Moving Beyond Our Selective Outrage

A comparison is made in Surah Jumuah, verse 5:

مَثَلُ الَّذينَ حُمِّلُوا التَّوراةَ ثُمَّ لَم يَحمِلوها كَمَثَلِ الحِمارِ يَحمِلُ أَسفارًا ۚ بِئسَ مَثَلُ القَومِ الَّذينَ كَذَّبوا بِآياتِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ لا يَهدِي القَومَ الظّالِمينَ

“The metaphor of those who were charged with the Torah but then have not upheld it, is that of a donkey carrying books…” Qur’an, 62: 5

The people who did not uphold the task, the duty put to them, Allah equates them as liars!

There is no doubt that this verse applies as a warning to Muslims, not the Jews!, reminding us that we must be careful not to fall into the same grave error. The Qur’an was sent down as a book of guidance for people to observe.

Rights, in a liberal secular society, are most often conflated whims and desires.

If we allow people to run wild with their desires they will treat this world “as if it were their private property, to be consumed for their sensual gratification.” They will “destroy in their lust for enjoyment the property of future generations and “of their own contemporaries”.

Our desire for rights has to move beyond selective outrage – we must manage these two impulses of our community:

  1. the impulse to improve and (حلف الفضول‎‎)
  2. the impulse to conserve (conserving what? Free to do what?)

Both are necessary to the healthy functioning of any society.

This is an essential method of how we can contribute to this society.

Hilf al-Fudul:(Arabic: حلف الفضول‎‎) was an alliance created by various Makkans (non-Muslims!) and the Prophet to establish fair commercial dealing for all.

شَهِدْتُ مَعَ عُمُومَتِي حِلْفَ الْمُطَيَّبِينَ، فَمَا أُحِبُّ أَنْ أَنْكُثَهُ، وَأَنَّ لِي حُمْرَ النَّعَمِ‏

‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn ‘Awf reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,

“I was present with my uncles at the alliance of the perfumed (Hilf al-Mutayyabin). I would not wish to break it, even for red camels.”

We must also understand that not all contributions will be welcomed, at least on first glance.


  1. Allah has rights; we have a duty to demonstrate them to Him regardless of our whims/desires.
  2. We have a duty to understand this Book or we’ll face the charge of being worse than animals: we’ll be akin to liars!
  3. We cannot allow cowardice dressed up as religion to get in the way of contributing to society in an earnest way.