Monday, April 2, 2007

Justice and Tolerance: Virtues of a Muslim

We want justice. We want tolerance. For the Muslims. But if we hold rallies chanting, “No justice, no peace” for the Palestinians, shouldn’t we also be chanting the same for the victims of those suffering injustice, persecution and genocide in Darfur? Shouldn’t we be attending rallies for the rights of minorities in the United States and for the impoverished? Shouldn’t we be joining forces with those fighting for the rights of laborers and those demanding women’s rights?

If we desire so badly for non-Muslims to accept us and tolerate our rituals and practices, our prayers, our fasting, our style of dress, then we, too, must be the loudest voice for tolerance of other cultures and religious traditions. We must be that very last people to make disparaging comments about those practicing other religions, especially our cousins in faith, the People of the Book, for Allah says in the Qur’an in Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 62:

“Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”

We can’t just rally and chant and protest for Muslims and causes affecting Islam. We have to be the voice of tolerance and justice for every group and every person on earth, even if it means that we have to speak out against people of our own culture and our own faith. For Allah reminds us in the Holy Qur’an in Surat An-Nisa, Verse 135,

“Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor. For God has enough compassion for all. Follow not the lusts of your hearts, so you won’t deviate from the straight path.”

Of course, as Muslims, our aim is to ensure that Islam is protected and that our rights as an ummah are upheld and honored. However, we must also remember that every single person is a potential Muslim, every group is a potential ally of our cause, and every creation is a miracle of Allah (swt). Therefore, every creature, unless an open enemy of Islam, deserves our love, honor, and respect. Each of these people also deserves our energy in our fight for justice and tolerance.

We cannot be afraid to call out our own when it comes to those Muslims around the world who persecute, dishonor, and disregard the rights of others. Where we see wrongdoing, we must stand up for the right, no matter if we criticize our own brothers and sisters. The best form of love is that which is honest and forthcoming.

Justice Dignity Firmness Tolerance Patience Perseverance Sincerity Responsibility Honesty Fair-Dealing

These are the virtues that we must uphold, that we must cultivate as an ummah, and that we must develop within ourselves if we are to be the respectable community following in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet (pbuh).

May Allah instill in us the virtues that made the Prophet (pbuh) successful and great in his leadership of our ummah. May Allah give us the fortitude and maturity to look within our own hearts and fix our own problems before looking for the faults of others. May Allah give us the courage to stand up for the rights of others. May Allah bless us with intelligence, integrity, dignity, and purity as individuals and as a global community so that we may be worthy to stand in the presence of Allah on the Day of Judgment as servants who lived for his love and approval.

2 comments:

Huda Shaka` said...

Jazaki Allah khair for bringing this issue up Cassie. A couple of comments:
1. As Muslims, I think its our duty to respect and honor every human being, not because he/she is a potential Muslim, but simply because he/she is a human being, one of Allah's most honored creations.
"We have honoured the children of Adam...and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of our creation." [Quran, 17:70]

2. On a side note, although I agree with the point you make about doing something for our brothers suffering in Darfur, I don't think that in the region should be referred to as "genocide". This term is currently being used by the US government and its allies to justify military intervention and economic control of the country. Below are links to articles that may clarify this position.
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n05/mamd01_.html

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/brendan_oneill/2006/05/stop_using_the_holocaust.html

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-op-clough14may14,1,1899740.story?coll=la-news-comment
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sudan/story/0,,1768001,00.html

Affad Shaikh said...

This is a great book "Target Sudan: Whats really behind the crisis in Darfur" by El-Hajj Mauri Saalakan. also i posted an article by Emily Wax, who was with the Washington Post on the reality that is Darfur:

http://affadshaikh.blogspot.com/2006/11/some-information-on-darfur-that-makes.html

It important as Muslims that we not blindly follow and swallow the information we are being fed, and I see way to many Muslims not critically examining this situation. Where is the Muslim ourcry to the Ethiopian occupation of Somalia, and the banning of the hijab there?

Think about it.