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A stark question for Iran: What would the Prophet do?

As Muslims, Tehran's leaders should follow the Koran's guidance by negotiating peace with the US.

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If Iranian leaders do not come to grips with reality soon, they will have missed an historic opportunity to make a deal for peace with the United States. It takes courage and considerable moral integrity to reach out to an entrenched adversary; both attributes were amply displayed by President Barack Obama in his recent overture to the Iranians, which incurred the censure of right-wing US hawks.

Regrettably, the Iranian response has been unreflective, pugnacious – and most important – unIslamic.

A verse in the Koran states: "If they [the unbelievers] incline to peace, you should also incline to peace." Because believing Muslims revere the Koran as sacred scripture containing the very words of God, it is not unreasonable to expect that professed Muslims should take these words to heart.

Inclining to peace should manifest itself in a willingness to negotiate through diplomacy, especially when the an adversary indicates a preference for it. When the pagan Meccans sought arbitration with the Prophet Muhammad and his followers in 628, he concluded the treaty of Hudaybiyya with them. The treaty included provisions not entirely favorable to the Muslims, but the Prophet did not waver in his resolve to sign this agreement. Some of his companions grumbled about the unequal treatment of Muslims in this accord and a few were even opposed to the whole idea of peacemaking.

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