The Final Form Of Love


One recalls the famous Niebuhr passage:

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint.

Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

And then one reads this story. A 27-year old Rais Bhuiyan was working at a gas station when a white supremacist enraged by 9/11 came in and shot him in the face. The attacker was on a spree of non-white killings and was captured, tried, and sentenced to die next month. Buiyan wants to commute his assailant's sentence, despite having his face almost destroyed and being blind in one eye. Here's why:

"I strongly believe he was ignorant," Bhuiyan explained to the audience. "He couldn't differentiate right from wrong. … By executing him now, we are losing everything." His Muslim faith, he said, teaches forgiveness, not vengeance.

Nadeem Akthar, the brother-in-law of another of Stroman's victims, Hasan, spoke at the press conference as well. "The last 10 years have been a long 10 years," he told the audience. "We've been going through a lot of turmoil … but we made it here." He quoted Sura 5, verse 32 from the Quran, something he said his sister, Hasan's wife, had wanted him to share. "If someone slays one person, he has slain mankind entirely," reads the verse. "And if someone has saved one person, he has saved mankind entirely."

Some commandments bridge many faiths. But to see them come to life is an inspiring thing.