The Cycle of Mercy in Islam

ALLAH SAYS: “O SON OF ADAM, SO LONG AS YOU CALL UPON ME AND ASK OF ME, I SHALL FORGIVE YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE, AND I SHALL NOT MIND. O SON OF ADAM, WERE YOUR SINS TO REACH THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY AND WERE YOU THEN TO ASK FORGIVENESS OF ME, I WOULD FORGIVE YOU. O SON OF ADAM, WERE YOU TO COME TO ME WITH SINS NEARLY AS GREAT AS THE EARTH AND WERE YOU THEN TO FACE ME, ASCRIBING NO PARTNER TO ME, I WOULD BRING YOU FORGIVENESS NEARLY AS GREAT AS IT.” [TIMIDHI]

One of the biggest mistakes that many of us make is believing that repentance is unobtainable. We may find ourselves doused in sins and scared to simply ask for forgiveness. However, one of the ninety-nine attributes of Allah (God) is being Ar-Rahman (The Merciful). Human-beings were created with free-will, thus having the ability to choose their decisions. And in these decisions, human-beings will sometimes sin because they are weak in the flesh. The Qur’an tells us that:

“God wants to lighten your burdens: for man has been created weak”-an-Nisa 4:28

As being individuals created in weakness, Allah has granted us his mercy. It was said by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that ” Allah divided mercy into one-hundred parts and He kept its ninety-nine parts with Him and sent down its one part on the earth, and because of that, its one single part, His creations are Merciful to each other, so that even the mare lifts up its hoofs away from its baby animal, lest it should trample on it.”

In many ways, we are granted mercy from the Most Divine and granted mercy by each other in this world. In Islam, rights are designated for everything and everyone within the world. Islam have guided the people in understanding the importance of being thankful and merciful to individuals and animals. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to the people”. So, in the brief time that we have on this Earth, we should spend our time with a lowered wing for others. Additionally, animals must be treated with the same kind of mercy that is directed towards human-beings. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not use anything in which there is a soul as a target” (Narrated by Muslim).

Islam offers individuals with endless mercy from the Creator, but the Creator also directs human-beings to treat all living-things with mercy. This beautiful concept of mercy is all-encompassing. One must remember that mercy should be extended to all beings upon the Earth in order to receive mercy from the Creator of all that is created.

Shatter the Chains of Your Suffering

I’m not sure how to cure a wounded heart, a shattered soul
or where to even begin
when did God entrust me to piece together gathered parts of you that made you whole?
holy, I am not
nothing or no person can spare you other than you
you must untie/unloosen/untangle the chains of your suffering
and become a caged bird set free
so unfold yourself, dance naked within your shattered soul
and make endless love to greatness
offer up prayers to the Most Divine
in whatever way/whatever language you can
let the Most Divine know that you’re calling
that you’re crying/that you’re screaming/that you’re needing help
and maybe just sit still
sit still at the gate of your heart and let nothing/let nobody in
but God
mark today as your beginning
as the end of what was
and fly, fly high
be freed
and rejoice in the now

Intersections of Two Identities: Muslim and Black

In venturing off in my two identities, I have found myself asking those questions that can’t be answered quickly. I saw myself thinking deeply about the issues that I have found in being apart of two different worlds. In embracing Islam, I remember many family-members would often make discriminatory remarks about me being the ‘other’ and being like ‘them’. However, I must understand that I have two intersecting identities that sometimes get confusing for others, including myself. In both identities I value their differences and similarities.

In being Black, I honor the struggle that lies within my race. I value the leaders that has come to venerate the Black spirit and to liberate Blacks/Afrikaans from the shackles of their societies. One of the most enlightening Black leaders in my opinion is Malcolm X. Malcolm X represented a change that many of us haven’t seen in decades or even centuries. He rebelled against a system that was racist and uplifted those in oppression by telling them that they can defeat the system and change their condition. Yes, he was radical. Malcolm X was a radical leader, but he made people see their potential. He made them love themselves in a time in which they were told to hate themselves. It gave rise to a new consciousness for Blacks. It gave them a voice and a motive to strive against the racism that existed in America. I find this quite moving when we talk about an awakening.

However, I understand I am Muslim. In this identity, I find my way of life. I find my purpose. This way of life is quite beautiful and complete. Nonetheless, I can’t say that being Muslim and Black doesn’t create its own nuances. Many Blacks, including other ethnic-groups that being a Black Muslim means you are apart of the NOI (Nation of Islam). And I have to quickly tell people that I am not apart of the NOI. I am a Muslim that belongs to a way of life that is inclusive of all people. I do not believe that one race is better than the other or vice versa. However, I do understand the positive results that did come out of the Black Nationalism movement and Black Power. I will never discredit the movement. Additionally, I believe it’s troubling at some points in telling other Muslims that you are just like them even though you are Black. There’s this unsaid superiority that I see amongst many Muslims and its this superiority of being Arab. Many Muslims deems an Arabic identity as being superior over all over identities that classify themselves as being Muslim. In dealing with this tug-o-war, I find many Muslims adhering to an Arabic way of living. Arabic cultures come with their own distinct way of life similar to any other culture and its people. So, it’s always this fight between being you and having to somehow fit into the majority. And Malcolm X would definitely say that one must have confidence in themselves and seek to place new rules into the game.

In observing these two identities, I have found myself having to accept this reality that I am a Muslim with an Afrikaan background. My roots are entrenched with richness/beauty/pain/hurt/tragedy/accomplishments and etc. Also, in the identity that I have embraced I have met and discovered many other individuals from various cultures that I may have never known before. Being Muslim exposes you to so many different people and cultures that you quickly began to value humanity and diversity in a different light. You see the beauty of the human-population. Nevertheless, in this human-population you find sexism/racism/nationalism and etc which prevents a full submersion within a group or culture. However, these things can be worked out through interactions, telling our personal narratives, placing into the game new rules, and seeking to find a common ground(if possible) with others.

These two intersecting identities are beautiful but trying at time. I am coming to learn that both are important and vital to the person I am and have become. In valuing these two identities I am embracing my full self. And when I embrace my full self I embrace what God has placed before me- a Black Muslim identity.

He Search the Skies

He’s in love with her

Madly

Even though he’s never seen her

Never seeking to seek her out in bedrooms, bed-sheets, chat-rooms, or any illicit form of communication

He smiles and look towards the skies

Looking to see if God has placed for him a sign from up above

Searching to see if there is a hole in the heavens that would deliver the woman that he has fallen madly in love with 

Spending his free-time searching the skies and hoping that maybe he can have a piece of heaven

A piece of love that will never run dry

that will always taste like sweet tea on a hot summer-day

satisfying his every thirst

quenching his every need and want

He hopes that when she comes he can be the man she is seeking

someone that will listen to her cries when nobody is looking

that will wrap her up in his thoughts just so she knows that being human is okay

someone that will hold her heart and never let it go because everyone needs to know that someone will always love them

a man that will search her soul and sit down to know about her ambitions and wonders

He’s not looking for just any woman

He’s looking for just one woman

Who will come special-delivered and signed off by the one who had her delivered

He’s not looking for video vixens or airbrushed models on magazines

Or a bombshell diva from television

He’s looking for the one that will complete his deen, his religion

That will remind him of his everlasting purpose

A woman that will comfort his pain when he is down and wounded

Out for the count

A woman like Mary

Someone who will stay loyal to her Lord 

A woman like Khadija

someone who will stick and stay beside him

A woman like Aisha

someone who will challenge him 

See he’s not looking for just any woman

He’s looking for the woman

Maybe when he’s not searching the skies

Maybe when he’s tucked away at night

There will be a special hole created for him in the skies

And maybe that day he will have a wife that was special-delivered and signed off by God.