Community Building in Islam
On Compassion, Understanding and Help 

By identifying the prevailing sentiment we may know the dominating energy of the moment. The dominating energy is always the unfulfilled one. It is the energy of desire and is the commanding energy. It is the demanding energy of the moment. It is the energy that is speaking in the unseen and is always the voice, however inept, of the hidden prayer. This is why it is said that Allah knows the secrets of the innermost heart. If the voice is negative, and projecting in the form of hatred, anger or resentment, then it is the product of (the) frustration (of desires). Frustration is almost always the product of ignorance (as in inability), or distraction (as in lack of focus). In other words, a lack of understanding. 

Understanding is the goal of the quest. Understanding is what transforms the murid (desiring, disciple) into the murad (desired, master). How can it be offered if it is not attained? It cannot be feigned. If there are still desires in the heart for it then understanding is not yet achieved. Understanding is the help! It is the victory and the opening.

Real understanding begins with a compassionate interest and the knowledge that underneath every Dominating Energy (or act of frustration)  there is a responsible cause that is fundamentally benevolent and healing in nature. 

We might even call this the "Primary Understanding". If motivations and primary causes can be truly understood and personal dreams truly honored, then frustrations can be recognized as simple expressions of the challenges to be overcome. This can then take place in cheerful, matter-of-fact discussion. 

The implementation of this approach can eliminate the need for the expression of anger and resentment, which are the concomitant reactive hostilities of pointing blame (at a person), or finding fault (with a situation).  If these hostilities are already out in the open, then it might be useful to observe that their true purpose is simply to bring focus and constructive attention to the perceived frustrations toward the goal of fulfilling the primary causes. 

Questions arise with the suspicion that the underlying causes and motivations are not clearly understood and honored. (Are they then not honorable? Do they need modification or at least some validation and confirmation? The phrase "Reality Check'" springs to mind.) Now the deep work begins and it requires yet another understanding - "why is it important?" This is what separates the men from the boys, so to speak. It is the secret of the phrase "one person at a time". 

Tradition has it that if you save one human being, you've saved all of humanity and if you kill one human being, you've killed all of humanity. To sufis, this means hearts. If you save one heart you've saved all hearts, and if you break one heart you've broken all hearts. If the smallest act of charity (giving) is picking up a stone from a pathway, imagine the significance of bring one heart to God (fulfillment). 

The Arabic words for "charity in the form of help or assistance", comes from the same root as "confirmation", "validation", "truth", "truthfulness".  All stem from the same root: sadaqa (to confirm, to verify, to give - some derivatives are sidq, saddaqa, siddiq). Faqir (poor), means one in need (of help, charity). Qur`an states that charity (sadaqa) is for the fuqara`, the truthful poor. And what do we have to give? Just giving. Going out in search is giving. Offering help is giving. 

Deep down, every person seeks understanding. Understanding can be felt as help and as the prerequisite to being helped, and all of us are needing and hoping in our heart of hearts to be helped. This makes us fuqara`. Help is divine and from the Divine. What does this make the helper? Divine! That is the secret of Giving. Giving (bismillah) is from the Divine! 

Receiving help is self-affirming and validating of life-efforts. In other words, it helps us to heal our hearts and prepares us to pass it along. Receiving help affirms our understanding and thereby our goals and sense of rightness. We are all struggling for success. Having a really clear understanding of our true motivations and a compassion for the needs of humanity is a means of achieving success. If we can know and manifest the truly benevolent nature of our own motivations, then we can help others to find theirs. So being understood is a prerequisite to being helped, and we all need help. This is the Sufi Way. 

In order to be truly fulfilled we must be truly fulfilling. In Sufi lore these stages of the completion of the "perfect being" are called "nafs ar-radhiyyah" and "nafs al-mardhiyyah", or, the fulfilled, pleased self and the fulfilling, pleasing self. The requirements for becoming a fulfilled and fulfilling human being are aptly stated in sufi lore as "Rabbi Haqqah, Ahli Haqqah, wa Nafsi Haqqah". This means (in the short form), give "unto you Lord His (due) rights, unto your family (humanity) their (due) rights, and unto yourself your (due) rights."  These realities will approach when the sincerity of your devotion is confirmed.