Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

Racial hatred is a fire, and we saw the results of such hatred this past weekend, when 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr rammed his car into a crowd of protesters, killing one and injuring dozens of others. It was a heinous terrorist attack on American soil.

Killing another human being is no small thing, and thus the amount of hatred – the amount of fire – in one's heart must be tremendous to carry out such a terrible deed. And the reason I call it a fire is because the first to exhibit racial hatred was Satan, who was created from fire itself according to the Quran:

God said: "What has kept you from prostrating yourself [to Adam] when I commanded you?" [Satan] answered: "I am better than he: You created me from fire, whereas You created him out of clay."

According to the story in the Quran, after God created Adam, he commanded all of the Angels and Satan to prostrate themselves to him. All followed the command of God, except Satan, who refused out of arrogance. Yet, it wasn't just any type of arrogance; it was the arrogance of racial hatred.

Satan was the first racist, and scores of human beings have followed in his evil footsteps.

Thus, we must recognize that to hate someone for the color of his skin, or the sound of his native language, or the place of his origin is nothing short of Satanic, and we must always be on guard against such tendencies. If we let this fire take root in our heart, it is liable to consume our entire soul.

And to protect ourselves from the fires of racial hatred, we must always remember that we are all one, and no one is better than another. We must pour this water of humility whenever Satan tries to spark the fires of racial hatred in our hearts.

For me, as a Muslim, I must remember the word of God that says:

People! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes so that you may come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (49:13)

I must remember the word of my beloved Messenger who said:

All of you are from Adam, and Adam was from dust.

I must constantly keep these noble words reverberating in my heart, so that Satan will have no ability to kindle the fires of racial hatred in my heart. Every religious tradition has similar beliefs and directives, and each of us must turn to the Beloved Lord for help and protection against the fires of racial hatred.

What we saw this past weekend, culminating in an horrific act of terrorism that took the life of an innocent American citizen, was the result of the fires of racial hatred burning out of control. We must always be on guard against such animus and rage, and we must work just as hard to fight the fires of racial hatred with the cooling waters of God's Love. And, in the end, Love will win out.

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