By Khalid Zaheer
Magnanimity, which includes forgiving others, ranks at the very top of all human virtues. If you are magnanimous, you are one of the very best of humans, no matter what your worldly status is. If you are someone who carries grudges in his heart against others, you are a very ordinary person, no matter how seemingly virtuous your deeds are. All prophets were magnanimous. We Muslims take pride in mentioning the magnanimity of our prophet, and rightly so. He forgave his worst enemies many times. If there are examples of him punishing the non-believers, they belong to the category of God's instructions which he had to follow. A careful reading of the Qur'an gives a clear picture of his magnanimity, God's concern for justice, and the manner the two realities interacted with each other.
I would like to mention here two living examples of two non-Muslim couples, one Jew and one Christian, whose magnanimity surpasses my imagination of what lofty heights this virtue can attain in human beings. To me, these two examples are worthy of being acknowledged and wholeheartedly praised by us, even if they are not possible to be followed. Acknowledging an act as good many a times opens the way for doing it later.
Daniel Pearl was a journalist who was brutally murdered and butchered in the most barbaric way by people who called themselves Jihadi Muslims. I had the misfortune of watching the video showing that ghastly act. The Jew parents of the late journalist responded to this tragedy by making it a lifetime project of their s of promoting Jewish-Muslim understanding through dialogue. The Daniel Pearl Foundation continues to work with Muslim scholars to bridge the unfortunate divide between the two religious communities. Professor S. Ahmad has been associated with them in their noble endeavours. What an act of magnanimity! What revenge! You can read more about it here: http://www.danielpearl.org/about_us/dialogue.html
Many Muslims make it a point to ensure that they convince others that 9/11 was a Jewish conspiracy. Some of us have always been good at distorting history. But there was a repeat of 9/11 in the London underground railway in 2005 , which is described as 7/7. The fact that it was masterminded and executed by Muslims is beyond doubt. One of the victims of that tragedy was the twenty-eight year-old chartered accountant Helen Jones, the daughter of a devout Christian couple, Mr and Mrs David Gould. I had the pleasure of meeting this down-to-earth couple a few months ago. The Muslim lady who introduced me to them mentioned that it is now one of the lifetime projects of the couple to promote the cause of Muslims, the very religious group whose members were responsible for taking the life of their dear daughter! She informed me that at times when they have been approached to help out Muslims financially, they have been spontaneous in their response (See, http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/carlisle_peace_march_to_be_led_by_man_who_lost_daughter_to_terrorists_1_631821?referrerPath=home)
Can we imagine Muslims doing likewise to Christians and Jews? My head drops in shame when I ask myself this question.
Dr Khalid Zaheer is a well-known scholar from Pakistan, currently based in the UK. He is associated with Understanding Islam UK, a non-political UK-based registered charity working to spread a non-sectarian, peace-promoting, and moderate message of Islam, based on the two authentic sources of Qur'an and Sunnah. Prior to joining UIUK, he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of University of Central Punjab (Pakistan) and Director of Education, Al-Mawrid, a Pakistani Islamic organisation.