Saturday, June 4, 2011

Love and Compassion in Islam

Question: To my limited understanding, the big difference between Christianity and other religions and Islam is that "love your neighbor as yourself" is missing from the Koran. Am I wrong ?
Response: Indeed, you're misinformed. The Quran places great stress on love and compassion for all members of the society, to the extent that one chapter links faith with interpersonal relations.

Chapter 107 Verses 1-7
1 Seest thou one who denies the Judgment (to come)?  
2 Then such is the (man) who repulses the orphan (with harshness),  
3 And encourages not the feeding of the indigent.  
4 So woe to the worshippers  
5 Who are neglectful of their prayers,  
6 Those who (want but) to be seen (of men),  
7 But refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs. 
Another verse related to taking care of the community:
Chapter 4 Verse 36: Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess: For Allah loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious;-

Comment: Does that sound like love to you, Samiya ? To me it sounds like orders from above. Even threats.
Response: Belief in the divine origin of holy scriptures preceeding the Quran is an article of faith for a Muslim.
Chapter 2, Verse 4: And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter.
We believe that the Quran completes and restores to its purity the message that was sent earlier.
Chapter 10, Verse 37: This Qur'an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah. On the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book - wherein there is no doubt - from the Lord of the worlds.
Chapter 5:Verses 46-48
46 And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.  
47 Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel.  
48 To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;
By the way, Love thy neighbour is also a commandment, an order from above.

Comment: Muslims are only generous to other muslims
Response: Unfortunately, that is the myopic understanding of certain communities and sects, to the extent that they then restrict the ambit of their charity to their own community or sect, and not even give to all muslims. But that is not the message of the Quran. The Quran emphasizes charity, sympathy and empathy for all humans.
The following is Chapter 90 which again links faith and righteousness to compassion
 1 I do call to witness this City;-  
 2 And thou art a freeman of this City;-  
 3 And (the mystic ties of) parent and child;-  
 4 Verily We have created man into toil and struggle.  
 5 Thinketh he, that none hath power over him?  
 6 He may say (boastfully); Wealth have I squandered in abundance!  
 7 Thinketh he that none beholdeth him?  
 8 Have We not made for him a pair of eyes?-  
 9 And a tongue, and a pair of lips?-  
 10 And shown him the two highways?  
 11 But he hath made no haste on the path that is steep.  
 12 And what will explain to thee the path that is steep?-  
 13 (It is:) freeing the bondman;  
 14 Or the giving of food in a day of privation  
 15 To the orphan with claims of relationship,  
 16 Or to the indigent (down) in the dust.  
 17 Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion.  
 18 Such are the Companions of the Right Hand.  
 19 But those who reject Our Signs, they are the (unhappy) Companions of the Left Hand.  
 20 On them will be Fire vaulted over (all round). 
  Translated by Yusuf Ali

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