The Art of Giving and Giving Up

If there’s one thing I hate about driving, it will probably be the fact that one really cannot multi-task while driving. It requires so much focus and if you have a multiple-track mind like me, that’s really wasteful.

If my mind is not too tired while braving through the terrible traffic on my not-so-occasional work and leisure trips, I’d prefer to listen to lecture. Sure, my mind would not be able to absorb much since I have to put my focus on the road, on the car next to me, the car behind me, the car in front of me and if there is some carefree motorcyclists on each of my sides, but at least there is something I can benefit from when I happen to catch some useful lines.

And as my downloaded lecture of Sh Hamza Yusuf on the Rights and Responsibilities of Marriage is gone with my problematic laptop, I am more than grateful that a friend of mine kindly lends me his CD set on the same lectures, and I have been listening to it whenever I could.

One thing that has been highlighted and stressed so many times by the Shaykh is the fact that though he is discussing the rights AND responsibility of the social contract called marriage, the parts on rights should be well-looked ainto nd taken care of.

Islam and the Prophet himself, throughout his life has exhibited the practical side of giving up rights but never the responsibility.

That’s something unusual really, when I started to think about things that we do in life that are more of self-preservation in nature – demanding our rights – for freedom to do this and that. And upon listening to this lecture that I began to consciously notice about the image illustrated in TV shows I constantly watch – those imported from Wild Wild West of course -it is not rare to see children turning their backs to the parents; old time revenge that leads to estrangement, kids disrespecting the parents, complete severe of the tie and the list goes. These are all talking about rights not being violated.

But rarely in this day and age we are being reminded about our responsibilities.

In many relationships we have in this life, if we look really closely, we can agree that we keep barking about our rights not being fulfilled, but more often that not wish that our responsibilities being left unquestioned.

Think about our relationships with our parents.

Our family members.

Our friends.

Our spouse, if any.

The community and society.

Like what Harfan in the film Laskar Pelangi said : Jangan Pernah Menyerah, Hiduplah Untuk Memberi Sebanyak-banyaknya bukan Menerima Sebanyak-banyaknya”. (Translate: Do not give up.Live to give as much as we can, not to receive as much as we can).

The Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h demonstrated this throughout his life. Not once that he gave up his rights – he could have done some sort of retribution when he conquered the city of Makkah for what its people had done to him and the early Muslims, but he did not do anything. Not a soul being separated for its body, nor a house being destroyed for that sake. No, nothing.

And it’s not infrequent that we read narrations about him being nice to those who treated him badly. It’s his responsibility to those people whether they treat him well or not, that remains a priority.

Though no one was born with that trait,  I have to admit that I seldom make the intention consciously to seek to understand, hence fulfill others’ rights then to be understood i.e. have my rights met.

Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.

Ask not what others must do for you, but ask what you must do for them.

It is the art of giving their rights, and giving up your rights.



  1. a very good article! kita selalu meminta dan sangat jarang utk memberi..

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