The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“The believers whose faith is most perfect are those who have the most beautiful character.”
“A person can attain through beautiful moral conduct (husn-e-khulq) the same status which is gained by fasting during the day and worshipping all through night.”
“There is nothing more weightier that will be placed on the believer’s scale (on the day of judgement) than beautiful character. The one with beautiful character will attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day.”
“Of all the things which mankind has been given by Allah,
the best is beautiful moral conduct.”
“The foundation of intelligence, after faith in Allah, is loving kindness towards the people.”
“The most beloved of you and the most nearest to me in the hereafter are those who possess beautiful character. And indeed the most hated of you and the furthest from me in the hereafter are those of you who possess bad character.”
Below is a compilation of Hadiths, sayings of the pious, and anecdotes which display the beautiful conduct, honesty, integrity, and justice enjoined by Islam – such qualities that was once the norm amongst Muslims when the religion around which their lives were based upon was yet to be diluted, ‘modernised’, or corrupted by foreign influences. This page will be updated regularly insha-Allah.
Inconveniencing Others is Against the Sunnah
Our lack of Adab and Akhlaaq (beautiful moral conduct and behaviour) serves as another vividly visible indication of how far the Ummah has veered away from the beautiful Sunnah of a Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) who would endure great difficulty himself so that others may find some measure of ease and comfort. The essence of Adab is to avoid inconveniencing others. Just a few of the many ways our utter and reckless neglect of this vital Sunnah has manifested itself include the fact that many of us talk in a manner more akin to yelling, walk in a manner more akin to barging, queue in a manner more akin to herds of animals, drive, ‘give way’, and cross as if only we exist on the roads, double-park, triple-park and block drive-ways at our selfish leisure, litter our surroundings freely, spit and even vomit (paan, khat, etc.) generously on the pathways, and display countless other mannerisms that demonstrate the absence of even the slightest concern for our surroundings and the potential inconveniences we cause to others.
The following excerpt adapted from Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s, Adab al-Mua-asharaat, contains a number of hadiths and narrations which demonstrate the great emphasis Islam places on avoiding inconveniencing others:
The main cause for the dissipation of mutual love and affection is corrupt behavioural attitudes. As a result of such corruption of behaviour and manners mutual resentment and dislike for one another have set in among people. This state of affairs impedes and eliminates tranquillity of heart which is of pivotal importance for mutual love in the members of society. The Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is replete with examples which demonstrate the importance of avoiding inconveniencing others. Below are a few examples:
* Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ordered that while eating in company one should not take two dates at a time without having obtained the consent of one’s friends. Such an insignificant act has been prohibited solely on account of disrespect and because of dislike which this act will engender in others.
* In Sunan Nisaai there appears a narration in which Hadhrat Aishah (radhiallahu anha) speaks of Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) exit from the house on the Night of Baraa’at. He opened the door silently so as not to disturb the sleeping ones. Similarly, he closed the door silently. He did not commit any act which produced the slightest noise. He totally abstained from any disturbance to ensure that no one’s sleep is disturbed nor anyone be suddenly awakened.
* In a lengthy hadith in Sahih Muslim, Hadhrat Miqdaad (radhiallahu anhu) says that once a group of them were the guests of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). After lsha the guest would go to bed. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), on arriving much later, would make Salaam (greet) in such a whisper that if anyone was awake he could hear and if anyone was asleep he would not be disturbed thereby. This Hadith as well indicates the lengths to which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would go in order to refrain from causing the slightest inconvenience to others.
* Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that the one who eats raw garlic and onions should remain aloof from us. Since the odour will be annoying to others. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade this insignificant act.
* Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that it is not lawful for a guest to stay for such a length of time which imposes a difficulty on the host. In this prohibition, an act which causes inconvenience to others has been prescribed.
* Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that when eating in company one should continue eating until the others have completed even though one has eaten to satiation. By discontinuing to eat, those who are still eating are put to shame. It is thus clear that one should not act in any way which embarrasses others. Some people on account of natural shame, refrain from taking something in a gathering although they wish for it. Others again feel it difficult to refuse a request in a gathering although they have no desire of giving. Such persons should not be given things in a gathering nor should anything be asked of them in a gathering.
* Hadhrat Anas (radhiallahu anhu) stated that there was no person dearer to the Sahaabah than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Inspite of this, he says, the Sahaabah would not stand in respect for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) because of his aversion for this mode of respect. This establishes that any etiquette, way of respect or any form of service which is displeasing to a person should not be rendered to him. One should give priority to the wishes and feelings of others not to one’s own desires. Some people by their insistence to render certain acts of service to the Auliya are in actual fact inconveniencing them.
* Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that it is not permissible for a person to intrude in the company of two people without obtaining their consent. Such intrusion constricts the hearts. Thus, it is necessary to abstain from acts and attitudes which inhibit or cause inconvenience to others.
* According to the Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would cover his mouth with his hand or a handkerchief when sneezing. In this way he stifled the sound to avoid causing annoyance to others. This establishes that one should not annoy or scare or inconvenience one’s companions by means of loudness and shouting.
* Hadhrat Jaabir (radhiallahu anhu) narrates that the Sahaabah would sit, down in any place where they reached in the gathering of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). They would not pass through others in order to obtain seating place ahead. This attitude of the Sahaabah establishes the aadaab (etiquettes) of a majlis (gathering). The slightest inconvenience to others was avoided.
* Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas, Hadhrat Saeed Bin Musayyib and Hadhrat Anas (radhiallahu anhum) narrate in ahadith of different categories that when visiting the sick one should not remain for a long time. The visit should be short. This narration indicates the degree to which one should go in refraining from inconveniencing others. Sometimes a sick person due to his condition suffers inconvenience by the lengthy presence of others. However, the presence of such persons who are a source of comfort and solace to the sick are excluded from this prohibition.
* Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (radhiallahu anhu), explaining the reason for the need to take ghusl (Bath) on Fridays, says that in the initial period of Islam most people were poor labourers. Soiled garments and perspiration caused bad odours. Hence ghusl (ritual bath) was decreed waajib (obligatory) in the beginning. later, the incumbency (wujoob) was abrogated and ghusl for Jumma’ was retained as a Sunnat act. It thus transpires that it is incumbent to refrain from causing the slightest inconvenience and annoyance to anyone.
[From Adab al-Mua-asharaat of Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi]
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)
The Peak of Adab (Beautiful Conduct)
Whenever they reaped their first harvest, they brought early, fresh fruits to Holy Prophet Mu-hammad . Then he would distribute them among his companions, those who sat around him. This morning, a poor man brought one fruit from his small farm and gave it to Holy Prophet Mu-hammad :saw. Holy Prophet Muhammad accepted the gift, tasted it and then went on eating it alone while the companions watched. One of those pre-sent meekly said: O Messenger of Allah (SWT), you have over looked the right of those who watch while you eat?
Holy Prophet Muhammad smiled and waited till the poor man who had brought the fruit had gone. Holy Prophet Muhammad said:
“I tasted the fruit and it was not yet ripe. Had I allowed you to have some of it, someone would have definitely shown his distaste, thus disappointing the poor man who had brought the gift. Rather to make him feel better, my palate accepted the bitterness.”
The Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallalla-hu alaihi wasallam was extremely particular in not causing anyone inconvenience.
The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was the most patient and forbearing when subjected to persecution. He would pardon anyone who had done him wrong and would treat kindly anybody who had maltreated him. To anyone who had refused to give to him, he would give generously. In short he always repaid evil with good.
The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) never took revenge from anyone for his own person. Apart from Jihad (war conducted for a necessary, just purpose) he never struck any man or animal a blow. (Shama’il-e-Tirmizi).[Taken from Uswa-e-Rasool-e-Akram by Dr Abdul Hai Arifi]
SEEKING FORGIVENESS FOR THE CULPRITS WHILE WIPING FRESH BLOOD FROM THE FACE
Toleration of personal abuse was the Sunnah (blessed way) of all the Prophets (alayhi salaam). Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) reported in a Saheeh Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad:
“A man among the Ansar uttered some abominable words to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) which I refrain from saying, for I wished I could be ransomed from (such a disgusting statement) with all the people and wealth. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Musa (alayhi salaam) was assaulted with worse than this and he remained patient.’ Then Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) told us about a Prophet who was rejected (and harmed) by his people when he came to them with the command of Allah. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “He was wiping the blood from his face and pleading: ‘O Allah, forgive my people because they do not know.’
DO YOU HAVE BEAUTIFUL ISLAMIC CHARACTER?
In his “Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith”, Imam Bayhaqi describes a few useful examples of characteristics which can serve as a useful measure and gauge of true Islamic character for all of us:
“A person with beautiful character makes ‘what is better’ the Guide (Imam) of his soul, and obeys it completely, making it the basis of his dealings with others. When he deals with other people, he is tolerant in claiming what is his right, and does not ask for anything which is not. Rather, he discharges all the duties which he has towards others. When he falls ill or returns from a trip, and no-one visits him, or when he gives a greeting which is not answered, or when he is a guest but is not honoured, or he intercedes but he is not responded to, or he does a good favour for which he is not thanked, or he joins a group of people who do not make room for him to sit, or he speaks but he is not given an ear, or he proposes to a woman but he is not allowed to marry her, or he requests for more time to repay a debt, but he is not given more time, and in all similar circumstances, he does not become angry, nor does he seek to punish, nor does he feel within himself that he has been snubbed or ignored; nor does he try to retaliate with the same treatment despite having the power to do so, but rather, he tells himself that he does not mind any of these things, and he responds to each one of them with something which is better, closer to goodness and piety, and more praiseworthy and pleasing (to Allah).”
WAITING IN A PLACE FOR THREE DAYS TO KEEP ONE’S WORD
Narrated Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abul Hamsa’ (radhiyallahu anhu):
I bought something from the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) before he received his Prophetic commission, and as there was something still due to him I promised him that I would bring it to him at his place, but I forgot. When I remembered three days later, I went to that place and found him there. He said: “You have inconvenienced me, young man. I have been here for three days waiting for you.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)
LEADERS OF THE MOST POWERFUL NATION ON EARTH – COMPETING IN RUNNING ERRANDS FOR AN ELDERLY BLIND WOMAN
In a narration quoted by Imam Suyuti in his “History of the Khalifahs”, it states that Hadhrat Umar ibn al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) used to take care of an elderly blind woman on the outskirts of Madinah at night. He would draw water for her to drink, and help her out with any other chores she might have had. However, on some occasions, he would find that someone else had already beaten him to this work, and had already carried out all the elderly woman’s chores. So he started visiting the elderly woman more often in order that he is not deprived of this noble work. One day, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) lay in waiting in order to find out who the other man was that was also helping the elderly woman. It turned out that the other man was none other than Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) who was Khalifah at the time! Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) exclaimed, “You are he, by my life!”
ADOPTING PATIENCE IN THE FACE OF PERSONAL ABUSE AND INJUSTICE
A person once started verbally abusing Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) while Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was also sitting there. Because Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) gave no reply Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was impressed and kept smiling. However, when the person’s abuse became too much, Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) replied to some of what he was saying. This angered Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and he left.
Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) then met Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and asked, “O Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)! You were sitting there while he was swearing at me but when I replied to some of his abuse, you became angry and left?”
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied, “There was an angel with you who was responding on your behalf. However, when you started replying to some of his abuse, Shaytaan arrived and I could not sit with Shaytaan.”
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then added, “O Abu Bakr! Three things are absolute facts. Whenever a person overlooks any injustice done to him, Allah lends him tremendous strength. Whenever a person opens the door of gifts with the intention of joining ties, Allah increases for him in abundance. Whenever a person opens the door of begging with the intention of amassing wealth, Allah speeds up the reduction of his wealth.” (Musnad of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal)
The Honesty and Scrupulouness of the Early Muslims
Numerous Hadiths state that the rulers with which an Islamic nation is imposed with is a reflection of the state of the people. Allah Ta’ala is the King of all kings, the Ruler of all rulers. He holds the hearts of the rulers in His hands. Thus the Taqwa, piety, generosity, etc. displayed by Islamic rulers are, in general, a reflection of the state of the Muslim population.
The standard of piety set by the early Muslim rulers was indeed lofty and rare, and provides a glimpse into the state of the Muslim populace who had won over the hearts and minds of people all over the world, purely on the basis of the beautiful character, honesty, and justice they displayed in all their interactions and dealings.
Due to the fear of Allah (Glory be He, Most High) and accountability in the divine court, the pious Muslim rulers displayed extreme caution. Public property was regarded as a trust in their hands and they took care of it prudently.
Once, some musk (perfume) came to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiallahu anhu) from Bahrain. He asked for someone who would weigh it carefully, so that it may be equally distributed among the Muslims. His wife, Atikah, volunteered, but ‘Umar (radiallahu anhu) refused to give it to her. When she inquired why, he replied,
“I fear that, while weighing it, some of it may rub-off onto your hand and body. This will give me an unfair advantage over the other Muslims.”
A similar incident is related about ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (rahmatullahi alayhi). While he was Khalifah, Musk belonging to the Bait-ul-Mal (Public treasury) was brought to him. He closed his nostrils, saying,
“The benefit derived from musk is its fragrance.”
He would only light the state lamp when he dealt with the affairs of the Muslims. When he had seen to their needs and had some private matters to attend to, he would light his own lamp.[Anecdotes taken from “Pearls of the Path” by Maulana Afzal Ismail]
Avoiding Inconveniencing Others Even When in Severe Need
Hadhrat Moulana Maseehullah Khan Sahib (Rahmatullahi Alaih) mentions:
“During Hadhrat Moulana Thanwi’s (Rahmatullahi Alaih) final illness, he suffered from severe bouts of diarrhoea and extreme weakness and thus had to remain in bed. Once, at night Hadhrat had the urge to relieve himself whilst the rest of the household was asleep. Hadhrat could not tolerate affecting the comfort of others, though they would have never minded being disturbed out of their great love and affection for Hadhrat, especially during his sickness. However, Hadhrat exercised great caution so as not to disturb any person. Hence with great difficulty and hardship he proceeded to the toilet by himself. When returning from the toilet, the weakness he was experiencing increased. Hadhrat barely took a few steps and fell in the courtyard of the house due to dizziness. After regaining consciousness he walked back to his bed and lay down. By now, Hadhrat was feeling extremely weak. He then suddenly realised that when he fell, the toilet jug had fallen in the courtyard and was still lying there. If anyone else needed to visit the toilet later during the night they will not find the jug in its normal place, thus inconveniencing them. This thought left him restless forcing him out of his bed. Notwithstanding his illness and weakness he went back to the courtyard, found the jug in the darkness, and returned it to its place.” (Fadhl-ul-Baari, p. 97)
Most Powerful Man in the World & Conqueror of Superpowers
Summoned to Court and Ordered to Fix a Gutter
The concept of the independence of the judiciary is as old as Islam. Many, many centuries before the west began to theorize this concept, the courts of Islam acted independently of the executive. This concept is grounded in the Qur’aanic command of justice. The Qur’aan Majeed commands:
‘O People of Imaan! Become the establishers of justice, witnesses for Allah even though it be against yourselves or your parents or your relatives. If he be a wealthy or a poor person, then (know that) Allah is closer to both of them. Therefore, do not follow (your) desire in (the matter of) enforcement of justice.’ (Surah Nisaa, Aayat 135)
The Rulers of Islam (the Khulafa and the Sultans) had practically demonstrated the independence of Islam’s judicial system. Besides the Khulafa-e-Raashideen, even worldly kings and Sultans upheld the principle of justice. Mighty rulers of Islam would immediately submit to the summons of the Qaadhi (Judge) and unhesitatingly stand trial in exactly the same way as an ordinary citizen would. The following episode illustrates the Islamic system of justice and the independence which the judiciary enjoyed from the very inception of Islam.
Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) is no stranger to even non-Muslims. The two superpowers of the age — the Roman and Persian empires — were defeated and brought to their knees by Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu). His very name would send shivers down the spines of emperors and kings.
The home of Hadhrat Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu), the paternal uncle of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was adjacent to Musjid-e-Nabawi. Water from the gutter would splash into the Musjid causing distress to the musallis. During his Khilaafat, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) ordered the removal of the gutter. The gutter was removed during the absence of Hadhrat Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu).
On his return to Madinah, when he saw what had happened, Hadhrat Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) was furious. He hastened to the court of the Qaadhi and complained about the action of Ameerul Mu’mineen, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu).
Hadhrat Ubay Bin Ka’b (radhiyallahu anhu) was the Chief Qaadhi. He immediately summoned Hadhrat Umar to court to answer the charge. On the appointed day, Hadhrat Umar, the Ruler of the Islamic Empire, attended the Qaadhi’s court with profound humility and simplicity. On his arrival at the court, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) had to wait outside for quite some time due to the Qaadhi’s other engagements. Finally Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was called inside. Hadhrat Umar on entering attempted to say something. But the Qaadhi silenced him.
Qaadhi: ‘It is the right of the plaintiff to speak and present his case. Be silent.’
Hadhrat Abbaas: ‘My home from the very beginning was adjacent to Musjid Nabawi during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as well as during the Khilaafat of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu). But now Ameerul Mu’mineen has demolished the gutter and threw it away. I am considerably distressed by this action. I want justice.’
Qaadhi: ‘Ameerul Mu’mineen! What have you to say?’
Hadhrat Umar: ‘Undoubtedly, I had it removed. I am responsible for it.’
Qaadhi: ‘You were supposed to refrain from such unjust interference in the home of another person without his consent. Why did you do it?’
Hadhrat Umar: ‘Your honour, Sometimes water from the gutter would splash in the Musjid causing distress and inconvenience to the musallis. I therefore ordered its removal. I am of the opinion that I had acted correctly. I did not commit any crime.’
Qaadhi: (Addressing Hadhrat Abbaas): ‘What do you say in response?’
Hadhrat Abbaas: ‘Your honour, Rasulullah (sallallahu alyhi wasallam) had himself, marked out the foundations of my home with his knife. After the house was built, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ordered that the gutter be fixed in the very place where it was. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) instructed me to mount on his blessed shoulders and attach the gutter. Inspite of my refusal out of respect, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) vehemently insisted. In compliance I stood on the blessed shoulders of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and did as he had commanded. I attached the gutter on the position from where Ameerul Mu’mineen had ordered its removal.’
Qaadhi: ‘Do you have any eye witnesses?’
Hadhrat Abbaas: ‘Not only one or two, but many.’
Qaadhi: ‘Present them now so that this matter could be resolved.’
Hadhrat Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) went outside and after sometime returned with several witnesses from among the Ansaar. They all testified that they were eye witnesses to the episode. Meanwhile the greatest Ruler on earth, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) stood humbly staring at the ground. Then he spoke.
Hadhrat Umar: ‘O Abul Fadhl (Hadhrat Abbaas)! For Allah’s sake forgive me. I was totally unaware that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself had ordered the construction of the gutter in its position. If I had been aware, I would not have ordered the removal of the gutter even by error. What right do I have to remove the gutter which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself had ordered?’
(Consider the destruction of the homes and relics of Rasulullah-sallallahu alayhi wasallam — and the Sahaabah sacrilegiously perpetrated by the Saudi regime which trample on the rights of people by usurping their lands and paying them a pittance, then selling the usurped land for exorbitant prices to the wealthy members of the family)
Hadhrat Umar: ‘Amends could be made by you mounting onto my shoulders and replacing the gutter on its original position.’
Qaadhi: ‘Yes, O Ameerul Mu’mineen! This is the demand of justice. You have to do this.’
Soon the people saw the powerful Khalifah who had defeated Qaisar and Kisra (the Roman and Persian emperors), standing by the wall with Hadhrat Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) mounted on his shoulders fixing the gutter to its position.
After completing the work of the gutter, Hadhrat Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) alighted and pleaded: ‘O Ameerul Mu’mineen! What has transpired was to reclaim my right. Now that I have acquired by right as a result of your love for justice, I seek forgiveness from you for this disrespect. I wholeheartedly give as Waqf my house in the Path of Allah Ta’ala. You have the right to demolish it and include it in the Musjid. May Allah Ta’ala accept my contribution.’
Independence of the judiciary from the executive is largely an empty slogan of the votaries of western democracy. In the annals of history there is no example to compare with the episode which appears on this page.
Islam has practically demonstrated the meaning of equality in front of the law. No monarch, governor, ruler, president, prime minister, cabinet minister, etc. could be ushered to court to stand as an ordinary citizen in front of the judge in the manner in which the Rulers of the Islamic Empire had demonstrated.
Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was not an isolated case. Islamic history bears ample testimony to the fact that even not so pious Muslim monarchs answered the summons of the Qaadhi without hesitation and stood on the same level as the plaintiff.
Those who pipe the tune of western democracy in which the independence of the judiciary is supposed to be a fundamental principle cannever hope to present the glittering examples of justice by an independent judiciary flaunted by Islamic autocracy known as Khilaafat.
Despite the slogan, it is a momentous struggle for an ordinary citizen to succeed in hauling a high government official of the democratic system to court. Public outcries and media pressure may succeed in activating the principle of the independence of the judiciary and that all men are equal in front of the law. But in a democracy, this is not normal nor in any other system of government.
It is only Islamic Autocracy which can be proud of the distinction of the true independence of the judiciary — a system in which true justice and fair play reign. The Islamic autocratic system is divine. In a true Islamic system of government, fear for Allah Ta’ala permeates the administration. The Ruler is not the maker of laws. He merely dispenses the divine laws of Allah Ta’ala. He is not an unjust despot like the presidents of democracies.
Although it is claimed that the president is ‘democratically’ elected, he is far from being a ‘democrat’. A glance at the presidents of the ‘democratic’ countries will convince the keen observer that all presidents of republics and democracies are cruel, unjust despots who are at the helm for personal glory and monetary gain.
Notwithstanding the flowery language which adorns constitutions and preambles, the irrefutable fact is that while the law will prosecute an ordinary citizen for a crime, cast him into a squalid cell, and haul him to court, similar treatment cannot be meted out to Mr. President of a ‘democratic republic’ irrespective of the notoriety of the crime which the despot may commit.
The hollowness of the slogans of democracy is manifest in practical every day life. The high sounding phrases of human rights, equality, justice and the like are designed for public consumption at forums of hypocritical display.
HOW CAN I BE CONCERNED IF I DO NOT SUFFER WHAT THE PEOPLE SUFFER?
During the reign of Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) a famine struck Madinah Munnawarah and its surroundings. When the wind blew, sand would come down from the sky like ashes, hence that year became known as Aam-ur-Ramadah (the Year of Ashes). Hadhrat Umar swore that he would not eat ghee, yoghurt or milk until all the people could afford to have these things. Once some ghee and yoghurt reached the local marketplace and a servant bought them for Hadhrat Umar for forty (dirhams). He came to Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) and said: “O Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen (Commander of the Faithful), Allah has fulfilled your oath and made your reward great. Some ghee and yoghurt reached the marketplace and I bought them for you forty (dirhams)” Umar said, “You paid too much for them. Give them in charity, for I do not like to eat in an extravagant manner.” Hadhrat Umar then said, “How can I be concerned for the people if I do not suffer what they suffer?” [Tareekh at-Tabari, 4/98]
O MY STOMACH, RUMBLE AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE – YOU WILL NOT EAT!!!
It was narrated that Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) said:
“The stomach of Hadhrat Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) would rumble during the Year of the Drought. He used to eat olive oil and he forbade himself ghee. He would pat his stomach and say, “You may rumble, but we have no other food until the famine is over.” [Al-Hilyah]
In Manaqib Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen of Ibn al-Jawzi, it is narrated that Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) would tell his stomach:
“Rumble as much as you like, for by Allah you will not eat ghee until the people eat it.”
THE RULERS WOULD REFUSE TO EAT FROM THE BEST OF THE FOOD
During the severe drought, at the time of Iftaar (the meal in the evening to break the day-long fast) Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) would eat plain bread soaked in oil. One day some people slaughtered a camel. They gave its meat to the people, and they kept the best parts of it – the hump and the liver – and brought that to Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu). He demanded, “Where did you get this?” They replied, “O Ameerul Mu’mineen, it is from a camel that we slaughtered today.” Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said,
“Oh no, oh no, what a bad ruler I am if I eat from the best of it and the people eat from the worst of it. Take this away and bring some other food.”
Some bread and olive oil were brought to him and he started breaking the bread with his own hands and soaking it in the oil.”
[Nidham al-Hukm fee Ash-Sharee’ah wa at-Tareekh al-Islami]
ENSURE THAT THE POOR EAT THE SAME FOOD AS THE RULERS
Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) would ensure that his governors throughout the Islamic Empire, which spanned most of the known world, applied the same principle that he abided by. When Utbah ibn Farqad (a governor) went to Azerbaijan, some khabees (a delicacy) was brought to him. When he ate it, he found it to be sweet and good. He said, “By Allah, I will make something like that for Ameerul Mu’mineen” So he made two huge trays of it for him and sent them on a camel, accompanied by two men, to Hadhrat Umar. When they came to Hadhrat Umar he enquired, “What is this?” They said, “Khabees.” He tasted it and found it to be sweet. He then asked, “Can all the Muslims afford to have this in their homes?” They replied, “No.” Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) then ordered, “Then take it back.” Then he wrote to Utbah saying, “It is not by the efforts of your father or mother (that you are living this life). Make sure that the masses are eating the same kind of food as you have in your home.” [Manaqib, Ibn Jawzi, p.147]
The ‘Christian’ Genocide of Jerusalem
And the Islamic ‘Revenge’
The Fall of Jerusalem
In the year 492 Hijri when the Christians conquered Baitul Maqdis (Jerusalem), they slaughtered 70,000 Muslims in Musjidul Aqsa. Giving a graphic account of the massacre of Muslims by the Crusaders, the Christian historian Michaud writes:
“The Saracens were massacred in the streets and in the houses. Jerusalem had no refuge for the vanquished. Some fled from death by precipitating themselves from the ramparts; others crowded for shelter into the palaces, the towers, and above all into their mosques, where they could not conceal themselves from the pursuit of the Christians. The Crusaders, masters of the Mosque of Omar, where the Saracens defended themselves for some time, renewed there the deplorable scenes which disgraced the conquest of Titus. The infantry and cavalry rushed pell-mell among the fugitives. Amid the most horrid tumult, nothing was heard but the groans and cries of death; the victors trod over heaps of corpses in pursuing those who vainly attempted to escape. Raymond d’Agiles, who was an eye- witness, says. ‘that under the portico of the mosque, the blood was knee-deep, and reached the horses’ bridles.”
Fulcher of Chartres, a Christian chronicler of that time, said:
“In this temple 10,000 were killed. Indeed, if you had been there you would have seen our feet coloured to our ankles with the blood of the slain. But what more shall I relate? None of them were left alive; neither women nor children were spared”
The Conquest of Jerusalem
Ninety years after the fall of Jerusalem into Christian hands, Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi (rahmatullah alayh) conquered this prized city. How did the magnanimous Sultan repay the butchery and massacre of 70,000 Muslims at the hands of the savage Crusaders almost a century ago? Describing the conquest of Jerusalem by Sultan Salahuddin, Steven Runcimman, a Christian, writes:
“Saladin had the city at his mercy. He could storm it when he wished…………Saladin, so long as his power was recognized, was ready to be generous, and he wished Jerusalem to suffer as little as possible. He consented to make terms and offered that every Christian should be able to redeem himself at the rate of ten dinars a man, five a woman and one a child……On Friday 2nd October, Saladin entered Jerusalem. It was the 27th day of Rajab……….The victors (i.e. the Muslims) were correct and humane.
Where the Franks, eighty-eight years before, had waded through the blood of their (Muslim) victims, not a building now was looted, not a person injured. By Saladin’s orders guards patrolled the streets and the gates, preventing any outrage on the Christians……. Then Saladin announced that he would liberate every aged man and woman. When the Frankish ladies who had ransomed themselves came in tears to ask him where they should go, for their husbands or fathers were slain or captive, he answered by promising to release every captive husband, and to the widows and orphans he gave gifts from his own treasury. His mercy and kindness were in strange contrast to the deeds of the Christian conquerors of the First Crusade.
The Orthodox Christians and the Jacobites remained in Jerusalem. Each had to pay a capitation tax in addition to his ransom, though many poorer classes were excused the payment. The rich amongst them bought up much of the property left vacant by the Franks’ departure. The rest was bought by Moslems and Jews whom Saladin encouraged to settle in the city. When the news of Saladin’s victory reached Constantinople the Emperor Isaac Angelus sent an embassy to Saladin to congratulate him and to ask that the Christian Holy Places should revert to the Orthodox Church. After a little delay his request was granted.”
This was the noble manner in which Sultan Salahuddin, the Conqueror of Jerusalem reciprocated the cold blooded massacre of 70,000 Muslims by the Crusaders 88 years before. In so doing, he was implementing the Qur’aanic command: “Ward off evil with what is beautiful.”[Mujlisul Ulama]
A Full Refund on Jizya (Tax on non-Muslims)
An Example Displaying the Noble Spirit of the Salaf
The following excerpt from a non-Muslim historian contains an eye-opening account of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) refunding the Jizya tax to many cities due to sudden circumstances rendering them unable to fulfil the responsibilities they had originally undertaken in providing adequate protection and refuge to the non-Muslims. In fact, such behaviour was typical of the honesty, integrity, and nobility displayed by the early Muslims. It throws into vivid contrast the often dishonest and treacherous behaviour exhibited by many Muslims today who have veered far away from the religion, both practically or spiritually, under the influence of foreign ideologies:
“It is true that adherence to their ancient faith rendered them obnoxious to the payment of Jizyah – a word which originally denoted tribute of any kind paid by the non-Muslim subjects of the Arab empire, but came later on to be used for the capitation-tax as the fiscal system of the new rulers became fixed; but this Jizyah was too moderate to constitute a burden, seeing that it released them from the compulsory military service that was incumbent on their Muslim fellow-subjects…the following facts taken from the Kitab al-Kharaj, drawn up by Abu Yusuf at the request of Harun al-Rashid (A.D. 786-809) may be taken as generally representative of Muhammadan procedure under the Abbasid Caliphate. The rich were to pay forty-eight dirhams (footnote: A dirham is about fivepence) a year, the middle classes twenty-four, while from the poor, i.e. the field-labourers and artisans, only twelve dirhams were taken.
This tax could be paid in kind if desired; cattle, merchandise, household effects, even needles were to be accepted in lieu of specie, but not pigs, wine, or dead animals. The tax was to be levied only on able-bodied males, and not on women or children. The poor who were dependent for their livelihood on alms [distributed by the state] and the aged poor who were incapable of work were also specially excepted as also the blind, the lame, the incurables and the insane, unless they happened to be men of wealth; this same condition applied to priests and monks, who were exempt if dependent on the alms of the rich, but had to pay if they were well-to-do and lived in comfort. The collectors of the Jizyah were particularly instructed to show leniency, and refrain from all harsh treatment or the infliction of corporal punishment, in case of non-payment.
This was not imposed on the Christians, as some would have us think, as a penalty for their refusal to accept the Muslim faith, but was paid by them in common with the other dhimmis or non-Muslim subjects of the state who religion precluded them from serving in the army, in return for the protection secured for them by the arms of the Musalmans [muslims].
When the people of Hirah contributed the sum agreed upon, they expressly mentioned that they paid this Jizyah on condition that “the Muslims and their leader protect us from those who would oppress us, whether they be Muslims or others.” Again, in the treaty made by Khalid with some towns in the neighbourhood of Hirah, he writes: “If we protect you, then Jizyah is due to us; but if we do not, then it is not due.”
How clearly this condition was recognised by the Muhammadans may be judged from the following incident in the reign of the Caliph Umar. The Emperor Heraclius had raised an enormous army with which to drive back invading forces of the Muslims, who had in consequence to concentrate all their energies on the impending encounter. The Arab general, Abu Ubaydah, accordingly wrote to the governors of the conquered cities of Syria, order them to pay back all the Jizyah that had been collected from the cities, and wrote to the people, saying:
“We give you back the money that we took from you, as we have received news that a strong force is advancing against us. The agreement between us was that we should protect you, and as this is not now in our power, we return you all that we took. But if we are victorious we shall consider ourselves bound to you by the old terms of our agreement.”
In accordance with this order, enormous sums were paid back out of the state treasury, and the Christians called down blessings on the heads of the Muslims, saying, “May God give you rule over us again and make you victorious over the Romans; had it been they, they would not have given us back anything, but would have taken all that remained with us.”
As stated above, the Jizyah was levied on the able-bodied males, in lieu of the military service they would have been called upon to perform had they been Musalmans; and it is very noticeable that when any Christian people served in the Muslim army, they were exempted from the payment of this tax. Such was the case with the tribe of al-Jurajimah, a Christian tribe in the neighbourhood of Antioch, who made peace with the Muslims, promising to be their allies and fight on their side in battle, on condition that they should not be called upon to pay Jizyah and should receive their proper share of the booty.
Living under this security of life and property and such toleration of religious thought, the Christian community – especially in the towns – enjoyed a flourishing prosperity in the early days of the Caliphate…In trade and commerce, the Christians also attained considerable affluence; indeed it was frequently their wealth that excited against them the jealous cupidity of the mob – a feeling that fanatics took advantage of, to persecute and oppress them.
Further, the non-Muslim communities enjoyed an almost complete autonomy, for the government placed in their hands the independent management of their internal affairs, and their religious leaders exercised judicial functions in cases that concerned their co-religionists only [footnote: Von Kremer]. Their churches and monasteries were, for the most part, not interfered with, except in the large cities, where some of them were turned into mosques – a measure that could hardly be objected to in view of the enormous increase in the Muslim and corresponding decrease in the Christian population…
Of forced conversion or anything like persecution in the early days of the Arab conquest, we hear nothing. Indeed, it was probably in a great measure their tolerant attitude towards the Christian religion that facilitated their rapid acquisition of the country.”
[Thomas Arnold, The Spread of Islam in the World]
Toleration and Forgiveness of Personal Abuse by Enemies
Once, Maalik Bin Dinaar rented a room next to the home of a Jew. His room was adjacent to the entrance of the Jew’s home. The Jew spitefully always deposited garbage and filth in Maalik’s entrance. Even his musalla would at times be soiled. This treatment continued for a long period, but Maalik Bin Dinaar never complained. One day the Jew came and said: “Does the garbage I deposit in front of your room not distress you?” Maalik: “It does distress me, but I wash and clean the place.” Jew: “Why do you tolerate so much distress?” Maalik: Allah has promised substantial reward for those who contain their anger and forgive people.” Jew: “Truly, your Deen is beautiful. It commands toleration of even the hardships presented by enemies.” The Jew was so affected by the beautiful conduct of Maalik Bin Dinaar that he embraced Islam.
The Honesty of the Muslim Merchants of the Past
Yunus ibn Ubaid once had in his shop garments with different prices; some of these garments were by four hundred dirhams while others were by two hundred dirhams. He went to the Masjid leaving his nephew in the shop. Then, a Bedouin came and asked for a garment by four hundred dirhams. The nephew offered to him one of the garments that cost two hundred dirhams. The Bedouin was pleased by the garment and bought it; and then he went with it.
When Yunus met him in the road, he knew his garment; therefore, he asked the Bedouin, “How much did you pay for it?” The man said, “Four hundred dirhams.” Whereupon Yunus said, “It does not cost more than two hundred dirhams; you should return it.” The man said, “In our country, it costs more than five hundreds; furthermore, I accepted this price.” Yunus said, “Indeed, advising in the religion is better than the world along with all its properties.” Then he paid-back to him two hundred dirhams and disputed with his nephew saying, “Would not you feel shame? Would not you fear Allah? You gain double the price and leave advising the Muslims!” His nephew said, “By Allah, he was pleased at buying it!” Yunus said, “Would not you give to him what you give to yourself?!”
Resigning from Governorship Due to an Inadvertent Word Uttered to a Non-Muslim
Hadhrat ‘Amr bin Sa’d (Radhiyallaahu ‘Anhu) was a Sahaabi who possessed great fear of ALLAH Ta’aalaa. During the khilaafat of Hadhrat ‘Umar (Radhiyallaahu ‘Anhu), Hadhrat ‘Amr bin Sa’d (Radhiyallaahu ‘Anhu) was nominated as the governor of Hims by Hadhrat ‘Umar (Radhiyallaahu ‘Anhu). However, at the time of his nomination, he mentioned to Hadhrat ‘Umar (Radhiyallaahu ‘Anhu) that he will only accept the post of governorship on condition that he does not receive any remuneration for his services. He ruled over Muslims and non-Muslims. On one occasion, he became upset with a christian for some misdemeanour that occurred from the side of the christian. Inadvertently, the words slipped from his tongue, “May ALLAAH disgrace you”. However, later on, when he began to ponder and reflect over his statement, he realized that he should have not uttered such a word to the christian. He was so overcome by the fear of ALLAAH Ta’aalaa and concern for his Aakhirat that he immediately set out to Madeenah Munawwarah. He mentioned to Hadhrat ‘Umar (Radhiyallaahu ‘Anhu) his mistake and expressed his fear of falling into the same predicament in the future, and thereafter excused himself and resigned from the position of governorship. (Jawaahir Paare)
Imam Abu Hanifah’s Reaction to Severe Verbal Abuse
Allamah Abdur Razzaq al-San’ani (126 – 211 H), the famous author of the Musannaf, relates his eye-witness account of Imam Abu Hanifah’s reaction after he was slandered with the disgusting epithet, “the son of an adulteress”:
“I was in the presence of Abu Hanifah at Masjid al-Khayf when a man asked him about something and he replied to him. Thereupon, a man said: ‘Al-Hasan [al-Basri] says such and such.’ Abu Hanifah said: ‘Al-Hasan erred.’ At this, a man whose face was covered with bandages arrived and said: ‘You say al-Hasan erred, Oh son of an adulteress!’ Then he left. Imam Abu Hanifah’s face did not change [at all], nor did it gain colour [at all]. Then he continued [as if nothing happened]: ‘Yes, by Allah, al-Hasan erred, and Ibn Mas‘ood was right.’” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:481 – Saheeh)
Grief of Mother More Painful Than the Physical Torture
Yahya ibn ‘Abd al-Hamid narrated:
“Abu Hanifah would be brought out every day,” or he said, “amongst the days, and he was beaten, to [force him to] accept judgeship but he refused. He wept on some of the days, and when he was freed, he said to me: ‘The grief of my mother was more difficult on me than the beating.’” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:449)
Hadhrat Alamghir’s Good Character towards the Enemy
Such was the integrity, honour, and justice which the True Jihadis of the past were known to possess, that even their enemies would feel comfortable in consulting with them regarding their problems, confident that they would not be taken advantage of.
The Great Warrior and Ruler of a huge Islamic empire, Hadhrat Aurangzeb Alamghir was at war with Shewajee when the latter’s food supply fell short. Shewajee consulted his advisor, Aman, who suggested that he consult with Hadhrat Aurangzeb Alamghir.
Shewajee said, “But he is the enemy.”
Aman replied, “Yes, he is the enemy, but he is firm upon the Shariah.One of the teachings of Islam is [seek the opinion of] ‘One whose opinion is sought is trusted.’ Hence correct and sincere advice should be given. Therefore he will give you good advice.”
Consequently Shewajee asked Hadhrat Aurangzeb Alamghir’s advice who promptly told him to make a truce during which he may make the necessary arrangements to replenish his food supplies. When fully prepared, the battles may once again be commenced. Shewajee took the advice and sought a ten year truce. Hadhrat Alamghir Aurangzeb ordered his troops to withdraw. When asked why he conducted himself like this, he replied, “It comes in the Qur’an ‘And truce is good’.” He was then asked why ten years. He replied,”Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) made an agreement of ten year at Hudaibiyyah, and success lies only in the following the most noble Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) of Allah”
Such was the integrity and honour of Hadhrat Aurangzeb Alamghir that made him deserving of the Nusrat of Allah (azza wa jal) which he undeniably received during his glorious rule.
Taking on Tremendous Hardship to Help Others
When Hadhrat Zainul ‘Aabideen (rahimahullah) passed away, the people carrying out his ghusal saw that he had scars all over his back. They enquired as to what was the reason for that. They were told that he used to fill bags of flour, load it on his back at night, and personally hand it out to the poor residents of Madeenah Munawwarah. (Hilyatul Awliyaa vol. 3, pg. 160)
CONCERN FOR AVOIDING INCONVENIENCE OVERCAME DESIRE FOR DEATH
Muftī Muhammad Shafī rahimahullāh fell seriously ill during the blessed month of Ramadān, such that he was expected to pass away. Anyone would desire to pass away in Ramadhan, for the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said: “When Ramadān arrives, the doors of Jannah are opened and the doors of Jahannam are closed.” After the month had passed and Muftī Shafī had recovered, he divulged to his friend that during his illness he prayed to Allāh ta‘ālā not to grant him death because he was overcome by the concern that his death would cause disruption and inconvenience to his innumerable friends and well-wishers during the long fasts and Ibadah of Ramadān.
A MOMENT OF COMPASSION TO A DOG EARNS ETERNAL SALVATION
Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah (Radhiyallahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Allah Ta’ala had forgiven an immodest (loose) and sinful woman on account of the compassion she showed to a dog. She had passed by a dog standing at the edge of a well with its tongue drooping. The dog was on the verge of death due to severe thirst. The woman removed her shoe and tied her scarf to it. She then lowered it into the well and drew some water for the dog. This action was so beloved to Allah Ta’ala that He pardoned her sins and forgave her. [The full account is narrated by both Bukhaari and Muslim]
DIVINE REPRIMAND FOR A FLEETING NEGATIVE THOUGHT ABOUT ANOTHER PERSON
Hadhrat Junaid (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) once saw a strong, well built man begging outside the Masjid. Having seen this, Hadhrat Junaid (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) disapproved of his begging and within his heart entertained doubts regarding the man. That same night he saw a dream in which he was commanded to consume the flesh of a corpse. Hadhrat Junaid (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) refused to consume the meat of the dead corpse, saying that this was haraam and forbidden in Islam. The voice which commanded him to consume the corpse then reminded him that when he had committed gheebat (back-biting) of that person (by thinking ill of him) he had done exactly that i.e. consumed the flesh of his dead brother. Hadhrat Junaid (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) was shocked into silence and realised that this was a Divine correction from Allah Ta’ala.
Upon awakening, he immediately set out in search of that man in order to seek forgiveness for entertaining evil thoughts regarding him. Upon seeing Hadhrat Junaid (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) approaching, the strong and well built man, who in reality was a friend of Allah Ta’ala, sighed and recited the following verse:
“He (Allah) is the only one that accepts the Taubah (repentance) of His servants.”
From the above incident we understand that it is not permissible for anyone to look down and despise another person, as he is unaware of the latter’s inner condition. The person in the story outwardly seemed unfit for begging since he was strong and well-built. However, his inner condition (of extreme and abject poverty which was unknown to Junaid Baghdaadi (Rahmatullahi Alaihi)) allowed him to beg according to Shariah.
Hadhrat Husain bin Ali (Radhiallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“The beggar has a right, even though he comes to you riding on a horse.” [Abu Dawud]
(In today’s context, ‘horse’ can be substituted with ‘car’. Even if a person driving a car approaches one for financial assistance, then one should strive to be of service to the person in need, for the sake of Allah, and one should not assume (without concrete proof) that the person is committing deception.
TOLERATION FOR THE INDISCRETIONS OF THE IGNORANT AND UNEDUCATED
On one occasion a Bedouin entered the Masjid of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). He had the urge to relieve himself and due to being ignorant and uneducated (with the injunctions of Islaam) he relieved himself in one corner of the Masjid. The Sahabah-e-Kiraam (Radhiallahu Anhum) were naturally enraged at this and immediately rushed towards this person rebuking him. Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallam) taking charge of the situation instructed the Sahaabah to clean the musjid by pouring water over the soiled area and thereafter addressed the Sahaabah in the following words:
“Allah Ta’ala has sent you to the Ummah as a means of creating ease for them (through being kind and compassionate towards them) and you have not been sent as a means for creating difficulty for them (by being harsh and impolite towards them)”
Thereafter, in a loving and compassionate manner Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) advised the Bedouin Sahabi with the following words:
“The Masaajid (houses of Allah Ta’ala) have not been created for the purpose of relieving oneself or soiling it with dirt. Instead it has been created for the remembrance of Allah, to perform Salaah and to recite the Qur’aan.”
The compassion and love Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) showed the Bedouin was the turning point in his life. He became among the learned of the Sahabaah. Later on during his life, recounting this incident, he would say:
“May my parents be sacrificed for him. Rasulullah (SallallahuAlaihiWasallam) did not swear me nor rebuke me nor did he hit me” (Instead he explained to me in a most loving manner).
[Incident related by Musnad Ahmad and Mishkaat]
REMOVING AN IMPEDIMENT FROM THE PATHWAY EARNS FORGIVENESS FOR ALL SINS
In a Hadith found in Bukhari, Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah (Radhiyallahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“Once, there was a man walking along a pathway and his sight had fallen on a branch of a tree (lying in the middle of the road). He thought to himself that it is only right for me to remove this branch from the pathway of the Muslims so as to save them from any harm. It was on account of this seemingly minor act that Allah Ta’ala had forgiven him and pardoned his sins.”
Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah (Radhiallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“Imaan consists of many branches, which exceed seventy in number. The most virtuous of all is proclaiming “There is no Deity worthy of worship besides Allah Ta’ala”, and the lowest branch is removing a harmful obstacle from the pathway. And Hayaa (modesty) is an extremely important branch of Imaan.”
THE SPIRIT OF JUSTICE IN ISLAM
HADHRAT AMR’S OFFER OF SUPREME SACRIFICE
(This touching episode is recorded by the Muslim historian, Imaam Waqidi. We have reproduced it from the English version extracted from the book, “Anecdotes of Islam” by E. Khan)
“Defeated and dislodged from Syria, the Roman warriors took their last bold stand at Alexandria, then the capital of Egypt. They concentrated all their strength here to arrest the progress of the Muslims, but Amr Ibnul ‘As (radhiyallahu anhu), the invincible Muslim commander, crushed the united might of the Romans even at this place. The victorious General thereafter took into his hand the rule of the conquered territory (by the appointment of Ameerul Mu’mineen, Hadhrat Umar Bin Khattaab—radhiyallahu anhu).
General Amr began by granting the fullest liberty to the Christian subjects in all their religious affairs.
(NOTE: In an Islamic state, the non-Muslim citizens are required to pay a special tax called Jizyah which obliges the Islamic state to protect their lives, honour and property. They are allowed freedom of worship in their areas. The term ‘fullest liberty’ is erroneous – Mujlisul Ulama)
One morning intense commotion was witnessed in the Christian quarter of the city. Bands of the excited inhabitants streamed towards Chawk Bazaar and assembled in a large meeting. One after another, fiery speeches were delivered. Thereafter a number of their leaders with the local Archbishop as their head, arrived at the gate of the house of General Amr Ibnul ‘As. Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) cordially received the deputation.
The Bishop explained to Hadhrat Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) the cause of the excitement of the Christian inhabitants. There was a marble statue of Jesus Christ in the Bazaar. The Christians used to worship the idol with great reverence. Someone had broken the nose of the image the previous night. The Christians naturally connected the sacrilege with a Muslim.
General Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) gave a patient hearing and came to share the same suspicion (i.e. that a Muslim damaged the idol). He turned to the Bishop and said in a voice of agony: “I am deeply ashamed and pained at what had occurred. It is true, Islam disapproves of idol-worship. But it equally disapproves of the profanation of the gods and goddesses of non-Muslim communities. Please have the statue repaired and I shall bear the entire cost.”
The Bishop replied: “But it is impossible to repair it, for a fresh nose cannot be fitted to it.” General Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “Then build a new statue, and I shall meet the cost.”
(NOTE: Lest there be a misunderstanding on the issue of idols, it should be understood that when the non-Muslim community in an Islamic state pays the Jizyah tax and becomes subservient to Islamic rule, the Shariah guarantees them freedom of worship in their own areas. It is not permissible in an Islamic state for either the authorities or the Muslim populace to interfere with the worship, churches and objects of veneration of the Zimmis – the non-Muslim inhabitants in Darul Islam. All of this is part of the pledge between the Islamic state and the Zimmis, hence Hadhrat Amr’s offer – Mujlisul Ulama)
The Bishop replied: “But even that is not acceptable. You know we believe Jesus to be the son of God; so vulgar money cannot compensate for the profanation of his image. There is one compensation: we shall build a statue of your Prophet (Muhammad—sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and break its nose.”
(The bishop had exceeded all bounds of propriety in making this profane and insolent demand – Mujlisul Ulama)
The face of General Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) blazed up in anger. His eyes rolled fiercely; his lips tightened; his body began to quiver, and again and again his hand grasped at his sword and again and again he extricated his hand from the weapon. General Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) left his seat, walked restlessly to and fro for some time. Then he washed his face with cold water. He then returned to his seat and said in a quiet sorrowful voice:
“You propose to erect a statue of the Great Prophet who after years of strenuous struggle abolished idol-worship and then you want to break it with insult — and all this before our eyes! It is better that all our wealth, our children and lives perish! Bishop make some other proposal. I am prepared to cut off and deliver the nose of anyone of us for the nose of your image.”
The Bishop accepted the last offer with gleeful alacrity. The following morning Christians and Muslims swarmed to the open square—the Christians would have their revenge in this open place. General Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) addressed the gathering and narrated the circumstances of the unfortunate incident in their fullest details. He then called the Bishop to his presence and said:
“You are the head of the Christians, and I am the head of the Muslims here. The responsibility of ruling this country is mine and I must accept the punishment for any insult that may have been offered to your religion or for the weakness of my administration. Take this sword and cut off my nose”.
Saying this, he handed the Bishop his sword. The Bishop took the sword in his hand and began to examine the sharpness of the edge. The huge concourse stood silent and breathless in the profoundest astonishment. Suddenly the silence was broken by a Muslim soldier who was running towards the spot and crying:
“Stop! Stop Bishop! Here is the nose of your image and herewith the culprit of the day. It is I who broke your idol and this punishment is due to me. The General is entirely innocent.”
Then the man stepped before the Bishop and offered his nose. The Bishop threw away the sword and said: “Blessed is the soldier; blessed is the General and above all, blessed is the noble Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) whose ideal has built up men like these. It was no doubt a wrong to break the image, but it will be an immeasurably greater wrong to mangle a human face for that.” — End of episode cited
THE LESSONS FROM THE EPISODE (BY MUJLISUL ULAMA)
No doubt, every Muslim’s heart will be moved by this touching episode which vividly illustrates the boundless and profound love which the Sahaabi, Hadhrat Amr Ibnul Aa’s (radhiyallahu anhu) cherished in his bosom for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It is only the transcendental concept of devotion for the Rasool (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) which can induce a powerful ruler in full control of the land under his jurisdiction to voluntarily offer his face to be mangled by one of his defenceless subjects.
Non-Muslims can never even grasp the very rudimentary elements of the type of devotion and love which the illustrious Sahaabi demonstrated by his actions. Every move which Hadhrat Amr made during his dialogue with the Bishop displays his love, the superiority of his intelligence and his lofty state of moral excellence.
From Hadhrat Amr’s spontaneous reaction of blazing anger the moment the Bishop presented his suggestion of insulting Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the West, while not being able to understand the spiritual rationale which underlies the surge of almost uncontrollable rage, should at least acknowledge the existence of an inexplicable spiritual force which impels Muslims to react spontaneously and violently when their beloved Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is insulted. This is a reality which the West has to take into account when they formulate their policies and conspiracies in relation to Muslims.
Besides the aforementioned lesson which the West can learn from this wonderful episode, Muslims can learn several lessons.
(1) That there is no anarchy in Islam. The way in which Hadhrat Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) acquitted himself in the face of the severest provocation is exemplary. After all, the Sahaabah were beacons of guidance. “All my Sahaabah are just (guiding stars). Whomever you follow, you will attain guidance.”, said Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
(2) That issues are resolved intellectually within the framework of the Shariah, not emotionally at the behest of the inordinate demands of the evil nafs whose counsellor-in-chief is Shaitaan. Hadhrat Amr’s first and spontaneous reaction on merely hearing of the suggestion of insult was the desire to smite the neck of the Bishop and despatch him into the bowels of Jahannam. But he arrested his anger and discharged his obligations as a just ruler representing the Rasool of Allah Azza Wa Jal. He did not permit his blazing anger and his revulsion for the vile suggestion of the Bishop to goad him into the commission of the slightest vestige of injustice. He did not react like a hooligan and a thug. His head was held high aloft in the clouds of morality and spirituality—there where the Angels dwell.
(3) That a powerful man is always in control of his anger and his nafs. He is not a slave of his bestial desires. When the fire of anger drove Hadhrat Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) to repeatedly clasp his sword to despatch the Bishop to Hell, most certainly, the words of his Beloved Master Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) for whom he was prepared to mangle his face and disfigure himself for life, rang in his ears: “A powerful man is not he who drops another in physical combat. A powerful man is he who is the master of his nafs at the time of anger.” He then proceeded to wash his face with cold water to cool the flames of his anger because his Beloved Master said: “Anger is from shaitaan and Shaitaan was created from fire. Extinguish fire with water.” Although enflamed with anger, Hadhrat Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) maintained his mental equilibrium and abstained from committing any excesses.
(4) That the rights of non-Muslims should be observed. Pledges made with non-Muslims have to be honoured. The insult which the Bishop proposed was not a valid ground for violating the pledge which existed between the Muslim ruler and his non-Muslim subjects.
(5) That notwithstanding Islam’s uncompromising concept of Tauhid (Monotheism) and implacable aversion for idolatry, the Sahaabah practised great tolerance of the kufr religions of the non-Muslim people in the conquered territories. Part of the pledge and treaty stipulated freedom of religion for the non-Muslims in their areas. It therefore devolved on the state to guarantee protection of the churches and relics of the non-Muslim subjects.
(6) That while Muslim anger is natural, valid and justified when Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) or Islam is insulted, we have to contend with the Shariah. Anger should not constrain Muslims to transgress the prescribed limits of the Shariah which prohibits injustice and anarchy. The action which is to be instituted should be calculated and conform to the Shariah. Mob rampages and commission of destruction are not the Shariah’s ways of resolving issues.
“These are the limits of Allah. Do not approach even near to them.” (Qur’aan)
That is, commit no transgression of the Shariah’s laws.
TO BE UPDATED REGULARLY INSHA-ALLAH….