Interfaith: Following the Best of Examples
Whenever I read of the dire and physically and spiritually trying situations of the Prophet (SAW) and the Companions, I am always astounded. Whenever I read about the good attitude and utter patience of the Prophet (SAW) and the Sahabah throughout their trials and tribulations, I am doubly astounded. It is one thing to always be a smiling and happy person when things are going good, but the Prophet (SAW) and his companions lived in a totally different realm of difficult situations; and throughout it all, their iman was only increased, and their patience and good attitude only became stronger. These traits of good attitude, strength and perseverance in the face of adversity are the foundations our religion is built on, and the values our Prophet (SAW) preached.[pullquote_right]These traits of good attitude, strength and perseverance in the face of adversity are the foundations our religion is built on, and the values our Prophet (SAW) preached.[/pullquote_right]
Fast forward to the 21st century. One can easily say that the ummah is facing trials and adversity in 2011. Turn any corner, flip any page, and it is possible one will find anti-Islam bigotry and evidence of growing Islamophobia. In the face of these issues surrounding the ummah like a dark and looming cloud, what are Muslims to do, and more importantly, how are they to act? It is imperative, at trying times such as these, to follow the example of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) because he is not only the best example for all of mankind, but also the best example of how to act when treated with injustice.
That being said, there seems to be a disconnect between the actions of some Muslims and the teachings of our beloved Prophet (SAW). Too many Muslims in modern day are content to endlessly argue over religion with people who are not looking for answers, but rather seem to be arguing just for the sake of it. Too many Muslims are buying into the provocations of non-Muslims; replying back with hate when hatred is generated by non-Muslims. Too many Muslims are forgetting the character and values of Rasulullah (SAW) and are too easily playing into the hands of people who are looking for nothing but trouble and the propagation of hate and intolerance.
Now to rewind back to the Prophet’s era. We should remember the treatment of the Quraish toward the Prophet, and his treatment of them. We should remember the incident where the Prophet (SAW) was praying at the Ka’bah, and how the Quraish insolently placed the intestines of a camel upon the back of the Prophet (SAW) just as he was prostrating in a show of colossal disrespect. Now, what was the reaction of the Messenger of Allah (SAW)?
I can imagine how many people today would react. An anticipated throwing of intestines, angry yelling, and justified backlash would typically ensue. So what happened on that day? Well as the story unfolds we come to know that the savior of the Prophet (SAW) at that moment; the one who came to his defense by removing the intestines off his back, was none other than his daughter, Fatima (RA). His young daughter did not pelt the Quraish with the intestines, neither are we told that she cursed or yelled at them. She simply cleaned the back of her father, and in that one action do we see the character and sheer morality of the Sahabah.
What about the story of the Prophet (SAW) and his Jewish neighbor who was bent on irritating and humiliating our beloved Prophet (SAW)? The Jewish neighbor who would consistently, day in and day out, toss his garbage on the front door of the Prophet’s (SAW) home? How did the Prophet (SAW) act toward him? The better question regarding this story would be how did the Prophet (SAW) act when the garbage stopped coming? Because any one of us would have picked a fight long before the flow of trash stopped, and when it finally did, we would angrily comment that it was about time.
The Prophet (SAW) however, was a wise and caring man. He understood the effort behind the trash throwing, and sensed something was wrong when it stopped. His visit to the Jewish neighbor speaks volumes about his kindness, compassion, understanding and reluctance to hold a grudge. The Jewish man’s conversion speaks even more about how the beautiful character of Rasoolullah (SAW) affected those around him; especially those who were most malignant towards him.
[pullquote_left]Beautiful character evokes beautiful responses in others.[/pullquote_left]
This story teaches the ummah so much about our history as Muslims, and why the character of Rasulullah (SAW) should be emulated; not only because it is the most beautiful and great character of anyone who ever lived (and that in and of itself is reason for it to be copied) but even more so because it evokes beautiful responses in others, and has the potential to change people for the better.
When asked the question of how we should treat Jews, or Christians, or any non-Muslims, the answer should always be to treat them as the Prophet (SAW) treated them. We, as Muslims, are so profoundly fortunate and blessed to have a person with the great, virtuous and pious character of the Messenger of Allah (SAW). If we are to follow his example, and if we are to follow the Word of Allah as revealed to us in the Holy Quran, then, Insha’Allah, we will always have the solutions to the most convoluted of our problems. In this way, we will not only be treating those around us with respect and kindness, but we will also be increasing our iman in the process- which is always the most rewarding of actions.
“Say, “O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship.
Nor are you worshippers of what I worship.
Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship.
Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship.
For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.””
[Quran- 109”1-6] [/quote]
Halla is an avid reader with a passion for justice, writing and Islam who believes that all the bad in the world is countered by great people with great minds and stupendously great actions. She lives in Toronto, Canada where she hopes to change the world around her by starting with herself.