Islam and the lessons of peace!
A society exists because of its individuals, so safety of life, property and honor of every individual is must for the existence and survival of a society. Such and many more lessons can be learned from the prophet of Islam (May peace and blessings of Almighty be upon him) who is also termed as ‘Rehmatal-lil- Alameen’ (blessings for all). It was the time of Jahilia (ignorance) when the prophet was born and brought up in Arabia- a society which was deeply infected with several religious and social evils- that he began the message of peace and dignity and gave much importance to every human being by stating that killing of an innocent is not only a big sin but it is like killing the whole humanity. He revolutionaries Arabia and brought about a peaceful truce between clans that had been killing and fighting each other from eternity. He closed the doors for such barbaric acts and taught the message of Allah to the people.
We, as Muslims, have been advised to take care of each others property against grabbing it. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said that the best among you are people with best character. Complaisance has been given the highest preference because it is the basis for the existence of a good society. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself was the finest example of best morality as it has been mentioned in Quran, “and indeed, you are of a great moral character”. Equality and parity are imperative for the constitution of a progressive and developing society. We have numberless examples from the life history of our prophet to enlighten us in the matters of equality. Once, a lady from Quresh clan was brought before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for a case of theft after which some close Sahabas (companions) of prophet tried to advocate for her but Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) didn’t listen to them and told them that some nations before us got destroyed only because they used to punish only common people for their crimes while as the mistakes of special people were overlooked. Helping poor and needy people was one of the facets of prophets life who would ven stay hungry and offer food to those who came to him for help. When an oppressed person in Makkah once asked for help, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with some few other people got ready to help him and an organization of few people was formed for helping the needy and oppressed people. This treaty was called as ‘Halful Fazool’ which was later written with golden words in history records.
To stand against oppression and helping the oppressed people was so dear to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that during his life at Madina Prophet said that if He will be called for ‘Halful Fazool’ by the people of Makkah during these days, he will happily accept it. We have many illustrations from the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for helping the weak people of our society and taking care of them. Once a Sahabi had gone to fight a battle and there was no other male member in his family. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to go to his home everyday to help his family in their domestic works. Once prophet was going to lead congregational prayers but a Bodouin (Arab tribal) came to him and asked for some help in his work. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) silently went with him and helped him in completing his works and after that led the prayers.
On one occasion, there was a famine in Makkah. The people of Makkah, who were staunch enemies of Prophet and Muslims of Madinah at that time were living in very harsh conditions. Despite economically poor at that time, the Muslims of Makkah collected five hundred dinars on the directions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and send them to leaders of Madina for helping the affected people. This was the obligingness and charitable character of our Prophet towards his society.
Today the world has become a global village and its residents are from different religions living like neighbors. We ought to know our duties towards our neighbors to live a happy social life in this global village. The life of our prophet enlightens us and guides us in living happily with our neighbors. We have been told by our prophet that our neighbors should always feel safe in our neighborhood irrespective of their religion and they should always feel equality in society. Religion should never become a hurdle in social cooperation and solving social problems. Everybody should have equal opportunities for social justice irrespective of their religion. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) never stood by a Muslim against a non Muslim if the former would have been wrong. The various points mentioned under ‘Mesaaqe Madina’ (a treaty which was formulated for peace and cooperation among different clans and religions in Madina by our prophet) can act as a beacon light for bringing peace and harmony among different religions and cultures in the present times. Our society is facing different challenges and these challenges can be overcome by guidance from our prophet. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has told us that the best people are those who treat others equally and the best among you are those whose lives are beneficial for others. These are the golden words of our prophet which will always guide and enthusiase us for social services. We have been told that behaving with others in a good manner is charity. Clearing roads from pebbles and other hurdles has also been mentioned as charity. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says that we should have mercy on the creatures of Allah and Allah will be merciful to us. We have been told by our prophet not only to be merciful with humans but we should love and show our mercy to other creatures of Almighty. We have been told not to beat or harm others creatures unreasonably.
Nowadays environmental pollution is one of the critical and alarming issues in our society and everybody is quavering by it. Our prophet has guided us to protect our environment and plant more and more trees. It has been said by our prophet that planting trees is a charity. Cutting trees has not been allowed by our prophet even during war times. We have been guided to restrict from wastage of water and use it judiciously. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has stopped us from throwing waste on roads, instead we have been guided to remove harmful things from roads. Adulteration of goods, which has become a common practice nowadays has been termed as a great sin. Our prophet says that anyone who cheats anybody in anyway is not a true Muslim. Cleanliness has been termed as a part of our faith. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has directed us to perform ablution five times a day before prayers to keep ourselves neat and clean. The best way for keeping our villages and cities clean from environmental pollution is to follow the practices and sayings of our beloved prophet.
Nowadays terrorism and violence are the biggest threats to world peace. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was totally against violence and has guided us to stay away from such practices. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has stated that practices like violence and oppression are totally unacceptable in Islam. We have been forbidden from terrorizing an innocent by any means. Corruption and bribery has become the worst social curse in present times and it has badly affected the weaker section of our society as they have been dispossessed from their basic rights. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has termed corruption and bribery as social curse and has strictly advised us to restrain from it. It has been said that giving or taking bribe is a big sin before Almighty Allah. Everybody is responsible for his deeds and has to be answerable before Almighty Allah for his duties. This sense of responsibility propels every human being towards good deeds. Divorce and domestic violence have become chronic evils in the modern society. The life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) guides us to provide women their rights and treat them with love and protect them. Dowry has been treated as worst social evil and we have been advised to restrain from demanding dowry from brides. The couples have been advised by our prophet to restrain from unreasonable divorces as divorce is the worst and most unlike act before Almighty Allah.
Mutual cooperation, trust, love and respect are basic components for a strong social system. Our prophet has given special attention for these things. We have been strongly advised to avoid back biting. We should never feel jealous of the success of our fellow beings. Our prophet has directed us to be always ready for help to needy people. We should never call anyone by bad names neither we should keep ill intentions about anyone inside us. We should respect and help other people irrespective of their religion to strengthen the communal harmony. The various episodes from the social life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are enough to beautifully guide us for social reformation in the present times and to curb the different social evils present in our society.
(The author is a columnist and teaches Geography at GDC, Kulgam. He can be reached at email@example.com)