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

12-10

Prophet’s (s) Promise to Christians

February 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Muqtedar Khan, Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware

The_Patent_of_Mohammed Muslims and Christians together constitute over 50 percent of the world. If they lived in peace, we would be half way to world peace. One small step we can take towards fostering Muslim-Christian harmony is to tell and retell positive stories and abstain from mutual demonization.

In this article I propose to remind both Muslims and Christians about a promise that Prophet Muhammad (s) made to Christians. The knowledge of this promise can have enormous impact on Muslim conduct towards Christians. Muslims generally respect the precedent of their Prophet (s) and try to practice it in their lives.

In 628 AD, a delegation from St. Catherine’s Monastery came to Prophet Muhammad (s) and requested his protection. He responded by granting them a charter of rights, which I reproduce below in its entirety. St. Catherine’s Monastery is located at the foot of Mt. Sinai and is the world’s oldest monastery. It possesses a huge collection of Christian manuscripts, second only to the Vatican, and is a world heritage site. It also boasts the oldest collection of Christian icons. It is a treasure house of Christian history that has remained safe for 1,400 years under Muslim protection.

The Promise to St. Catherine:

“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.

Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”

charter The first and the final sentence of the charter are critical. They make the promise eternal and universal. Muhammad (s) asserts that Muslims are with Christians near and far, straight away rejecting any future attempts to limit the promise to St. Catherine alone. By ordering Muslims to obey it until the Day of Judgment the charter again undermines any future attempts to revoke the privileges. These rights are inalienable. Muhammad (s) declared Christians, all of them, as his allies and he equated ill treatment of Christians with violating God’s covenant.

A remarkable aspect of the charter is that it imposes no conditions on Christians for enjoying its privileges. It is enough that they are Christians. They are not required to alter their beliefs, they do not have to make any payments and they do not have any obligations. This is a charter of rights without any duties!

The document is not a modern human rights treaty, but even though it was penned in 628 A.D. it clearly protects the right to property, freedom of religion, freedom of work, and security of the person.

I know most readers, must be thinking, So what? Well the answer is simple. Those who seek to foster discord among Muslims and Christians focus on issues that divide and emphasize areas of conflict. But when resources such as Muhammad’s promise to Christians is invoked and highlighted it builds bridges. It inspires Muslims to rise above communal intolerance and engenders good will in Christians who might be nursing fear of Islam or Muslims.

When I look at Islamic sources, I find in them unprecedented examples of religious tolerance and inclusiveness. They make me want to become a better person. I think the capacity to seek good and do good inheres in all of us. When we subdue this predisposition towards the good, we deny our fundamental humanity. In this holiday season, I hope all of us can find time to look for something positive and worthy of appreciation in the values, cultures and histories of other peoples.

Dr. Muqtedar Khan is Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware and a fellow of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

12-6

Plea for Help

May 18, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad ibn Abdullah (s) is his last and final Prophet (s). I greet you in the universal language of peace, Assalaamu Aleikum wa Rahmatullah. I thank you for my subscription to The Muslim Observer newspaper.

Dear editor—I am writing to you in regards to many of the ideologies of prisoners in the state of Illinois.

It seems that the government officials have not made it a goal to habilitate or rehabilitate the prisoners to maintain themselves upon their release and throughout the duration of their stay. I am considered a spiritual leader and upcoming imam in Al-Islam. Unfortunately, the talk of the prisons are violence against America and majority of this comes from non-Muslims.

You can hear the roars of inmate celebration when they hear about terrorist strikes against Americans and how they would like to participate in the terrorist action against America upon their release. The inmates are treated as if they were in Abu Ghraib, and this is dangerous to America, because they have made an enemy within their own states. Many gang members as I used to be as well are ready for war.

Many who stood on their block corners selling drugs and willing to die for their mobs are now trying to join al-Islam and join a different war, but some are learning the wrong interpretation of Islam, which is also dangerous to Muslims. It’s imperative for the new converts to fully understand the true prerequisites of al-Islam, and if not, America is looking for a bigger burden.

This is due to a lack of education, a lack of communication, and a lack of organization. The state will provide Christians and Jewish faiths with special diet, but refuse to accommodate Muslims, and officials hate Muslims, and hatred is returned which creates a friction of malice. The inmates at the correctional center are in a realm of desire to become rebels against their oppressors.

This especially comes from a breach of the fourth pillar of Islam which is zakat. There is no Islamic organization that will tend to the needs of Muslims in the prisons. There are Muslims such as I with business ideas that could help to create an Islamic funding for Muslim prisoners all over the country. The Muslims in Arabia make too much money for any Muslim on the face of the planet to be poor. We need to develop organizations that could pay Muslim attorneys to assist incarcerated Muslims.

Many masjids that I have written and organizations, never write back. Currently I am in court fighting to get a halal diet for all Muslims in the State of Illinois and I am acting as a lawyer, but I cannot even procure an affidavit from a Muslim imam or halal food company and it’s a shame. We are in a dangerous situation—you have inmates of all religions speaking of blowing up buildings and other structures and this comes from oppression and depression.

Well we have a depiction of the problem, but we need a forecast of a solution, therefore we call on The Muslim Observer to publish this message, and perhaps a Muslim legal organization will assist me and us in court and others perhaps could subsidize us with the court case of Islam before it’s too late; thank you for reading.

As-Salaam aleikum wa Rahmatullah

Eric Ware, Mustapha Abdullah al-Alim Muhammad, R32516