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Empathy

“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.” [Quran, 4:135]

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Horizontal Habits

The goal of Islam is to bring justice to the world. Muslims have become selfish people in that they only gather around issues that concern their well-being. When was the last time you heard of a group of Muslims venturing into the roughest section of the city and feeding the homeless? By the wisdom of Allah, the life of the messenger of Allah was a lesson in perpetual loss. He lost his grandfather he lost his wife Khadijah, he lost his uncle Abu Taalib, he lost his sons and he lost his daughters. But perhaps most profound of all and even before all of that loss...he lost both his parents and was an orphan by the age of seven years old. His life story speaks to the Urban Muslim deeply. Many of us have lost parents, close relatives and even children to ghetto circumstance. Like him, we didn’t have a consistent account of peace, tranquility and stability in our homes. The downtrodden share the same life-experience, not just Urban Muslims but urban people in general; the Christian aunties who cook for their entire households as a source of comfort, the elderly grandmas who are the matriarchs of our families, the tough uncles who protected us when we couldn’t protect ourselves, and the street-wise cousins who showed us how to survive the streets. If we Urban Muslims are as wise and civilized as we claim then we must ask, “What is it that we can do together that many of us cannot do separately?” The answer must necessarily be, “We can share our pain, our joy and our hopes together in community.” Our Islam must be a bridge toward that understanding and not a wall obstructing it. The prophet said, “None of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” – Sahih Bukhari

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