Living togetherWritten by: by Ahmad Sakr :: (View All Articles by: Ahmad Sakr)
In the name of God, most Gracious, most Merciful
By Dr. Ahmad Sakr
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full Knowledge and is well-acquainted (with all things). (49:13)
A series of questions regarding this topic are raised: How can we live together peacefully and happily? Who are we that have to live together? When, where, and how do we live together? All these questions and many more have been raised. They need answers from every person living on this planet. People are already living together. If they are not living next to each other, they are working together in one place irrespective of color, nationality, or creed. People go to the same stores to buy their necessities of life. People have to eat, drink, work, and sleep. People have similar biological make ups. All have eyes, ears, mouths, noses, hands, legs, hearts, lungs, stomachs, etc. Above all they have brains in their skulls.
People may see things differently because they may have been taught and raised differently. The basic measures and standards with which people evaluate and assess things are different and, as such, their approaches to life are different. By being different from one another, life should be full of joy and happiness.
In order to live peacefully among other people, one has to realize that it is the concept of IGNORANCE about others which makes people denounce one another. To be stubborn, arrogant, vicious, or close-minded does not help solve any problem. Remaining ignorant and unwilling to learn about others will augment the problem. It is only through proper education, information, and communication that people may come to understand each other.
Then and only then will they appreciate one another. One should seek knowledge from every source available. To seek knowledge one has to travel from country to country and realize the beauty of the life of other people. God has created all of us from Adam and Eve. Moreover, one has to be humble among others who might be different from him or her. As far as Muslims are concerned, they were instructed to live in peace and harmony with the Creator, themselves, their families, relatives, neighbors, society, the environment, and the universe.
III. PROPHETS OF GOD
Muslims are instructed to believe in all of the prophets and messengers of God sent to mankind. They are to honor, respect, and speak about these prophets and messengers with good intention. The Quran mentions twenty five prophets. Of these, five are considered to be mighty and the most influential prophets. These are Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.
This illustrates that the prophets of Judaism and Christianity are also the prophets of Islam. In the Quran one may read:
We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Ibrahim, Isma'il, Ishaq, Yaqoob, and the Tribes, and that given to Musa and 'Isa, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: we make no difference between one and another of them: and we submit to Allah (2:136)
Muslims are instructed in the Quran to invite People Of The Book under common terms with the Islamic philosophy: To worship the Creator alone without associating partners or progeny to him. The Quran states (in the family of Imran):
Say: "O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah." If then they turn back, say ye: "Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah's Will)." (3:64)
V. LIVING PEACEFULLY
To live together in peace and harmony, one has to realize that others might be as good as you are, if not better. One cannot know what is in the hearts of other people, and one does not know the intention of others. It is Allah alone, the Creator, who knows everything. Muslims are told in the Quran that among the people of the book there are those who are staunch believers and good practicing servants of God. In (the Family of Imran) Allah says:
Not all of them are alike: of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (for the right); they rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: they are in the ranks of the righteous. Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for Allah knoweth well those that do right. (3:113-115)
Therefore, Muslims should be the most tolerant people in the world toward the non-Muslims. And indeed, they have proven this to be true throughout history. They have coexisted with Christians, Jews, Hindus, Persians, Sikhs, and Buddhists, regardless of whether the Muslims were the majority or minority. They have lived throughout most of history in good terms with these people.
What is needed now from all of the God- fearing, loving, and faithful people is to realize that they should open a new page and chapter in life. They should try to open the door for dialogues and trialogues among those who are God-conscious. They should rediscover their roots and their faith, not as someone wants it, but as it should be.
With this approach, the faithful can be able to live together in unanimity and wholesomeness.
VI. FINAL REMARKS
In order to live peacefully and work together with integrity and honesty, one has to recognize the following:
1-People should think of their duties and responsibilities before they ask for their rights and for their privileges.
2- One has to remember that he is not the only person that God has created, and that the brain in his skull is not the only one in the world. His wisdom is not the only idea found in the world. Also, this method is not the only way to lead people to the best position in life.
3- The God-fearing people should recognize that their method to reach and/or to approach God is not the only way. It is not only the method that counts, but also good intention and good will.
4- God has created people with a rainbow of colors, a rainbow of races, a rainbow of nationalities, a rainbow of languages, and a rainbow of creeds. They were all put together on this planet to compose a coalition, to work together, to help one another, and to respect one another. They constitute a bouquet of flowers with a good aroma and appearance.
5- People have to understand that they can differ from one another, yet they should work together despite their differences.
6- People should recognize that the future will not be better unless they can benefit from one anotherís backgrounds, faiths, cultures, and civilizations.
7- Those who claim to be God-fearing have to realize that none of them has been given the authority to judge people. There will be a Day Of Judgment and it is God Almighty who is the sole authority in judging people.
8- People should be equal in the eyes of the law. No one is better than the other. No one should be considered superior; and no one group is better than the other due to biological composition or appearance.
9- People have to understand that they should render their services to others without exploitation, coercion, conversion, or proselytization.
10- Leadership is not bestowed on anyone and it will never be offered freely to anyone. It has to be earned.
11- Whoever wants his rights has to understand that rights are not acquired freely. Someone else has worked hard to earn them; hence, everyone should realize that rights must be earned through hardship.
12- Might should not be considered to be right, rather right is Might. Those nations that think they are mighty because of military power should be condemned if they use their power to subjugate other nations.
13- Charity starts at home. America is exporting freedom to other nations, while millions of Americans have been exploited by its economic systems. The rich become richer and the poor become poorer. There are a few hundred thousand Americans who are homeless and they live on the streets, even in cold weather. Many millions of Americans have lost their jobs and houses. They have become beggars or drug pushers. We should work together to create a better society whereby all of us are living a happy life.
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