A Call to Empathy

A Call to Empathy

At a time like this when things are so hard from the outside, things are difficult from every side, people should be softer and kinder with one another, make more room to show care to each other.

When there is so much injustice in the world, it saddens the heart to see that the human being, instead of making the effort of aligning him or herself with wajib al-waqt – the duty of this time – is busy causing drama and being difficult with others.

What is wajib al-waqt? What is the duty of the time in which you live? it’s the only thing that will keep you or make you satisfied. It’s the thing that the era in which you live calls upon you to do. It’s the action that will alleviate the suffering, and therefore please the Lord. It’s the action that only you can do. It’s the action that has your name written on it. It’s the action that if you don’t fulfil, you will never feel at peace.

If you don’t fulfill the duty of your time, if you don’t fulfil your duty and fill the gap that Allah has placed in front of you to fulfil, you won’t be happy because you dodged it and did something else, or rested, or found a way to hide from it. If you avoid it, you will be miserable.

The only thing that will make us happy and fulfilled today is our alignment with the duty or the obligation of our time and so the question now is: What does Allah want from us?

And what would be incumbent on us in a time like this?

Intelligent beings would understand that the heart are bleeding already and there is already lots of pain going on, it’s not the time that we start really attacking one another and causing the gash in the hearts of one another to gush more blood.

If we want to invite the Divine Compassion and Rahma (His Great Love), we had better to really align ourselves with that Rahma by letting it flow through us. We had better practice that rahma with one another. When practiced amongst each other, rahma is clean and pure love and empathy – that is what it looks like amongst human beings. Yes, we need to define it in order to properly find it.

For people who are not aligned with God, the harshness of our times will make them harsher, the hardness will make them harder, the difficulties will make them bitter.

We have seen that. 

HOW YOU SEE THINGS

And we have seen that throughout history, in times of war, famine, injustice, our ancestors used these situations as opportunities to really create true bonds of taraahim – real bonds, links, relationships of care, empathy, love that should be there amongst siblings, compassion, and rahma.

Today you see that the lack of empathy is the real plague, the real virus. The lack of empathy is the qaroon we spoke about last year – that’s the real virus, the real plague. That phenomenon of the one who is right there in your ranks, and then turns around and betrays you.

God tells us in the Holy Address:

إِنَّ قَارُونَ كَانَ مِن قَوْمِ مُوسَى فَبَغَى عَلَيْهِمْ وَآتَيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْكُنُوزِ مَا إِنَّ مَفَاتِحَهُ لَتَنُوءُ بِالْعُصْبَةِ أُولِي الْقُوَّةِ إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ قَوْمُهُ لَا تَفْرَحْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَرِحِينَ

Hear this: that Qaroon was one of the people of Moses, but he arrogantly exalted himself above them – simply because We had granted him such riches that his treasure-chests alone would surely have been too heavy a burden for a troop of ten men or even more. The wise amongst his community warned him: Do not be contented due to this wealth, for, certainly God does not love those find contentment in the vain and temporary things of this life!
The Narration (Al-Qasas); Chapter 28: Verse 76


وَقَارُونَ وَفِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ وَلَقَدْ جَاءهُم مُّوسَى بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَاسْتَكْبَرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا كَانُوا سَابِقِينَ

And Qarun and Pharaoh and Haman:  to them had come Moses with all evidence of the truth, but they behaved arrogantly on earth [and rejected him]; but know that, with all of that, in the end they could not escape Us.
The Spider (Al-‘Ankabut); Chapter 29: Verse 39

That phenomenon God is telling us about is of someone who lives in a community of faith, spends time with those who are guided and offering guidance, who hears the message of Truth, but who resists good advice and insists on carrying on in his ways. Such a person will end up going to war with the very guide he once spent time with. That is Qaroon. The one who refused the advice of his people, and then ended up refusing his Prophet and fighting him. These are not mere stories Allah is telling us – they are warnings about what happens to us if we take fellowship and the guidance of our guides for granted, and if we insist on our ways thinking they are acceptable even when we have been warned against them.

Let us be careful with this matter. No one is guaranteed a good end. Every day must be your contribution to your own Akhira (Hereafter) – and you choose what you do towards it in every interaction you undertake or experience. Let us not take these matters so lightly.

Let us be careful with the hearts of one another – starting with the small things – so that we are spared the trial of the big things – of hurting each other in big ways.

THIS IS A TEST

In a time like this, we want Allah to show us Rahma and kindness, don’t we? Are we really happy with our mosques closed like this, our communities scattered like this? Are we really ok with this situation?

Or have we become numb and don’t feel anymore? 

Be careful – don’t get used to this. It’s not good to get used to this. It’s not faith to get used to this. 

This is not something to get used to. This is a trial. You should not become numb to trials – desensitized. 

We should feel the pain and know how to live with it and how to respond to it.  You respond to pain with compassion, with developing more compassion for others.  You look around you and you judge less, because you are experiencing weakness and suffering in yourself – and that makes you humble.

Usually we have this temptation to look far away. Look right next to you – look at the person right next to you:

the sister

the brother

the husband

the wife

…right next to you.

The brother and sister next to you, start with them. Show them compassion. Show them kindness so Allah Most Gracious shows us kindness.  We need Allah to show us kindness. As our Beloved Guide – may the light of God continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him said: Show love and care ( rahma) for those with you on earth, and God from on High will show you His Love and Care. What could be a. better deal than that? What could be a better exchange? Just a little kindness from you, a little decency towards others, and God from on High will show you HIS kindness, love and goodness.

I look around and I see people missing this opportunity in this time of trial, when kindness goes such a long way…when just a little bit of care means so much to people with the loads they are carrying…But instead, I’m saddened to see people acting like judges. It’s sad to see people being intransigent – stubborn in their viewpoints and positions, and the latter are only based on their ego, not on morality or Truth. 

Now is the time for rahma. God knows we need it. God knows we need it!

COME TO THE HIGHER GROUND

May Allah bless you and may Allah protect you. Let us focus and be conscious, and make an effort. Make an effort to meet the Rahma of Allah on the high ground.

We always invite the rahma of Allah to come to us where we are.  Allah will come to help you where you are. But let us make the effort and meet Allah at a higher ground than where we are or were. Let us do our best.

How long will we keep asking Allah to come find us in the same place – “Come please come to me come to me come to me!” And He finds you broken in the same place as always.

How much longer will we invite Him to come to our basement – He comes and He finds it a mess. And He finds us childish children beating each other with our dolls and throwing our things at one another…Let us try to make something of ourselves – not to impress not to be independent of God, but just to be more grateful to Him. To make good on the gifts and chances He has given us.

Not to impress the people of God or become independent of them, just to show we have learned a bit, we have benefited. To say: We used to invite Your Rahma to the lowest level where we dwelled; now we invite Your Rahma to come and meet us at the main floor. I’m not asking you to go to the sky high level – just the main floor – or the first level.

Let us invite the Rahma of Allah to find us in a little bit higher place. Let us show Allah that we are happy with His Grace and Blessing of having shown us lessons that let us improve. Let us just show Him that we learned something – that we got this, we understood this. Allah is a Teacher and a Teacher loves to see his students advancing, learning, growing, progressing, benefiting. Let us invite Allah to find us at a higher ground.  Let us make it there, even if it is but one step higher than where we are in this moment. 

Let us show God something good from us.

That was the call of the Apostle of God the day of Badr, and before as well: Show Allah something good from yourself.

This is the time my dear brothers and sisters, to be compassionate and caring, to share the teachings we believe in, to share the message that you believe could help people.

This is the time.

This is the time to show gratitude for the past days, for the ease that we lived, Otherwise why would Allah replace this difficulty with ease if it doesn’t make a difference to us? 

May Allah grant you and us understanding.

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5 thoughts on “A Call to Empathy

  1. Baraka Allahu feekum Shaykh Hamdi for this very timely and valuable teaching. May we all rise to this higher ground.

  2. Thank you for writing this article.
    It is so sad that we have all forgotten how to show deep compassion to one another. More compassion is necessary for us to thrive in life.

    Also, what was mentioned regarding not getting used to the mosques being closed needs to be stated repeatedly. It is so easy to get used to this state but it would be deadly to our spiritual connection to God to be okay with the closing of any mosque.
    May God protect us and help us to grow.

  3. Allah Allah! Until when will we keep inviting God to our basement – May He find us in a better state always – maddad

  4. Barak Allahu Feek Shaykh Hamdi for such a powerful, hopeful and truthful advice. May we all grow in love for Muhammad May the Light of God continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him.

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