Light Up Your Life With Islam

Posts tagged ‘justice’

The Highest Bar

Bismillah.

Whoever knows even a little bit of history, knows about the horrifying details of the life of slaves back then. This is not just about slavery of a certain era, but when nations become powerful, they usually oppress the weak ones and drench the pages of history in blood. Looking at the now civilized nations, people can’t help but say that this civility is only as long as things go as it is, more power will corrupt. And if given the chance, everyone becomes evil and selfish. Equality and justice then become only words.

If you look at it, it is kind of true. Except it is not true at all when you look at the history of Islam. No matter how much propaganda the haters do about Islam and show it to be as oppressive or violent, the facts remain and the records narrate otherwise. With the dawn of Islam, that one and only system was established which was a safe haven for every slave, every oppressed and weak person. It gave a flawless representation of harmony and justice. It was a powerful light, in the face of which no darkness remained.

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar:

The Prophet (ﷺ) sent an army under the command of Usama bin Zaid. When some people criticized his leadership, the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “If you are criticizing Usama’s leadership, you used to criticize his father’s leadership before. By Allah! He was worthy of leadership and was one of the dearest persons to me, and (now) this (i.e. Usama) is one of the dearest to me after him (i.e. Zaid).
[Sahih Bukhari, Book 62, Hadith 78]

Usama (RA) was the son of Zaid (RA). And Zaid (RA) was a slave, freed by the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). Usama (RA) was made the leader of an army at the age of nineteen. Under his command were people much older and learned than him, there were people with the finest lineage, respectable titles, and of great wealth. And yet the young son of a freed slave was made to lead.

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And look at the one who was sent as a mercy to all mankind, defending and showing his love for the young black boy and his father. Because everyone is the same in the light of Islam, the only thing that makes one superior to another is “taqwa”* (God consciousness). And this superiority makes them equal in all other things. It is this criterion which makes everyone compete with another in a good and healthy way and yet stand together as one otherwise. No difference of race, ethnicity, colour or age matters anymore.

Zaid (RA), the freed slave, was married to Zainab (RA), the cousin of the Prophet (ﷺ) and later to Umm Aiman (RA), the woman who had taken care of the Prophet (ﷺ) when he was young. Look at the status and age difference in these marriages.

The Prophet (ﷺ) loved the little black son of Zaid (RA) as one of his own.

Narrated Usama bin Zaid:
That the Prophet (ﷺ) used to take him (i.e. Usama) and Al-Hassan** (in his lap) and say: “O Allah! Love them, as I love them.”
[Sahih Bukhari, Book 62, Hadith 83]

If only we remember these simple things taught by Islam, that strengthened their bonds and in turn their society, and led them to rise and take over the world, we wouldn’t need any campaigns for rights of this group or the other.

As Iqbal, the celebrated Urdu poet said,

ایک ہی صف میں کھڑے ہو گئے محمود و ایاز
نہ کوئی بندہ رہا اور نہ کوئی بندہ نواز

Meaning of prose: Mahmood (the leader) and Ayaaz (his servant) stood together in the same row to pray as equals. They felt no scruples despite the huge difference in their ranks. 

Sadly, where do we see that legacy today in Muslims that was carried for years after the Companions of the Prophet (ﷺ)? Where are the Mahmood and Ayaaz of today standing together side by side?


 

*Taqwa is a term that is difficult to explain in a few words. Briefly, it is being conscious of God all the time. It is stopping from sins each time because of the fear of displeasing Allah and it is doing good deeds in the hope of pleasing Allah.  

**Al-Hasan was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)

Striking the Balance

Bismillah.

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):

Poise

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:

Narrated Anas:
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,

Narrated ‘Aisha:
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!

 

 

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