American economist Robert Samuelson recently made an interesting observation about the American society in his Newsweek column: "America's glories and evils are tightly fused together." Quoting sociologist Seymour Lipset, he asserts that America's economic vitality and progress come from the same source as do crime, family breakdown, inequality, and vulgarity. Freedom and individualism have fired economic advance, yet have also inhibited social control. But why the qualities that bring the best in a nation also should bring the worst in it? Is humanity doomed by having its vices and virtues so intricately mixed?
Samuelson does not probe the issue. Instead he seems to be happily resigned to it. "We are burdened as well as blessed by our beliefs," he says. Economics, we may be reminded, is the dismal science.Read more...
Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) asked people to shun notions of racial, family or any other form of superiority based on mundane things and said that righteousness alone was the criterion of one's superiority over another. It has already been shown how he mixed with everyone on equal terms, how he ate with slaves, servants and the poorest on the same sheet (a practice that is still followed in Arabia), how he refused all privileges and worked like any ordinary labourer. Two instances may, however, be quoted here:
Once the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) visited Saad Bin Abadah. While returning Saad sent his son Quais with him. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) asked Quais to mount his camel with him. Quais hesitated out of respect but the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) insisted: "Either mount the camel or go back." Quais decided to go back. [Abu Dawood]
On another occasion he was travelling on his camel over hilly terrain with a disciple, Uqba Bin Aamir. After going some distance, he asked Uqba to ride the camel, but Uqba thought this would be showing disrespect to the Prophet (s.a.a.w.). But the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) insisted and he had to comply. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) himself walked on foot as he did not want to put too much load on the animal. [Nasai]
The prisoners of war of Badr included Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet (s.a.a.w.). Some people were prepared to forgo their shares and remit the Prophet's (s.a.a.w.) ransom but he declined saying that he could make no distinctions. [Sahih Bukhari]
During a halt on a journey, the companions apportioned work among themselves for preparing food. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) took upon himself the task of collecting firewood. His companions pleaded that they would do it and that he need not take the trouble, but he replied,
"It is true, but I do not like to attribute any distinction to myself. Allah does not like the man who considers himself superior to his companions." [Zarqani, Vol. 4 pg. 306)]
by Athar Husain
An excerpt from the book entitled "The Message of Mohammad," by Athar Husain.
When his wet-nurse, Halima al-Sa‘dia, first saw him, she laid her hand on him and he smiled. "When he smiled," she said, "a light appeared from his mouth that rose to the sky."[32. Bayhaqi, Abu Nu'aym, ibn Ishaq and Abu Ya'la.]
Some of the hadiths we have quoted here have strong chains of transmission, others have weaker ones. However, we must remember that even the chain considered weakest by Muslim traditionists, is quite acceptable as historical proof to any professional historian on this planet, being far stronger and better authenticated than other ancient sources he works with. It is also well known that weak traditions strengthen each other so as to become acceptable. This is why those we have quoted here have been accepted by leading scholars such as Ibn Kathir, Suyutiī, Qadi ‘Iyad, Bayhaqi, and others.
Commenting on the verse of Qur’an,"There has come to you a light from Allah and a clear Book,"[33. Qur'an (5:15)] the well-known scholar al-Alusi says that the light in question is no other than the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. He quotes the Follower, Qatada, as an authoritative source for this opinion, as well as other well known scholars, pointing out that this is the most logical interpretation of the construction of the verse, Then he also quotes those whose opinion differs from his in that they believe that both the light and the Book refer to the Qur’an. This he does because real Muslim scholars, as opposed to pretenders and impostors, always quote, along with their own opinions, the contrary opinions of other reputable scholars, so weighing both in the most objective manner. Qadi ‘Iyad, the famous author of al-Shifa’, is of the same opinion as al-Alusi, an opinion, an opinion shared by other famous commentators such as Tabari and Qurtubi.