“Those who were already firmly established in their homes
and firmly rooted in faith, showed love for those who migrated
to them for refuge and harbored no desire in their hearts
for what had been given to them. They gave them preference
over themselves, even if they too, like them, were poor. It is those who were
saved from the greed of their own souls
who were successful.” (Qur’an 59:9)
I came across this verse a few days ago, and it struck a very deep chord within me. I read it over and over again, trying to understand exactly what the words meant, and now, after much reflection and thought, I feel that i must share this verse with all of you, and hopefully in turn you can also reflect upon these words.
My friends, this verse is a treasure, and holds within it many pearls of wisdom. The message is timeless, and one can apply it to any situation that has to do with dealing with other people. An elderly woman that just got on the bus and needs a seat? The words are telling us to give her preference over ourselves and politely offer her our seat. A little brother or sister that wants a bedtime story even though you have a huge test the next day and need to seriously study? The words are telling us, for sure, to read them that story. The studying can wait an extra 20 minutes. These are just examples that i am coming up with just from the top of my head, but basically, this verse is calling on us to adopt the spirit of selfless service, and what a blessing it is to know that we can refer to it at anytime in order to draw strength and courage from it.
Now, i will lead you to another point. I do not know how many of you are following the political scene in Europe at the present moment, but lately, we have been witnessing a rise of fascism and the extreme right. Parties that are anti-immigration and openly racist towards the minorities within their own countries and refugees that are seeking asylum within those countries are becoming more and more common, and thus, this is leading to a “normalization” of racism. I think we all know what happens when hate towards others becomes normalized, as we only need to look back to the 40’s to witness the horrible result of such evil influence over the masses.
Anyways, in my beautiful and calm country of Sweden, we have one such party. They are called the “Swedish Democrats” (Sverige Demokraterna in Swedish) and have their roots in the Swedish Neo-Nazi movement of the 1980s. They won 13 percent of the votes during the recent national elections, an improvement of 7 percent over their 2010 results, thus now making them Sweden’s 3rd biggest political party. Back in the 1980’s and early 90’s, their propaganda was full of backwards and medieval ideas, such as telling Swedish girls to refrain from having intercourse with Africans that carried “deadly aids”, and pleading with them to not dishonor their pure Swedish race. Their Motto at the time was “Bevara Sverige Svenskt” which meant “Keep Sweden Swedish.” One can wonder, how exactly did such a party garner a sweet 13 percent and make their way into parliament? Well, they employed the strategy of cleaning up. Led by their charismatic 35 year old party leader Jimmie Åkesson, they genuinely came out in the early 2000’s saying that their racist past was exactly that, past, and employed a zero tolerance towards racism approach that worked wonders towards winning over the untrained mind. So from 2004 to 2014, they fed Sweden by the spoon, saying over and over again that immigrants and immigration were the causes of Sweden’s various problems, but that yet somehow, they were by no means racist. So now, as we can see, they have “Trojan Horsed” their way into government.
The party leader has gone on record saying that Islam is the biggest threat towards Sweden, and that Islam is a threat towards integration, and can never be integrated into Swedish society. As for the party, they seriously want to cut down on immigration, and drastically close Sweden’s borders. Sweden, a country famous for its liberal views and its pro-immigration policy, is slowly heading down towards dark waters. So now, after having hopefully sufficiently explained the situation of my country, i feel like i can finally bring you towards my point, and its connection with the Quranic verse. Pretend you were sitting in your kitchen, cooking food, when all of a sudden, over the sound of boiling pasta and bubbling tomato sauce, you would hear a gunshot. Then two! Then three! And out of the deafening haze of sound, you would hear a scream, a scream so tortured that it would seem as if it was cutting through air itself, causing the air to drop to the ground like the limbs of a dead body. Frantic and frenzied footsteps would follow, pounding the earth with every desperate movement away from inescapable death, until finally, you would hear heavy knocks and shrilling screams, clawing at your front door. What would you do? Would you simply carry on, finish cooking your delicious spaghetti and creamy tomato sauce, sit down at your dining room table for a lavish meal, listen as the final gunshot separated the body from the soul, and feel the thump of the now deceased body crash into the wooden splinters of your front porch ? Or would you simply let your pasta boil over, let your tomato sauce burn, and rush out to save your fellow human being, compelled beyond yourself by the deep instincts of your true human nature?
If you even have to think for one second about what you would do, then let the Quran simply come in and remind you of your duty :
“They show love for those who migrated
to them for refuge”
There it is, without an atom of a doubt, without any argument, without any petty and insignificant excuses. I am sorry, but when it comes to someones life, it is no laughing matter, and it is not a game. When one part of the world is at war, and your country is at peace, the LEAST you can do is to open your door for those seeking to survive just one more second, one more minute, one more hour, one more day, one more week, one more month, and one more year. So pretend for one second, that your home, is Sweden, that your front door, is the border, that the gunshots are the bombs falling over and over again, that the tortured screams are the innocent people, feeling pain exactly the same way that you would feel pain if you were in their situation, that the footsteps are the pounding feet of millions upon millions of refugees, and that the knocks at your door are the seekers of asylum, desperately wishing and hoping to be granted refuge in your home, in your country, in your Sweden. Keep it in your mind, and make sure to keep it FRESH!
Now, i will break down the Quranic verse to show just how relevant it is to the current situation. For added effect, I will also move the verse to the present tense.
1. “You who are already firmly established in your homes” – This refers to Jimmie Åkesson and his Swedish Democrats, who without a doubt are firmly established in their homes in every way, with comfortable beds to sleep in at night, heating so as not to feel the chilling winter cold, an abundance of wealth with which they afford the basic necessities of life, not to mention food on their tables, access to health care, and more than enough money left over for such things as useless, (in the eyes of refugees anyways) as entertainment, and so on. Yes, the crew is “firmly established.”
2. “And firmly rooted in faith” – I do not know how firmly rooted in faith Jimmie and the gang are, however i do know that they consider Islam as a serious threat to Christianity, and thus, this must mean that they must have a few Christians in the party, otherwise they wouldn’t even bother to mention such a thing. However, faith need not apply in this situation, only a moderate portion of common sense. So we can translate this line of the verse as “and firmly rooted in common sense.”
3. “Show love to those who have migrated to you for refuge” – Ah, you see, this is where things get interesting. Closing your border to those who have migrated to you, seeking refuge, is not showing love, and in fact, i will go as far as to saying that it is showing the exact opposite, it is showing hate, and a total disregard for the value of human life. Funny how the same Muslims that they are openly hating on would be forced to show love to them if the situation was reversed, according to their “dangerous” Islamic religion.
4. “And harbor no desire in your hearts for what is given to them” – Here, I can speak to the general Swedish people who have voted for SD. (Note that i say general) The usual and typical argument for the natives of a country who are bitter towards immigrants are as follows : they are taking all the jobs, they are abusing the social service system and getting too much “free” money and help, they have special “immigrant privileges” such as if Muhammad calls for a job, and Svensson calls for a job, Muhammad will get the job because the company does not want to seem “racist” by giving Svensson the job over Muhammad, they are getting free classes to learn Swedish but are not learning fast enough, they have been given the right to build mosques, and so on. Hey people, remember, you are to harbor no desire in your hearts for what is “given” to them, which in reality, is nothing more than what you are given, which is the right to live as human being under Swedish law. Remember that.
5. “You are to give them preference over yourselves” – Ouch, this one hurts. Would it not be lovely if Åkesson and the all star crew invited refugees and immigrants right into their homes, personally made them dinners, complete with such traditional Swedish foods such as Potatoes, Meatballs, and Gravy, and then let them sleep in their warm and fluffy IKEA beds? After all, that is exactly what “giving them preference over yourselves” means. The words also have the same meaning as the words of Prophet Jesus when he said “If someone asks for your shirt, give them your coat also.” Wait, Prophet Jesus? Do you not mean Jesus, the son of God, the beloved of all the Christians? Sorry to give you the bad news, but we Muslims also follow Jesus and his Gospel. Anyways SD, the refugees are asking for the right to live in your country, so you should also give them your houses as well. Ah well, if that is too much to ask, why not open soup kitchens full of love and warm food, and teach the refugees Swedish yourself, that way they can quicker integrate into society and live happy lives as new members of your glorious nation, Sweden? Remember friends, “Give them preference over yourselves.”
6. “even if you too, like them, are poor” – Ouch!! I think this one hurts even more. Jimmie and the all stars of Sweden, can you imagine that even if you were poor, you would STILL have to give preference to those seeking refuge in your land? Imagine this scenario Jimmie. You have a one room apartment, with a wife and five children, and cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents running in and out. You barely have enough to feed your loved ones, but you are hanging on, by working overtime as a janitor in a McDonald’s during the night-shifts. Then along comes a refugee, and somehow, you still have to make room for him in your home, you still have to show hospitality and humanity to him, even though it is not materially possible for you to do so. So every night, before you go head on to your night shift, that extra piece of bread that you would save for yourself, to give you strength to last through the night shift cleaning the sticky floors at McDonald’s, you give to him, because this is simply the Quranic and human thing to do. But hey, you are not poor, you do not have a one room apartment, you do not have a wife and five children, and thank God that you do not have to work that awful night shift at McDonald’s washing the sticky floors. Hey, things are great. Actually, things are fantastic. You have a beautiful wife, more than capable of holding things down on her own, and one beautiful baby boy. However my friend, things are getting better. You are the leader of Sweden’s 3rd largest political party. Wow, congratulations. With all that power in your hands, you can really help those seeking refuge in your magnificent paradise of Sweden. Remember, even if you were poor, you would have to, but now that you are pretty well off financially and are a Politician, meaning that your job is to work for the betterment of the people, then my friend, the sky truly is the limit.
7. “It is those who are saved from the greed of their own souls who are successful.” – Now, here comes the hard and bitter truth. The truth that to you feels colder than your bare feet walking on the surface of the chilling snow, with each step sending shivers throughout your body to the point where you almost faint from pain, but somehow you keep walking, because that is what you are so good at, ignoring the agonizing calls of your own human nature that are telling you to do good in this world, to realize that your greed is indeed killing you from the inside, and that it will never be too late to change and once and for all kill your ego and truly give yourself, with all the goodness and love that is in your heart, to all of your humanity, not just your fellow Swedish people that you love so dearly. Imagine Jimmie, how great a person you could be if the passion that you felt for Sweden, you felt for the entire world, if what you felt for that beautiful 15 year old Swedish boy with deep blue eyes and blazing blonde hair, you could feel for that beautiful 15 year old Syrian boy with dark brown eyes and burning brown hair, if what you felt for the elderly people of your native land, you could feel for the elderly of those in countries torn apart by war, being carried on the backs of their sons and daughters, away from the bombs and devastation of violence? Jimmie, you have so much passion, and as a politician, you have endless talent. But you are using your passion, and your talents, in the wrong way, because you are using them selfishly, and only to the gain of one group of people, and that is your own Swedes. Listen to me my friend, I love your country, and I love your people. You have, in my opinion, the most beautiful forests and lakes in the world, and some of the kindest and nicest people i have ever met. Your red houses covered in glistening white snow are beautiful, and your summer skies with the sun that never sets are breathtaking. Why should us who are not Swedish not be able to enjoy this beautiful country of yours? We are people, just like you. Listen brother, I have never met you, but i can tell you right now, that i love you, and do you know why? First of all, because my mother raised me with realness, and she taught me from day one to be kind to everyone, and to love everyone. Do you know why else i love you? Because you are my brother in humanity, because the rain falls over you, just like it falls over me, because the words of My Holy Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, tell me to do good to those that do not do good to me, and because my Holy Quran tells me that no matter what, your well being is more important than mine if you need my help. So do not forget, if you ever need my help my friend, you or any of your other party members, then my bed is yours, my food is yours, and my heart is yours. And also, I speak for all immigrants, i speak for all refugees, and i speak for all Muslims when i say that our beds are yours, our food is yours, our homes are yours, and our hearts are yours. So save yourself from the greed of your own soul brother Jimmie, and come and join your hands with the rest of your humanity. We are waiting for you my friend, we are waiting for you.