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Prophet Muhammad on the Elimination of all Forms of Racism

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In the sight of Allah, all people are equal.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) upheld justice in his time and rejected the ignorant belief which considered some people superior to others because of their language, race, social status or ethnicity. That is because such discrimination is severely condemned in the Qur’an.

‘Racism,’ as defined in our day, is an idea Allah prohibits in the Qur’an, but which receives extensive support in ignorant societies. As mentioned in the Qur’an, one of the divine purposes in the creation of the different races is “that they should come to know each other”. (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

Humanity-based

In the sight of Allah, all people are equal, and the only superiority anyone can have over anyone else is his fear of Allah and faith in Him.

The Prophet Muhammad also declared to his people, who committed racism, that ethnic differences had no importance and that everyone was equal in the eyes of Allah.

He repeatedly underlined that all that mattered was having sincere faith. While summoning his people to have faith, the Prophet Muhammad commanded them not to discriminate in his last sermon:

“O people! Your Allah is One and your forefather (Adam) is one. An Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab, and a red (i.e. white tinged with red) person is not better than a black person and a black person is not better than a red person, except in piety. Indeed the noblest among you is the one who is deeply conscious of Allah.” (Ahmad)

The Prophet Muhammad also told people that Allah created man from nothing, that everyone is created equal and that everyone will give account of his deeds all alone before Allah. For this reason, he added that it would be a great wrong to look for superiority in one’s descent.

The Prophet commanded thus:

(All of) you are children of Adam, and Adam is from dust. Let some men cease to take pride in others.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

He (peace be upon him) stated that no criteria except for heedfulness are acceptable:

“Your descent is nothing to be proud of. Nor does it bring you superiority. O people! All of you are the children of Adam. You are like equal wheat grains in a bowl … No one has any superiority over anyone else, except in religion and heedfulness. In order to consider someone a wicked person, it suffices that he humiliates other people, is mean with money, bad-tempered and exceeds the limits.” (Ahmad)

The Formula… the Qur’an

Throughout his life, the Prophet Muhammad advised his people to set aside their ignorant and perverse values and to live by the Qur’an. In the Qur’an, racist attitudes are defined as “fanatical rage,” and people’s ambitious attitudes are criticized. A related verse reads:

Those who disbelieve filled their hearts with fanatical rage- the fanatical rage of the Time of Ignorance- and Allah sent down serenity to His Messenger and to the believers, and obliged them to respect the formula of heedfulness which they had most right to and were most entitled to. Allah has knowledge of all things. (Al-Fath 48:26)

Muslims who obeyed Allah‘s call in the above verse led their lives in peace and security, both during the blessed period of the first community of Islam and in succeeding ages when just administrators reigned.

In the Period of the Prophet Muhammad, contracts signed with the People of the Book and the pagans secured justice in society.

After the migration of the Prophet from Makkah to Medina, he encountered many different communities. At that period, Jews, Christians and pagans who held power were all living together.

Under such circumstances, the Prophet Muhammad united the cosmopolitan structure to secure social unity and peace by making social agreements- either by sending letters or holding face-to-face meetings- with more than a hundred communities, and thus achieved social compromise.

Prof. Thomas Arnold stresses the importance of the social unity established by the Prophet Muhammad in these words: Arabia that had never before obeyed one prince, suddenly exhibits a political unity and swears allegiance to the will of an absolute ruler. Out of the numerous tribes, big and small, of a hundred different kinds that were incessantly at feud with one another, Muhammad’s word created a nation. (Thomas Arnold, The Spread of Islam in the World, Goodword Books)

Islam and Other Religions

As is related in many verses in the Qur’an, living in peace with people of other religions is perceived as good by Islam.

In one verse, Allah commands Muslims to believe in all the holy books revealed by Him and respect their beliefs:

So call and go straight as you have been ordered to. Do not follow their whims and desires but say, “I believe in whatever Allah has sent down (in the form) of a Book and I am ordered to be just between you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. We have our actions and you have your actions.

There is no debate between us and you. Allah will gather us all together. He is our final destination. (Ash-Shura 42:15)

The above verse describes the relations a Muslim should establish with people of other religions. Muslims are also held responsible for adopting the morality of the Prophet and being compassionate and just towards other people. This person can be anyone, a Buddhist, a Jew, a Christian or even an atheist.

Such honest and just attitudes will make a very positive impact on their hearts, no matter what or who they believe in- or even if they have no beliefs at all- and they will become a means to make them feel closer to Islam.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Justice and Compassion in the Qur’an”.

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Prophet Muhammad: A Morality Message for All Time

A few months after his return to Medina, in the eleventh year of hijrah, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) decided to send an expedition to the north, near Mu’tah and Palestine, where a few years earlier Ja`far ibn Abi Talib, `Abdullah Ibn Rawahah, and Zayd ibn Harithah had been killed.

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The Prophet had taught in various circumstances about warfare, respect for nature, or how to treat animals.

To everyone’s surprise, he gave the command to young Usamah, Zayd’s son, who was only twenty years old, though this three-thousand-strong army included such men as `Umar and other experienced Companions.

This choice gave rise to much criticism, but the Prophet reacted very promptly and put an end to all arguments when he proclaimed:

“You criticize the choice of Usamah to command the army as you had formerly criticized that of his father Zayd. Usamah is truly worthy of the command I entrust him with, as his father was before him.” (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah)

Qualifications-based

In the past, some Muslims had reacted to the choice of Zayd because they still considered him as a slave, though he had been freed; now some opposed the choice of his son, perhaps because of his father, but mostly because of his young age.

By confirming his choice, Prophet Muhammad informed them that neither a man’s social origin nor his age should prevent him from exerting authority and power if he possessed the spiritual, intellectual, and moral qualities required. One had to show discernment by offering the most destitute in society real equality of opportunity and trusting the young so that everybody could express their skills and talents.

On a more general level, trust was a fine lesson in humility addressed to older Companions: they were to experience the inner, greater jihad of obeying a man who could have been their son, and in so doing remember that their time was limited, like any man’s.

By that choice, Prophet Muhammad taught them that time naturally erodes one’s energy, and one must be wise enough to learn to step aside, to delegate authority to those who are young and strong enough to create and build.

The Prophet gave young Usamah his recommendations and asked him to set out promptly. However, the Prophet’s sudden illness was to delay that departure, and the army waited near Medina during all those days of doubt about his condition.

Prophet Muhammad & War Ethics

A few weeks later, Abu Bakr was, according to the Prophet’s wish, to ask Usamah to carry out the expedition. He reminded him of the Prophet’s teachings concerning war ethics, for the latter had constantly insisted on the principles Muslims must respect when dealing with their enemies:

“Do not kill women, children, and old people,” Abu Bakr ordered him.

Literally, “Let the blood of women, children and old people never soil your hands.”

“Do not commit treacherous actions. Do not stray from the right path. Never mutilate. Do not destroy palm trees, do not burn houses and cornfields, do not cut down fruit trees, and do not kill livestock except when you are compelled to eat them …. As you move on, you will meet hermits who live in monasteries and serve God in seclusion. Leave them alone; do not kill them and do not destroy their monasteries.”  (At-Tabari)

Those teachings were essential, and they were conveyed to Usamah in the light of what the Prophet had said in various circumstances about warfare, respect for nature, or how to treat animals.

In a few sentences, Abu Bakr was synthesizing the essence of the Messenger’s teachings in this respect.

Years before, at the end of the Battle of Hunayn, the Prophet had passed by a group of people standing around a woman who lay on the ground, and heard that she had been killed by Khalid ibn Al-Waleed (who was then a recent convert). He was deeply angered and asked that Ibn Al-Waleed be told: “God’s Messenger forbids killing children, women, and slaves.” (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah)

The Prophet’s Mercy

He had also blamed him when he had killed men who had already surrendered after a battle. In both cases, then, the message was the same: one should fight only enemy soldiers, while sparing all those who did not directly take part in armed conflict or could no longer cause any harm.

The Prophet had clearly stated before sending the Mu’tah expedition:

You shall not be treacherous, you shall not deceive, you shall not mutilate, you shall not kill children nor the inhabitants of hermitages (ashab as-sawami`).” (Ibn Hanbal)

War was never desirable, but when Muslims were compelled to it because they were attacked or because their survival was threatened, they had to keep strictly to what was needed to fight enemy forces who were armed and/ or determined to fight. If the latter wished for peace or surrendered, the war must be stopped, according to the Qur’anic injunction:

But if they incline toward peace, do you (also, in the same way) incline toward peace, and trust in God, for He is the One that hears and knows (all things). (Al-Anfal 8:61)

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The article is an excerpt from Dr. Tariq Ramadan’s In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press (2007).

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Muhammad: The Exemplar of Coexistence and Moderation

Most traditionists report that the Prophet entered Makkah on the twentieth or twenty-first of Ramadan of the eighth year of hijrah (630 CE).

The Day of Mercy

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The Prophet taught his Companions not only to forgive, but also to always remember that nobody can be held responsible for someone else’s mistakes.

Muhammad (peace be upon him) had segmented his army into divisions that encircled the city (Makkah) and closed in on the center together. A few Quraish groups posted themselves on the hills, led by Suhayl, `lkrimah, and Safwan, but after the first confrontations, they realized that resisting was pointless.

Suhayl sought refuge in his home, and `Ikrimah and Safwan ran away. The Prophet had demanded that no fighting or battle should take place on that day, which he called “the day of mercy”. (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawyyah)

Some eight years before, the Prophet had left Makkah secretly, but with dignity and with his head held high. The Prophet now came back to Makkah in broad daylight, victorious, but this time he prostrated himself on his mount in thankfulness to the One as he recited the verses from the Surat “AI-Fath” (The Victory):

Verily We have granted you a manifest victory, that God may forgive you your faults of the past and those to follow, fulfill His favor to you, and guide you on the straight path, and that God may aid you with powerful help. It is He Who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers, that they may add faith to their faith. (Al-Fath 48:1-4)

He entered Makkah expressing the deepest humility, and he required that the greatest kindness should be shown to the Muslims’ former foes. He performed the greater ablution and prayed eight cycles of voluntary ritual prayer before resting for a few hours.

After that, he mounted his camel, Qaswaa’, and went to the Ka`bah sanctuary, where he performed the seven rounds of circumambulation. Then, with his stick, he pulled down the idols and destroyed them while repeating the Qur’anic verse “Truth has arrived, and falsehood perished: for falsehood is bound to perish.” (Al-Israa’  17:8 1)

He had the keys to the sanctuary brought to him and required that all religious images be obliterated, in order to reconcile the House of God with its essence, which was to celebrate the worship of the One, Who cannot be represented and must not be associated with any image:

There is nothing whatever like Him, and He is the One that hears and sees. (Ash-Shura 42:11)

This gesture of destruction by the Prophet was, in appearance, the exact antithesis of all that he had usually been doing since leaving Makkah, as he had had mosques (devoid of any image) built to mark the sacred space of worship of the One God.

On the level of the spiritual message, however, this gesture was exactly of the same essence, since by breaking the idols that lay inside and near the Ka`bah he was destroying what had, in the course of centuries, perverted the cult of the Transcendent.

With this act Muhammad turned the Ka`bah into a real mosque, in which henceforth only the One was to be worshiped.

The Quraish people were gradually coming out of their homes and gathering inside the sanctuary enclosure. After destroying the idols, the Prophet exclaimed: “There is no god but God, the One, Who has no partner.”

He has fulfilled His promise, supported His servant, and routed the enemy clans; He alone (has done that). (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawyyah)

Then he turned toward the Quraish, told them about the rules of Islam, and recited this verse:

O humankind! He created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other. Verily the most honored among you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you (the most deeply aware of God’s presence). And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

After that, he asked them “how they thought he was going to deal with them. (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawyyah) They replied that as “a noble brother, son of a noble brother,” he would certainly deal with them kindly. (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawyyah)

Forgiveness and Moderation

At that point, the Prophet recited the verse that punctuates the story of Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) when he was reunited with his brothers, who had wanted to kill him: “This day let no reproach be (cast) On you: God will forgive you, and He is the Most-merciful of then who show mercy.” (Yusuf 12:92). Then he exclaimed: “Go on, you are free!” (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawyyah)

The Prophet granted his forgiveness to all the women and men who came to him or to a Companion. Wahshi ibn Harb, who had killed Hamzah, was also forgiven, but the Prophet asked him to refrain from appearing in his presence in the future.

Many Quraish converted to Islam on Mount As-Safa in front of `Umar; some years before, the Prophet had been called a liar on that same spot. When `Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl came to the Prophet, the latter warned his Companion: “`lkrimah, Abu Jahl’s son, is coming to you as a believer. Do not insult his father, for insulting the dead hurts the living without reaching the dead.”

He thus reminded them not only to forgive him but also to always remember that nobody can be held responsible for someone else’s mistakes. not even their father’s, according to the meaning of the Qur’anic verse “No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another”. ( Al-Israa’ 17:15) Prudence was required, as well as nobleness of soul.

The Prophet stayed in Makkah for two weeks, and the situation been to settle down. He sent expeditions to make sure that his alliances with the nearby tribes were solid and that those who had announced they accepted Islam had given up all idol worship.

Khalid ibn Al-Waleed had been entrusted with such a mission among the Banu Jadhimah, who eventually surrendered, but Khalid decided, against Abd Ar-Rahman ibn `Awf advice, to execute the prisoners toward whom he harbored particular resentment.

After executing some of them, he stopped at Abd Ar-Rahman’s insistence, the latter having made it dear to him that his behavior was motivated by other intentions than faith in God and justice. The Prophet got very angry when he heard of Khalid’s behavior; he decided to pay blood money for all the dead, and he kept repeating aloud: “0 God, I am innocent of what Khalid ibn Al-Waleed has done”. (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawyyah)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press (2007).

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Prophet’s Physical Features: As If You Were Seeing Him

By: Salman Al-Oadah

One feels amazed by the degree of detailing in the description of the Prophet’s physical features. The scholars talked about his external traits in the minutest way.

Prophet’s Physical Features

His body was moderate in everything. He was neither too tall, nor too short, but average height.

His Hair

Thus, they described the hair on his head. It was neither tightly curly nor completely straight, but between the two. At times it would grow until it reached his shoulders, and at others he would cut it to the level of half the ears. And he took good care of it:

Aisha said that “when he was combing his hair, it was like paths of sand being furrowed by that comb”. (Al-Bayhaqi))

Um Hani’ reports that ‘the Messenger of God once came to Mecca, and he had four braids’. (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi)

In another report, she says: “I saw four braids in the hair of the Messenger of God”. (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tabarani)

His Face

His face was also meticulously portrayed. He had a round face (Muslim, Ibn Hibban), not a complete roundness, but it was like the moon when it is complete. And it was white with a slight ruddiness, as if the sun or the moon were running in it. (Ahmad, Muslim, Al-Bayhaqi) He also had a broad forehead.

Aisha said: ‘The Messenger had a spread out forehead. When it appeared from among the hair, or he would look at us at daybreak or at the onset of the night, or when he turned up to face people, they would see as if the light of a lantern were twinkling on his forehead’. (Al-Bayhaqi, Ibn `Assakir)

His eyes were large and white, as if having kohl. (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi) His nose was straight with a little protruding in the middle. (At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi) His cheeks were straight and white. (At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi) His mouth was rather large (Ahmad, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi) and had space between his foreteeth. (At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi) He took great care to clean his teeth by brushing them. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

He also had a thick beard. (Ahmad, Muslim, Ibn Hibban) Yet it was neither too long nor too short. He made a point of combing it, cleaning it, anointing it and perfuming it. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Hibban)

His Body

His body was moderate in everything. He was neither too tall, nor too short, but average height. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

His Clothing

As for his clothing, he was not particularly strict on garments. He would not ask for what was not to be found, nor refute what was at hand. He put on a gown imported from Levant. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)

He put on a turban. (Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, At-Tirmidhi)

And he put on a cloak and a wrapper. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim) He used to like good, clean clothing. But he did not exaggerate in it and dressed without the least sense of pride. He never wore long clothes. He warned people against it, especially if it was accompanied by vanity. He said: ‘God turns away from one who drags his clothes out of vanity’. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi)

His Humility

The Prophet was the best exemplar of simplicity, and hated vanity and arrogance. His constant aim was to remain close to the people in his nutrition, clothing, transport, and when sitting. One day he slept on a bed which left its traces on the side of his body (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim) because there was nothing thick between him and the bed. He would often sit on the ground, eat on the floor, and sit on a straw mat. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

One day, Mulaikah, Anas iin Malik’s grandmother, invited the Prophet over to share a meal which she had prepared in his honor.

He answered and ate of the food, then said: ‘Stand up so you can pray behind me’. Anas said: ‘So I brought a straw mat which had grown black with use. I sprayed it with water, and then the Prophet stood on it. The orphan and I stood behind him, and the elderly woman behind us. He prayed two rak’has and then he left.’ (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i)

The mountains would have been made gold and silver for him if so he had wished. Yet what he loved was simplicity (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, At-Tabari) and spontaneity. He stayed away from affected behaviour. He preferred to be close to the people and be one of them, never assigning on them tasks beyond their capacity.

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The article is excerpted from the author’s book “In the Company of the Prophet (God’s Chosen Messenger)”.

 

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Prophet Muhammad: The Embodiment of the Role and Features of Believers

By Abdur Raheem Kidwai

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) devoted himself heart and soul to the mission of Islam and achieved great success notwithstanding stiff opposition, in transforming the polytheistic Arabs into champions of monotheism. He drew upon every conceivable means for articulating the truth of Islam.

Prophet Muhammad: The Embodiment of the Role and Features of Believers

The Prophet was granted the following charter of social justice, which also spells out the role and features of believers.

His concern was so deep felt that he cried over the prospect of the inevitable divine punishment for those Arab unbelievers who refused to embrace Islam. The Qur’an, however, directed him not to grieve so much about the miserable fate of such unbelievers:

Perhaps you will kill yourself with grief because they do not become believers. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:3)

The Makkan unbelievers asked him to produce a miracle which they could see with their own eyes. They were told to look around them in that Allah’s distinct signs are scattered everywhere. He was, nonetheless, granted the miracle which we know as the Qur’an. For it embodies the light of Allah’s guidance and mercy.

Prophecies

The Qur’an recounts the prophecies about the Prophet Muhammad’s advent which featured in the earlier Scriptures, especially the Torah and the Gospels. Take this as illustrative:

And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah sent to you, confirming the Torah, which came before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me. His name shall be Ahmad.” (As-Saff 61:6)

Even in the face of such clear pronouncements in their own holy Books about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Jews and Christians of the day rejected and opposed him. They did so for their own selfish ends. For the radical message of Islam was set to destroy their vested interests, their degenerate way of life and their clergy that abused religion for pecuniary gain.

Overwhelming Victory

However, Allah promised and sent His help to the Prophet. For example, when the unbelieving Makkans mocked him for being without a son, Allah consoled and comforted him:

To you We have granted Al-Kawthar. Turn to your Lord in prayer and sacrifice. For he who hates you will be cut off (from future hope). (Al-Kawthar 108:1-4)

Allah blessed him with an overwhelming victory over the unbelievers, the Jews and Christians. Millions accepted Islam and country after country was won over to the Caliphs, who succeeded the Prophet, to lead the community of believers. As for the Prophet himself, he devoted more and more of his time to glorifying Allah and seeking Allah’s forgiveness.

As to the exalted rank which he enjoys in Allah’s sight, the following Qur’anic passage is instructive:

Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O Believers! Send your blessings upon him and salute him with all respect. (Al-Ahzab 33:56)

Allah also conferred another distinction on the Prophet – that of his Ascent and Night Journey to the heavens, which is recorded thus in the Qur’an:

Glory be to Allah Who took His servant (Muhammad) for the night journey from the sacred mosque to the farthest mosque, whose surroundings We have blessed in order that We might show him some of Our signs. (Al-Israa’ 17:1)

Our Role Model

More importantly, on that occasion, he was granted the following charter of social justice, which also spells out the role and features of believers:

Those who are constant in their prayer. And in their wealth there is a recognized right for the beggar and the deprived. (Al-Ma`arij 70:23-25)

And those who respect their trusts and covenants. They stand firm in their testimony. (Al-Ma`arij 70:32-33)

The same note of social justice permeates the Prophet’s sermon at `Arafat which he delivered on the occasion of his farewell pilgrimage.

It captures the essence of the mission which he professed and practiced throughout his illustrious life:

“No Arab is superior to a non-Arab and any non-Arab does not have superiority over an Arab. Piety alone confers honour on man. All men are from Adam and Adam was made of clay.

O people! Your lives, blood and property are sacred for one another … All of you will certainly appear before Allah and He will take you to account. Thus do I warn you. Whoever among you is entrusted with someone’s property shall return the trust to the rightful owner.

O people! Allah has laid down rights for everyone. No one should therefore, leave a will in favour of any of his heirs. Debt is to be repaid. Borrowed things are to be returned. It is not lawful to deprive anyone of what is due to him. Your wives have rights. They owe you obligations. Treat them well. For they are dependent upon you. If you follow the Book of Allah and my practice (Sunnah), which I leave behind with you, you will never go astray.”

This sermon stands out as his strong exhortation for cordial human relationships and a tension-free society.

This sermon stands out as his strong exhortation for cordial human relationships and a tension-free society. His assertions about shunning violence and bloodshed, not usurping others’ belongings and refraining from betraying the trust reposed in one re-echo the Qur’an:

No prophet could (ever) be false to his trust. If any person is so false, He shall, on the Day of Judgment, restore what he misappropriated; then shall every soul receive its due,- whatever it earned,- and none shall be dealt with unjustly. (Aal ‘Imran 3:161)

If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (Forever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him. (An-Nisaa’ 4:93)

He is also seen reminding everyone of the need to discharge their obligations, especially those which they owe to fellow human beings in general and to their family members, friends and neighbors in particular. Man is asked to keep the trust placed with him as a responsible member of the society and as a good citizen.

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The article is an excerpt from Abdur Raheem Kidwai’s book “The Qur’an: Essential Teachings”, published by the Islamic Foundation, 2005/1426 H.

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Hijrah: Migration for Peace

Before the Hijrah

When the revelation came to him, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) climbed As-Safa mount and called out people and they gathered around him. He said: “Do you think that if I told you that there was a cavalry emerging from the foot of this mountain, would you believe me?” They said: “We have never known you to be a liar.” He (peace be upon him) said: “I am a warner to you of an imminent and severe punishment (warning them against Paradise).” Abu Lahab (the Prophet’s uncle) said: “May you perish! Did you call us together only for this?” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

He started inviting them to Islam and persuading them that the worship of idols is a kind of absurdness, but only Allah, the Creator of the Universe,  is worshiped. A number of people were convinced with his message and followed him. Yet, the masters and the rich among Makkans refused his new religion because they found that it established equity and justice among all people, something they detested. They fought him and tortured his followers. A lot of companions were subject to extreme and brutal torture at their hands.

I will cite a few stories of torture that show how cruel and savage were those people with the followers of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Umayyah and Bilal

And We have not sent you, (O Muhammad), except as a mercy to the worlds.

Umayyah ibn Khalaf (a Meccan pagan) had a slave called Bilal ibn Rabah who entered Islam. Umayyah inflicted extreme torture upon Bilal. He would take him in the glare of the torrid sun of Mecca, stripe him off, put him on the blazing sand in summer and place a huge rock on his chest. Nevertheless, Bilal did not relinquish his religion one iota.

`Ammar’s Family and the Tribe of Makhzum

`Ammar ibn Yassir was from the tribe of Makhzum. He embraced Islam, and his father, mother and brother followed him. When their tribe knew about that they got crazy. They burnt the house of `Ammar and took them to desert. They chained them and competed in torturing them. They would whip them, burn them and put big rocks on their bodies. However, the believing family remained steadfast to Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) would pass by them while tortured consoling them saying, “Yasir’s family, be patient! Your reward will be Paradise!”

Banu Makhzum found that torment is of no use with those believers. They tried to seduce them to leave Islam and they will pardon them but this was fruitless as well. Abu Jahal shouted at Summayyah, the mother of `Ammar, “Praise our gods (i.e. idols); disparage Muhammad!” Summayyah spat in his face and said: “How bad you and your gods are!.” Abu Jahal became furious with her. He raised his spear high and threw it on Summayyah’s belly. She passed away upon that, to be the first martyr in the history of Islam.

Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari

Abu Dharr Al­-Ghifari was from the tribe of Ghifar. He heard from travelers about a new Prophet called Muhammad (peace be upon him) who invited people to new religion. So, he moved to Mecca to know about the matter. He remained in the Ka`bah watching people there. `Ali ibn Abu Talib saw him and noticed that he was a stranger. He invited him to his house and told him about Muhammad. Abu Dharr went to the Prophet and accepted Islam. However, he resolved to infuriate the people of Mecca. He went to Ka`bah and shouted: “There is no God but Allah; and Muhammad is his Messenger.”

They gathered around him and started beating him. He was rescued by Al-`Abbas ibn `Abdul Muttalib who told them that Abu Dharr belonged to the tribe of Ghifar who may revenge to Abu Dharr.

The Prophet Himself

The torture was not limited to companions but it was inflicted as well upon the Prophet Muhammad himself. Ibn Mas`ud reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was praying at the Ka`bah, and Abu Jahl and his companions were sitting there. They said to one another, ‘Who will bring the intestines of the camel of so and so and put it on Muhammad’s back when he prostrates?’ So one of them went and brought it and waited until the Prophet (peace be upon him) prostrated, then he put it on his back, between his shoulders. They started laughing and leaning against one another (because of their laughter), and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was prostrating and did not raise his head until Fatimah came and removed it from his back. Then the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) raised his head. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Finally, Allah (Glory be to Him) commanded the Prophet and his followers to migrate from Mecca to Medinah, a safe place where they would be able to practice the rituals of their religion freely and lead an Islamic way of life without being maltreated or wronged. Anyway, migration was another test to the faithful Companions. They were forced to leave their homelands, friends and families to another place where they will be strangers. Yet, the companions set another example in the sacrifice for their beliefs.

In Medinah, they put the first bricks of the Islamic state, that were built upon justice and brotherhood. The first thing the Prophet (peace be upon him) did when he went to Medinah was the establishment of social peace inside the Muslim community. He made the migrants as brothers of the people of Medinah. He also dealt with all the conflicts between the two big tribes of Medinah, Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj, and settled all the disputes between them.

As for non-Muslims, the Prophet (peace be upon him) chose the way of peace. He made a treaty with the Jews of Medinah that was based on mutual cooperation and common justice. He never breached any covenant with them. Yet, it was the Jews who breached the pact and violated their covenant with him.

Outside Medinah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not mobilize armies to attack the nearby tribes or towns to spread Islam or to occupy them. Instead, he would send letters to kings and rulers inviting them with cultured and kind words to Islam, the last religion.

It was a migration to the open and boundless peace of Islam. The wars that the Prophet (peace be upon him) participated in were generally to defend the Islamic country and religion. Even during wars, the Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade his soldiers to kill women, children, the aged or farmers, burn plants or damage houses, unless they are used for war purposes. All his life was peace and mercy for all mankind. Almighty Allah says,

 And We have not sent you, (O Muhammad), except as a mercy to the worlds. (Al-Anbiya’ 21:107)

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Intercessions Made in The Hereafter – Part 3

By Editorial Staff

Intercession in Islam takes place in this life and afterlife, and what’s more living persons can make intercession with Allah on behalf of the departed.

In the Hereafter, the Greatest Intercession, whose right Allah grants to only Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace), is the first and foremost kind of intercessions.

Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) will intercede with Allah on the Day of Resurrection in order that reckoning begins. In addition, He will have the right to admit some people into the Paradise and save others from the Hellfire.

Next, there are some people who will benefit greatly from the intercessions of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace). They include perpetrators of major sins. We discussed number 1, namely, the Greatest Intercession in a previous article.

Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) will intercede with Allah on the Day of Resurrection in order that reckoning begins. In addition, He will have the right to admit some people into the Paradise and save others from the Hellfire.

2. Making intercessions on behalf of the perpetrators of major sins

People who commit major sins deserve punishment in the Hereafter except for those whom Allah so wills to forgive. If Allah grants our Prophet Muhammad the right to intercede on behalf of the perpetrators of major sins, they, then, will be saved from the torment of the Hellfire.

This is supported by a lot of proofs from the Sunnah. However, it will be sufficient to quote a few of them.

Narrated Anas ibn Malik:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: My intercession will be for those of my people who have committed major sins. (Abu Dawud and Ahmad)

This does not mean the intercession of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is exclusive to those who have committed major sins. We have provided evidence to the contrary. However, I think the correct explanation could be that perpetrators of major sins will get the most benefit.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I said: “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Who will be the luckiest person, who will gain your intercession on the Day of Resurrection?” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: O Abu Huraira! “I have thought that none will ask me about it before you as I know your longing for the (learning of) Hadiths. The luckiest person who will have my intercession on the Day of Resurrection will be the one who said sincerely from the bottom of his heart “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.” (Al-Bukhari)

The sin that cannot be forgiven

However, there is one grave and major sin that Allah will never forgive so long as the person who committed it has not repented. It is associating other gods with Allah or disbelief in Allah.

Indeed, there is no intercession in favor of the disbelievers. Allah says,

“So forewarn them of the Impending Day when hearts go up into choking throats – (when) there shall be no intimate friend for the wrongdoers, nor any intercessor to be heeded.” (Quran 40:18)

3. Making intercession to admit some people into the Paradise without reckoning

Allah promised Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) to admit into paradise from among his followers 70,000 people who will not be held accountable nor punished. This is supported by the Hadith that talks about the Greatest Intercession and many other Hadiths.

Abu Huraira reported:

“…The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:” I would then raise my head and say:

“O my Lord, my people, my people.”

It would be said: “O Muhammad, bring in by the right gate of Paradise those of your people who would have no account to render. They would share with the people some other door besides this door…” (Muslim)

4. Making intercession on behalf of dwellers of the Hellfire, yet they believe in the Oneness of Allah

There is also an intercession on behalf of the believers who have committed sins for which they will be thrust into the Hellfire. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) will intercede so that they can get out of it.

Abu Haraira reported:

The people said to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): Messenger of Allah, shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Do you feel any trouble in seeing the moon on the night when it is full?

They said: Messenger of Allah, no.

He (the Messenger) further said: Do you feel any trouble in seeing the sun, when there is no cloud over it?

They said: Messenger of Allah, no.

He (the Holy Prophet) said: Verily you would see Him like this (as you see the sun and the moon).

God will gather people on the Day of Resurrection and say: Let every people follow what they worshipped. Those who worshipped the sun would follow the sun, and those who worshipped the moon would follow the moon, and those who worshipped the devils would follow the devils.

The Excellence of The Muslim Community

This Ummah (of Islam) alone would be left behind and there would be hypocrites too amongst it. Allah would then come to them in a form other than His own Form, recognizable to them, and would say: I am your Lord.

They would say: We take refuge with Allah from thee. We will stay here till our Lord comes to us. And when our Lord would come we would recognize Him.

Subsequently Allah would come to them in His own Form, recognizable to them, and say: I am your Lord.

They would say: Thou art our Lord. And they would follow Him, and a bridge would be set over the Hell; and I (the Holy Prophet) and my Ummah would be the first to pass over it; and none but the messengers would speak on that day, and the prayer of the messengers on that day would be: O Allah! Grant safety, grant safety.

In Hell, there would be long spits like the thorns of Sa’dan He (the Holy Prophet) said: Have you seen Sa’dan?

They replied: Yes, Messenger of Allah. He said: Verily those (hooks) would be like the thorns of Sa’dan, but no one knows their size except Allah. These would seize people for their misdeeds. Some of them would escape for their (good) deeds, and some would be rewarded for their deeds till they get salvation.

The Excellence of the Belief in the Oneness of Allah

When Allah would finish judging His bondsmen and because of His mercy decide to take out of Hell such people as He pleases. He would command the angels to bring out those who had not associated anything with Allah; to whom Allah decided to show mercy. Those who would say: There is no god but Allah.

They (the angels) would recognize them in the Fire by the marks of prostration, for Hell-fire will devour everything (limb) of the sons of Adam except the marks of prostration. Allah has forbidden the fire to consume the marks of prostration.

They will be taken out of the Fire having been burnt, and the water of life would be poured over them, and they will sprout as seed does in the silt carried by flood…” (Muslim)

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