A simple thought from The Community on Friday: It is the 18th of Zilhajj, a rather significant day in our history for it is in our acknowledgement of this day, lies the sincerity of our Kalima.
Shi’as all over the world will today rejoice and lend their best available poetic expressions in salutation of this great successor of the Holy Prophet (saw) called ‘Ali. He is a personality of immense influence on humankind today, having bequeathed to us powerful sermons, containing profound messages of wisdom and advice, and speaking lengthily about virtues that societies need to practice.
Will the recitals be enough to emboss his traits onto our hearts or transform our personalities? This year, let us go a step further than simply adoring this personality. Let us do what he would have done in the face of a vastly changing society.
One of the most apparent changes that is taking place in our surroundings today is that Muslims, like their non Muslim counterparts, are engaging in deliberate and audacious show off. Show off…of one’s emotions and thoughts, of one’s religiousity, of wealth and possessions, of education, of kin and of power. While they are all linked in someway, this personality whom we praise relentlessly and to whom we pledge our allegiance vociferously, has in his own life prohibited actions of show off that hurt those observing who do not have your level of wealth, for example. The logic of this teaching is simply to ensure society’s equilibriums don’t change to a point of open conflict. It also endorses the much touted concept of empathy – being aware of the plight of others around us and acting in modesty.
Showing off should not be confused with the ability to possess expensive items. Showing off refers to actions that are carefully designed to announce your superior advantages and not in using them in the first place.
The question we must therefore ask is that if we are violating every rule in the book, ignoring every advise in his will and sermons, then exactly which ‘Ali are we so proudly endeared to? How can a claimant of love for ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib, engage in acts that hurt him?
Our resolution for this ‘eid may well be to read and understand what he has prescribed for us, so we can then practice his teachings, short of that our hymns and songs in his paramour, remain like unsubmitted offerings at best.
Imam ‘Ali once said to his son Imam Hasan, My son, learn four things from me and through them you will learn four more. If you keep them in mind your actions will not bring any harm to you: The greatest wealth is Wisdom; the greatest poverty is stupidity; the worst unsociableness is that of vanity and self-glorification; and the best nobility of descent exhibits itself in politeness and in refinement of manner.
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