslim convert—must surely be intending and thinking “the peace of Islam” (i.e., “submission”) when he sings “Peace Train” now. This is what he is getting listeners to sing along and agree with, even though they do not know it. His listeners are hearing the same song, but Stevens/Islam is now singing a different song with (seemingly, though not so) the same words.

It is no more than speculation on my part, but I have wondered if his sudden re-emergence, post-9/11, as a music performer was authorized or urged on him by Muslim religious authorities as an mission of soft jihad. It is my understanding that he retired from popular music because it was un-Islamic. So why is it not un-Islamic now?

I would add that I am a fan of Cat Stevens’ music; and I am sorry I am not happier to see his comeback, under the present circumstances.

LA replies:

Well, there are two top talents of the 1970s who have turned against our civilization. There’s Linda Ronstadt who in 2004 told the San Diego Union-Tribune, “It’s a real conflict for me when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment. I’d rather not know.” And there’s the former Cat Stevens who as a Muslim in an enemy of our civilization.

The Ronstadt comment is one of the sickest, most bigoted things I’ve ever heard. Given the way she feels, how can she stand being anywhere in America? She’s breathing the same air with Christians and Republicans wherever she is. If she’s driving on a highway—Christians and Republicans. If she’s walking down a street—Christians and Republicans. If she goes into a restaurant—Christians and Republicans. It must be hell for her, sort of the way Hitler felt about Jews when he was living in Vienna.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 02, 2007 03:00 PM | Send

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