By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota
The first duty of love is to listen.
There is a narration on the Prophet’s cousin, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib, who was fighting an enemy with his sword ready to deal the final blow, then the enemy spit in his face. Ali refused to continue the battle as the fight became personally motivated.
We learn from this incident – that whether in battle or in discussion, when conflicts or a fight becomes poisoned with personal angst – the wisest thing to do is to ground oneself and remove the personal angst. Until the personal angst is removed, then the discussion can continue.
There are many roads in the valley of impotence in the face of adversity, and many lead to loss and perpetual suffering. At times, we find ourselves at a junction where many voices are giving us advice, however, all these voices lead us astray. There is the road of guidance which is a steep road, but first we must acknowledge that we do not know and seek guidance.
At times, voices that validate our pain and suffering seek to manipulate one in their most vulnerable state when a person is hurting and unaware. Whereas voices of guidance seek to center and ground you so you can see the roads ahead and choose the road to travel with wisdom and reflection. It is for this reason that God guides us to show patience in times of adversity, so we can reflect and follow the road of guidance and not one of the seductive roads of validation or conformity.
I like to emphasize listening, but not to validate the one speaking but if our aim is to guide another or receive guidance, then we must find where we are emotionally, mentally, spiritually on the map before we can guide each other appropriately. Giving people advice based on conjecture, false assumptions or projections of our own internal issues can lead to many misunderstandings and name-calling.
By Luke Wilcox
Iraq can seem far from Minnesota, both geographically and culturally. While nearly six years of military operations in Iraq have brought images of war and its consequences into American homes, the culture and people of Iraq have rarely followed. Many Americans support peace with Iraq, but know little about Iraqis and wonder how much impact one person can realistically have in a violent world. For a group of Minnesotans and Iraqis, the answer is, “more than you think.” For the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project (IARP) and the Muslim Peacemaker Teams (MPT), interpersonal and local community connections – rather than strategic agreements between national governments – are exactly what is needed to sustain an enduring process of reconciliation and peacebuilding. Read the rest of this entry