Umari Stambuli Holy Qur’aan Speaks —
IN the previous articles, we have seen the teachings of Islam regarding the rights and duties in respect of specific categories of people in community who are related to each other or have a direct connection with each other.
Interestingly we find that Islam extends the duties of every individual to all others in community, fellow humans or mankind in general. The Holy Qur’aan contains specific injunctions in this regard and the teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) cover this aspect in a fair amount of detail.
The multi-cultural community
As the world very rapidly becomes a global village, we find that in most cases, communities comprise of people from various countries, races, tribes and social ranks, each with their own ethnic, cultural, linguistic, temperamental features as well as diverse religious and/or educational backgrounds.
In order to promote peace and harmony between them, there has to be a great degree of mutual respect and cordial feelings. After all, humankind originates from one source — Adam and Eve. Hence we are meant to acknowledge that the next person is not only of the same “species” as ourselves, but he or she experiences the same feelings, emotions, anxieties, etcetera like us.
Allah Almighty declares in the Holy Qur’aan, “O Mankind! We have created you from a (pair) of male and female and made you into communities/nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that ye may despise each other).
Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah Almighty is the most God-conscious (righteous) of you.” (Ch 49 : v 13)
So the observance and practice of righteousness at all times, in terms of duty to God Almighty, as well as in terms of duty towards all others, is of prime importance in the sight of The Almighty.
Class, creed, ethnicity, etc do not hold any specific regard or distinction in His sight. These are only means of gaining recognition within and between ourselves. One cannot afford to look down upon others in community just because they may be of a different ethnicity, profession, etc.
Kindness and mercy towards others
The Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said: “Those whose hearts are devoid of mercy for others, will not obtain the mercy of Allah Almighty.”
The word “others” used here does not only refer to those who have a right upon us by bond of relation, association or employment, but all members of the larger community. Everyone, indeed, has a claim to kindness and compassion, no matter what class or creed he or she may belong to.
However, true sympathy and kindness towards the wrong-doers in community, would demand that first of all, a sorrow and concern is felt in the heart at their plight and transgression and an effort is made to save them. Besides this, in cases of physical or worldly want and suffering, we are commanded to be kind and helpful to them.
Thus we find that this Prophetic declaration actually imparts a stern warning to those who do not treat their fellow-men with kindness and compassion and remain indifferent to their needs and difficulties.
On one occasion the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The Most-Merciful (The Almighty) will have mercy on those who are merciful. Show mercy and compassion to the dwellers of the earth, then the One in the heavens (The Almighty) will show mercy and compassion to you!”
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “All creatures are of the ‘family’ of The Almighty and the most beloved to Him, amongst His creatures, is the one who is best (in treatment) towards His ‘family’ that is creatures.”
Normally, those who are related by blood tie and are dependent on a person for the necessities of life (like food, clothing, etc.) are regarded as his ‘family’. Therefore, in this regard, all the created beings are the ‘family’ of the Creator — The Almighty Allah. He is the sole Cherisher and Sustainer, providing for all His creatures. Hence, those who show kindness and sympathy to the creatures of Allah will, in return, be deserving of His love and mercy.
Mutual Hatred, Jealousy, Back-biting etc., is strictly forbidden
The Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) strongly condemned acts which create mutual hatred like suspicion, contempt, jealousy, back-biting, etc and warned mankind, in all earnestness, against the painful consequences of such habits.
He said: “Do not be suspicious of each other, for suspicion is the height of falsehood, nor bear a grudge or enmity against each other, nor be jealous of each other, nor indulge in back-biting nor dig into the secrets of one another, nor try to (unreasonably) outdo one another, but Oh Bondmen of Allah! Live like brothers as the Almighty has commanded.”
The evils mentioned above are highly detrimental to the growth of good and friendly relations within community. They cause ill-will and produce bitterness in the hearts. They breed hatred and enmity and leave no room for the development of goodwill and fellowship which the common bond of humanity demands.
A principal feature of the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) is the emphasis upon every class, group or individual to fulfil the rights of others, with a full sense of responsibility, and consider it a source of good fortune in both worlds.
In the light of all that has been explained, it can confidently be said that our indifference to one another’s rights is, to a great extent, the cause of our misfortune. Furthermore the root cause of all trouble, at the various levels: social, economical, legal, educational, political, etc, is due to the disregard of the rights of others (that is not fulfilling them and not attaching an importance to them).
There can be no real peace and happiness, until we all attach an equal importance to the rights and claims of others upon us, as we attach to our rights and claims on them.
We sincerely pray that The Almighty grant us all, the guidance, understanding and ability to fulfil our rights and duties towards one another, in the manner that He requires of us. Aameen.
For further information on Islam or a free copy of the Holy Qur’aan, please contact:
Majlisul Ulama Zimbabwe, Council of Islamic Scholars
P.O. Box W93, Waterfalls, Harare
Tel: 04-614078 / 614004, Fax : 04-614003
e-mail: [email protected]
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