Farid Esack – “On Being a Social Being”

The prompt given was: A Mercer on Mission trip which helps human trafficking victims in Thailand seems like a great way to build community. Why would Esack have a problem with this kind of work? What does he want to see instead?

Esack begins his writing by explaining the Muslim religion in regards to their political stance. If you mention the Muslim faith today, many will respond by saying it is “disgusting” (Esack 87). Farid goes on to say that “to be poor today means more than not to have money. It means being deprived of decision -making power; it means not having access to information and facts about the reality of society, to be marginalized and to exist on the fringes of society” (92), thus calling attention the things that are portrayed in a. With his understanding of Islam, the religion as well as a way of life, he urges his readers to channel in on the power that they have to transform societies that are unjust.

Mercer has a program called Mercer on a Mission, where eligible students have the opportunity to change lives and be changed. They, students and faculty, go within a community and contribute to those in need. From those who I know that have gone on a Mercer on a Mission trip, have stated that it is quite a rewarding experience. Esack would believe that this is a great way to start helping others, but we will “only notice the effects and symptoms of problems, without seeing the cause” (95). What is the true cause of the various people being trafficked in the Thailand community? Are we the cause that contribute[s] to the structures that cause alienation, emptiness, and spiritual desolation” (95). Seek yourself and your values – might strike a role of activism. You have the ability to change. Esack informs his readers that part of being Muslim request for a self reflect on the “forces that shape our values” (98).

I wholeheartedly agree with the views of Esack being that the cause is what’s truly important. The example of the daughter and daughter, given to Farid by one of the Little Sisters of Jesus” (nuns), in the slums of Korangi was extremely captivating. Sister Iris-Mary tells a story of a drunken father who his abusing his daughter. She goes on to explain the duty of the individual helping her: “the mother has to do two this: she has to wipe the tears and heal the wounds of the child AND she has to do something about the alcoholism of the father” (97). Yes, the child’s abuse is an issue, but are her tears the cause… NO, it is her father’s drunken state that must be addressed, as well as her own wellbeing. Erick urges to find those hidden figures not for recognition but to acknowledge the assignment of Allah or whoever you serve, and “remain humble in the face of responsibility [given]” (107).

 

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