It was the 10th year of the Hijra. It was the annual Hajj season and people had assembled from almost all parts of the Arabian Peninsula on hearing the news that it was the farewell Pilgrimage for the Almightys Last Messenger to mankind, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny).
Â The chants of Labbaik Allah-homma labbaik, which means Here I am O God, here I am we obey You, was heard from the deserts around Mecca.
The Hajj caravans approached Mecca one after another. The Prophet cast a look around. The Masjid al-Haraam surrounding the Holy Kaba was full of pilgrims. They were engaged in prayer, supplication and circumambulation around the symbolic House of God. The Prophet who had revived the dynamism of monotheism, was visibly concerned about the state of affairs after his departure from the mortal world. He had reason to worry about possible disunity and in order preserve the solidarity of the Ummah was seeking an opportunity to remind Muslims of their duty to God and religion.
At evening on the 8th of Zil-Hijjah, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) along with a large number of Muslims set out from Mecca for the nearby plain of Arafat to pray and supplicate to God. The plain of Arafat echoed with the call of monotheism reviving memories of prayers and supplications in this very place by the Prophets Abraham and Adam millenniums ago. On the 9th of Zil-Hijja Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) led the noon and afternoon prayers and after performing the acts of worship delivered one of the most important advices on the tenets of faith from Mount Arafat. Addressing the great gathering, he said: O people! I might not meet you again. O people! Today I announce that all customs of the days of paganism are obliterated. Your life and property are respected and no one has the right to violate them. O people! All of you will return to God soon and in that world, your good and bad deeds will be reckoned. Women have their rights on you, so do good to them, for they have been granted to you as divine trusts. O people! Heed the words of God in the Holy Quran that the most endeared of you are the most pious of you. No Arab has is superior to a non-Arab except in piety. O people! Beware that usury is forbidden. Avoid following the Satan and those who are present should tell the absent that neither a Prophet would come after me nor would God reveal a new code of laws to anyone. However, I am leaving behind among you the Saqalayn or Two Weighty things. These are Book of God that is the Holy Quran and my progeny the Ahl al-Bayt. The two will never separate from each other even when they return to me on the Day of Judgement. So hold fast to them if you do not want to go astray.
These dynamic words of the Prophet are an undeniable proof of the universality of Islam and the path of the immaculate Ahl al-Bayt, whose life, even under the most adverse circumstances was practical demonstration of Gods Revealed Words the Holy Quran. Wonderful indeed, especially when we realize that today, despite the passing of a millennium and four centuries, Islam is continuing its enlightening task all over the globe even in the remotest parts of Europe, India, China, Africa and the Americas. Every year people of different ethnicities and speaking a variety of languages, converge on Holy Mecca every year from all over the globe to perform the Hajj in the same way as Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) had performed. In other words, the Prophet still guides the people with his exemplary morals and immortal words. The Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt have taught lasting lessons to humanity. They lived a simple life and despite being placed at the head of the community, never attached importance to the material world. British writer John Davenport in his book entitled An Apology For Mohammad, says: The Prophet had a magnetic appeal for all people. With his impeccable manners, truth, honesty and sense of social justice, he soon transformed the Arabian Peninsula into a monolithic Muslim bloc. He never discriminated between the rich and the poor. Islam inculcated all human virtues among its followers and in due time gave birth to a great civilization that profoundly impacted other societies and showed them the way out of darkness.
As God tells mankind in verse 21 of Surah Ahzaab:Â
Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah the most excellent exemplar.
At the end of this articleÂ we bring you a brief statement from the Prophets dearest cousin, son-in-law and the first Imam of his infallible household, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (peace upon him):
I testify that Mohammad is the servant and Messenger of God. He was the Chosen of God, the most trustworthy and the best exemplar for the human race. God sent him with clear proofs and a bright path. He was the torchbearer of guidance and enlightened the human race. So adhere to the sunnah of the Prophet since the worthy of servants in the sight of God is the one stays steadfast to the Prophets true behaviour.
Every day the black Abyssinian Belal by reciting the Azaan or the Call to the Daily Prayers, from the roof of the Prophets Mosque in Medina with his pleasant voice, brought solace and spiritual delight to the heart of the Almightys Last Messenger to mankind, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny). When the sound of Allaho Akbar or God is the Greatest echoed in the atmosphere, an indescribable enthusiasm would engulf the Prophet. At the recitation of the Azaan, the Prophet, who would be impatiently waiting for the glorious time of the daily prayers, prepared himself for communion with God Almighty through the medium of the mass prayer that he would lead with the Muslims praying behind him.
It was the habit of the Prophet to say as the time of the prayers approached: O Belal! Soothe my heart with the Azaan.
Prayer brings freshness to believers and as the Prophet has pointed it is the moment of spiritual ascension. The Prophet would engage with all his heart and soul in prayer, and he was very punctual for the 5-times a day obligatory prayers. It was also the habit of the Prophet to get up late in the midnight for the supererogatory prayers, and so profound was his attachment to the Creator that at times the Prophet would spend the whole night in worship and supplication.Â
The Prophets 6th Infallible Successor, Imam Jafar as-Sadeq (AS) in describing the habit of his illustrious ancestor, says: The Messenger of God used to get up at midnight, look at the sky, and recite verses from Surah Aal-e Imran where God calls upon mankind to ponder on the world of creation. Then he would brush his teeth, take ablution, go to the prayer niche and start the Tahajjod or late midnight prayer.
The Prophet once told his loyal companion Abu Zar regarding his enthusiasm to pray: O Abu Zar! God Almighty has placed my joys in the prayer and made it as relishing to me as He has made food appetizing to the hungry and water to the thirsty. Eating food satisfies the hungry and the thirsty quenches his thirst by drinking water, but I never get satiated from praying.
The Prophet also said: Whenever the Messengers of God got anxious about anything they took refuge in prayer.
Psychologists believe that in the turbulent waves of life and amidst its sufferings and calamities, mankind is in need of a safe refuge. This is provided by prayers and supplications since the prayer relieves tired hearts and is the means of communion with the source of life, Almighty God. Among the most important effects of prayer is inner tranquility. A prayer with proper cognizance of God makes the mysteries of creation clear and comprehensible. Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) says in this regard: Whenever a person stands for prayer with his heart turned towards God, on completing the prayer he become as if he is freshly born. That is, he is cleansed of all his sins and faults.
Today psychologists have confirmed what Prophets have taught. They have realized that prayer and supplication that establish a firm relationship with God remove concern and anxiety from minds. Prayer leaves a profound imprint on human life. The rust of evil, vanity and pride is removed through prayer. Virtue and the urge to do good fills the heart. Dr. Alexis Carle says: If one sincerely prays to God, he or she will see that his or her life is tangibly changed. Prayer grants the power of resistance against the temptations of life.
The Prophet always emphasized on congregational prayers. He used to say: A gathering that is engrossed in the remembrance of God is encircled by celestial angels, granted tranquility and is showered with divine blessing. God remembers those who remember Him.
What a beautiful expression from the Prophet! The mosque is the best site for holding prayer, particularly the congregational prayer. For this reason Muslims have been urged to frequently go to the mosque. The Prophet has said: God Almighty has referred to mosques as His symbolic houses on earth. The mosques shine for the denizens of the sky as the stars shine for the people on the earth.
The Prophet also said: Those who enter mosques, for every step he takes 10 good deeds are written for him and 10 sins are removed from his file.
The Prophet told his loyal companion Abu Zar: O Abu Zar! When you stand for prayer, it is as if you are knocking the door of a being of infinite generosity, and whoever knocks such a door will finally find it opened for him. O Abu Zar! There is no faithful believer who holds his prayer without receiving an abundance of goodness and benevolence, for God assigns an angel who cries: O son of Adam! If you knew what you gain from prayer and to whom you are talking and supplicating, you will never got tired and will not pay attention anywhere.
A major part of adornment is related to body health as well as the environment around us. There are several narrations from the Prophet and the infallible Imams of his household in this regard. They have placed emphasis on cleanness. A famous Hadith from the Prophet says: “Cleanliness is part of faith.” Another Hadith says God has based Islam on cleanliness and it is necessary to observe cleanliness.Â Likewise the Prophet attached great importance to embellishment but in a legal and lawful way. One day a man came to the Prophets house and requested permission to enter. The Prophet took stock of his personal appearance at that important and combed his hair, saying: God likes His servant to be clean and tidy when meeting his brethren in faith. However, the Prophet used to wear simple but clean clothes and not expensive garments. And at the same time he evoked a specific grace. British thinker John Davenport regarding the description of the holy prophet of Islam writes as follows: The Prophet adorned appearance and his simple but great dignity absorbed all. Always a pleasant and attractive smile used to adorn his face.
It was the habit of the Prophet to wear white garments and he used to recommend the wearing of white. This was because white garments are clean and even a speck of dirt reveals their dirtiness. He also liked the green color. Muslims have been advised to refrain from wearing grotesquely dark clothes while going to the mosques that are the mass prayers and public gathering, and therefore at such places the people ought to wear clean clothes and use fragrance to give a sense of freshness. With pondering on the teachings of the Holy Quran, we realize that although adornment has been taken into consideration in the Islamic culture, one should know that the major aspect is related to inner and spiritual cleanliness and adornment as well. Certainly if the human essence is not pure the appearances will have no effect. In ayah 26 of Surah Araaf, while referring to beautiful garments, God counts it among His gifts and instantly adds that the garment of piety is better and more worthy for believers, for, piety purifies the inner aspects of mankind and embellishes his or her soul.
The use of fragrance was among the other traditions and advices of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny). It was the habit of the Prophet to use perfume at the time of prayer. The Prophets 5th Infallible Successor, Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS) says: People used to know the Prophet has passed by the way by smelling the fragrance in the air.
The Prophet also placed emphasis on the health of teeth and used to brush them before performing the prayer. He used to advice Muslims to observe these habits and to have ablutions. In a Hadith we read: Brush your teeth, for brushing strengthens the gum, removes the smell of the mouth smell, pleases God Almighty and repels the Satan.
One day a person came to the Prophet with disheveled hair. The Prophet told him: what would happen to you if you had combed and adorned your hair? The man practiced the prophets advice and since then no one saw him with an ugly and untidy appearance. In a Hadith from the prophet of Islam we read:
God does not like persons with disheveled hairs. Truly God likes the good smell. He is Clean and loves Cleanness. He is Great and loves Greatness. He is forgiving and likes forgiveness.
The basis of social life is based on cooperation. Helping each other in meeting needs and solving problems increase sincerity among individuals. It is evident that this is effective in creating stability in social ties. At the same time, Islam has put forth certain conditions for cooperation and invited human beings to cooperate in good deeds. In Surah Maidah, part of Ayah 2, we read:
And help one another in goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression
Certainly, if the principle of cooperation is revived in gatherings and people cooperate with each other in positive and constructive measures without taking into consideration the ethnic prejudices, many of the social disorders would be removed. However, God has warned against helping oppressors and corrupt individuals. Therefore, cooperation in cases of oppression of people, trampling of their rights, and promoting corruption and disorder in the society is not allowed and Muslims have been prohibited from this. Prophet Mohammad (Blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny) always advised Muslims to cooperate and help people and said: The most popular person in the sight of God is the one who is more concerned about the people.
The Prophet has likened the society to a human body and has said: The believers in their friendship and kindness resemble the functions of the human body. When a believer becomes weak the others rise to sympathize and take care of him.Â Â
The great Persian classical poet of Iran Mosleheddin Sadi Shirazi in one of his beautiful couplets has expressed the Prophets concept as follows:
The sons of Adams are limbs to each other
Having been created of one essence
When the calamity of time afflicts one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
Thus cooperation rises from a feeling of responsibility in the human beings.Â Feeling responsible towards each other is in the innate nature of mankind and actually leads to the flowering of human civilization. In order to further clarify the significance and value of cooperation in life, we point to examples of the Prophets assistance to others.
Prior to his formal appointment as the Almightys Last Messenger to mankind, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), had won acclaim in the society of Mecca for his excellent characteristics and was known as Amin or Trustworthy and Sadeq or Truthful. He used to relieve the poverty and economic pressures of others. Although the Prophets uncle Abu Taleb was the chief of the Bani Hasehm clan, he lived in hard conditions because of having many children. Once the holy Prophet saw the concern of his uncle Abu Taleb, he did not remain indifferent and thought of a solution. Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) went to his other uncle Abbas who had a better financial situation and said to him: Dear uncle, you know that your brother Abu Taleb is now in difficult circumstances, I have a proposal to help him. ”
The Prophets uncle Abbass said: Yes I have been thinking of him as well but I do not what to do? Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) answered: I suggest that each of us one take care of one of Abu Talebs children. We might help him in this way.
Abbas welcomed the Prophets uncle. Both went to Abu Talebs home and briefed him. Abu Taleb agreed. Thus, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) took his young cousin Ali to his house to bring him up as his ward while Abbas took care of Jafar, the other son of Abu Taleb. In this the Prophet helped his uncle Abu Taleb overcome his problems to some extent.
The Almightys Last messenger to mankind, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny) was on a trip with a group of his companions. After several hours of trekking through the hot Arabian Desert, the party was tired, thirsty and looking for a shady spot to rest. They reached a dry region where there was no vegetation. The Prophet chose the spot to rest and asked his companions to fetch some dry twigs. They said to him with one voice: “O Messenger of God, we are in a place where there is no vegetation. The Prophet smiled and said: “Each of you go in a different direction and search, perhaps you will find some twigs.” The companions scattered and after a while returned with twigs. Each one had collected a few twigs which when put together took the shape of a huge pile. The Prophet pointed to the huge pile of twigs and said: There is a lesson to be learnt for you. Be careful that sins also appear as small, but when collected together they turn into a major pile of sins. So refrain from committing even the sin that you consider insignificant.
Most human beings are tempted by worldly pleasures without bothering to think whether these pleasures are harmful of beneficial. If a person indulges in pleasures without any control he or she should would not only destroy his or her own physical and spiritual health but would infringe on the rights of others, thereby turning into a major sinner. Sins are the result of temptations and the misconstrued idea of enjoying personal pleasures. The Holy Quran cites examples of how several nations of the past were annihilated and fell prey to their own misdeeds and sins. Sins cloud the hearts and kill the conscience. As a result the soul is badly damaged. However, the more cognizant a person becomes of God the Almighty Creator the more he or she abstains from sins. It is faith that salvages the human being. The Prophet describing the danger of sins, said: The faithful view sins as a mountain hovering over the head fearing that it would collapse any moment.
God is All-Merciful and has kept the doors of repentance wide open for the human beings to seek forgiveness for their wrongdoings. Repentance means not to repeat the wrong committed and for this reason those who repent are dear to God Almighty, whose love for His creatures is far greater than the love of parents for their children even the disobedient.
This is the reason that Islam through realism invites all people to observe piety in life. The Prophet says: Be pious and always remember God. If you were to commit a wrong, repent and seek forgiveness of the Lord Most High.
Piety deters a person from committing evil deeds. A pious man views God as the observer of not only his behaviour but also of the whole universe. As a result he develops insight and is careful of his behavior and tries not to hurt others as well. It is piety that inspires the sense of purity and justice. This beautiful feeling of piety is a condition for the acceptance of acts of worship. The Prophet says in this regard: Even if you stand in prayer for long hours like a peg fastened to the ground or fast frequently to the extent that you become lean as a chiseled staff, your worship will not be accepted by God unless you practice piety and abstain from sin.
What a wonderful saying indeed! It means that Islam builds human beings and sound societies for the goal of worship in Islam is the purification of the human soul.
The man did not know the cause of the rude behavior of his brother towards him despite his own sincere efforts. He at last decided to approach Prophet (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny). He came to the Prophet and said: O Messenger of Allah! One of my relatives harasses me a lot, but on your advice I treat him well. However, I have to acknowledge that I have got tired of him and decided to leave him.
The Prophet in response said: If you do so, both of you will be deprived of Gods mercy.
The man asked: So what should I do?
The Prophet said: maintain bonds of kinship with even the one who breaks them, and the Almighty will help you.
The faithful obediently followed the Prophets advice although maintaining ties with such a rude brother was rather difficult for him. Soon he began to witness change in his brothers attitude with rudeness giving way to affection.
One day the Prophet said to his companions said: Do you want me to tell you what is the best characteristic in the world and in afterlife?
All replied in the affirmative.
The Prophet said: I advice my followers, whether those present here or those absent from these gathering and even those who have not yet been born, to observe bonds of kinship even though it requires the traversing of a long way, since affection among kith and kin and visiting them is a divine duty.
Kinship is something natural. It is part of human nature. It increased the sense of solidarity and creates a warmth and healthy atmosphere. Modern day experts agree that cutting the ties of kinship among families is a kind of social disease. It leads to isolation, loneliness and psychological problems. Societies where ties of kinship are weak suffer from all kinds of abnormalities in contrast to societies where family bonds govern social behaviour and progress. Psychiatrists say exchange of visits between families and friends freshens the mind and has positive impacts on both the spirit and the body. An interesting saying from the Prophet, reads: “God does not bestow His mercy on the people among whom there are no bonds of kinship.”
What a wonderful saying indeed. We can see its effects by taking a look at the environment around us. The Prophet set a practical example in this regard and devout Muslims follow his behaviour in their daily life in order to keep the society sound, healthy, free from psychological diseases and social ills.
It was also the habit of the Prophet to ask for permission before entering a house. This is courtesy and respect for the rights of others even family members. He also used to greet them first on crossing the threshold when given permission to enter. He even used to knock on the door of his daughter Hazrat Fatema (SA) and greet her before asking permission to enter. One day the Prophet on visiting his daughter saw that she and her husband, Imam Ali (AS), were both grinding wheat by rotating the hand mill. The Prophet asked which one of them was more tired? Imam Ali (AS) said: that his wife Hazrat Fatema (SA) was more tired. The Prophet said to his beloved daughter to get up, and he himself started helping his son-in-law in grinding wheat.
What a wonderful lesson he taught in maintaining an affectionate family atmosphere where each member of the household helps the other. The Prophet also preached social harmony. It was his habit that if he did not see any person for three days to ask about him and his health. If that person happened to be sick the Prophet would visit him to enquire about his health and other necessities. If he was informed that the person was away on a trip, the Prophet used to pray for his safe return to the family. The Prophet used to accept the invitation of all people whether rich or poor. Whenever a needy came to him, the Prophet looked after his needs. The persons liked most by the Prophet were the ones who were more social and cooperative with others. The Prophet used to say: Relationship lengthens life, develops cities and increases property.
It was the 3rd of the Hijra or the historical migration of the Almightys Last Messenger from Mecca to Medina. The Muslims were growing in numbers thanks to the enlightening message of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny). In Mecca the infidels were seething with revenge. In order to make up for their defeat at the Battle of Badr the previous year when they had unsuccessfully tried to impose an armed conflict on the Muslims, they now made preparation for another armed encounter and on a large scale. The goal of the disbelievers was to try to wipe out Islam. The Meccan disbelievers marched towards Medina in battle gear. The Prophet and the people of Medina got speedy news of the approaching force. There was enthusiasm among the Muslims who prepared themselves for the encounter with faith in God Almighty. The army of the Meccan infidels took position near Mount Ohod on the northern outskirts of Medina. All awaited the instructions of the Prophet. In order to test the resolve the Prophet assembled the prominent Muslims for consultation and addressing them said: “Express your opinions on the ways of defense.”
He knew better than anyone the interests, but preferred to listen to the opinions of others in order boost their confidence and inculcate in the Muslims the spirit of consultation.
When the Prophet asked everybodys opinion, a hypocrite called Abdollah ibn Obai who had outwardly adopted Islam in order to deceive Muslims, said: In the past we used to defend the city by staying at homes. It means we should not venture out for the battle. The men have to fight hand-to-hand combat with the aggressors, while women have to hurl stones on the enemies from the roof.
Some of the old people of Medina seconded his opinion but the youths disagreed and said: This type of defense encourages the enemy. Is it not shameful that the brave men stay at home and bear the disgrace of the enemy entering their home to fight with them? Hand-to-hand combat in the narrow lanes of Medina might make conditions more difficult for Muslims. In addition the siege of Medina and the enemys entry into the city would demoralize the Muslim defendants.
After listening to the differing opinions, the Prophet, who knew better than anybody else the best form of defense, preferred to leave the city and counter the enemy on its outskirt in the open field. He moved towards Ohod where the infidel enemies were camped but thy hypocrite Abdollah ibn Obbai and his group separated from the Muslims in the middle of the way, claiming that the Prophet had heeded the opinion of the youth rather than listening to him.
What happened at Ohod is history. A decisive battle took place and when the enemy retreated, a group of Muslims that had been placed to guard the mountain pass against ambush from behind, left their positions and tried to take hold of the retreating enemys baggage. A detachment of enemy forces that was waiting for the chance burst upon the unsuspecting Muslims from behind through the unguarded pass and made them flee the battlefield. Only the Prophet along with a few steadfast followers including his brave cousin Imam Ali ibn abi Taleb and uncle Hamzah (peace upon them) stood the ground to ward off the onslaught. Hazrat Hamza was martyred brutally from behind on the instructions of the wicked Hend the wife of chief infidel Abu Sufyan. But the flashing blade Zolfeqar of Imam Ali saved the day and the honour of Muslims and saw them return triumphantly to Medina along with the Prophet. The hypocrites and those of weak faith who had fled the scene were exposed, but the Prophet mercifully forgave them and advised them to mend their ways and seek forgiveness from the All-Merciful God.
Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny) used to encourage consultation among his followers so that they become familiar with each others viewpoints and find out the best possible ways for solution to various issues. Consultation brings out the strong and weak points of each person, and brings to light their abilities and sagacity. Consultation, especially in state affairs, prevents despotism and selfish tendencies. However, consultation and airing of opinion should be sincere and not like smack of hypocrisy the way Abdollah Ibn Obbai behaved on the threshold of the Battle of Ohod. The Prophet used to emphasize upon this point by encouraging brotherly attitude towards each other when asked ones opinion. Individuals in every society are in need of each other in different fields. Consultation is the best solution in this regard. However, there are certain conditions for consultation. For instance, one should consult a person who is wise and known for his sincerity and frankness of opinion. The one consulted should be sympathetic and more important a trustee. For this reason Islam has forbidden consultation with seven types of people. These are misers, cowards, the greedy, the selfish, the hypocrites, the oppressors, liars and the infidels, for consultation with them brings about ruin.
Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny) asked his dear young cousin and son-in-law Imam Ali (peace upon him) to go to the market and buy a shirt for him. The Imam bought a fine shirt costing 12 dirhams. The Prophet smile and said: “O Ali! I want a cheaper shirt if the seller is ready to take it back?”
Imam Ali (AS) took the shirt to the market and returned with the 12 dirhams. Then both he and the Prophet went to the market. On their way the Prophet saw a little girl weeping and asked her the reason for her grief. The girl who was a housemaid said: My master gave me 4 dirhams to buy certain things from the market and I dare not go home since I have lost the money. The Prophet gave the maid 4 dirhams out of the 12 dirhams he had, saying buy the necessary things and take them home.
The Prophet and the Imam reached the market. The Prophet bought a shirt costing 4 dirhams. On his way home he saw a poorly clothed man. The Prophet immediately gave him the new shirt he had bought and went to the market once again to buy another shirt. On their way home, the two came across the same maid hesitating to return to her masters house. On being asked the reason, she said it was late and she was afraid her master would scold and mistreat her for the delay in returning from the market. The Prophet said to her: “My daughter do not worry, I will accompany you to the house.” The Prophet took her to the house. When they reached the house, the Prophet greeted her master, saying: “I have come here to request you not to censure the maid for being late.” The master who was amazed at the sight of the Messenger of God coming to his doorstep, said: We feel honoured by your presence and will free this maid immediately from our service.
Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) turned to Imam Ali (AS) and said: “All praise to God Almighty, what a blessed 12 dirhams! It provided clothes for two persons and freed a slave.”
Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), whom God hails as the Mercy to the entire creation in the holy Quran, was kind towards all people. He taught mankind how to behave with fellow humans. That is the reason God has urged humanity to follow the exemplary ways of the Prophet in life and to refrain from whatever is considered bad and evil. As is clear from the account we presented you today, philanthropy and helping others gives us the sweet feeling of accomplishing rewarding deeds. Islam pays special attention to acts of benevolence and munificence. The holy Quran emphasized establishment of justice as well since without justice and munificence a society is sick and decadent. Affection, loyalty and charity create a special feeling of warmth and sincerity among human beings. A real Muslim is expected to help his friends and family members and even strangers, and to feed the hungry people. The Prophet says in this regard: “The greatest act of wisdom after belief in God is friendship with people and kindness towards all.”
A true Muslim is the one who does not discriminate on the basis of color, language, ethnicity, class and geographical borders. The Prophet says in this regard: Whoever spends a day without caring about the affairs of Muslims is not a Muslim.
Helping others and solving their problems has constructive impacts on society and are considered as forms of worship in Islam. It brings peace and prosperity in life and rewards in the Hereafter. This is part of the dynamic spirituality of Islam.
A hadith says in this relation: “Desire for your brother whatever you desire for yourself.”
Thus, kindness and doing good to others is the foundation for a sound and healthy society.
As usual that day a group of companions of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny) sat beside him engaged in discussion. Amidst the conversation sometimes the Prophet cast a look outside the mosque. The Prophets glance was fixed on a strongly built bare-feet youth working hard since morning. At that moment one of those sitting near noticed the Prophets focus of attention and said:
This youth is so much engaged in his work that he does not even realize his surroundings. Isnt it a pity he is not using his energy in the path of God. If he worked for the sake of God, he would be deserving praise.
On hearing these words from his companions the Prophet fell into silence. All waited to hear the Prophets opinion. The Prophet then said: “My dear companions do not talk like this. The work of this young man has drawn my attention because of certain factors. If he is working to earn his livelihood, you should know that he is striving in the way of God. If his working to provide sustenance for his parents or children, then also he is striving in the way of God. But if he is working merely to increase his wealth or to boast to the poor, you should know that he has taken to the path of the Satan and has deviated from the truth.”
On hearing the Prophets wise words the man who had made unjustified comments rued his hasty judgement. Soon with the approach of the time of prayer the Prophet got ready for the congregational prayer. Some of those sitting with the Prophet decided to help the youth complete his work at a faster pace so that he could also join the congregational prayer.
Working and earning a living in a lawful way has a special status in Islam. The statements of the Prophet invite Muslims to work and activity. The Imams of the Prophets Infallible Household also set exemplary standards in this regard. In fact, the Prophet and the Imams practiced what they preached so that Muslims become aware of the enlightened way of life. A Hadith from the Prophet, reads:
“The most permissible food that a person eats is the one which has been obtained with his own work and efforts.”
Indeed what a beautiful saying! Since working for earning legitimate livelihood is praiseworthy, the hardships suffered in this path are sweet and valuable. The Prophet considers work so important that he has often likened it to Jihad in the path of God. A Hadith says in this regard:
“Jihad does not mean that a person should always wield his sword in the path of God. Jihad means that he should shoulder the burden of life, of his parents and of his children.”
Thus it is clear that jihad or striving in the way of God is not limited to the battlefield but is quite broad and open in all spheres of life and society. It is said that when God revealed ayahs 2 and 3 of Surah Talaq to the Prophet a group of Muslims gave up work and devoted themselves to worship all the time. In part of Ayahs 2 and 3 we read:
And whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make for him an outlet. And give him sustenance from whence he thinks not
When the Prophet saw that some people had given up work and engaged in worship all the time so that God gives them sustenance he became very upset and said: Whoever adopts such ways and gives up activity, his prayer is not accepted. It is necessary for you to work and earn your sustenance. Seek help from God through the blessings of work and your efforts.
Another Hadith from the Prophet reads:
Whoever is heedless of his affairs in the world will be more heedless of the hereafter. The best Muslim is the one who enjoys both this world and the hereafter.
Among the other advices of the Prophet is that Muslims should refrain from extremism in work and observe moderation since this would make them less exposed to fatigue and boredom, and enable them to maintain both their physical health and spirituality. Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) considers moderation in earning livelihood to be a sign of wisdom and says: Be moderate in seeking livelihood.
In the days of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny), there was a youth in Medina who used to be disrespectful towards his mother. Although upset, out of motherly love she continued to treat him affectionately and speak kind words to her son in the hope that he will be guided one day. He, however, was rude as usual without the least sympathy for his poor mother. One day the youth felt a severe pain. His condition became worse and doctors said the disease was incurable. The mother took care of her son despite the fact that whenever she remembered his impoliteness, her heart used to break. It seemed that death was fast approaching for the youth. The Prophet was requested to visit the ailing man and pray to God for him. The Prophet obliged, came to the house of youth, put his soothing hand on the burning forehead and said: “O young man, utter the word of monotheism and say I testify there is no god but Allah.”
The young man opened his eyes and saw the enlightened visage of Gods messenger. Although he tried very much he could not testify to the Oneness of God Almighty. The Prophet asked: Is his mother present? The weeping mother came forward. The Prophet said: “Woman, are you content with your son?”
Wiping tears from her eyes, she said: O Messenger of God! He has not been talking to me for a long time. He returns my love and kindness with rudeness and disrespect.
The Prophet said: Forgive your son and be content with him. The mother took a look at the weak body of her son, she sighed and said: Now that it is so, I will forgive him for the sake of God and His messenger. I hope God will be pleased with him.
The Prophet once again looked at the young man. He asked him to recite the word of monotheism. This time the youth testified to the Oneness of God. The Prophet recited a supplication and the patient repeated it after him: The contents of the supplication was: O God, Who accepts event the most insignificant good deed and forgives major mistakes, accept my deed and forgive me, for You are kind and generous.
The youth after reciting this statement, smiled while his soul peacefully left his body.
Islam considers respect for parents and observance of their rights, after the right of God as the most important duty of a human being. In the holy Quran, Ayah 14 of Surah Luqman, reads: Be grateful to Me and to both your parents.
Here God, after speaking of His right, draws attention to the rights of parents.
Once a man came to the Prophet and said: O Messenger of God! I have committed many sins during my life. Is the way of repentance open to me and will God forgive me? The Prophet asked: “Is any of your parents alive?”
The man answered: Yes, my father is still alive.
The Prophet said: “Go and be good to him so that God forgives you.”
A famous statement from the Prophet reads: “May God bless the child who does good to parents.
Thus, Islam has advised respect for parents, and forbidden rudeness and insult to them. Doing good to parents particularly when they desire something is among the very important duties of children. There are many parents who give up their comfort for the convenience and happiness of their children. There are many mothers who deprive themselves of sleep so that their children might live in comfort. According to Islam, the contentment of parents brings contentment from God, while their dissatisfaction brings divine displeasure. The Prophet in another Hadith, says: Whoever likes to have an easy and concern- free death should do good to his parents, for in addition to making sweet the moments of death, it keeps away poverty.
After his memorable migration to Medina where he laid the foundations of the first ever-Islamic state, the Almightys Last Messenger to mankind, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny), faced many conspiracies by certain polytheist Arab tribes who were in league with the ever rebellious Israelites.
The Israelite tribes were constantly plotting against the Muslims, who lived in straitened circumstances with shortage of food, and looked forward to the Prophet to find a solution. At this moment a Jewish shepherd grazing his sheep came near to the camp of the Muslims eager to find out for himself of the tenets and belief of Islam. He at first hesitated whether to approach the Muslims or not. Finally, after an hour of pondering, his heart urged him to remove anxiety and proceed towards the Muslim camp. The Jewish shepherd took cautious steps as he approached the Muslim camp. The Muslims saw him coming towards them and the shepherd said that although a Jew he was interested in meeting the Prophet and knowing the fundamentals of Islam of which he had heard a lot. The Muslims took him to the Prophet. The Jewish shepherd soon realized that Islam was the ultimate truth of which Prophet Moses and the other Prophets of the Israelites had spoken. His heart was inclined towards accepting the truth. At this moment he realized that the Muslims were short of food. He proposed to hand over all his sheep to the Muslims to help them overcome their hunger.
The kind words and the dynamism of the Prophet made an instant impact upon him. But the Prophet after hearing the proposal of the eager and enthusiast new convert to Islam, replied in his same kind tone: O young man beware that in Islam treason is one of the gravest crimes. The sheep are not your and although the Jews are fighting with us, we Muslims will not seize their livestock even if we are hungry and short of food. Now I want you to return back all the sheep that you are grazing to their Jewish owners and then come back to me if you want to be a really truthful Muslim. The young Jewish shepherd was amazed by the Prophets ethical principles. He was now even more convinced of the truth of Islam. He returned all the sheep to their owners and joined the ranks of Muslims. Thus, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) did not permit the shepherd to betray the trust of the Jewish livestock owners.
Trust and honesty is among the characteristics of Islam. Several Ayahs of the holy Quran encourage Muslims to honesty. As you heard in this story, the holy Prophet not only by his words but also by his deeds stressed honesty.
Once the Prophet appointed a person named Maaz bin Jabal as the governor of one of the provinces of Yemen. He said: “O Maaz I exhort you to be pious, honest, adhere to your promise and keep away from treason.”
The Prophets emphasis on honesty and trustworthiness was to the extent that his first infallible successor Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) says:
“The holy Prophet, prior to his passing away said to me three times: O Abal-Hasan be honest in your trust whether it belongs to a good or evil person, whether or not it is significant.”
According to psychologists trustworthiness is a way for attracting peoples confidence. Therefore an honest man enjoys respect in society. In the Islamic culture, trustworthiness is not confined to religious affairs. In social relations trustworthiness has been greatly emphasized. One of the greatest trusts of God to mankind is the holy Quran. By practicing its teachings Muslims gain prosperity in worldly life and salvation in the hereafter. The eyes, ears, intellect and the power of speech, as well as all other bodily organs are not only the blessings of God but also a trust entrusted to the believers. In other words they have certain rights upon that should not be violated by forcing these organs to commit evil acts. Even spouses, children and parents are referred to as divine trusts and people are duty bound to observe their rights. With another statement from the holy Prophet of Islam, we conclude our discourse regarding trustworthiness. The Prophet says: “If you see three characteristics in your brother-in-faith have hope in him. First, modesty, second trustworthiness and third honesty. If he does not enjoy these, there is nothing to expect from him.”
The man had traveled a long distance to reach Medina. He was very eager to meet the Almightys Last Messenger to mankind, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny). On arrival in Medina he inquired and made his way towards the Prophets simple house. He knocked the door, asked for permission and entered the house. The Prophet who always warmly welcomed his guests received him with great respect. The man said: “O Messenger of God! I have come from a distant place to see you. Now that I have availed the opportunity to meet you, I request you to give me a piece of advice.”
The Prophet said to him: Do not get angry.
The Prophet said nothing more.
The man plunged in deep thought and said to himself: What a short and brief advice! Why did the Prophet express such a short phrase?
The man rose, bid goodbye to the Prophet and returned to his clan. On return home he learned that the youths of his tribe had stolen some the properties of others. Those who were robbed retaliated against the youthful thieves with vengeance and now the flames of a bitter internal conflict were threatening the clan.
On learning this, he was also enraged. He immediately picked up his weapon, put on his armour and decided to join the tribesmen for a fight. At this moment, he suddenly remembered his meeting with the Prophet and the advice: Do not be angry.
He at once reined in his emotions, and now on reflection on the prophetic words, he was delighted to have discovered the philosophy of peaceful life. He immediately put aside his weapon and casting off his armour approached his tribesmen, saying: O friends! Have you thought of the cause behind this conflict? If some ignorant youths have done some harm, I am prepared to pay compensation from my personal property so that no fighting and bloodshed takes place. Why should we fight each other for such worthless issues?
The tribal leaders were convinced of the rationale of their kinsman, and to prove that they were logical as well, they said:Â We also do not insist on war and we give up our claim.
Thus the two sides by restraining their anger resolved the issue, thanks to the brief but bright advice of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny).
One of the social and ethical injunctions of Islam is to refrain from anger and be kind to people. Regarding the immaculate characteristics of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), God the Almighty says: “O Messenger, it was the mercy and the favor of God which made you kind towards people, and if you were harsh and bad-tempered, the people would have distanced themselves from you.
Thus, the politeness of the Prophet was one of the causes behind the peoples attraction towards Islam. The Prophet says in one of his famous aphorisms: If people knew how much good temper is important in life and its impact on happiness and prosperity, they would acquire good morality and traits.
Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) always associated with people and never drove anyone from him. If ever he was displeased it was for the sake of God and not for his personal affairs. His servant Anas bin Malek says: I served the Prophet for 10 years and never was he harsh or discourteous to me.
In some narrations, anger has been considered as the source of many sins, while patience is regarded as a pleasing characteristic that brings divine blessings. A praise-worthy characteristic of mankind is to refrain anger and to exercise self-restraint. A Hadith from the Prophet says in this regard: Whoever suppresses his anger when he is able to vent it out, God would grant him a faith to taste its pleasing effects.
Anger makes a person loses his mental equilibrium and at times in such a state of rage, he or she appears like a savage animal not sure of the effects and consequences of angry acts. In other words, it is the power to control anger that makes the human being distinct from animals, since in view of power of other faculties that God has granted mankind, if anger were to be left uncontrolled it would turn into a destructive force. Therefore, a Muslim ought to be in control of his emotions since moderation is the most pleasing behaviour and vital to peace and prosperity.
We end this weeks edition of In the Presence of the Prophet, with another beautiful statement from Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny):
The person who keeps cool despite being provoked by others is dear to God Almighty.
The caravan made its way through the desert. It was noon and the sun was shining more brightly today. The caravan was instructed to stop by the Almightys Last Messenger to mankind, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny). The Prophets companions dismounted, and started preparing a sheep for lunch. Everyone volunteered to share in the work. The Prophet assigned his cousin Jafar to distribute the work. A few moments later, a person named noticed that one of the members of the caravan collecting twigs in the desert. When the identity of the person became clear to him he couldnt believe his eyes. He called Jafar and pointing in the direction of the person collecting firewood, said: “Is this real? Jafar replied in the affirmative, and the both said with one voice: It is the Prophet! Abdollah said: Hurry up Jafar, it is not right that the Prophet should toil in the desert sun this way.
The two ran towards the holy Prophet. When they reached him, Jafar said: Messenger of God do not bother yourself. It is a great honor for us to do all the works. It is not right that a personality like you gather wood for the caravan.
The Prophet stood up, wiped the beads and the dust off his face, and with a pleasant smile on his lips, said: “I know that you can do all this. But God does not like to see His servant in a situation different from the others.”
Jafar and Abdullah looked at each other and understood that they cannot deter the Prophet from this work. The Prophet resumed his gathering of firewood. The two companions said: We have never seen such a humbleness in our life.
Humbleness and modesty were among the characteristics of the Prophet for fostering sincerity and friendship among people. Certainly, selfishness and pride are among the major factors of hatred of human beings towards each other. Humbleness sows the seeds of friendship and affection in hearts. The first point in such a down-to-the-earth behaviour is to realize that humbleness is not a factor of self-humiliation. On the contrary, humbleness towards others is a source of pride and dignity and brings blessings from the Divine Court. The Prophet says in this regard: “Humbleness is the source of pride and sublimity. So be humble so that God grants you sublimity.”
What wonderful lessons the Prophet has taught humanity. The highest degree of humbleness is that mankind should be humble at the peak of power. Despite having rank, power, fame, wealth and all other possibilities, a person should choose to be humble. As the Prophet has said: “Three things are most worthy: Behaving humbly while in power, forgiving and pardoning despite having power, and forgiveness without letting the person pardoned feel indebted.”
The Prophet admonished against selfishness at every opportunity. One day when he was sitting with a group of his companions a poor man wearing old clothes came in. He looked around and unknowing sat beside a rich man. The rich man looked displeased and moved away from the poor person. The Prophet who was watching his behavior said: Do you fear that his poverty would affect you?
The rich man said: No.
The Prophet said: Perhaps you fear that your wealth would pass on to him.
The rich man felt very ashamed and answered: No it is not so. The Prophet said: “So what made you distance yourself from him?”
The rich man said O Messenger of God! I admit my mistake and in order to atone for my wrong, I am prepared to give half of my wealth to this poor Muslim brother.
The Prophet turned to the poor man and asked his opinion in this regard.
The poor man replied: O Messenger of God! I cannot accept his wealth. Since I am afraid that this wealth might afflict me with the same pride, arrogance and selfishness as shown by this rich man today.
What a wonderful lesson the Prophet gave to humanity! Among the praiseworthy ways of the Prophet and blessed household the Ahl al-Bait was that they associated with the poor classes and ate food together. A Hadith from the Prophet says: “Be humble, associate with the poor and abstain from pride, in order to be worthy before God.”
Abu Naeem recalled the pleasant memories of his childhood.
His childhood coincided with the initial years of the migration to Medina from Mecca of the Almightys Last Messenger to mankind, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny). Abu Naeem sometimes recounted with nostalgia those good memories for his son. He never forgot the day when the Prophet patted his back in an affectionate manner. On that day the lanes of Medina were noisy with the excitement of children. They ran from one side of the street to the other and the sounds of their joyful laughter seemed to echo through the city. Amidst the noise of children, the sound of camel bells could be heard in the distance indicating that a caravan was approaching Medina. The Prophet and a group of his companions were returning home from a trip. Abu Naeem who at that time was just a little child recalled: With the approach of the Prophets caravan to Medina, we stopped our play and waited enthusiastically for the arrival of the beloved Messenger of God. It was strange that nothing could separate us from our play, unless it was the smiling countenance of the Prophet. As soon as his caravan entered, we children ran towards him with enthusiasm. The Prophet stopped for our sake despite the fact that he was coming from a journey and was tired. He instructed his companions to give way to us. Some of my little friends embraced the Prophet while others hovered around him with joy. The Prophets companions tried to prevent us, but he he did not permit and he kindly embraced the children. I too like the other children was counting the moments to get close to the Prophet, but I was so shy that I stood in a corner and watched the scene. At this moment the Prophet looked at me with a sweet smile on his face. He came towards me. As he approached, he opened his arms and I also felt an irresistible urge to move into his embrace. Mohammad (SAWA) embraced me, kissed me on my head and patted me. These were indescribable moments for me that I will never forget. That sweet memory of being with the Prophet, I wish those days would return once again.
As you read in Abu Naeems account of his childhood, the Prophet not only liked children but he practically taught others to respect children. He used to say: Respect your children and be kind to them.
History has recorded the Prophets kind and affectionate behaviour towards children especially, his grandsons, Imam Hasan and Hussein (peace upon them). The Prophet loved his grandsons and spent part of his time with them, playing with them and kissing them in the presence of others. In this way he taught Muslims how to behave with children. However, the Prophets love for his grandson was not the mere doting of a grandfather. It was actually spiritual love and affection that was inspired by Gods command since these two were destined to be his successors one day and the intercessors for the faithful on the Day of Resurrection. Because of this the Prophet said that famous Hadith: Hasan and Hussein are Leaders of the Youth of Paradise. These were not ordinary words and were meant to show the Ummah the lofty status of the Ahl ol-Bait, who in turn would continue the Prophets exemplary behaviour in guiding and inspiring human societies.
One day Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) took an infant in his arms but the child dirtied his clothes. The childs mother harshly took hold of the child who started crying. The Prophet said to the childs mother: Be calm, why do you make the child cry? My clothes can be cleansed by water but the way you are treating how can sadness be removed from the heart of the innocent child?
He thus emphasized that affection is among the psychological needs of mankind and is vital for children. Kindness and affection are considered among the major factors of psychological health and facilitate intellectual growth, flowering of talents, a creative spirit and amicable social relations among children. Such an atmosphere helps build a stable personality. The Prophet says: “Kiss your children, love them and have compassion for them.”
He also said that whenever you promise them anything keep your word and dont disappoint them.
These beautiful sayings along with the practical lessons the Prophet and the infallible Imams of his progeny gave in this regard, stand out as guiding principles for all parents. Childhood is the most suitable period of life for inculcating ethereal values and parents ought to lay the foundations of a healthy family through kind and affectionate behaviour with children. Upbringing and education is not confined to clothing, feeding and studies or spending on toys or other childish desires. It should be accompanied with politeness of manners and a good temper in order to instill faith and spiritual tendencies in children. According to Islam, parents share the results of their childrens deeds, whether good or bad. A Hadith from the Prophet, reads: “Parents who mislead their children and force them towards evil and wrongdoing have no share of Gods mercy and blessings.”
Among the divine favours is to test the faithful through various ordeals. The sufferings and hardships are designed to make human virtues such as patience, forbearance, generosity and valour flower and become fully manifest among the true believers. This is the result of trust in God as could be gleaned from the account we present you today from the memorable days of the Almightys last Messenger to mankind, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny). It happened that once a poverty-struck person of Medina ran out of patience. Burdened by the daily requirements of his wife and children he decided to approach the Prophet. He saw the Prophet engaged in conversation with a group of people in the mosque. As the man was about to say something he heard the Prophet say to the gathering: Whoever asks for help we will help him. But if a person considering himself free of want does not stretch his hand towards people, God will surely meet his requirements.
The poor man hearing this statement withheld his request to the Prophet. He did not say anything and returned home. But poverty continued to burden his life, making him go to the Prophet once again. This time too, before he could request help, he heard the Prophet saying the same statement to the gathering. The effect of these words on the poverty-stricken man was greater than before. He returned home, repeating to himself the Prophets words: If a person does not stretch his hand towards others, God will surely answer his needs. He pondered upon and realized the wisdom of these words. He said to himself with confidence: “I rely on God and I will use my power and talents.”
On reaching home the poor man took an axe and went to the desert. He beseeched God for help in his endeavours and soon found some bushes, cut them, gathered the wood, brought it to the town and sold it. With the money he bought food and provisions for his family. He was thrilled with this wonderful experience. The next day he went again to desert and with trust in God repeated it for the next few days with better economic results. His conditions improved and in the next few weeks, he was able to get rid of poverty. He thanked God Almighty for awakening his conscience through the wise words of the Prophet. It was trust in God that made him discover his talents and capacities and the opportunities that lay around for earning livelihood instead of stretching his hands for alms and charity. Gradually, his life became one of industry and order until the Prophet saw him that he was engaged in working. The Prophet approached him with his kind look. He put his hand on the mans shoulder, smiled, saying: “Didnt I say that if you rely on God, you will surely become needless of people?”
Thus trust in God is the key to resolving of all difficulties. The Prophet says in this regard: “Whoever relies on God, will find solution to all his problems, while whoever relies on the world, the Creator forsake him to the problems of life. The reliance on God is like the reliance of a child on its mother. A child looks towards its mother at the ultimate refuge. If it is thirsty it seeks water from the mother, if it feels hungry it asks the mother for food and if it afraid it clings to its mother for support and protection. A faithful person ought to behave in the same way by having complete trust in the Omnipotent and Omnipresent God, the One and Only Creator of the universe. But, as illustrated from the account that we presented you today reliance on God does not mean sitting idle and giving up all activities. In fact, it means extra efforts to attain the bounties that God has placed in each and every thing. One day the Prophet saw a group of people who had given up cultivation. The Prophet sought the reason and they said: “We rely on God.”
The Prophet replied: “No you are not the people having trust in God, but you are the people who have imposed yourselves as a burden on others without doing any work.”
As could be clear from the words of the Prophet, reliance upon God means using our God-given brains and not doing anything foolish or stupid and then calling it trust in God.
Once a man said to the holy Prophet: O Messenger of God! I left my camel in the desert since I have trust in God.
The Prophet said: “First tie up the camel and then rely on God.”
As should be clear trust in God means using of brains to utilize the wonderful world that God has created for our material needs without becoming solely materialistic. For instance, when a human being falls ill he refers to a medical specialist and makes use of the most effective medicine or the most advanced medical equipment in order to regain his health. But beyond all these efforts, an internal feeling says that all these possibilities are nothing but means to beseech God Who has promised cure and remedy from bodily ills as well. This is borne out by the admission of the doctors themselves. Often, medics upon curing a severely afflicted patient acknowledge that it was only God who cured him, and devout doctors before performing surgery beseech God Almighty for success. All this proves that it is trust in God that it is nothing but trust in God that keeps hopes alive and grants mankind success in every sphere of life.
One of the most beautiful advices of Islam to humanity is acquisition of knowledge. For this reason the first few Ayahs revealed by God to Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny) speak of learning and teaching. In Islam knowledge and awareness are so important that Muslims have been urged to fulfill their worships on the basis of their insight and proper cognizance. According to Islam, knowledge is the essence of life. A famous saying from the Prophet reads: Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. This is indicative of the importance of knowledge in the life of a Muslim. The various problems that crop up in life cannot be solved except through knowledge. Another famous saying of the Prophet that is indicative of the benefits of knowledge, reads: Seek knowledge even if it is in China. In those days China was very far from Arabia and the same prophetic phrase could be interpreted today to mean that a Muslim ought to seek knowledge even if it is on the moon, mars or any other planet. In other words, knowledge is worth the time spent, the efforts made and the cost that it entails.
The Prophet has emphasized the status of Ulema and scientists in society. A famous Hadith from the Prophet says in this regard: “The scholars of my Ummah are like the stars of the sky.” What a wonderful saying indeed. It means that during the night journeys, the serene light of celestial bodies guides travelers on both land and the sea, without which it would be difficult to find the correct course. The Prophet by likening righteous and dedicated scholars to shining stars means to say that without their knowledge and experience guidance in religious or worldly matters is not possible. However, knowledge has to be accompanied with faith in God, patience in the face of hardships and kindness towards all. These qualities make the scholars and other knowledgeable people play an effective role in society. Emphasizing the characteristics of scholars and scientists, the prophet says: The best among my Ummah are the scholars and the most superior scholars of my Ummah are the most kind of them. On the Day of Resurrection, a kind scholar will be raised with a light that would brighten up the distance between the west and the east like luminous stars.
This wonderful saying of the Prophet is worth contemplation. It is surely an incentive to Muslims, especially the scholars to be kind and polite towards so that they could make better and proper use of knowledge. Kind treatment is the first step for winning hearts.
The Prophet also calls on the scholars to strive for attaining the contentment in life and the satisfaction of God. There is aÂ Hadith which invites scholars to refrain from hypocrisy and treason as well concerning knowledge. It says: “Be friendly and benevolent while learning and teaching and do not hide your knowledge from one another, for scientific treason is worse than treason in property.
Thanks to the attention of Islam to knowledge, the history of human civilization is proud to have the names of great Muslim scientists, geographers, mathematicians and astronomers. American Historian Will Durant in his book “The Story of Civilization” writes: In the medieval ages, Muslims had unrivalled superiority in the field of science. He goes on to recount the names of such world famous figures as Zakariya Razi, Abu Rayhan Berouni, al-Khwarezmi, Abu Ali Sina, Ibn Haysam and others, to whom western civilization will forever remain indebted. It were the translation into Latin of the works of these immortal Muslim scientists that saved Europe from centuries of darkness by ushering in the Renaissance and the subsequent Industrial Revolution.
Now lets present you an interesting account from the memorable days of the Prophet before concluding our program. One day when the Prophet went to the mosque as was his daily habit he felt an atmosphere of additional love and spirituality. He cast a look around the mosque and all the Muslims who were present in the mosque. The Prophets kind look was the source of encouragement for Muslims and his presence always granted them extra comfort. The Prophet saw two groups of people in the mosque. One group was engaged in prayer, supplication and the recital of the attributes of God, Most High. The second group was engaged in discussions, learning and teaching. The Prophet had a look at both of them and then said: “Both groups are on the path of blessing and prosperity but I prefer the group that is engaged in scholarly discussions.”
The Prophet joined the gathering of the seekers of knowledge in order to emphasize the degree of importance attached to knowledge by God and Islam.
A millennium and four centuries have passed but still his name evokes belief, admiration and praise. Whenever his name is mentioned new and interesting ideas flash across human minds and encourage the soul to strive towards attainment of ethereal values. He was entrusted by God to present to humanity the last and the most complete set of divine teachings designed to remain universal till doomsday. The theme of his message was the same as preached by the Prophets of antiquity such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and several others in various parts of the globe. The name chosen for his mission by the Almighty was thus Islam, which means peace, submission to none but God and the healthy way of life. Before embarking on the formal declaration of his mission at the age of 40 years he had already won profound respect from the society as the Sadeq or Truthful and the Ameen or trustworthy. The next 23-years of Islam saw the transformation of the bitterly feuding tribes of Arabia into a monolithic entity called Muslims that would soon influence the adjoining lands as well as the whole world with the teachings of Islam.Â
He was born in perhaps the most abysmal periods of human history in the then obscure town of Mecca into the noble Abrahamic family of the Bani Hashem and was given the name of Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny). In contrast to the environment of ignorance around him he grew up away from the filth of idolatry or the other ills that dominated the Arab society. He was poles apart from the other boys of his age and soon won admiration as an exemplary person. His personal integrity was beyond an iota of doubt. He moulded hearts and souls and his words attracted eager ears despite the opposition of the evil-minded. Like a sympathetic doctor or a roving physician he went about his task cleansing hearts and enlightening minds. Then when divine revelation dawned upon him at the age of 40 years, the changes he wrought were miraculous. So dynamic were his teachings and so irresistible were his rational words, people flocked towards him in spite of the opposition of the greedy and hard-hearted. He endured with patience all kinds of persecution and emerged victorious, setting about a lasting legacy that continues to inspire human societies.
His message was in the full limelight of history. The pages of history have recorded the good temperament and impeccable manners of the Almightys last Prophet. Several cases have been mentioned of how the Prophet absorbed a large number of people to Islam through his good temper. In the initial years of the declaration of Islam, when the polytheists left no stone tuned to mislead people, he invited them to Islam through his exemplary personality. Here we bring you an example of the Prophets behaviour and relate to you a very interesting account.
In Mecca it was the habit of an Israelite to stand every day on the roof of his house with a container in his hands waiting for the Prophet to pass by through the lane. The moment the Prophet passed by he used to throw the ash on the Prophets head. The Prophet would pass coolly without showing any signs of annoyance. Although, the Prophet knew that the ignorant Jew would continue to repeat this dirty work every day, he never changed his direction. The Israelite continued his evil practice and seemed to enjoy it. The Prophets companions several times said the Jew ought to be punished, but every time the Prophet restrained them and with patience borne the insult.
One day, when as usual the Prophet passed through the lane, no untoward incident happened. No ash was thrown upon him. The next few days also he passed unperturbed without any sign of the Israelite. As the Messenger of God to mankind he displayed his immaculate mercy and kindness by asking his companions to enquire about the absence of the misled Jew. He was informed that the Israelite had fallen sick and that was the reason that he was unable to climb the roof with the container of ash and empty it on the Prophet. When the Prophet heard this he said to his, now it is the appropriate time visit to visit this person. The Prophets companions were very surprised but they accompanied him to the Jews house. When the Jews mother saw the Prophet and his companions at her doorstep she was very surprised and did not know what to do. The Prophet with his usual smile said in a polite tone: I have heard that your son has fallen sick. So I have come to visit him. She also did not the reason that he was visiting her son who used to daily mock at the Prophet. When the Divine Messenger was allowed to enter the house and went to the room of the sick, the Jew did not believe what he saw. In his usual harsh tone the Israelite retorted: Why have you come? Now that I am bedridden you want to take revenge upon me for throwing ash upon you every day.
The Prophet said in a cool manner that this was not the case. In fact, as the Messenger of Mercy he had come enquire about the health of the ailing Israelite. The Jew felt very much ashamed and could not bear to look at the Prophet. It was clear that the all this time he had grossly misunderstood Islam and the Prophet and had been mocking at him out of ignorance. Now the facts began to dawn upon the Jew through the immaculate behaviour of the Prophet that Islam was the true religion. The Israelite repented of his misdeed and with tears streaming down from his eyes, he said: I seek forgiveness and testify to the indivisible Oneness of Allah beside Whom there is no god, and I also testify to the mission of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny), as the Messenger of Allah. I embrace Islam.
The Prophet thus through his behaviour changed hatred into affection and delivered an ignorant man from darkness. What a wonderful precedent he set. He used to say: Do good to anyone who has done evil to you and tell the truth even if it is detrimental to you.
The Prophet also used to say: Good temper removes hatred and stabilizes and strengthens friendship.