The role of benevolence


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The role of benevolence

  1. 1. The Role of Justice and Benevolence Imam Abdurrahman Y. Sykes Islamic Society Leading American Muslims (ISLAM INC.) [email_address]
  2. 2. The Role of Benevolence <ul><li>Surah 16:91, “Surely Allah enjoins both equality (justice) and benevolence.” </li></ul><ul><li>Equality: The State of being Equal </li></ul><ul><li>Benevolence: An inclination to perform generous and liberal acts whereby one is not oppressed </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is the Difference? <ul><li>Imam Raghib said, “Equality is to give as much as is due and to take as much as is due.” </li></ul><ul><li>Al-Mufridat, “Benevolence is to give more than is due and to take less than is due.” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Two Nouns Enjoined Surah Al Nahl16:90 <ul><li>Equality </li></ul><ul><li>Benevolence </li></ul>
  5. 5. Based on Surah 16:90, would it be fair to say? <ul><li>Equity and Justice is based on the least minimal limit </li></ul><ul><li>Minimal is mandatory through Divine injunction – an order that is an obligatory act and an act whose omission is sin </li></ul>
  6. 6. Based on Surah 16:90, would it be fair to say? <ul><li>Without a minimum standard, isn’t it fair to say that man would easily get stuck in serving him self instead of the Creator? </li></ul><ul><li>The least prescribed level of restraint serves as a deterrent against the beastliness in human nature </li></ul><ul><li>What makes us different than animals is our faith (imam) </li></ul><ul><li>Benevolence is Mandatory for Believers </li></ul>
  7. 7. Minimum Vs. Maximum <ul><li>Five daily prayers are minimum </li></ul><ul><li>Suppose you do the minimum, but fail to do it completely </li></ul><ul><li>Sunnahs and extra deeds are bonus points </li></ul><ul><li>WHAT IF WE ARE NOT EVEN DOING THE MINIMUM? </li></ul>
  8. 8. BENEVOLENCE <ul><li>An Ordinary level of Benevolence is Mandatory for believers </li></ul><ul><li>The highest level achieved is when one Is willing to sacrifice possessions and belongings for the Pleasure of Allah </li></ul>
  9. 9. Prophetic Saying <ul><li>“ I swear by my Lord Who controls my life that a person is not a true believer unless he likes for his brother what he likes for himself.” (Muttafq Alayh) </li></ul><ul><li>This requires Empowerment and support </li></ul>
  10. 10. Tafseer <ul><li>The previously mentioned Qur'anic reference and hadith make these two interrelated conditions essential in a believer </li></ul>
  11. 11. Conditions of Equity <ul><li>Minimum qualification expected of persons towards society from people directly and indirectly related </li></ul><ul><li>A Community Expectation </li></ul><ul><li>Muslim attitudes must be based on selflessness and altruism (kindly, charitable interest in others) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Conditions of Equity Continued <ul><li>Muslims are to be as sympathetic, well-wishing and positive towards other members of society as they are regarding their own personal welfare; after all that would mean equality– a level playing filed </li></ul><ul><li>Muslims train themselves not to discriminate between their personal interests and the interests of others. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Conditions of Equity Continued <ul><li>Muslims watch the interest of others as they watch their own </li></ul><ul><li>This is the minimum level of Equality we want to achieve as Muslims </li></ul><ul><li>Believers want for others what they would choose for themselves or better </li></ul><ul><li>Muslim Duty to see that those less fortunate enjoy what we are enjoying </li></ul>
  14. 14. Conditions of Equity Are… <ul><li>When a Muslim puts as much premium on the honor and dignity of others as they do on themselves </li></ul><ul><li>When a Muslims treats their family, the wayfarer, the orphan, and their neighbors (Muslim and non-Muslim) with as much regard to their property as they do their own. </li></ul>
  15. 15. How the Prophet Demonstrated This? <ul><li>By Providing his servant with the same apparel as he himself wore; he feed them the same quality of food he himself relished </li></ul><ul><li>By Providing his servant the same comforts and amenities of life he enjoyed </li></ul>
  16. 16. Symptoms of Inequality <ul><li>Believers live like kings whilst member of our society are deprived of the bare necessities of life –absolutely contrary to the dictates of equity </li></ul><ul><li>Behaving in this manner makes us the mere embodiment of selfishness and other weaknesses of the flesh </li></ul><ul><li>Believers who have lost the feeling of sympathy from their hearts and minds are not on the straight path. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Symptoms of Inequality <ul><li>Oppression and Tyranny—the negation of faith </li></ul><ul><li>A Muslims is not even fulfilling the minimum requirement of their faith </li></ul>
  18. 18. Conditions of Benevolence <ul><li>Directly related to the state of one’s belief (imam) </li></ul><ul><li>When Muslims choose for others what they would chose for themselves </li></ul><ul><li>When Muslims introduce others to all the pleasures and delicacies of life which they themselves enjoy to the brim </li></ul>
  19. 19. The Results of Benevolence <ul><li>The Hijrah </li></ul><ul><li>“ He should spend on others and not on himself what he has chosen for himself.” </li></ul><ul><li>This Prophetic statement needs close examination: they imply similarity; not identity </li></ul><ul><li>Believers chose for others what they choose for themselves </li></ul>
  20. 20. Conditions of Benevolence <ul><li>Allah created us in different tribes, not so we would despise one another, but that we should get to know and identify with each other </li></ul><ul><li>Ramadan helps us identify with those who are without food </li></ul><ul><li>When a Believer completely identifies between the interests of another party </li></ul><ul><li>When a Believer becomes the visible embodiment and personification of sacrifice and service to others with sincere devotion—their living and their dying is to earn the love of Allah. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Conditions of Equality and Benevolence <ul><li>Equity is that one should enjoy himself and let others enjoy as well </li></ul><ul><li>Benevolence is that one should sacrifice his sense of personal enjoyment for the enjoyment and benefit of others </li></ul><ul><li>Equality is when one lives equally for themselves as well as others </li></ul><ul><li>Benevolence is when one lives only for others </li></ul>
  22. 22. Conditions of Equality and Benevolence <ul><li>Equity is the condition of faith (iman) </li></ul><ul><li>Benevolence is the Perfection of Faith (iman) </li></ul><ul><li>Equality is Equality (Justice) </li></ul><ul><li>Benevolence is Unconditional Sacrifice </li></ul>
  23. 23. The Hijrah <ul><li>The Ansars sacrificed their personal interests for the interest of the Muhajirs and gave preference to them rather than their own lives </li></ul><ul><li>Surah 2: Al Baqarah 207, “And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah; And Allah is full of kindness to His devotees. 208. O ye who believe! Enter into Islam Wholeheartedly (completely); and follow not the footsteps of the Evil One; For he is to you an avowed enemy.” </li></ul>
  24. 24. Tafseer <ul><li>Firm, Sincere, devoted believers are willing to give their life for the faith </li></ul><ul><li>Common in the early years of Islam </li></ul><ul><li>These believers were pillars in Islam </li></ul><ul><li>Through persecution, torture, threats to their own lives and the lives of those dear to them, they stood by their leader and many of them gave their lives </li></ul><ul><li>THIS IS WHAT ESTABLISHED ISLAM </li></ul>
  25. 25. Surah 9: Al Tawbah: 100 <ul><li>“ Those who were foremost among the emigrants from Makkah and the helpers in Medina and those who followed them through acts of benevolence, Allah is well please with them and they are well pleased with Him. That is the supreme triumph.” </li></ul>
  26. 26. Tafseer continued <ul><li>Believers follow not the footsteps of the evil ones, the unjust, the unequal and non benevolent </li></ul><ul><li>Spending in the Way of Allah is making monetary sacrifices for the establishment of the way of life prescribed by Allah </li></ul><ul><li>If we behave selfishly and do not spend our wealth to establish the Way of Allah, we will bring ourselves to ruin in this world and to damnation in the Hereafter </li></ul><ul><li>In this world, Allah will set the unbelievers to dominate over you, and, in the Hereafter, He will condemn you and hold you accountable for not spending the wealth He gave you as a trust in His Way. </li></ul>
  27. 27. The Role of Ehsan (spiritual excellence) <ul><li>In verse 208, the word ehsan as used in the original is from husn which means to do a thing in the best way. </li></ul><ul><li>Some Muslims can rest content with the mere performance of their minimum required duty towards Allah – this is obedience requiring nothing more than the fear of Allah </li></ul>
  28. 28. The Role of Ehsan (spiritual excellence) <ul><li>Ehsan is the superior kind of deed done with excellence; putting ones whole heart, mind and body into it. </li></ul><ul><li>Ehsan is motivated by a deep love, devotion and dedication to bring Allah Pleasure </li></ul>
  29. 29. Hazrat Umar’s Comparison between Equality and Benevolence <ul><li>“ One day the Prophet ordered us to give alms out of our goods. On that day I had plenty of goods: I said, “today Abu Bakr cannot beat me in offering charity.’ I offered to the Prophet half of what I possessed. The Prophet asked, ‘Umar what have you left behind for your family?’ In the meanwhile Abu Bakr came with all his possessions. The Prophet asked ‘Abu Baker, what have you left behind for you family?’ He replied, ‘I have left for my family Allah and His Prophet.’ On that day I acknowledged that I could never out-do Abu Bakr in any field.’” (Tirmidhi) </li></ul>
  30. 30. Tafseer <ul><li>Umar’s Act Represented Equality </li></ul><ul><li>Abu Bakr’s Act represented Benevolence </li></ul><ul><li>When Abu Bakr offered his entire household as charity and he had not even a extra pair of clothes for his daily wear, Hazrat Gabriel appeared before the Prophet and said: “O Allah’s Messenger confer it to Abu Bakr that his Lord salutes him:” “Are you pleased or displeased with me in this stripped away state?” </li></ul>
  31. 31. Tafseer Continued <ul><li>Indulging in acts of benevolence for the Pleasure of Allah achieves the highest status in His estimation and He is forced to inquire about that believer’s condition </li></ul><ul><li>This is the stage where: “Allah Himself asks His servant: ‘Tell Me what is your Pleasure.’” (Iqbal) </li></ul>
  32. 32. This State of Development <ul><li>Is Soul-Stirring </li></ul><ul><li>Servants try to please the Master by consistently bringing Him Pleasure </li></ul><ul><li>Surah 5 Al Ma’idah:54, “Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Allah. Allah loves them and they love Him.” </li></ul>
  33. 33. Surah 3: Ali Imran134 <ul><li>“ Those who spend freely, whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger and pardon all men – For Allah loves those who do good.” </li></ul><ul><li>The Pious are those who control their tempers when they are roused and who overlook people’s faults and those who perform acts of benevolence, they are Allah’s most favorable people. </li></ul>
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