The Human Cohesion Project — 11 Apr 2022
It is the end of the first Ashra (the first ten days) of Ramadan today, which is focused on seeking mercy from Allah. Like any other prayer, the process of seeking is also the process of becoming. Naturally, practitioners of Islam are encouraged to be mindfully merciful to their fellow beings during this period. This then leads to the second Ashra, that focuses on forgiveness.
The element of practice, not merely contemplation, is deeply embedded in Islam. Prophet Mohammed is said to have asserted: “Allah does not show mercy to those who do not show mercy to people.” It is also reinforced in an anecdote involving Muadh ibn Jabal, one of his companions who, along with five others, compiled the Quran. Once, he is said to have led people into a prolonged prayer, which invited the rebuke of the Prophet. He was asked instead, to take cognisance of the fact that several people who came to pray were old, weak and needy, and their challenges had to take precedence instead of the length of the prayer. Even as the Prophet acknowledged Jabal as “the one who will lead the scholars into Paradise”, the latter was firmly told that mercy and sensitivity is more important than ritual.
It is an important lesson to us all today, not only in the context of religion, but in every form of ritual, including policies and processes in institutions and personal practices.
Ramadan Kareem. May we infuse ourselves with mercy, to live as the image of God.
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