the sake of God. Oppression is something that you should hate. Its
not haram to hate the oppressor, but don’t hate them to the degree
that it prevents you from being just because that is closer to Taqwa
(awe of Allah). The higher position is to forgive for the sake of God.
God gives you two choices -- the high road or the low road - both of
them will get you to paradise. We should strive for the highest. Anger
is a useful emotion. God created anger in order that we could act and
respond to circumstances that need to be changed. Indignation is a
beautiful word. Righteous indignation is a good quality and even
though it is misused in modern English it’s actually a good thing. It
means to be angry for the right reasons and then it is to be angry to
the right degree because Allah says, “Do not let the loathing of a people
prevent you from being just.”
In other words get angry but don’t let that anger get the best of
you, don’t allow it to overcome you to the point where you want
vengeance because vengeance is God’s alone. Allah is al-Muntaqim,
The Avenger of wrongs. Human beings are not here to avenge wrongs
they are here to redress wrong, not to avenge them.
The ideal of loving those who revile you is the station of the
Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. In the midst of the worst
battle of his career, the battle of Uhud, he prayed, “Oh God guide my
people for they do not know what they are doing.” He could not have
uttered that if he had hatred in his heart. He could not have embraced
Wahshi as his brother, the man who killed his most beloved uncle, if
he had hatred in his heart. He could not have taken the oath of allegiance
from Hind who ordered and paid for the assassination of
Hamza and then bit into his liver to spite the Blessed Prophet if he
had hatred in his heart. He took her oath of allegiance and she
became a sister in faith. The Messenger of Allah is the best example.
He is the paragon who said:
“None of you truly believes until he
loves for his fellow man what he loves
for himself.” And the reason why I
say fellow man is that I think it’s a
very accurate translation because
Imam an Nawawi said that he is your
brother because we are all children of
Adam and Eve. So we should want
for our fellow man guidance, a good
life, and a good afterlife. None of you
truly believes, in other words our
Iman is not complete until we love for
others what we love for ourselves and
that includes the Jews, Christians,
Buddhists and the Hindus.
That breaks down the 'us versus
them' paradigm that tend to inform the way Muslims see the world
and themselves in it. That has been taken to a new level now in some
of our mosques where the kuffar is a degree under and we don't have
to pay attention to anything they say either about us or to us. Did our
Prophet, upon him be peace and blessing, behave like this at all? I
mean was he dismissive of anyone who wasn't from his community?
It seems preposterous to convince anyone that we care about their
welfare when we deride them.
The point is that if you want to guide them then you have to be concerned
with the way they perceive you. You have to be concerned
with how they feel.
The reason the Prophet upon him be peace and blessings, did not
kill hypocrites was because he did not want the non-Muslims to say
Muhammad kills his companions as a way of scaring people from
entering into Islam.
So he preferred an action that will cause non-Muslims to look at
Islam as a religion they would prefer to enter. The Prophet, peace be
upon him was concerned to such an extent with what others thought
that when one of his companions said that the Persians and
Byzantines did not take letters seriously unless they had a seal on
them, he told his companion to make him a seal.
He was concerned about how he presented himself to the people.
Once he was combing his hair and Aisha, his blessed wife, asked him
why he did that before he went out and he said my Lord commanded
me to do this. In other words, to go out looking presentable to
people is not vanity. Some Muslims get caught up in clothes and they
get upset when others wear a tie and suit. They think it’s hypocrisy
and that it is inappropriate. On the contrary, if one’s intention is correct,
it’s actually an act of worship because you are doing it in order
to present Islam, not yourself. You are, like the Prophet, recognizing
that you are an ambassador of a religion and it becomes like the seal
that the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessing, pressed onto the
Many Muslims have divided the world into two groups - us and
them. They will support Saddam Hussein because he’s a Muslim. In
other words, they will support a man who may have killed more
Muslims than any Muslim leader in the history of Islam or perhaps
all of them put together. The argument from this segment of our
Muslim community is that “I will back a mass murderer and go to a
demonstration with his picture because he’s a Muslim and other people
are Kuffar.” On the other hand, many Americans will back unjust
American intervention simply because they believe “my country right
or wrong.” Both sentiments is a form of tribalism and we are people
of faith in God Almighty, not people of tribal allegiance.