Rukmini Iyer
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Rukmini Iyer

The Human Cohesion Project — 11 May 2020


Ali ibn Abi Talib, often referred to as Imam Ali, is on my mind, after a lovely conversation with a friend on our roles towards ourselves and to humanity in the times we live in. Ali was a cousin and a son-in-law of Prophet Mohammed. There is a story of him in a duel with another warrior, who Ali believes to be unethical. At one point in the duel, Ali is almost victorious and has the opportunity to slay his opponent. When he is about to do that, the opponent, having no other move left, spits on Ali’s face. In response, Ali puts his sword back in its sheath and walks away.

The opponent is flabbergasted and wonders why a clear opportunity for victory was forfeited. Ali explains that till the moment he was spat on, he was fighting for God, for the life source he served. The moment he was spat on, he became angry. Had he proceeded to kill his opponent in that moment, the killing would have been an act of personal revenge, not an act of natural justice that he aimed to serve. In the epic poem Masnavi, Rumi captures his response beautifully:

He said, I use my sword the way God’s planned
Not for my body but by God’s command;
I am God’s lion, not the one of passion
— My actions testify to my religion…

It is that discernment of the warrior that we need to bring into ourselves, and to our world today. As we engage with the idea of justice, particularly in the context of religious conflict, it is important to investigate what we really intend for. If the need for justice comes from a personal narrative and emotions, it is merely revenge that we seek. Natural justice flows as compassion. It does not seek to avenge. It seeks to integrate the ‘other’.

  • What are you working to integrate?

Ramadan Kareem. May we learn to trust in justice that exists naturally, and make ourselves capable of experiencing it.

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#RukminiIyer #Ramadan #peacebuilding




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Rukmini Iyer

Rukmini Iyer

Conscious Leadership Facilitator and Coach | Peacebuilder and Educator | Writer | Founder, Exult! Solutions |

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