Following the Sunnah While on the Roads
The face of the world has so drastically changed since the sixth century in every minute detail that, were we to try to imitate the Prophet (SAW) in his slightest actions, it would prove quasi impossible.
I once discussed with some young people who held the opinion that it is extremely difficult to lead a truly Muslim life in this present world. They would most probably be right if we were to copy and paste the Prophet’s (SAW) actions without understanding the meaning behind them. Contrarily, I believe that these present days offer greater opportunities to show our true Muslim character than the 6th century in the desert of Arabia. If, for instance, a smile is an act of charity, how charitable would I be in the eyes of the Almighty SWT in offering one to all those I come across during the day?
– Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.” He was then asked: “From what do we give charity every day?” The Prophet answered: “The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms–all of these are charity prescribed for you.” He also said: “Your smile for your brother is charity.”
I have in mind his words in the Last Sermon whereby he expressed his wish that those who would come after may better understand his message when I say that every single moment in our life is an opportunity to be a Muslim – I was on the point of writing a ‘good Muslim’ when I realized that it would be a mere pleonasm. A Muslim cannot be otherwise than good.
[box_light]Be courteous and thankful to other drivers is a way to accomplish Sunnah. For my part, they may be the roads that lead to Jannah.[/box_light]
The roads are strewn with golden opportunities to follow the Sunnah. Who knows? They may be occasions especially destined for us – being compassionate to the poor old lady crossing the road. She may need a helping hand with her heavy parcel. Show consideration to the person behind me who wants to overtake. He may be in extreme urgency: his wife is going to deliver; his son has had an accident or an old parent he cherishes is on his dying bed …
If you use public transport you will find numerous wonderful occasions to show that a Muslim is gentle and full of the ‘milk of human kindness’. When I read the life of the Prophet and his Companions (RA) I cannot help comparing them to angels towards others. I wish I could uphold the Prophet’s compassion, selfless virtues when dealing with all those I meet on the road and in public transport.
Say Cheese![pullquote_left]How can I pray to the “Wadood SWT” and yet be hateful, the “Rahman SWT” without being merciful, the “Raheem SWT” and be insensitive to other people’s misery?[/pullquote_left]
A smile is a sign of attention and recognition. You will surely be astounded to discover how, we humans, need that. It is not only the baby who likes to see the smiling face of his mum, the conductor, the controller, the driver, the policeman, in other words all these humans I see around me have one and same basic need, to be recognized as a human fellow.
How can I pray to the “Wadood SWT” and yet be hateful, the “Rahman SWT” without being merciful, the “Raheem SWT” and be insensitive to other people’s misery? Of course I’m tired after a long day’s work. I’m hungry, its swelteringly hot and I would really love that seat on the train.
But the Prophet SAW would most likely give up his seat for anyone, and not just the old, the pregnant and the disabled. Although it’s an uphill task trying to convince myself that its a Sunnah to offer my seat to anyone who looks like he needs the seat, I know that it is, even though the Prophet SAW never took the bus or train.
And this is no bid’ah. This is the Prophetic message.
Abdool Rahman Dauharry
Abdool Rahman Dauharry is Rector of Victoria College, Mauritius. Formerly, language and literature teacher, he also taught Islamic Studies at secondary level.