By: Shaykh Abdal Hakim Mura
Forgiveness and Justice: Meditations on Some Hadiths by Abdal Hakim Murad
(1) The Prophet prayed for pardon for his people, and received the reply: ‘I have forgiven them all but acts of oppression, for I shall exact recompense for the one who is wronged, from his oppressor.’
In the Quran, God is just, and requires justice; but he is also forgiving, and requires forgiveness; in fact, its references to the latter property outnumber those on justice by a ratio of approximately ten to one. Islamic theology has not always been clear how the ensuing tension is to be resolved. ‘My Mercy outstrips My wrath’ is a well-known divine saying (hadith qudsi) but one which nonetheless is far from abolishing God’s wrath. Indeed, a righteous indignation about injustice is integral to the prophetic representation of God’s qualities, and from the earliest moments of its revelation the Qur’an links God’s expectations of His creatures to justice towards the weak. Often the same texts are explicitly eschatological, affirming that those who do not uphold God’s justice in this world will be at its receiving end in the next. Indigenous Arab religion can expect a stern retribution, given that its demands are for tribal solidarity, not for the upholding of universal canons of justice. The idol cannot demand justice, only retribution (tha’r); and the prophetic vocation must therefore link the destruction of paganism with the establishment of a code of justice which overturns Arab norms by refusing to discriminate between the tribes. This hadith is to be read against the background of clan vendettas: instead of seeking collective retaliation against a miscreant’s tribe, the victim of injustice is to appeal to the new law, and to recall that all apparentimbalances will have a just settlement at the judgement seat.
(2) There is an act of charity [sadaqa] to be given for each part of the human body; and for every day over which the sun rises there is a reward of a sadaqa for the one who establishes justice among people.
Justice (‘adl) is due balance (i‘tidal): it is impartiality. The same word is employed to describe the balance of the body’s four humours. When these are in balance, right thinking and health are the consequence. When they are not, the Qur’an speaks of the last day when ‘their tongues, their hands and their feet will bear witness to what they used to do.’ (Quran 24:24)
How do you correct negative perceptions about your culture? Iman Burhan and a collective of young Somali filmmakers in Eastleigh, a neighborhood in Nairobi, Kenya, are tackling this question head-on.
As Palestinian militants in Gaza fire rockets into Israel and the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) bombard the Strip ‘in retaliation’, here are 10 things you should probably know about Gaza:
1) “PRISON CAMP”
David Cameron once referred to Gaza as a “prison camp” and “some sort of open-air prison”. 1.7million Palestinians are crammed into just 140 square miles; Gaza is one of the most crowded places on earth.
Israel, despite withdrawing its troops and settlers from the Strip in 2005, continues to control its airspace, territorial waters and border crossings (with the exception, of course, of Gaza’s land border with Egypt).
2) (UN)FAIR FIGHT
Remember: according to the Israeli human-rights group B’Tselem, in the last major conflict between Israel and Hamas – ‘Operation Cast Lead’ which kicked off in December 2008 – 762 Palestinian civilians were killed, including more than 300 children, compared to three (yes, three!) Israeli civilians.
We seem to be seeing a similar imbalance in bloodshed this time round: “More Palestinians were killed in Gaza [on Wednesday] than Israelis have been killed by projectile fire from Gaza in the past three years,” wrote Palestinian-American activist Yousef Munayyer on the Daily Beast website.
3) “COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT”
Why do they hate us, ask ordinary Israelis? Well, Gaza has been under siege since January 2006, after its residents dared to elect a Hamas goverment in free and fair elections. The subsequent economic blockade imposed upon the Strip by the Israeli government at one stage prevented the residents of Gaza from importing, among other things, coriander, ginger, nutmeg and, even, newspapers.
Most international lawyers, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC), consider the blockade to be illegal under international humanitarian law; in 2009, a UN panel, led by distinguished South African judge and self-confessed Zionist Richard Goldstone, accused Israel of imposing “a blockade which amounted to collective punishment”.
Young Muslims is a pioneering national youth organization that has been on the youth scene since the early 90’s. We have established a well organized network of local youth groups that we call NeighborNets (which means network of neighbors) across the United States and Canada. Each NeighborNet is a dynamic youth group which attempts to build a solid understanding of the principles of Islam amongst its members by helping them put these principles into practice. By providing the youth with an Islamic atmosphere where they can form bonds of brotherhood with their peers, they become comfortable with Islam and its teachings. We stress the importance of knowing, understanding, and fulfilling our individual and collective obligations as Muslims.