Islam as a universal religion is the religion practiced by all the true Prophets and Messengers sent by Allah with the core principle of monotheism (the belief in a single deity/ worshiping only one and true God). That is why after Allah gave a detailed story of the various prophets, He concluded it with the saying “Surely this Islam is your religion, one religion (only) and I am your lord, therefore serve Me.” (Q; 21:92)
In Qur’an 23:52, Allah says “And verily! This your religion (Islamic monotheism) is one religion and I am your Lord, so keep your duty to Me.” As a complete and perfected religion of Allah (Q; 5:3), nothing was left unexplained. Allah says in Qur’an 6:38 “…. We have not neglected anything in the Book (Qur’an) ….” Thus, Islam is more than just a religion but rather a way of life, it regulates every sphere of the individual’s life ranging from economic, social, spiritual, and political among others. Broadly speaking, Islam can be zero down to two concepts, namely Ibadat (Man to Allah relationship) and Muamalat (Human to Human relationship). Primarily, Muamalat and Ibadat go hand in hand. Hence for any individual to claim being a true Muslim, she/he must perfect his relationship with Allah and humanity at large. Islam is not just about the five ritual prayers, fasting, pilgrimage to Hajj etc. This is justified in Qur’an 2:177 which states “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West (referring to the five daily prayers), but righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah …. “And the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the PATIENT in distress and affliction and in time of CONFLICTS – these are they who are true (to themselves) and these are they who guard (against evil).”
It is in the light of the above verse and many others that this write up seeks to explore the Islamic stance on how Muslims supposed to react and inter-react with fellow Muslims and humanity at large. Islam is a religion based on love, tranquility, peace and a real manifestation of human brotherhood. This is well demonstrated by the Prophet (SAW), his companions and the true adherents of Islam. Hatred, rudeness, hostility, rebellion, violence, injustice and harsh hearted is never a good route of bringing people together but rather a way of disuniting and creating enmity among them. This is why Allah commended the Prophet (SAW) due to his gentleness in handling his followers and even his enemies. Allah says in Qur’an 3:159 “Thus it is due to merely from Allah that you deal with them GENTLY, and had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you: Pardon them therefore and ask pardon for them, and take counsel with them in the affair; so when you have decided, then place your trust in Allah, surely Allah loves those who trust.”
It is a general belief among Muslims that, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is the greatest creation of Allah, and speaks nothing out of desire but rather through revelation that is revealed. (Q53:4). Despite this, Allah is encouraging and exalting him to have a mutual consultation with his companions who we all perceive undoubtedly to be beneath him when it comes to spirituality, intelligence and closeness to Almighty Allah. There is an aphorism in Hausa which translates “If a father is advising his son and you who is a fatherless happens to hear the advice, then you are more deserving of it”. This therefore means that, we are much and badly in need of this advice that was indirectly directed to the Prophet of mercy if and only if we want to have a peaceful co-existence. Let not forget that the relationship of Muslims with people of other faith supposed to be one based on mutual social benefits and for the good of all humanity. This in essence does not mean that, we should imitate them and take them as intimate friends whom we can’t do without. This is because Qur’an 4:138 states “Give to the hypocrites the tidings that there is for them a painful torment those who take unbelievers for Auliya’ (protectors or helpers) instead of believers, do they seek honor, and glory from them? Verily, to Allah belongs all honor and glory.” But rather we should live peacefully and deal justly with them as is shown by our Prophet’s own example “Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice” (Q60:8).
Allah further describes how we should conduct our debates in case the need arises. It should be conducted in a way that is polite, and free from derogative remarks. “And do not dispute with the followers of the Book (Jews and Christians) except by what is BEST, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our Allah and Your Allah is one, and to Him do we submit” (Q29:46). Indeed blessed were the people of Makkah and humanity as a whole when the noblest prophet was sent to them to teach them genuine human relationship. The most Exalted praised his conduct in Qur’an (68:4) and (33:21). So exalted and excellent was the Prophet’s character to the extent that his enemies were calling him Al-Ameen (The trustworthy). The question we need to ask ourselves is, do our own brothers feel secured from our evils? How do we relate with one another? Yet we claim to be the followers of this great messenger – Muhammad (S.A.W).
Have we forgotten of the hadith of Abdullah ibn Umar (as recorded in Sahih Bukhari; 2442) where the prophet is reported to have said “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his need….” A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other, said the Prophet (SAW). Oppression and injustice in its entirety is abhorred by Islam especially when it involves innocent people. The Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said “Be afraid from the curse of the oppressed as there is no screen between his invocation and Allah” (Bukhari: 2448). Allah has made the Ummah of Muhammad (S.A.W) the best generation ever raised on the surface of the earth for only one reason; enjoining good and forbidding bad. If therefore we decide to turn the equation upside down, then it means that we will be the worse creation. May ALLAH save one and all. Do we in reality help in preventing what is bad or rather we encourage what is evil?
Today, when we talk about violence the only people that come to mind is the Muslim community, why so? When we need people to fight for a particular political party we turn to look at where Muslims are, but when it comes to development we are excluded, is that the teaching of this great religion? Even if evil is down to us, the best remedy is to forgive or find a better way of solving it and that was exactly what the Prophet (SAW) did to the non-believers. This alone can lead to their acceptance of Islam. Allah the most exalted says in this regard “And not alike are the good and the evil. Repel (evil) with what is best, when lo! he between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend. And none are made to receive it but those who are patient and none are made to receive it but those who have a mighty good fortune.” (Q; 41:34 – 35). This is a direct command from the creator telling us categorically that, we should not replace good done us with evil because that is not equity but rather defect evil with what is good.
It is narrated from Aisha that, the Jews used to greet the Prophet by saying “death be upon you” so I (Aisha) understood what they said, and I said to them, “Death and Allah’s curse be upon you”. The Prophet then said, “Be gentle and calm, O Aisha as Allah likes gentleness in all affairs” I (Aisha) said, “O Allah’s Prophet! Didn’t you hear what they said?” He said “Didn’t you hear me answering them back by saying, “the same be upon you?” (Sahih Bukhari: 6395). This means that we should deal justly and patiently with all humans irrespective of their negative attitude towards us.
Brothers and sisters in Islam let’s be kind, peace loving and tolerant because we don’t know in whose hands lies our salvation. A man was thanked and forgiven by Allah for giving water to a dog (Bukhari: 6009). Much same, a person was forgiven for reason being that he used to have dealings with people and, being well-to-do, he would order his servants to let off the man in straitened circumstances from repaying his debt. Based on this action of his, Allah pardoned him. This means that we shouldn’t belittle any act of good and much same we shouldn’t belittle any act of evil especially when it involves tempering the peace that people are enjoying. “He who is not merciful to others, will not be treated mercifully (by Allah), said the prophet (Bukhari: 6013).May Allah make us better Muslims and peace loving people. Aameen.
BY: IMAAM MUZZAMMIL AMIN BAMBA.