Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah and nonviolence: Prof. Mehboob Desai

The life of Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was on the foundation of peace and nonviolence. Since his childhood to his young age, he was called as ‘trustworthy’ and ‘modest’ even by the pagan Arabs. During the period of Prophethood, while propagating the Islam, he had faced many hurdles, insults, and difficulties; yet, he had not deserted his nature of composure, compassion and patience. The instructions of Holy Quran, such as ‘No compulsion in religion’ and “No fighting” were strictly followed. Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, had spent whole of his life as patiently and piously as humanly possible without any arrogance and pride. It was inscribed on the sword of Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah,
“Forgive him who wrongs you; join him who cuts you off; do good to him who does evil to you; and speak the truth even if it be against yourself.”
As Abdulla Bin Amr has narrated, once a man asked the Messenger of Allah, “What sorts of deeds of Islam are good?” The Messenger of Allah replied, “To feed the poor, to greet whom you know and to those whom you do not know.”
While explaining the relationship with neighbours, Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah said, “He is not a Muslim, who feed himself while his neighbour is hungry.” By following the tradition of Messenger of Allah, Umar Ibn al-Khattab said, "Does one of you want to fill his belly apart from his neighbour or nephew? How can you overlook this Ayat? 'You squandered your good things in the life of this world and sought comfort in them.’ “(Sura 46 Ayat 20).
Holy Quran orders a Muslim to help his neighbour. It says,
“Serve Allah and join not any partners with Him: and do good to parents kinsfolk orphans those in need neighbors who are near neighbors who are strangers the companion by your side the way-farer (ye meet) and what your right hands possess: for Allah loveth not the arrogant the vainglorious.”
While explaining about the qualities of a Muslim, Messenger of Allah said,
“Don't nurse grudge and don't bid him out for raising the price and don't nurse aversion or enmity and don't enter into a transaction when the others have entered into that transaction and be as fellow-brothers and servants of Allah. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. The piety is here, (and while saying so) he pointed towards his chest thrice. It is a serious evil for a Muslim that he should look down upon his brother Muslim. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother in faith; his blood, his wealth and his honour.”
Messenger of Allah always loved to protect the lives of animals and birds. Once the Messenger of Allah and his companions were travelling. Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud narrated,
“One day we saw a bird with her two young offsprings. We captured the two young offsprings. The bird came and began to spread its wings. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, came and said: “Who grieved this for its young ones? Return its young ones to it.” He also saw an ant village that we had burnt. He asked: “Who has burnt this?” We replied: “We.” He said: “It is not proper to punish with fire except the Lord of fire.”
The above incident shows the nonviolent nature of Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. He prohibited even stealing of eggs from the nests of birds. Abu Huraira narrated it,
“The Messenger of Allah said, "Allah curses a man who steals an egg and gets his hand cut off, or steals a rope and gets his hands cut off.”
Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, did not like to eat Onion and Garlic. But, he did not force his people not to eat the Garlic, Onion etc. Abu Ayub Ansari narrated,
“When food was brought to Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, he ate out of that, and sent the remaining part to me. One day, he sent to me the leftover; I found that he had not taken from it at all, for it included garlic. I asked him whether that was forbidden, whereupon he said: “No, but, I do not like it because of its odour.” Then I said: “Then I also do not like what you do not like.”
The reason for not eating the garlic and onions by Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was revealed by himself. The garlic and onion were not prohibited by Allah. But, any bad smell was not befitting to a good man, while he would be talking to holy persons. Jabir Bin Abdullah narrated,
“The Messenger of Allah said, "Whoever has eaten garlic or onion, should keep away from us, or should keep away from our mosque and should stay at home.” Ibn Wahb said, "Once a plate full of cooked vegetables was brought to the Messenger of Allah at Badr. Detecting a bad smell from it, he asked about the dish and he was informed of the kinds of vegetables it contained. He then said, "Bring it near,” and so it was brought near to one of his companions who was with him. When the Messenger of Allah saw it, he disliked eating it and said to his companion, "Eat, for I talk in secret to ones whom you do not talk to.”
Abu Sayed Al Kudri narrated,
“We made no transgression but Khaybar was conquered. We, the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, fell upon this plant, i.e. garlic, because the people were hungry. We ate it to our heart's content and then made our way towards the mosque. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, sensed its odour and he said: He who takes anything of this offensive plant must not approach us in the mosque. The people said: “Its use has been forbidden; its use has been forbidden.” This reached the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. He said: “O people, I cannot forbid the use of a thing, which Allah has made lawful, but, this garlic is a plant the odour of which is repugnant to me.”
Even though Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was having a full control over his people, he never forced his will and wish on his followers. He told the truth. He lived a simple life. He dedicated his life for the worship of Allah. Yet, he never overlooked his responsibility towards his family and his people. He never wore Silk or any other costly cloth that was a show-off of rich people. He was not fond of richly food. He normally used a white cloth to cover his body. He talked with others, simply and sincerely. He treated rich and poor alike. His behaviour was full of love and compassion. While he was alive, the Islam had spread. Yet, he had not shown his authority as normal kings would have done. He never sat on a throne. He never wore a crown. He never attired in a sacerdotal gown. He never lived in a mansion. He lived in a mud cottage, with a top of palm tree leaves. Every one was freely allowed to meet him, irrespective of his age, nationality, race and religion. He loved the children very much. He used to play with children in the streets. He used to visit the sickly people at their homes. He was accustomed to accompany a Muslim or a non-Muslim, while biding him goodbye. He never rejected an invitation, even by a poor-man or by a slave. These special characteristics were naturally seen in his life.
In the book, ‘Life of Mohammad’, Sir W. Mure wrote,
“He conducted with love and respectfully even with common people. When he did walks, he walked respectfully. He showed mercy upon all. If any body irritated him by a word or deed, he was not offended. He was self-restraint. He was lenient. He generously donated. These qualities had made him loved by all, who were around him.”

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