Regaining our Sense of Humanity

Sunset reflected in a glass ball on a beach (photo: istock by Getty Images)

We are bidding al-widā (farewell) to the special month of Ramadan, the month of the Quran, the month of siyām (fasting), the month of qiyām (standing in night prayers), the month of ghufrān (forgiveness), the month of ihsān (goodness) and the month of karam (generosity), the month that hosts Layla-tul-Qadr (Night of Power), a month that harbors Yawm-al Furqān (The Day of Criterion, occasioned by the Battle of Badr). We bid sentimental farewell to shahrun mubarak, a blessed month indeed.

Reflective Mirror of Reality

Living in a precarious world; is like a mirror reflecting our frailties as human beings, exposing the fragility of our existence on earth as well as unveiling the need for prioritizing what is important in life. It has made us see the importance of time, perceive the significance of human relations, and realize our interdependence as a human family. A human family that seems fractured, a human family largely dictated to by selfish colonial and imperial interests, a human family divided by regional and political power at the expense of innocent human lives.

Spirituality with Civic Responsibility

Here we are as believers, designated as khayra ummah (best of communities) evolved for the benefit of humanity, having emerged from the blessed month of Ramadan, not only fasting and increasing our prayers; but also manifesting our care for others through increased charity. We have emerged from an annual month-long practice of internal spirituality and external generosity. We had to pay saqaqatul fitr (easing the plight of those in need) before we could celebrate Eid; when we can not fast we pay fidyah to feed the poor; Allah does not ask us to do extra prayer to compensate for the fast that we have missed; no, rather we provide a social benefit by feeding and helping a needy person through our fidyah; reflecting spirituality with social duty, worship and civic responsibility. This plants the seed of greater empathy for those who are in need and those who are victims of oppression.

Social Consciousness

We can not be leaving Ramadan, without all our attempts at a heightened level of spiritual rejuvenation and resetting our morals through our siyām and qiyām, without being concerned about the suffering of those who are desperate, oppressed, and dispossessed.  We continue to witness daily disturbing images of brutality against innocent civilians and the killing of defenseless children, the majority of whom tend to be Muslims.  Whether it be the brutalized Rohingya in Myanmar or the incarcerated Uygher in China or the oppressed people in Kashmir, or victims of war in Syria and Yemen, or the continued inhumane racist occupation of Palestine; our hearts can not beat, but in solidarity with all the oppressed.

Advanced or Retrogressed

We are now in the third decade of the 21st century; and as human beings, we seem to have progressed scientifically but regressed morally; advanced technologically but retreated in empathy. What sense is there in trying to create vaccines to save people when we are developing more sophisticated weapons that destroy human lives; what use are enhanced technology, high theology, and deep philosophy when we lack empathy and are losing our sense of humanity? As Allama Iqbal said; "Agar na sahl hon tujh par zameen ke hangame buri hay mastiye andesha haayi -aflaaki"

"If you can not address the realities on earth  of the world (with courage), then it is useless contemplating matters by meditating about heavenly matters"

Reflect as Agents of Change and Goodness

Indeed, of what value is the preponderance of religious centers and institutions when we can not produce better human beings; what use is our religiosity if it does not enhance our humanity? Each one of us individually and all of us collectively must choose to be agents of ihsaan (goodness), healing, and growth if we are to create a hopeful and sustainable future for all those with whom we share this world. Our interconnectedness affords us tremendous potential and so many avenues to express our love and manifest peace, yet we have so much hatred, so much prejudice, and so many wars.

We have gone through a month-long journey of moral and spiritual disciplining through Ramadan; introspect and ask .. have we journeyed from self-centeredness to social consciousness, from self-righteousness to righteousness? Have we become better human beings; more considerate, more caring, more compassionate, … for that is the manifestation of the faith of the truly faithful.

  Category: Featured, Highlights, Life & Society
  Topics: Eid Al-Fitr, Festivals (Eid), Humanity, Ramadan  Values: Courage, Morality
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