Make Room for One Another — Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Make room for one another in your collective life, do make room; and in return God will make room for you in His Grace.” (Qur’an 58:11)

“Come out of the Circle of Time and enter the Circle of Love.” ~Rumi

The Qur’an enjoins those who believe in Allah to be inclusive in their communities. The Book addresses believers as men, women, people from all walks of life, all ages, all races and nationalities, and all classes.  Believers are called specifically to embrace those whom others consider outcasts, such as widows, orphans, the poor and indigent, wayfarers, slaves, and immigrants.  “Do you see the one who denies the Day of Resurrection? Such is the one who shuns the orphan, and doesn’t encourage the giving of food to the poor.  So woe to the worshippers who do not pray with their hearts, but only wish to be seen, those who turn away from neighborly needs.”  (Qur’an 107:1-7)  We will all be held accountable for how we treated others and whether we showed the same graciousness and mercy that we wish to receive ourselves.  The Prophet Mohammad advised, “The true believer is the one who wishes for others what he wishes for himself.” (Hadith)

If someone disagrees with us, we are asked not to argue, but to speak gently and with lovingkindness.  Remember: we will not be judged on what others do, say, or believe, but we will be held accountable for our own intentions, words and deeds.  “To every community, We have appointed ways of worshipand so, do not let others draw you into arguing about it, but invite them to your Sustainer….and if they argue with you, say, ‘God knows best what you are doing.’ Indeed, God will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection concerning everything about which you would differ.”  (Qur’an: 22:67-69)

When we make room for others and invite them into our communities, especially those who are different from ourselves, we are displaying the quality of open-heartedness, generosity, and kindness.  The Prophet also said, in a Hadith Qudsi: “The character of a Wali (friend of God) is based on nothing more than graciousness and generosity.” 

In contrast, when we actively or passively shun others, exclude them from our circles, ignore them or look down upon them, we do so with a clenched heart which not only cannot give love, but cannot receive love.  The Prophet Mohammad was a beautiful example of one who welcomed and made room for everyone, perhaps because he remembered how important it had been to him when he was welcomed by others who nurtured him as an orphan child, and later in life had welcomed him as an exile from his own land.  

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