"By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people; if you had been stern and harsh-hearted, they would have dispersed from round about you." The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):159
The following is a Hadith from the books of Bukhari and Muslim:
Hadrat Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said: While we were in the mosque with Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) a desert Arab came and began to pass water in the mosque. The companions of Allah's Messenger said, "Stop! Stop!" but Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) said, "Don't interrupt him; leave him alone." They left him alone, and when he had finished, Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) called him and said to him, "These mosques are not suitable places for urine and filth, but are only for remembrance of Allah, prayer and recitation of the Qur'an," or however Allah's Messenger expressed it.* Hadrat Ibne Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said that he then gave orders to one of the people who brought a bucket and poured water over it. (Bukhari and Muslim)
*Indicating that the transmitter is not sure of the exact words.
by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Biographies of the Prophet usually treat their subject as if he were a person endowed with great magical powers, one who by mysterious means brought the whole of Arabia under his wing. These books read like fairy tales; even events, which have no miraculous content, have been given a fanciful, miraculous interpretation. Take the case of Suhaib Ibn Senan’s migration from Mecca to Medina. When some Quraysh youths blocked his path, Suhaib pleaded with them: “If I let you have all my property, will you let me go?” They said that they would. Suhaib had a few ounces of silver with him. He gave it all to them and carried on to Medina. According to a tradition in Baihaqi, Suhaib said that when the Prophet saw him in Medina he told Suhaib that his trading, that is, his handing over of his property to the Quraysh, had been very profitable. Suhaib, according to the tradition, was astounded, for no one had arrived in Medina before him who could have brought the news. “It must have been Gabriel who told you,” he said to the Prophet.Read more...
The Ship and the Lifeboats
Although the pen and the sword are arrayed against it, Islam is spreading. But there are also problems within the Muslim reawakening.
Posted: 14 Zul-Hijjah 1423, 16 February 2003
We are living at a time when the daily news about the world, especially about the Muslim world is quite depressing. In Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other places Muslim life, property, and honor have been declared fair game by those who wield worldly power. It is not just armies waging this war. A whole gamut of institutions, from sophisticated research centers to slick media, is dedicated to the campaign to sow doubts, to spreads confusion, and to denigrate Islam. In hot spot after hot spot around the world, the sword is busy prosecuting a war on Islam. The pen is busy in both conducting a war on Islam and in trying to foment a war within Islam. While the unprecedented and unexpected momentum gained by the anti-war movement in the middle of February has given some hope that the mad rush to slaughter may be deflected, overall picture remains grim.
And yet these are also the times when people all over the world are coming to Islam in unprecedented numbers. At a time when Muslims have lost control of the sword and the pen, Islam is finding new followers everywhere everyday. (It is quite revealing that even as Islam continues to spread despite the sword, some people should continue to insist that it spread by the sword. As Qur'an repeatedly reminds us, the opponents of Islam are a very closed-minded lot).
Within the Muslim world also there are signs of awakening. Muslims are coming back to Islam after having toyed with one false ideology after another. Colonialism had hit them hard. It subjugated them physically, politically, economically, culturally, and mentally. An education system that they embraced as a ticket out of their miseries during that period of oppression compounded their problems by producing self-doubt and self-hate. It produced generations of perfect strangers within the house of Islam, who were then --- for this 'achievement' --- given leadership roles in all areas of Muslim societies. They hated their languages, their culture, and their religion. It is such people who rule the Muslim world today.
Yet, the scene is changing. More women are choosing hijab and are becoming more assertive about it as a symbol of their Islamic identity. There is a greater interest in Islamic knowledge. Qur'an lectures are attracting crowds that were not seen in the past. The nature of the questions people ask about Islam is also changing. There are more 'how to' and 'what to' questions than 'why' questions coming from the secular educated groups. The last Biswa Ijtima (annual gathering of Tablighi Jamaat in Bangladesh) attracted some two million attendees. What is more, they came from widely varying segments of society. A parallel growth can be seen in Islamic activism. Politics, media, relief and charity, education, and community service are all attracting new workers and new organizations. There is a new enthusiasm, new energy, and new awareness.
Our renewed interest in our religion is great but it is good to remember that Islamic revival will not take place through the blind leading the blind.
But there are also problems within this awakening. The period of colonialism was a big crash in which our ship was destroyed. In the immediate aftermath, survival was the main goal, and people came with whatever lifeboats they could. Now is the time to pick up the pieces and build the ship again. The problem is we have been living in the lifeboats for so long, we are confusing them with the ship. The schools for secular education were one such lifeboat. They imparted some skills necessary for survival in a changed world, although they impoverished Muslim education and society tremendously in so many ways. But today so many well-meaning people who get excited about spreading education in the Muslim world think of nothing more than establishing more of these same schools. Campaigns for 'democracy', whatever it means, were another such lifeboat, aimed at returning control of Muslim affairs to them thereby seeking liberation. Today, democracy or no democracy, nowhere do Muslims have any control over their affairs, but this lifeboat has become a ship and Khilafah, the Islamic system of governance, remains a strange entity. Islamic organizations were such a lifeboat, aimed at gathering like minded people so they could focus their resources and energies on some of the important things. Yet each of them is considered to be the ship by its occupants and captains, thereby creating new lines of cleavage within the Ummah.
There is another issue. Most of our new activism thrives on sincerity, concern and drive but not on knowledge or guidance. There are Islamic relief organizations providing much needed support for the destitute millions. But many do not show a sensitivity to check whether their fund raising methods are Islamic; whether they are distributing the zakat according to Shariah; whether their operation meets the Islamic guidelines. There are organizations focused on media and political activism --- certainly very important fields --- that sometime say things that the media or political establishment they are talking to would like to hear, even if they are totally wrong and un-Islamic. They seem to be doing as much damage as good through ignorance and carelessness.
The same observation can be made about our efforts at spreading Islamic knowledge. It is embarrassing how many of those giving lectures, issuing 'fatwas' (not necessarily calling them so but issuing legal opinions nonetheless), and conducting Qur'an lessons have no qualifications for the job. Yet they find a ready audience among those who confuse eloquence with scholarship.
Our renewed interest in our religion is great but it is good to remember that Islamic revival will not take place through the blind leading the blind. All Islamic work --- whether Dawah, or Jihad, or relief work or political or media activism --- requires guidance from the Shariah, which in turn requires knowledge and understanding. Recognizing the need for such guidance from true scholars is the first step in getting it. The questions we need to ask may not have ready-made answers but that does not justify not asking them or accepting answers from unqualified sources. There is a very good example in the work done in the field of Islamic finance during the last decades. It was the collaboration of religious scholars with experts in economics and finance that produced the body of knowledge today that did not exist before. A similar effort is needed in other fields. Muslim journalists working with scholars can help evolve an Islamic protocol for Journalism. Muslim activists working with scholars can help evolve Islamic protocol for media and political activism. Relief organizations can establish Shariah advisory boards to ensure their operations are within the bounds of Shariah.
Bringing our own house in order is the only response we can and must have to the threats, challenges, and fears we face today.
"By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people;
if you had been stern and harsh-hearted, they would have dispersed from round
about you" The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):159
Even with all of his concerns and obligations, Muhammad (s.a.a.w.)
never became unmindful of his people. He had a special place in his heart for
each one of them and he was known among them for his soft-spokenness, his
generosity, his tolerance, and his friendliness.
He would joke with his companions, sit and talk with them,
play with their children and sit them on his knee. He would respond to the call
of the free man or the slave, or the young girl or the poor. He would visit the
sick on the opposite end of the city and he would attend their funerals. He
would accept the people's apologies and their excuses, and he was the most
humble among them.
Abdullah ibn Al-Haritha narrated:
"I have never seen anyone who smiled more continuously than
the Messenger of Allah (s.a.a.w.)" (Narrated by Al-Tirmathi)
Usamah ibn Zayd narrated:
"The daughter of the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) sent (a messenger) to
the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) requesting him to come as her child was dying. However, the
Prophet (s.a.a.w.) returned the messenger and told him to convey his greeting to her
and say: "Whatever Allah takes is for Him and whatever He gives is for Him.
Everything with Him has a limited fixed term (in this world) and so she should
be patient and hope for Allah's reward." She again sent for him, swearing that
he should come. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) stood up, and so did Sa'id ibn Ubadah, Mu'ath
ibn Jabal, Ubay ibn Ka'ab , Zayd ibn Thabit and some other men. [When he
arrived,] the child was brought to Allah's Apostle (s.a.a.w.), his chest heaving. On
that the eyes of the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) began shedding tears. Sa'd said, "O Allah's
Apostle! What is this?" He replied, "It is mercy which Allah has lodged in the
hearts of His slaves, and Allah is merciful only to those of His slaves who are
merciful (to others)." (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)
Ibne Malik narrated that
"the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) used to mix with us (the children) to
the extent that he would say to a younger brother of mine, 'O abu-Umayr! What
did the Nughayr (a kind of bird) do?' " (Narrated by
Abu Dawood narrated that the Messenger of Allah would say:
"Let none of you transmit to me [evil news] about my
companions, for I like to meet with you with a pure heart"
Ibn Masood narrated that Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) said to a group he sent to teach and advise:
"Be lenient and do not make [this religion] difficult.
Bring glad tidings and do not repel"
AbuMalik al-Ash'ari said:
"The Messenger of Allah (s.a.a.w.) said: 'Cleanliness is half
of faith, and [saying] 'Praise be to God' fills the scale, and [saying] 'Glory
be to God' and 'Praise be to God' fill up what is between the heavens and the
earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof [of one's faith], and
patience is a brightness, and the Qur'an is a proof for or against you. All men
go out early in the morning and sell themselves, some setting themselves free
and others destroying themselves.' " (Narrated by
If we impute injustice to a father who leaves his erring son to meet the consequences which have been predetermined for his misconduct, we should impute injustice to ourselves when we kill the flea in fear of its sting or in fear of contagion with the disease which it may carry and which may be calamitous to us as well as to the community in which we live. Following that reasoning, we should not be surprised if injustice is imputed to ourselves when we break up and dissolve the stones in our liver or kidney in fear of the pain or discomfort which such stones bring, or when we cut off a member or organ of our body in fear of its disease spreading to the rest of the body and bringing about its death. If we do not kill the flea, break up the stone, or cut off the member or organ, and, in consequence, we suffer pain, contagion, calamity, or death, we blame only ourselves on the grounds that the road to cure was wide open.
But so is the road of repentance for the guilty. It is only the ignorant who submit to pain and misery in the belief that it has been predetermined for them. This kind of submission is nothing short of stupidity and naivet頯n their part. But we do kill the flea, break and remove the stone, and cut off the sick organ and yet consider all this perfect justice when it is predetermined in the matter of the cosmos that the flea shall sting and thus carry contagion to man, that the stone shall disturb the organ and cause it to malfunction, that the sick organ shall communicate its sickness to the whole body and thus bring about death. How do we who make such judgments feel so certain of their validity and truth, and yet fail to recognize the implied limitation of justice to our own person and its non-extension to the human community as a whole? Indeed, how do we choose to ignore the cosmos as a whole, as it really is? To do so is an unjustified piece of idiocy and stupidity, a case of extreme narrow mindedness and low intelligence.