Category Archives: Know him !
As soon as the Muslims, under the leadership of the Prophet, achieved a sense of stability in Al-Madeenah, they had to prepare for a long and hard struggle against both the Quraish and other enemies. The leaders of the Quraish were not satisfied with persecuting Muslims within Makkah; they also didn’t want Muslims to establish a presence and to become strong outside of Makkah. Quraish’ s leaders feared that if Islam spread throughout Arabia, it would mean an end to their rule in Makkah, an end to the tribal system of law that dominated Arabia, an end to their religion and to the customs of their forefathers. In short, they knew that, if Islam gained a strong foothold in Al-Madeenah, somewhere down the road Muslims would set their sights on Makkah.
We have hitherto discussed the many attempts the Quraish made to prevent the Prophet from even reaching Al-Madeenah, and as soon as he arrived there, they made it amply clear that they were as much the enemies of those who harboured the Prophet – the native inhabitants of Al-Madeenah – as they were enemies of the Prophet himself.
One incident that clearly establishes their attitude towards Al- Madeenah’ s inhabitants involves Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh one of the leaders of the Ansaar. Prior to the advent of Islam, Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh was a friend of Ummayyah ibn Khalaf, one of Makkah’s chieftains. Whenever Ummayyah visited Al- Madeenah, he stayed there as a guest of Sa’d and vice-versa. Their cordial friendship continued until the early days of Islam. For when the Messenger of Allah arrived in Al-Madeenah, Sa’d set out towards Makkah, with the intention to perform ‘Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage); once he arrived there, he stayed in the house of Umayyah ibn Khalaf. Sa’d & said to Umayyah, “See if you can find a time when (the Masjid) is empty, so that I might perhaps make Tawaf around the House (i.e., the Ka’bah).” Umayyah took him out during the middle of the day, and they were met on the way by Abu Jahl, who said, “O Abu Safwaan (i.e., Umayyah), who is this with you?” He said, “This is Sa’d Abu Jahl said to Sa’d
“How is it that I see you walking around Makkah in safety, when you have granted refuge to those that have changed their religion! You claim that you will support and help them. Lo! By Allah, had it not been for the fact that you are with Abu Safwaan, you would not have safely returned to your family.”
Raising his voice, Sa’d responded, “By Allah, if you prevent me from this (from performing pilgrimage here in Makkah), I will prevent you from that which you will find even more severe upon you than that: Your road through Al-Madeenah (i.e., I will prevent you from passing through Al-Madeenah on your way to doing business in Ash-Sham)” According to the narration of Al-Baihaqee, Sa’d responded to Abu Jahl’s threat with the following words: “By Allah, if you prevent me from performing circuits around the Ka’bah, I will cut off your trade (routes) to Ash-Sham (Syria and surrounding regions).” This narration proves that Abu Jahl considered Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh to be an enemy of the Quraish, for he made it amply clear that had he not arrived in Makkah under the protection of a Makkan chieftain, he would have been killed. Abu Jahl was announcing a policy shift regarding how Makkah’s chieftains treated the people of Al-Madeenah; for prior to the establishment of a Muslim country in Al-Madeenah, no native of Al-Madeenah needed a guarantee of protection in order to enter Makkah. Quite the opposite, the leaders of the Quraish loathed even the idea of there being any hostility between them and the people of Al-Madeenah, since they depended on cordial relations with them in order to safely traverse their lands on their way to doing business in Ash-Sham, which they relied on for their livelihood. In fact, the leaders of the Quraish were known to have said, “By Allah, we do not detest fighting any Arab people as much as we detest (the idea of) fighting you (i.e., the people of Al-Madeenah) .” This story also proves that, until Abu Jahl showed open hostility to the people of Al-Madeenah, Makkan trading caravans would travel safely through Al-Madeenah on their way to Ash-Sham. The newly-formed Muslim country made no attempts to stop them from passing through, which means that they didn’t initially treat them as enemies, overtake any of their caravans, or place any economic embargo upon them. Therefore, it was the leaders of the Quraish who first declared war on the people of Al-Madeenah, and not the other way around. They treated Muslims as enemies of war, forbidding them entry into Makkah, unless they entered under the protection of a Makkan chieftain. But that was not the only incident which proves that the Quraish were the first to declare war.
On another occasion, but still only shortly after the Prophet arrived in Al-Madeenah, the Quraish tried to incite a civil war in Al-Madeenah. ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Ka’ab ibn Maalik related from one of the Prophet’s Companions & that the disbelievers of the Quraish wrote a letter to ‘Abdullah ibn Ubai and other members of the Aus and Khazraj tribes that still worshipped idols. This occurred when ibn Ubai and others like him still professed their polytheistic beliefs, for a short while later those among this group that didn’t sincerely embrace Islam, professed to embrace Islam while still harbouring disbelief in their hearts; hence they became known as “the Hypocrites.” In their letter, which was sent prior to the Battle of Badr, Quraish’ s leaders wrote the following message:
“You have indeed granted refuge to our companion (i.e., the Prophet), and we indeed swear by Allah that you will fight him and expel him (from Al-Madeenah) or we will all come to you (with a large army), until we fight those among you who fight, and take captive (as slaves) your women.”
‘Abdullah ibn Ubai and his fellow polytheists then gathered all the men they could find in order to fight the Prophet. When news of their intentions reached the Prophet, he went to them and said, ” Quraish’ s threat has had a profound effect upon you, but (know this): what they have planned for you (in terms of them coming to fight you) is not greater than the plotting that you are doing against your own selves (i.e., by fighting Muslims, among whom are your own relatives), for you want to fight your children and your brothers!” When they heard this from the Prophet they dispersed, abandoning the idea of fighting the Prophet and his Companions
Here is a wonderful example of what a great leader and teacher the Prophet was, in terms of how he was able to bring an end to an incipient rebellion in its very early stages. He reached with his words the very depths of their hearts, for hewas appealing to that which they valued most: tribal and familial loyalty. He wanted to make them understand the shame involved in the internecine fighting that they wanted to instigate. After the Quraish declared war – both in speech and in action – on the Islamic country of Al-Madeenah, and after they stole all of the wealth that Makkah’s Muslims left behind once they migrated to Al-Madeenah, Allah permitted Muslims to fight. It was only natural, considering the open hostility that the Quraish showed, for Muslims to do what was necessary to both ensure the stability of Al-Madeenah and to take decisive action against the Quraish.
Abd al-Muttalib did not pray to Hubal; he always prayed to God – to Allah. But the Moabite Idol had been for generations inside the House of God and had become for Quraysh a kind of personification of the barakah, that is the blessing, the spiritual influence, which pervaded that greatest of all sanctuaries. There were other lesser sanctuaries throughout Arabia and the most important of these in the Hijaz were the temples of three “daughters of God” as some of their worshippers claimed them to be, al-Lat, al-‘Uzzah and Manat. From his earliest years, like the rest of the Arabs of Yathrib, ‘Abd al-Muttalib had been brought up to revere Manat whose temple was at Qudayd on the Red Sea, almost due west of the oasis. More important for Quraysh was the shrine of al-‘Uzzah in the valley of Nakhlah, a camel day’s journey south of Mecca. Another day’s journey in the same direction brought the devotee to Ta’if, a walled town on a luxuriant green tableland, inhabited by Thaqif, a branch of the great Arab tribe of Hawazin, AI-Lat was “the lady of Ta’if”, and her idol was housed in a rich temple. As guardians of this, Thaqif liked to think of themselves as the counterpart of Quraysh; and Quraysh went so far as to speak currently of “the two cities” when they meant Mecca and Ta’if. But despite the wonderful climate and fertility of “the Garden of the Hijaz”, as Ta’if was called, its people were not unjealous of the barren valley to their north, for they knew in their hearts that their temple, however much they might promote it, could never compare with the House of God. Nor did they altogether wish it were otherwise, for they too were descended from Ishmael and had roots in Mecca. Their sentiments were mixed and sometimes conflicting. Quraysh on the other hand were jealous of no one. They knew that they lived at the centre of the world and that they had in their midst a magnet capable of drawing pilgrims from all points of the compass. It was up to them to do nothing that might diminish the good relationship which had been established between themselves and the outlying tribes.
‘Abd al-Muttalib’s office as host of pilgrims to the Ka’bah imposed on him an acute awareness of these things. His function was an intertribal one, and it was shared to a certain extent by all Quraysh. The pilgrims must be made to feel that Mecca was a home from home, and welcoming them meant welcoming what they worshipped and never failing to show honour to the idols they brought with them. The justification and authority for accepting idols and believing in their efficacy was that of tradition:
their fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers had done so. None the less, God was, for ‘Abd al-Muttalib, the great reality; and he was no doubt nearer to the religion of Abraham than most of his contemporaries of Quraysh and Khuza’ah and Hawazin and other Arab tribes.
But there were – and always had been – a few who maintained the full purity of Abrahamic worship. They alone realised that far from being traditional, idol worship was an innovation – a danger to be guarded against. It only needed a longer view of history to see that Hubal was no better than the golden calf of the son’s of Israel. These Hunafa’, as they called themselves, would have nothing to do with the idols, whose presence in Mecca they looked on as a profanation and a pollution. Their refusal to compromise and their frequent outspokenness relegated them to the fringe of Meccan society where they were respected, tolerated or ill-treated, partly according to their personalities and partly according to whether their clans were prepared to protect them or not.
‘Abd al-Muttalib knew four of the Hunafa’, and one of the more respected of them, Waraqah by name, was the son of his second cousin Nawfal, zof the clan of Asad. Waraqah had become a Christian; and there was a belief among Christians of those parts that the coming of a Prophet was imminent. This belief may not have been widespread, but it was supported by one or two venerable dignitaries of eastern churches and also by the astrologers and soothsayers. As to the Jews, for whom such a belief was easier, since for them the line of Prophets ended only with the Messiah, they were almost unanimous in their expectancy of a Prophet. Their rabbis and other wise men assured them that one was at hand; many of the predicted signs of his coming had already been fulfilled; and he would, of course, be a Jew, for they were the chosen people. The Christians, Waraqah amongst them, had their doubts about this; they saw no reason why he should not be an Arab. The Arabs stood in need of a Prophet even more than the Jews, who at least still followed the religion of Abraham inasmuch as they worshipped the One God and did not have idols; and who but a Prophet would be capable of ridding the Arabs of their worshipof false gods? In a wide circle round the Ka’bah,at some distance from it, there were 360 idols; and in addition to these almost every house in Mecca had its god, an idol large or small which was the centre of the household.
As his last act on leaving the premises, especially if it was for a journey, a man would go to the idol and stroke it in order to obtain blessings from it, and such was the first act on returning home. Nor was Mecca exceptional in this respect, for these practices prevailed throughout most of Arabia.
There were, it was true, some well established Arab Christian communities to the south, in Najran and the Yemen, as well as to the north near the frontiers of Syria; but God’s latest intervention, which had transformed the Mediterranean and vast tracts of Europe, had made, in nearly six hundred years, practically no impact on the pagan society which centred on the Meccan shrine. The Arabs of the Hijaz and of the great plain of Najd to its east seemed impervious to the message of the Gospels.
Not that Quraysh and the other pagan tribes were hostile to Christianity. Christians sometimes came to do honour to the Sanctuary of Abraham, and they were made welcome like all the rest. Moreover one Christian had been allowed and even encouraged to paint an icon of the Virgin Mary and the child Christ on an inside wall of the Ka’bah, where it sharply contrasted with all the other paintings. But Quraysh were more or less insensitive to this contrast: for them it was simply a question of increasing the multitude of idols by another two; and it was partly their tolerance that made them so impenetrable.
Unlike most of his tribe, Waraqah could read and had made a study of the scriptures and ‘of theology. He was therefore capable of seeing that in one of Christ’s promises, generally interpreted by Christians as referring to the miracle of Pentecost, there were none the less certain elements which did not fit that miracle and must be taken to refer to something else something which had not yet been fulfilled. But the language was cryptic:
what was the meaning of the words: he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak.
Waraqah had a sister named Qutaylah who was very close to him. He often spoke to her about these things, and his words had made so great an impression on her that thoughts of the expected Prophet were often in her mind. Could it be that he was already in their midst?
Once the sacrifice of the camels had been accepted, ‘Abd al-Muttalib made up his mind to find a wife for his reprieved son, and after some consideration the choice fell on Aminah, the daughter of Wahb, a grandson of Zuhrah, the brother of Qusayy,
Wahb had been chief of Zuhrah but had died some years previously and Aminah was now a ward of his brother Wuhayb, who had succeeded him as chief of the clan. Wuhayb himself also had a daughter of marriageable age, Halah by name, and when ‘Abd al-Muttalib had arranged that his son should marry Aminah, he asked that Halah should be given in marriage to himself. Wuhayb agreed, and all preparations were made for the double wedding to take place at the same time. On the appointed day, ‘Abd al-Muttalib took his son by the hand, and they set off together for the dwellings of the Bani Zuhrah.’ On the way they had to pass the dwellings of the Bani Asad; and it so happened that Qutaylah, the sister of Waraqah, was standing at the entrance to her house, perhaps deliberately in order to see what could be seen, for everyone in Mecca knew of the great wedding which was about to take place. ‘Abd al-Muttalib was now over seventy years old, but he was still remarkably young for his age in every respect;
and the slow approach of the two bridegrooms, their natural grace enhanced by the solemnity of the occasion, was indeed an impressive sight.
But as they drew near, Qutaylah had eyes only for the younger man. ‘Abd Allah was, for beauty, the Joseph of his times. Even the oldest men and women of Quraysh could not remember having seen his equal. He was now in his twenty-fifth year, in the full flower of his youth. But Qutaylah was struck above all- as she had been on other occasions, but never so much as now – by the radiance which lit his face and which seemed to her to shine from beyond this world. Could it be that ‘Abd Allah was the expected Prophet? Or was he to be the father of the Prophet?
They had now just passed her, and overcome by a sudden impulse she said “0 ‘Abd Allah”. His father let go his hand as if to tell him to speak to his cousin. ‘Abd Allah turned back to face her, and she asked him where he was going. “With my father,” he said simply, not out of reticence but because he felt sure that she must know that he was on his way to his wedding. “Take me here and now as thy wife,” she said, “and thou shalt have as many camels as those that were sacrificed in thystead,” “I am with my father,” he replied. “I cannot act against his wishes, and I cannot leave him.”!
The marriages took place according to plan, and the two couples stayed for some days in the house of Wuhayb. During that time ‘Abd Allah went to fetch something from his own house, and again he met Qutaylah, the sister of Waraqah. Her eyes searched his face with such earnestness that he stopped beside her, expecting her to speak. When she remained silent, he asked her why she did not say to him what she had said the day before. She answered him, saying: “The light hath left thee that was with thee yesterday. Today thou canst not fulfil the need I had of thee.”?
The year of the marriages was AD 569. The year following this has been known ever since as the Year of the Elephant, and it was momentous for more than one reason.
by Muhammad Mus`ad Yaqut
The civilized world has recently paid attention to people with special needs. This started after it had cast aside corrupt, racist theories calling for neglecting them on the false grounds that people with special needs are not of any benefit to the society. A report issued by the United Nations International Labor Organization in 2000 estimated the number of those with special needs to be more than 610 million, out of which 400 million live in developing countries. According to the World Bank’s statistics, this category represents 15 percent of the world’s population.
> In Early Societies
> The Prophet and People With Special Needs
> Honoring Them and Meeting Their Needs
> Forgiving the Fool and the Ignorant
> Consoling Them
> Visiting Them
> Praying for Them
> Prohibition of Mocking Them
> Removing Difficulties and Hardships
> Breaking Their Isolation
In Early Societies
A cursory look at the history of the West shows the blatant neglect and persecution of people with special needs that culminated in killing disabled babies in some old European societies. Superstitious beliefs were responsible for this setback. For example, it was believed that people suffering from intellectual disabilities were possessed by devils and evil spirits. Even philosophers and scholars held such ideas. The laws of the legendary lawgiver of Sparta, Lycurgus, and the Athenian philosopher and lawmaker Solon allowed getting rid of those who had disabilities that made them unable to work or engage in war. Moreover, the renowned philosopher Plato came and declared that those who have special needs are a malicious category constituting a burden on the society and a damaging factor to his Republic. Likewise, English philosopher Herbert Spenser (1820-1903) called on the society to deny those with special needs any kind of help, claiming that this category constitutes a useless, heavy burden for a society to carry.
Whereas, the pre-Islamic Arabs – though they used to kill their female babies for fear of possible disgrace – were less hardhearted and more compassionate toward those afflicted with adversities and the chronically ill. They, however, abstained from sharing food or sitting at a meal with those who had special needs.
When the world was floundering between theories that called for the execution of the mentally disabled and other theories that called for employing them in drudgery, the East and the West, at long last, rightly arrived at the idea of the perfect care for people with special needs. That being the case, we, on the other hand, do see how our Messenger, the educator and teacher, (peace and blessings be upon him) was so merciful toward this type of people.
The Prophet and People With Special Needs
It is narrated on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that a woman, somewhat mentally defected, said, “ O Messenger of Allah! I have a need that I want you to meet. He responded, “O mother of so and so, choose the way you like to walk in so that I may know your need and meet it.” He walked with her in some route until she had her need fulfilled (Muslim).
This is, of course, a proof of his forbearance, humility, and patience in answering the needs of those with special needs. It, also, serves a legal proof that a ruler is obligated to care for people with special needs, socially, economically, and psychologically, and that the ruler should fulfill their needs and grant their requests.
The forms of such care include, but are not restricted to the following:
· Medication and regular check-up
· Proper education and training
· Assigning some workers to take care of them
Following this merciful Prophetic course, `Umar ibn `Abdul-Aziz(may Allah be pleased with him) asked rulers of the provinces to send him the names of all those blind, crippled, or with a chronic illness that prevented them from establishing salah. So they sent him their names. He, in turn, ordered that every blind man should have an employee to guide and look after him, and that every two chronically ill persons – those with special needs – be attended by a servant to serve and care for them (Ibn Al-Jawzi).
The same course was taken by Umayyad caliph Al-Waleed ibn`Abdul-Malik (may Allah have mercy on him). The idea of the establishment of institutes or centers for the care of people with special needs was his. In AH 88(707 CE), he ordered the establishment of a foundation specialized in looking after them. Doctors and servants, paid fixed stipends, were employed in this foundation. He granted a regular allowance to persons with special needs, and told them, “Do not beg people.” Thereby, he made them sufficient enough to not beg others. In addition, he appointed employees to serve all those who were disabled, crippled, or blind (Ibn Kathir, At-Tabari).
Honoring Them and Meeting Their Needs
It happened in a well-known incident that Prophet Muhammad frowned at the face of a blind man, `Abdullah ibn Umm Maktoum (may Allah be pleased with him) when he came to ask the Prophet about a Shari `ah matter. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was sitting at that time with a group of noble and high-placed people attempting to win them over toward Islam. Although the blind man did not see nor perceive his frowning face, yet Allah (the Mighty and Exalted) blamed His Messenger for doing this, saying what means in the Qur’an, (He frowned and turned away, that the blind man came to him. And what makes you realize whether he would possibly (try) to cleanse himself? Or that he would constantly remember, and the Reminding would profit him?)(`Abasa 80:1-4).
Afterwards, the Prophet used to meet that blind man with a welcoming and smiling face, saying to him, “Welcome to a man for whom my Lord has blamed me!” (Al-Qurtubi).
Forgiving the Fool and the Ignorant
The beloved Prophet’s mercy toward those with special needs, his forgiveness to the ignorant and his forbearance toward the fool did most evidently emerge in the battle of Uhud (Shawwal AH 3/ April 624 CE). It is reported that when the Prophet headed along with his army toward Uhud, intending to pass by a farm owned by a blind hypocrite, the latter insulted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The blind man picked a handful of dust and insolently said to the Prophet, “By Allah, if I am certain that none but you will be affected by it, I will definitely throw it at you.” The Companions of the Prophet were about to kill that blind person, but the Prophet forbade them, saying, “Leave him alone” (Ibn Kathir).
The Prophet did not capitalize on the fact that the blind man was weak; he did not order that he be killed or even harmed, though the Muslim army was on its way to battle and the situation was critical and the nerves were tense. Despite this, when the blind hypocrite stood in the army’s way and said what he said and did what he did, Allah’s Messenger refused but to forgive and pardon him, as it is not becoming of Muslim fighters, let alone the Prophet, to attack or harm those who are handicapped and disabled. It was his approach to behave kindly toward them, take a lesson from their condition, and supplicate Allah to cure them.
It is reported on the authority of `A’ishah(may Allah be pleased with her) that she said, “I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) say, ‘Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, revealed to me that whosoever takes a route of seeking knowledge, the route to Paradise will be made easy for him, and that I (Allah) will reward the one whose two dear things (that’s his eyes) were taken away from him with Paradise” (Al-Baihaqiand authenticated by Al-Albani).
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), addressing all who have illnesses and disabilities, said,“No Muslim is pricked with a thorn, or anything larger than that, except that a hasanah will be recorded for him and a sin will be erased as a reward for that”(Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
There exists in these Prophetic texts and hadith qudsi comfort and glad tidings for everyone with a certain disability; if they exhibit patience at their adversity, being content with the trial Allah has afflicted them with, anticipating the reward from Allah alone for their disability, Allah will recompense their with Paradise.
`Amr ibn Al-Gamouh was a lame man. However he insisted on participating with the Muslims in the battle of Uhud where he was martyred. The prophet passed by his body and said, “As though I could see you walking with this leg of yours, being heard, in Paradise” (Authenticated by Al-Albani).
It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah left Ibn Umm Maktoum twice as his successor in Madinah to lead the prayer, though he was blind (Ahmad).
And it is reported on the authority of `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that Ibn Umm Maktoumwas a muezzin of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) though he was blind (Muslim).
It is narrated via Sa`id ibn Al-Mosayyab (may Allah have mercy on him) that when Muslims would go on their expeditions, they used to leave those among them who were chronically ill, submit the keys of their doors to them, saying, “We have made it lawful for you to partake of our houses’ food” (Ar-Razi).
Al-Hasan ibn Muhammad said, “I entered upon Abi Zayd Al-Ansari, who called out the Adhan andIqamah while he was sitting.” He added, “a man advanced and led us in prayer. That man was lame whose leg was hit in the Cause of Allah, the Exalted” (Al-Baihaqi).
Thus was the Prophet’s society, a society that was marked by mutual support, cooperation, and unity in consoling, honoring, and respecting those with special needs. For all of this, the course of the merciful Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was the role model in dealing with those who have special needs.
Visiting the sick in general, and the disabled in particular, was legislated by Islam for the purpose of relieving their suffering. A disabled person, compared to a sound one, is closer to withdrawal, isolation, a pessimistic view, and psychological illness. So, neglecting the disabled in social occasions, such as visits and marriage, is wrong.
The Prophet used to visit the sick, pray for them and console them, instilling confidence in their souls and covering their hearts and faces with happiness and joy. He could once go to someone in the outskirts of Madinah particularly to answer a simple need of his or hers or to perform salah in the house of an afflicted one, as granting of his or her request.
An example of this was `Etban ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him); he was a blind man from Ansar. He said to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), “I wish that you, O Messenger of Allah, would come and perform salah in my house so that I would take it as a place of prayer.” As a reply, the Prophet promised to visit him and perform prayer, so humbly saying, “I will do, if Allah so wills.”
`Etban said, “Allah’s Messenger and Abu Bakr came early in the morning. Allah’s Messenger asked for permission to enter, which I gave.” Without sitting, he immediately entered and said, “In which part of your house do you like me to pray?” I pointed to a certain place in the house, so the Messenger of Allah stood and started praying and we, in turn, stood and he lined us in a row. He performed a two-rak`ah prayer, ending it with taslim (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Praying for Them
The mercy of the Prophet of Islam toward people with special needs was so manifest as well when he legislated the supplication for them as a way to encourage them to endure afflictions. He desired to create will and build resolve in their souls.
Once a blind man entered into the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, “Supplicate Allah to cure me.” He (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “I shall supplicate if you will, yet it would be better for you if you choose to keep patient.” The man asked the Prophet to make du`aa‘ for him. Then, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered him to perform wudu‘ well and say the following du`aa‘: “My Lord, I implore you and turn to you, having your Prophet Muhammad as an intercessor for me, so that my need may be answered. O Lord, make him an intercessor for me and accept his intercession.” (At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
A woman, who would usually have epileptic fits, came to the Prophet and said, “I do have epileptic fits that, as a result, cause parts of my body to be revealed. So, pray to Allah for me.”
To this came the reply of the Prophet,“If you will, be patient and Paradise will be your reward. And if you will, I shall supplicate Allah to cure you.”
She said, “I choose patience.” Then she said, “But parts of my body to be revealed, so pray to Allah that this will not happen.” And the Prophet prayed for her. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Prohibition of Mocking Them
“Cursed is he who misleads a blind person away from his path”(Hadith)
People with special needs, in some societies of Europe, were taken as objects of mockery, amusement, or fun. The handicapped would, therefore, find themselves stuck between two fires: the fire of exclusion and isolation on one hand, and the fire of derision and malicious joy on the other. Accordingly, the society would turn, within itself, into an abode of estrangement, persecution, and separation.
However, Islamic law came to forbid ridiculing all people in general, and the afflicted in particular. Allah the Exalted revealed most evident Quranic verses stressing the prohibition of such an ignorant attribute of pre-Islamic era; these verses read what means:
(O you who believe,let not a folk deride a folk who may be better than they (are), not let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Bad is the name of lewdness after faith. And whosoturneth not in repentance, such are evil-doers.) (Al-Hujurat 49:11)
It is also authentically reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,“Pride is the rejection of the truth and looking down at people” (Muslim). Perhaps the afflicted one is higher in rank in Allah’s sight and has a precedence over people in terms of knowledge, jihad, piety, chastity, and good manners. Let alone the general and decisive rule set by the Prophet:“Indeed, Allah has made your blood, your wealth, and your honor forbidden for you, one to another” (Al-Bukhari).
Additionally, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has warned in such a strict manner against misleading the blind away from their path or harming them or making them an object of fun and mockery: “Cursed is he who misleads a blind person away from his path” (Authenticated by Al-Albani).
This carries a severe threat for those who take the congenital defects as a method of fun, amusement, or derision, and for those who look down at those who are defected. People afflicted with certain defects could be a brother or sister, father or mother, son or daughter, tested by Allah, so that we may take a lesson from their condition and recognize the power of Allah; not for the purpose of making them an object of entertainment and fun.
Breaking Their Isolation
The pre-Islamic society used to boycott people with special needs, isolate them, and prevent them from leading normal lives, such as their right to marriage or even interaction with people.
Before Islam, people of Madinah used to prevent the lame, the blind, and the diseased from sharing food with them, because they deemed them disgusting. On this, Allah the Exalted revealed what means,
(No blame is there upon the blind nor any blame upon the lame nor any blame upon the sick nor on yourselves if you eat from your houses, or the houses of your fathers, or the houses of your mothers, or the houses of your brothers, or the houses of your sisters, or the houses of your fathers’ brothers, or the houses of your fathers’ sisters, or the houses of your mothers’ brothers, or the houses of your mothers’ sisters, or (from that) whereof you hold the keys, or (from the house) of a friend. No sin shall it be for you whether you eat together or a part. But when you enter houses, salute one another with a greeting from Allah, blessed and sweet. Thus Allah maketh clear His revelations for you, that haply you may understand.)(An-Nur 24:61)
It is indicated here that there is no harm in jointly partaking of food with the sick, the blind, and the lame. They are people just like ourselves, having the same rights as ours. So, Muslims do not boycott, isolate, or forsake them, for the most honorable among Muslims in Allah’s sight are the most pious, regardless of anything else. Besides, there is a hadith that reads “Allah looks at neither your appearances nor your wealth; rather, He looks at your hearts and your deeds”(Muslim).
Thus, the Qur’an has been revealed as a mercy for people with special needs, consoling, relieving, and supporting them. It saves them from the most dangerous psychological diseases that may affect them if they happen to suffer from isolation and withdrawal from social life.
Unlike what some societies had done, Islam permitted people with special needs to marry, for they have hearts, emotions, and feelings, just like others. The right to marriage was, therefore, established for them so long as they have the ability needed for that.
They have rights as well as obligations. Muslims did not exploit the weakness of those with special needs; Muslims did not take away their due rights or deny them their rightful property. It is narrated that `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “If any man marries a woman who is insane or leper and touches her (i.e. have intercourse with her), then the whole dower becomes due to her” (Ahmad).
Removing Difficulties and Hardships
Among the forms of mercy toward people with special needs is the fact that Shari`ah takes them into consideration with regard to many of the obligatory rulings, removes the difficulties they might encounter, and makes things easy for them.
On the authority of Zaydibn Thabit(may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) dictated to him the verse that says what means: (Those of the believers who sit still … are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and lives) (An-Nisaa’ 4:95).He said, “Ibn Umm Maktoum came while the Prophet was dictating it to me to write it down, and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I was capable of jihad, I would certainly do;’” he was a blind man. Zayd ibn Thabit further said, “Then, Allah, Almighty and Exalted be He, revealed to His Messenger, (other than those who have a (disabling) hurt)” (An-Nisaa’ 4:95). (Al-Bukhari)
Relieving the burdens of people with special needs, Almighty Allah says what means:
(There is no restriction on the blind, nor is there restriction on the lame, nor is there restriction on the sick. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will cause him to enter Gardens from beneath which rivers run; and whoever turns away, He will torment him with a painful torment.)(Al-Fath 48:17)
Thus, Almighty Allah absolved them from the obligation of jihad in the battlefields. They may carry arms and go to battle voluntarily only. An example of this is the story reported by Ibn Hisham of `Amribn Al-Gamouh (may Allah be pleased with him) in the battle of Uhud. He was a lame man who had four sons who used to engage alongside the Messenger of Allah in all serious events. When the Day of Uhud drew so nigh, they wanted to keep him back, telling him, “Allah the Glorified and Exalted has excused you!” So he went to the Messenger of Allah and said, “My sons want to prevent me from going out to fight with you. Yet, by Allah, I wish to tread with this crippled leg of mine in Paradise! The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “As for you, Allah did indeed excuse you, so you are not obligated to engage in jihad.” Then the Prophet said to his sons, “Do not keep him back; perhaps Allah will grant him martyrdom.” Ibn Hisham went out with the army and fell a martyr on the Day of Uhud (Ibn Hisham).
Nevertheless, the relief enjoyed by the handicapped under the Islamic law is distinguished by balance and moderation. A disabled person should be relieved in proportion to his disability and be obligated according to his ability. Al-Qurtubi says,
Verily, Allah absolved the blind from the duties that necessitate eyesight, the crippled from the duties that involve walking or cannot be done with lameness, and the sick from the duties canceled on account of sickness, such as fasting, the conditions and pillars of salah, and jihad and so forth. (Al-Qurtubi)
The blind and the insane are examples of this; the former is charged with all the Shari`ah obligations except for certain duties such as jihad. As for the latter, Allah Almighty has absolved them from all obligations. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) made it clear that three types of people are not accountable: “a sleeping person till he wakes up, a child till he grows up, and an insane person till he turns sane” (Ibn Majah).
A madman shall not be punished in any way, no matter what mistakes he may make or crimes he may commit.
Thus was the approach of the Prophet in dealing with people with special needs at a time the rights of those people were not recognized whatsoever by any people or regime. So, the Islamic law came and defined the comprehensive and perfect care for people with special needs. It has put them on a good place within the priorities of the Muslim society. It has legislated the forgiveness of the fool and ignorant among them. It has honored their afflicted ones, especially those who have certain talents, useful crafts, or successful experiences. It has also encouraged visiting and praying for them. It has prohibited ridiculing them. It breaks their isolation and boycott, lightens the rules for them and absolves them from their obligations. Excellent indeed is the law of Islam and its Prophet!
Al-Qurtubi, Muhammad ibnAhmad ibn Abi Bakr, Al-Jami` liAhkam Al-Qur’an.
Ar-Razi, Fakhr Ad-Din, Mafatih Al-Ghaib.
At-Tabari, Muhammad ibn Jarir.TarikhAr-Rusul wa Al-Mulouk.
Ibn Al-Jawzi, Sirat`Umar ibn`Abdul-`Aziz.
Ibn Hisham, `Abdul-Malik ibnHisham ibn Ayoub, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyah.
Ibn Kathir, Isma`il ibn `Amr Al-Basri, Al-Bidayah wa An-Nihayah.
Muhammad Mus`ad Yaqut is an Egyptian preacher and researcher. He prepares and presents programs on the Egyptian TV and other Arab satellite channels. He is a member of the Afro-Asian Writers’ Association.
Prophet Muhammad was the most compassionate of human beings. His compassion was not only limited to those who accepted his message. It extended as far as those disbelievers who were enough opposed to Islam to go into battle with the believers.
This fact is clearly visible to any objective reader of the Prophet’s biography, especially in the accounts of the various wars he went into.
He never went to war unless it was unavoidable, unless there was a very strong reason to do so, such as blatant treachery, violation of an allegiance, or killing of innocent Muslims without any provocation.
And even when he encountered an obligation for going into battle, the compassionate way Prophet Muhammad dealt with his enemies in the aftermath of the battle was beyond anything any military leader in the world could achieve. He achieved this because of the innate mercifulness and humility which Allah had put into his blessed nature.
Let us take the examples of three expeditions of the Prophet to see how he dealt with the enemy army who had lost the war and were completely at his mercy.
The Battle of Badr
The Battle of Badr was the first expedition the Muslim nation went into, and so new issues arose from it which they had never dealt with before. One such issue was what to do with the prisoners of war.
The Prophet asked his two closest companions, Abu Bakr and Umar, for advice. The latter was all for executing the disbelievers who had persecuted the Muslims for a decade. But the former’s advice, that the POW shouldn’t be killed but rather be ransomed off, was more in line with the Prophet’s merciful nature, and he chose that opinion. (Mubarakpuri 179)
These people were not just POWs; they were cruel war criminals, and giving war-criminals capital punishment is justified in legal systems throughout the world.
But then Allah revealed verses of the Quran admonishing the Prophet for his decision, saying:
It is not for a prophet to have captives [of war] until he inflicts a massacre [upon Allah ‘s enemies] in the land. Some Muslims desire the commodities of this world, but Allah desires [for you] the Hereafter. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. If not for a decree from Allah that preceded, you would have been touched for what you took by a great punishment. (Quran 8:67-68)
The previous decree mentioned above was this verse:
… and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens…. (47:4)
It was a mistake to release the POWs, as Allah explained. And yet this incident shows the level of generosity which the Prophet displayed towards a group of people who had made the Muslims’ lives so unbearable in their homeland that they were forced to leave it.
Could you or I have done it?
Battle of Muraisi’
There were several Jewish tribes living in and around Madinah at the time of the Prophet. One of these tribes was Banu al-Mustaliq.
One day, in 5 AH, the Prophet got to know that Banu al-Mustaliq’s leader, Al-Harith ibn Dirar, was preparing to attack Madinah. Some Arabs had joined him too.
The Prophet decided that, before they came to attack the Muslims in Madinah, the Muslims should go out to attack them first. The Muslim army marched forward and surprise-attacked the enemy tribe. The latter surrendered without much fighting, and many were taken captives. (Mubarakpuri 249)
It so happened that one such captive was the daughter of the chief, al-Harith, who had fled from the battle with some others. Her name was Juwayriyah, and the Prophet freed her and married her. Her mahr (dowry) was her freedom. Immediately afterwards, the Muslims freed all the captives from the tribe, to honor the Prophet’s wife. (Yasir Qadhi)
Conquest of Makkah
As mentioned before, the Quraysh of Makkah had dealt very harshly with the Prophet and the early Muslims. Near the end of the Prophet’s life, he conquered Makkah without any major battle.
But what did he do?
“O you people of Quraysh!”
He said to them.
“What do you think of the treatment that I am about to accord to you?”
They replied: “O noble brother and son of noble brother! We expect nothing but goodness”.
The Prophet said:
“I speak to you in the same words as Yusuf spoke to his brothers: ‘No reproach on you this day,’ go your way, for you are freed ones.” (Mubarakpuri 301)
And thus, except for a handful of the worst criminals, all of Quraysh was forgiven.
There is no wonder why Allah said about him:
And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds. (Quran, 21:107)
Yasir Qadhi, “Seerah of Muhammad (sa)”, Episode 54
Mubarakpuri, Safi-ur-Rahman. The Sealed Nectar. Darussalam eLibrary
By: Aisha Stacey
Islamic etiquette or good manners is a very important subject. It includes, but is certainly not limited to, greeting another Muslim in the proper way or standing up to let an elderly man take your seat in the bus.
All the prophets and righteous people displayed good manners. Their behavior with other people was well mannered and respectful and even more importantly their manner toward God was exemplary.
A Muslim who takes great care with his manners is a person with a strong moral character and an innate understanding of ethics and responsibility.
If Prophet Muhammad was able to see how flippant we are about manners today, it is not too far-fetched to think he would advise us to remember some of the basic teachings of Islam.
In Chapter 33 verse 21 of the Quran, God said that Prophet Muhammad was a good example for Muslims to follow. He did not qualify that statement by saying in this matter, or that matter.
Following the way of Prophet Muhammad in all matters will hold us in good stead in all aspects of our lives; from the very trivial to the very important. Prophet Muhammad was well mannered and respectful in any situation.
In the authentic books of Hadith, Prophet Muhammad is said to have told his companions that God sent him to perfect good manners and to do good deeds. (Al-Bukhari)
Also from among the authentic hadith is a saying attributed to Prophet Muhammad’s beloved wife Aisha in which she describes her husband’s character as the Quran. (Muslim)
These small, seemingly minor, snippets of information combine to give us a great deal of important advice.
Prophet Muhammad’s character was a study in Islamic etiquette. He abided by God’s laws and commands and abstained from God’s prohibitions.
He did so while interacting with the world around him; his responsibility to God was evident in all his interactions.
Prophet Muhammad used Islamic etiquette with his family, his companions and neighbors, the wider Muslim community, and all living things. He was also well mannered when dealing with detractors, unbelievers, and enemies.
Nowadays and across the breadth of Islamic history, there are people who consider themselves to be righteous; they pray, fast and give in charity and yet they have awful manners. They spread gossip and back bite, or they treat their employees with contempt and rudeness.
In many cases they ignore the spiritual and emotional needs of the ones closest to them and fail to understand that the connection between piety and good manners is symbiotic. One cannot exist without the other. To imagine what Prophet Muhammad would say to these people, we only have to read the guidance and advice he gave his companions.
The best among you is the one who is best to his family, and I am the best to my family. (At-Tirmidhi)
The angel Gabriel kept advising me about the rights of neighbors until I thought he would make them entitled to some part of the inheritance. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Nothing is weightier on the scales (on the Day of Judgment) than good behavior. (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)
By his good character a believer will attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day. (Abu Dawud)
The best of you are those who possess the best manners. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It is impossible to practice Islam effectively if we neglect the importance of good manners because Islamic etiquette is something that reinforces our faith. It should be a thread that runs through our day-to-day living complimenting and strengthening our worship.
Islamic good manners consist of spreading peace and mending broken relationships. It involves praying for our brothers and sisters in Islam, advising and calling each other to good and endeavoring to prevent evil or sinful behavior.
Islamic etiquette is also about respect. It directs us to show consideration and care to others; parents, elders, neighbors, members of the community in which we live and those who do not practice our faith.
It is about showing love and compassion to everyone we come in contact with and it includes visiting the sick and staying away from gossip and backbiting.
The scholars of Islam explain that good manners consist of knowing how to treat others. A Muslim must strive to avoid harming, annoying or inconveniencing anyone.
In the Age of Social Media
Prophet Muhammad told his companions that the true Muslim is a person who avoids harming other Muslims with his words or actions. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It might be useful to imagine how Prophet Muhammad would react if he could read the words we use on social media.
With the greatest of ease, Muslims defame and slander each other in public forums. And they do so without the slightest care and with little or no understanding of Islamic etiquette and the sinful nature of such behavior.
Consider another saying from the traditions of Prophet Muhammad:
A man utters a word pleasing to God without considering it of any significance and God raises his status in Paradise; another one speaks a word displeasing to God without considering it of any importance, and for that word he will sink down into Hell. (Al-Bukhari)
Perhaps we should replace the word utters with the word types. While there is undoubtedly great good in the proper use of social media, it can also be a way to accumulate sins.
There are some people who think that the language and tone they use on the Internet is of no significance. But once the words have been typed and sent, they are out there in cyber space and we are not able to retrieve them or control their consequences.
In the privacy of their own homes, people feel free to express themselves in a way that would not be acceptable if they were in public. Prophet Muhammad would, no doubt, remind us to speak a good word or to keep silent. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
He would also tell us to be careful of the things we say in case we should inadvertently say something harmful or untrue.
When it becomes a habit to speak badly, two things can happen, often both at the same time. We can forget that Islam has very high standards of behavior and morality, and we can fool ourselves into thinking that our spaces and our words are private.
From behind our screen and from inside our own homes we can berate the world, our communities, our neighbors and even our families.
However, God can see everything we do. Sadly many of us forget this on a daily or even hourly basis. Prayer timing is designed to keep us on track and remind us of this fact. Our private whispers can be overheard by the All Seeing, the All Hearing God.
Remembering this is one of the highest levels of faith. It is something very difficult to achieve without mindfulness in all our actions and interactions.
One way remembering, and examining our behavior at the same time is to ask ourselves if Prophet Muhammad would be proud of our etiquette. Would he think the high level of domestic violence in some communities is acceptable?
Would he think social media was the place to address our grievances with Sheikhs and scholars?
Islamic etiquette should permeate everything we do; it should come as naturally to us as knowing the timing of the prayers, and that Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
It doesn’t though; sometimes it flies out the window at the slightest opportunity.