An Issue of Character

Nothing is sadder than to see Muslim individuals or parties treat each other with less than the utmost respect and love. We too often see Muslim brethren at each other's throats and casting suspicion and malice towards one another for the poorest of reasons. How can this be so when we are told that we are "the best of nations raised from amongst mankind"? How can supposedly knowledgeable individuals not even give one another the salaams or refuse to return them to one who is seeking to make amends when we are ordered to spread salaam between one another? We should feel utterly ashamed when our treatment of one another is based upon race, nationality, status or wealth. The universality of Islam is one of its most powerful and attracting attributes. This characteristic is sullied when we forget that "The most noble amongst you in the sight of Allah is the most pious of you." It is not only shame but also a sin to make a passport, national origin or race the criterion by which we feel closeness to one another and distance ourselves from Muslims of different backgrounds. It is only natural that people from similar backgrounds and experiences gravitate towards one another, but never should that camaraderie come at the expense of Islamic beliefs, character and morality. For example, to side with one's compatriot whether he is right or wrong is directly against the guidance of the Prophet (sallAllahu 'alaihi wa sallam) when he told the Muslims to assist their brother whether he is a wrong doer or one wronged. He went on to explain the statement to mean one should aid his brother if he is wronged and to stop him if he is the wrong doer. He (sallAllahu 'alaihi wa sallam) admonished his companions for reviving any feelings of tribalism (nationalism) and termed it "filthy". He (sallAllahu 'alaihi wa sallam) additionally mentioned that manifestations of racism indicated the remnants of "jaahiliyyah" or ignorance in a person. It is an outright evil if we were to withhold our support of Muslims in need due to their national origin or worldly status, perhaps more so than to withhold our assistance, if we are able to give, due to miserliness. It is a sin for us to wrangle about secondary matters, matters of opinion or even personal grievances when the ummah as a whole is in crisis. How foolish we must seem to our enemies when they see us often caught up arguing with one another or attacking each other sometimes about the slightest of matters until they escalate into major obstacles, while parts of our ummah burns and is being destroyed. Indeed, it is because we don't see ourselves as one ummah and Islam as the greater issue for all of us, and instead see each other as separate national entities or individuals secondary to ourselves, that we don't feel the pain of one another's suffering as the Prophet (sallAllahu 'alaihi wa sallam) mentioned the true believers would feel when one of them was in pain. It is or sincerest prayer to Allah that we can overcome pettiness, internal strife, envy, jealousy, stubbornness and pride in order to come together to defeat our common enemies, number one being Shaytaan. These are deadly vices along with greed, blind ambition, laziness, stinginess, selfishness and arrogance, that each and every one of us must be on guard against at all times, because in truth, these are often at the bottom of why we cannot overcome our differences. Abdul-Qaadir Abdul-Khaaliq

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