Weakness, Public and Private, Pluralistic Globalism

Issue 995 » April 20, 2018 - Shaban 4, 1439

Living The Quran

Al-e-Imran (The House of Imran) Sura 3: Verse 139

"So lose not heart, nor feel distressed, for you shall gain mastery if you are true in faith."

Wahn means weakness, whether it concerns volition or action, or is of a physical or moral nature. In a hadith, we read that once the Prophet, peace be upon him, said to his companions that a time will come when Muslims will be reduced to 'froth and scum that rises above flood waters'. They asked about the reason for it whereupon he told them that they would have wahn in their hearts. 'What is wahn?' they asked him, and he replied, 'It is the love of the worldly life and the dislike of death' [Abu Dawud].

In the light of this hadith, we can say that wahn is the weakness in resolve and morale and the abject cowardice that leads to an abject failure of volition and action. This in turn stems from the love of worldly life and the fear of death that bars one from striving in the cause of truth. In the present verse, the phrase la tahinu (lose not heart) also has precisely this meaning. In other words, the defeat in the battle of Uhud should not demoralise you, break your spirit or disappoint you.

Compiled From:
"Pondering Over The Qur'an: Surah Ali Imran" - Amin Ahsan Islahi

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Public and Private

Several ahadith, by different reporters, highlight the fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) never used foul language. Anas ibn Malik reports: "God's Messenger was not given to the use of foul language, cursing or abusive names. When he expressed displeasure with someone, he would say, 'What is wrong with him; may he have dust on his forehead.'" (Bukhari.) In answer to a question about the Prophet's manners, Aishah said: "He never used foul or obscene language. Nor was he quarrelsome in the market place. He did not repay a bad turn with a similarly bad one, but would rather forgive and forebear." (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)

Some people put on an appearance when they are out and meet others. The Prophet, however, did not put any appearance other than his real manners. For example: "Some of his Companions visited Umm Salamah, his wife. They said to her: "Mother of the believers, tell us what is God's Messenger like in the privacy of his home." She said: "He is always the same in public and in private." (Ahmad, Tabarani.)

These ahadith together give us a picture of a person who turns away from whatever is unbecoming and to whom good conduct comes naturally; he realizes that whatever comes from God is good. He is the first to implement it, at home and in public. The Prophet was the same in public and with his own family: he never used abusive or insulting language, cursed or engaged in a verbal quarrel. He was aware of his task of "bringing good manners to perfection."

Compiled From:
"Muhammad: His Character and Conduct" - Adil Salahi


Pluralistic Globalism

Many monotheists, including many Muslims, who themselves adhere to certain way of thinking and a certain pattern of behaviour, also believe that all good people have to fit in their frame. Tolerating differences in "others" has not become fundamental in our thinking nor in our faith, where dogma has overshadowed morality and behaviour. Diversity within unity has not yet been recognized as being essential among Muslims and among all human beings. Horrible crimes are committed in the name of religion all over the world: in Northern Ireland, in Bosnia, in Algeria, in the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka and elsewhere. "Ethnic-cleansing" has become a familiar term in the political glossary, and ethnic conflicts cover the whole world; the ethnic mass massacres in Africa, South of The Sahara are just one tragic example. Conflicts resulting from ethnic and religious differences, or born from chauvinistic nationalism and a fanatic following of ideologies, have been happening all through history, and Muslims and monotheists have not been an exception. Furthermore, modern technology and evil growth of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction have contributed to horrible practices aimed at destroying the "others," efforts that would bring with them a total self-destruction of the whole human race.

The "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" issued by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1968, followed by other resolutions of later international conferences in Helsinki, Vienna and Beijing, represent some hope within the thick darkness of the present situation. But the Declaration requires significant organizational reforms and needs a fundamental moral base. Spiritual morality has to be spread through universal and national mass communications and education, and has to be nurtured by all our institutions. Monotheists have to stand together in developing a monotheistic morality among believers in the One God, and morality in general among all people everywhere. Monotheists, especially Muslims and Christians, are present all over the planet and have powerful institutions, while many of them enjoy influential positions. The coordination of their concerted efforts would become a mighty power in safeguarding and reinforcing our era of an essentially pluralistic globalism. Detailed plans and practical applications can definitely be worked out in all circumstances, for the well-known saying always proves to be true: "When there is a will, there is a way."

Compiled From:
"Monotheists and The 'Other' - An Islamic Perspective in an Era of Religious Pluralism" - Fathi Osman