Saturday, April 7, 2012

The People of Substance - Part 1

Ok, so this isn't really a summary, its more of a stub of an article based on Nouman Ali Khan's speech on Sunday at the Live Deen event. I expanded my notes of the lecture, reorganized some of the points and added a few things of my own.

There are some Sahabah whose names  we hear of more than that of others, like Abu Bakr (R),  Musab ibn Umar (R), Umar (R), Uthman (R), Ali (R) and others. These were the foremost among the foremost. These Sahabah, were among those who accepted Islam at Makkah in the beginning and later became of the Muhajirun. So what did these elite Sahabah look like in those beginning years? What distinguished them from the Kuffar? There was no Islamic dresscode then, no Zakah, no inheritance laws, no fasting. These things later became part of Islam in Madinah. Even Salah was prescribed during the later years in Makkah. But there was something different about them and that was their justice and ethics. When Abu Bakr (R), tired of the oppression in Makkah decided to leave  to Abyssinia for Hijrah, one of the non-Muslims stopped him and said "Someone of your ranking and character does not leave and should not be forced to leave: For indeed, you provide for the needy, you join ties of family relations, you support the weak, you honor your guests and you help others rise above the vicissitudes of life.". As for the Uthman (R), Quraysh loved his manners and character so much that an Arab woman would sing a lullaby to her child, "By the Most Merciful, I love you as much as Quraysh love Uthman".  Abu Bakr (R), Uthman (R), like the other Sahabah, were models of justice and ethics. And the Prophet (SAW) was an even better example of these virtues.

Truthfulness, trustworthiness and fairness were definitely among the foremost of his qualities, so much that even his enemies couldn't deny his ethics.  When Abu Sufyan, the foremost enemy of the Prophet (SAW) was asked about the Prophet (SAW)'s character from the Caesar of Rome, he replied that he was an honest and trustworthy man. In Makkah, by Muslim and Kafirs alike, he was known as As-Sadiq (The truthful) and Al Ameen (the trustworthy). From an early age, his decisions were given weight because of his integrity. Though during Jahilliyah (the period of ignorance) the Arab poets used to dedicate themselves to insulting others and a large portion of their poetry involved defamation, when it came to the Prophet (SAW), they would praise him.

These qualities were not just confined to the society in general. Even at home, the Prophet (SAW) would display justice and tolerance. Once an argument occurred between Umm ul Mu'mineen, Aisha (R) and the Prophet (SAW), one that wasn't being resolved easily. So the Prophet (SAW) called for an arbitrator to mediate between the two. He suggested Abdullah ibn Zubair but Aisha (R)  rejected him, saying he loved the Prophet (SAW) too much and would be unfair in his judgment. She then recommended her father, Abu Bakr (R)and the Prophet (SAW) agreed. Later, Aisha (R) realized her misjudgment and gave up the argument all together. The Prophet (SAW), despite being the Imam of the Prophets was ready to call for an arbitrator to settle a quarrel between him and his wife. And then upon her wife's insistence, the arbitrator was of her choice. The Prophet (SAW) was no ordinary husband. As the Prophet (SAW) himself said, "“The best of you is the one who is best to his family, and I am the best of you to my family.”

When we compare ourselves to these individuals, do we really think that we are following their model? What type of character do we have? There are among us many that act religious, have long beards, pray five times a day, fast during Ramadan, perform Hajj, and give Sadaqah. But many of us fail to practice the foremost qualities of the Messenger (SAW)  and his Sahabah, those that really made those early Muslims people of substance and eventually the leaders of the world.

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