There are some rules of thumb that pass from generation to generation and end up becoming unquestionable facts. Out of those that you must have heard many times are: If you want to be healthy, eat a balanced diet. If you want to lead a comfortable life, have balance between work and play. If you want to have good relationships, be balanced in your dealings with others. If you want to be a good boss, be balanced in your firmness and softness.
It seems as if they say balance is the key to every success. Even though it’s true, tried and tested as it is, sometimes we find it difficult to follow it due to our distorted natures. We have got so much into the habit of being in extremes, that a balance in anything seems unreal. It’s almost as if we don’t even know anymore what balance means.
Well, here is the most beautiful and practical definition of balance that you will ever come across: the Companions of the Prophet (ﷺ). They were the picture perfect amalgam of commonplace and unique, of worldly life and worship, of justice and kindness. They were, in reality, balanced individuals leading healthy and happy lives.
Here are a few lovely glimpses of these inspirational personalities, showing the blend of kindness and justice, a rare and amazing combination, and that too from the family of the Prophet (ﷺ):
Jaafar (RA) was the cousin of the Prophet (ﷺ), one who had embraced Islam early, had done migration and was very dedicated to his cause.
Abu Hurairah narrates about him:
…And the most generous of all the people to the poor was Ja`far bin Abi Talib. He used to take us to his home and offer us what was available therein. He would even offer us an empty folded leather container (of butter) which we would split and lick whatever was in it. [Sahih Bukhari, Book 62, Hadith 59]
As if his generosity was not enough, his devotion can be observed in the way he kept the flag high in the battle even after his arms were cut off one by one. Imagine how much the Prophet (ﷺ) would love him, being family and of being of such a noble character.
He (ﷺ)said to him once, “you resemble me in both appearance and character”.
When Jaafar (RA) died, Prophet (ﷺ) wept in sadness. However, after 3 days he said to his family that no one should grieve anymore.
Why did he say that? This was the justice in spite of, or rather complementary of, the kindness and affection. Because Allah’s commands, no matter what they are, are just and fair. The Prophet (ﷺ) and his Companions did not let anything come above Allah’s commands and that was their justice.
For us today, justice has taken a negative connotation. We think that to be just you have to be harsh and sever relationships or something. But that is not true. Justice coupled with kindness depicts honesty and sincerity which these people had and thus they lived simple and open lives without any complications and artificiality that we burden ourselves with. We either forget kindness in our “justice” or forget justice in our “kindness” and keep crying about our misfortunes and ruined relationships.
Another such incident is as follows:
Whenever there was drought, `Umar bin Al-Khattab used to ask Allah for rain through Al-`Abbas bin `Abdul Muttalib, saying, “O Allah! We used to request our Prophet to ask You for rain, and You would give us. Now we request the uncle of our Prophet to ask You for rain, so give us rain.” And they would be given rain.”[Sahih Bukhari, Book 62, Hadith 61]
Umar (RA) himself was the Caliph at that time and yet he felt no qualms in acknowledging the honourable status of another, so much so that he called him to make dua for rain. What a beautiful and kind way to regard someone.
At the same time, the justice of Umar (RA) can be seen in the fact that despite Abbas (RA) being the uncle of the prophet and so respectable, he did not include him in his advisory board, on the basis of his accepting Islam very late and thus having that status and understanding difference in this particular instance from those who embraced Islam in the early period.
A third and very beautiful example,
Fatima sent somebody to Abu Bakr asking him to give her her inheritance from the Prophet (ﷺ)… Abu Bakr said, “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, ‘We (Prophets), our property is not inherited, and whatever we leave is Sadaqa, but Muhammad’s Family can eat from this property, i.e. Allah’s property, but they have no right to take more than the food they need.’ By Allah! I will not bring any change in dealing with the Sadaqa of the Prophet (and will keep them) as they used to be observed in his (i.e. the Prophet’s) life-time, and I will dispose with it as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to do,” Then ‘Ali… added, “O Abu Bakr! We acknowledge your superiority.”… Abu Bakr then spoke saying, “By Allah in Whose Hands my life is. I love to do good to the relatives of Allah’s Apostle rather than to my own relatives” [Sahih Bukhari, Book 62, Hadith 62]
Who doesn’t know about the generosity and kindness of Abu Bakr? And yet, when Allah’s command came in front of him in the form of hadith, he did not hesitate a moment in implementing it. His regard for the family of the Prophet (ﷺ) was very great but justice demanded obeying Allah’s command first.
This general principle of being kind to the utmost but being just in obeying Allah’s commands can make our lives very beautiful, less complicated and simple. This is the balance that we need! This is what will lead us to ultimate success!