A retired US Marine Corps officer and counterterrorism specialist, John Guandolo maintains responsibilities as founder of UnderstandingtheThreat.com. Also a prolific author of numerous texts on national security matters, John Guandolo penned an article entitled “What Hamas Means by ‘Peace’ and ‘Truce’.”
Between many languages, there is a difference of translation that often hinders us from understanding words in the same way that foreigners do. This discrepancy in interpretation is what Guandolo explored in his 2012 article on the Islamic meanings of “peace” and “truce.”
In the Western translation of these words, peace connotes either an agreement to cease war or an absence of war altogether. Often times, parties will agree to end fighting with a truce, but these must always arise through a mutual decision. These definitions differ from the Islamic interpretation, which holds its roots in Islamic law, also known as sharia. These principles split the world into dar al Islam (“house of peace”) and dar al harb (“house of war”). According to Islamic Law, true peace can only arise when the dar al harb (individuals not living under the influence of Islamic law) is eradicated, most often through jihad.
Also different from the Western interpretation is the Islamic meaning of “truce,” which involves a brief period of reprieve from fighting between those who practice Islam and those who are opposed to it. Often, these truces hold additional motives such as biding more time for Islamic forces to regain strength or anticipating that the opposed party will convert to Islam.