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Ethics & Values New Muslims

Does Islam Command Attacking Churches?

Can attacking the places of worship, i.e. churches, be justified in any religious teachings including Islamic? What does Islam say and teach about that? How can a religion be judged correctly?

It is safe to say that a given religion can be judged correctly only by two things: its own teachings and the practice of the mainstream doctrine of this religion. A religion cannot be judged by the centrifugal practices or beliefs of some followers, be they liberal or extremist, hither or thither.

churches

Islam pleads the cause of religion and defends all religions as well as their places of worship.

Attacking the places of worship is a criminal act which is done by individual followers of all religions all over the world. It is unfair to claim that it is Muslims only who attack the places of worship.

In fact, Islam prohibits any assault against the places of worship. The alleged attacks on the places of worship if really carried out by Muslims go against the well-established Islamic teachings. Such acts serve as odd precedents in the Islamic history. Suffice it to say they break with tradition.

Churches in Islamic History

The Messenger of Allah once wrote to the bishop of Banu Al-Harith Ibn Ka’b and the bishops and priests of Najran, their followers and their monks that everything, small or great, pertaining to their churches, chapels and monasteries would remain in their possession, that Allah and His Messenger would guarantee that no bishop would be removed from his see, nor any monk from his monastery, nor any priest from his office and none of their rights or powers would be changed as long as they were sincere and good, and no cruelty would be shown to them. This was scribed by Al-Mughirah.

Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the Second Muslim Caliph, concluded a treaty with the people of Jerusalem which read:

This is the assurance of safety which the servant of God, Umar, the Commander of the Faithful, has granted to the people of Jerusalem. He has given them an assurance of safety for themselves, for their property, their churches, their crosses, the sick and the healthy of the city, and for all the rituals that belong to their religion. Their churches will not be inhabited [by Muslims] and will not be destroyed. Neither they, nor the land on which they stand, nor their crosses, nor their property will be damaged. They will not be forcibly converted.

The people of Jerusalem must pay the poll tax like the people of (other) cities, and they must expel the Byzantines and the robbers. All this from the book they shall have as a pact of Allah, and as protection from his Messenger, from the Caliphs as well as from the Believers if they pay the jizyah. Witnesses of this are: Khalid bin Al-Waleed, `Amr ibn Al-`As, `Abd Al-Rahman ibn `Awf and Mu`awiya ibn Abi Sufyan. It was written with all present in the 15th year after Hegira.

Khalid bin Al-Waleed, the renowned Muslim commander, concluded a similar treaty with the people of Damascus which read:

This is what Khalid bin Al-Waleed shall grant to the people of Damascus: He shall grant them protection [and safety] for their lives, property [and possessions], their churches, and the walls of their cities. Nothing of their quarters will be destroyed nor shall anyone live in them. This they shall have as a pact of Allah, protection from his Messenger, from the Caliphs as well as from the Believers and nothing but good will remain for them if they pay the jizyah.

Habib bin Maslamah, a Companion of Prophet Muhammad and accomplished Muslim military commander, entered into a similar pact with the people of Dabil which read:

In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful! This is a document from Habib bin Maslamah to the Christians, Magians and Jews of Dabil, present and absent. I assure you safety of your lives, properties, churches, places of worship and walls of your city. You are guaranteed protection and we are bound to fulfill our pact as long as you adhere to the jizyah and pay the kharaj. Allah is witness and He alone suffices as a witness.

In the Qur’an, we read verses telling us that Allah allowed the believers to fight against the unbelievers to prevent the demolition of the places of worship in general. Allah says:

Indeed, Allah defends those who have believed. Indeed, Allah does not like everyone treacherous and ungrateful.

Permission (to fight) has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory.

(They are) those who have been evicted from their homes without right – only because they say, “Our Lord is Allah.” And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.

(And they are) those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of (all) matters. (Al-Hajj 22:38-41)

However, somebody may wonder how the empowerment of Muslims will prevent the demolition of the places of worship.

The answer is that Islam binds Muslims to not only refrain from attacking the places of worship but also to protect them against attacks by any other people. It is safe to say that Islam is keen on the other faiths, even if they are contradictory to its principles.

Islam is nothing but a faith and a body of beliefs. The cause of faith serves as a common ground for their coexistence with the other, whose faith or beliefs might be right or wrong from Muslims’ point of view.

So long as some faith or belief is cherished, there is a way for communication. Islam looks for those who are willing to believe in religions simply because they are supposed to seek the truth. We, Muslims, think that we have that truth. Consequently, dialogue with those people will bring Muslims either new converts or allies and friends from the other religions. Therefore, it may be hard liaise with those who are unwilling to believe in any religion for they are unlikely to accept religion and religious people.

Furthermore, Muslims are deeply concerned about security, peace, justice and freedom on earth. Such security, peace, justice and freedom are more likely to be maintained by religion for religion usually preaches such values. Without religion, such values are at peril.

Therefore, Islam pleads the cause of religion and defends all religions as well as their places of worship. Muslims wish that even if Islam is not professed, one religion is still followed. This is better for Muslims themselves.

Islam & Non-Muslims

Just as Muslims guarantee security, peace, justice and freedom for non-Muslims, they expect that they are given equal treatment by non-Muslims.

Though Muslims see the followers of the other divine religions as unbelievers, Muslims still side with them against the atheists and the followers of the non-divine religions. Even though Muslims hope that the whole world converts to Islam, they prefer that if Islam is not embraced, the other divine religions are followed instead given the commonalities shared by those religions.

Muslims have shown sympathy for the followers of the other divine religions throughout history though such a feeling is not reciprocated by those followers, either Jews or Christians. Such sympathy is recorded in the Qur’an more than once.

For example, during Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime, the Magian Persian Empire defeated the Christian Roman Empire in one of the wars which would break out between them every now and then. At the time, Muslims sympathized with the Roman Empire. Qur’anic verses were revealed, prophesying a prospective victory by the Roman Empire over the Persian Empire.

We read the following verses in the Qur’an:

The Byzantines have been defeated in the nearest land. But they, after their defeat, will overcome. Within a few years. To Allah belongs the command before and after. And that day the believers will rejoice in the victory of Allah. He gives victory to whom He wills, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful. (It is) the promise of Allah. Allah does not fail in His promise, but most of the people do not know. (Ar-Rum 30:1-7)

In a word, Islam commands Muslims to give kind treatment and act justly towards non-Muslims so long as they do not wrong Muslims.

Allah says:

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.

Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion – [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers. (Al-Mumtahanah 60:8-9)

References:

1- The Glorious Qur’an (Sahih International Translation)

2- As-Sirah An-Nabawiyah by Ibn Ishaq

 

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Source: islamforchristians.com

 

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Categories
His Companions New Muslims

Mus`ab ibn `Umayr: The First Envoy of Islam (1/2)

By: Khalid Muhammad Khalid

wild flowers

The flower of the Quraysh, the most handsome and youthful, historians and narrators describe him as “The most charming of the Makkans”.

The flower of the Quraysh, the most handsome and youthful, historians and narrators describe him, among the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as “The most charming of the Makkans”.

He was born and brought up in wealth, and he grew up with its luxuries. Perhaps there was no boy in Makkah who was pampered by his parents like Mus`ab ibn `Umayr. This mirthful youth, caressed and pampered, the talk of the ladies of Makkah, the jewel of its clubs and assemblies: is it possible for him to be one of the legends of faith?

By Allah, how interesting a tale, the story of Mus`ab ibn `Umayr or Mus`ab, the Good, as he was nicknamed among the Muslims! He was one of those made by Islam and fostered by the Prophet Muhammad.

But who was he? His story is a pride of all mankind.

The youth heard one day what the people of Makkah had begun to hear about Muhammad, the Truthful, that Allah had sent him as bearer of glad tidings and a warner to call them to the worship of Allah, the One God. When Makkah slept and awoke there was no other talk but the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his religion, and this spoiled boy was one of the most attentive listeners.

That was because, although he was young, the flower of clubs and assemblies, the outward appearance of wisdom and common sense were among the traits of Mus`ab.

He heard that the Prophet and those who believed in him were meeting far away from the dignitaries and great men of the Quraysh at As-Safaa in the house of Al-Arqam lbn Al-Arqam, Dar Al-Arqam.

He wasted no time. He went one night to the Dar Al Arqam, yearning and anxious. There, the Prophet was meeting his Companions, reciting the Qur’an to them and praying with them to Allah, the Most Exalted. Mus`ab had hardly taken his seat and contemplated the verses of Qur’an recited by the Prophet when his heart became the promised heart that night.

The pleasure almost flung him from his seat as he was filled with a wild ecstasy. But the Prophet patted his throbbing heart with his blessed right hand, and the silence of the ocean’s depth filled his heart.

In the twinkling of an eye, the youth who had just become Muslim appeared to have more wisdom than his age and a determination that would change the course of time!

Bravery & Wisdom

Mus`ab’s mother was Khunas bint Malik, and people feared her almost to the point of terror because she possessed a strong personality. When Mus`ab became a Muslim, he was neither careful before nor afraid of anyone on the face of the earth except his mother. Even if Makkah, with all its idols, nobles, and deserts were to challenge him, he would stand up to it.

As for a dispute with his mother, this was an impossible horror, so he thought quickly and decided to keep his Islam secret until Allah willed. He continued to frequent Dar Al-Arqam and take lessons from the Prophet. He was satisfied with his faith and avoided the anger of his mother, who had no knowledge of his embracing Islam.

However, Makkah at that time kept no secret, for the eyes and ears of the Quraysh were everywhere, very alert and checking every footprint in its hot sands. Once, `Uthman ibn Taihah saw him steadily entering alarm’s house, then he saw him a second time praying the prayer like Muhammad. No sooner had he seen him than he ran quickly with the news to Mus`ab’s mother, who was astonished by it.

Mus`ab stood before his mother, the people, and the nobles of Makkah who assembled around him, telling them the irrefutable truth and reciting the Qur’an with which the Prophet cleansed their hearts and filled them with honor, wisdom, justice, and piety.

His mother aimed a heavy blow at him, but the hand which was meant as an arrow soon succumbed to the powerful light which increased the radiance of his face with innocent glory because it demanded respect with its quiet confidence.

However, his mother, under the pressure of her motherliness, spared him the beating and the pain, although it was within her power to avenge her gods whom he had abandoned. Instead she took him to a rough corner of her house and shut him in it. She put shackles on him and imprisoned him there until he heard the news of the emigration (hijrah) of some of the believers to Abyssinia.

He thought to himself and was able to delude his mother and his guards, and so escaped to Abyssinia. There he stayed in Abyssinia with his fellow emigrants and then returned with them to Makkah.

He also emigrated to Abyssinia for the second time with the Companions whom the Prophet advised to emigrate and they obeyed. But

whether Mus`ab was in Abyssinia or Makkah, the experience of his faith proclaimed itself in all places and at all times.

sunlight-nature

Mus`ab became confident that his life had become good enough to be offered as a sacrifice to the Supreme Originator and Great Creator.

The Power of Belief

Mus`ab became confident that his life had become good enough to be offered as a sacrifice to the Supreme Originator and Great Creator. He went out one day to some Muslims while they were sitting around the Prophet (peace be upon him), and no sooner did they see him than they lowered their heads and shed some tears because they saw him wearing worn out garments. They were accustomed to his former appearance before he had become a Muslim, when his clothes had been like garden flowers, elegant and fragrant.

The Prophet saw him with the eyes of wisdom, thankful and loving, and his lips smiled gracefully as he said, “I saw Mus`ab here, and there was no youth in Makkah more petted by his parents than he. Then he abandoned all that for the love of Allah and His Prophet!”

His mother had withheld from him all the luxury he had been overwhelmed by, when she could not return him to her religion. She refused to let anyone who had abandoned their gods eat of her food, even if he was her son.

Her last connection with him was when she tried to imprison him for a second time after his return from Abyssinia, and he swore that if she did that, he would kill all those who came to her aid to lock him up. She knew the truth of his determination when he was intent and decided to do something, and so she bade him good bye weeping.

The parting moment revealed a strange adherence to infidelity on the part of his mother, and the greater adherence to faith on the part of her son. When she said to him, while turning him out of her house, “Go away, I am no longer your mother,” he went close to her and said, “O mother, I am advising you and my heart is with you, please bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.”

She replied to him, angrily raging, “By the stars, I will never enter your religion, to degrade my status and weaken my senses!”

To be continued…

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The article is excerpted from the book “Men Around the Messenger”, which is translation based on Khalid Muhammad Khalid’s celebrated work in Arabic “Rijal Hawla Ar-Rasul” which represents the real inspirational stories of sixty-four Companions of the Prophet.

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His Companions New Muslims

Mus`ab ibn `Umayr: The First Envoy of Islam (2/2)

By: Khalid Muhammad Khalid

So Mus`ab, as mentioned in part 1, left the great luxury in which he had been living. He became satisfied with a hard life he had never seen before, wearing the roughest clothes, eating one day and going hungry another. This spirit, which was grounded in the strongest faith, adorned with the light of Allah, made him another man, one who appeals to the eyes of other great souls.

Great Mission

While he was in this state, the Prophet (peace be upon him) commissioned him with the greatest mission of his life, which was to be his envoy to Al-Madinah. His mission was to instruct the Ansar (Muslims of Madinah) who believed in the Prophet and had pledged their allegiance to him at (the Pledge of) `Aqabah, to call others to Islam, and to prepare Al-Madinah for the day of the great Hijrah.

There were among the Companions of the Prophet at that time others who were older than Mus`ab and more prominent and nearer to the Prophet by family relations. But the Prophet chose Mus`ab, the Good, knowing that he was entrusting to him the most important task of that time, putting into his hands the destiny of Islam at Al-Madinah.

The radiant city of Al-Madinah was destined to be the home of Hijrah, the springboard of Islamic preachers and the liberators of the future. Mus`ab was equal to the task and trust which Allah had given him and he was equipped with an excellent mind and noble character. He won the hearts of the Madinites with his piety, uprightness and sincerity. And so they embraced the religion of Allah in flocks.

At the time the Prophet sent him there, only twelve Muslims had pledged allegiance to the Prophet (peace be upon him) at the Pledge of `Aqabah. He had hardly completed a few months when they answered to the call of Allah and the Prophet. During the next pilgrimage season, the Madinite Muslims sent a delegation of 70 believing men and women to Makkah to meet the Prophet.

They came with their teacher and their Prophet’s envoy, Mus`ab ibn `Umair. Mus`ab had proven, by his good sense and excellence, that the Prophet knew well how to choose his envoys and teachers. Mus`ab had understood his mission well. He knew that he was a caller to Allah and preacher of His religion, which calls people to right guidance and the straight path.

The Right Man

Like the Prophet in whom he believed, he was no more than a deliverer of the message. There he stood fast, with As`ad ibn Zorarah as host, and both of them used to visit the tribes, dwellings, and assemblies, reciting to the people what he had of the Book of Allah, instilling in them that Allah is no more than One God.

He had confronted certain instances which could have put an end to his life and that of those with him but for his active, intelligent, great mind. One day, he was taken by surprise while preaching to the people to find Usaid ibn Hudair, leader of the `Abd Al-Ashhal tribe, at Al-Madinah confronting him with a drawn arrow.

He was raging with anger and animosity against the one who had come to corrupt the religion of his people by telling them to abandon their gods and talking to them about the idea of only One God Whom they did not know before and had never heard of. Their gods were to them the center of their worship.

Whenever any of them needed them, he knew their places. They would invoke them for help. That was how they thought and imagined!

As for the God of Muhammad, to whom this envoy was calling, nobody knew His place, nor could anybody see Him! When the Muslims who were sitting around Mus`ab, saw Usaid ibn Hudair advancing in his unbridled anger, they were frightened, but Mus`ab, the Good, stood firm. Usaid stood before him and As`ad ibn Zorarah shouting, “What brought you here? Are you coming to corrupt our faith? Go away if you wish to be saved!”

And like the calmness of the sea and its force, Mus`ab started his fine speech saying, “Won’t you sit down and listen? If you like our cause, you can accept; and if you dislike it, we will spare you of what you hate.”

Allah is the Greatest! How grand an opening whose ending would be pleasant! Usaid was a thoughtful and clever man, and here he saw Mus`ab inviting him to listen and no more. If he was convinced he would accept it, and if he was not convinced, then Mus`ab would leave his neighborhood and his clan, and move to another neighborhood without harm, nor being harmed.

There and then Usaid answered him saying, “Well, that is fair,” and he dropped his arrow to the ground and sat down listening. Mus`ab had hardly read the Qur’an, explaining the mission with which Muhammad ibn `Abd Allah came, when the conscience of Usaid began to dear and brighten and change with the effectiveness of the words. He became overwhelmed by its beauty.

When Mus`ab finished speaking, Usaid ibn Hudair exclaimed to him and those with him, “How beautiful is this speech, and how true! How can one enter this religion?” Mus`ab told him to purify his body and clothes and say, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah.” Usaid retired for some time and then returned pouring clean water on his head and standing there proclaiming, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

The news spread like lightning and then Sa`d ibn Mu`adh came and listened to Mus`ab, and he was convinced and embraced Islam. Then came Sa`d ibn `Ubadah.

There and then blessings came with their entering Islam. The people of Al-Madinah came together asking one another, “If Usaid lbn Hudair, Sa`d ibn Mu`adh and Sa`d ibn `Ubadah have embraced Islam, what are we waiting for? Go straight to Mus`ab and believe. By Allah, he is calling us to the truth and the straight path!”

The first envoy of the Prophet succeeded without comparison. It was a success which he deserved and to which he was equal.

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The article is excerpted from the book “Men Around the Messenger”, which is translation based on Khalid Muhammad Khalid’s celebrated work in Arabic “Rijal Hawla Ar-Rasul” which represents the real inspirational stories of sixty-four Companions of the Prophet. 

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His Companions New Muslims

Salman Al-Farisi: A Journey of Truth and Existence (2/3)

Part 1

moon-nature

He moved from land to land, town to town, seeking acquaintances, persevering, worshiping and searching for his destiny.

I come from Isfahan, from a place called Jai, and I was the most beloved son of my father, who was a figure of high esteem among his people. We used to worship fire. I devoted myself to fire worship until I became custodian of the fire which we lit and never allowed to be extinguished.

My father had an estate. One day, he sent me there. I passed by a Christian church and heard them praying. I went in and saw what they were doing. I was impressed by what I saw in their prayers. I said, ”This is better than our religion.” I did not leave them until sunset, nor did I go to my father’s estate, nor did I return to my father until he sent people to search for me.

I asked the Christians about their affair and prayers which impressed me, and about the origin of their religion. They answered, ”In Syria.” I said to my father when I returned to him, ”I passed by people praying in a church of theirs, and I was impressed by their prayer, and I could see that their religion is better than ours.” He questioned me and I questioned him, and then he put fetters on my feet and locked me up.

Then I sent to the Christians saying I had entered their religion, and I requested that whenever a caravan came from Syria, they should tell me before its return in order for me to travel with them, and so they did.

I broke loose from the iron fetters and went away. I set out with them for Syria. While I was there, I asked about their learned man, and I was told that he was the bishop, leader of the church. I went to him and told him my story. I lived with him, serving, praying, and learning.

But this bishop was not faithful in his religion, because he used to gather money from the people to distribute it, but he would keep it for himself. Then he died.

They appointed a new leader in his place. I have never seen a man more godly than he in his religion, nor more active in his bid for the Hereafter, nor more pious in the world, nor more punctual at worship. I loved him more than I had ever loved any other person before.

When his fate came, I asked him, ”To whom would you recommend me? And to whom would you leave me?” He said, ”O my son, I do not know anyone who is on the path I am and who leads the kind of life I lead, except a certain man in Mosul.”

When he died, I went to that man in Mosul, and told him the story, and I stayed with him as long as Allah wished me to stay. Then death approached him. So I asked him, ”To whom would you advise me to go to?” He directed me to a pious man in Nisibin.

So I went to him and told him my story. I stayed with him as long as Allah wished me to stay. When death overtook him, I asked him as before. He told me to meet a person at `Amuriah in Byzantium. So, to Byzantium I went and stayed with that man, earning my living there by rearing cattle and sheep.

Then death approached him, and I asked him, ”To whom should I go?” He said, “O my son, I know no one anywhere who is on the path we have been on so that I can tell you to go to him. But you have been overtaken by an epoch in which there will appear a prophet in the pure creed of lbrahim (Abraham). He will migrate to the place of palm trees. If you can be sincere to him, then do so. He has signs which will be manifested: he does not eat of charity, yet he accepts gifts, and between his shoulders is the seal of prophethood. When you see him, you will know him.”

A caravan passed by me on that day. I asked them where they had come from and learned that they were from the Arabian Peninsula. So I told them, ”I give you these cattle and sheep of mine in return for your taking me to your land.” They agreed.

So they took me in their company until they brought me to Wadi Al-Quraa and there they wronged to me. They sold me to a Jew. I saw many palm trees and cherished the hope that it was the land that had been described to me and which would be the future place of the advent of the prophet, but it was not.

I stayed with this Jew who bought me until another from Bani Quraidhah came to him one day and bought me from him. I stayed with him until we came to Madinah. By Allah, I had hardly seen it when I knew that it was the land described to me.

I stayed with the Jew, working for him on his plantation in Bani Quraidhah until Allah sent His Prophet (peace be upon him), who later emigrated to Madinah and dismounted at Quba’ among the Bani `Amr ibn `Awf.

The Sign

Indeed, one day, I was at the top of a palm tree with my master sitting below it when a Jewish man came.

He was a cousin of his and said to him, ”May Allah destroy Bani Qubaa”. They are spreading a rumor about a man at Quba’ who came from Makkah claiming that he is a prophet.” By Allah, he had hardly said it, when I was seized by a tremor, and the palm tree shook until I almost fell on my master.

I climbed down quickly saying, ”What are you saying? What news?” My master gave me a nasty slap and said, ”What have you got to do with this? Return to your work!”

So, I returned to work. At nightfall I gathered what I had and went out until I came to the Prophet at Quba’. I entered and found him sitting with some of his Companions. Then I said, ”You are in need and a stranger. I have some food which I intend to give out as charity. When they showed me your lodgings, I thought you most deserve it, so I have come to you with it.” I put the food down. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to his Companions, ”Eat in the name of Allah.” He abstained and never took of it. I said to myself, ”This, by Allah, is one sign. He does not eat of charity!”

I returned to meet the Prophet again the next day, carrying some food, and said to him, “I can see that you do not partake of charity. I have something which I want to give to you as a present.” I placed it before him. He said to his Companions ”Eat in the name of Allah“ and he ate with them. So I said to myself, ”This indeed is the second sign. He eats of presents.”

I returned and stayed away for a while. Then I came to him, and I saw him sitting, having returned from a burial, and surrounded by his Companions. He had two garments, carrying one on his shoulder and wearing the other. I greeted him, then bent to see the upper part of his back. He knew what I was looking for, so he threw aside his garment off his shoulder and, behold, the sign between his shoulders, the seal of Prophethood, was clear just as the Christian monk had described.”

At once, I staggered towards him, kissing him and weeping. He called to me to come forward and I sat before him. I told him my story as you have already heard me describe the events.

Within Islam

When I became a Muslim, slavery prevented me from taking part in the battles of Badr and Uhud. Therefore the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised me, ”Go into terms with your master for him to free you,” and so I did. The Prophet told the Companions to assist me, and Allah freed me from bondage. I became a free Muslim, taking part with the Prophet in the Battle of Al-khandaq and others.

With these simple clear words, Salman spoke of his great, noble, and sacrificial adventure for the sake of Allah, seeking after the reality of religion that led him to Allah and helped him to find his role in this life. What kind of a noble person was this man? What great superiority was achieved by his aspiring spirit, that restless spirit that withstood difficulties and defeated them, confronted the impossible and it gave way!

What devotion to the truth, and what sincerity that led its owner voluntarily away from the estate of his father, with all its wealth and luxury, to the wilderness, with all its difficulties and suffering. He moved from land to land, town to town, seeking acquaintances, persevering, worshiping and searching for his destiny among people, sects, and different ways of life.

And adhering all the way to the truth with all its noble sacrifices, for the sake of guidance until he was sold into slavery. He was then rewarded by Allah the best of rewards, making him reach the truth and come into the presence of His Prophet.

And then He granted him longevity, enough for him to see the banner of Islam fluttering in all parts of the world and His Muslim worshippers filling its space and corners with guidance, progress and justice!

What do you expect of the Islam of a man with such a noble character but to be a man of such truth!
It was an Islam of the God- fearing and innocent. In his devotion he was intelligent, pious, and the person nearest to `Umar ibn Al-khattab.

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The article is excerpted from the book “Men Around the Messenger”, which is a translation based on Khalid Muhammad Khalid’s celebrated work in Arabic “Rijal Hawla Ar-Rasul” which represents the real inspirational stories of sixty-four Companions of the Prophet. 

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Family New Muslims

Parents in Islam: Their Rights and Status

 

fatherhood

“No son can repay (the right of his father) unless he finds him a slave, buys him and then emancipates him.”

The rights of parents include respect, love and obedience. This obedience is conditional that it does not contradict obedience to the commands of Allah and His Messenger. It involves care and kindness to both parents, and provision of necessities for elder parents. Humility and respect to both parents equally is an obligation, and any arrogance or insolence is forbidden.

Patience and perseverance are required when serving parents, no matter what the circumstances. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in their life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. (Al-Israa’ 17:23)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) instructed us saying:

“(Allah’s pleasure on someone) is based on the pleasure of his parents. The wrath of Allah is based upon the anger of his parents.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Both parents are entitled to this right even if they are not Muslims so long as they do not command their children to do any act of disobedience to Allah (Exalted be He).

Asmaa’, the daughter of the Abu Bakr, said My mother came to visit me while still not a Muslim. I asked Allah’s Prophet (peace be upon him) concerning her visit (and how to treat her while visiting me) and said, ‘My mother is eager to visit with me. Should I (or should I not) extend my courtesy (as a host) to her?’ He said: “Yes, extend courtesy”. (Muslim)

The mother must be given priority in terms of kindness, sympathy, good feelings, love and affection as mentioned by Allah’s Prophet:

“A man  came to Allah’s Prophet and asked him: ‘O Prophet of Allah! Who is the most worthy and deserving person of my good treatment and companionship? He replied: ‘Your mother.’ The man asked: ‘who is next?’ Allah’s Messenger replied: ‘your mother.’ The man asked ‘who is next?’ Allah’s Messenger replied: ‘your father.’  And in another version there is the ending: ‘your father and then the next nearest and next nearest.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah’s Messenger assigned the mother with a three-fold portion of the right of companionship. The father, in comparison, receives only one share. This is due to the fact that mothers suffer more hardships during pregnancy and during the delivery and care of their children. Allah says in the Qur’an:

And we have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth. (Al-Ahqaf 46:15)

This in no way demeans the rights of the father, since the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“No son can repay (the right of his father) unless he finds him a slave, buys him and then emancipates him.” (Muslim)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions”.

 

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Between Belief and Treating Parents in Islam

motherhood

Islam portrays parents, particularly the mother, as one’s benefactors. One is reminded of how they faced hardships in bringing one up.

And We have commanded man kindness to his parents: with hardship his mother bears him and with hardship she brings him up, and the weaning of him is thirty months, until, when he attains his full strength and attains the age of forty years, he says: “Lord! Grant me the ability that I may give thanks for the favor You have done to me and my parents and that I may act piously such as You may approve. And be gracious to my children. Truly I have turned to You and truly I submit to You (in Islam).” (Al-Ahqaf 46:15)

And We have commanded man about his parents, his mother bears him in hardship upon hardship, and his weaning is in two years. Give thanks to Me and your parents. Unto Me is the return. (Luqman 31:14)

Man has obligations towards his fellow human beings, but his obligations towards his parents, according to Islam, are of the utmost importance. The Qur’an mentions this duty, next only to that of serving Allah:

And your Lord has commanded that you should worship no one but Him and show kindness to your parents; and if either or both of them become old, do not say to them “pooh”. Do not show any disrespect to them. Speak to them a word of respect. And lower unto them the wings of humility out of kindness and say: Lord! Have mercy on them as they brought me up when young. (Al-Israa’ 17:23-24)

To begin with, the following points are worth noting, as one studies these passages, prescribing how we should treat our parents:

1- That parents are to be treated with kindness and respect features as a divine command in all the above instances. It underscores the tremendous importance attached to this duty in the Islamic scheme of things. It is not some moral precept which one may observe as a dictate of conscience or as a discretionary matter. On the contrary, it is a definite divine command which must be obeyed unquestioningly by everyone and at any cost.

2- The Qur’an repeatedly asks man to thank Allah for His numerous favours. Parents alone hold the distinction of being mentioned along with Allah, who deserve to be thanked for their favours. Man is directed to recall with gratitude the favours done to him by his parents. One should constantly bear in mind the exalted rank accorded to parents by the Qur’an.

Furthermore, besides enacting the command for the good treatment of parents, Allah teaches man the following supplications, which he should make for his parents:

Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents and the believers on the Day of Reckoning. (Ibrahim 14:41)

Lord! Grant me the ability that I may give thanks for the favour You have done to me and my parents … (Al-Ahqaf 46:15)

Lord! Forgive me and my parents and him who enters my house as a believer, and all the believing men and women … (Nuh 71:28)

By making these supplications, love and respect for parents is likely to be ingrained in both mind and heart. Man is thus instructed to regard his parents as an almost inseparable part of his self, as he seeks Allah’s forgiveness both for himself and his parents. Islam, thus, ensures that love and respect for parents is infused deeply into man’s consciousness. Man should imbibe this truth thoroughly.

3- Significantly enough, Islam admits no distinction between one’s Muslim or non-Muslim parents in treating them well. The parents of many early Muslims in the Prophet’s day clung to their ancestral faith out of blind conformity and imitation, and some of them even opposed Islam. Yet these Muslims were directed not to break their family or social ties with their parents.

Rather, they were told to treat them well, irrespective of their religious affiliations. The Prophet’s noble example bears out this point. It is on record that he always spoke affectionately of his loving uncle, Abu Talib, though the latter refused to embrace Islam, even in the face of the Prophet’s repeated and persuasive pleas.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to recount gratefully the invaluable patronage and protection extended by Abu Talib and mourned his death, describing it as his irreparable personal loss.

The same point comes out unmistakably from the following report, recorded by Al-Bukhari:

“Asmaa’, Abu Bakr’s daughter, sought the Prophet’s directive as to how she should treat her polytheistic mother who visited her. The Prophet told her to maintain filial ties with her mother and to look after her well.” (Al-Bukhari)

Other Qur’anic passages instructing man to treat his parents with love, kindness and respect are verses 83 of Surat Al-Baqarah 2, 36 of Al-Nisaa’ 4, 151 of Al-An`am 6 and 19 of An-Naml 27.

The directive embodied in the above is elucidated in several hadiths. Take the following for instance: The Prophet is on record declaring: “Your Paradise lies under the feet of your mother.” (Ahmad)

– The Prophet spelled out the following as cardinal sins: “To associate partners with Allah, to disobey parents, to commit murder and to give false testimony.” (Muslim)

– Once the Prophet exclaimed:

“Let him be disgraced!” On being requested to identify the culprit, he clarified: “One who is with his parents in their old age, both or either of them, and yet fails to win a place for himself in Paradise by serving them well.” (Muslim)

– That one may discharge one’s obligation towards one’s parents even after their death is clarified in the following hadith reported by Abu Usayd Sa`idi:

“Once while we were in the Prophet’s company, someone from the tribe of Salamah called on the Prophet and asked him: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do I owe obligations to my parents even after their death?’ The latter replied: “Yes, you must pray to Allah to favour them with His forgiveness, honour the commitments which your parents made and maintain ties with their relatives and friends.” (Abu Dawud)

Non-Muslim Parents

Notwithstanding its emphatic exhortation for kindness towards parents, the Qur’an makes it plain that they are not to be obeyed if they ask their children to follow a faith other than Islam. Allah alone is to be obeyed in matters of faith, as is evident from the following assertions: “If they try to make you associate anyone with Me, of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them.” (Al-`Ankabut 29:8)

If either of them should try to make you associate anyone with Me, of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them, although you may keep company with them honorably in this world. Follow the way of him who turns to Me in repentance. (Luqman 31:15)

Islam adopts a balanced approach regarding one’s non-Muslim parents. This issue made its appearance in the early days of Islam.

Today, the same problem is faced by new Muslims. On the one hand, Islam directs a Muslim not to abandon his unbelieving parents. Nor should he/she recant his/her belief in Islam as a result of emotional blackmail from them.

That one should adhere steadfastly to Islam once the truth dawns on one is illustrated by Sa`id ibn Malik’s conduct. His acceptance of Islam in response to the Prophet’s call was vigorously resented by his polytheistic mother. She refused to take food, demanding that Sa`id should give up his allegiance to Islam.

However, he did not relent and told her plainly that her fasting unto death would not deter him even in the slightest. After a couple of days when her condition worsened and she realized Sa`id’s unwavering commitment to Islam, she recanted her stance and resumed eating and drinking.

A Muslim is not to budge an inch in the face of such pressure. Yet a Muslim must make a point of maintaining his social relations with his unbelieving parents. His treatment should be characterized by gentleness and kindness. He should help them financially and emotionally.

Particularly the Mother

In the Qur’anic passages setting forth one’s obligations towards parents, it is worth noting that they, particularly the mother, are portrayed as one’s benefactors. One is reminded of how they faced hardships in bringing one up.

As thanksgiving one should be kind to them. This fits in with the larger scheme of things Islamic. For Allah is the benefactor par excellence. It is on account of Allah’s favour that one is blessed with parents who selflessly and lovingly spend all that they have for their children.

In comparison, Allah’s concern and bounties for His servants are beyond measure. One should be thankful, in the first place, to Allah and then to one’s parents. Islam infuses gratitude into the hearts of believers.

Prompted by the same they profusely thank Allah. And on a much narrower scale, a Muslim is naturally drawn towards his parents out of gratitude for them.

Another striking point about the Qur’anic directive is that one should treat one’s parents well in their old age. This pointed reference to their old age rests on several important considerations. First, they need greater care and attention as they turn physically and emotionally infirm.

At this juncture they are especially sensitive to any neglect shown them. Being physically weak, they are more prone to being irritable and unable to exercise self-restraint. At times, they may behave irrationally, placing such demands on their children which may be hard to meet. It is in the face of all these irritants that one is directed by the Qur’an to treat them with love and respect.

Man is reminded of his own infancy and childhood when he placed too many demands on his parents and they cheerfully bore all such hardships. In turn, one should bear with his parents’ foibles and temperamental problems.

Against this backdrop, one realizes the significance of the prayers taught by the Qur’an to man, for seeking strength from Allah, which may enable one to treat one’s parents well.

Obviously, Allah’s mercy can help one discharge this difficult duty. Furthermore, it explains why many hadiths highlight the importance of this obligation and speak of Allah’s reward and punishment for one’s treatment of one’s parents.

The Reward

It is, no doubt, quite a task to maintain excellent relations with parents consistently. At the same time, it is vital for protecting and upholding the social fabric. Accordingly, many hadiths graphically spell out Allah’s reward on this count. Take the following hadiths as illustrative.

It is related on Ibn `Abbas’ authority that the Prophet made the following observation:

“A dutiful son who only looks at his parents with love and kindness will earn the reward due for Hajj for each glance of his. Someone asked: If one casts such a glance one hundred times a day, will he get the reward one hundred times? The Prophet replied: Yes, he will be credited with this reward for each glance. Almighty Allah’s treasure is not diminished on account of even such generous and ample rewards.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

“Abu Bakr reports that the Prophet said: While Allah may defer the punishment for one’s sins until the Day of Recompense, one guilty of denying one’s parents their due and disobeying them is punished in this world itself. This is in addition to the punishment to be inflicted in the Hereafter.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

The Qur’anic passages urging the good treatment of parents make pointed reference to man’s total submission to Allah in this world and his ultimate return to Him.

The point pressed home is that one’s excellent attitude towards one’s parents should flow from one’s wholesale surrender to Allah. As part of this and in accordance with divine command one should treat one’s parents well.

One should not be prompted by any material interest or selfish motive such as that of eliciting praise from others in serving one’s parents. Rather, one’s eyes should be set on the Hereafter, and, in view of divine reward, one should be kind to one’s parents, as this will win Allah’s pleasure in the Hereafter.

In sum, a Muslim’s conduct including his relationship with parents should be governed by Allah’s commands recorded in the Qur’an and elaborated in Hadith.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s The Qur’an: Essential Teachings, published by the Islamic Foundation, 2005/1426 H.

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Family New Muslims

The Two Words I Never Was Fortunate to Say to My Mother…

Not too long ago I went to visit a friend of mine whose mother was dying of cancer. She had been battling cancer for about five years, and the news came to me that she was on her last days.

mother

My mom has been there all my life, never failed me once, never. And never once have I ever come to her and just said it…

So, I went to visit the brother, and I sat down with him, he was explaining to me that his mother is going through this state of “Sakarat Al-Mawt” conscious and then unconscious, and that the cancer was really starting to spread all over.

So, as I sat with this friend of mine and he was talking his eyes tear up. So I naturally assumed it was because his mother was dying. So I tried to comfort him and tell him that this was natural in life. He said to me, “I’m not crying because she is leaving and of course I’m upset, but this is not why I’m crying”.

I said, “then why are you upset?”

He said “I’m upset because all my life I never thanked Mother for what she’s done.”

Honestly I can’t explain what happened to me when he said these words.

“All my life I’ve never said ‘thank you’ to my mum”, he continued.

And now that she’s sitting in the next room and she’s alive but she is conscious and unconscious, and even if I spoke to her she is not going to be able to understand or comprehend the words that I’m saying.

What about You & Your Mother?

Can you, brothers and sisters, imagine that?

For those of us who are fortunate enough that their mothers are still around, how does this affect you?

My mom has been there all my life, never failed me once, never. And never once have I ever come to her and just said “Thank you”.  Can you imagine that?

Listen to the details of this pitiful story from brother Brother Mohamad Hoblos…

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Source: OnePath Network

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Family New Muslims

Islam and the Institution of the Family

By: Abul A`la Mawdudi

The foremost and fundamental institution of human society is the family unit. A family is established by the coming together of a man and a woman, and their contact brings into existence a new generation.

Islam and the Institution of the Family

In Islam, marital bond is founded on the sweetness of love with the possibility of lasting companionship.

Family… First Unit of Civilization

This, then, produces ties of kinship and community, which, in turn, gradually develops further ties. The family is an instrument of continuity which prepares the succeeding generation to serve human civilization and to discharge its social obligations with devotion, sincerity and enthusiasm.

This institution does not merely recruit cadets for the maintenance of human culture, but positively desires that those who are to come will be better members of society.

In this respect, the family can be truly called the source of the progress, development, prosperity and strength of human civilization. Islam, therefore, devotes much attention to the issues relating to the family and strives to establish it on the healthiest and strongest possible foundations.

Unity

According to Islam, the correct relationship between man and woman is marriage, a relationship in which social responsibilities are fully accepted and which results in the emergence of a family.

Sexual permissiveness and other similar types of irresponsible behavior are not dismissed by Islam as mere innocent pastimes or ordinary transgressions.

Rather, they are acts which strike at the very roots of society. Hence, Islam holds all extra-marital sex as sinful and forbidden (haram) and makes it a criminal offence. Severe punishments are prescribed to deter would-be offenders.

Purdah, which regulates the free association of men and women, restrictions on erotic music and obscene pictures and the discouragement of the spread of all forms of pornography, are other weapons used in the fight to protect and strength the institution of the family.

Islam does not look on adult celibacy simply with disfavor-it calls on every young man to take upon himself the social responsibilities of married life just as his parents did in their time.

Nor does Islam regard asceticism and lifelong celibacy merely as being of no benefit; it sees them as departures from the nature of man and as acts of revolt against the Divine scheme of things.

It also strongly disapproves of those rites, ceremonies or restrictions which tend to make marriage the easiest and fornication the most difficult thing in society – and not vice versa as it is in most societies today.

Hence, after debarring certain blood relatives from entering into matrimony with one another, it has legalized marriage with all other near and distant kith and kin. It has removed all distinctions of caste and community, and permitted matrimony of any Muslim with any other Muslim. It has urged that the mahr (dower) should be fixed at a figure which can be easily borne by both sides. It has dispensed with the necessity of priests and register offices.

…and Harmony

In an Islamic society, marriage is a plain and simple ceremony which can be performed anywhere before two witnesses, though it is essential that the proceedings should not be kept secret. Society must know that the couple are now going to live as husband and wife.

Within the family itself Islam has assigned to the man a position of authority so that he can maintain order and discipline as the head of the household. Islam expects the wife to obey her husband and look after his well-being; and it expects the children to behave accordingly to their parents.

Islam does not favour a loose and disjointed family system devoid of proper authority, control and discipline. Discipline can only be maintained through a central authority and, in the view of Islam, the position of father in the family is such that it makes him the fittest person to have this responsibility.

But this does not mean that man has been made a household tyrant and woman has been handed over to him as a helpless chattel. According to Islam, the real spirit of marital life is love, understanding and mutual respect.

If woman has been asked to obey her husband, the latter has been called on to treat the wife with love, affection and sweetness and to make the welfare of his family his top priority.

Although, Islam places great emphasis on the marital bond, it only wants it to remain intact as long as it is founded on the sweetness of love or there exist at least the possibility of lasting companionship.

If neither of these two conditions can be maintained, it gives man the right of divorce and woman the right of separation; and under certain conditions, where married life has become a source of misery, the Islamic courts of justice have the authority to annul the marriage.

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The article is excerpted from the author’s The Islamic Way of Life.

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Prophet Abraham and His Non-Believer Father

There’re two examples of da`wah of Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim). One was when he presented haqq (the Truth) to his father and the other was when he addressed his people. There is a marked difference between the two.

Prophet Abraham dender nature

Paternal affection has been aroused in his address to his father.

The difference is not in the mode of discourse and clear presentation, but the deep knowledge shown of the prevailing conditions and psychology of the people addressed and how such discourse appeals to the hearts.

The son invites his father to Islam:

And make mention (O Muhammad) in the book of Ibrahim. Truly, he was a saint, a Prophet. When he said to his father: ‘O my father! Why do you worship that which does not hear nor see, nor can in any way avail you? O my father! Lo! There has come to me of knowledge that which did not come to you. So follow me, and I will lead you on a right path. O my father? Do not serve the Satan. Truly, the Satan is a rebel to the All Merciful. O my father! I fear that a punishment from the All Merciful will overtake you so that you become a comrade of the Satan. (Maryam 19:41-45)

Paternal affection has been aroused in these verses. Think over the repeated address: “O my father!” It shows obedience, love and humility. It requires an aesthetic taste to understand the eloquence of this address.

Mode of Address

Those who have a deep knowledge of the language of the Qur’an can really enjoy the spirit of this mode of address. It has been said that when such persons recite any ayah which delineates the punishment of Allah, their voices tremble and their faces redden with fear. When however they recite any ayah regarding Allah’s pardon and mercy, their hearts melt and their voices show mildness and the warmth of love.

When a son addresses his father thus: “O my father”, he arouses his paternal affection. If he had said the same thing with the voice of a preacher, he would have said,

“Exalted Sir! hear me, or O reverend priest! think it over.”

It would have then given an altogether different impression.

But he said: “O my father”. He adopted this mode intentionally so that his words might touch a sympathetic chord and arouse paternal affection, and thus open the way to his father’s heart. When a son addresses his father in this manner, however angry the father may be, his heart melts and he is inclined to hear what the son has to say.

The prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) touched the sympathetic chord in his heart before he discoursed. Because it has been seen that sometimes affection finds a place in the heart before faith finds acceptance with the person addressed.

It is also possible that a father may be affectionate but may not be a believer. If he is to be invited to true faith then one has to enter through the door which is open.

Hikmah

One who is inviting to the ‘way of Allah’ who is blessed with hikmah (wisdom) cannot lose sight of this aspect. If he does so, it may be harmful to him and his cause. If, however, he is bad-tempered he cannot succeed in his mission.

… if then (O Muhammad) you had been stern and fierce of heart they (the Companions) would have dispersed from around about you. (Aal `Imran 3:159)

When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) addressed his uncle Abu Talib, at a very critical juncture, he addressed him as “Dear Uncle”.

It was at a time when Abu Talib was afraid of a boycott by Quraysh.

“Dear Uncle! If they place the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left and ask me to abandon this mission, still I will not give it up. I will continue to work for it until Allah makes it prevail or I sacrifice my life for it.”

The result of these soft-spoken words was that the natural emotion of sympathy and affection was aroused and, though Abu Talib remained attached to his ancestral religion, he said: “O my son! continue with your mission and do what you like. I will not hand you over to anybody.”

Prophet Abraham’s Invitation 

While speaking to his father the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) did not take to logic nor speak in the high-flown language meant only for the intelligentsia. He began his talk in the language used in common parlance which could be understood by any man with common sense.

He said, “My father! Why worship an idol which does not hear, see nor can it be of any help lo you. I have been revealed the truth of which you have no knowledge.” (Maryam 19:42-43)

It is also a matter of pleasure for a father that his son should excel him in knowledge and intelligence. That is not surprising.

It has sometimes been found that the father is illiterate and the son becomes a learned and proficient man.

The Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) said to his father, “O my father! I have been revealed the Truth of which you have no knowledge, so follow me. I will guide you to the right path. O my father! Do not worship the Satan. The Satan is disobedient to Allah.” (Maryam 19:43-44)

Each and every word in this ayah has a depth of meaning in it and is a treasure of wisdom. He spoke to him in a simple language because his father was a simpleminded sculptor. It was no use talking to him in a sophisticated way. He just said, “O my father! I fear that you may be taken as a follower of the Satan and the punishment of Allah may strike you.” (Maryam 19:45)

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 The article is excerpted from the book “Inviting to the Way of Allah”, by Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Translated by Qazi Abdul Hamid, published by Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. and UK Islamic Academy, 1996/1416 H.

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Prophet Yusuf Inviting to Allah: Perfect Manners & Excellent Disposition

Here we present the method of invitation used by the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him). The relevant verses are:

And two young men went to prison with him. One of them said: ‘I dreamt that I was pressing wine.’ The other said: ‘I dreamt that I was carrying upon my head bread from which the birds were eating. Tell us the interpretation, for we see you of those who do good.’ He said: ‘The food which you are given (daily) shall not come to you but I shall tell you the interpretation before it comes to you. This is of that which my Lord has taught me. Truly, I have forsaken the religion of folk who don’t believe in Allah and are disbelievers in the Hereafter. And I follow the religion of my fathers, Ibrahim and Ishaq and Ya`qub. lt never was for us to attribute anything as partner to Allah. This is of the bounty of Allah to us (the seed of Ibrahim) and to mankind; but most men do not give thanks. 0 my two fellow prisoners! Are many lords better, or Allah the One, the Almighty? Those who in you worship besides Him are but names which you have named, you and your fathers. Allah has revealed no sanction for them. The decision rests with Allah only, Who has commanded you that you worship none save Him. This is the right religion, but most men know not. 0 my two fellow prisoners! As for one of you, he will pour out wine for his lord to drink; and as for the other he will be crucified so that the birds will eat from his head. This is the case judged concerning which you inquired. (Yusuf 12:36-41)

The Unusual Circumstances

Before I elucidate the meaning of these noble verses, I want you to visualize the unusual environment in which the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) had to carry out his mission.

First of all, think for a while about who the Prophet Yusuf was. He was the son of the Prophet Ya`qub(Jacob), and grandson of the Prophet Ishaq (Isaac) and great-grandson of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon them) all, – eminent in lineage, a prophet by heredity, noble in disposition, excellent in morals and manners, mentioned in revealed books, narrated in religious, literary and philosophical works and matchless in beauty.

Then go through the following verses, before enjoying the literary excellence of these verses:

And there came a caravan, and they sent their water drawer. He let down his pail (in the pit). (Yusuf 12:19)

And it seemed good to them (the menfolk) after they had seen the signs (of his innocence)to imprison him for a time. (Yusuf 12:35)

The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) was imprisoned on a charge from which he had been acquitted. His innocence was as much established by Allah as was the wolf free from the guilt of killing him (an Arabic proverb).

Anyway, the Prophet Yusuf was sent to jail as a convict on a false charge. The prison staff had to carry out the orders of the higher authorities. They were not concerned with the facts of the case. They treated the inmates as chattels. They were not aware of the status of the Prophet Yusuf, the family he belonged to or the noble character he bore. The atmosphere in prison is different from the outside world and the inmates had a lot of time at their disposal.

Though all the prisoners were treated as equals, the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) became the centre of attention- other prisoners being impressed by his character.

Perhaps the fellow prisoners were attracted towards him on account of his devotion to prayers, dignified manners, strength of character, and broadmindedness. They were obliged to respect him for his sterling qualities of head and heart. It was all in accordance with the will of Allah.

The two prisoners had dreams which is nothing unusual, but their dreams were a bit strange. One of them dreamt that he was extracting wine (from grapes). He did not know what the dream meant and fear caught him as if it was a nightmare. The other man dreamt that he was carrying bread in a basket over his head and the birds were eating from it. It was also a strange dream.

They referred their dreams to the Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him. It shows that their instinct had not become dull. They had the faculty of observation and it is a common practice that people judge by their own experiences rather than depending on logic and reason. They told their dreams to the Prophet Yusuf and asked him for their interpretations saying, “We see you (to be one) of those who act excellently well”.

The Meaning of “lhsan

The two prisoners who asked for interpretation of their dreams said:

“ … for we see you (to be one)of those who act excellently well.”

lhsan thus signifies doing anything in a manner which is the highest degree of perfection.

When asked about lhsan the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

lhsan is that you worship Allah as if you see Him, because if you do not see Him, then He sees you.” (AL-Bukhari)

Ihsan here means that the Prophet Yusuf was perfect in every way. Because he was accused of an offense (which he did not commit) there must have been some talk about it in the prison. His co-prisoners must have thought at first that there must be some truth in the charge or else he would not have been in prison.

Others might have said that the charge was false. But all this loose talk ended in the prison when they saw him at close quarters and experienced his perfect manners and excellent disposition. The aura of guilt which preceded his coming to the prison disappeared and the prisoners instead saw a halo of glory around him.

A Thought-provoking Matter

The Prophet Yusuf, (peace be upon him) realized that the frightening dreams had brought these persons to him since they considered such matters important in their time.

They gave great importance to such incidents and prognostications and placed implicit faith in them.

But the Prophet Yusuf was brought up in the lap of prophethood, endowed with a rare insight and moulded for prophethood; he understood that these two prisoners were forgetting the grave realities which needed more attention than these dreams. He knew that the present life, however long it may be, is, in fact, no better than a dream.

These two prisoners were more in need of knowing the interpretation of the reality of life and death since their forgetfulness of Allah laid them open to a more serious loss and danger.

Yusuf who was blessed with sympathy for people and had their welfare at heart, knew that it was more important to warn them about the real danger to come. They ought to be told about the thing which was more profitable to them, especially when they had experienced a shock and were mentally prepared to heed his advice. He had now an opportunity to tell them what he wanted; there probably would be no other occasion.

Yusuf (peace be upon him) thought it better not to lose that chance as the interpretation of dreams had presented him with an opportunity to invite them to the way of Allah. He thought that their natural sense of reason ought to be awakened so that they might grasp the meaning of tawheed, the easy and natural belief in One God.

To be continued…..

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The article is excerpted from the book “Inviting to the Way of Allah”, by Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Translated by Qazi Abdul Hamid, published by Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. and UK Islamic Academy, 1996/1416 H.

 

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