“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 4 Day 7
We know that at the heart of the universe is the heart of God, and the heart of God is a heart of love, so we can trust God, take risks, and embrace the world that we live in. ‘It is not the fact of being loved that is life-changing. It is the experience of allowing (our selves) to be loved’. This experiential knowing of our selves as deeply loved by God deepens our thoughts with new data about our world, and deepens our feelings with new attitudes towards our world. His whole-hearted love can ‘free us from the tyrannising effects of fear’, ‘renew trust where it has been shattered’ and ‘inspire acts of genuine self sacrifice.”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 4 Day 6
Many of our fears are based on ignorance, or prejudice, rather than reality. These fears can be dispelled simply by coming to terms with the facts. For instance, more often than not, getting to know our neighbours can dispel our fear of getting involved with them. But not all fears are so easily dealt with. Sometimes we can overcome a real fear by playing off another one against it. Often l have found playing off my fear of what would happen if I didn’t get involved - against my fear of what would happen if I did - actually broke the deadlock, and freed me from my fear of getting involved with my neighbours.”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 4 Day 5
‘Fear is our response to pain in the future.’ ‘Fear arises when we believe we will not be strong enough to handle the pain’. But the prophets call us to have faith in God’s capacity to enhance ‘our ability to hold our own against the sufferings the world can bring.’ ‘Faith is not a fortress against danger, (but) a quiet place of deep trust. It is not a magic formula that prevents suffering; it is a place of strength where we feel most present in heart.’ ‘The Buddhist word for faith, sraddha, literally means “to put one’s heart on”. It is etymologically akin to the Latin cor, (or “heart”) from which we derive the word “courage”. The practice of faith is the practice of a strong and courageous heart.’”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 4 Day 4
If we are called to love, and love requires us to overcome our fear, then it is not surprising God - and the angels of God - constantly call us to ‘fear not’. The Quaker Community Worker, Parker Palmer says ‘all great spiritual traditions all proclaim the same core message: “Be not afraid”.’ The call for us to ‘Be not afraid’ is repeated some three hundred times in the bible’. Jesus repeatedly pleaded with his disciples to ‘not be afraid’ (John 14:27). To ‘not be afraid” does not mean we should not have fears; it means we do not need to be our fears.’ As the Qur’an says: ‘on them shall be no fear’. (2.38)”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 4 Day 3
According to the sage Aussie cartoonist, Michael Leunig, we only have two options - love and fear. We can choose one or the other - but not both.
‘There are only two feelings. Love and fear.
There are only two languages. Love and fear.
There are only two activities. Love and fear.
There are only two motives. Love and fear.
There are only two results. Love and fear.
Love and fear.’”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 4 Day 2.
Some fear is healthy. It may be a sign of openness to scary but significant care. But much fear is unhealthy. It alienates us from others and ourselves. ‘The fearful person may appear deeply loving, but fear always interferes with the impulse to love. Fear blocks responsiveness to others. Energy invested in maintaining safety and comfort always depletes energy available for others.’ ‘When fear arises, we harden our bodies and our hearts, closing inward to protect ourselves. We build walls, call up armies, and pay governments to protect us from danger as we try to minimise the risks of being human.’”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 4 Day 1
We live our lives in fear. ‘Fear is something we all experience’. As Wayne Muller says, ‘No single instant is truly fearless - even the most loving or playful setting seems to hold some unseen promise of danger. As human beings we naturally fear hunger, illness and injury. We also fear economic hardship, social disrepute, and abandonment. And we are afraid of the time when death will come to us or to our loved ones.’ And nothing - nothing at all - destroys our capacity to take the risks that we need to take in order to embrace the vulnerability involved in love – in loving and in being loved - like fear does.”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 3 Day 7
Malala Yusafzai told the UN. ‘The Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. (But) I am not against anyone. I do not hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there was a gun in my hand and he was standing in front of me, I would not shoot him. This is the compassion I have learned from Mohamed, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This is the philosophy of nonviolence that I have learned from Badshah Khan , (Mahatma) Gandhi, and Mother Teresa. And this is the forgiveness that I have learned from my father and from my mother. This is what my soul is telling me: be peaceful and love everyone’.”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 3 Day 6
Abdul Ghaffar Khan said ‘It is my conviction that Islam is amal (work), yakeen (faith), and muhabat (love), and without these the name Muslim is sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.’ He called each Pathan to be Khudai Khidmatgar – or ‘Servant Of God’ - committed: ‘to serve humanity in the name of God; to refrain from violence and taking revenge; to forgive those who oppress me or treat with cruelty; to refrain from taking part in feuds and quarrels; to treat every Pathan as my neighbour and friend; to live a simple life, practice virtue, and refrain from evil; and to devote at least two hours a day to social work.’”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 3 Day 5
‘It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards the East or West; but it is righteous-ness -- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, ('ala hubbahu) for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and to practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing’ (2:177).”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 3 Day 4
The Apostle Paul says that: ‘The entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself”.’ (Galatians 5:14) Christopher Marshall says that: ‘The law commands such an all embracing love not because it equates love with external acts alone, or because love can be induced on demand, but because it considers love to be an intentional commitment before it is either an emotion or action, yet a commitment that necessarily issues in both affective and active outcome’ So ‘Do unto all people as you would they should do unto you.’ (Mishkat-el-Masabih).”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 3 Day 3
Both Christians and Muslims believe we cannot the love God - ‘The One Who Loves’- unless we love the ones God loves. The Apostle John says, ‘No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister’. (I John 4:12,16,20-21)”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 3 Day 2
In their Open Letter to Christian Leaders, the Muslim leaders wrote: ‘In the New Testament, Jesus Christ said: ‘”Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these”.’ (Mark 12:29-31) And the Prophet Muhammad said: ‘None of you has faith until you love for your neighbour what you love for yourself’.(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 45)”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 3 Day 1
Al-Wadud not only means ‘The One Who Loves’, but also ‘The One Love’. God’s love connects us to all of God’s creation and all of God’s creatures. It moves us ‘from the isolation of self-interest to a connection with life that cannot allow any ultimate divisions. It does not allow (us) to limit (our) interest to those within (our) tribe – whether those tribal boundaries are understood in religious, ethnic or national terms’. It involves us in a ‘movement beyond the hardened boundaries of the isolated self to the selves-in-relationship that make up community’ leading to ‘a sense of (our) oneness with all’ life.”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 2 Day 7
Miroslav Volf says, ‘Christians and Muslims worship the same God’. For both Christians and Muslims ‘worship of God (who is al-Wadud) consists in love. When we worship, we relate to God with our whole being. Yes, we relate to God with our mind, but we also relate to God with our emotions, energies and activities. To worship God means to have one’s whole being orientated toward God.’ ‘When anyone or anything besides God (who is Love) commands our ultimate allegiance - a ruler, a nation, economic progress, or anything else - we end up serving idols and inevitably get mired in deep and deadly conflicts’.”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 2 Day 6
‘Love of God in Islam is total devotion to God: it is not a mere fleeting, partial devotion. The Qur’an (says): ‘Lo! My worship and my sacrifice and my living and dying are for God, Lord of the Worlds!’ (6:162) The call to be totally devoted and attached to God heart and soul, far from being a call for a mere emotion or for a mood, is in fact an injunction requiring an all-embracing, constant and active love of God. It demands a love in which the innermost spiritual heart and the whole of the soul (with its singular will, soft-hearted feeling and hard-headed intelligence) participate through devotion.’”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 2 Day 5
In the Old Testament Moses said ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength’. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) In the New Testament, Jesus said: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.’(Mark 12:29-30) So our Muslim brothers and sisters are calling Christians to practice what we preach: to practice the law of God written on our hearts – the love of God.”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 2 Day 4
Of the Unity of God, the Qur’an says: ‘He is God, the One! God, the Self-Sufficient Besought of all!’ (112:1-2). Of the necessity of love for God, the Qur’an says: ‘So invoke the Name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him with a complete devotion’ (73:8). In the Qur’an, God enjoins Muslims to issue the following call to Christians and Jews – (the ‘People of the Scripture’): ‘O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God.’ (3:64)”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 2 Day 3
On the Occasion of the Eid al-Fitr al-Mubarak, October 13th 2007 C.E., a gathering of leaders from a broad range of Muslim groups, and organizations wrote an Open Letter to Leaders of Christian Churches, everywhere. In this Open Letter they said: ‘Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population. Without peace between these two communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The basis for this peace already exists’. The ‘common ground’ between Muslims and Christians is first and foremost in ‘the Unity of God’ and ‘the necessity of love for Him’.”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 2 Day 2
We are made by Love for Love. As James Olthuis says, ‘Because God is Love, and human beings are made in God’s image, Love is who we are. Love is not first and foremost something we do. It is who we are. Love is the essence of being human. To live is to let Love well up and stream through us as the pulse of our lives, connecting us to ourselves, our neighbours, the whole family of earth’s creatures, and God, the Alpha and Omega of Love. To love is to be seeking, fostering and sustaining connections with that which is different and other – without domination, absorption or fusion – in delight’.”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 2 Day 1
Love is God’s essence. Ibn ‘Arabi says that, ‘The Loving One (al-Wadûd) is the One whose Love is constant’. Love is who God is and Love is what God does. As Mike Riddell writes in his book Godzone: ‘The heart of God has gone out from itself to envelope the universe. Love is the source of its existence; love the energy streaming through it; love the end to which it moves. God is the one who dreamed you into being; danced with joy at your birth; tracked you down the backstreets of your life, whispering to you in the night, calling you from the darkness,’ to live in the light of his Love.”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 1 Day 7
Every sura or chapter of the Qur’an - except one - begins with the affirmation ‘Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim’. Both rahman and rahim are derived from the Semitic root rhm, which signifies the womb and nourishing-tenderness and nurturing-kindness. According to Ibn Qayyum (1350 AD), rahman describes the quality of limitless grace with which Al-Wadud embraces the whole of the world and all of those who dwell in it, while rahim describes the general embracing grace of Al-Wadud as it interacts with us in the particular circumstances of our lives, always proactive, prevenient, compassionate and responsive.”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 1 Day 6
In the Qu’ran God’s Love is manifest in compassion (al-Rahman), mercy (al-Rahim), grace (al-Latif) and an infinite capacity for forgiveness (al-Ghafur). Reza Shah-Kazemi says ‘It is of utmost importance to understand this constellation of loving qualities is viewed as being much more indicative of the core of the divine nature – closer to the ‘’pole’’ of ultimate reality than is the constellation wrathful qualities.’ He says ‘as regards the Qu’ranic basis for the assertion God is inherently and overwhelmingly loving, one should focus first of all on the two names (of God in the Bismillah): al-Rahman and al-Rahim.’”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week 1 Day 5
Good parents regret it when their children don’t grow up to be good people. When people continue to make bad choices, instead of good ones, and act wickedly, they grieve God. At one point, the scripture says, ‘The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time… and his heart was deeply troubled.’(Genesis 6:5-6) As it says in the Qu’ran, the God who loves you, hates it when you are ‘ungrateful’ (2.276) ‘disrespectful’ (31.18) ‘dishonorable’ (8.58) ‘immoral’ (28.77) ‘unjust’ (3.57)”
“Ramadan Reflections on Al-Wadud (The Loving One) Week1 Day 4
All good parents rejoice when their children grow up to be good people. God says, ‘Be careful to obey all the regulations I am giving you, so it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God.’ (Deuteronomy 12:28) So it is no surprise we find in the Qur’an texts that talk about God as loving (yuhibbu) you when you are ‘patient’ (3:146), ‘pious’ (3:76ff), ‘virtuous’ (2:195ff) and ‘just’ (5:42ff). And Zephaniah says ‘He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.’ (3:17)”