The writer, Zamena Manekia Manji (Bujumbura, Burundi) is a bookworm with a passion for writing and community service.
e don’t even flinch at the sight of a Yemeni child dying of hunger anymore. We just shake our heads in slight dismay when we hear of another suicide bomber or a serial school shooter killing dozens around them, we don’t bother spreading the word by re-sharing the posts of the oppressed for fear of tainting our nonchalant, cool image. In a quest to ‘live our lives to the fullest, we’ve conveniently forgotten to tread on the footsteps of the mercy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Are we really the followers of the man whose mere name radiated mercy? Are we really the adherents of Prophet Muhammad, the very pillar of humanity? Have we really lived up to his expectations of us as his Ummah?
The very country where the Holy Prophet was born and buried is one of the root causes of evil in the World today. Saudi Arabia’s leaders have wreaked havoc to the point of claiming over a million lives and causing irreversible damage in countries like Yemen. The harrowing images of people dying to leave them unfazed, yet these very people sometimes pray in the mosque of the Prophet who never let a child go hungry.
Sadly, this is what we’ve plunged into. Traits like vanity, fame, greed and jealousy are so deadly that if acted upon, harden the heart and close all doors of mercy.
The World today has surrendered towards evil so much so, that we remain unaffected let alone refrain from taking an action when we watch the news of thousands dying everywhere from man-made causes. How conveniently have we forgotten that the Holy Prophet was known to tie his stomach with a boulder so he wouldn’t feel the pangs of hunger, for he gave the very little he had to the poor? How have we ignored the stance he took in the face of injustice? How are we as Muslims, who are at a whopping billion in numbers, failing to learn from his lessons of Humanity?
During the Prophet Muhammad’s time, the siege imposed in Madinah led to poverty and scarcity of food. Both he and his wife Lady Khadija played a very pivotal role in preserving the religion. The Prophet’s beloved uncle Abu Talib who was once a prestigious Arab, too stood steadfast in the face of adversities and resorted to being the Prophet’s greatest supporter. Lady Khadija was one of the wealthiest of women in Arabia and when she married the Holy Prophet, she too sought to give everything she had to the less fortunate. The Boycott by the aristocrats of Mecca had a detrimental effect on the overall economy of Madinah and this is where the World saw how generous a man Muhammad truly was. A rightful leader of the nation and a Prophet of God, he didn’t plunder over his people’s properties and lead a lavish life while his people died. Instead, he and his wife reduced themselves to eating leaves so they could give their share of food to the hungry.
The Holy Prophet was also famously known to treat the slaves as his equals. He shattered the racism stigma by ushering a black man with a lisp to recite the call of prayer, turning heads in disarray. He even sat at level with the servants and preached to them too. He would talk to them politely and honored them for prior to that the slaves were treated like animals. He even found ways to eventually free them.
When wars were declared against them, he wouldn’t pounce on the enemies and annihilate them with his sword rather he would try to calmly explain to the enemies and advise them against war. If that wouldn’t work, he would order his comrades to not go first, and only attack when they were attacked. He was so merciful that he would immediately forgive the wrongdoers and treat the convicts as humans by not tying the ropes on their hands too tight and reducing their trials.
The prophet presented an exemplary stature of power when he finally conquered over Mecca. The leaders who once mistreated him and his people were now at the mercy of his feet, and he forgave every one of them, including the killers of his uncle Hamza. The guilty were spared, the tyrants were forgiven, and never once did he show his animosity towards the very people who plotted several schemes to kill him.
He showed the World the importance of a woman in society, revived their respect and taught the masses how to treat women as an equal at a time when men thought they were superior. He perfected the very morals of society.
He even laid the grounds for the Sharia laws. A controversial aspect if taken out of context. There were punishments imposed for theft, adultery, consumption of Alcohol etc. Several Muslim nations still abide by the laws and have been called out for being barbaric and for crimes against humanity.
Perhaps, this is because such countries do not focus on the keyword that defined the Prophet’s legacy, Mercy. Yes, certain penalties are punishable by death but that doesn’t mean we jump to it. During his time, the Prophet forgave hundreds of guilty people. Those who were accused of adultery were not immediately punished. A lot was considered such as the presence of four witnesses seeing the act at the same time (which is almost impossible) or considering the overall sanity of a person or in the case of theft, 25 reasons including poverty, sickness and mental instability were thoroughly checked before punishing the convicted. In most cases, the people could escape the punishment due to the leniency of the conditions which fully met the humanity criteria. This, however, doesn’t apply to the majority of Muslim nations that still follow the sharia laws, which also contributes towards a strife-torn world.
Imagine now, if the Muslim Majority countries followed the Sharia rules just like the holy prophet did enhance morals, values and manners over vanity, fame and wealth, maintain decorum in Wars and forgive the enemies, and run a government while keeping the needs of the people even at the cost of having no food for oneself, treat the servants and the poor as equal instead of exploiting them, Wouldn’t this World be a better place today?
We may ask ourselves how can we bring about a change since we are no saints and do not even have the means. Remember, Prophet Muhammad too was once a little orphan boy who lived as a commoner in the society. Yet, his very virtues, his generosity, his stand for the oppressed, his kindness and valour is what outshone the rest. We forget how one-story share on our Instagram can have a huge impact, how creating awareness and speaking out against injustice can topple the tyrants’ thrones just like the Holy Prophet once did. We need to vest the power that we hold and channel it towards making a difference in this very strife-torn World.
If each one of us were to tread on the invaluable lessons taught by Prophet Muhammad, the kind that serves as the very pillars of humanity, the world would have been a much better place, for the Holy Prophet sought to resolve the very root causes of distortion.
More from this writer