Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Human Rights in the Prophetic Sunna

The Sunnah is the second primary source of legislation after the Holy Qur’an. It clarifies the major behavioural features of the individual and the society as well.

This is the first and opening article to a series of articles investigating and highlighting the various issues of human rights in the Prophetic Sunnah: the life of Muhammad (pbuh), the last Prophet and the Messanger of Allah to all humans.
Before explaining the status of Sunnah in Islamic legislation and its impact on the life of Muslims at all times, I want to say that I have chosen this particular aspect of human rights in Islam to discuss for two reasons. The first has to do with some calls today to leave the Sunnah behind and hold to the Qura'n in first place. For those who send such call, their claim is to dismiss the allegation of contradiction between the Qur'an and Sunnah; an allegation that can be easily defeated away from the path they have chosen. My other reason is to contribute to the global campaign to defend Muhammad (pbuh) using the little knowledge I have acquired so far.
 The Prophetic Sunnah is all that the Prophet said, did, or approved which can be used as evidence for a legal rule. Muslims (the followers of the four madhabs (Schools of Law) had consensus among them that the Sunnah has the legal status of wajib (compulsory). In this respect Allah says in the following ayah that translates:
{Say [O Muhammad!]: “Obey Allah and the Messenger [Muhammad] (3:32)
{And whatsoever the Messenger [Muhammad] gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain [from it]}(59:7)
{These are the limits [set by Allah] [or ordainments as regards laws of inheritance], and whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad] will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers flow [in Paradise], to abide therein, and that will be the great success. And whosoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad] and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein, and he shall have a disgraceful torment}(4:13-14)

For those who claim the contradiction between the Qur'an and Sunnah, we say that concerning human rights in the Prophetic sayings, all aspects of human rights in the Sunnah complement and clarify the conceptual framework of human rights in the Qur’an.

The Sunnah is the second primary source of legislation after the Holy Qur’an. It clarifies the major behavioural features of the individual and the society as well.The Sunnah may support and emphasise what was revealed in the Qur’an as is the case of forbidding shirk (associating something else with Allah), and giving false testimony. The Sunnah may also explain what was revealed in the Qur’an as is in the case in specifying the number of rak'at (prostrations) in prayers and the specified shares of zakat. Muslim prominent scholars are unanimous on the fact that the majority of the legal provisions and ethical guidance of the common daily Muslim life behaviours have no source save the Sunnah. Therefore, the Muslim nation has agreed in consensus that the Sunnah is the second source of legislation without which the explanatory part vanishes from both the Islamic Shari'ah and from the behaviour of the individual and the society as well. Therefore, the Prophet’s sayings and doings from be'tha (beginning of the message of Islam) till his death constitute a part of the documentary stage for human rights in Islam.

There is no contradiction in Islam at all. This fact is evident even to the non Muslims. The components of Islam are integrated, comprehensive, and compatible with each other.

For those who claim the contradiction between the Qur'an and Sunnah, we say that concerning human rights in the Prophetic sayings, all aspects of human rights in the Sunnah complement and clarify the conceptual framework of human rights in the Qur’an.Furthermore, the life of the Prophet and his deeds were the best manifestation of these rights. It was narrated that A’ishah, the Prophet’s wife, was once asked about his morals and she briefly answered by saying: “He was a manifestation of the Qur’an” (Cited in two places in Imam Ahmad’s Musnad). Allah described His Messenger before that saying in an ayah that translates:
{You [O Muhammad] are on an exalted [standard of character] character}(68:4)
In a study conducted about human rights in the Prophetic sayings in Sahih Al-Bukhari who died in 256 AH (his book is at the top of the list of the best documented books of records of hadithdue to the strict conditions he established for accepting the hadith,and the rules he employed in criticizing their texts and the methods of narration)on the economic, social, and political rights. The researcher says that although a complete image of human rights in Islam cannot be obtained unless we make a comprehensive review of this topic in all sources of legislation in Islam, human rights in Islam as indicated by the Prophetic sayings cited in Al-Bukhari represent the clear, integrated and convincing image of these rights just like the drop of blood taken from a body to be tested in a medical lab. This drop, although tiny, represents and reflects the whole body from which it was taken. Similarly, the Prophetic sayings cited in Al-Bukhari represent the entire attitude of Islam regarding human rights. They complement what was stated in the other sources about human rights in order to clarify the true image of the Islam. The more we go about this minimised image, the more we emphasise and clarify it. We will never find any defect that may distort or devaluate this image. There is no contradiction in Islam at all. This fact is evident even to the non Muslims. The components of Islam are integrated, comprehensive, and compatible with each other. They are realistic and ideal in the social, religious, economic aspects, and all other walks of life pertaining to this world and the Hereafter (Mahmud, Husni. Beirut 2002).
Each of the following articles will be allocated to a specific "right" to discuss in light if the Prophetic Sunnah. The right to life will be on the top of the list of rights followed by other rights. I do not belittle other rights doing so; I am, nevertheless, emphasizing the importance of the basic right a human should have to be able to enjoy other rights. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Miracles of the Last Prophet

M.Sadık Hamidi - Elif Eryarsoy Aydın

THE HOLY QURAN : Verses of Revelation and High Rhetoric

The Holy Quran is neither poetry, nor a work of prose with rhymes. It is on it's own as an unprecedented and divine text. For this reason, the Arabs were awestruck by the Quran since such a written work was unprecedented; they were left with no other choice but to claim that the Quran was magic.
To date, poets and men of letters have been amazed by the verses and the meanings in the Quran and are left without recourse, unable to utter a single word equivalent to one single verse of the Quran. It is concise and to the point, and its rhetoric does not resemble that of any person. If a single word were to be removed or added, the perfection of the eloquence of the Quran would be destroyed.
There are two elements to the conciseness of the Holy Quran, both of which rely on revelation: its verse and its meaning.
The most apparent evidence of the miraculous status of the Quran is its lofty rhetoric. Allah defies all the masters of rhetoric in His divine book in such a way that this challenge encompasses all times and places and no one is able to utter a word that is equivalent to that of the Holy Quran. Those who have attempted to do so have always failed. As this has not been done until now, it must be impossible to do so at any time. (The verses which prove the statements of this issue are Al-Baqarah 23-24, Al-Isra 88, Al-Hud 13-14, Al-Yunus, 38)
It should be noted that the rhetorical challenge of the Quran was directed towards those who had the utmost eloquence in the Arabic language.

The Prophet Muhammad was illiterate

Our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) could neither read nor write. The fact that tales of preceding prophets and events in societies and people far from his milieu were depicted accurately in the Quran is thus nothing less than a miracle.
The Quraishis knew that Muhammad was illiterate. How could he possibly have learned the historical accounts and incidents related to previous societies and prophets? This had to be divine revelation itself.
"And thou wast not (able) to recite a Book before this (Book came), nor art thou (able) to transcribe it with thy right hand: In that case, indeed, would the talkers of vanities have doubted." (Al-Ankabut, 48)
Prophet Muhammad not only spoke of incidents related to previous prophets and societies, but he also informed people of incidents that were to happen in the future.
The most important of these incidents occurred when Muhammad informed the people that the fire-worshipping Persians, who had defeated the Byzantines, would be defeated in a short period of time and that the Byzantine State would become triumphant. At that time such a thing was considered a remote possibility; however, incidents turned out as Allah had foretold in the Quran and in less than ten years the Byzantines were triumphant over the Persians:
"Alif Lam Mim. The Roman Empire has been defeated- In a land close by; but they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious- Within a few years. With Allah is the Decision, in the past and in the Future: on that Day shall the Believers rejoice- With the help of Allah. He helps whom He will, and He is exalted in might, most merciful. " (Ar-Rum, 1-5)

Allah announced that His Prophet would conquer Mecca

According to an account, before heading to Hudaybiyah, the Prophet (pbuh) had a dream in which he and his Companions shaved their heads and entered Mecca in victory; later he told his Companions about this dream. They were very pleased when they heard this. Finally they set out on the campaign to Hudaybiyah, but after an initial defeat, they returned in disappointment. Some hypocrites also started to spread negative rumor about the incident.  In response to this, Allah informed people on the conquest to come by reference to the conquest of Khaybar a year ago.
"Truly did Allah fulfill the vision for His Messenger. Ye shall enter the Sacred Mosque, if Allah wills, with minds secure, heads shaved, hair cut short, and without fear. For He knew what ye knew not, and He granted, besides this, a speedy victory."(Al-Fath, 27 )

Many religious beliefs, practices and moral issues that were unknown to the Arabs are described in the Quran.

The Arabs were unaware of the tenets of monotheism, the need to believe in angels, prophesies, the Day of Judgment, Heaven and Hell in return for worldly deeds and provisions related to laws, halal and haram, the codes of conduct for ensuring human happiness, the spirit of brotherhood and helping one another, justice and fear of Allah, or their duties towards their families and society. The Prophet would read the revelations related to these rules, essential to the lives of humans, and would convey them to society. He was illiterate. He knew neither jurisprudence, sociology, psychology nor had he acquired education on subjects related to philosophy, ethics and prophesies. That he counseled on such matters proved that his prophethood was revealed unto him alone from the divine treasure.

Many verses of the Quran encompass intellectual truths.

Even this century scientists have been amazed by the fact that the Quran contains depictions of the universe, sky, earth, stars, planets, the formation of night and day, the physical, mental and spiritual phases of the creation of human beings, explanations and descriptions related to plants, animals and insects, as well as comprehensive and clear explanations of everything that exists within the universe, such as clouds, rain, storms, mountains, trees, rivers and seas. When the Quran was revealed, people did not possess such knowledge and for a long time they were unable to perceive the truth of these descriptions. However, as science developed throughout this and the last century, people have managed to understand the truths stated in the Quran.
Although fourteen centuries have passed since the revelation of the Quran, no discrepancy, error or corruption has been observed in its doctrines, meanings or issues.
The Quran constitutes a unity, not only in terms of diction, but also in terms of meaning and judgments. The words of human beings are not always the same in terms of elegance or accuracy. These words change in accordance with the mood of the writer or the speaker, or according to the conditions in which they occur. However, the diction and style of the Quran has an unprecedented beauty and accuracy from beginning to end. Although the meanings, judgments and messages of these words mention almost everything in the universe, from genesis to eternity, they show an absolute consistency, correctness and harmony. If one just finds these points and contemplates on them this is enough to understand that the Quran is not a manmade book, but that it was sent by Allah.
"Do they not consider the Quran (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.(An-Nisaa, 82).

There are many aspects of conciseness in the Quran and they can be summarized in general under these two headings:

  1. The Quran is addressed to all people: the fact that 1, 400 years ago the Quran mentioned events that had not been heard of before, that these events occurred just as depicted in the Quran, that it mentions ancient tribes, and that it presents a general but unique legal system which can be applied to all people in all places at all times is a miracle; remember that Prophet Muhammad was illiterate and could not read or write. It is known that Prophet Muhammad did not take any lessons from scholars or tutors and he did not study law or politics. In view of this, it would be impossible for such an illiterate person to have formed this unique legal system by himself; it is a system that has divine wisdom inherent in it and is presented in the most wonderful Arabian rhetoric and coherence. Thus, the conciseness and miraculousness of the Holy Quran is without a doubt.
  2. The conciseness of the Quran is addressed to the Arabs: The divine language of the Quran is unique. The Quran has a rhetoric and coherence which is attention-grabbing, mesmerizing and superior.
Although the Quran, which has a unique style and a wide and deep treasure of meaning, has been read repeatedly for centuries, the Arab masters of rhetoric and coherence have not been able to write a similar text to date.  

The miracle of splitting the moon into two parts

This great miracle of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is mentioned in the Quran: "The Hour (of Judgment) is nigh, and the moon is cleft asunder.(Al-Qamar, 1). In addition to this, Abdullah ibn Mas'ud reported that Prophet Muhammad split the moon.
According to some hadiths (sayings of Prophet), a group of polytheists asked Prophet Muhammad to split the moon into two to prove his prophethood. He turned to Allah and requested that this miracle occur. The moon was immediately split into two by the power and with the permission of Allah. One part was seen on Mount Hira, and the other part was seen right in front of the Prophet.

The Miraj

The Miraj is another of the great miracles of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). In Surat Al-Isra and Al-Najm, the Prophet's miraculous night journey to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa and his ascension to Sidrat Al-Muntaha (the last boundary where the knowledge of creations ends and beyond which no one can pass) are mentioned.
In the first verse of Surat Al-Isra, the Prophet's miraculous journey is mentioned in the following words:
"Glory to ((Allah)) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).(Al-Isra, 1).
The Messenger of Allah was brought to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem) from Mecca in a matter of seconds. Ibn Kathir states that at least twenty-five people from the Companions told accounts of the incidence of the Miraj, and this number could be as great as forty-five. According to information in 26 hadiths, while Prophet Muhammad was sleeping in the house of his cousin Ummuhani bint Abu Taleb, Gabriel came and took him to the Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa on an animal called Buraq. There are many details in hadiths about what the Prophet saw during the Miraj.
Some of the information in the Quran is about the ascension of Prophet Muhammad to the Sidrat al-Muntaha:
"For indeed he saw him at a second descent, Near the Lote-tree beyond which none may pass: Near it is the Garden of Abode. Behold, the Lote-tree was shrouded (in mystery unspeakable!)  (His) sight never swerved, nor did it go wrong! For truly did he see, of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest!  (An-Najm, 13-18).

The protection of the last Prophet

Like all the other prophets, the truths conveyed to people by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) led him to become subject to various torments and slander and he had to face much cynicism. Many different slanders were directed towards him and he lived under oppression and the threats of death from non-believers for many years.
Despite all these difficulties, the fact that Prophet Muhammad continued his struggle without coming to any physical harm is one of his most important miracles. This was promised in the following verse; "And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief." (Al-Maida, 67)
Allah always protected the Prophet and he continued to convey his mission until the very end. This amazing truth exists both in the Quran and in the hadiths related to the words of the Prophet. (His protection from the polytheists inside the cave, the non-believers' failure to kill Him, the illusion that the Islamic armies consisted of much greater numbers during battles...)

The acceptance of the Prophet's prayers

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) revealed many miracles to his companions. One of these miracles is the fact that his prayers were accepted by Allah. There are many accounts in the hadiths related to this issue. Among these are the prayers he said in order to change the qiblah (the direction of prayer), the acceptance of his prayer for rain, and the fact that his prayers were realized when he prayed for a companion.


Water flowing from the Prophet's fingers

We are told by the companions that water flowed and gushed through Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)'s fingers. Abdullah ibn Masud said the following: "While we regard these amazing aspects of his as a bounty, you consider him to be frightening. Once we were beside the Prophet and we had only a little water left. He said, ‘Find me some water.' They found a bucket in which there was hardly any water. He put his hands into the water and commanded as follows: ‘Come to the sacred water, fertility comes from Allah.' I saw the water gushing through the fingers of the Prophet." (Fathul-Bari, 3579)

Jabir's meal

Jabir ibn Abdullah said: "When the trench (during the Battle of the Trenches) was dug, I saw that the Prophet was extremely hungry. So I returned to my wife and asked, "Have you got anything to eat?" We had a domestic animal which I then slaughtered, and my wife ground the barley and finished around the time I finished my task.
Then I cut the meat into pieces and put it in an earthenware cooking pot, and returned to the Prophet. I went to him and said to him, "O Allah's Prophet! I have slaughtered an animal of ours, and we had some barley bread. So please come, you and another person along with you." The Prophet announced, "Let us go." The Prophet said to me, "Don't remove your earthenware meat pot from the fireplace or bake your dough until I come." So I went home and the Prophet came too, leading other people. He said: "Keep on taking out scoops from your earthenware pot, and do not remove it from the fireplace." They were one thousand people who ate with us, and by Allah they all ate, and when they left, our earthenware pot was still bubbling full of meat as if it had not decreased any, and our bread was still being baked as if nothing had been taken from it. (Bukhâri, 4/90, 5/138; Muslim: 13/216)

Umm Sulaym's Jar

An account by Anas's mother states: "We had a sheep. I would collect the buttermilk from it and put it into an earthenware jar. Eventually the jar was filled. I gave the jar to Zaynab, my servant, and told her to take it to the Prophet for him to eat."
The girl took the jar to the Prophet and the jar was returned after being emptied into another container. The girl brought the jar back to house. She hung the jar on the wall because Umm Sulaym was not at home. When Umm Sulaym returned home, she realized that the jar was hanging and it was full of buttermilk and it was dripping on the floor. She said to servant girl: "I told you to take this jar to the Prophet!" The girl answered: "I took the jar to the Prophet. If you don't believe me, than let's go to his home together."
Umm Sulaym went to the Prophet's home with the servant girl and said to him: "O Prophet; I sent you a jar full of butter with this girl." The Prophet answered: "Yes, the girl brought the jar."
Umm Sulaym said, puzzled: "I swear by Allah Who sent you as a prophet with His Religion and Mercy that the jar was filled with butter when it was returned. It was even overflowing." In response to this Prophet Muhammad said: "Are you surprisedAllah feeds you as He feeds His prophet." (Bukhâri, 4/251 - 5/62; Muslim, 17/145; Ahmad b. Hanbal's Musned: 5/204)
Throughout history, people have requested miracles from the messengers that had been sent to them to help them to believe. Allah supported some prophets with miracles and enabled them to perform these miracles.
The miracles of the last Prophet were also the results of Allah's assistance and grace. Miracles are proofs that strengthen the faith of the believers and which invite the nonbelievers to faith.


Bukhari, Maghazi
Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ishmael ibn Ibrahim al-Bukhari al-Cu'fi, Lebanon
Sahih al-Bukhari, Istanbul, 1413 / 1992
Abu Davud, Sunna
Abu Davud Suleiman ibn al-Ash'ath, Sunenu Abu Davud, Istanbul,  1413 / 1992
Abu Nuaym, Hilye
Abu Nuaym Ahmad ibn Abdullah al-Ishbahani, Hilyat al-Awliya ve Tabaqatu'l-asfiya, Beirut 1405 / 1985,
Ibn Kahtir, Sira
Abu'l-Fida Ishmael b. Kathir, as-Siratu an-Nabaviyya, Beirut, 1411 / 1987
Ibn Mâca, Sunan
Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Yazid , Sunenu Ibn Maca, Istanbul, 1413 / 1992
Ibn Hajar, Isaba
Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Hajar al-Askalani, al-Isaba fi Tamyizi's-sahaba, Beirut, 1415/1995
Ibnu al-Athir, al-Kamil
Macduddin ibn Muhammad ibn Abdulkarim ibn Abdulvahid ash-Shaybani Izzuddin Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari, al-Kamil fi't-tarikh, Beirut, 1400 /1980
Ibnu al-Athir, Usdu al-ghaba
Izzuddin Ibnu al-Athir Ali ibn Muhammad al-Jazari, Usdu al-Ghaba fi Ma'rifati's-Sahaba, Beirut, 1409 / 1989
Muslim, Sahih
Sahihu Muslim, Istanbul, 1413 / 1992
Tirmizi, Sunan
Abu Isa Muhammad ibn Isa ibn Thavra, Sunenu at-Tirmizi, Istanbul, 1413 / 1992

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Prophet Muhammad's Relationships with his Family and Relatives

Prophet Muhammad set up principles based on the Quran to create an order in social life. A few of these principles include the brotherhood of all Muslims, helping one another and solidarity amongst people as well as putting up a shared stand against injustice. Along with these, there are other practical examples that the Prophet modelled himself and encouraged all Muslims to emulate. Some of these are equal treatment of all Muslims regardless of whether they are advantaged or disadvantaged, rich or poor, materialization of a Muslim brotherhood between Ansar and Muhajir as an institution of mutual solidarity and continued support, encouragement for helping each other, exchanging gifts and spreading salam (saying ‘peace be upon you'). All of these measures and principles are geared towards the creation of a generally harmonized and peaceful society.

One's family and relatives who make up his/her immediate environment have special importance within this framework. Tribal prejudice in the pre-islamic Arab society gave rise to a spirit of tribal loyalty in the form of strong relations amongst people from the same tribe and branch. This was however the reason for serious tribal wars and rivalry. Within such a context, the exemplary relationships that Prophet Muhammad had with his tribe and family helped put aside the inner rivalry fired by tribal prejudice and created a sound and legitimate framework of relationships among family and relatives.

The relationship of Allah's Apostle with his family and relatives can be formulated as his relationships with his Ahl ul Bayt ('People of the House', connoting the Prophet's family members and their early descendents). For the evidence in the Quran, the ahadith (Traditions and doings) of the Prophet and the literal meaning of the expression of Ahl ul Bayt in the Arab language point out to the fact that Ahl ul Bayt involves both family and relatives. It is accepted that, in the strict sense of the word, the expression refers to the Prophet's wives, children, Hadhrat (the noble) Ali and the Prophet's grandchildren Hadhrat Hasan and Hussain, and in a larger sense, it includes all of his direct descendents who are muslims.

His Relationships with His Wives

Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) married life started with hazrat Khadija and continued with his other marriages. It was said that at the time of his death, he had nine wives.

Six of the Prophet's wives were from Quraish. These are Hadhrat Khadija, Aisha, Hafsah, Om Habibah, Om Salamah and Sawdah. His other wives from non-Quraysh Arabs were Hadhrat Zaynab bint Jahsh, Maymunah bint Kharis, Zaynab bint Khuzaymah, Juwayriyyah bint Kharis. And his non-Arab wives were Safiyyah bint Huyay and Mariyyah al-Qiptiyyah, both from the tribe of Banu Nadir. Two of Prophet's wives who died while he was alive were Hadhrat Khadija and Zaynab bint Huzaymah.

Our Prophet's family life was shaped around islamic principles and he implemented in his own life the principles he preached to his ummah. The following advice of the Prophet for ensuring peace and happiness in the family both in this world and in the hereafter gives us the fundamentals of peace and happiness: "The best among you are those who behave best toward their wives. I am the best among you toward his wives. The best among you is the one  who is the kindest to his wife and the worst among you is the one who treats his wife badly."

All of the Prophet's children, except for Ibrahim, were from Hadhrat Khadija. They were Qasim, Abdallah, Zaynab, Ruqiyyah, Om Kolsoum and Fatimah. Other son of the Prophet, Ibrahim, was from Mariyyah who was sent to him as a gift from Muqavqis. Although his sons died when they were quite young, his daughters grew up and got married.

The marriages of Prophet Muhammad, sal Allahu alayhi wa Salaam, which involved a multitude of situations and aspects, were models for muslims in all respects. While his marriage to Khadija introduces to us an example of monogamous life, his other marriages brings up a rich variety of his attitudes towards his different wives each with a different personality.

The first point to be made about these relationships is the commitment of spouses to each other on the principle of honesty and loyalty. We can find numerous examples of honesty and loyalty between the Prophet and his wives on which they built a happy and peaceful family life. The first example of great loyalty in the family life of the Prophet is the commitment of Khadija, whom he married after their acquaintance through business. Khadija was always there to support him spiritually and financially both before and after his prophethood. When he first received divine revelation, Prophet Muhammad was frightened and worried and the first thing he did was to go to Khadija and tell her about the his situation. Khadija reminded him of his good virtues and told him ‘By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you.' and she relieved him by explaining to him that he was visited by an angel and that he was a prophet.

Another example of loyalty and commitment between Allah's Apostle and his wives was the freedom he gave to his wives on the basis of divine command to choose  between him or worldly benefits when they asked from him for material things, at the end of which, they always chose Allah, His Apostle and the life of the Hereafter.

In return for his wives' loyalty and commitment to him, Prophet Muhammad always observed their rights. The truth of the matter is that observing the rights of one's spouse is a principle set by the Quran itself, which can be seen in the following verse: "...And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) in kindness..."  Examples to the Prophet's careful observation of the rights of his wives are plenty. For instance, he would draw lots among his wives before he would go on an expedition and each time he would take one of them with him by turns. Again, he would allow a day and a night for each of them. Although in many hadith reports he was said to have more affection for Aisha, this never led him to treat his wives unequally or unfairly. As a matter of fact, he signified the importance of this matter, examples of which he practiced in his own life as a model for all the muslims, within the framework of the basic principles he preached in his Last Khutba (sermon): "O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you.  Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under ALLAH's trust and with HIS permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers."

Once asked by one of his companions about the rights of wives over their husbands, he said: "That you should give her food when you eat, clothe her when you clothe yourself, do not strike her on the face, do not revile her or separate yourself from her except in the house."

Likewise, all the wives of Prophet Muhammad observed his rights over them both as a husband and a Prophet and they acted with care and respect when it came to protecting his prophetic attributes. Once Abu Sufyan, who was the chief of the Meccan polytheists, came to Madinah to request an extension of the duration of the Hudaybiyyah Agreement. When he saw that he was not quite welcome by people, he thought he could go to his daughter, Om Habibah and ask for her help. When he entered the house of her daughter, he wanted to sit on the cushion of Allah's Apostle, but her daughter did not allow him. Abu Sufyan asked her, ‘Oh daughter! Am I better than this seat, or is it better than me?' She said: ‘You are a polytheist and you are impure. That's why you can not sit on the bench of Allah's Apostle.' Her answer was an open manifestation of her utmost sensitivity.

"The most perfect Muslim in the matter of faith is someone who has excellent behavior; and the best among you are those who behave best toward their wives."

What is also integral to happiness and peace in family life is love and respect between spouses, which finds its expressions in many of the Prophet's ahadith and in actual examples from his life. In a hadith, he says: "The most perfect Muslim in the matter of faith is someone who has excellent behavior; and the best among you are those who behave best toward their wives"Also, other ahadith like,"A believing man should not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another" and "I advise you to treat your wives well" are all commands to foster love and respect between spouses.

 Prophet Muhammad never forgot the sacrifices Hadhrat Khadija made and the respect she had for him and he always cherished her memory with love and respect. Once when he talked about her, Aisha told him, ‘Why do you keep talking about that old woman? Allah gave you better ones than her.' Allah's Apostle got upset at her remark and replied: ‘"Allah has not given me a better one. She believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me; and she helped and comforted me when there was noone else to lend me a helping hand. She used her property for me when noone gave me anything and she gave me children when noone gave me children. "On the other hand, when asked about who was dearest to him, Allah's Apostle said ‘Aisha' from among women and ‘her father' from among men, which is a clear expression of his love and respect for his wives.

We can see that, along with tolerance and sacrifice, solidarity and support in good and bad times play an important part in Prophet Muhammad's relationships with members of his family. He always welcomed their appropriate wishes and actions and helped them.  Once Hadhrat Aisha wanted to watch the sword show of a team from Habesh in the yard of the mosque, the Prophet accepted her request and waited till the end of the show.

When Safiyyah, whom the Prophet wed after the conquest of Khaybar came to Madinah, Aisha went to visit her. On her return from the visit, the Prophet asked her how she found Safiyyah and Aisha said, ‘Just like a Jewish girl.' The Prophet did not get angry with this answer given for some personal reasons and also as a reaction to the beauty of Safiyyah, he only said, 'O Aisha, don't say that, she accepted Islam and how beautiful her Islam is.' to correct her.

Members of Prophet Muhammad's family were his greatest helpers in the face of hardships. We could find in their lives the peaks of solidarity. The year the Hudaybiyyah Agreement was made, muslims intended to make umra (a visit to the Kaba'a), wore their ihram (to be clothed in two seamless sheets to perform Hajj or Umra) and prepared to sacrifice animals. In spite of all these preparations, the polytheists did not allow Muslims in Mecca and made an agreement with the Prophet. The agreement not only involved some articles that were not in favor of the muslims but it also stopped them from making umra that year. When this agreement was signed, the Muslims got very upset and had difficulty accepting its conditions.

Although the Prophet told them three times: "Get on your feet, sacrifice your animals, shave and take off your ihram." noone was willing to do anything. He became very upset and  went to his wife, Om Salamah, who was with him at that time, and told her about the situation. Safiyyah answeed: "O Allah's Apostle! Go out, sacrifice your animal without talking to anyone, then call someone, let him shave you and take off your ihram." The Prophet did as she told and took off his ihram.  Then his companions did the same when they saw what he did although they were a bit half-hearted. This incident shows us how Om Salamah saw how the companions of the Prophet did not want to obey him because of their unhappiness with the situation and also their hatred of the polytheists and how this left the Prophet upset and in despair. The advice she gave at such a critical moment both helped the companions to obey the word of the Prophet and to relieve the Prophet's burden.

Another distinctive attribute of the family of the Prophet was their patience and contentment in the face of material depravity. While some of the Prophet's wives were poor, some of them were from rich families. All of them, however, by wedding with the Prophet renounced any prospect of material prosperity and exemplified a greater patience. Aisha narrates, "A complete month would pass by during which we would not make a fire (for cooking), and our food used to be only dates and water unless we were given a present of some meat." Again, in another report of hadith, she says: "The family of Muhammad had never eaten their fill of wheat bread for three successive days since they had migrated to Medina till the death of the Prophet. ". These are all exemplary expressions of altruism and patience.

We can find innumerous reports which show that the Prophet wished for a life of modesty and thankfulness to Allah for whatever He provides instead of leading a rich, prosperous life.  The prophet used to make the following dua (invocation): "O Allah, keep me in the company of the poor. Let me die in poverty, raise me with the poor on the Day of Judgement." Aisha once asked the Prophet, "Why do you ask to be kept in the company of the poor, let you die in poverty and raise you with the poor?
Rasulullah replied, "The poor will enter the Paradise before the rich." After a pause he added, "O Aisha, never turn a needy person away from your door. Give him something, though it be only a piece of a date. Respect the poor and love them in spite of their poverty. If you bring the poor and needy closer to you, Allah will bring you closer to himself."

Rasulullah replied, "The poor will enter the Paradise before the rich. O Aisha, never turn a needy person away from your door."

The following hadith of Allah's Apostle gives us the broadest perspective on the issue of education of propriety, good morals, virtues and knowledge within the family: " All of you are shepherds and each one is responsible for his flock. A leader of a people is a shepherd and responsible for them. A man is a shepherd over his family and is responsible for them. A woman is a shepherd over her husband's house and his children and she is responsible for them..."

His Relationship with Children

We can see a great deal of this dimension of education in the Prophet's relationships with his children.He raised them on Islamic principles and continued to look out for them after their marriages too. He not only took care of some of their material needs, he was also there for their spiritual needs. When it came to this, he did not make any difference between his own children and his stepchildren. He treated them with the same love and compassion and drew their attention to whatever was necessary for their education. Once he saw Umar, the son of Om Salamah from her prior marriage to Abu Salamah, eat from all sides of the dish and said to him: "O boy! Mention the Name of Allah and eat with your right hand, and eat of the dish what is nearer to you". When in Madinah, Allah's Apostle used to go to the house of her daughter Fatimah and his son-in-law Ali every morning after he woke up for the morning prayer to wake them up, which is only a small portion of his affection and care for them even after they became adults and got married.

The Prophet shared all the worries and happinesses of his children not only as Allah's Apostle, but also as a human being, as their father. Once his son-in-law, Abu'l As, the husband of his eldest daughter Zaynab, was taken by the muslims as a prisoner of war from the side of polytheists at the Battle of Badr.

 While the prisoners of war were being released in return for a ransom, Abu'l As wanted to offer his wife's necklace to be released too. When the Prophet saw this necklace which was a wedding gift to Zaynab from Khadija, he became very sad and told his companions: ‘You can either take it or leave it.' When they saw how upset he was, the companions of the Prophet gave the necklace back to him. In what progressed later, the Prophet asked Abu'l As to bring his daughter to Madinah. Abu'l As kept his promise and brought Zaynab to Madinah. The Prophet was very glad that Zaynab could come and appreciated his son-in-law on this one. Again, similar to this, the Prophet could not see or hear from his other daughter Ruqiyyah, who married to Othman and migrated to Habeshestan with him, for a very long time. He was rejoiced when a woman came to him and told him that she saw them and that they were fine. His shedding tears by the side of the grave of his other daughter, Om Kholsom, is another one of his sad and happy moments that we can find in sources. There are many other similar instances with his daughter Fatimah, his son-in-law Ali and his grandchildren Hasan and Hussain in sources of hadith and others.

To sum up, the family life of Allah's Apostle is an exemplary one in all respects. The principles he followed in his family life are timeless and have lost nothing of their significance over centuries. What we see in the family life of the Prophet is the best model for peace and happiness in this smallest unit of society, which is also what ensures the peace of the whole of society.

His Relationship with His Relatives

Relationships with relatives make up an important part of the relations within social texture which spin from one's immediate family into a much larger group. It is a well-known fact that Prophet Muhammad always had a respected place in his society both before and after his prophethood. The respect others had for him was the fruit of his good relationships with the tribe of Quraysh to which he belonged and in which he lived. He also had a close, loving relationship with his aunts and uncles. We can read between the lines of various reports of his life to find out information that supports these facts. Such a report from his life is the one about the first time the Prophet received divine revelation. It tells how Khadija calmed him down when he went to her scared and worried. She told him: "Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You unite your relatives and you bear the burden of the weak (of our society). You help the poor and the needy, you are honorable to all guests and you bear harm in the path of truthfulness."

Allah's Apostle set an example of solidarity among relatives and of helping one another when he took his cousin, Hadhrat Ali, under his protection and raised him. According to the historical reports, the Prophet's uncle, Abu Talib, had many children and he could not afford to support all of them. The Prophet took Ali under his responsibility and raised him to alleviate his uncle's burden.  Abbas, too, took another son of Abu Talib to raise so he could help his brother.

The Prophet continued his good relationship with his relatives after his prophethood by inviting them to Islam. In fact, he first started his call to Islam from his relatives before he appealed to all people. When the ayah of "And warn your nearest relations" was revealed, Allah's Apostle climbed on top of the hill of Safa in Mecca, called out for the chiefs of the branches of the tribe of Quraysh and invited them to Islam. According to a report narrated by Ibn Abbas, Allah's Apostle was in the middle of the lineage of the tribe of Quraysh and therefore had relations with all the branches of the tribe. This was the reason why he first started his invitation to Islam with them. He requested nothing in return for his invitation. He only asked them to keep their good relations and not be unfair.

After his prophethood, the Prophet started to call people to Islam and he always had the support of those of his relatives who believed in Allah and him. During the first few very difficult years of his call to Islam, the Prophet's uncle, Abu Talib, protected him from the oppression and cruelty of the polytheists. Again, his uncle Hamza's support of him went as far as his being martyred at the Battle of Uhud. Abbas, another uncle of the Prophet, believed in him at a later time and remained by his side for all of his life.

"Worship Allah without joining him none in your worship, pray, give zakat (obligatory charity tax) and maintain good relations and ties with your kin."

Along with examples of solidarity of all kinds that the Prophet had with his relatives, we also see in his life that he emphasized the importance of not breaking relations with one's relatives, in fact he preached this to all muslims as a principle. He gave the following advice to someone who asked to tell him of a good deed that could take him to Heaven: "Worship Allah without joining him none in your worship, pray, give zakat (obligatory charity tax) and maintain good relations and ties with your kin."

He warned people that those who break their relations with their relatives would end up in Hell while he gave the good news for those who maintain these relations that they would have ample blessings from Allah. The following report provides us with a clear framework in terms of the desired relationships with one's relatives. Prophet Muhammad said: "Treating your kin with the same kindness they treat you with does not count as protecting and looking out for them.  The person who truly protects and looks out for his kin is the one who keeps benefiting them even when they break their relations with him.". The Prophet's warning on not breaking one's relations even with relatives that do not believe, is also worth mentioning here.

In some other reports, we see that the Prophet used the expression of ‘my Ahl ul Bayt' for his close relatives and he protected them from some unpleasant actions. The Prophet's uncle, Abbas b. Abdalmuttalib narrated: "A group of people from Quraysh used to stop talking amongst themselves when they saw us. We told about this situation to Allah's Apostle upon which he said: What is the matter with those who stop talking when they see someone from my Ahl ul Bayt? I swear by Allah,  that a servant(of Allah) shall not be a faithful believer unless he loves my Ahl ul Bayt on account of his love for Allah and my Ahl ul Bayt's closeness to me."

The Prophet said... I am leaving behind among you, two most precious things: Allah's scripture which contains guidance and light

In another report quoted in Muslim, the Prophet called the attention of muslims to his Ahl ul Bayt and commanded them to observe their rights. The infamous ‘thaqalain' hadith narrated by Zayd b. Arkam not only involves the Prophet's advice to muslims on his relatives but it also explains that all of the close relatives of the Prophet are among his Ahl ul Bayt. The related part of this fairly long report is as follows: "O people, know that I am only a human being. The time draws near when I will be called (to the next world), and for me to accept Allah's invitation. I am leaving behind among you, two most precious things: Allah's scripture which contains guidance and light, don't let it go and hold it tight." After this, he added "and my Ahl ul Bayt who are my family members. Beware how you behave towards these.", which he repeated three times. In the following part of the report, Zayd is asked about who are Ahl ul Bayt and he informs that they are the household of Hadhrat Ali and the households of Aqil, Jafar and Abbas, who are all close relatives of the Prophet.

Allah's Apostle reminded muslims, in many other reports, of the importance of his Ahl ul Bayt and muslims embraced the Prophet's relatives with a similar love and respect they had for him. The Prophet's relatives were prohibited from accepting zakat and a share of booty was allocated for them on a command of the Quran. The Prophet gave away 1/5 of 1/5 of the booty to his relatives. When he did this, he included Banu Hashem and Banu Muttalib while he excluded Banu Umayyah. His practice shows us that the Prophet did not forget the unbelievable oppression and cruelty of Banu Umayyah towards himself and other muslims and for this reason he did not make them a part of this allocation.

 The happinesses of his relatives made the Prophet happy and their worries upset him. Once when he was with his companions in the mosque, Hadhrat Ali came in and looked for a while for a place to sit. Allah's Apostle looked around at the faces of his companions in a way to imply that he wanted them to make room for Ali. Hadhrat Abu Bakr who was sitting to the right of the Prophet noticed what was going on, moved over to the side and called Ali: "Come here Aba Hasan". This made the Prophet very glad and he thus complimented Abu Bakr: "Only the ones with virtues can know the virtues of people with virtues."

To sum up, the Prophet was very sensitive about relationships with one's immediate family and relatives. After a phase of education and illumination of his own family and relatives, he continued to treat them with love and respect. The life of the Prophet is seen as a model by muslims in this sense like every other aspect of his life and those who follow in his footsteps always work towards the creation of a peaceful society based on good relationships within family and among relatives.

M. Bahauddin Varol, PhD

Friday, September 16, 2016

Prophet Muhammad and the Celebration of ‘Eid

During the Era of Happiness the celebrations would start with the ‘Eid prayer which was held in an area called the musall(place of prayer); women and young girls joined the ‘Eid prayer.

After emigrating to Medina, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), believing that there was a need for legitimate entertainment, gave the people the glad tidings that "Almighty Allah has granted you two ...blessed ‘Eids ..." (Abu Dawud, "Salat", 245; Nesai, "Idayn", 1). He informed the people that these two ‘Eids were the ‘Eid ul Fitr (the holiday at the end of Ramadan) and the ‘Eid al Adha. Muslims should try to spend these days happily, visiting one another, celebrating the ‘Eid together, eating together and enjoying themselves in legitimate ways. In another hadith, Prophet Muhammad commanded: "The day before the ‘Eid al Adha, the first day and the following days are holidays for Muslims. These are days on which we eat and drink." (Abu Dawun, "Sawm", 50; Tirmidhi, "Sawm", 59)

The Prophet announced that the days of ‘Eid were days of cooperation and solidarity between Muslims, days of joy and days on which they could laugh and enjoy themselves. These holidays, from a religious and a social aspect, are not only a means for Muslims coming together they also provide a means to help alleviate the needs of the poor. Prophet Muhammad wanted Muslims to share their joys and sorrows, commanding that there be mutual assistance among Muslims at all times, not only on holidays. In order to provide social solidarity, those who are financially able to should give an amount of money in charity for every member of the family during the ‘Eid ul Fitr; during the ‘Eid al Adha they are commanded to sacrifice a sheep, cow or camel. Moreover, it is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad to perform the tashrik (uttering Allahu akbar) after the compulsory prayer on ‘Eid al-Adha.

During the Era of Happiness the celebrations would start with the ‘Eid prayer which was held in an area called the musalla (place of prayer); women and young girls joined the ‘Eid prayer. The first ‘Eid prayer was prayed in the musallain the second year after the Hijrah at the ‘Eid al Adha, which falls on the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah. Prophet Muhammad would lead the prayer in the musalla, which was a little distance from the Prophet's Masjid, if the weather was not rainy. The sacrificial animals were slaughtered here as well. Before going to the ‘Eid prayer, the Muslims would bathe and put on their best clothing. Prophet Muhammad would take one road going to the musalla and another on his return.

Before leaving for ‘Eid ul Fitr, Prophet Muhammad would eat a few dates. The fact that he did this led to the Sunnah of eating dates, which in turn led to the tradition of offering sweets at the holidays. For the ‘Eid al Adha Prophet Muhammad would eat nothing, but wait until he was able to eat the meat from the sacrificial animal. When he came to the area where the ‘Eid prayer was to be prayed, the Prophet would perform two rakahs, and then he would stand up and turn to the congregation and read the sermon, offering advice. Then he would go to where the women were in the congregation and offer advice to them. Prophet Muhammad started all sermons by thanking Allah. In addition he would utter "Allahuakbar" many times.

In the time of Prophet Muhammad women and children would participate in the ‘Eid prayer. Allah's Messenger would pay special attention to children, greeting them, stroking their heads, joking with them and giving them presents.

Women also participated in the ‘Eid prayers. Even if they could not pray they would still come to the musalla, and take their places in the back rows, listening to the Prophet's sermon and participating in the prayers. They hoped to gain from the blessings of the ‘Eid day and to be purified of their sins. In the time of Prophet Muhammad women and children would participate in the ‘Eid prayer. Allah's Messenger would pay special attention to children, greeting them, stroking their heads, joking with them and giving them presents. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was always the helper, protector and source of mercy for children, not only at the ‘Eids, but at all times.

Prophet Muhammad, who always spent time with his friends, would visit their houses at the ‘Eid, accepting their hospitality. He would also receive guests, feeding and entertaining them. Prophet Muhammad did not approve of bad feelings among Muslims and said "It is not permissible for a Muslim to be angry with another Muslim for more than three days" (Bukhari, Adab, 57; Muslim, Birr, 23-25). Allah's Messenger put great importance on visiting the ill; he stated that this was a duty for Muslims. In addition, Prophet Muhammad wanted Muslims to visit graves, praying for the deceased and think about death. In the era of Prophet Muhammad, people congratulated one another on the holiday. It is reported that the first Muslims congratulated one another on the ‘Eid with the prayer, "May Allah accept this from us and from you" (Bukhari, II/2-12); this was most likely inspired by Prophet Muhammad saying "Allah, accept this from Muhammad, from Muhammad's family and from Muhammad's community!"(Muslim, "Adahi", 19).

Prophet Muhammad, who announced that ‘Eids were days of peace, happiness and joy, desired that those days be celebrated with many people and great joy. It is known that he disapproved of Omar's trying to prevent the spear and shield games that a group of Ethiopians were performing on the dirt floor of the Masjid-i Nabawi, which he watched with his wife Aisha. Moreover, he allowed Aisha's slaves to play drums. However, he did not allow traditions or celebrations based on superstitions or the polytheistic practices from the Age of Ignorance.

Emine Gümüş Böke, PhD

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mercy and Compassion Embraced Everyone


In order to understand to what degree the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a mercy ("We sent you as a mercy to the world" Al-Anbiya 107), it is necessary to take a look at the situation of the world before him. It has been historically established that, just as in many regions of the world, idols were dominant in  Meccan society and, consequently, a full human drama was taking place. According to a statement in the Quran, "Evil appeared on land and in the seas because of the acts of man, and disorder reigned everywhere" (Rumi 41). When the Prophet was still in his twenties, he participated in the Hilfu'l-Fudul which had been founded for the purpose of struggling against injustice, and he took an active role in it. Mentioning this event himself during his period of prophethood, he said, "If I were called to such an organization today, I would immediately accept and follow it" (Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat I, 129); thus, he announced how he maintained the ebullience of his inner stream of mercy.

a. Meccan Years

The compassion and mercy of the  Prophet and the patience he demonstrated against the bad treatment and unbearable rudeness he saw during the Meccan years was manifested in the form of always wishing for the salvation of the oppressors who had long since been worthy of damnation. During his return from the trip to Taif, Gabriel informed him that he would immediately act against the Meccan idolaters in any way the Prophet wished.  Muhammad's pleading, "My Lord, forgive my people; they do not know what they are doing" (Bukhari, Istitabe, 5), his forgiving and asking for salvation for his enemies who were merciless to him, and his praying to Allah to bring a generation with faith from their linage (Bukhari, Bad'ul-Halk, 7) is evidence of mercy and compassion unequaled in the world.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had the duty of conveying the message of Islam. This required compassion and mercy. He presented such a compassion-laden call to everyone he could reach. He spoke with everyone he could in every place. He especially never hesitated to speak with prominent Quraysh polytheists. However, at the same time he was cautioned in the Abasa Sura never to neglect ordinary citizens and believers. It was necessary to carefully pursue, every time and in every place, propagation activities with compassion that did not neglect the believers. In fact, throughout his life the Prophet spoke with everyone who came to him and particularly during the Medina period, he treated them with amazing hospitably and complimented them.

His manifestation of mercy, patience, wishing for their forgiveness and salvation and his conveying Islam's message (training-teaching) would infuriate the Meccans who understood no language other than coarseness and roughness. They could not understand why he was patient and did not respond in kind to all they had done to him. The torture they made was not enough for them because, as stated in the Holy Quran, mercy and patience are the most powerful weapons (Balad 17). He would have an impact even on the most oppressive persons. The Meccans did not endure this war of patience; they had to exile Muhammad, the focal point of mercy and compassion, from Mecca. Whereas, he was a great blessing: "I swear that by sending a prophet who reads Allah's verses, purifies them and teaches the people the book and wisdom, Allah has given believers a great blessing. Whereas, they were formerly clearly in perversion" (Al-i Imran 164).

Since the Prophet's apostleship was directed towards all people, naturally compassion and mercy would be aimed towards all mankind, as well. In fact, Allah described him to us as follows:

"I swear that such a prophet has come to you that your falling into difficulty will weigh heavy upon him. He is concerned about you and very compassionate and very merciful to believers" (Al-Tawba 128).

The Prophet, some of whose higher virtues are found together in this verse, was happy with the salvation of believers and extremely sad when they fell into difficulty, and he showed them great compassion. In spite of the behavior of the hypocrites that made him extremely uncomfortable, he did not have them killed and gave them the same treatment as Muslims received. He never gave an opportunity for the propaganda, "Muhammad is killing the sahaba," to be materialized. Those who did not declare their faith were a constant source of pain for him and a subject of his call. The verse, "(My prophet!)You are almost going to give your life because they do not declare their faith!" (Al-Shuara 3), shows the dimensions of the compassion he felt towards people and, consequently, the sadness he felt for their not knowing the tranquility of faith.

b. Medina Days

The Prophet's Medina life was the period when the Mercy of Muhammad (pbuh) reached its zenith.

The Prophet was a natural head of the family at home. He was very compassionate to members of the family and children. Anas ibn Malik was very happy to say that during the ten years he served the Prophet he never heard reproach from him even once. In fact, once when he got caught up in playing with some children he saw on the road to where he was going, the Prophet, who came to the same spot, only smilingly asked whether or not he had gone to the place he was sent. On another day an elderly woman was going to take the Prophet to oversee her work in a neighborhood outside of Medina. His mercy did not allow him to say "no" to anyone who asked something from him. If he had it, he would give it; if he did not have it, he would remain silent and wait.

Children, orphans, the forlorn, the elderly and the weak received the biggest share of the Mercy of Muhammad. The children he took on his shoulders even during salat, the children he accepted on the back of his saddle on his return from trips and those he took in his lap, the little ones he always  greeted and patted on the head wherever he saw them were all nurtured and trained as future compassionate adults with the Mercy of  Muhammad.

Rough and coarse behavior like dirtying the masjid and hanging on to the Prophet to ask for something were always met with understanding and a smile. By means of the compassionate warnings of Muhammad, animals were saved from being killed as hunting targets, from being seared with fire, from being left hungry and thirsty, from carrying heavy loads, and from being beaten, cursed and damned. It was the Prophet who said that a woman who caused a cat's death by confining it and leaving it without water would go to Hell, and that a sinful woman who saved a dying dog from a well and gave it water would go to Heaven. A locus of mercy, the Prophet saw a dog nursing its new-born pups on the side of the road in the Arch valley during the year 8 H. as he was going towards the conquest of Mecca. He immediately called its owner, Juayl ibn Suraqa, to stand guard there until the army had passed so the dogs would not be disturbed (ash-Shami, Subulu'l-huda va'r-rashad, Vii, 51). The Prophet, who went to the grave of the custodian of the masjid (whose death he was not informed of) and prayed for him, also reminded the imams that there may be sick, poor and elderly in the congregation. In matters that were left optional he always chose the easier one indicating that a trace of mercy should prevail in actions of the community. He would warn those who refrained from and abstained from the easiness and permission he had given, for whatever reason, that he knew Allah better than others and reminded them that he feared Allah more than anyone else (Bukhari, Itisam 5).

The natural environment eventually became green due to his compassionate hands and effective suggestions. He persistently recommended that obstructions be removed from the roads, that still waters and oases not be polluted, that a tree be planted even on Doomsday, that trees not be cut unnecessarily even in war, and that crops not be burnt.  Declaring Mecca and Medina to be a forbidden region and giving everything there a special status were extremely important precautions in respect to urbanization and environmentalism. Pilgrims being forbidden to kill any living creature in the Harem area and their not being allowed to pull up or cut plants or trees  when they are dressed in pilgrim's garments sanctifies the idea of "not harming the environment" and protection of the environment, and also spreads this idea throughout all Islamic countries. The environment received its share of the blessing of the Mercy of Muhammad in this way.

Young people became subject to love and compassion and older people to respect and deference. The statement, "Those who do not show respect to their elders and compassion to the young are not from us" (Tirmidhi, Birr 15), created a superior level and simplicity in human relations. Encouragement of compassion was stated in the principle, "Those who are not merciful will not be treated mercifully." Muhammad forewent making some recommendations due to his concern that they would be hard for Muslims or that they would lead to difficulty over the long run (saying "lawlâ an ashukka alâa ümmatî" - if it were not difficult for my community) (Bukhari, Iman 26).

Signing the Hudaybiya peace treaty with its harsh conditions and meeting opposition from those around him because of it, the Mercy of  Muhammad declared a general amnesty two years later at the conquest of Mecca and forgave the Meccans who were awaiting death. And in a manner that amazed everyone...

He accepted repentance from everyone who understood their mistake and repented, and he never blamed them for their past, which made it easier for them to become purified and change. Thus, he did what a Prophet of repentance should and showed that compassion and forgiveness were necessary.


Outside of war, he did not even flick anyone with his finger, and he cursed almost no one. When the Prophet exceeded these limits and cursed a Muslim, the Prophet asked Allah to make this a reason for forgiveness for him (Muslim, Birr 88-95). He only damned the enemy who laid a trap and killed Muslims.

The Mercy of Muhammad (pbuh) took sides with the Muslims who were treacherously martyred while they were going to teach the people and responded to this injustice with damning. This is quite natural... because he was a compassionate, but cautious commander who was careful to resurrect hearts with Islam rather than killing them even in war. His statement, "I am a prophet of mercy; I am a prophet of war" (O. Hanbal, Musned V, 405), affirms this. According to the findings of contemporary scholar Prof. M. Hamidullah, in ten years of war in an area of approximately two million kilometers, a total of 250 enemy soldiers and 150 Muslims gave their lives for the advent of Islam. This means that war had ceased to be a vehicle of destruction due to the Mercy of Muhammad. He always taught that women, children, civilians, places of worship and religious officials should not be touched, the environment should not be destroyed, and that being the means for one person's salvation was more important than possessing the world (Bukhari, Jihad 102). In other words, futuhu'l-kulub precedes fütûhu'l-bul. He commanded that captives be treated humanely and that a mother should not be separated from her child even if they were slaves. With his guidance, people were saved from being killed by having their organs cut out, from being tortured, and from having their female children buried alive.

His being a "prophet of war" did not contradict his status as a "prophet of mercy." For he made war into an activity of mercy and turned it into a vehicle and means of implementation for a final call to make the affirmation of Allah. He fought against those who did not accept his call to Islam and who pointed their weapons against Muslims. It became a principle that, regardless of the conditions, those who proclaimed faith were spared. Jihad was no longer a display of heroism or a vehicle for exploitation, and was practiced as a last resort for people to be able to see the truth and accept it. This was a natural and even necessary attitude like resorting to surgery as a last means. In other words, armed struggle in Islam was like surgical intervention in medicine. For this reason, jihad is a principle and practice of mercy and compassion. Starting off from the word "melhame" which means both war and peace (İ. Manzur, Lisanu'l-Arap,XII, l-h-m article), it is also possible to understand and interpret the statement, "ane nabiyyu'r-rahma wa ane nabiyyü'l-melhame," as "I am a prophet of mercy; I am a prophet of tranquility and peace." In fact, during the final official parade of troops on the way to the conquest of Mecca, the Ansar commander, Sa'd Ubade, shouted in a voice loud enough for Abu Sufyan to hear, "Today is the day of the great battle." When Abu Sufyan complained, the Prophet corrected Sa'd Ubade's words saying, "Today is the day Allah will exalt the glory of the Kaaba. Today is the day of mercy..." (Vakidi, Megazi, II, 822), and thus declared the day of conquest to be a day of mercy.

After he made this statement and then cleansed the Kaaba of idols, he announced a general amnesty for the Quraish who had forced him to migrate from Mecca eight years previously. This shows what kind of war or peace prophet he was.

With a brand new perspective gained for believers through their belief in the unity of Allah, the Prophet both declared and actively showed that legally everyone was the same and equal (some were not right or wrong from birth), and that like the natural environment, other creatures possessed certain rights and deserved merciful treatment.

Freedom of Religion and Belief

Saying, "Wasn't he a person, too?" (Bukhari, Janaiz 50) the Prophet even showed respect to a Jewish corpse. Those who accepted the rule of Islam continued to live their own religion and beliefs and secured protection by the state with the tax they paid. For he never thought to force anyone to become Muslim.

The Need for a Secure Environment

Islam needs a free and secure environment. There is need for this environment in order to be able to influence minds and hearts. For this reason, loci of terror (individual and institutional) were removed as a necessity of the Prophet's compassion towards mankind. Those who gathered power against the homeland of Islam and Muslims and attempted to make provocation were made ineffective from the beginning by special forces, and the Masjid-i Dirar event mentioned in the Quran (Al-Tawba 107) is one of the most striking examples of this.

As is known, there was a masjid made in Medina for the use of the hypocrites against the Muslims. A secret weapon depot at the same time, this masjid is called the Dirar Masjid in the Quran. Upon revelation that came on the return from the Tabuk campaign, this masjid was razed by the Prophet. This shows that due to compassion for the community, divine mercy and the Mercy of Muhammad did not close their eyes to an institution basic to Islam being used against Muslims and to exploit them.

Construction of a Higher Identity

There is no denial of identity in his compassion. To the contrary, there is construction of a higher identity. In the Medina agreement the Arab tribes that were a party to it were listed one by one. It brought the opportunity for the Jews and Christians to continue living according to the commands of their identities and religions.

Tribalism was defined as love for a person's nation, not as support for it in spite of injustice (Abu Davud, Adab 112).

Universal Document of Compassion

The twenty-three years of struggle for unity (tawhid) made with broad mercy and compassion by the Prophet (pbuh) was crowned by the universal document of compassion, the Farewell Address. The Mercy of  Muhammad attained a truth and warmth that embraced centuries in the Farewell Address.

Forgiving Wahshi who martyred the Prophet's uncle Hamza and Hind who chewed his liver, the Mercy of Muhammad announced in the Farewell Address that all blood feuds were abolished and left behind the comfort and fairness of practices that were proof of this declaration.

The Farewell Address was the final document to the effect that the Prophet Muhammad represented divine mercy in the universal plan. It was the most sacred duty of those who heard it to inform those who had not heard it. For the Mercy of Muhammad was directed towards all creatures of the world until Doomsday. Because Muhammad was a universal mercy. Whoever follows him will attain salvation and happiness; whoever rejects his leadership will fall into full destitution. 

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