The Bear and the Hare
At this time of year, the sight of the Coca Cola truck can only mean one thing...
"..holidays are coming!"
With the approach of the festive season, however, has also come the rise of a somewhat new phenomena:The Annual Christmas TV Advert!
Take a look at the John Lewis' effort from 2011:
For those uninitiated, John Lewis is a department store in the UK who started running commercials in 2009 stressing the 'giving' nature of Xmas.
After the hugely successful campaign of 2011, other shops and online retailers hopped on to the bandwagon (no doubt envious of the resultant up tick in sales) and this year we have a number of carefully crafted commercials to keep even the most die hard Santas happy.
The success of the current John Lewis offering has been quite staggering. Indeed, some people have mistakenly been tweeting a Professor John Lewis in the USA and eulogising at how moved they were upon viewing the commercial and its ability to reduce them to tears. To the academic's credit he has been very polite in response to these erroneous tweets!http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2498953/John-Lewis-patient-man-web-Professor-deluged-tweets-meant-store.html
As Muslims, however, why do we care?
Well beyond demonstrating the downward trend of a supposedly religious holiday into an abyss of commercialisation, it brings into question as to why these adverts have become so endearingly popular?
Upon inspection, there seems to be a common theme around the Islamic attribute of Ithaar
which can be loosely defined as 'giving preference to others over oneself'.
We know, for instance, that Allah magnifies the Ansar in the Qur'an for the preference they showed to the Emigrant Muslims who had been driven out of Makkah.
We know the hadith of the couple who fed their hungry guest whilst pretending to sit and eat with him in the dark.
We know the story of the dying soldiers on the battlefield requesting water be given to the next man even though they were all in mortal need.
We know all of this but, yet, why do we fail to see such actions in the lives of Muslims in the present day. The ummah appears bereft of any sincere altruistic leaning as people become increasingly enslaved to the passions of their own desires.
Whilst we may claim to follow the letter of the law in Islam, are we necessarily following its spirit?
These adverts are a stark reminder to us all of the great nobility in sharing with people, the honour in being generous and the exalted station of those who able to sacrifice their own desires in preference for others.
In the words of the refrain from the Bear and the Hare:"Why don't we go.......somewhere only we know"