Hurt by Others

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Hurt by Others

Post by Noor'e Sahar on Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:54 am

When I was growing up, the world was a perfect place. The only
problem was, that it wasn’t. I used to believe that everything could
always be ‘fair’. To me that meant no one should ever be wronged, and if
they were, justice must be served. I fought hard for the way I believed
things should be. But in my struggle, I overlooked a fundamental truth
about this life. In my childish idealism, I failed to understand that
this world is inherently imperfect. We, as humans, are inherently
imperfect. So we will
always mess up. And in those
mess-ups, we will inevitably hurt others, knowingly, and unknowingly,
intentionally and unintentionally. The world would not always be fair.


Does that mean we stop struggling against injustice, or give up on
Truth? Of course not. But it means we must not hold this world – and
others – to an unrealistic standard. But that’s not always easy. How do
we live in a world so flawed, where people let us down, and even our own
family can break our heart? And perhaps, hardest of all, how do we
learn to forgive when we have been wronged? How do we become strong,
without being hard, and remain soft, without being weak? When do we hold
on, and when can we let go? When does caring too much, become too much?
And is there such a thing as loving more than we should?



To begin to find these answers, we have to first take a step outside
our own lives. We need to examine whether we are the first or the last
to feel pain or be wronged. We need to look at those who came before us,
to study their struggles, and their triumphs. And we need to recognize
that growth never comes without pain, and success is only a product of
struggle. That struggle almost always includes withstanding and
overcoming the harms inflicted by others.



Recalling the shining examples of our prophets will remind us that
our pain is not isolated. Remember that Prophet Nuh was abused by his
people for 950 years. The Quran tells us: “Before them the People of
Noah rejected (their apostle): they rejected Our servant, and said,
‘Here is one possessed!’, and he was driven out.” (Qur’an, 54:9) Nuh was abused so
much that he finally “called on his Lord: ‘I am one overcome: do Thou
then help (me)!’” (Qur’an, 54:10)



Or we can call to mind how the Prophet ﷺ was pelted with stones,
until he bled, and how the companions were beaten and starved. All of
this harm was at the hands of others. Even the angels understood this
aspect of human nature – before we even came to be. When Allah told the
angels that He would create humanity, their first question was about
this harmful potential of humans. Allah tells us: “Behold, thy Lord said
to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent (humanity) on earth.’ They
said: ‘Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and
shed blood?’” (Qur’an, 2:30)






This potential of humanity to commit horrific crimes against each
other is a sad reality of this life. And yet many of us are so blessed.
Most of us have not had to face the type of calamities that others have
endured throughout time. Most of us will never have to watch as our
families are tortured or killed. And yet, there are few of us who could
say we have never been hurt, in one way or another, at the hands of
someone else. So although most of us will never have to know the feeling
of starving to death or standing helpless as our homes are destroyed,
most of us will know what it means to cry from a wounded heart.



Is it possible to avoid this? To some degree, I think it is. We can
never avoid all pain, but by adjusting our expectation, our response,
and our focus, we can avoid much devastation. For example, putting our
entire trust, reliance, and hope in another person is unrealistic and
just plain foolish. We have to remember that humans are fallible and
therefore, our ultimate trust, reliance, and hope should only be put in
Allah. Allah says: “…whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has
grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah is
Hearing and Knowing of all things.” (Qur’an, 2: 256) Knowing that
Allah is the only handhold that never breaks, will save us from much
unneeded disappointment.



And yet this is not to say that we should not love or that we should
love less. It is how we love that is important. Nothing should be our
ultimate object of love, except Allah. Nothing should come before Allah
in our hearts. And we should never come to a point where we love
something, other than Allah, in such a way, that it would be impossible
to continue life without it. This type of ‘love’ is not love, but
actually worship and it causes nothing but pain.



But what happens when we’ve done all that and still we have been hurt
or wronged by others – as will also inevitably happen? How can we do
what is the hardest? How can we learn to forgive? How can we learn to
mend our scars and continue being good to people, even when they are not
good to us?



In the story of Abu Bakr radi Allahu `anhu (may Allah be
pleased with him), is a beautiful example of exactly that. After his
daughter, `Ayesha (r), was slandered in the worst way, Abu Bakr (r)
found out that the man who began the rumor was Mistah, a cousin who Abu
Bakr had been supporting financially. Naturally Abu Bakr withheld the
charity he had been giving the slanderer. Soon after, Allah revealed the
following ayah: “Let not those among you who are endued with grace and
amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those
in want and those who migrated in the path of Allah. Let them forgive
and overlook. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Indeed
Allah is oft-Forgiving, most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 24:22) Upon hearing
this ayah, Abu Bakr resolved that he did want Allah’s forgiveness, and
so he not only continued to give the man money, he gave him more.



This type of forgiveness is at the very heart of being a believer. In
describing these believers, Allah says: “And who shun the more heinous
sins and abominations; and who, whenever they are moved to anger,
readily forgive.” (Qur’an, 42:37)



The ability to readily forgive should be driven by an awareness of
our own flaws and mistakes towards others. But most of all, our humility
should be driven by the fact that we wrong Allah every single day of
our lives, when we sin. Who are we compared to Allah? And yet, Allah,
Master of the universe, forgives by day and by night. Who are we to
withhold forgiveness? If we hope to be forgiven by Allah, how can we not
forgive others? It is for this reason that the Prophet ﷺ teaches us:
“Those who show no mercy to others will have no mercy shown to them by
Allah.” [Muslim]



This hope for Allah’s mercy should motivate our own desire to forgive
and to one day enter the only world that really is perfect.
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Noor'e Sahar

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