Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai, / Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai! (Iqbal)
And as for birds and animals of all kind, including all the Hanumans and Huhuds of this world, we have a position that we would like the rest of the world to consider. They are all people and nations just like us. Umamun amthaalikum, is how the Qur’an puts it. Paraphrase: Nations and societies just like you.
Actually read the larger passage. For that specifically covers monkeys as well as birds.
Here goes: Wa maa min daabbatin fil ardi wa laa taa-irin yateeru bi-janaahaihi, illa umamun amthaalukum! Paraphrase: There isn’t an animal on earth, or a bird that takes flight on its two wings, but the fact is that they are all nations, societies and peoples like you.
It sounds like a cliché and almost seems to lose its meaning, but I don’t know what else to say other than to exclaim, I have never heard the intricate dynamics of life on earth described in clearer, stronger or starker terms. Have you?
If humanity had paid heed to this simple Islamic doctrine of the place of non-human life on earth, so many thousands of the most wonderful animal species – all those animal nations, societies and peoples of the world – would not have become extinct, much of which was the result of the contempt in which we held animal life and the resultant depredations for sport or greed that we visited upon them.
THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS
I am not going to elaborate much on either the American Festival of Thanksgiving or the Christian Festival of Christmas, except to point out one or two things quickly. I will, however, revisit these topics at some point in future, should God Almighty enable me to do so.
Simply put, Thanksgiving is us, as giving thanks to God Almighty is our first, middle and last name.
Alhamdulillah – Praise the Lord and Thank You Lord! – could be the name of every Muslim in the world. Because Muslim say Alhamdulillah all the time. They say it when they get something. And they also say it when things don’t seem to go right.
They start their “prayers” or “worship” – at least 17 times a day – with it.
They sneeze, they say it, which to my mind beats “Excuse Me!” hands down, even though “Excuse Me!” is quite functional from a strictly social point of view.
But get deeper into the why and what of sneezing and you will begin to see why Alhamdulillah begins to claim priority.
If Alhamdulillah is the beginning, the end of the Muslim story is also Alhamdulillah.
And so is the middle. As a Muslim how he or she is doing and they will say the magic word – or two words: Alhamdulillah.
As for celebrating the birth of Jesus, son of Mary, whom we refer to as Hazrat Maryam, Alaihassalaam, don’t even start.
Jesus is our man and Mary is our lady. Allah bless them both.
Jesus is not a swear word to us. We love Mary and Jesus more than we love, honour and cherish our own parents, whom, of course, we love, honour and cherish most mightily….
I don’t know – I am not saying there isn’t – if there is a book that is at least 1400 years old, like the Qur’an is, that talks about Jesus and Mary with the same tenderness, love and respect that the Qur’an does.
RELEARNING ISLAM TOGETHER?
But I will, Inshallah, address and re-address these topics as time and resources permit.
In the meantime, let me sum up again what I was trying to say in the beginning:
Christians, Hindus and Americans! If only you had taken a minute to understand Islam for what Islam really is, away from your prejudices, phobias and politics, and independent of the appearance that Muslims have given Islam, you would have seen that Islam and Muslims are with you, whether it is Divali, Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Not in every thing you may do, but strictly within the parameters of the lawful and the unlawful as ordained by God. Within the bounds of what the Qur’an calls Halaal and Haraam.
And then who will tell the Muslims that maybe they should spend a bit more time relearning their Islam too and trying to understand the world in which they live. Because those who do not understand the world can neither understand Islam nor hope to practise it in a true and successful sense.