By: Shamsi Ali, President of Nusantara Foundation, New York
In all religious teachings, love or compassion is the heart of the faith. In the case of Islam, this is concluded in the mission of the Prophet, that he came not only to bring compassion (rahmah), but he came to personify that “rahmah” (compassion) in real life. Therefore, the Prophet (pbuh) is known as “rahmatan lil-alamin” (mercy to all worlds).
Prophet Muhammad lived with full compassion at all times no matter what the circumstances were surrounding his life. He was kind, gentle, and compassionate to those who followed him (bil mu’minina rauuf rahiim). But he was also still compassionate to those who rejected him and even tried to do some evils against him. You can read his Seerah (life story) and you will find and be amazed by many examples of his compassion towards others.
In this difficult and trying time of ours, we must learn to advance compassion over hatred and anger. We must be able to act and react with more love and kindness. No matter how you position your self in this unfortunate situation, anger and hatred must not define who we are. We must be able to hold and commit ourselves to our moral ground and compassion. And the most fundamental moral ground is our “humanity” itself.
Islam is the religion of humanity. This means every aspect of it is in respect of our common humanity. And the most important part of our humanity is our ability to advance our compassion, especially in times such as we are in nowadays.
Killing innocent civilians, particularly children, women, the elderly, and all non combatants in Islam is strictly prohibited. The Qur’an directs the Muslims if they must engage in a battlefield: “kill only those who engaged to kill you, but transgress not the bounds”.
Among the important boundaries in Islam when it comes to the wars is what the Prophet instructed his army: “Don’t kill the women, children, elderly (non combatants). Don’t even cut off trees (without necessary need), don’t kill animals and don’t poison the well”.
And so based on my moral ground as a human being, and my respect for human dignity, freedom, peace and justice I oppose and will continue to oppose any violation to civilian (non combatant) lives. And for my stand for, and my commitment to “justice for all”, I will not distinguish between any worldly affiliations; be it ethnic, racial, national, and even religious affiliations. Humans are humans regardless their affiliations and deserve such dignity and respect
For this very same ground, and as our moral ground and religious teachings and values demand, I call upon all people of conscience to take the same path. If we continue on our selfish path and dishonest behaviors the evils will clap happily and proud to be directly or indirectly supported by our choice of stand.
And so if you have even slight humanity in your heart, be conscious about your moral ground, grow your compassion, even in times of anger and confusion. This is the time when our sense of humanity and honesty towards our common human values are tested.
We all claim that humans lives are sacred and must be honored and protected. But we tend to distinguish between people in their treatment. Some people are treated with value and dignity. While some others are less, or even considered have no value at all.
The time has come to judge ourselves with honesty and truthfulness either we still have humanity and a slight sense of compassion in our hearts. Have that courage to judge before being judged by the history.
Remember, anything that happens to someone may and will be happening to someone else. It’s sufficient for evil to triumph when those who claim righteousness, instead chose silence. In reality, silence in front of the evil is complicity and that itself is evil. (AK/RE1/P2)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)