Living The Quran Mercy of Passions An-Naml (The Ant) Chapter 27: Verses 54, 55
[remember] Lot, when he said to his people, 'How dare you commit such
abomination while you can see? Do you indeed approach men with lustful
desires instead of women? Nay, you are a people whose conduct shows
every sign of jahl (tajhaluna)."
In this passage we see that the people of Lot, that is, the people of Sodom described as behaving in a characteristically jahil way, 'approaching' as they do 'men lustfully rather than women', which is an 'abominable sin' fahishah. Jahil
is a man who goes to any extremes at the mercy of his own passions, and
that not ignorantly, 'while you can see,' i.e. being fully aware that
by acting in this way he is committing an abominable sin. This shows
clearly that jahil has essentially nothing to do with 'ignorance' though it implies the act of ignoring wilfully the moral rule.
"Verily, Allah has overlooked for my nation what their souls think about as long as they do not act on it or speak about it." [Bukhari, Muslim]
Although, one is
not held responsible for the above types of thoughts, if evil thoughts
do come to one's mind, the person should seek refuge in Allah from the
accursed Satan. Those evil thoughts should then be repelled. However,
there are times in which the person's faith might be weak and he allows
those thoughts to grow. Hence, he should immediately seek refuge in
Allah from those evil thoughts in order not to allow them to blossom
into anything more harmful.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also said, "Satan
comes to one of you and he says, 'Who created this and who created
that?' until he says, 'Who created your Lord?' If he reaches that stage
with a person, he [that person] should seek refuge in Allah and stop
such thoughts." [Bukhari, Muslim]
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo, pp. 1356, 1357
We are probably deluged
with more images of pain than any previous generation; they are beamed
into our homes nightly on the evening news. It is easy to get compassion
fatigue and tempting to dismiss these spectacles from our minds,
telling ourselves that there is nothing we personally can do and that
this misery has nothing to do with us.
Instead of steeling
ourselves against the intrusion of other people's pain, we should regard
our exposure to global suffering as a spiritual opportunity. Make a
conscious effort to allow these television images to enter your
consciousness and take up residence there. Extend your hospitality to
them, and "make place for the other" in your life. It is a powerful way
of developing "concern for everybody." If a particular image speaks to you strongly, focus on it; there may be a special reason for this.
Bring this image deliberately to mind at various times in the day.
Summon it when you are feeling sorry for yourself - or during a moment
of happiness, when you are filled with gratitude for your good fortune.
Make a friend of the distressed person, so that she becomes a presence
in your life: direct your thoughts of loving kindness and compassion to
her during your meditation.
But it cannot stop
there. We must act practically to alleviate the pain of others. We
cannot allow ourselves to feel paralyzed by the immensity of global
misery. We cannot all rush off to foreign parts. Indeed, there is no
need to do so: we will find plenty of opportunities on our own doorstep.
Suffering is not confined to distant parts of the globe.
Because we have a self-protective tendency to keep suffering at bay, we
sometimes fail to recognize the signs of poverty, loneliness, grief,
fear, and desolation in our own city, our own village, or our own
family. So look at your world anew and choose your mission. There is a
need that you - and only you - can fulfill. Do not imagine that you are
doomed to a life of grim austerity or that your involvement in suffering
will drain your life of fun. In fact, you may find that alleviating the
distress of others makes you a good deal happier.