Friday, January 8, 2010

Love, global resolution for Peace

Teach Islam
Islam as taught by the Prophet from the purity of his heart, soul and divine inspiration.

Hoping that the young victims of would-be-suicide bombers might accept the gift of love from their beloved Prophet to escape the curse of killing and to shun the vile mentoring of hateful mullas, Wahabis and ignoramuses bent on corrupting the message of love with the coals of zeal, brutality and hypocrisy.

Islam is the Alphabet of Love with Quran as its dictionary, seeking dialogue or conversation with the People of the Book and with the people of all Faiths, who wish to study its message in the light of wisdom and Understanding. Its one hundred and fourteen verses (with the exception of one, Surah 1X Al-Bara) beginning with: The Most Merciful, The Most Gracious, The Most Compassionate God, testify the universal love for mankind. Though its verses appear harsh at first, poetic when one gets into the rhythm of reading, enveloping and enlightening at the same time, but they are to be understood in context to the times when Arabia was caught in the fever of greed, cruelty, debauchery, drunkenness, not to mention, in violent conflicts with tribes within tribes. Blood feuds were common, slavery was rampant, women were oppressed, infant girls were buried alive, and gods were revered and mocked with the same passion as the passionate needs and greeds of men, striving toward riches and power.

Now the power of understanding, or the lack of it?

Reading as one reads, the Divine Word of God, as one believe the Quran to be, with one’s limited intelligence, one tends to squeeze out a handful of interpretations, most of which become gilded with distortions, if not becoming the victims of lies, depending upon the intent or the inclination of the author or a scholar. If moved by zeal, such persons mold each interpretation into fire-brands, and if others who are guided by the purity of their own minds and hearts, the same verses lend the glow of well- preserved pearls. And yet, they melt against the hurricanes of lies and distortions. If one were to riffle through the pages of history, one would not fail to discover that many truths lie buried under the mounds of lies, and that lies have been repeated so often, by so many, and with such pious persistence that if someone, even in this age and time dared speak truth, it would sound like a lie.

And yet, it is a difficult task, to know truth, since truth is a relative term, but we do walk in its shadow of love and light, our hearts tortured with this longing to be good and to do good. More difficult since the Scriptures speak to us in parables, while we wade through the waters of doubts and conflicts. The Quranic verse which cautions us not to fall into error, or to dispute with others in regard to different interpretations, becomes our guide that we know not what we claim to know.
He it is Who hath revealed unto thee Muhammad the Scripture wherein are clear revelations—they are the substance of the Book—and others which are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is doubt pursue, forsooth, that which is allegorical, seeking to cause dissention by seeking to explain it. None knoweth its explanation save Allah. And those who are sound of instruction say: we believe therein; the whole is from our Lord; but only men of understanding really heed. 3:7 Quran

But before quoting from the Quran or Hadith I am taking the liberty of sharing the loving life of the Prophet as a man, as a husband, as a father, and as a friend to all who sought his advice or friendship. History knows everything about him, no doubt, exploring all facets of his life, passion, ambition. Many faces and countless facets! Harsh, stern, rebuking, commanding, and then kind, loving, forgiving. Yet, reading in between and lines, and gleaning facts with as much precision as my own limited intellect permits, I have attempted to portray the Prophet as I see him through the veils of Hadith, Quran, History. Skipping quickly beyond his childhood, he emerges as a young man, endowed with wisdom and compassion. His friends call him Al Amin, meaning truthful. He has earned respect of the young and old by the sheer virtue of his good manners. At the age of twenty-five when he marries a widow of forty by the name of Khadija, twice married before and the mother of one son and two daughters, he loves and respects her on the verge of reverence, remaining faithful to her till her death. His character stands out in this happy marriage of almost twenty-five years; especially, when polygamy was the norm, and men treated women as their property, marrying, divorcing or simply abandoning them as their whim or caprice dictated. Another outstanding character which distinguished him from others was the shimmering ocean of love in his eyes which could never be dimmed, even against the fires of grief and adversity. When he was chosen as the Messenger of God, the Light in his own eyes appeared to be his guide, wavering at times, but never dying against the assaults of insult, violence or persecution. Peaceful by nature and averse to violence, he desisted from striking back even in self-defense. One time when pelted with stones and hounded by mobs, his shoes filled with blood, he almost collapsed with sheer pain and exhaustion, and his followers asked him to curse the tormentors, he prayed for forgiveness instead, much in the manner of Jesus, when he said: forgive them, O Lord, for they know not. Revelations upon revelations came to him to guide him toward patience, forgiveness, compassion. And one night he was taken to the Throne of God, called Night Journey. He shared the experience of this Journey with his cousin, in which he was taken to Jerusalem, then to the heavens, meeting all the previous Prophets, including Jesus, and finally before the Throne of God, his Allah, his Beloved. When this story was circulated amongst the Meccans, one of the Prophet’s bitterest of opponents Abu Jahl ,accused him of making up this story. He told the Prophet to lift his one foot, then the other, to which he complied, and when he asked him to lift both his feet up, the Prophet replied he can’t do it. So Abu Jahl mocked, you can’t even lift your two feet up in the air and you profess that you went to the heavens. To which, the Prophet replied: I didn’t say I went, I said I was taken.

Glorified be He Who carried His servant from the Inviolable Place of Worship (Mecca) to the Far Distant Place of Worship (Jerusalem) the neighborhood thereof. We have blessed that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He only He, is the Hearer, the Seer. 17:1 Quran

Briefly, his prophethood, his later marriages and his boundless love for all became the gateway of his divine message which he delivered by living it, as a loving, caring, forgiving man. His followers were prone to zeal even while he lived, and he rebuked and checked them; exclaiming at times, by these pious fools, my back hath been broken. His love didn’t extend to human beings alone but to all God’s creatures. Once during the sermon, a cat came to sit on the edge of his robe, and he wouldn’t get up, lest he disturb the cat. At the time of his final pilgrimage to Mecca, he noticed a bitch on the road with a litter of pups, and commanded his men to change their route so as not to frighten the young pups. As a conqueror, his forgiveness was wholesale and unconditional. No vengeance was wreaked even upon the woman who had torn open the breast of his slain uncle, chewing on his liver, and making garlands of his intestines. He had come not to avenge, but to reconcile, to stress his message of unity, to abolish slavery, to grant equality to women, and to tell all before the sight of God that he is not the messenger of a new religion, but confirming the religion of the old prophets. After his death, when his youngest wife Aisha was asked to describe the character of the Prophet. She said: he smiled often and laughed much. Quoting often from the Quran:
We sent thee not save as a mercy for the peoples. 21:7

Now the teachers of Islam, the Quran, the Hadith, the Prophet

And lo, there is a party of them who distort the Scripture with their tongues, that ye may think that what they say is from the Scripture, when it is not from the Scripture. And they say: it is from Allah, when it is not from Allah, and they speak a lie concerning Allah knowingly. 3:78 Quran
Confound not truth with falsehood, nor knowingly conceal the truth. 2:42 Quran
Beautified for mankind is love of the joys that come from women and offspring, and stored-up heaps of gold and silver, and horses and cattle and land. That is comfort of the life of the world. Allah, with Him is a more excellent abode. 3:14 Quran
It is not for believer to kill a believer unless it be by mistake… 4:92 Quran
Whoso slayeth a believer of set purpose, his reward is hell forever. Allah is wrath against him and He hath cursed him and prepared for him an awful doom. 4:93 Quran
O ye who believe, squander not your wealth among yourselves in vanity, except it be a trade by mutual consent, and Kill Not one Another. Lo, Allah is ever merciful unto you. 4:29 Quran
Whoso doeth that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into Fire, and that is very easy for Allah. 4:30 Quran
Say: O My slaves who have been prodigal to their own hurt! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, Who forgiveth all sins. Lo, He is the forgiving, the merciful. 39:53 Quran
The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo, he, between whom and thee there was enmity will become as though he was a bosom friend. 41:34 Quran
And when we made with you a covenant saying: shed not the blood of your people nor turn a party of your people out of your dwellings. Then you ratified our covenant and you were witnesses thereto. 2:84 Quran
Wrong not mankind in their goods, and do not evil, making mischief in the earth. 26:183 Quran
O mankind! Lo, We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the best in conduct. Lo, Allah is Knower, Aware. 49:13 Quran
And each one hath a goal toward which he turneth; so vie with one another in good works. Wheresoever you may be, Allah will bring you all together. Lo, Allah is able to do all things. 2:148 Quran
Keep to forgiveness, O Muhammad, and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant. 7:199 Quran
Announce, O Muhammad, unto my slaves that verily I am Forgiving, the Merciful. 15:49 Quran
And for such it may be that Allah will pardon them. Allah is ever Clement, Forgiving. 4:99 Quran
O ye who believe, be steadfast witness for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo, Allah is informed of what ye do. 5:8 Quran
Whereby Allah guideth him who seeketh His good pleasure unto paths of peace. He bringeth them out of darkness unto light by His decree, and guideth them unto a straight path. 5:16 Quran
And when it is said unto them: make not mischief in the earth, the say: We are peacemakers only. 2:11 Quran
Those who spend of which Allah hath given them in ease and in adversity, those who control their wrath and are forgiving toward mankind. Allah loveth the good. 3:134 Quran
O mankind, call upon your Lord humbly and in secret. Lo, he loveth not aggressors. 7:55 Quran
Work not confusion in the earth after the fair ordering thereof, and call on Him in fear and hope. Lo, the mercy of Allah is nigh unto good. 7:56 Quran
Yet whoso doeth evil or wrongeth his own soul, then seeketh pardon of Allah, will find Allah Forgiving, Merciful. 4:110 Quran
And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in Allah. Lo, He is the Hearer, the Knower. 8:61 Quran
And O Muhammad say: My Lord, forgive and have mercy, for Thou art best of all who show mercy. 23:118 Quran
It may be that Allah will ordain love between you and those of them with whom you are at enmity. Allah is mighty, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. 60:7 Quran
Whoso doeth right, whether male or female, and is a believer, all such will enter the Garden, where they will be nourished without stint. 40:40 Quran
Ask pardon of your Lord and then turn unto Him repentant. Lo, my Lord is Loving, Merciful. 11:90 Quran

Prophet Muhammad’s sayings:

The Islam of heart is its purity, and the Islam of tongue withholding it from fruitless words.
A man cannot be a Muslim till his heart and tongue are so.
Conscience: if you derive pleasure from the good which you perform, and be grieved for the evil which you have committed, you are a true believer.
The best of the God’s servants are those who, when seen, remind of God, and the worst of God’s servants are those who carry tales about, to do mischief and separate friends, and seek for the defects of the good.
Humility and courtesy are acts of piety.
Abuse nobody, and if a man abuse you and lay open a vice which he knows in you, then do not disclose one which you know in him.
Meekness and modesty are two branches of faith, and vain talking and embellishing are two branches of hypocrisy.
He is of the most perfect Muslims, whose disposition is most liked by his family.
To do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you, and to reject for others what you would reject for yourself.
Adore God as if you saw Him, for if you see Him not, He sees you.
Feed the hungry and visit the sick, and free the captive, if he be unjustly confined. Assist any person oppressed, whether Muslim or non-Muslim.
The proof of a Muslim’s sincerity is that he pays no heed to what is not his business.
The faithful are those who perform their trust and fail not in their word, and keep their pledge.
That person is not one of us who invites others to aid him in oppression, and he is not one of us who fights for his tribe in injustice, and he is not one of us who dies in assisting his tribe in tyranny.
Do not say, that if people do good to us, we will do good to them, and if people oppress us, we will oppress them; but determine, that if people do you good, you will do good to them, and if they oppress you, you will not oppress them.
There is a polish for everything that takes away rust, and the polish for the heart is the remembrance of God.
Verily those who are patient in adversity and forgive wrongs are the doers of excellence.
That person is nearest to God, who pardons, when he has in his power to injure who would have injured him.
God is gentle and loves gentleness.
God says: The person I hold as a beloved, I am his hearing by which he hears, and I am his sight by which he sees, and I am his hands by which he holds, and I am his feet by which he walks.
God is One and likes unity; God said: I was a hidden treasure. I would fain be known. So I created Man.
God is not merciful to him who is not so to mankind.
God says: verily my compassion overcomes my wrath.
If you put your whole trust in God, as you aught, He most certainly will give you sustenance, as He does the birds, they come out hungry in the morning, but return full to their nests.
O My servants who have oppressed your own souls by sinning, despair not of the Mercy of God (when asked what about the unbelievers) know that him also God forgives, if he repents. If the unbeliever knew of the extent of the Lord’s mercy, even he would not despair of Paradise.
Islam is purity of speech and charity.
Excellent actions are: to gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the wrongs of the injured.
Whoever is kind to His creatures, God is kind to him, therefore be kind to everyone on earth, whether good or bad.
Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever has no kindness, has no faith.
He dies not who gives life to learning.
An hour’s contemplation is better than a year’s adoration; go in quest of knowledge even unto China.
Seek knowledge from cradle to grave…what weakens the foundations of Islam: the errors of the learned destroy it, the disputations of the hypocrites, and the orders of the kings who have lost the road.
To spend more time in learning is better than spending more time in praying. It is better to teach knowledge one hour in the night than to pray the whole night…the pursuit of knowledge is a divine commandment for every Muslim, male or female.
God hath treasuries beneath the Throne, the keys whereof are the tongues of poets; he who knows his own self knows God.
Acquire knowledge. It enables its possessor to distinguish from right and wrong; it lights the way to Heaven; it is our friend in the desert; our society in solitude; our companion when friendless; it guides us to happiness; it sustains us in misery; it is an ornament amongst friends and an armor against enemies.
To the light I have attained and in light I live.
O Lord, grant me the love of Thee, grant that I love those who love Thee, grant that I may do the deeds that win Thy love, make Thy love dearer to me than self, wealth or family.
O Lord, I make my complaint unto Thee, of my feebleness, the vanity of my efforts. I am insignificant in the sight of men, O Thou Most Merciful. Lord of the weak, Thou art my Lord. Forsake me not. Leave me not a prey to strangers, nor to mine enemies. If Thou art not displeased, I am safe. I seek refuge in the Light of Thy Countenance, by which all darkness is dispelled, and peace cometh in the Here and Hereafter. Solve Thou my difficulties as it pleaseth Thee. There is no power, no strength, save in Thee. This was Prophet’s prayer when he was wounded at Taif.
Shall I inform you of a better act than alms, prayers and fasting? Making peace between one another. Enmity and malice tear up the heavenly rewards by the roots.
Prayer is the annihilation of ego and union with the Divine, which lifts one’s soul higher and higher in its journey toward the Beloved.
He whom prayer preventeth not from evil and wrongdoing, increaseth in naught save in remoteness from the Lord.
God is beauty and delights in the beautiful, but pride is holding man in contempt.
They will enter the garden of Bliss who have true, pure and merciful heart.
God has not created anything better than Reason, or anything more perfect, or more beautiful than Reason; the benefits which God gives are on its account; and understanding is by it, and God’s wrath is caused by disregard of it.
He is perfect who does good to his relatives when they do not do good to him.
Much silence and a good disposition, there are no two works better than those.
No man is true in the truest sense of the word but he who is true in word, in deed, and in thought. It is not worthy of a speaker of truth to curse people. He is not of me who, when he speaks, speaks falsely; who, when he promises, breaks his promise; and who, when trust is reposed in him, fails in his trust.
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 which is good. What you must never do is to raise your hands against your wife. Treat each woman with respect and kindness.
God enjoins you to treat women well, for they are your aunts, wives, mothers and daughters.
The rights of the women are sacred: see that women are maintained in the rights assigned to them.
To die before dying…to die to the darkness within, and to live in the Light of God
The ink of a scholar is more holy than the blood of a martyr.
Say unto the people of the Scripture: dispute ye with us concerning Allah when He is our Lord and your Lord? Ours are our works and yours your works.

The Prophet said that on the day of resurrection, God will manifest Himself to the creatures in the forms that they themselves refuted, announcing ‘I am your Lord’. In the face of this unfamiliar apparition, they will seek refuge in their own representation of God. Then God will appear in that representation, and then they will believe that indeed it is Him.
Bilal—Islam’s first Muezzin said: if a Muslim forces a conversion, he doesn’t risk hell, he is certain of hell.
God sent to the world since its creation 200,000 prophets, twenty-five of them are referred in the Quran. The greatest of those are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Prophets are to be regarded as free from sin, the most sinless of all being Jesus. Muhammad speaks of him as the Word of God, the Spirit of God, born of the Virgin Mary, and Worker of Miracles.
To be continued...