What happens when humanity loses its humanity?

What happens when humanity loses its humanity?

As we continue to seethe with anger at the hypocrisy and the silence over the appalling genocide in Gaza, we are seeing people who are blind, deaf, and dumb just as the Quran described. Their hearts are so shrouded with darkness that they watch the horrors devoid of empathy.

صُمُّۢ بُكۡمٌ عُمۡیࣱ فَهُمۡ لَا یَرۡجِعُونَ 

Deaf, dumb, blind. They will not return. (2:18)

The Quran warns us of hearts that become hardened like stones, or even harder, the more they move away from God. They become indifferent to what is right and they lose the basic function of the heart, which is to feel love.

ثُمَّ قَسَتۡ قُلُوبُكُم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ ذَ ٰلِكَ فَهِیَ كَٱلۡحِجَارَةِ أَوۡ أَشَدُّ قَسۡوَةࣰۚ وَإِنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡحِجَارَةِ لَمَا یَتَفَجَّرُ مِنۡهُ ٱلۡأَنۡهَـٰرُۚ وَإِنَّ مِنۡهَا لَمَا یَشَّقَّقُ فَیَخۡرُجُ مِنۡهُ ٱلۡمَاۤءُۚ وَإِنَّ مِنۡهَا لَمَا یَهۡبِطُ مِنۡ خَشۡیَةِ ٱللَّهِۗ وَمَا ٱللَّهُ بِغَـٰفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ

Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder. For indeed, there are stones from which rivers burst forth, and there are some of them that split open and water comes out, and there are some of them that fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. (2:74)

Graphic scenes of brutality rip our hearts, while we go about our normal lives as if it’s just another day. The news is no longer reporting the horrors, and world leaders make hypocritical statements about ‘actively working for peace’ and ‘bringing a period of calm’ (not ceasefire) while simultaneously supplying arms to enable the genocide.

As more innocent civilians are being ushered into areas where they will be attacked and bombed by fighter jets, artillery shelling and tanks, is it just a matter of time before we too become desensitised to death?

It is true that violence and cruelty have plagued humanity since Qabil murdered his brother Habil out of jealousy and anger. But our essence, our true nature, is not defined by these acts of savagery. Instead, it’s defined by our capacity to love, to show mercy, to extend compassion.

Humanity is characterised by its innate programming to love one another and show mercy. Consider the strength of maternal love and the unique bond between a mother and her children. Indeed, this love is so strong that a mother will put her children’s needs before her own. It is no coincidence that the Arabic word for womb is rahim. Of course, Allah is ar-Rahman, the All Merciful, and out of His infinite mercy He poured mercy into us.

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,

وعنه قال‏:‏ سمعت رسول الله ، صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول‏:‏ “جعل الله الرحمة مائة جزء فأمسك عنده تسعة وتسعين، وأنزل في الأرض جزءا واحداً، فمن ذلك الجزء يتراحم الخلائق حتى ترفع الدابة حافرها عن ولدها خشية أن تصيبه‏”‏‏.‏

The divine quality of mercy was exemplified by the Prophet (peace be upon him) who was sent as a mercy to mankind and who reminded us repeatedly to emulate and grow this quality in every relationship and every action.

Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

عَنْ أَبِي حَمْزَةَ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ خَادِمِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه و سلم قَال

“لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ”

“None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

When you remove compassion and our ability to empathise from a human being, what are you left with?

Sadly, in our world today, this mercy is often overshadowed by hatred, fuelled by arrogance and greed. The antithesis of love and mercy is hatred. These are the qualities of Shaytan, fuelled by his other qualities of arrogance and greed.

Abdullah bin ‘Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمُ الرَّحْمَنُ ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِي الأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ الرَّحِمُ شُجْنَةٌ مِنَ الرَّحْمَنِ فَمَنْ وَصَلَهَا وَصَلَهُ اللَّهُ وَمَنْ قَطَعَهَا قَطَعَهُ اللَّهُ ‏”‏ 

“The merciful are shown mercy by Ar-Rahman. Be merciful on the earth, and you will be shown mercy from Who is above the heavens. The womb is named after Ar-Rahman, so whoever connects it, Allah connects him, and whoever severs it, Allah severs him.” (Tirmidhi)

We must protect our hearts so that we do not become numb to what is happening. Nor should we become desensitised to the fact that we too will die. Because it is the trait of those who are close to God that they are aware their life is temporary and they know that they will meet their Maker soon. This informs their decisions and actions.

Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَكْثِرُوا ذِكْرَ هَاذِمِ اللَّذَّاتِ يَعْنِي الْمَوْتَ

“Remember often the destroyer of pleasures: death.” (Tirmidhi)

The scenes of death then should serve to make our hearts tremble, not become numb.

We pray that Allah restores mercy to the hearts of all humanity and restores life to the hearts that have died. We pray that those who are taking lives as if they are playing a video game realise the sanctity of each and every life – young and old. This is real life, not fictional like the macabre, dystopian Squid Game or Hunger Games series.

May Allah make us among those who treat others with mercy, love what Allah loves and hate what Allah hates, and may He not let anger and hatred towards others blind us or destroy our faith.

Ayesha Khan 16th Feb 2024