by Khurram Murad
Part One: Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) Today
One in every five persons on this earth firmly believes that the Prophet Muhammad is the last Messenger of God. He was a Muslim and there are more than 1.3 billion such Muslims today.
Not only individuals but entire countries take pride in declaring their allegiance to him. There are 54 such Muslim states today, ranging from those as large as Indonesia and Bangladesh, with populations of 200 and 125 million respectively, to those as tiny as the Maldives or Brunei with populations of 230,000 and 260,000. Even in non-Muslim countries, large Muslim populations constitute significant minorities; as much as 120 million in India and 20 million in China. Indeed, within the last half century, Islam, the religion brought by the Prophet Muhammad, has become the second largest religion in most European countries, as also in America and Canada.
Black and white, red and yellow, followers of the Prophet Muhammad come from all human races. Whether in Asia or Europe, Africa or America, in every nook and cranny of this globe, you are sure to find Muslims. They live in the most advanced, sprawling megalopolis as well as in the most primitive nomadic tent, village, hamlet, and even in the bush.Read more...
The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) enjoined upon Muslims to treat the poor kindly and to help them with alms, Zakat, and in other ways. He said: "He is not a perfect Muslim who eats his fill and lets his neighbor go hungry."
He asked, "Do you love your Creator? Then love your fellow beings first."
Monopoly is unlawful in Islam and he preached that "It is difficult for a man laden with riches to climb the steep path that leads to bliss."
He did not prohibit or discourage the acquisition of wealth but insisted that it be lawfully acquired by honest means and that a portion of it would go to the poor. He advised his followers
"To give the laborer his wages before his perspiration dried up."
He did not encourage beggary either and stated that
"Allah is gracious to him who earns his living by his own labour, and that if a man begs to increase his property, Allah will diminish it and whoever has food for the day, it is prohibited for him to beg."
To his wife he said, "O A'isha, love the poor and let them come to you and Allah will draw you near to Himself." [Sahih Bukhari]
One or two instances of the Prophet's (s.a.a.w.) concern for the poor may be given here. A Madinan, Ibad Bin Sharjil, was once starving. He entered an orchard and picked some fruit. The owner of the orchard gave him a sound beating and stripped off his clothes. The poor man appealed to the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) who remonstrated the owner thus:
"This man was ignorant, you should have dispelled his ignorance; he was hungry, you should have fed him."
His clothes were restored to the Madinan and, in addition, some grain was given to him [Abu Dawood]
A debtor, Jabir Bin Abdullah, was being harassed by his creditor as he could not clear his debt owing to the failure of his date crop. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) went with Jabir to the house of the creditor and pleaded with him to give Jabir some more time but the creditor was not prepared to oblige. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) then went to the oasis and having seen for himself that the crop was really poor, he again approached the creditor with no better result. He then rested for some time and approached the creditor for a third time but the latter was adamant. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) went again to the orchard and asked Jabir to pluck the dates. As Allah would have it, the collection not only sufficed to clear the dues but left something to spare. [Sahih Bukhari]
His love for the poor was so deep that he used to pray: "O Allah, keep me poor in my life and at my death and raise me at resurrection among those who are poor." [Nasai]
"By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people;
if you had been stern and harsh-hearted, they would have dispersed from round
about you" The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):159
Even with all of his concerns and obligations, Muhammad (s.a.a.w.)
never became unmindful of his people. He had a special place in his heart for
each one of them and he was known among them for his soft-spokenness, his
generosity, his tolerance, and his friendliness.
He would joke with his companions, sit and talk with them,
play with their children and sit them on his knee. He would respond to the call
of the free man or the slave, or the young girl or the poor. He would visit the
sick on the opposite end of the city and he would attend their funerals. He
would accept the people's apologies and their excuses, and he was the most
humble among them.
Abdullah ibn Al-Haritha narrated:
"I have never seen anyone who smiled more continuously than
the Messenger of Allah (s.a.a.w.)" (Narrated by Al-Tirmathi)
Usamah ibn Zayd narrated:
"The daughter of the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) sent (a messenger) to
the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) requesting him to come as her child was dying. However, the
Prophet (s.a.a.w.) returned the messenger and told him to convey his greeting to her
and say: "Whatever Allah takes is for Him and whatever He gives is for Him.
Everything with Him has a limited fixed term (in this world) and so she should
be patient and hope for Allah's reward." She again sent for him, swearing that
he should come. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) stood up, and so did Sa'id ibn Ubadah, Mu'ath
ibn Jabal, Ubay ibn Ka'ab , Zayd ibn Thabit and some other men. [When he
arrived,] the child was brought to Allah's Apostle (s.a.a.w.), his chest heaving. On
that the eyes of the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) began shedding tears. Sa'd said, "O Allah's
Apostle! What is this?" He replied, "It is mercy which Allah has lodged in the
hearts of His slaves, and Allah is merciful only to those of His slaves who are
merciful (to others)." (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)
Ibne Malik narrated that
"the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) used to mix with us (the children) to
the extent that he would say to a younger brother of mine, 'O abu-Umayr! What
did the Nughayr (a kind of bird) do?' " (Narrated by
Abu Dawood narrated that the Messenger of Allah would say:
"Let none of you transmit to me [evil news] about my
companions, for I like to meet with you with a pure heart"
Ibn Masood narrated that Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) said to a group he sent to teach and advise:
"Be lenient and do not make [this religion] difficult.
Bring glad tidings and do not repel"
AbuMalik al-Ash'ari said:
"The Messenger of Allah (s.a.a.w.) said: 'Cleanliness is half
of faith, and [saying] 'Praise be to God' fills the scale, and [saying] 'Glory
be to God' and 'Praise be to God' fill up what is between the heavens and the
earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof [of one's faith], and
patience is a brightness, and the Qur'an is a proof for or against you. All men
go out early in the morning and sell themselves, some setting themselves free
and others destroying themselves.' " (Narrated by
A Poem on Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) by Allama Iqbal
He slept on a mat of rushes,
But the crown of Chosroes lay beneath the feet of his followers;
He chose the nightly solitude of Mount Hira,
And founded a nation, law and government;
He passed his nights with sleepless eyes,
That his Millet might sleep on Chosroes throne
In the hour of battle, iron was melted by the flash of his sword.
At prayer time, tears fell like drops of rain from his eyes.
In his prayer for Divine help, his Amen' was a sword,
Which extirpated the lineage of kings.
He inaugurated a new Order in the world,
He brought the empires old to an end:
In his sight the high and the low were one,
He sat with the slave at table one;
He burnt clear the distinctions of birth and clan.
His fire consumed all this trash and bran.
The phrase righteous deeds is commonly translated as good actions. But, if we look deep into it, we would discover more significance hidden behind it. The two locutions ‘action’ and ‘activity’ are generally taken to convey the same sense. But there is a subtle difference in their meaning. Any kind of movement or work can be called activity, but the word action usually implies some strenuous or arduous work. On the other side, the word ‘virtuous’ or ‘righteous’ denotes something which had developmental characteristics and potential for enhancement. By combining these two, we would realize that the actual significance of this term is that it is necessary for man to put up a hard struggle to achieve that real goat for which he was potentially created, and he had to ascend certain heights to attain that goal. All this is conveyed by the comprehensive word ‘righteous deed’.