The Mercy of God

Narrated `Umar bin Al−Khattab:

Some Sabi (i.e. war prisoners, children and woman only) were brought before the Prophet. A woman amongst them was milking her breasts to feed. And whenever she found a child amongst the captives, she took it over her chest and nursed it (she had lost her child but later she found him).

The Prophet said to us, “Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?” We replied, “No, if she has the power not to throw it (in the fire).”

The Prophet then said, “Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this lady to her son.”

Sahih Al-Bukhari

Volume 8, Book 73, Hadith #28)

Exhibition of Religiosity

Disclaimer: I am not against performing rituals nor I judge any religious practice to be right or wrong.

The other day, kids were playing Cricket in the street in our neighborhood (like they always do). One kid hit a shot and the ball fell inside a home. The home had recently been decorated with green icicle lights in commemoration of the birth of our Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The kids rang the bell and a young bearded man came out on the door with ball in his hand. He twisted his face, rolled his eyes and told children (in a threatening tone) that he won’t return them the ball if it again got inside the home. Anyone who grew up listening to the stories of the prophet’s kindness and love with children could imagine how compassionately and kindly the prophet would have acted here. The incident made me realize that when it comes to doing anything that doesn’t require us to act justly, we leave no stone unturned in exhibiting our love and respect for our religion and religious personalities, whereas, at the same time, giving lip service to the injunctions of the holy book and the very teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in shaping our attitude and behavior towards life.

In our society the exhibition of religiosity has increased manifold. The emphasis on the performance of religious rites with all their pomp & show sans their very purpose has just gone overboard. During Ramadan/Ramazan, the month of fasting, we stay hungry throughout the day, offer prayers regularly but do very little [or nothing] to understand the very spirit of fasting and reform our personalities likewise. Whereas the month signifies the attaining spiritual strength and eating/drinking less, we however defeat the noble purposes of fasting every year. Traffic jams become more usual, the consumption of foods increases manifold accompanied with a significant push in prices.

The same kind of showoff is witnessed during the month of Hajj wherein the Great Sacrifice offered by the prophet Abraham is repeated by sacrificing the animals as required by the Quran. This one injunction of the Quran is so proudly acted upon only because all it requires is a couple of thousand rupees. That’s it. Though Allah says, “Their flesh and their food reach not Allah, but the devotion from you reacheth Him. Thus have We made them subject unto you that ye may magnify Allah that He hath guided you. And give good tidings (O Muhammad) to the good.” ( Quran 22:37) Otherwise no other injunctions are followed with such enthusiasm because they require reforming our character to attain piety; such as not to lie, not to cheat, to be just and fair etc. We buy the best animal at maximum price, where does the money come from is least bothered about.

Then comes the month of Muharram. On 10th of Muharram 61 (October 10, 680 AD) a The Battle of Karbala between Imam Hussain [peace be upon him], the grandson of the Prophet of Islam, and Umayyad ruler Yazid I took place wherein Imam Hussain was martyred along with his companions. The event also strengthened the earlier division among the muslims. The day is mourned throughout the world by muslims in general and Shias in particular. The first ten days of Muharram are accompanied with a number of ceremonies associated with the incident of the Battle of Karbala. The message and the spirit as to why Imam Hussain rose against Yazid (ruler of the time) and why he gave his life along with his family and companions are well forgotten and skipped over by the narrators of the event, all that remains today are customs.

There is no denying to the fact that religious rituals are necessary to keep our faith alive, but the spirit should never be lost, in fact the message of justice, compassion, humility, love, tolerance, forgiveness and kindness which is at the heart of every story should be put emphasis on.

Peace be upon you all.

Muhammad: The Prophet of Islam

This was not the first time that Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] was attacked. And this is not going to be the last time, I’m sure. In past, a number of insults were hovered at the most revered prophet of Islam, but as such cheap attempts proved to be more futile and were only successful in attracting the Muslim-rage and disrepute on account of being controversial, people who didn’t know Muhammad [pbuh] before, started reading about the Prophet of Islam and came to respect him in the end.

In response to a mediocre and el cheapo film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ which was based purely on lies about and hatred against the prophet and Islam, the thousands of Muslims around the world took, quite contrary to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh], to the streets and protested violently by damaging the properties of the persons (who even condemned the film) and even killing innocent non-muslims and Muslims alike (as happened in Libya, Pakistan, Egypt). On the other hand, a million more protested peacefully in different countries and on social media, they grabbed this opportunity to spread the word about Muhammad [pbuh] who he really was and the one they have known, loved and respected throughout their lives. The anger and furore was justified, however the violence can never be.

I also would like to tell you about the Muhamad [pbuh] I’ve come to adore.

“Hi father died six months before his birth and his mother passed away while he was just six years old. In his teens he did trade along with his uncle Abu Talib, and due to his upright character he earned titles of Al-Amin (trustworthy) and Al-Sadiq (truthful). Having heard of his noble persona and business acumen, a strong woman of Mecca asked him to work for her. When she proposed him, he married her even she was a widow and 15 years older than him. He did most of everyday life chores himself, mended his shoes and sewed his clothes. He was courageous and fearless at the same time kind and loving. He was moderate, open-minded and tolerant. Even when faced with the sharpest and most insulting questions, he always responded with thoughtfulness and compassion. He was the most respectful to women and more often than not asked men to be just in treating women. He treated all people equally, irrespective of their cast, creed and color. He had good relations with his neighbors who also happened to be Jews and Christians. Even during battles, he never allowed his men to fight with the non-combatants. He was beaten and exiled when he was helpless, but turned out to be merciful and forgiving to his worst enemies when he became stronger and powerful. “

Yes, an arid act by one person in no way represents the whole of America or Christianity or Europe, the same way Americans and Europeans alike should not blame Islam and put the entire Muslim population on hit list because of dull and absurd acts by few Muslims.

Calling Spade a Spade

In 2005 a French Court banned a clothing advertisement based on Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Christ’s Last Super” by ruling that the act was “gratuitous and aggressive act of intrusion on people’s innermost beliefs” because it depicted the female as Christ. Now, since it has become quite clear to the West that the sentiments of Muslims get hurt by such offensive acts in the name of freedom of speech, it is high time for the West to penalize anti-Islamism on the lines of laws against anti-Semitism. You see the West’s double standards in the name of freedom of speech while it’s a crime to mock The Holocaust because it hurts Jews, but it’s freedom of speech to make fun of the prophet and the book of Islam. This must change now.

This is what the Prophet of Islam said 1400 years ago:

The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr

He who deals unfairly with others can never become a useful member of the society

God enjoins you to treat women well, for they are your mothers, daughters, aunts.

Say what is true, although it may be bitter and displeasing to people.

A Muslim must not hate his wife; and if he be displeased with one bad quality in her, then let him be pleased with another that is good.

The most excellent Jihad is that for the conquest of self.

The strong man is not the good wrestler; the strong man is only the one who controls himself when he is angry.

For more, please read;

The Farewell Sermon

Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time by Karen Armstrong

The Life of Muhammad by Ibne Ishaq translation by A. Guillaume

All that is good

The other day I received an SMS quoting a verse from The Quran which read;

The Quran

“Those who spend [in Allah’s way] in time of prosperity and in time of hardship, and hold in check their anger, and forgive their fellow-men, because God loves the doers of good;” [3:134]

I contemplated over the verse and came to realize that the three things ordained by God in the above verse are one of the hardest things to do for an ordinary soul.

“A man giving in alms one piece of silver in his lifetime is better for him than giving one hundred when about to die.” Prophet Muhammad [PBUH]

We want money badly and love spending on the things we want for ourselves, our family, friends and relatives. A lot of things we don’t even need at times. Whereas, when it comes to spending a portion of our wealth in charity, we feel like some force is holding us back. In times of prosperity, however, It’s easy to give away something in alms, but in times of liquidity crunch it seems almost next to impossible to give away bucks to someone in need.

“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”  Chinese proverb

Controlling one’s anger is just hard. My personal experience has taught me that anger does more damage than good, in fact it never does good. The only things left after venting one’s anger are ‘regrets’ and ‘feel-bad’ sentiment. Some people are just born with hot temper, a little push and they lose themselves all over. The trouble is when they don’t even try working towards overcoming this behavior of theirs.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi

To forgive and let go of someone’s wrongs is just as arduous an act as the two stated above. It is very natural for us that the wrongs others do always look bigger than our own. Sometimes the mistakes of our friends or family members seem so grave that we start telling ourselves that this is insanity, stupidity, a sheer bullshit and we’re not going to forgive that person anyway, even though it is we who get hurt by not forgiving and letting go. Nobody’s going to live forever, and we are not going to be remembered for being unforgiving.

And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give (any sort of help) to their kinsmen, Al-Masakin (the poor), and those who left their homes for Allah’s Cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Quran [ 24:22 ]

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7