The Prophet Muhammad (S) – A Mercy to the Worlds
-Dr. Tasneema Ghazi-
As Pope Francis “Opened a Holy Door and a Year of Mercy” in a yearlong celebration dedicated to the theme of mercy, I began to think of the month of the birth of the “Mercy to the Worlds.” This is the month of Rabi’ ul-Awwal, the month of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (S) who was sent as “th Mercy to the Worlds.” It is time for all of us his Ummah to begin to plan and deliver various kind words and deeds of mercy to all of Allah’s creations. Let us plan activities of service, sharing caring and mercy with our Catholic friends and neighbors, and with everyone.
Let us work together to bring the healing power of mercy and service to our country and the world! The Qur’an says about Prophet Muhammad (S):
“We have not sent you except as a mercy for all the Worlds.”
Prophet Muhammad (S) himself is a true model of the Mercy of Allah. He practiced what he taught others. His mercy extended to all humanity and to everything that Allah has created. Indeed Allah had given Prophet Muhammad (S) had a very kind heart. The Qur’an says:
“It is the Mercy of Allah that you are kind to them; if you were harsh,
They would have left you. So overlook their mistakes, ask for Allah’s forgiveness
For them, and consult them in your affairs.”
The Messenger of Allah’s kindness and compassion attracted people to him. Most of the people who met him believed in him and became faithful Sahabah. Even before he became a prophet he was well-known for his honesty, good character and kindness. When Allah honored him with the revelation, he was given a very special mission to perform. Love and Mercy always guided his mission.
Prophet Muhammad (S) was kind and merciful to those who opposed him. He was tormented, made fun of and laughed at, but he never complained. He never felt hatred towards those who hated him. In fact, his whole being was a manifestation of the divine injunction to repay evil with goodness.
Allah made him head of a new community in Yathrib. Most of the people of Yathrib accepted Islam. He combined justice with mercy. He cared about all people living in Madinah not just the Muslims. He was considerate to all of his neighbors, many of whom Jewish. He treated prisoners of war with respect and dignity. He even released all the prisoners of the Battle of Badr and forgave the prisoners of the Battle of Hunain and returned all their property to them.
The Messenger of Allah (S) loved peace. When he returned to Makkah eight years after the Hijrah, he showed exceptional mercy towards those who opposed him. He forgave his enemies. He did not even allow the Muhajirun to reclaim their stolen property.
Prophet Muhammad’s Mercy with children, orphans, widows and the sick:
The Messenger of Allah (S) was specially kind and loving to children. Anas RA has reported that said, “I start the prayers, intending to lengthen them. Then, I hear a child crying so I make them shorter, knowing how emotional a child’s mother gets.” (Bukhari & Muslim). He used to stroke the heads of the children and kiss them. He said, “He who does not have mercy will not have mercy upon him.”
He will help the poor and widow and will not eat until he has fed a hungry person. If he saw someone in a state of stress and pain he would be deeply affected by it and try to help ease the pain.
Mercy to Animals
The Messenger of Allah (S) was kind and merciful to all creatures. He taught us to be kind to all animals. Domestic animals must be fed properly, handle carefully and loaded lightly. He forbade games in which animals made to fight, injured and often killed each other. He told us that if we have to kill an animal we must do so in the least painful way. In fact, he told us that causing pain on other creatures is wrong.
Mercy with the Environment
The Messenger of Allah (S) forbade cutting the trees and destroying vegetation without a valid reason. Even during the wars he had instructed safeguarding the plants and the trees, encouraged cultivation and plantation. He said: “If someone has a sapling in hand to plant and he discovers the Day of Judgment is only one day away, he must still plant it.” (Abu Dawud)
The Messenger of Allah (S) encouraged us to use water carefully. He advised us not waste food. He taught us that we should share the resources of the earth so that our communities grow strong and happy. He said: “When we share, the food of two is enough for three and food for three is enough for four.” (Al-Muwatta)
He was full of mercy and treated all hum beings equally. The Qur’an teaches us to cooperate with others to build a better society.
“And cooperate with each other in doing good and do not
Cooperate with each other in sin and transgression.”
Let us do just that and cooperate with people who are merciful and peace loving and stand against those who spread hatred and mischief on our beautiful earth.Read More
By Dr. Tasneema Ghazi
My seven years old thinker-daughter said this to me in 1973. We had just moved from Harvard to San Diego where my husband got a teaching job at the university.
We bought our first house in the United States and decided to settle in this lovely land instead of returning to India. America was home now; and it has been ever since.
We all sat down and talked about the history and the significance of this special national holiday for all Americans, both recent immigrants and longstanding natives. We reckoned that Thanksgiving is not holiday centered on religious beliefs, like Christmas or Easter, but it is a national holiday where the citizens of this great nation together offer thanks to their Creator for giving them this land of bounty and keeping it thriving and prosperous.
If anything we can even find in the origins of Thanksgiving the very Islamic principles of migration for the sake of faith, as well as helping those in need. This Pilgrims fled their native England rather than compromise their beliefs. They struggled for existence in the first years of their life in the Plymouth Colony, and if it weren’t for the assistance of the indigenous Wampanoag people the Old World immigrants would not have survived. Does such a story ring a bell with Muslims?
Thanksgiving is about offering thanks to Allah (SWT) for bestowing His grace and blessings upon all of us living in this country. For our first Thanksgiving we invited our dear friend Qiaser Jahan, a graduate student from Pakistan, and Mr. Bari whose grandfather had migrated to California from Punjab in the early 1900. Dr. and Mrs. Dill, both professors at the university also joined us in the celebrations.
We decided that our first Thanksgiving would be in typical American-style, complete with turkey, corn, green beans, pumpkin pie and of course gravy. In the center of the table was a tray with the sign “Prophet Muhammad’s favorite Foods.” This tray contained olives, bread, finely sliced meat, watermelon etc. Dr. Dill offered the du’a before the meal and everyone enjoyed the delicious food.
Since then we have celebrated this most American holiday every year. Sometimes we cooked the turkey on Thanksgiving Day, while at other times it was on a Friday or Saturday, depending on the schedules of family members and guests over the long weekend. In Chicago we once invited a number of visiting poets from India and Pakistan who were in town for a poetry symposium and they asked for a turkey dinner. I prepared the dinner along with a roasted leg of lamb – Indian style. My daughter invited a dozen of her friends from University of Chicago International House. The guest poets sat on the dining table and spread the traditional dastarkhwan/sofrah on our living room floor for the rest of us. The joy of meeting with family and friends and having warm get together was so very important, and it continues to be so.
Parliament of the World Religions 2015
IQRA’ participated in the 2015 Parliament of the World Religions held in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 15-19. Thanks to relentless commitments of its organizers and Chairman of the Board of Trustee, Imam Malik Mujahid the event was a great success full of hope and enthusiasm for the common good of humanity and safety of our dear planet.
IQRA’s Chairman, Dr. Abidullah Ghazi addressed the audience in two sessions. In the first session he presented the universal position of Islam and talked about the Tawhid, Oneness of God and that we believe as Qur’an says Allah is The Lord of all worlds and Muhammad saw is Mercy to all creations of Allah swt. Dr. Ghazi also talked about the beliefs of the Muslims that every human being belongs to the human family through Adam As and Hawwa RA. We are all brothers and sisters, one big family.
Dr. Ghazi’s talk started an interesting discussion among the curious audience. He summarized by saying that “Muslims are Interfaith community.”
In the second session Dr. Ghazi shared IQRA”s unique experience of developing and implementing an integrated program of Madrasah education in Singapore. Citing the history of education in Islam he emphasized the fact that separation of ‘ILM, (Knowledge) between the secular and sacred was never the trend in educating Muslim children. The focus of education in Islam had always been the acquisition of knowledge of the Deen of Allah swt and also the knowledge of the things created by Allah swt. This holistic and integrated approach to knowledge acquisition is only Islamic approach and must be revived in our schools and Madaris.
Dr. Ghazi presented the successful model of Singapore /IQRA’ Madrasah curriculum and teachers’ training (human resource development) to be adopted by all full time Islamic schools and Madaris.
Dr. Ghazis’ presentation made the audience thinking about the importance of a unifying approach to curriculum development and methods of teachings.
Dr. Ghazi also chaired two other sessions during the conference.
IQRA’s Book Service Director, Mr. Shahab Khan was represented IQRA’ in the Conference. He remained busy sharing with the conference guests IQRA’s many projects and its unique publications. He related to everyone the story of IARA’s unique pioneering work in the field of education for children, especially Muslim children. Mr. Salman Ghazi, Director of IQRA’ India also attended the conference and shared IQRA” India’s work and services to the community.
“SHOULDER TO SHOULDER”
A Movement to bring Unity
By Dr. Tasneema K. Ghazi
I was filled with hope and exhilaration when I heard the news that a group of young Muslims from the famed indian university Jamia Millia Islamia (New Delhi) are working to bring understanding and unity between Sunni and Shi’i Muslims.
Growing up in India during the 1950s and 1960s I had never heard of tensions between these two communities, at least not in the scale we see in modern times. My cousin married into a Shi’i family, our favorite tutor Mustafa Saheb was Shi’i. I remember “Aapa jaan,” our primary school principal, with such love and affection. My mother’s best friend was Shi’i and we loved her and her entire family.
Reading about unspeakable atrocities committed by ISIS, the Asad regime and all the other players in the tragic civil war, it breaks my heart even further to see for the first time the foul element of fanatic sectarianism being thrown into the mix. The brutality that Muslims have committed on each other and on Yazidis and Christians has reached such a level that it will take generations to wash way resentment and antagonism. Centuries it took to build harmonious inter-communal life have been have been swept away.
Therefore, it gave me a ray of hope to read about the efforts of these young people in New Delhi working to establish a community of Muslims who pray, live and work together in peace.
The group is called “Shoulder To Shoulder.” They arranged joint Sunni-Shi’i Eid ul-Fitr prayers in at the univeristy’s mosque. It is an initiative conceived by a group of friends in Jamia Nagar in the face of growing hostility between the two sects of Islam. More than 10, 000 Shi’i and Sunni Muslims offered their Eid ul-Fitr prayers together.
The group intends to make joint prayer a permanent feature in every city in near future. Their second big event was the celebration of Eid ul-Adha prayer in the city of Lucknow. Shi’is and Sunnis prayed Eid ul-Adha together at the Imambara Sibtainabad Lawn, one of the main centers of Shi’i Islam in Lucknow. This even again proved to be a great success and recieved support from Indians of all walks of life. People from Grand Ayatollah Al-Sayyid Ali Sistani to All India Majlis-e-Mushawarat extended support for the event.
“Shoulder To Shoulder” plans to take their initiative forward. In the words of one of the organizer, “We plan to take this forward. From salah/namaz to other humanitarian gestures, we will bridge the gap between the wo sects until both sects are shoulder to shoulder.”
On the same note, a group of Sunni and Shi’i Muslims in the Greater Chicago region have formed the Shia-Sunni Unity Council (SSUC), and they have been working together since 2013 in order to establish harmony and cooperation between the two most important denominations of Islam. The following points are the stated objectives of SSUC:
- Promoting mutual understanding between mainstream Sunnis and Shias with respect to differences, and building on common ground.
- Promoting joint religious, educational and social activities.
- Promoting peaceful co-existence of the two communities by mitigating derogatory behavior.
Let us pledge that during this month Muharram we will all do our job together to bring peace and harmony between Shi’is and Sunnis, between Muslims of all stripes, between Muslims and non-Muslims, and between all of humanity.Read More