Originally published in the Huffington Post:
This past Ramadan I was on a spiritual high. I felt the power of prayers, fasting, charity, and enduring patience. Satan is supposed to be locked away in Ramadan and any sins we procured are considered to be purely from our own nafs (self). I believe this is the hardest test to endure in Ramadan. To realize what our own self is willing to do without the constant waswas (whispers) of Shaitan (Satan). So this Ramadan when we were being terrorized with multiple atrocities in Orlando, Istanbul, Baghdad, etc. There was no Satan! It was the pure evil of man shedding blood for unforetold reasons.
It constantly reminded me of the question the angels asked Allah (SWT) and I couldn’t grasp the resolution behind His divine puzzle.
“And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”” (Qur’an 2:30)
It led me to question more about human kind? And before I knew it Ramadan was gone, Satan was back, and the killings were multiplied.
It seems as though we are doomed by our own self-destructing prophecy; but God does go on to inform the angels that He was giving human kind not only freewill but also knowledge of His other creations.
“And He taught Adam the names of all things…” (Qur’an 2:31)
That the destruction the angels feared was just a small part of what humans were meant to be. That perhaps God gave us knowledge to atone the sins of our freewill.
The knowledge to understand and question things, the knowledge to seek good from bad, the knowledge to know the right from wrong, and the knowledge to recognize His other creations.
We are all different no doubt but the first thing God taught Adam (AS) was to learn the names of His other creations.
So what is it about us humans that we have disregarded the basic principles of seeking and understanding the creations of Allah (SWT)? That we have lost our sense of right and wrong? That we have forgotten that ‘justice’ is one of the basic guiding principles in the Qur’an?
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” (Qur’an 5:8)
…And that in order to be ‘just’ we must first learn about the other side.
This segmentation, this constant disregard of others is blinding us from true justice. It is making us take sides, and causing even more hatred towards one another other.
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” (Qur’an 4:135)
I guess my plea to humankind is to seek knowledge, to be open-minded, and to try and learn about the ‘other’ before passing judgment. I am sure I am guilty of this myself, but I am hoping we are able to move beyond our prejudices to realize that we are but mere creations!
The Muslims, the Hindus, the Christians, the Jews, the atheist, the blacks, the whites, the gays, the lesbians, the transsexuals, the poets, the Sufis, the politicians, the lawyers, the doctors, the cops, the Trumps… All of Us!
We all have some good in us. We all have the power to seek knowledge of the other.