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Two brief lessons from the two chapters that comprise the fourteenth part of the Quran:  Ḥijr (54th Meccan) and  Naḥl (70th Meccan).
From the first: is the divine promise to preserve this glorious book:
We have sent down this revelation Ourself, and We will preserve it. (15:9)
And in that promise, to also preserve it as a repertoire of the richness of all human languages, and to provide within its inherent implications an ever-abundant wellspring of timeless guidance and creative horizons, not a blueprint for every question or challenge, but a vehicle to broaden our imagination as we endeavor upon the honor and trust to build and care for the world with every step striving—not to fix the world, but to nurture and beautify it.
From the second: is the divine call to justice and kindness, and to give to those of kin.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Allah calls to justice and kindness and to giving to those of kin. (16:90)
There are multiple levels of kinship that the Quran wants us to honor: beginning with our nearest kin, to our neighbor, and ultimately countrymen. To feed people, to spread peace, and to be a source of solace, comfort, and sense for others is a fundamental prophetic guidance that encapsulates the neighborly ethos of the Shariah.
To feed people and to extend yourself to help a neighbor in need—without regard to their denominational or ideological affiliation.
Muslims have a divine responsibility to be the cohesive dynamic in the societal fabric. In America, poverty, mental illness, and hunger, are beyond the capacity of local or municipal resources to address.
The creative horizons for Muslims to contribute to honor their kinships and to ornament the world in the process are endless: We have incredible potential to ornament/beautify our country, and honor our kinships! (We have an endless wellspring of creativity in the Quran).
Just last week, Muslims raised nearly a million dollars for Portland. There is no shortage of collective resources, nor collective intelligence: only noble visionary projects to invest in: To ornament the world and honor our kinships by creating gardens/playgrounds, specialized libraries—and most critically, clinics to take care of those that the system cannot take care of.
State-of-the-art hospitals and clinics in Córdoba and Baghdad once provided music therapy in mental health wards, a technical therapeutic specialty that Muslim physicians pioneered, a sophisticated art validated by modern neuroscience—but one part of the Islamic legacy in the history of medicine.
Another way to ornament our world is through sharing our narratives of lived experience, through the visual and creative arts, through theatre and poetry, even through satire and comedy..
How magical would it be to have an à cappella Muslim children’s choir?!
Whose pure voices resounding with universal themes, celebrating global folklore through the halls of metropolitan transit stations across the city—and maybe even Lincoln Center one day!
May Allah bless us with opportunities to be of service.