Unity through love and compassion

The very first verse of the Holy Quran is, “I begin in the name of God, the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful.”

It talks about the Divine compassion for the mankind and as we are created in His image, we are supposed to reflect it towards fellow humans and the rest of God’s creation.

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Persian poet from the 13th century is the best selling poet in USA these days. He wrote 3,000 love songs to his mentor Shams of Tabriz, the prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, and God. His monumental Mathnawi has been called the Quran in the Persian language.[1] According to William C. Chittick, Professor of Asian and Asian American Studies at Stony Brook University, as he highlights love in both the Mathnawi and the Quran, “This is not because it bears any outward resemblance to the Divine Word, but rather because Rumi was able to capture in a non-technical, everyday language, understandable to any Persian speaker, what he himself calls, ‘the roots of the roots of the roots of the religion’ – which is an apt description of the Quran itself, the foundation of every thing Islamic.”[2] A beautiful one line summary by Rumi of the love in the Quran, an epitome of love, compassion and justice.

President Trump thrust himself into a bitter Persian Gulf dispute on June 6th, 2017, taking credit for Saudi Arabia’s move to isolate its smaller neighbor, Qatar, and rattling his national security staff by upending a critical American strategic relationship.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Trump said his call for an end to the financing of radical groups had prompted Saudi Arabia and four other countries to act this week against Qatar, a tiny, energy-rich emirate that is arguably America’s most important military outpost in the Middle East.

“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology,” he wrote in a midmorning post. “Leaders pointed to Qatar — look!”

This is the latest example of division among the Muslims.

We believe every human life to be precious and sacred, as outlined in the Quranic verse 5:32, and terrorism is never justified for any reason, what so ever.

Having said that, in the recent events, we apprehend a broader Sunni versus Shia conflict and a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.  This adds urgency to our work, to bring out the mutual compassion and love among the Muslims in the heart and minds of the masses, to serve as a deterrent to the self serving political and religious elite.

The Muslims are divided into different countries, camps and sects, each vying for its own myopic interest, until the larger interests of the Muslims or humanity at large are lost to most of us.

This website is an attempt to provide a commentary of the holy Quran to the readers, which is non-sectarian and is written by an anonymous group of writers coming from different sects of Islam, be they Sunni, Shia, Ismaili, Ahmadi or refuse any such category or description.

A better understanding of the holy Quran will bring all the Muslims closer to the vision of the prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, when he said that the Muslims are one like a body, when one part hurts the whole body feels the anguish of the pain.

There is far more that unites all the Muslims that any sectarian differences are of minuscule significance.

We believe that the Quran should be used to unite the Muslims not divide them.

William Chittick has an essay titled the Quran and Sufism in a recently published commentary of the holy Quran by Syed Hossein Nasr and his associates:

So the goal of God’s creative activity is not, as some might think, for there simply to be a world out there, but rather for God and His loved ones to come together, as they were before creation. Rumi explains this game of love when he says that all of us used to be fish swimming in the ocean of Divine Unity, unaware of our distinction from the water. Then God threw us up on dry land, the realm of separation, longing, pain, and suffering. Only by tasting separation can we remember the joy of water and desire to return to it. Once we return, we will swim in the Ocean of Unity again with full awareness of the joy of consummated love.

The most explicit reference to union with God in the earliest Islamic sources is probably the sound hadith qudsi in which God speaks of the servant who seeks nearness to Him through good works. When the servant advances on the path, then, God says, ‘I love him, and when I love him, I am the hearing with which he hears, the eyesight with which he sees, the hand with which he grasps, and the foot  with which he walks.'[3] This hadith has been the subject of endless explication in Sufi texts, for it describes in concrete terms the fruit of He loves them. But they love Him also plays a basic role: the servants’ love for God drives them to follow the path of guidance. If their love were to be misguided, then they would be attracted to the gold plating rather than to God; so they would not advance on the path. To advance they must act beautifully and virtuously (ihsan) and come to be characterized by beautiful character traits. The only way to accomplish this is to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet. The Prophet is instructed, Say, ‘If you love God, follow me, and God will love you’ (3:31). When God does love us, then He will be the hearing with which we hear, the eyes with which we see, and the heart with which we love.[4]

The metaphor used above may not be literally true, but has a very profound message for all of us, regarding our utter dependence on and longing for our Creator.

A quarter to a third of the millennial generation in the Western world are not affiliated with any particular denomination of Christianity. The same may be true for the young Muslims growing in USA, Canada and Europe. This commentary may serve as a useful resource for them, to start their journey in Islam, until they are ready for further advancement.

Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times, has collected a large number of verses on the theme of human compassion: Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran.

One of the main Quranic themes is to transform the love of God to compassion for the fellow man. Read, how the Divine author describes His bounty to the prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, to guide him towards the weak, vulnerable and down trodden:

Did He not find you an orphan and sheltered you, find you lost and guided you and find you in need and satisfied your need?

So, do not be harsh with an orphan and do not chide the one who asks for your help and share with others and talk about the blessings of your Lord. (Al Quran 93:6-11)

As we finish translation and brief commentary of each surah of the Quran, it will be made available. Surah Fatihah commentary is now available in the recent posts or by clicking here. Some other  sections of other surahs have been completed and you can find those in the recent posts, in the right column. We hope and pray to Allah to be able to complete translation and introduction of each surah, fairly quickly, but, the project of commentary itself may take a decade.

We have already collected several wonderful essays or articles by different authors, both Muslims and even some non-Muslims about the holy Quran or it’s specific verses.

Would you like to know, which is the most important verse of Surah Mariam in our opinion? Also find out the verses that will overcome sectarianism and religious divide in the global human family.

The header picture of compassion is courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

The whole of the Arabic text of the Quran is available online here in PDF file: Quran Arabic Text.

Reference

  1. The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary. Syed Hossein Nasr, Editor-in-Chief. HarperOne: An Inprint of Harper Collins Publishers. 2015. Page 1744.
  2. The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary. Syed Hossein Nasr, Editor-in-Chief. HarperOne: An Inprint of Harper Collins Publishers. 2015. Page 1745.
  3. Al Bukhari 81:38 (no.6581).
  4. The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary. Syed Hossein Nasr, Editor-in-Chief. HarperOne: An Inprint of Harper Collins Publishers. 2015. Page 1747.