MILADUN NABI (SAWA) – PART 2
Thursday 29 October 2020 (13th night of Rabiul Awwal 1442)
Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town
by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider
In the previous lecture, we had a discussion about the secret of the success of Rasulullah (SAWA) in propagating and establishing Islam on such a grand scale, in such a short period of time, over billions of people across the centuries, crossing all the borders of ethnicity, race, culture, language etc. We concluded that the secret to this success was his sublime akhlaq (moral character).
We analyzed in light of Hadith recorded from the Ahlul Bait (a.s), that the source of sustenance for this sublime akhlaq was love of Almighty Allah (SWT). We discussed the Hadith from the 6th Imam of Ahlul Bait (a.s), Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s), where he said that Almighty Allah (SWT) groomed His Prophet (a.s) on His love! Allah (SWT) installed His love in Rasulullah (SAWA).
Once this divine love was in the very existence of Rasulullah (SAWA), then all this sublime akhlaq referred to in verse 4 of Surah Qalam (chapter 68 of the Holy Quran) was a direct result thereof. Hence, this divine love is the foundation of the success of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), as he is the manifestation of Almighty Allah’s (SWT) love toward creation through both, Rahmaniyya and Rahimiyya:
– Rahmaniyya – that inclusive mercy and compassion that expands to every existence.
– Rahimiyya – that special mercy and compassion for those who are blessed with Imaan ie. faith and belief in Almighty Allah (SWT).
Love for the people is central to the character of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). His excessive love for the people results in Almighty Allah (SWT) issuing a cautionary in verse 3 of Surah Shu’araa (chapter 26 of the Holy Quran):
لَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَفْسَكَ أَلَّا يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ
“Perhaps you will kill yourself with grief because they do not believe.”
Verses such as these are deeply profound in explaining the amazing love of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) towards the people. He genuinely wanted to rescue and guide them. His mission was to liberate them from the shackles of slavery and idol-worshipping. He wanted Insan (human beings) to evolve and progress. This was the passion and love of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA).
UNIVERSAL LOVE OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD (SAWA) ENSURED THAT REVENGE DID NOT EXIST
As I explained towards the end of my previous Miladun Nabi lecture, even when Rasulullah (SAWA) took a very firm and decisive position, it was also through his mercy and not based on revenge. We see from his life that there was nothing by the name of revenge that one can identify.
He prayed for the people after the Battle of Uhud, asking Almighty Allah (SWT) to forgive his people for their transgressions which resulted in the Muslims losing this battle. Similarly, after the conquest of Mecca, when he had all the means and power to take revenge, he declares that day of victory as the day of mercy, and not the day of revenge!
Clearly, revenge is not identifiable in the life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), even towards the worst of the worst enemies. Who can be a worse enemy than someone who performed a most gruesome act after the Battle of Uhud, on the command of Hind (the wife of Abu Sufyan). She asked her slave to cut the body of Hamza and bring his liver, for her to chew. Rasulullah (SAWA) could never forget this most gruesome scene.
Amazingly, Rasulullah (SAWA) did not take revenge on this terrible slave who desecrated the body of Sayyidina Hamza with this gruesome command of Hind. It was very difficult for Rasulullah (SAWA) to face this terrible person, and so instead of taking revenge, Rasulullah (SAWA) told him to live far away as he cannot stomach seeing him because of the reminder of the barbaric cruelty he inflicted on his uncle Hamza, Sayyid as-Shuhada.
So, we see repeatedly that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) is nothing but love, and the decisive positions he took were based upon mercy and not revenge.
TOUGH AND DECISIVE POSITIONS OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD (SAWA) WAS THROUGH HIS LOVE
When he assesses the situation and concludes on the importance to rescue people and save humanity, he decides that a firm, decisive position is needed against certain elements, because that will be the route to eradicate debilitating pain from the entire humanity. Hence the reason for his hard position on certain elements to wipe them out. Again, this is not based upon revenge and hatred! Rather, it is out of mercy.
There is nothing in this world by the name of anger or revenge. All the favours from Almighty Allah (SWT) to this world are through His mercy. We are all familiar with Surah Rahman (chapter 55 of the Holy Quran), which refers to the Most Compassionate, all-inclusive mercy of Almighty Allah (SWT).
This Surah enumerates the favours of Almighty Allah (SWT), and amongst them He describes the Hellfire in verses 43 and 44.
هَٰذِهِ جَهَنَّمُ الَّتِي يُكَذِّبُ بِهَا الْمُجْرِمُونَ
“This is the Hell which the Sinners deny:
يَطُوفُونَ بَيْنَهَا وَبَيْنَ حَمِيمٍ آنٍ
Round about shall they go between it and hot, boiling water.”
And then it suddenly states in verse 45 on which of our Lord’s (SWT) favours can we deny…
فَبِأَيِّ آلَاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ
“Which then of the bounties of your Lord will you deny?”
This means that the Hellfire is also from the blessings of Almighty Allah (SWT), and the manifestation of His divine mercy! Believe it or not, Satan is also a similar manifestation of His divine mercy!
REAL VIRTUE IS DEFINED BY WHAT APPEARS TO BE A PARADOX AT TIMES
One does not develop in comfort. We evolve when there are challenges in our life’s journey. Example, the constant battle between right and wrong which we are needing to navigate. When we decide to take the right path, through our own free will, then it is a virtue.
Let me give a contra example. If we live in a Muslim community, we may think we are righteous by not drinking alcohol. But what is so special about this, when there is no wine accessible to start with? However, when we are able to say that we do not lie or backbite, then we realize what great virtue we have!
So, when we look at the bigger picture, then we understand that everything in this world is purely a mercy from Almighty Allah (SWT), and the centre of this mercy is our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA).
The same can be applied for jihad (struggle) and capital punishment. For example, the logic of the Holy Quran is that there is life due to capital punishment, as explained in verse 157 of Surah Baqarah (chapter 2):
وَلَكُمْ فِي الْقِصَاصِ حَيَاةٌ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
“And there is life for you in (the law of) retaliation, O men of understanding, that you may guard yourselves.”
People see the death penalty as being taking away life, but in this verse Almighty Allah (SWT) is saying that capital punishment is the protection of life! It all comes back to Almighty Allah (SWT) and His divine mercy.
MUSLIMS DRIFTED FROM THE UNIVERSAL MERCY OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD (SAWA)
The unfortunate reality is that Muslims gradually went astray from this very central theme of the Prophetic character, being love! It gradually got lost! If you recall, my first couple of lectures in this year’s Muharram series was focussed on this issue.
Religion is the most dangerous when it becomes the tool for political gain! The big problem starts when religion is used to conquer the land and expand the empire, to exert control over the people. The focus of the Islamic leadership after the passing of Rasulullah (SAWA) was on conquering land, while his focus was on capturing the hearts.
What was the result? Country after country became part of the Islamic empire. Millions of people supposedly became Muslim, but their hearts, minds and souls were not captured by true Islam. This is the tragedy, and therefore, what we see today by the name of Islam is very far from what the Prophet of Islam (SAWA) brought to this world.
Today’s Islam is that of monarchs who believe that religion can be moulded whichever way they like, to control, manipulate and exploit. This is what we see continuing today. If we want to really love our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), we need to go back to that pure, noble, moral character (akhlaq) for which the central theme is love!
It is not only about Muslim majority countries, because we Muslims in a non-Muslim society also have a heightened responsibility in being messengers of love and the akhlaq of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA).
OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S (SAWA) LEGACY IN A NON-MUSLIM SOCIETY
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) looked with great sympathy upon people who were wayward and misguided. Of course, he took decisive action against those who were openly and deliberately out to cause corruption. But then there are the masses, for whom Rasulullah (SAWA) made dua (supplication) to Almighty Allah (SWT) to please forgive them, because they do not know!
We live in a society like this, where the majority of the people are not Muslim, but it is because they do not have access to the true message of Islam. The Islam which is presented to them is unfortunately a perverse version of Islam created by so-called Muslim leaders, coloured with the ugly shades of hate, violence, bloodshed and revenge by the worst enemies of Islam.
Naturally, people run away from this distorted image of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), who is the leader and manifestation of divine compassion and mercy of Almighty Allah (SWT). However, if we are messengers of love to these people, then they will open their doors to this Prophet of universal mercy.
Therefore, even non-Muslims, including clergy, who take the time to read and reflect, come to the realization that what he has offered to humanity is the greatest wealth of knowledge, guidance, inspiration, love and care. This is what they understand as the legacy of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), despite the layers preventing us from recognizing him.
Yes indeed, we very rightfully feel hurt when they insult our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), and we should protest. At the same time, we should also understand what is the context and undertones which has created such an environment.
We hope and pray to Almighty Allah (SWT) to grant us the Taufeeq, in these days of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), to follow his beautiful and inspiring, exemplary lifestyle and noble, moral character and his message of love for all humanity and creation as a whole.
May Almighty Allah (SWT) grant us his intercession on the Day of Judgement.