Yesterday, while commuting to work I was listening to the hourly news bulletin on a local NPR radio station which mentioned the $660 million settlement between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and hundreds of victims abused by clergymen.
One woman that had been abused said, “I love God but I love me more.” And I thought to myself what an asinine comment. I’ll admit that I can barely comprehend much less imagine what it must be like to be sexually abused by a family member or a man of the cloth but I do know something about loving God.
Islam speaks about loving Allah, the Prophets, and our fellow human beings. And to say that you love yourself more than you love your Creator is an act of supreme arrogance and disbelief.
Allah says: “Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that you have gained; the commerce in which you fear a decline: or the dwellings in which you delight – are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, or the striving in His cause;- then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious.” [Surah al-Tawbah: 24]
Say: ‘If you love Allah then follow me: Allah will love you and forgive your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’ [Surah Al Imran: 31]
And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else). If only, those who do wrong could see, when they will see the torment, that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is Severe in punishment. [2:165]
You who believe! If you turn away from your religion, soon will Allah produce a people whom He loves and they love Him. [Maidah 5/54]
Anas ibn Malik narrates that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “None of you believes until I become more beloved to him than his parents, his children, and all of humanity. [Bukhari & Muslim]
Anas relates that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “There are three qualities that make those who possess them taste the sweetness of faith. They are: for a person to love Allah and His Messenger more than anyone or anything else, to love for the sake of Allah alone, and to hate returning to disbelief as much as being thrown into the fire. [Bukhari]
Anas ibn Malik narrates that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
Abd Allah b. Hishâm relates the following:
We were with the Prophet (peace be upon him) who had taken `Umar b. al-Khattâb by the hand. `Umar said: “O Messenger of Allah, you are more beloved to me than anything besides my own self.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Nay. I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, your faith will not be complete until I am more beloved to you than even yourself.”
So `Umar said: “Now I swear by Allah, you are more beloved to me than even myself.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “O `Umar, now it is right.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]
Anas relates to us the following: A man asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) when the Final Hour would be. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied with a question: “And what have you prepared for it?”
He said: “Nothing, save that I love Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him).”
To this the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “You will be with whom you love.”
And who can forget the story of Kab ibn Malik during the time the people boycotting for remaining behind from the expedition at Tabuk, when he went to visit his most beloved cousin Abu Qatadah and implored him by saying, “Don’t you know I love Allah and His Messenger?”
One of the seven groups of people that will be under the shade of the throne of Allah will be two people that love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that.
Allowing someone to abuse you without holding them accountable has nothing to do with loving God. And one should not feel that they have to choose between their faith and loving God and justice. Allah is the Most Just and people are unjust.
I agree, an asinine comment. As for the abuse, its inexcusable, indefensible, and barely explainable. That is, nothing can make it the right thing to have done, and very little can explain why it happened at all. Where I live, the Catholic parishes seem to be on a building spree. I like that idea, because to me it means that they’re growing, but as I told my wife, it could also mean that they’re locking up their money now so that they won’t have it should they be tapped for such a settlement.
I also agree that allowing someone to abuse you without accoutability has nothing to do with faith. Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean putting out the welcome mat to be walked on. I’d modify your statement to say that people CAN be unjust, but again, you’re right — there should never be a point where you have to choose between your faith and justice, whether the injustice comes from people within your faith or outside of it.
My mother and father were ‘lapsed’ catholics and came from catholic familes. Members of my family were abused by priests and I also know of others (not in my family) who were abused by priests. This is one of those things that we would hope would be a myth…but the more people come forward the more it seems like we are only aware of the tip of the iceberg.
My mother’s family priest abused several relatives of mine and also was known to abuse the other children in the community..for some reason my mother escaped this (to the best of her memory she claims this) but I am sure that this abuse in her community instilled a distrust of the religion. To young children, often the authority figures of the religion become God…they represent God don’t they?…I do believe that when this woman says that she loves God but loves herself more that she doesn’t mean to be arrogant. She sounds very frightened to me and is speaking from a fear base. She is saying she hates the priest (from what Iam saying)..it’s all a bit twisted, but hardly surprising.
I was brought up by two parents who were both so scarred by the religion of their parents (that intervened in their own natural development into loving God)that God and religion were ‘dirty’ words in our house. I had to worship in secrecy if this is what I wanted.
It has taken me years to recover from the shock reaction against ‘religion’ as a route to God….maybe in becoming a muslim I am healing the family somehow- I am certainly not running scared from God now. I love God and I love me in God. Certainly this disbelieving woman has a ‘part’ of her that loves God…she speaks as a fractured scared child self who can say that she is ‘more’ than God because perhaps that was her way of surviving what is just awful.
She thinks that the priest is God…probably….but it is human that abuses human, not God. Meaning: after what she went through, she’s probably lost it, she had to split God from man, to put God away from her. My way to healing out of abuse was TO God not away…But here I have to say..in order to love God I had to get past the idea that God is a priest…the moment I fully realised (‘fully’) that God isn’t a man with a robe on sitting in a cloud of incense and felt the full force of my realisation that God is what God is..was the moment I believed and was no longer a disbeliever.
I hope that my comments do not cause offense. And all praise is due to Allah.
I’m not sure that I can agree with those conclusions, because humans are human first, with all of their flaws. Their religion is second in defining who and what they are. But your family was in a terrible situation and I am glad that you found a way out of it.
Ah it’s so terrible. I know nothing about truly loving God, so all I can say is may Allah love her and heal her.
Bill: I thought about modifying that statement in that but in the big scheme of things I think people are unjust in so many ways to their Creator, to others created beings, and to themselves.
EFfloresce: I have never really understood the concept of seeing a human being as God even in my Christian days although I can see her statement as one coming out of a background of intense pain.