A Muslim Call for Hope: Living as Faithful People in a Violent Age (Part 1)

“And convey unto them, setting forth the truth, the story of the two sons of Adam — how each offered a sacrifice, and it was accepted from one of them whereas it was not accepted from the other. And Cain said: I will surely slay thee. Abel replied: Behold God accepts only from those who are conscious of Him. Even if you lay your hand on me to slay me, I shall not lay my hand on you to slay you: behold I fear God the Sustainer of all the worlds.” (CH5-VE 27-28)

Follow Abel, not Cain
In this creation story, Cain represents human failure, unable to resolve his problem in the right-positive way. When he came to a dead end, he used violence and killed his brother Abel. Abel decided to go the peaceful route in facing his brother’s hatred. Unfortunately, the world we live in today is influenced by the violent ways of Cain. The Holy Quran states clearly that we make mischief and chaos on earth, not God. God said, “Now whatever calamity may befall you will be an outcome of what your own hands have wrought, although He pardons much.” (Chapter 42-verse 30). In Islam, the violence and calamities are looked upon as tests to verify how the believers will react to difficulties. These tests can be seen as a punishment to the sinners and as moments for “extra credit” to the righteous.

Tests can be physical, such as sickness and weakness, loss of loved ones, injustice etc.. Tests may bring good results as well as bad ones. This is why it is important for the wise person not to be dragged by the pain of that test and to try to handle it patiently, and to learn lessons from these tests. Prophet Muhammad (peace be to him) said: “Neither fatigue, disease, sorrow, sadness, hurt, nor distress befalls true believer even if it were a prick he receives from a thorn, but for which Allah (God) remove some of his sins.”

To be continued…

Originally published on Sunday, January 3 in the Omaha World-Herald.

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