We are all in a moment of grief. As William Blake puts it—‘A mark in every face I meet, Marks of weakness, marks of woe…’ Other than a tiny virus, that wreaked havoc, thousands are struggling with their lost livelihood, and scores of families are sustaining on Bait-ul-Maal, a system that pools Zakat money from the affluent for distribution among the needy.
While some still slog in coping post-Covid-19, many others are still waiting to start afresh. Apart from the bereavement of near and dear ones, most of the population is reeling under shadows of all sorts and recovering from a kind of onslaught, inflicted by all sorts of ‘viruses’.
From road accidents, fire incidents and dog menace to overall trauma and fear—people are ever grieved.
A German thinker and statesman, Rathenau, held the portfolio of economics in the new government of Germany when it became a republic at the close of the First World War. It was a period of stress in Germany. Rathenau looked around, surveying the situation of his country.
He studied, especially, the state of German youth. He felt their pulse and listened to their questioning minds. And for their benefit, he wrote a book named ‘The Way of Economics’.
Towards the close of this book, he indicates what was the most urgent need in Germany. Addressing young men, he writes-“One and only one is your urgent need:
Cultivate the soul”.
Today, ours is the same predicament. For us, the questions are galore. What are we and whither are we heading? Our past has handed over to us a sorry legacy, and our present is in shambles. We too require cultivating the soul by being a good human being and of course, a good Muslim.
It essentially involves nothing more than being a good member of our community; helping out those who need our help; giving off something for the common good; striving for an empathetic understanding of those who are in grief; and placing the common interest before the personal benefit.
It is presumably due to the lack of empathy that we are witness to a state of spiritual and moral asphyxia, where Man (supreme creation) lies powerless or else is convulsed into purposeless engagements, and where he is practicing a galvanized mockery in the name of ‘prosperous survival’.
In the middle of desolation, the arrival of the religious festival Eid seems to be a thoughtful coincidence. This festival comes with a message of empathy, that too when many of us are in a dire need of it.
We all need to recall the essence of Eid-ul-Fitr, especially its social significance which coalesces and reinforces social bonding, humanity and traditional values in society; extends mutual support, sympathy and brotherhood among the people.
The religion of Islam stresses sincere adherence to the commandments of Allah. As such, it calls upon every Muslim to be kind and caring to humankind even to the extent of sacrificing and spending a portion of worldly gains in the way of Allah.
This Eid we can lend a helping hand to the people who really deserve our support. This will actually bring a true essence to this festival of empathy.
Let’s cultivate our souls in a mode to sacrifice buying brand new clothes for our kids in the spirit of reaching out to several distraught orphans. Let’s sacrifice cooking various dishes for standing in solidarity with those in hunger and penury. Let’s sacrifice being extravagant and contribute to rebuilding.
After lining up at butchers, bakers and other shops, let’s move ahead to queue up for reaching out to those who need us in this hour of crisis. Let’s move beyond sectarianism and deadpan austerity, and discuss ways to rehab the needy.
Let’s feel what it means to be homeless; what it means to lose everything, economically and politically; what it means to see your lifetime assets devoured by various viruses, and see people crying out for getaway from the abyss of death and devastation.
It all entails empathy, an inner feeling of pain that makes you edgy and concerned amidst the agonizing antithesis that prevails all around us—
Sabhe Nay Eid Manayee Meray Gulistan Main
Kise Nay Phool Piroyai Kise Nay Khaar Chunay,
Kise Nay Atlas-o-Kamkhvab Ki Qabah Pahni
Kise Nay Chaak-e-Gareban Kise Nay Zakhm Siyai
Kise Nay Bada-o-Sagar Kise Nay Ashk Piyai……
Baday Ghazab Ka Gulistan Main Jashn-e-Eid Hua
Kahin Tow Bijliyan Kaundin Kahin Chinar Jalay……
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.