Multiculturalism, Confused Dreams, Fakhr
Issue 813 » October 24, 2014 - Dhul-Hijja 30, 1435
Al-Hujurat (The Chambers) - Chapter 49: Verse 13
"O humanity! We [God] have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you in the sight of God is the one who is most righteous. Verily, God knows and is aware of all."
For Muslims the concept of multiculturalism is hardly new, for the core values of Muslim faith and lifestyle are inherently and historically multicultural. The Quran frequently addresses this reality in verses such as this one.
This verse emphasizes that all people have a natural ability to know each other, suggesting a universal tendency towards multiculturalism by stressing its importance to all humanity. The phrase made you into nations and tribes affirms the essence of a multicultural society. And in the best of situations multiculturalism can achieve its potential to deliver information and knowledge to diverse citizens in a manner that is always sensitive to their religious and cultural backgrounds, while sharing the attributes of others.
The message of the verse aptly conveys the concept of knowing others - including others unlike ourselves - and understanding them as a foundation for engagement; this consequently nurtures the growth and progress of individuals and the societies in which they live. Addressing the fact of religious diversity, the same verse also points out that by first understanding, appreciating, and respecting our similarities, we can grow naturally to embrace one another's differences as well.
"Canadian Islam: Belonging and Loyalty" - Zijad Delic, pp. 89, 90
One day, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was speaking to his companions when the sun, almost setting, touched the crests of the hill and he said, 'Relative to what has passed, there is as little time left in the world as there is in this day.' [Tirmidhi]
Let the person of intelligence seeking counsel for himself reflect upon this hadith. Let him know what can befall him in the time that remains for the world. Let him know that he is living with illusions and 'confused dreams', and that he may be selling everlasting happiness and everlasting grace for a paltry price. But if he seeks God and the abode of the next world, he will be given his full measure and much more. As the saying goes, 'Child of Adam, sell this world for the next and you will profit from them both. But do not sell the next world for this one, or you will lose them both.'
"The Invocation of God" - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, p. 19
Fakhr is the loathsome practice of boasting. Exceptionally odious is the practice of bragging about what one has not done or exerted any effort toward, like bragging about one's ancestry and borrowing from some past nobility. Boasting is a problematic behaviour that universally evokes objection and is considered a spiritual disease. No one likes a boaster, the person who walks with a swank and swagger, the person who cannot be in the company of others without speaking about himself or drawing attention to what he has done.
The Arabs used to shout out, "I am the son of so and so!" claiming somehow that one's pedigree suffices as a mark of one's status and privilege, an ethic that loomed large in the pre-Islamic Arab social structure. Mawlana al-Rumi composed the lines, "Be not content with stories of those who went before you. Go forth and create your own story." Strive to be among those whom others speak of with veneration.
"Purification of the Heart" - Hamza Yusuf, pp. 124, 125