Nobility, above all
Of the most profound characteristics of the towering personality of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is his noble character, morality and ethical conduct. In these months as we celebrate his birth anniversary, some resolutions and a little bit of self accounting is imminent. For if we call ourselves Muslims but are nothing more than mere doppelgängers of a Muslim, then we may not celebrate him after all.
To lay sufficient ground for the understanding of the Holy Prophet’s life, it is also imperative to know that he was a master of a host of other superior qualities such as being the peak of love, courage, patience, perseverance, generosity, humility, Sincerity, and above all putting others first. Moreover, we know him with his famous titles of being trustworthy and truthful as well.
These are not just labels that we ought to flaunt around, or adjectives that we need to cheer lead as a means of hoisting our hollow communion above others in society, rather these qualities were placed in him by the supreme wisdom of the Almighty so that, by studying his life and his works, we the adherents at the least, adopt some of these traits in order to make our lives and the lives of those around us, much more amenable and livable, so that we are not at each other’s throats on account of our ignorant sense of superiority.
Granted that a constantly rising world population is making our challenges much greater. For instance, this unsustainable population growth and lack of access to reproductive health care puts pressure on human communities, exacerbating food and water shortages, reducing resilience in the face of climate change, and making it harder for the most vulnerable communities to rise out of intergenerational poverty. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The conflagrating intolerance amongst communities, the exponentially escalating fight for space and the clash of cultures and civilisations in all their forms, continue to reduce us to the Darwinist realities of survival of the fittest. And while the fittest in today’s context is a combination of those who possess ridiculous amounts of wealth, wield excessive leadership power and are in command of offensive tools at society’s disposal, their perpetuating efforts at amassing more of these centres of power, yield a directly proportional reaction of self preservation by al those who do not fall in this bracket. From the most basic human right of fresh water, to the right to live in dignity, to the profane culture of sexuality and the use of speech that hurts, incites and upsets, the sum total of our predicament is much more serious than we regularly like to acknowledge.
It s not to wallow in self pity that would be a plausible solution but to tread the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (SAW) even in the face of adversities, now more than ever, that seem to be the only silver bullet in curbing the complete annihilation of a cultured civilisation as we know it. Shi’a Ithna Asheries in particular must remember that the ‘loudest of voices’ with which we keep celebrating this personality, must only be matched by our conscious emulation of Muhammad’s life, otherwise we really do not have the right to claim our subscription of faith to him or the message that he held aloft.