By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
17 August 2017
(Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009)
As in the preceding reflections on social justice, the aim is to let the Qur’an speak its mind directly to the reader and let the reader try to comprehend, internalize and observe its readily verifiable biddings if he or she truly believes in its divinity<>
Kindness to Humanity
The verse 4:36 beginning on a spiritual note carries the Qur’an’s keynote message on kindness to humanity:
“Serve God; associate none with Him; be kind to parents, relatives orphans, and the needy to the neighbour close to you and the neighbour who is a stranger, to the fellow by your side and the traveller and to those under your lawful trust. Surely God does not love the arrogant and the conceited” (4:36).
In a nutshell the Qur’an commands us to be kind to:
Our relatives, obviously including children, spouses and spouses’ relatives
the needy and orphans who, are left uncared
our neighbors, even if they are strangers and we do not know their religion, nationality, or race.
to all those people with whom we interact – whether a fellow student, colleague, co-passenger, or sharing common space in any public place
the traveler in distress – the homeless, refugees and destitute in today’s context.
those in our lawful employment - our employees, domestic aids, janitors, cleaners etc. and slaves in the context of the early phase of the revelation when slavery was in vogue before the Qur’an abolished it in a phased manner.
Kindness to Parents
The parents protect and maintain their children until they establish them in their lives, and in the process many parents become poor having once been affluent. But the very same children, when their turn comes, gradually distance themselves from their parents – emotionally and financially. Accordingly, the Qur’an commands humans to be kind to their elderly parents and not to get fed up with them and say ‘uff’:
“We have enjoined on man (kindness) to his parents. His mother bore him with spell after spell of weakness, and his weaning takes two years. So be grateful to Me and to your parents, and (remember,) the journey is to Me “(31:14).
“Your Lord has decreed that you serve none except Him, and be kind to parents. If one or both of them reaches old age with you - never say Uff*, nor scold them, and speak to them in noble words (17:23)
In fact, kindness to parents is among the Harrama or mandatory instructions, to be discussed separately. So let the Muslims who have elderly parents in need take these verses seriously if they truly believe in the divinity of the Qur’an.
Other Qur’anic verses on this theme that were relevant to the phased unfolding of its message are excluded from this focused reflection, as read one after another - topic-wise, their linguistic nuances and lyrical character will give way to a repetitive effect and compromise the impact of the message.
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
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