The Prophet’s Mercy

Ayyad-PadhaniThe writer, Ayyad Dilawar Padhani is in Marketing at his family optical practice. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management, Marketing and related support services.  He has been rendering community services from a very early age.

The Prophet’s Mercy:

E

xemplifying the Holy Prophet’s mercy upon humankind and teachings of the Holy Quran in a strife torn world

Let us begin by deconstructing the title statement: 

The Holy Prophet a Mercy Upon Mankind – you have already heard about how this beautiful soul was the antidote to 7th century Arabia, where they buried their daughters alive, had tribal wars and vendettas over trivial issues that lasted generations, and was a land without a government or law. In today’s time the Holy Prophet is still a beacon of hope, mercy and love, whereas he came to uphold the rights of women, and raise them to their God-given place, unified all Muslims with one another, as well as showed how to live peacefully with other religious groups, and instituted order in a place of chaos, which if we were to inculcate in our own lives, we would see wonders in terms of productivity and worldly gain. 

The Teachings of the Holy Quran – I am often despondent when thinking our communities have forgotten then Quran and its beautiful teachings, whereas other Muslim groups have held on to it tighter, and in some cases even non, Muslim researchers delve deeper into the Holy Book. However, I solace myself with a change of narrative saying that we do indeed recite the Quran, and have it on our shelves, we respect and honour the text, and use it in our ceremonies, so we’ve already taken a few steps towards it, and there remains a few more. Slowly but surely we can take steps forward.

A Strife-Torn World – The world today has millions of people who live in poverty, in war-torn areas, and many who are homeless or displaced due to various reasons such as political ones, profit and those based on pure greed or power. Furthermore, ideologically as well, with secularism, materialism and others, we see issues of meaning and purpose. These factors lay the foundation for a world where there is a struggle, strife and tribulations. As believers, we must act upon our duties and improve ourselves first, which includes the world outside of worship such as taking care of our families, doing our best at work, and enabling others around us to grow, after which we should gently hold the hands of our brothers and sisters, doing our parts in Amr bil Ma’aruf and Nahi anil Munkar (Enjoining Good, and Forbidding Evil).

There are 2 qualities that our Beloved Prophet displayed in his life that I would like to highlight to you in this essay:

  1. Kindness and speaking Graciously:

“Go, both of you, to Firaun, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds; But speak to him mildly; perhaps he may take warning or fear Allah.” – Surah TaHa, ayat 43 – 44

If God tells Musa (as) to speak graciously to Firaun, then perhaps there isn’t a soul alive today that we can speak to rudely. 

We know the story of the woman who threw garbage at Prophet Muhammed (saww) for days, and when she got sick, he (saww) actually went to visit her, and ask about her health. 

We also know about the story of the farmer who brought sour grapes to the Messenger (saww), and he (saww) ate all of them without sharing with his companions in fear of any one of them sighing at the sourness of the grapes. 

We can still remember when the poor man came to sit next to the rich man in the mosque while they were all gathered around the Holy Prophet. It hurt him that the rich one had moved his expensive clothes inside closer to himself in fear of them being cast a shadow or touched God forbid by the poor man. Immediately he reprimanded this action and sought to comfort the heart of the poor man. 

Finally, we know of a woman who was carrying some heavy luggage when the Prophet noticed and offered to help. While walking the woman complained much about a man named Muhammed, and he listened with a smile. At the end of the journey, she asked for his name and was surprised to hear: Muhammed (saww). 

We never know what someone may be going through in their lives, and if we are in a situation to disrespect someone, and we do, that may be the act that destroys any connection they have with goodness. This may result in that person having a transformation towards evil. On the other hand, we never know what act of kindness may rejuvenate faith in humanity for someone. So we should always act kindly and stay far from disrespecting anyone.

  1. Sincerity

We often hear that sincerity is doing something for its own sake and not for any other reason, however personally that is a difficult definition to imagine, so let’s look at what sincerity is not. Sincerity according to modern-day dictionaries is – the absence of deceit or hypocrisy.

An Islamic version of a definition would be to do something for Allah and Allah alone, and this is where we often hear that doing something in private is better and easier to judge the sincerity of.

“Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allâh), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering); and We called out to him: “O Abraham! You have fulfilled the dream (vision)!” Verily! Thus do we reward the Muhsinûn (good-doers, who perform good deeds totally for Allâh’s sake only, without any show offshow-offain praise or fame, etc. and do them in accordance to Allâhwith Orders). Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial — and We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e. a ram)” [37:103-107] 

From this ayah above, about Nabi Ibrahim (as) and the sacrifice of his son, we can extract a definition of sincerity as being: those who perform good deeds totally for Allah (SWT)’s sake only, without any show-off or to gain praise or fame, etc. and do them in accordance to Allah (SWT)’s orders.

We have heard all the stories of the Prophet (saww) and are aware of how noble he (saww) was, and we even exert ourselves to emulate him in our lives, by giving charity as he did, and helping others as he did, by carrying ourselves humbly as he did, however, a question to ponder over is are we doing it as sincerely as he did?

Furthermore, sincerity ties in with the purification of the soul (Tazkiyatun Nafs), and this is where we often hear scholars telling us to perform this namaaz, and that dua, this amaal, and that tasbih. We are tired of hearing them say these common supplications and acts of worship, we are looking for that magic pill that will give us an everlasting spiritual high, however, it is through these daily, repeated, consistent, soul-purifying actions, that we can achieve sincerity in our daily actions. Finally, thinking and pondering have been given much importance in Islam, whereas one hour of contemplation has been placed as the heavier scale than 70 years of worship. This too is a means to understanding ourselves,and discovering whether we are performing actions truly and sincerely for God.  Other reasons include but are not limited to, wealth, fame, respect and adoration.

Prophet Musa (‘a) once requested God:

“O’ Lord! It is my wish to see that creature of Yours who has purified himself for your worship and who is unpolluted in his obedience towards You.

He was addressed, “O’ Musa! Go near the shores of the such-and-such sea in order that I may show you what you desire to see.

Prophet Musa proceeded till he reached the sea. Looking around, he observed that on a branch of a tree that drooped over the water, sat a bird, engrossed in the dhikr of Allah. When Musa questioned the bird about itself, the bird said:

“From the time Allah has created me, I have been on this branch, engaged in His worship and dhikr. From every dhikr of mine, there branch out a thousand other dhikr, and the pleasure which I derive from the dhikr of Allah provides me with nourishment.

“Do you crave anything from this world?” asked Musa (‘a).

“Yes. I yearn to taste one drop of water from this sea,” replied the bird.

Musa (‘a) exclaimed, “But there does not exist a great distance between your beak and the water! Why don’t you dip your beak into it and drink it?”

The bird answered, “Out of fear lest the enjoyment derived from the water should make me heedless of the pleasure of the dhikr of my Lord.”

Hearing this, Prophet Musa (‘a) clasped his head in intense astonishment

In reference to the story Prophet Musa (as) and the sincerity of the bird, there may be some things we want to do in this life, of which may be haraam, or indulgent in dunya (this transient world) then we must know that if we were to do it, then there is a high likelihood that the deed will transform us for the worse, and eat away our strength and desire to worship God of that which we already do. And this reminds me of the hadith that says, after doing certain haraam deeds, our amaal are not accepted for 40 days. It is perhaps hinting towards the fact that these actions take us 40 steps back spiritually, instead of 1 step backward as we may have thought. And there are certain good deeds that protect us for 40 days, where we are blessed with a boost in energy to do greater good, and avoid even the seemingly small evils.

In conclusion, we must be vigilant of our open enemy the shaitan, one whom we have been warned against by the Quran and the Blessed Messenger, we should perform acts of kindness, speak kindly and graciously, remind ourselves to always be respectful and take baby steps in the domains of worship and practical life towards our Lord, while He will leap to us. 

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May Allah SWT exalt the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saaw) and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (saaw) and his family.

Allah (SWT) has introduced this outstanding personality “Even as We sent to you an apostle from among yourselves, who recites to you Our signs and purifies you, and teaches you the Book and wisdom, and teaches you what you did not know” 2:151- Translator Qulli Qarai

Prophet Muhammad (saaw) declared His Prophethood during the most critical time in society. It was known as a dark society. During that Era, in the span of 23 years of his Prophethood, Muhammad (saaw) established a just and equitable society for people of all faiths and backgrounds, primarily through the demonstration of the highest level of character and etiquette. And today after centuries we find Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the World.

The Prophet(saaw); the best of the creations, was sent to perfect mankind. Following his life choices, in the way He (saaw) spoke and the way He (saaw) conducted himself even during the most difficult time.

His footprints can be seen in every corner of this world by the resonance of the call to Prayer. The one thing He (saaw) practiced was mercy – which we the Muslims proudly talk about. The Prophet (saaw) was merciful to mankind as well as all creations of Allah(SWT) be it animals, or the environment. Here are some of His attributes which can be helpful in navigating through our life.

1. Integrity and Trust — he built a reputation for honesty and truthfulness; role-modelled.
2. Vision — he had a strategic mind offering, vision and direction through inspiration.
3. Courage — he showed incredible bravery and confidence in the face of adversity.
4. Competence — he was effective, reliable and made an impact.
5. Fairness — he was just and meritocratic in dealings including with non-Muslims.
6. Decisiveness — he would not sit on the fence, but consider options and then make a clear decision.

7. Servant-leadership — he led by example; faced hardship with the people; actions not just words.
8. Wisdom — he was able to make considered judgements – drawing on knowledge and long-term view.
9. Patience — he showed deep resilience, forgiveness and the ability to go all the way.
10. Compassion and Warmth — he radiated heart, affection, appreciation and gentleness.
11. Emotional and Spiritual intelligence — he was able to inspire hope; give people purpose and meaning.

The Quraysh of Mecca would call him As- Sadiq and Al Ameen meaning truthful and trustworthy. How can a man have so many great qualities and be known as the embodiment of those qualities?

Imam Al-Ghazali — a master of character and etiquette development, who deeply understood Prophetic leadership, recognised the need to set an example as a leader. He said in his famous advice to leaders: “The best of you are those best in character.”

Whether a Muslim is a parent or a child, a student or a teacher, a leader or a citizen he/she has to have consistency in daily dealings. Bringing Change to society or Community starts from Home from MYSELF, ME. The Prophet Muhammad (saaw) once said: “The leader of a people is their servant.” We are all leaders in our own field of expertise – professional or personal. A very profound but simple lesson learnt through the life of our Prophet and that is “Humility is a great quality of leadership which derives respect and not just fear or hatred” Yousef Munayyer

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