MUSLIMS based our Islamic values and traditions from the Quran, Sunnah, and Hadith of prophet Muhammad (SAW). The Hadith (translated as the sayings of the prophet (SAW) offers timeless wisdom in our lives, our families, communities, and how we deal with other people.
We also believe that Allah (SWT) has ninety-nine attributes. One of His attributes is Al Rahim (The Compassionate). In one of the Hadiths of prophet Muhammad (SAW), describes how Allah is Compassionate towards humankind. Below is the Hadith that describes Allah as the Al Rahim: “When the child (of Zainab) was brought to Muhammad, dying; its body trembling and moving; the eyes of the Apostle of God shed many tears.
And Sa’d said, “O Messenger of God! What is the weeping and shedding of tears?” Muhammad replied, “This is an expression of the tenderness and compassion, which the Lord hath put into the hearts of His servants; the Lord doth not have compassion on and commiserate with His servants, except such as are tender and full of feeling.”
Another Hadith also mentioned that: “The Apostle of God wept over Sa’d b. Ubadah. And he said, “Have not you heard that the Lord doth not punish on account of shedding tears, not from sobs of the heart from the afflicted?” He is not of the people of our way who slappeth his cheeks and teareth his collar, and mourneth like the mournings of Ignorance.
And lastly, another Hadith also mentioned that the Al Rahim is actually a feminine trait like that of a mother’s love to her child: “Muhammad said, “Do you think this woman will cast her own child into the fire?” Those present said, “No.” Muhammad said, “Verily God is more compassionate on His creatures, than this woman on her own child.”
The value of being compassionate is essential to every Muslims. We always recite, “Bismillahirahman Hiraheem” (In Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the the Morst Merciful) every prayer and every move we make. To be compassionate can help address the ills and problems in our society today. Thus, we need to remind our Muslim brothers and sisters of the essence of being compassionate.
I believe compassion is a universal value that is common to all of us. Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and even Buddhism have this internal value in their faith. Thus, we can have a dialogue in understanding how compassion can happen in our communities. The challenge however is how can we be compassionate towards other religion; towards other people; to those who have different interpretations about religious text. How can we teach compassion to our children?
The global view about Islam and the Muslims are not that good. We always hear news about the negative acts of the violent radical groups like the Isis/Isil. In our local setting, people resort to arms to advance their political gains. For me, what they are doing is contrary to the the sources of Islamic values and traditions.
Our office in Al Qalam/Ateneo de Davao University is continuously taking broader steps to dialogue with other groups and break the wall of “othering”. The word “othering” refers to a process where some people try to “demonize” others for their own political or economic gain. The way forward is for more people in our community to be compassionate and for them to understand and respect others.
The Quran, Sunnah and Hadith can help us become good Muslims. We need to give time to read, study, and practice the true meaning of Islam in our lives.