17 اكتوبر, 2017 - 26 Muharram 1439

What Does it Mean to be Safe?

What Does it Mean to be Safe?

God in the Quran highlights that those who enter Mecca will find it to be a place of safety, but some bring up the fact that negative things have occurred in Mecca, death being one of them. Questions such as, “how can people be killed in a place like Mecca when it is supposed to be a place of safety?” or “how can women be harmed in a city such as Mecca?” are questions that arise and cause one to second guess the words of the Divine.

Why is there a misunderstanding of God’s words? Why does one read a verse and surmise from it their own opinion that is antithetical to the words of God and thereby cause an internal conflict of faith? The answer is one of lenses. Today, whenever we look at the world around us we do so through the lens of our current time and understanding. Today we live in a time of modernity, a time of denunciation of religion, and so we tend to view everything around us through the lenses of that mentality. In this case, when we read a verse speaking about safety, our minds take us to a realm of being free of World Wars, Terrorist Groups, and school shootings, we are fully enraptured by what the world has told us is the meaning of safety, being free of such events and such destruction. Then we bring this lens and this perspective to the words of God. We read the stories of Abraham and because of countless broken families and absentee fathers we view the friend of God in the same light, because of women losing the right over their own bodies and modern day feminism we question why Maryam was given a child by God’s will. We question the Quran because its picture does not properly match the image we see through our lens, and subconsciously (and sometimes consciously), we question whether the words of God are truly the words of an omniscient being.

The solution is the removal of the lenses. The solution is to no longer look at the Quran through the lens that we have been given by our societies and cultures but through the innate original state that God gave us as human beings and then understanding that picture based upon our surroundings. One of the greatest examples of this is the reality of death. The world around us explains death as a natural phenomenon at which life ends; there is nothing after it. This understanding shapes everything about our lives, how we interact with people, where we go, and ultimately how we live. People attempt to not think of death as if to imply that by not thinking of it, it will simply remove itself from our lives and no longer occur. Some try to cheat death by attempting to come up with new scientific findings to preserve their bodies and minds. However, God reminds us in the Quran that, “God created life and death to be a test, to see who is best in deed” (Quran 67:2). Death was never meant to be the end of everything, but rather the beginning of yet another phase of life, eternal life. So now when we look at the words of the Almighty God through those lenses we have a very different perspective of the concept of death.

Imam Qurtubi mentions about the verse, “Have they not seen that We made [Mecca] a safe sanctuary, while people are being taken away all around them? Then in falsehood do they believe, and in the favor of God they disbelieve?” (Quran 29:67) that this verse is speaking about Mecca, and God is speaking to the Quraysh. He is highlighting to them that there was a time when they were in shambles, when they warred with each other and killed each other, when they stole from each other and ransomed each other’s lives on a whim. Is that Mecca the same as the Mecca after Islam? Is it the same Mecca as today? Certainly, they cannot be compared. But in order to realize the reality of this verse, one must be aware of the reality of what Mecca was prior to Islam, then you realize that though lives have been lost in Mecca, it is not in any way shape or form like the Mecca prior to the Quran. There is also a metaphysical reality of safety, Mecca is a holy place, it hosts the holiest place of prayer in the world. It is a place where millions come to worship the Divine. There, in that city people also find a different sort of safety, one of the hereafter and God’s forgiveness. Through the submission that is practiced, through the worship that is done, and through the acceptance that God promises, one receives a safety that excels any type of physical safety that can be achieved. That metaphysical reality can be realized and will be realized for many through Hajj and ‘Umrah, the major and lesser pilgrimage that millions go upon every year. May God help us to attain this safety and to visit the holy city of Mecca.