Finest Abode, Just in Love, Intractable Dilemmas
Issue 826 » January 23, 2015 - Rabi Al-Thani 2, 1436
Al-Furqan (The Criterion) - Chapter 25: Verses 75, 76
"These will be rewarded for all their patient endurance [in life” with a high station in heaven, and will be met there with a greeting of welcome and peace, and there they shall abide; how goodly an abode and how high a station."
The Arabic text uses the term al-ghurfah, which is translated here as ‘a high station in heaven’. The term may be taken to mean in this context either heaven, or a special place in heaven. Linguistically speaking it means, ‘the room’, which is a more honourable place than the reception room where Arabs normally received their guests. True servants are received in this high position with a warm welcome, on account of their patient endurance of whatever they had to put up with in order to maintain their sound qualities. What is implied here is recognition of the strong will- power needed to restrain desire and resist temptation. This is not easy to do without a good degree of endurance that can only be shown by someone who is deservedly mentioned by God in His book, the Quran. In contrast to hell from which they pray to God to save them, God rewards them with heaven. There they are in the best state, enjoying God’s favours and blessings.
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 12, pp. 446, 447
Just in Love
Our love for the Prophet should encourage us toward love for humanity, kindness, and forgiveness. It should never be an excuse to foment hatred, which can lead to violence against other people.
Whether we are living as a minority community or make up the majority in any country, Muslims must never fall into the deadly habit of collective blame for crimes. In specific, we must never generalize and harm our neighbours who may share the faith of those who attack our Prophet. Harming them is a serious sin and crime in Islam. So is attacking their houses of worship and institutions.
The Quran’s warning that killing one person is like killing all of humanity, except with the due process of law, is the overarching, superseding order, which, Alhamdulillah, guides the overall behaviour of Muslims, individually and collectively. Unfortunately, this nexus of war and terrorism is violating these overarching principles in Islam.
Once the Prophet was sitting with his back to the Kaba. Khabbab ibn Aratt reported, he was wondering how long Muslims would suffer through the difficulties they were suffering through, and that is when he asked the Prophet why he didn’t pray against his enemies, the non-believing Makkans. The question caused the Prophet discomfort, and he responded by mentioning the Prophets and the people who struggled before him, what type of difficulties and torture they went through. And then he said, "By God a time will come when an old woman loaded with golden jewellery will travel from Sanaa to Hadramawt (from one corner of Arabia to other) and she will have no fear except of God." [Bukhari] He was envisioning a peaceful world with security for even the weakest person in his society from any crime or harm. That is why after every Salat he would pray for peace.
The Prophet’s efforts were for the rule of law and peace among individuals and communities, tribes and nations. It was not for a perpetual state of war, conflict, and instability.
And that is the reason individuals taking the law into their own hands are described by Islamic scholars as creating Fitna and Fasad on earth, which can be described as chaos and lawlessness, one of the worst situations possible.
Let us respond as the Prophet did with regards to attacks on his character. Let us never swerve from justice, no matter how badly we are hurt from the attacks on our beloved. That is the best way to respond.
"Being Just in the love of the Prophet" - Abdul Malik Mujahid
We have created an interconnected world. It is true that we are dangerously polarized, but we are also linked together more closely than ever before. When shares fall in one region, markets plummet all around the globe. What happens in Palestine and Iraq today can have repercussions tomorrow in New York, London, or Madrid. We are connected electronically so that images of suffering and devastation in a remote Syrian village or an Iraqi prison are instantly beamed around the world. We all face the possibility of environmental or nuclear catastrophe. But our perceptions have not caught up with the realities of our situation, so that in the First World we still tend to put ourselves in a special privileged category. Our policies have helped to create widespread rage and frustration, and in the West we bear some responsibility for the suffering in the Muslim world that Bin Laden was able to exploit. "Am I my brother's guardian?" The answer must surely be yes.
War, it has been said, is caused "by our inability to see relationships. Our relationship with our economic and historical situation. Our relationship with our fellowmen. And above all our relationship to nothingness. To death." [John Fowles, The Magus] We need ideologies today, religion or secular, that help people to face up to the intractable dilemmas of our current "economic and historical situation" as the prophets did in the past. Even though we no longer have to contend with the oppressive injustice of the agrarian empire, there is still massive inequality and an unfair imbalance of power. But the dispossessed are no longer helpless peasants; they have found ways of fighting back. If we want a viable world, we have to take responsibility for the pain of others and learn to listen to narratives that challenge our sense of ourselves. All this requires the "surrender," selflessness, and compassion that have been just as important in the history of religion as crusades and jihads.
Somehow we have to find ways of doing what religion - at its best - has done for centuries: build a sense of global community, cultivate a sense of reverence and "equanimity" for all, and take responsibility for the suffering we see in the world. We are all, religious and secularist alike, responsible for the current predicament of the world.
"Fields of Blood" - Karen Armstrong, pp. 399-401