The Power of Forgiveness

March 4, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS

“HOLD TO FORGIVENESS; COMMAND WHAT IS RIGHT; BUT TURN AWAY FROM THE IGNORANT” 7:199

“TELL THOSE WHO BELIEVE TO FORGIVE THOSE WHO DO NOT LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAYS OF ALLAH: IT IS FOR HIM TO RECOMPENSE (FOR GOOD OR ILL) EACH PEOPLE ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY HAVE EARNED. 45:14

Has someone done you wrong?  Does it seem that someone has or is going out of their way to do harm to you?  Do you seem to be consumed with the thought of these acts of injustice to you?  Before you lose your mind, stop and assess your situation, and know this – NOW IS THE TIME FOR FORGIVENESS.

You might say, “why should I forgive someone who hurt me?  After all, I didn’t do anything to them.  They should ask me for forgiveness.” That might be true to a certain extent, but look at it this way.  Your human qualities are far above what Satan and the Jinns desire for you.

You should forgive because it takes the burden of someone else’s problem off your shoulders.  Forgiveness releases the heavy yoke of self-oppression from you.  If your adversary knows that he/she has consumed your thoughts with their wicked deeds, it only adds to their delight to see you squirm.

Let us look at our human example, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (s), who was full of forgiveness.  One strong enemy of the Prophet (s) used to throw feces and sharp thorns in the prophet’s walkway every day.  The Prophet (s) would calmly sweep it up and say nothing.  Then one day he noticed that his walkway was clean.  No one had thrown anything on it.  Seeing this, the Prophet (s) promptly went to the man and inquired of his health.  The humble character of the Prophet (s) so impressed the man that he eventually accepted Al-Islam.

And of course we all know that we would not breathe another breath if it were not for the ever-present forgiveness of ALLAH on us.  ALLAH says all through the Qur’an that He is the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate.  If He were to punish us according to our deeds, there would be no one left on the earth.  Now since ALLAH is so forgiving, (ultra-forgiving) and Prophet Muhammad (s), following the direction of ALLAH, exercises the ultimate human level of forgiveness, doesn’t it behoove us to follow their lead and attempt to do the same?  As in all directives of ALLAH, the purpose of the directive is to uplift the human being.  When we attempt to follow ALLAH and emulate the Messenger (s), there is a promised benefit in it for us – and that benefit is peace of mind.

Walk up to a brother or sister who you believe has done you a disservice and ask them to forgive you for anything you might have done to them, either knowingly or unknowingly.  Instantly you will feel a great lifting of doom and ugliness from your heart if the right intention was there (the pleasure of ALLAH).  And of course, if you are aware that you have wronged someone, be big enough to approach that person and ask them to forgive you – then go and strive to be upright after that.  If they accept your apology you have made peace in that particular relationship.  If they don’t accept your apology then at least you have lifted the cloud from yourself and you will go about your day with less of a burden on your shoulders.

If we just follow these simple rules of Islamic etiquette, our minds and hearts will be light and peaceful.  We will also be responsible for remaking the world into one of peace.

This is also showing Almighty ALLAH that we are grateful to Him for making us a human being – the greatest of all creation – and puts the bad Jinn in his place – under you.

As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin

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Kamala Surayya (1934- 2009)

June 4, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Nilofar Suhrawardy, MMNS India Correspondent

NEW DELHI: With a hypersensitive and emotional spirit, reflected in her words – written as well as spoken – Kamala Surayya always moved on, stepping into controversial zones through her creative work and also her life-style. Ironically, her being a trendsetter is also marked by the homage paid to her and the funeral services held in her memory. She is one of the few Indian celebrities, who have been accorded state-level funeral services even though at the time of their death, they did not hold any high political or any authoritative post necessitating the same. Kamala, the well-known litterateur and poet, breathed her last in Pune (May 31), in a city hospital, where she had been admitted on April 18. Her body was brought to her native region, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on Monday. The body was interred with state honors at the graveyard of Palayal Masjid, where it was laid to rest (June 2). The funeral prayers were led by chief cleric of Palayal Masjid. 

Expressing grief at Kamala’s demise, in his message, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that her poems “focusing on womanhood and feminism gained her recognition as one of the most noted modern Indian writers.”

Kamala had decided to leave Kerala and stay in Pune around two years ago. She had said then: “Enough is enough. Kerala has become an inhospitable place. I can’t live here anymore. I am getting raunchy mails and obscene calls. Everything is being criticised. Even fellow writers are not on my side. Maybe because I don’t have power through politics. Maybe, because I don’t have the influence.” On whether, the discomfort she faced had anything to do her with her converting to Islam, Kamala replied: “No. It has nothing to do with that. The truth is Kerala can’t stand ‘brainy women.’ They expect women to be behind closed doors. Their roles are predefined. They don’t want women to explore.” She converted to Islam in 1999, at the age of 65, a little after passing away of her husband. Earlier known as Kamala Das, after conversion, she started using the name Kamala Surayya.

So Kamala left Kerala, with practically no intention of ever returning back. As she then said: “I don’t have anything left there. No sentiments. I am leaving everything behind- furniture and all my books. I am not taking anything. I have had enough of Kerala culture. I want to be at peace with myself.” Kamala also felt sad that the state she belonged to had not given her due recognition. It is, however, claimed that practical sense prompted Kamala to move out of Kerela and live with her youngest son in Pune. She had accepted the hard reality that because of failing health she couldn’t live alone anymore in her flat in Kochi. She longed to finally return to Kerala. During the last couple of months, Kerala Minister for Culture M.A. Baby visited the ailing Kamala twice. He is understood to have offered to make arrangements for a state funeral, befitting her stature, in her home state Kerala, where she really wanted to be laid to rest.

Kamala was born on March 31, 1934 in Punnayurkulam in Kerala, in a conservative Hindu family. Her father V.M. Nair, a leading executive, later became managing editor of the widely-circulated Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi. While her mother Balamaniyamma was a noted poet, her great uncle Nalapat Narayana Menon was a literary stalwart of the time. Influenced by her mother and great-uncle, Kamala took to writing from an early age.  She was married at a young age (13) to Madhava Das, 15 years older than her. The couple had three sons.

Kamala began writing professionally after becoming a mother, with her kitchen table serving as her writing area after the housework was taken care of. “There was only the kitchen table where I would cut vegetables, and after all the plates and things were cleared, I would sit there and start typing. That was my work area,” she said in an interview in 1996.

Among her most notable works is her autobiography, My Story (1976) which has been published in more than 15 languages. Other popular English works of Kamala include Asian Poetry Prize winner- The Sirens (1964) and Kent’s Award winner – Summer in Calcutta (1965). Her last published work in English is a collection of poems- Yaa Allah (2001). Kamala’s Malayayam works, for which used the penname Madhavikuttii, include short stories- Pakshiyude Manam (1964), Vayalar Award winner, novel Neermathalam Pootha Kalam (1994), poetry- Only the Soul Knows How to Sing (1996) and short stories – Nashtapetta Neelambari (1998).

She has earned laurels as well as criticism for her writings, viewed by “liberal” by some and “amoral” by others for their projection of women. In Kamala’s opinion, Indian women were suppressed and exploited. She wanted them to liberate themselves from age-old prejudices, which led to their sufferings.

Kamala ventured into the political arena for a little while and also directed her creativity to painting for some time. She floated Lok Seva Party to promote social and humanitarian work. She, however, failed to win Lok Sabha in 1984. But the lady moved on, creating waves through her pen. Her achievements and life extended beyond the pen, as she said: “I wanted to fill my life with as many experiences as I can manage to garner because I do not believe that one can get born again.” And so she did. Kamala Surayya is no more, but with her writings, she has joined the immortals.

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