He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. His name is he preached a religion, founded a State, built a nation, laid down a moral code, initiated numerous social and political reforms, established a powerful and dynamic society to practice and represent his teachings and completely revolutionized the world of human thought and behavior for all times to come.
T HE M ESSAGE O F M ERCY Tolerance and Peaceful Coexistence Equality and Brotherhood Sanctity of human life, property and honour Women’s rights Preservation of the Environment Animal Rights Practical abolition of Slavery Elimination of Racism Amaan (Pledge of safety) for non-Muslims
T olerance Narrated Anas bin Malik, ‘While I was going along with Allah's Messenger who was wearing a Najrani burd (sheet) with a thick border, a bedouin overtook the Prophet and pulled his rida' (sheet) forcibly. I looked at the side of the shoulder of the Prophet and noticed that the edge of the rida' had left a mark on it because of the violence of his pull. The bedouin said, "O Muhammad! Order for me some of Allah's property which you have.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) turned towards the bedouin, smiled and ordered that he be given something.’ (Sahih Bukhari 73/111)
P eaceful C oexistence On arriving in Madina, the Prophet (peace be upon him) signed a comprehensive peace treaty with the three native Jewish tribes, whereby they were considered citizens of the Muslim Nation and enjoyed many rights such as protection from outside enemies and the freedom to practice their religion. In 6 A.H, the Muslims were denied entry into Makkah by Quraish to perform pilgrimage. The terms dictated by them were unfavourable for the Muslims yet the Prophet agreed and signed a 10 year long Peace Treaty at Hudaibiyah with the same people who had been trying to wipe out his existence. Both treaties were honoured by the Muslims until the other parties violated them
E quality On the day of the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “O people, Allah has saved you from the arrogance of Jahiliyyah (Days of Ignorance before Islam), bragging and boasting of lineage. … All humankind are children of Adam, and Adam was created from earth.”
B rotherhood Narrated Abu Huraira (with whom Allah is pleased), Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Beware of suspicion, for it is the worst of false tales and don't look for the other's faults and don't spy and don't hate each other, and don't desert (cut your relations with) one another. O Allah's slaves, be brothers!” (Sahih Bukhari: 8.717)
In a sermon during the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “… It is unlawful for you to shed the blood of one another or take (unlawfully) the fortunes of one another. They are as unlawful (haram) as shedding blood on such a day as today and in such a month as this haram month and in such a sanctified city as this sacred city (i.e. Makkah and the surrounding areas).” S anctity O f H uman L ife, P roperty & H onour
W omen’s R IGHTS 1400 years ago, Islam accorded women the right: to life (at a time when daughters were buried alive) to have their honour protected to financial and emotional security to compulsory education to own property in their own name to inherit to testify to be respected to have all their needs taken care of to a compulsory marital gift from the husband to financial support from the husband
T REATMENT O F W OMEN Narrated Abu Huraira (with whom Allah is pleased), the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The most perfect Muslim in the matter of faith is one who has excellent behaviour; and the best among you are those who behave best towards their wives.” (Tirmidhi : 278) Narrated Al Aswad that he asked 'Aisha (the Prophet’s wife, with whom Allah is pleased), “What did the Prophet use to do in his house?" She replied, “He used to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was time for prayer, he would go for it.” (Sahih Bukhari : 1.644)
P reservation O f E nvironment Jabir (with whom Allah is pleased) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “If a Muslim plants or cultivates (anything), whatever another man or animal eats from his plants is charity for him.” (Sahih Muslim) In today’s age of environmental crises, depletion of the world’s forest reserves and ‘Go Green’ campaigns, much can be learnt from the teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who was merciful not just for Muslims but towards the environment at large and towards all of creation.
C ONSERVATION O f R ESOURCES ‘Abdullah ibn 'Umar (with whom Allah is pleased) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) passed by Sa'd (with whom Allah is pleased) while he was performing ablution and said, "What is this extravagance, Sa'd?" He said, "Is there extravagance in the use of water?" He said, "Yes, even if you are at a flowing river." (Ahmad, Ibn Majah) Islam teaches that having an abundance of resources at our disposal does not give us the right to waste them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us responsibility - even towards the future generations.
A nimal R ights Narrated ‘Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (with whom Allah is pleased), ‘We were with the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) during a journey. He went to ease himself. We saw a bird with her two young ones and we captured her young ones. The bird came and began to spread its wings. The Apostle of Allah came and said: “Who grieved this for its young ones? Return its young ones to it”.’ (Abu-Dawood)
P Ractical A bolition O f S lavery The Prophet (peace be upon him) practically put an end to this rampant practice by introducing various reforms: Prohibiting all ways of enslaving humans except as prisoners of war Creating many ways of liberating slaves (such as expiation of many sins is to free a slave, a portion of zakah funds is allocated for freeing slaves, manumitting a slave is encouraged as a highly meritorious act) Introducing humane principles of dealing with slaves
R IGHTS O F S laveS The principles of dealing with slaves in Islam is a combination of justice, kindness and compassion. Islam commands: As a result slaves were assimilated into Muslim society, became a part of families, acquired knowledge, became military leaders and even rulers such as in India (the Slave Dynasty of Delhi) and in Egypt (the Mamluks ). 1.Guaranteeing them food and clothing like that of their masters, 2.Preserving their dignity and treating them justly 3.Treating them kindly (even educating them is recommended as an act worthy of reward) 4.Allowing them to buy their freedom from their masters through a procedure called Mukatbah
E limination O f R ACISM On the day of the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stood on the pulpit, thanked and praised Allah, and said, “…no Arab has superiority over a non-Arab, no non-Arab over an Arab, no black person over a red person, and no red person over a black person, except in righteousness.”
A MAAN (P ledge O f s afety f or n on -m uslims ) Muslims’ possessions are protected by belief and those of non-Muslims by Amaan (a pledge of safety). There were always flourishing Jewish communities in the Muslim realm, notably in Spain, North Africa, Syria, Iraq and later on in Turkey; the Muslim empire was a refuge for all those who fled from persecution. Christian subjects too have been allowed to keep their own languages and customs, follow their own religion and enjoy many other rights. Synagogues and churches have been respected and preserved.
T HE P ROPHET O F M ERCY Patience and Forbearance Forgiveness Generosity Compassion Humility Modesty Ascetism Honesty & Trustworthiness Humour
P atience & F orbearance ‘Aisha (with whom Allah is pleased) reported that, “I never saw the Messenger of Allah seeking revenge for any wrong done to him, so long as it was not a violation of Allah’s prohibitions, nor did he ever hit (anyone) with his hands nor did he ever hit a servant or a woman.” At another occasion when he was asked to curse the polytheists, he said, “I was not sent to curse, but only as a mercy.” (Muslim)
F orgiveness For 13 long years, the people of Makkah subjected the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the worst kind of physical and mental torture: He was denied, mocked at and called a sorcerer and a madman Dirt and filth were thrown on him while he would be praying Thorns would be strewn in his path For three years, he was socially boycotted along with his tribe and were forced to confine themselves to a valley where they faced near-starvation Attempts were made on his life and the night he migrated to Madina, his assassins lay in wait to enter his house and kill him A number of deadly wars were waged against him even after he migrated to Madina Conspiracies were constantly hatched against him, with the help of the hypocrites in Madina.
F orgiveness Yet when he entered Makkah as a victor, leading an army of 10,000 Muslims, he carried out no massacre and took no personal revenge. He asked: "O you people of Quraish! What do you think of the treatment that I am about to accord to you?" They replied: "O noble brother and son of noble brother! We expect nothing but goodness from you." Upon this he said: "I speak to you in the same words as Yusuf (Prophet Joseph) spoke unto his brothers: He said: "No reproach on you this day," [Al-Qur'an 12:92] go your way, for you are free."
G enerosity Jabir (with whom Allah is pleased) said: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) would never deny anything he was asked for.” (Sahih Bukhari 1/503) ‘ Aisha (wife of the Prophet) said, “His hospitality and generosity were matchless. His gifts and endowments manifested a man who did not fear poverty.” (Sahih Bukhari 1/503)
C ompassion Anas (with whom Allah is pleased) said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “I start the prayer with the intention of lengthening it, but when I hear a child crying, I shorten the prayer as I know the mother of that child would suffer from his screams.” (Sahih Bukhari 677)
H umility Anas bin Malik (with whom Allah is pleased) said, ‘A woman from the people of Madinah who was partially insane said to the Prophet (peace be upon him), “I have to ask you about something.” He helped her and took care of her needs.’ (Sahih Bukhari 670) He always sat among his friends as if he were an ordinary person and one of them, never assuming any place of distinction. He forbade people to stand up at his presence as other people do for their kings. ‘Aisha (his wife) said that he used to repair his shoes, sew or mend his dress and do what ordinary men did in their houses. Milking the sheep and catering for himself were some of his normal jobs.
M odesty Abu Sa‘îd Al-Khudri (with whom Allah is pleased) said: "He is shyer than a virgin in her chamber. When he hates a thing we read it on his face. He does not stare at anybody’s face. He always casts his eyes down. He looks at the ground more than he looks sky-wards. His utmost looks at people are glances. He is willingly and modestly obeyed by everybody. He would never name a person whom he has heard ill-news about — which he hates. Instead he would say: ‘Why do certain people do so....’” (Sahih Bukhari 1/504)
A SCETISM ‘Abdullah ibn Masud (with whom Allah is pleased) said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) went to sleep on a mat. He got up and he had marks on his side due to the mat that he had slept on. We said ‘O Messenger of Allah, shall we not make bedding for you?’ He said: “What do I have to do with this world? My example is that of a rider who stops by a tree and rests for a while, then leaves and goes away.” (Tirmidhi 2377)
H onesty Even before prophethood he was called As-Sadiq (the truthful) and Al-Ameen (the trustworthy). Even then people used to turn to him for judgment and consultation. Abu Jahl, his staunchest opponent once said to the Prophet, "We do not call you a liar; but we do not have faith in what you have brought.” (Mishkat Al-Masabeeh 2/521) Even when Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan, another enemy of the Prophet: "Have you ever accused him of lying before the ministry of Prophethood?" Abu Sufyan said: "No." WHAT GREATER TESTIMONY THAN OF ONE’S OWN ENEMIES?!
H umour Narrated Anas ibn Malik (with whom Allah is pleased), ‘A man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allah! Give me a mount.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “We shall give you the child of a she- camel to ride on.” He said, “What shall I do with a she- camel's child?” The Prophet replied, “Do any other than she-camels give birth to camels? (isn’t every camel the child of a she-camel)”’ (Abu Dawood 41/4980) ‘ Abdullah bin Al-Harith (with whom Allah is pleased) said: “I have never seen a man who smiled as much as the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).” (Tirmidhi 2641)
LET US REMEMBER Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) is a MECRY FOR THE WORLDS for he left a clear example of a perfect human for all to follow. He perfected humanity yet he was perfectly human. He practiced moderation in the real sense, he was just but with compassion, he was humourous but without lying, he was merciful, yet he did not compromise on principles. MERCY IS NOT AN UNCONDITIONAL COMMODITY Being merciful does not mean being indulgent towards those who transgress the limits set by Allah.
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