“I overheard him say, he forgives him. He forgives the one who abused him, because it’s Ramadan, and he’s heard a lecture of forgiveness” she tells me quietly. Her head is low, she seems to be avoiding my eyes. She speaks about her father. The one she has grown to hate overtime. Until this recent realization, that he was abused too. That maybe it’s a vicious cycle. But how do you break it? How do you end the ongoing circle of abuse?
She’s watched him hurt her mom. Not physically, but emotionally. And today she overheard him telling her mom that he was once abused. This has triggered so many thoughts in her head, as it has in mine. … So, that’s why … No it’s not about justifying the abuse … it’s about understanding the psychology. For the first time ever, it’s about looking at him as a human being with his own life and struggles. Because up till now, she’d thought of herself as the victim, and him as the oppressor. But now she’s learned, that maybe, once … a long time ago, he stood in her place. No. He was more directly abused, beaten, humiliated. He lost his father when he was a child, and people just thought him to be an easy target.
She’s going insane. Tears streaming down her eyes. This doesn’t make sense to her, nor to me. It’s really hard, that shift, when all her life she’s blamed him, hated him, looked down at him, thought to herself, “Why?”, it’s hard to now realize that he’s human too. Is this love? The tears in her eyes?
What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to comfort her? I don’t think I can. I think this is her battle. I think she has to fight herself on her own. All I can do, is offer my shoulder, be empathetic, and listen.
But maybe there’s more I can do. Maybe, I can talk to YOU. Yes, YOU, the one who’s reading this. YOU, may know someone, someone who is being abused, behind closed doors, or someone who’s oppressing another. I want to ask YOU, how do we end this cycle of abuse? Why do people not fear God? Why don’t they think about the impact of their actions … clearly, her story, is not of direct abuse, but clearly, it’s been going on for generations. Who initiates this cycle of abuse? And how must it be ended? How do you buildup the courage to do so?
Have you seen him who denies the religion? He is the one who harshly rebuffs the orphan and does not urge the feeding of the poor. So woe to those who do prayer, and are forgetful of their prayer, those who show off and deny help to others.
(Surat al-Ma’un: 1-7)
How, does a muslim, abuse an orphan, when he’s been told that if he were to caress the head of an orphan, he would be forgiven his sins, comparable to the number of hairs on that orphan’s head? HOW?