By Singa Terhormat
When I went to perform my Haj more than a decade ago, one of the things that then occupied my mind was visualising and imagining the pain Prophet Abraham (Nabi Ibrahim, to the Muslims) (pbuh) would feel if he could see his descendants incessantly quarreling over the God that he worshiped with all his heart.
Amongst the rites of the Haj are the performance of acts associated with Prophet Abraham (Nabi Ibrahim) (pbuh).
He had been tested by God in the sternest way possible in that he was asked to sacrifice his only son as a test of his faith, and he was not found wanting.
No man, before or since, has been so tried and indeed he merited the title bestowed upon him of ‘Friend of God’ or ‘Khalilullah’.
Difficult as it is, it is certainly much easier for a man to give up his life for a cause, but to ask him to sacrifice the life of his only child is something else altogether.
Yet he showed the strength of his faith and his love for God and lived up to the trial he was subjected to.
Prophet Abraham (Nabi Ibrahim) (pbuh) is acknowledged as the ‘Father’ of the Abrahamic faiths, recognised as consisting of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the spread of these religions was carried out by his descendants.
I therefore then imagined the tears in his eyes and hurt in his heart if he could but see the level of animosity harboured amongst the followers of each of those religions for the followers of the others.
Today that animosity remains as strong as ever.
There are quarrels and disputes over many matters relating to the God that Prophet Abraham (Nabi Ibrahim) (pbuh) so loved, with each group claiming that their version or understanding of God is the right one and that the God they worship is a loving, forgiving, merciful God.
How then do so many amongst them not display the loving, forgiving, merciful qualities of the God they claim to worship in the conduct of their relationship with other creatures that God Himself created and sustains?
How do they possibly despise their ‘brethren in God’s creation’ on account of different religious beliefs?
Are we not all descendants from the same pair of parents?
How do we justify showing more compassion to a pet dog or pet cat rather than to one’s own ‘brethren in creation’?
Are we, in our minds, created to love or to hate?
Why then do we ignore and deny the purpose for which we were created?
Can differences of opinion and belief, on its own, ever truly justify the removal of all sense of compassion for another?
Surah An-Nahl: Verse 125: Al Qur’an
Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.
Right now there are numerous religious issues that split and divide us.
Ought we not to try to rid ourselves of all manner of belligerence and instead extend compassion towards one another in resolving these issues amicably and to learn to live peacefully in the wider ocean of humanity?
Should we not ask ourselves whether we follow in the footsteps of God’s Prophets or do we instead follow the whisperings of Satan when we exhibit arrogance, aggression and threatening behaviour towards one another?
Were the Prophets not exemplary in their degree of gentleness in dealing with others?
Should we not be thankful that the tests we are now put through bears no comparison to the test of Prophet Abraham (Nabi Ibrahim) (pbuh)?