Ahmad: Surpassing the golden rule
Human progress requires mutual interaction between people. Over millennia, man has followed or surpassed the golden rule of equity in dealing with each other. Man has shown desire, willingness and capacity to surpass the golden rule.
Holy Quran enjoins three progressive levels of this important aspect of human life as (1) justice, (2) benevolence, and (3) giving like giving to kindred (16:90/91).
Equity and justice are the minimal standards in human dealings for fairness and respect for each other.
"O ye who believe! be strict in observing justice, and be witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or against parents and kindred. Whether he be rich or poor, Allah is more regardful of them both than you are. Therefore, follow not low desires so that you may be able to act equitably. And if you conceal the truth or evade it, then remember that Allah is well aware of what you do. (4:135/136)
"O ye who believe! be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people's enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely, Allah is aware of what you do. (5:8/9)
"... And give full measure and weight with equity. We task not any soul except according to its capacity. And when you speak, observe justice, even if the concerned person be a relative, and fulfill the covenant of Allah. That is what He enjoins upon you, that you may remember." (6:152/153)
Showing benevolence by treating others beyond their due or right is taking a step further as "the reward of benevolence is nothing but benevolence." (55:60/61) Good doers are cautioned, "And bestow not favors seeking to get more in return." (74:6/7) "They who spend their wealth for the cause of Allah, then follow not up what they have spent with taunt or injury, for them is their reward with their Lord..." (2:262/263) "And when you are greeted with a prayer, greet ye with a better prayer or at least return it." (4:86/87)
Affluent person at the time of Moses, Korah, was advised by his colleagues, "And seek, in that which Allah has given thee, the Home of the Hereafter; and neglect not thy lot in this world; and do good to others as Allah has done good to thee; and seek not to make mischief in the earth, verily Allah loves not those who make mischief." (28:77/78)
The level of dealing with each other beyond justice and equity, and favor and benevolence, is giving like giving to kindred, that is, treating each other like relatives treat each other. Such interaction is a result of natural affection and compassion based on blood relations. We are related to each other anyhow after all, "He it is Who has created you from a single soul." (7:189/190)
Treating each other as kindred is a sure path to turn our neighborhoods, towns, countries and eventually the whole earth into a paradise.
Ahmad is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion pages. He has translated, compiled and co-authored “A Gift for the Queen,” “Points to Ponder,” “Why Islam is my choice” and “Words of Wisdom.” He lives in Fargo and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org