Respect, Injustices, Goals for Ramadan
Issue 743 » June 21, 2013 - Shaban 12, 1434
Al-Maidah (The Table Spread) - Chapter 5 : Verse 48 (partial)
When it comes to relations between free and equal human beings, autonomous and independent nations, or civilizations, religions and cultures, appeals for the tolerance of others are no longer relevant. When we are on equal terms, it is no longer a matter of conceding tolerance, but of rising above that and educating ourselves to respect others. This requires a very different intellectual and emotional attitude. It begins with the recognition that the presence of the other within my own conception of the world is both a fact and a necessity. The above verse expresses the essence and finality of this diversity in no uncertain terms.
Recognizing the diversity of paths and the equality of all human beings are the two preconditions for the respect that allows us to get beyond the power relationship characteristic of relations of tolerance. Respect implies an active and proactive attitude towards others, rather than a passive attitude: we have to be curious about the other's presence and being, and try to know the other once we have learned to recognize him. Recognition, active curiosity and knowledge introduce our intellects and hearts to the world of the complexity of others. We begin to gain access to their principles, hopes, tensions and contradictions, as well as the diversity of currents that run through their universe of reference. Tolerance can reduce the other to a mere presence; respect opens up to us the complexity of his being. At the same time it teaches us to recognize that the other is as complex as we are: he is our equal, our mirror, our question. The other exists within me, and I exist within the other.
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 48-49
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When the believers pass safely over (the bridge across) Hell, they will be stopped at an arched bridge in between Hell and Paradise where they will retaliate upon each other for the injustices (dhulm) done among them in the world. When they are then purified of their sins, they will be admitted into Paradise." [Bukhari]
The Prophet also stated: "Whoever has wronged another concerning his reputation or anything else should beg him to forgive him before the Day of Resurrection when there will be no money [to compensate for wrong deeds], but if he has good deeds, those good deeds will be taken from him according to the wrong he has done. And if he has no good deeds, the sins of the oppressed person will be loaded on him." [Bukhari]
Any kind of harm that a person does to another is a form of dhulm and is forbidden. A Muslim may not harm another's honour, wealth or life. If a person strikes, abuses, curses, cheats, backbites or harms another person or if he helps another wrongly against someone, falsely accuses someone, lies about someone, and so forth, then he is committing dhulm. In fact, if a person prevents another from getting his due rights, he has committed dhulm. Dhulm is also inclusive of the misuse of power by people in positions of authority.
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 922-924
5 Great Goals for Ramadan
1. Give a dollar a day in charity...or five or ten
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was always generous but even more so in Ramadan. Let's open our hearts and dig a little deeper in our wallets this year. Even less than a dollar a day adds up. Whatever you can give, it's the intention that counts.
2. Call/email your relatives
You'd think that given the easy access to email, competitive long-distance calling rates, phone cards, etc. these days, we'd keep in touch with family and friends more often. But the opposite seems to be the case, as we get caught up in life's "busyness." Strengthening ties with family members and keeping in touch with friends is part of our way of life and an act Allah is very pleased with. This Ramadan, call family and friends or at least email them a Ramadan card and ask them how their fasting is going.
3. Go on a technology diet
Even if you work in the IT industry, you can do this. Avoid checking personal email and surfing the web during your fast. After Iftar, instead of plopping yourself in front of the screen, go to Tarawih. The same goes for the television. The point is to try to give our full attention to spiritual elevation this month.
4. Read 5 minutes of Quran a day...just five, not more, not less
Even if you feel you've got absolutely no time, set a timer or the alarm on your cell phone and find a relatively quiet place. You can read the first page of the Quran you open or follow a sequence. The choice is yours. The point is simply to connect with God through His revelation in the month of the Quran.
5. Forgive everyone who has hurt you
Still got a festering wound from the fight with your friend last year? Still upset about something your spouse said during a heated argument? Or are you still bitter about the way your parents sometimes treated you as a kid? Let go of the anger and pain this Ramadan and forgive those who have hurt you. Forgiving someone is not only good for the body, but it's also great for the soul. And in Ramadan, ten days of which are devoted to Allah's forgiveness, shouldn't we lesser beings forgive too? If you find it very difficult to forgive everyone, forgive at least three people.
"10 great goals to set for this Ramadan" - SoundVision.com