By Dr. Safiyya Shabazz
This following reflection on Juz’ 3 is an edited transcript of a selection of Dr. Shabazz’s remarks from the 2014 Ramadan Prayerline.
I believe that the trait manifested by the best followers of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, is love. Love is what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad demonstrated in the lives of my parents and many others, what my parents weaved into my DNA and what the Honorable Minister Farrakhan has exemplified for me. Surah Ali Imran, verse 30 [31 in other English translations] translates: “Say: If you love Allah, follow me. Allah will love you and grant you protection from your sins. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” Yet, there is no such thing as unconditional love.
…there is no such thing as unconditional love.
Love creates a set of duties for the one who loves, and it is sustained by certain actions by the recipient of love. There is a clear if/then relationship laid out on this verse. If you love Allah, then follow His Messenger. If you follow His Messenger, then He will grant you protection.
What exactly does following the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, entail? It includes the demonstration of love for humanity by doing good deeds and enjoining one another to righteousness. In a world where satanic influence seems to prevail, it can be a struggle to stay committed to helping your sisters and brothers. Sometimes, it can feel like we are punished when we go out of our way to help others, especially when the people we are trying to help don’t want it or don’t even realize they need help.
In surah al-Baqara, verses 268–271,the Qur’an says,
The Devil threatens you with poverty, and enjoins you to be miserly, and Allah promises you forgiveness from Himself, and abundance, and Allah is Ample Giving, Knowing: He grants wisdom to whom he pleases, and whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good. And none mind but men of understanding. And whatever alms you give or whatever vow you vow, Allah surely knows it. And the wrongdoers shall have no helpers. If you manifest charity, how excellent it is! And if you hide it and give it to the poor, it is good for you. And it will do away with some of your evil deeds; and Allah is Aware of what you do.
During this month of fasting and increasing our good deeds, in an effort to purify our bodies, minds and spirits, let us not forget Allah’s promise to us. Remain steadfast in your work to call your brothers and sisters to faith. The first ayah that I referred to promises me that if I follow Allah’s Servant, like a sheep, Allah will love me. Who wouldn’t want the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth to love them? That might seem like a rhetorical question, but I offer a hypothesis. The most difficult love relationship that we have is with ourselves. Can you properly love Allah when you don’t even love yourself?
Can you properly love Allah when you don’t even love yourself?
You say a Muslim is not a Muslim until he wants for his brother what he wants for himself, but can you love your sister or brother when you don’t love yourself? Do you think you are worth being loved? The actual facts of our condition make it clear that we do not love ourselves nor do we not think that we are worthy of being the people of God’s choice. Some of the greatest frustrations and stress from being a healthcare provider comes from watching people I love in the relentless pursuit of death. Forgive my hyper logical engineer’s brain, but even the weeds in the cracks of concrete are relentless in their effort to survive. Yet, since we do not seem to love ourselves, we do not make a serious effort to stay alive. Numerous scientific studies have linked low self-esteem to unhealthy behaviors. It is my sincere prayer that this month of fasting and intense practice following in the footsteps of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) increases our love for ourselves, our family, our brethren and the human family. Most importantly, I yearn for the healing power that only Allah’s love can provide for me and you.
Please help Allah help you by loving yourself enough to get healthy. Be a better servant of Allah by helping to heal those in need around us. May Allah love us and bless us all to be made whole physically, emotionally and spiritually this holy month of Ramadan. As Salaam Alaikum.
Dr. Safiyya Shabazz is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and owner of Fountain Medical Associates, a primary care medical practice specializing in the care of the whole person from childhood through adulthood. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in chemical engineering and a Medical Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. She continues to serve as an attending preceptor for medical students at the University of Pennsylvania and other area medical schools. Affectionately known as “The Doc from the Top of the Clock,” Dr. Shabazz has provided brief, informative commentary on the Holy Qur’an, the teachings of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and the scientific evidence to support both on the annual Ramadan Prayerline since 2006. Her advice for health and long life is based on How to Eat to Live by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and establishing lasting habits that reduce the risk of death and disease.