Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Choosing Commitment
Surah Hud (Hud) Chapter 11: Verse 118
"Had your Lord willed, He would have made all people one and the same nation! But they will remain differentiated."
Islam is the essence of all divine religions and is the mission of all Prophets from Adam to Muhammad, upon them be peace. It is the universal call directed to all men of all times and places without discrimination. The Arabs were called upon to raise the banner of Islam not because they were racially or culturally superior to their contemporaries, but in order that they, too, might do their share of commitment to the religion of God and make their contributions to humanity. It was precisely for this reason that Muhammad, peace be upon him, sometimes felt distressed when he saw some people turning their backs to the call of God. Righteous, and concerned as he was, and knowing what Islam meant for humanity, Muhammad believed and hoped that every man would naturally accept Islam without reservation. But this did not come through, and Muhammad like any other committed human being, experienced some frustration. To overcome this frustration, God revealed to him verses like this.
No leader can afford to be indifferent to his commitment and to those around him. On the other hand, he cannot afford to be possessed by excessive enthusiasm about things beyond his control, for this may well shatter his personality and destroy his entire purpose. True, he is committed and responsible for his commitment. True, too, he must do his utmost to honour his commitment. But we must remember that responsibility is proportionate to man's capacity and potential. Between these two poles of indifference and excessive enthusiasm, there is a very wide range for great actions and achievements.
God has created diverse people and has offered them the chance to participate in the shaping of history. He has created them differentiated so that they might know one another, be free to choose their commitments, and be responsible for their choice. This means that the business of the committed people is unfinished and their responsibility never ceases. This, in turn, gives the committed a sense of continuity, a goal, and a dynamism of motivation.
Compiled From:
Islam: A Way of Life and a Movement, "Islam and Humanity" - Hammudah Abdalati, pp. 101, 102

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Gentleness and Moderation
If an insult or a curse is reciprocated on the spur of the moment, then it must be within the limits of moderation. This is aptly illustrated by the Hadith, reported by both Al-Bukhari and Muslim, concerning a group of Jews who came to visit the Prophet, peace be upon him. When they addressed him with the distorted phrase 'may death be upon you (al-sam alaykum)' instead of the familiar Islamic greeting, 'peace be upon you (al-salam alaykum)', the Prophet's wife, Aishah replied with these words, 'may death and curse be upon you (al-sam alaykum wa al-lanah)'. Upon hearing this, the Prophet told his wife: 'O Aishah, God Most High loves gentleness', to which she replied, 'Did you not hear what they said?' And the Prophet said, 'Yes, but you could have just said "and upon you (wa alaykum)".'
Gentleness and moderation are among the most desirable features of the Islamic ethos which God and His Messenger have repeatedly recommended. These attributes are the real antidote to cursing and insult; they adorn everything to which they are applied, and beautify every occasion. Islam sets no bounds on gentleness and moderation.
Compiled From:
"Freedom of Expression in Islam" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, p. 185
In a culture of shame, we are constantly overwhelmed with feelings of fear, blame and disconnection. This creates an "us and them" world. There are people like us, and then there are "those other people." And, we normally work very hard to insulate ourselves from "those people." As children, there were the people that we were allowed to hang out with and then there were the other kids. There were the schools we went to and there were schools for the other kids. As adults, we live in the neighbourhood where our kind live - the other neighbourhoods are for the other folks. We emotionally and physically insulate ourselves from "the other." It never seems to end. We've developed language to describe the others - sometimes we refer to them as "those people" or the even more mysterious "people like that." The truth is ... we are the others.
Most of us are one paycheck, one divorce, one drug-addicted kid, one mental health diagnosis, one serious illness, one sexual assault, or one drinking binge away from being "those people" - the ones we don't trust, the ones we pity, the ones we don't let our children play with, the ones bad things happen to, the ones we don't want living next door.
We use the concept of otherness to insulate ourselves and to disconnect. Sharing our shame with someone is painful, and just sitting with someone who is sharing his or her shame story with us can be equally painful. The natural tendency to avoid or reduce this pain is often why we start to judge and insulate ourselves using otherness. We basically blame them for their experience. We unconsciously divide people into two camps: worthy of our support and unworthy.
The concept of labeling people worthy or unworthy is not new. If you look at the history of charity and philanthropy, going as far back as written history, those needing help have always been separated into the deserving poor or the undeserving poor. This thinking has become part of our culture. You can see it in our public policy, our neighbourhoods and in our families. It plays out on an individual level exactly like it plays out at the community level.
Compiled From:
"I Thought It Was Just Me" - Brene Brown, pp. 145-148

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