Anatomy of an Apology: An Eleven-Point Formula

Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai / Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai! (Iqbal)

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Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai / Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai! (Iqbal)

In any case, for an apology to be considered a proper apology, it must contain a number of important elements, or it is not an apology at all. Here are some of them:

1. First of all, an act – e.g. speech, piece of writing, conduct – must have occurred that is generally considered to be offensive, insulting or damaging to some individual or group.

2. Next, those affected must take objection to the act and express displeasure at it.

3. They must then demand some kind of a redress to the situation.

4. The source of the objectionable act – an individual or group or organization or nation or country or society or other – must realize that it has done something wrong, which it should not have done.

5. The source must also clearly see and understand why and how the other party might have been offended, insulted, hurt or aggrieved by its act.

6. The source, thereafter, must feel a sense of guilt, shame, remorse and regret at having done a wrong thing, which, it must realize, it should not have done.

7. The source must own up and acknowledge without ambiguity or prevarication the wrong it did.

8. The source must make a firm resolution never to repeat its offensive behavior in future and never to do anything else that would cause similar hurt or insult to the aggrieved party.

9. The source must come forward with ways to amend its conduct in future and to make amends and provide compensation for the harm and damage that it may have caused its victims.

10. Thereafter, the source must express all of the above – its realization of wrongdoing; its recognition of the right of the aggrieved party to feel hurt and insulted; its genuine remorse and contrition at its own objectionable conduct; its firm resolve and commitment not to repeat such objectionable behaviour in future; and its eagerness to do whatever it could to make amends to the aggrieved party over the insult and hurt it suffered – to the aggrieved party in the most direct, clear and unambiguous terms.

11. The aggrieved party thereafter must believe the sincerity of the source, the clarity and adequacy of its expression of remorse and accept the apology and agree to the practical arrangements and terms the source may be willing to make by way of restitution.

This is what a genuine apology must look like. Or else it is an apology for an apology and not a real apology at all.

Poor Muslims! I wish someone will educate them in some of these issues.


Ummat’s External vs. Internal Enemies

External vs. Internal Enemies

Nations, societies and communities have enemies. And Muslims are no exception. And some of those enemies are external, while some others are internal.

Poor, poor Muslims! May Allah save them from their External Enemies – of whom usually there are quite a few at any given time and place.

And may Allah also save them from their Internal Enemies – those who would like to use, exploit and ride them to their own personal advantage, name, fame, gain, glory, wealth, power and success.

The Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, warned his Ummat about both of them. In fact, he received a guarantee from Allah that his Ummat will not be destroyed from outside. But Allah did not grant his Ummah similar immunity against internal enemies.

I used to wonder about it for the longest time. But then Allah opened my heart to see part of the wisdom – and Allah’s Rahmah – that this equation seems to carry in its fold. And it is quite simple.

A Level Playing Field

Allah is everybody is God. And his Rahmat – his love and mercy that is – belongs to everyone and everything, as he says in the Qur’an: Rahmatee wasi’at kulla shaiy’.

So, while Allah is willing and able to protect Muslims against threats from outside, the Muslims have the responsibility to clean their own house from inside.

That means they must get their Iman and belief right. They must get their Ilm, knowledge and education right. They must get their ‘Amal, behaviour, conduct, skills, character and personal qualities right.

So, whoever comes out better and stronger in all these areas and characteristics of human excellence will emerge as the winner in the ongoing contest among peoples, nations and societies.

That is Allah’s way or law – Sunnatullah – in this world. And according to that law or decree, whoever plays better, wins the game. The better man wins, as it were.

Allah is not going to stack up the odds in favor of the Muslims just because they call themselves Muslims. So long as they are in this world, Muslims will have to play by Allah’s rules in his world and win fair and square or lose the game to those who play better.

It is as simple as that.

I Thought Muslims Were “The Education People

While Allah alone knows the state of anyone’s Iman or belief, the whole world knows what the state of Muslim education is.

In general, the state of Muslim education around the world is seriously inadequate and flawed – both in quantity and in quality. I would go a step further and call it abysmal and shameful.

It is a disgrace to the name of Islam, which came to set the whole world free using the tool of education. Isn’t there a Hadith which says: Talabul ilmi fareedah? Paraphrase: Everyone has a duty to get educated.

It is a disgrace to the name of the Qur’an, which itself means Reading or Something To Read. A book the very first of whose revelation was Iqra’ or Read.

And it is a disgrace to the name of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, who called himself a teacher and an educator. As a Hadith says: Innamaa bu’ith-tu mu’alliman. Paraphrase: I am only a teacher.

An “Education Prophet”

A prophet whom his ancestors Abraham and Ishmael, Allah bless them both, characterised as an education-prophet: Yu’allimuhum.

A prophet whom Allah himself called an education-prophet: Yu’allimuhum.

Paraphrase of Yu’allimuhum? He teaches them. He educates them. He is their teacher and educator.

So, what is the use of having any or all of these things if Muslims, as a whole, as an Ummat, end up, after 1400 years, among the least educated of the world’s people? And that dismal and sad fact seems to bother no one?

The world knows this fact about Muslims: that they are at the bottom of the education barrel. It is only the Muslims who have their heads buried in the sand and it is they who seek refuge in all kinds of excuses from this grim and stark reality.

But Allah’s decree is clear that it is this reality – education – that will decide the fate of nations in this world, including the Muslim nation.

Gold Before, Gold After

The world also can see the kind of human material that most Muslims have turned out to be – in terms of sheer human excellence and quality – beyond Namaaz and Rozah, beyond Hajj and beyond Zakat, which most Muslims don’t pay anyway.

Annasu kal ma’adin, said the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, Khairukum fil jaahiliyyah, khairukum fil Islam. Paraphrase: People are like metals. Gold is gold, whether it is before Islam or after Islam.

, said the Prophet, . Paraphrase: People are like metals. Gold is gold, whether it is before Islam or after Islam.

Sadly, there isn’t a great deal of gold in Muslim human quality and character and skill and knowledge levels these days, is there?

And what is more heartbreaking is that no one cares, and it is not even a priority item on most people’s long list of Muslim agendas.

You Can’t Force an

I am not saying demanding an apology will not have a deterrent effect for the future. But to pressure someone into making an apology is almost like compelling them to accept your faith or “religion” by force.

And in all these matters, the position of the Qur’an is quite clear: “Absolutely no compulsion in matters of Deen.”

What may be quite appropriate, however, is to take this opportunity to address the substantive issues raised by the Emperor and then echoed by the Pope at a time when Muslims all over the world are living under great pressure, anguish and stress, both physical and mental, caused by events unleashed, for the large part, by Christians – followers of the Pope’s religion directly, as in the case of Catholics, or indirectly, as in the case of Protestants.

And let us do that now.¨