Saturday, December 7, 2013

THE TYRANNY OF DISTANCE - the mercy in coming closer to one another...

What Have I Done?
The minister sitting behind his minimalist desk,
The drone-pilot fingering the fire button,
The fat cats purring in their towers of usury,  
The directors spilling ink across a deep clean sea,
The scientists tinkering far from the mushroom cloud...

The more distant you are from something or someone,
The more callous you may become,
So we wonder, if ever such people were troubled by doubt...

What have I done?
What have I done?
What have I done?

Ordinary people doing wrong. Save for the barely human psychopaths that paper the walls of salacious tv docos and websites that records (and lets face it, glorifies) violent crimes, evil, that is taking the right of someone (or something) without just cause often occurs in the most mundane of circumstances, and by people of unlikely malice. Many are married. Have good paying jobs, a nice house, children that they love and probably a pet dog or cat. They don't consider themselves bad people, much less evil. After all, evil is an epithet for the truly malignant, the infamous figures like Jack the Ripper, Hitler, Jeffry Dalhmer, Pol Pot, Attila the Hun etc. The pages of human history are red by the blood of their victims.

The distance. It is of course the distance that is the problem. Sometimes the distance between the action and the consequence is physical, like the drone-operator somewhere in the US raining hell with a drone in a remote backwater in Pakistan or Yemen. At other times the distance is wealth. After all, how become it possible for Wall Street CEOs to escape imprisonment for bringing devastating economic crisis in 2008? And no BP directors were jailed when they inadvertently leaked oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Yet in some ways, the tragedy that they have inflicted on mankind, and on planet Earth is terrible. It is of course quite simple, wealth can buy you a lot of smart lawyers and corrupt politicians.

The distant gods. God has no problem of distance. Many people looked up to the sky, wondering where He is and what He is doing. Others looked even further, and through their looking glass into the night sky, they try to interpret God's plan for Man's destiny in the movement of the celestial lanterns. They sought God through some strange Morse code that only they can understand. 

God Most Near. It is therefore an enlightenment of no small measure when the Prophet from Mecca, Muhammad (saws) brought the faith of a very near God. For this completion of knowledge in God that was championed by the previous prophets from Adam (as) to Jesus (as) is in direct contrast to the widespread perception held by Man that God is arrogant, prideful, wayward and can often be callous and indifferent to the pain of humanity... the gods of Mount Olympus or Asgard, or some further place, utterly remote from humanity. But God Almighty has revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (saws) that... 

We verily created man and We know what his soul whispereth to him, 
and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (Quran 50:16, Marmaduke Pickthall)

God is no oppressor. And for those thinking themselves safe and contented in their ivory towers who have oppressed thousands to millions of people blanketed in the anonymity of distance? They are committing a terrible wrong. In one of the blessed hadith (oral traditions) of the Prophet Muhammad (saws), God spoke clearly...   

"O My servants ! I have forbidden oppression for Myself, and I have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. 

The Future. Bringing this chit chat down to our daily life, I guess the lesson here is for us to be near to whomever we are considering to oppress. Reflect upon that man or woman's life. Consider their antecedents and history. Walk at least on day in their shoes, these poor, disenfranchised and forgotten people. If, as a banker, a politician, a king or a preacher we still oppress such people, well... maybe we do deserve the world that we have created. But what of our children's future and the world that they will inherit? We can fool ourselves that the 'little' evil we do is for their welfare.

Such is the blindness, self-deception and madness of Man. 

We are asking Allah (swt) and His Prophet (saws) to bless us and keep us safe always, despite our sins and forgetfulness. May we always draw closer together, regardless of our creed, colour or nationality. Perhaps then, we will not oppress one another.

Don't you agree, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way    

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