It was only a few nights ago that many of us heard during the Tarawih prayers of this holy month, that statement of Allah (Most High) when He says, "O you who believe, don't cancel out your charitable acts with reminders and hurtful words." (2:264).
This verse has SO many different applications to Muslims today which we would all do well to reflect over, especially at the personal level when we do favours for our friends and then belittle them by continuously reminding them of our favours to them.
But the more immediate thought that came to mind when I heard these verses were reflecting on those Muslims responding to the horrible Batman cinema murders in Denver last Friday.
Subhanallah. We have seen families, a community and a nation in mourning. So what should we do?
Condemn this inhuman psychopath. Express our sincere condolences with those suffering.
What *did* we do?
Condemned this inhuman psychopath, gave our condolences and then added a cherry on top for bad measure: "...BUT look at your hypocrisy of not calling the killer a terrorist because IF this had been a Muslim guy then blah blah blah."
"...BUT can you now see the difference between how you treat white criminals and black criminals?!"
"...BUT that's why we tell you Cinemas are places of evil and sin blah blah blah."
"But" this and "If" that - the killer sting at the end of the sentence, the awaited "but" to show your personal agenda as opposed to sincere condolence, indeed the harming of the one you're addressing after you were charitable and kind to them.
Do you think the suffering want to hear about your politics right now? .
Do you think expressing grief must come with your terms and conditions, such as your identity crisis, your unfortunate skill of showing who Allah talks about in the above verse perfectly with your reminders of past injustices and hurtful words?
There is a time for this, and a time for that.
It's amazing that during this month of Ramadhan - truly the month of empathy - when we reflect deeply on our own spiritual state by removing physical barriers as well as reflecting on the states of those less fortunate than us, we would do well to consider even the feelings who might not be hungry or poor but just...human.
When you give charity to someone, don't follow it by reminding the guy every time you see him miskeen. And when you're grieving with someone, then just grieve.
Show at least some basic humanity. And shut up.
Abu Eesa Niamatullah writes on behalf of 1st Ethical Charitable Trust who empower Muslims to benefit society through faith based campaigns, thereby increasing social cohesion. For more information, please visit www.1stethical.com