Saturday, 29 September 2012
Friday, 28 September 2012
Thursday, 27 September 2012
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Tuesday, 25 September 2012
The Prophet Muhammad taught love, kindness and compassion to his people, and was seen to be the most loving, kind, and compassionate of all of them. The Quran mentions his kind and gentle behavior in these words: "O Messenger of Allah! It is a great Mercy of God that you are gentle and kind towards them; for, had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they would all have broken away from you" (Quran 3:159).
There are many instances that show his kindness and gentleness, especially to the weak and the poor. Anas, who was his helper, said: "I served Allah's Messenger for ten years and he never said to me, 'Shame' or 'Why did you do such-and-such a thing?' or 'Why did you not do such-and-such a thing?'" (Bukhari, 2038).
Once he said to his wife: "0 'A'ishah! Never turn away any needy man from your door empty-handed. 0 'A'ishah! Love the poor; bring them near to you and God will bring you near to Him on the Day of Resurrection". He also went much further on to say: "Seek me among your weak ones, for you are given provision, or you are given help only by reason of the presence of your weak ones". (Rahman, Encyclopedia of Seerah, VOL. VIII, p. 151) God Almighty is Kind, and the Prophet imitated Allah's example in its perfection by showing kindness to his servants and all creatures without any regard for their beliefs, color or nationality. The Prophet said: "God is kind and likes kindness in all things" (Bukhari, 6601).
His heart ached within him at the corrupt state of his fellow-Meccans and their rejection of One God. The Holy Quran testifies to it in these words: "0 Muhammad, you will, perhaps, consume yourself with grief because the people do not believe" (Quran 26:3). In Surah Kahf, we read: "Well, 0 Muhammad, it may be that you will kill yourself for their sake out of sorrow if they do not believe in this Message." (Quran 18:6). And Surah Fatir says: "So let not your life be consumed in grief for their sake." (Quran 35:8).
He took a great interest in the welfare of all people and had great compassion for people in trouble. The Prophet Muhammad imitated the attributes of God par excellence and translated them into practice in the highest form possible for man. Kindness is an attribute of Allah, which has no limits. It is extensive and encompasses all things and all beings without discrimination. Likewise was the kindness of the Prophet. He extended it to all beings, both animate and inanimate and benefited all without measure. The Quranic words for the Prophet's kindness, ra'ufun rahirn (Quran 9:128) are very intensive and comprehensive in meaning and convey the true nature and extent of the Prophet's kindness to people. The Prophet said: "One of the finest acts of kindness is for a man to treat his fathers' friends in a kindly way after he has departed" (Abu dawud, 5123)
The issue of treating friends well was also extended to include relations: "He who wishes to have his provision enlarged and his term of life prolonged should treat his relatives well" (Bukhari, 5985). He emphasized on this matter because he deeply held the view that "Only kindness prolongs life, and a person is deprived of provisions for the faults he commits" (Ibn Majah). Bahz b. Hakim, on his father's authority, said that his grandfather told him that he had asked Allah's Messenger to whom he should show kindness and that the Prophet had replied: "Your mother." He asked who came next and he replied: "Your mother." He asked who came next and he replied for the third time: "Your mother." He again asked who came next and he replied: "Your father, then your relatives in order of relationship" (Abu dawud, 5120). He dwelled on the issue of treating orphans humanely as he stated that "The best house among the Muslims is one which contains an orphan who is well treated, and the worst house among the Muslims is one which contains an orphan who is badly treated" (Ibn Majah, 3679). This means that the Prophet cautioned his followers against general maltreatment of anyone regardless of his status. By extending good treatment from friends to relatives and now to neighbors, Prophet Muhammad was intent in making all humans interdependent as he emphasized in the following words: "All creatures are Allah's dependants, and those dearest to God are the ones who treat His dependants kindly" (Rahman, VOL VIII, p. 154). He emphasized the kind treatment of women again and again in his speeches:
Treat women kindly, since they are your helpers; . . . you have your rights upon your wives and they have their rights upon you. Your right is that they shall not allow anyone you dislike to enter your bed or your home, and their right is that you should treat them well. (from the Farewell Sermon of the Prophet)
Once a number of women complained to the Prophet's wives about their ill-treatment by their husbands. On hearing of this, the Prophet said: "Such persons among you are not good persons." (Abu Dawud, 1834). This condemnation by the Prophet himself was an indication that no one will be accepted before God who, while on earth, decided to be unkind to women. Another person said to the Prophet: "0 Messenger of Allah! My relatives are such that although I cooperate with them, they cut me off; I am kind to them but they ill treat me." The Prophet said this in reply: "So long as you continue as you are, God will always help you and He will protect you against their mischief" (Muslim, 4640). This was not only a way of bringing comfort to the mind of the worried person but one of the communicative techniques of the Prophet to assure who ever found himself in that situation to look up to God to be consoled and protected. So it was pointless to preach vengeance to this kind of people suffering from this similar fate. Indeed, Prophet Muhammad was nothing short of a competent counselor.
He was always counseling people to be goodhearted regardless of their sex, age or gender. Once Asma bint Abu Bakr's mother, who was still an unbeliever, came to see her in Madinah. She told this to the Prophet and said: "My mother has come to see me and she is expecting something from me. May I oblige her?" The Prophet said: "Yes, be kind to your mother" (Muslim, 2195). This attitude of the Prophet was equally extended to Zainab as-Saqafia, the wife of Abdullah ibn Mas'ud and an Ansari woman. She went to see the Prophet and to inquire whether it would be a charity if they spent something on their husbands and on the orphans under their care. The Prophet said: "They will get a two-fold reward, one for kindness towards their relatives and the other for charity" (Bukhari, 1466).
There are many Ahadith concerning his kindness to animals, birds and insects: "God prescribed kindness towards everything; so when you slaughter any animal, slaughter it well; when you sacrifice, make your sacrifice good. And let everyone sharpen his weapon and make it easy for his sacrificed animal" (Muslim, 5055). He made this kind of statement to demonstrate his love for both humans and animals. In essence, Prophet Muhammad was equally showing his followers that he too is feels pain.
Monday, 24 September 2012
Sunday, 23 September 2012
Prophet Muhammad started the message of Islam in Arabia at a time when human rights had no meaning, might was right and the society was entrenched in paganism. In this environment Prophet Muhammad taught a message of justice, peace, human rights, animal rights and even environmental rights as ordained by God, the One True Creator of all that is in the universe.
God has shown us in the character of Prophet Muhammad the model of a companionate person. He treated every one, friends and foe, man and woman, young and old, with kindness and respect.
Even when the pagan Arabs reacted to the message of the Prophet with extreme hatred he showed love and kindness.
The following examples from the life of the Prophet show us how we should react when faced with hatred.
We can see one of the most patient and tolerant aspects of the Prophet's character in the incident of an old woman who made a habit of throwing trash in the way of the Holy Prophet Muhammad whenever he passed by her house.
The story related about this incident, mentions a neighbor of the Prophet that tried her best to irritate him by throwing garbage in his way every day. One day, when he walked out of his home there was no garbage. This made the Prophet inquire about the old woman and he came to know that she was sick. The Prophet went to visit her and offer any assistance she might need. The old woman was extremely humbled and at the same time ashamed of her actions in light of the concern that the Prophet showed her.
By seeing the example of compassion of Prophet Muhammad , she became convinced that Islam must be a true religion that the Prophet was preaching. 1
Another incident that is reported from the life of the Prophet is when the Prophet traveled to a neighboring town of Taif.
In Taif he thought he might find people who might be respectable to the message of Almighty God. The people of Taif turned out to be as hateful as the people of Makkah. The elders of the town planned an organized campaign to ridicule the Prophet. To escalate their disapproval of the Prophet and prevent him from preaching Islam, they set a group of children and vagabonds behind him. They pestered him and threw stones at him. Tired, forsaken and wounded, he sought refuge in a nearby garden. It belonged to Atabah and Shaibah, two wealthy chiefs of Quraish.
They were both there when Prophet Muhammad entered and sat under a distant tree. The Prophet raised his face towards heaven and prayed: "O Almighty! I raise unto you my complaint for my weakness, my helplessness, and for the ridicule to which I have been subjected. O Merciful! You are the Master of all oppressed people, You are my God! So to whom would You consign me? To the strangers who would ill-treat me, or to the enemies who have an upper hand over me? If whatever has befallen me is not because of Your wrath, then I fear not. No doubt, the field of Your security and care is wide enough for me. I seek refuge in Your light which illuminates darkness and straightens the affairs of this world and hereafter, that Your displeasure and wrath may not descend upon me. For the sake of Your pleasure, I remain pleased and resigned to my fate. No change in this world occurs without Your Will."
Atabah and Shaibah were watching. They sent for their servant named Adaas and gave him a plate full of grapes. "Take this to that man under the tree," they ordered. So he brought the grapes to Prophet Muhammad .
As the Prophet picked the grapes he said: "Bismillahir Rahmaanir Rahim" (In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate). Adaas had never heard this before. He was impressed by it, because the Prophet was invoking mercy and compassion of Almighty in spite of all the hardship he was subjected to.
"Who are you?" Adaas asked. Muhammad replied, "I am the Prophet of God. Where do you come from?"
The servant said: "I am Adaas, a Christian. I come from Nainava."
"Nainava? You come from a place where my brother Yunus bin Mati (Jonah son of Mati) lived," the Prophet said.
Adaas was surprised to hear the name.
"What do you know of Yunus? Here no one seems to know him. Even in Nainava there were hardly ten people who knew his father's name."
The Prophet said: "Yes, I know him because just like me, he was a Prophet of Almighty God."
Adaas fell on his knees before the Prophet , kissed his hand and embraced him.
It is further reported that after the Prophet took refuge from the stone throwing mob, Angel Jibrael came to the Prophet and asked him if he so wished Jibrael would give the command to bury the city between two mountains. Although the prophet had suffered a great deal at the hands of these people, he replied that he did not wish destruction for the people of Taif because maybe their offspring would proclaim the religion of truth. 2
The Islamic scholar Imam Ghazali (1058 - 1111 C.E.) summarizes the information he collected in the hadith regarding our Prophet's compassionate attitude to all those around him as follows:
"He was far from knowing anger and quickly showed compassion for things. He was the most loving of men toward other people. He was the most auspicious of men and did the most good to others, and the most useful and beneficial to others." 3
The Quran says that Prophet was sent as mercy to humankind. If we are to honor the Prophet , it will be by adopting the sublime character of our Prophet and not through the emotions of anger and hate.
1. Abdul Wahid Hamid, (2004) Islam the Natural Way. UK: Muslim Education and Literary Services.
2. Al-Bukhari and Muslim
3. (Imam Ghazali, Ihya'u Ulumiddin, Vol. 2)
Friday, 21 September 2012
Thursday, 20 September 2012
Wednesday, 19 September 2012
Tuesday, 18 September 2012
KARACHI, Pakistan — Nusrat Mochi, now 25, left her parents’ home one day to go to work and never returned. Instead of starting a job as a domestic worker, she ran away to begin a new life, against her family’s wishes, with a husband of her choosing rather than the one they had chosen for her. Her parents’ wrath has trailed her ever since.
In the four years since she and her husband, Abbas Bhatti, now 27, eloped, they have moved twice to escape threats to their lives, they say. Even today, with two small children, they try to keep the location of their home a secret. If threats were not enough, Ms. Mochi’s parents also brought a legal case charging that Mr. Bhatti had kidnapped her.
“I don’t care about my father and mother,” Ms. Mochi said, sitting in her two-room house and cradling her youngest child in her lap. “When they are sending some person to kill me, how can I?”
Their story illustrates the conflicts some women encounter in Pakistan when choosing what are known here as freewill marriages. It also shows how women are increasingly asserting their rights against the traditions of forced marriage and parental authority, implicitly challenging one of the most powerful institutions in Pakistani society.
Though some form of arranged marriage remains the most common way for Pakistanis to find spouses, marriage without the consent of a woman’s guardian was legalized in 2003. The change in the law has created a larger opening for many women to claim their independence, using the courts and the local news media. Ms. Mochi’s parents’ suit was defeated in a Karachi court in April.
The tactics have given more visibility to a problem long considered largely a private matter.
“Things are changing; the girls are becoming bolder, they are continuously taking steps, and they are not afraid to die,” said Mahnaz Rahman, resident director of the Aurat Foundation, a women’s rights organization active throughout Pakistan. “They know that they will be killed, but even then they are taking these steps because they can’t conform to the values of their parents. They are the girls of this modern age.”
When a woman disagrees with her parents’ choice of husband, she has few options, Ms. Rahman said. If she wants to marry someone else, the two must elope and leave the family home behind. By leaving the home, though, the daughter is considered to have dishonored her family, and that is where culture, custom and the legal system intersect with retribution.
Parents frequently press kidnapping charges to regain control of a renegade daughter. Such cases can engulf entire families, as the police will often seize property and detain relatives of the accused man.
When they met and fell in love, Ms. Mochi and Mr. Bhatti were neighbors in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, a section of Karachi. The complication was evident from the start. Ms. Mochi had been promised since birth to her father’s cousin, 15 years her senior. Her family refused to end the engagement.
Her parents have since moved back to their ancestral home, a village in the Rajanpur district of Punjab Province, and could not be reached for comment.
The couple secretly married in a Karachi city court on Aug. 11, 2007, then waited until Mr. Bhatti was able to save money and secure a home for them in another part of the city before making their escape the following year.
Ms. Mochi’s father soon began harassing Mr. Bhatti’s father for the return of his daughter or some monetary compensation. Eventually, the family charged Mr. Bhatti with kidnapping for ransom.
In court, Ms. Mochi was able to testify that she had not been coerced and could produce the affidavit she had signed on their wedding day declaring that the decision to marry was her own.
Such affidavits have become crucial tools in conflicts over freewill marriages. Not only are they produced in court to validate these unions, but they are also presented by women to local Sindhi-language newspapers as “freewill marriage notices,” subverting the traditional concept of the marriage announcement to fend off accusations of abduction and adultery.
The sanction against freewill marriage “has neither to do with law nor with religion,” Ms. Rahman said. “It has to do with culture. It has to do with lack of education.”
Most of the cases Ms. Rahman sees come from rural, impoverished areas of Sindh Province, where tribal councils, or jirgas, hold more influence than state courts. For women who have married without the consent of the family or who have refused the spouse picked for them, community justice is often worse than a long court battle.
Pakistani newspapers routinely carry articles about couples who faced violence as a result of marrying without their families’ consent. In one recent case, The Express Tribune reported last month that a couple, Almas Khan and Shamim Akhtar, were killed in Chakwal, Punjab, over the weekend of Id al-Fitr, the holiday ending Ramadan.
Ms. Akhtar’s father had registered a kidnapping case with the police after the couple eloped. The family contacted their daughter and her husband, saying the pair would be forgiven if they returned. When they complied, they were shot and their bodies strung from a tree.
These killings, called karo-kari in Sindhi, are a constant threat for women who enter into freewill marriages. The women are considered dishonorable, or kari, and become the targets of male relatives looking to restore family prestige. The men, too, can be targets.
Even when such cases are investigated, the killers often escape prison sentences. Under Islamic criminal law, which applies to murder cases in Pakistan, victims’ heirs or family members are entitled to pardon a perpetrator in exchange for monetary compensation. Since most karo-kari killings are committed by close relatives, there is often pressure to forgive the perpetrator, who then goes free.
In its 2011 annual report, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent organization, found that, according to news and field reports, at least 943 women were victims of so-called honor killings that year, 219 of them because they wanted to choose a spouse.
Such realities did not discourage Ms. Mochi from making her choice. She was, she said, too consumed by anger on the day she left home. “If they are not allowing me to get married, than I will do it,” she recalled telling herself.
Mr. Bhatti is trying to negotiate an end to the feud so the couple can live in peace, but his wife’s family is demanding 200,000 rupees, or $2,110. He earns 200 rupees a day. Still, he says, he and his wife are content. “We are happy with our every decision,” he said.