TAFAKKUR: Part 187
The Solar Eclipse and Its Fine Balance
A heavenly spectacle happening every 6585.32 days, lasting up to 7.5 seconds, can be seen along a track 300 kms wide but cannot be observed with the naked eye
A solar eclipse is a celestial event that takes place when the moon gets in between the earth and the sun. This event has always caught the attention of mankind since the beginning of time and has always been a matter to ponder upon. For example, why can a lunar eclipse be observed everywhere on earth under the night sky yet seeing a solar eclipse is only limited to a corridor 300 km in diameter? A solar eclipse is dependent upon two conditions: First there needs to be an intersection of a lunar orbit with the earth’s orbital plane; second the phase of the moon at the time needs to be a new moon. Because there are 12 months in a year, one would expect 12 solar eclipses, but a 5 degree difference between orbital planes makes this intersection a less frequent event. The diameter of a lunar shadow on earth during a solar eclipse is only 300 km while the shadow of the earth falls on the moon as wide as 12,000 km in diameter.
The sun and the moon, the brightest objects that are most visible to our eyes, are not hanging up there without any purpose. In addition to their many significant effects on our biological, psychological and social conditions, the sun and the moon offer us incredible reasons to be amazed not least during the eclipse when we observe from the earth their complete overlap: a star as big as almost 1.5 million km and a satellite as small as 3,500 km in diameter. The sun and the moon need to be positioned in their orbits with such a precise calculation that this enormous size difference does not get noticed during a solar eclipse by an observer on the ground. This is only possible when both the sun’s and the moon’s distances to the earth are reversely proportioned to their sizes. This fine balance is called “angular diameter” or “visual angle” by scientists. Therefore, in order for a complete solar eclipse to take place, the sun’s and the moon’s angular diameter need to be equal to each other.
If we have to explain this with mathematical expressions:
Lunar diameter / Moon-Earth distance = Solar diameter / Sun-Earth Distance
If we take numbers as below:
Lunar diameter 3,474 km, Moon-Earth distance 376,000 km, solar diameter 1,400,000 km, Sun-Earth Distance 149,000,000 km
Then we get two similar ratios:
3,474 / 376,000 = 0.009239361
1,400,000 / 149,000,000 = 0.009395973
As seen above, the ratio of the two independent and unrelated numbers turns out to be very similar to each other indicating the management of the universe through fine care, calculated fashion and wisdom. The significance of the angular diameter in this solar phenomenon is oftentimes ignored or covered not sufficiently enough in documentaries, books, and journals, whereas it offers a lot for us to ponder deeply over how the entire universe relates to our lives through many apparently irrelevant events. The sun and the moon and their eclipses are substantial reasons for awareness, appreciation and prayer, as highlighted in a Qur’anic verse:
“And the night and the day, and the sun and the moon (all the phenomena and objects you see in the universe) are among His signs (guiding to His absolute Oneness). Do not prostrate in adoration of the sun or the moon, but prostrate in adoration of God, Who has created them, if indeed it is Him that you worship.” (Fussilat 41:37)
A solar eclipse, as do all other things in our material universe, takes place in a world of causations. Yet, it takes place in such mysterious finely tuned measurements that may become a reason for divine testing, and it has been more so in the past for that matter. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, gave a warning on this issue for us not to fail this test: “The sun and the moon are two signs of God; they are not eclipsed on account of anyone’s death or on account of anyone’s birth. So when you see them, glorify and supplicate God, observe prayer, give alms.” Thus, it is important to observe the universe and use our intelligence to discover the laws operative in nature and the divine wisdom behind those seemingly supernatural events.
Sunan Ibn Majah, The Chapters on Marriage, Hadith 1881
It was narrated from Abu Musa that:
the Messenger of Allah said: “There is no marriage except with a guardian.”
Sunan Ibn Majah, The Chapters on Marriage, Hadith 1881/2015
I had a dream where I posted something agaimst Islamophobia and lost a bunch of followers
Idk what I wrote, but if you’re Islamophobic, kindly unfollow me, and I hate you
During the time of the Prophet ﷺ, there was a man named Tufayl Ibn ‘Amr who was known as one of the most brilliant men of his time. He belonged to a tribe called Daus, but came to Makkah because he heard about the message of the Prophet ﷺ and was curious.
Due to his well-known status, he was greeted at the gates of Makkah by the leaders of Quraysh. They greeted him warmly, then warned him of “a man named Muhammad who was causing trouble”. They advised Tufayl to avoid the Prophet ﷺ during his stay while they figured things out.
Despite this, Tufayl ends up running into the Prophet ﷺ anyway. He hears the Prophet ﷺ recite Qur’an, is intrigued, and asks him for more. He later accepts Islam, and after spending days with the Prophet ﷺ, the Prophet ﷺ instructs him to return home and preach to his people.
Tufayl returns home and is greeted by his father. His father asks him how his trip went and Tufayl immediately says, “I’ve become Muslim. You need to accept what I’ve accepted. Otherwise, you and I are done.” His father is initially taken back, but becomes Muslim.
Tufayl does the same thing with his wife and mother. Again, both are initially taken aback, but accept the message. However, when Tufayl stands in front of his tribe and gives them the same ultimatum, the tribe collectively tells him to get lost.
Tufayl gets angry, tells his family to pack their belongings, and returns to Makkah. The Prophet ﷺ, seeing him, asks why he’s back. Tufayl says, “Oh Prophet of Allah, Daus are a very disobedient people who’ve been dominated by alcohol and fornication. Make du’a against them.”
The Prophet ﷺ raises his hands, and in that moment, the Companions thought the Prophet ﷺ would make du’a against Daus and that they’d be destroyed. Instead, the Prophet ﷺ says, “Oh Allah, guide the people of Daus.” Then he told Tufayl, “Return to your people and be gentle.”
The Companions remarked that they didn’t see Tufayl again for ten years. It wasn’t until the year Khaybar took place that they noticed a large group on the horizon riding up to Madinah, and because it had been so long, they were barely able to recognize Tufayl.
Tufayl had returned with more than 80 families (each family comprising more than 10 individuals) numbering more than 1000 people. He told the Prophet ﷺ, “Oh Messenger of Allah, I brought the entire tribe of Daus to accept Islam from you.”
After they all accepted Islam and learned the basics, the entire tribe of Daus returned home, except for one person who stayed behind to follow the Prophet around and learn from him. That man’s name was Abdulrahman Ibn Sakhr Al-Dausi, nicknamed Abu Hurairah.
“Da’wah” that is devoid of mercy and compassion isn’t da’wah; it’s lordliness. If I find myself unable to exhibit patience and gentleness when calling others towards Islam, it may be best for me to step back and make da’wah to myself first before lecturing others.
From @nablusiya on twitter
THE MATHNAWI BOOK V STORY VI. The Disciple who blindly imitated his Shaikh.
An ignorant youth entered an assembly of pious persons who were being addressed by a holy Shaikh. He saw the Shaikh weeping copiously, and in mere blind and senseless imitation he copied the Shaikh’s behavior, and wept as copiously himself, though he understood not a word of the discourse. In fact, he behaved just like a deaf man who sees those around him laughing, and laughs himself out of compliment to them, though he knows not the subject of their merriment, and is obliged to have it explained to him before he can laugh again with real perception of the joke. After he had wept in this ignorant way for some time he made due obeisance to the Shaikh, and took his departure. But one of the Shaikh’s true disciples, being jealous for the honor of his master, followed him, and thus addressed him, “I adjure you by Allah that you go not and say, ‘I saw the Shaikh weeping, and I too wept like him.’ Your ignorant and mere imitative weeping is totally unlike the weeping of that holy saint. Such weeping as his is only possible to one who has, like him, waged the spiritual war for thirty years. His weeping is not caused by worldly grieves, but by the deep concerns of the spirit. You cannot perceive by reason or sense the spiritual mysteries that are open and plain to his enlightened vision, any more than the darkness can behold the light. His breathings are as those of 'Isa, and not like mere human sighs raised by worldly sorrows. His tears and his smiles and his speeches are not his own, but proceed from Allah. Fools like you are ignorant of the motive and design of saints’ actions, and therefore only harm themselves if they try to imitate them, without understanding their meaning.” To illustrate this a curious story is told of a foolish lady who copied a trick of her clever slave-girl, without understanding the modus operandi, and by so doing caused her own death. In like manner parrots are taught to speak without understanding the words. The method is to place a mirror between the parrot and the trainer. The trainer, hidden by the mirror, utters the words, and the parrot, seeing his own reflection in the mirror, fancies another parrot is speaking, and imitates all that is said by the trainer behind the mirror. So God uses prophets and saints as mirrors whereby to instruct men, being Himself all the time hidden behind these mirrors, viz., the bodies of these saints and prophets; and men, when they hear the words proceeding from these mirrors, are utterly ignorant that they are really being spoken by “Universal Reason” or the “Word of God” behind the mirrors of the saints.
The worthlessness of mere blind imitation (taqlid) of religious exercises.
When a friend tells a joke to his friend,
The deaf man who listens laughs twice over;
The first time from imitation and foolishness,
Because he sees all the party laughing;
Yet, though he laughs like the others,
He is then ignorant of the subject of their laughter;
Then he inquires what the laughter was about,
And, on hearing it, proceeds to laugh a second time.
Wherefore the blind imitator is like a deaf man,
In regard to the joy he feigns to feel.
The light is the Shaikh’s, the fountain the Shaikh’s,
And the outpouring of joy is also the Shaikh’s, not his.
'Tis like water in a vessel, or light through a glass;
If they think they come from themselves, they are wrong.
When the vessel leaves the fountain, it sees its error;
It sees the water in it comes from the fountain.
The glass also learns, when the moon sets,
That its light proceeded from the shining of the moon.
When his eyes are opened by the command, “Arise!” 1
Then that disciple smiles a second time, like the dawn.
He laughs also at his own previous laughter,
Which overtook him out of mere blind imitation.
When he returns from his long and distant wanderings
He says, “Lo! this was the truth, this the secret!
With what blindness and misconception did I pretend.
To experience joy in that distant valley?
What a delusion I was under! what a mistake!
My feeble wit conjured up vain imaginations.”
How can an infant on the road know the thoughts of men?
How far its fancies are removed from true knowledge!
The thoughts of infants run on the nurse and milk,
Or on raisins or nuts, or on crying and wailing.
The blind imitator is like a feeble infant,
Even though he possesses fine arguments and proofs.
His preoccupation with obscure arguments and proofs
Drags him away from insight into truth.
His stock of lore, which is the salve of his eyes,
Bears him off and plunges him in difficult questions.
Ah! man of imitation, come out of Bokhara! 2
And humble yourself in order to be exalted.
Then you will, behold another Bokhara within you,
Whereof the heroes ignore these questions of law.
Though a footman may be swift of foot on land,
Yet on the sea he is as one with ruptured tendons.
That footman is only “carried by land,” 3
But he who is “carried by sea” is the truly learned one.
The King of kings showers special favors upon him;
Know this, O man pledged to vain illusions!
The mere legal theologian is impotent to behold the light of the Spirit.
When the day dawns from heaven night flees away;
What, then, can its darkness know of the nature of light?
The gnat scuds away before the blast of the winds;
What, then, knows the gnat of the savor of the winds?
When the Eternal appears the transitory is annulled;
What, then, knows he transitory of the Eternal?
When He sets foot on the transitory He bewilders it;
When it is become naught He sheds his light upon it, 4
If you wish, you can adduce hundreds of precedents,
But I take no heed of them, O man poor in spirit!
The letters Lam, Mim, and Ha, Mim prefixed to some Suras
Resemble the staff of Moses, when fully understood. 5
Ordinary letters resemble these 'to outward view,
But are far beneath them in signification.
If an ordinary man 'take a staff and try it,
Will it prove like the staff of Moses in the test?
This breath of 'Isa is not like every ordinary breath,
Which proceeds from mere human joy or sorrow.
These Alif, Mim, Ha and Mim, O father,
Proceed from the Lord of mankind.
If you have sense, regard not in the same way as these
Every ordinary Alif and Lam which resembles these;
Although these sacred letters consist of common ones,
And resemble common ones in their composition.
Muhammad himself was formed of flesh and skin,
Although no man is of the same genus as he.
He had flesh and skin and bones,
Although no man resembles him in composition;
Because in his composition were contained divine powers,
Whereby all human flesh was confounded.
In like manner the composition of the letters Ha, Mim
Is far exalted above ordinary compounds of letters;
Because from these mysterious compositions comes life,
Even as utter confusion follows the last trump.
That staff becomes a serpent and divides the Nile,
Like the staff of Ha, Mim, by the grace of God.
Its outward form resembles the outward forms of others,
Yet the disk of a cake differs much from the moon’s disk.
The saint’s weeping and laughter and speech
Are not his own, but proceed from God.
Whereas fools look only to outward appearances,
These mysteries are totally hidden from them;
Of necessity the real meaning is veiled from them,
For the mystery is lost in the intervening medium.
Then follows an anecdote of a man who heard whelps barking in their mother’s womb. A voice came from heaven and explained that these whelps were like the men who have not emerged into the light of truth, but are still veiled in spiritual darkness, and, though they make pretensions to spiritual sight, their discourses are useless, both to procure spiritual food for themselves, and to warn their hearers of spiritual dangers.
Next comes an anecdote of a pious man of Zarwan, who made a point of giving to the poor four times the legal amount of alms due from his growing crops. Thus, instead of paying one-tenth on each crop, which is the legal amount enjoined by the Prophet, 6 he was wont to pay one-tenth of the green ears of corn, another tenth of the ripe wheat, a third tenth of the threshed grain, and a fourth of the bread made therefrom, and so on with grapes and other produce of hi garden. In recognition of his piety God blessed his garden and made it bear fruit abundantly. But his sons, who were blind to spiritual matters, saw only his lavish expenditure upon the poor, and could not see the divine blessing upon the garden, called down by his liberality, and rebuked him for his extravagance. There is no limit to the divine bounty, because God’s ability to bestow bounties, unlike human ability, is unbounded and infinite.
1. Koran lxxiv. 2. Dawn smiles first as “false dawn,” and the second time as “true dawn.”
2. Alluding to Bokhari, the author of the “Sahih Bokhari,” the first and most esteemed collection of traditions.
3. Koran xvii. 72. The man of “external knowledge” is “carried only by land,” but the mystic is led over sea as well.
4. When reason is annihilated, the “Truth” is reflected in the resulting caput mortuum or Not-being, as in a mirror (Gulshan i Raz, I. 125).
5. These letters were supposed to have mysterious meanings. See Rodwell, Koran, p. 17, note.
6. Miskat ul Masabih, i. 417.
It has been reported on the authority of Abu Humaid as-Sa'idi who said:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) appointed a man from the Azd tribe called Ibn al-Utbiyya, in charge of Sadaqat to be received from Banu Sulaim. When he came (back), the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) asked him to render his account. He said: This wealth is for you (i.e. for the public treasury) and this is a gift (presented to me). The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: You should have remained in the house of your father and your mother, until your gift came to you if you spoke the truth; then he addressed us. He praised God and extolled Him, and afterwards said: I appoint a man from you to a responsible post sharing with him authority that God has entrusted to me, and he comes to me saying: This wealth is for you (i.e. for the public treasury) and this is a gift presented to me. Why did he not remain in the house of his father and his mother and his gift came to him, if he was truthful? By God, any one of you will not take anything from (the public funds) without any justification, but will meet his Lord carrying it on himself on the Day of judgment. I will recognise any one of you meeting Allah and carrying a growling camel, or a cow bellowing or a goat bleating. Then he raised his hands so high that whiteness of his armpits could be seen. Then he said: O my Lord, I have conveyed (Thy Commandments). The narrator says: My eyes saw (the Prophet standing in that pose) and my ears heard (what he said).
Sahih Muslim, The Book on Government, Book 33, Hadith 39
Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam ‘ala Rasulillah Narrated Ibn 'Abbas (Radi-Allahu 'anhu):
The Prophet (Sallallahu 'Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “If anyone of you, when having sexual relation with his wife, say: 'In the name of Allah. O Allah! Protect us from Satan and prevent Satan from approaching our offspring you are going to give us,’ and if he begets a child (as a result of that relation) Satan will not harm it.”
Bukhari Vol. 4 : No. 493
ISLAM 101: Muslim Culture and Character: Morals And Manners: Hilm (Gentleness)
Hilm means being inclined to gentleness or mildness; this adjective describes a person who is quiet and peaceful, slow to anger, quick to forgive, and who is in control of their lower nature. It also encompasses good akhlaq because it embodies behavior like patience and tolerance in the face of unpleasant situations, keeping one’s cool when provoked, and remaining dignified, serious and calm in response to distressing or unkind treatment. Hilm, along with humility, is one of the charac- teristics that most pleases God. In fact, these two dispositions are the source and origin of all other good character traits.
In addition to dignity and calm, hilm also means to act with consciousness and without haste. The result is a good and moral manner which pleases God. Hilm is one of the basic elements of good morality. With hilm it is also possible to perfect the mind and to improve other aspects of one’s temperament. Just as knowledge can be gained through learning, so hilm can be attained by making an effort. In other words, it is possible to reachhilm by working.
Hilm is also closely related to controlling one’s negative re- sponses and reactions. It is much more difficult for those who can- not control or reign their temper to attain a state of hilm. Scholars consider the ability to act with hilm to be among the most virtu- ous practices.
Humans are distinguished and privileged among all creatures. God Almighty blessed people with lofty attributes that He en- dowed on no other creature, like intelligence, conscience, mercy, compassion, empathy, and the desire to help, respect, and honor. For this reason, the human being is the most valuable being in all creation.
As we can see, hilm indicates total gentleness, as well as behav- ior such as overlooking faults, forgiving others, and being open to everyone for the sake of dialogue.
THE HILM (GENTLENESS) OF THE PROPHET
Our Prophet, both before and after his prophethood, was the gen- tlest of people. This is a quality that he carried throughout his life. God Himself protected the Prophet from ever losing his hilm, and was pleased with the Prophet because of it. God spoke of this in the Qur’an: “It was by a mercy from God that (at the time of the set- back), you (O Messenger) were lenient with your followers. Had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they would surely have scattered away from about you” (Al Imran 3:159).
The Prophet never thought to avenge himself for wrongs done to his person. In addition, he was the hardest to anger, the easiest to please, and the most forgiving of all. When Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, began his prophetic mission to teach people about God’s commands, the disbelievers in the Quraysh tribe leveled every kind of insult and indignity at him. They ridi- culed the Prophet, threatened to kill him, spread thorns on his path, threw excrement at him, and even threw a noose around his neck and tried to drag him by it. Not stopping at this, they called him a conjurer and sorcerer, and said he was possessed; they tried every- thing they could think of to anger him. But the Prophet endured everything they did to him without reacting.
No one, whoever they may be, would be able to refrain from becoming angry, and thus react and try to respond in kind when insulted or attacked in such a way by others. Yet the Prophet did none of these things. He was extremely calm, patient, and toler- ant. He strove to carry out the responsibility given to him by God. Perhaps this is why he did not respond to the torments he was subjected to.
Someone who heard the Prophet explaining Islam to people in the market place in Mecca related, “Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was declaring the Oneness of God, and that those who believe in the One God would be saved. Abu Jahl started throwing rocks at him, and shouting, ‘People, do not listen to this man! He is trying to get you to abandon your religion. He wants to separate you from our idols Lat and Uzza!’ The Prophet refused to acknowledge the instigation; he did not once turn to look at Abu Jahl. He simply continued his duty.”1
Another day, the Prophet was going to visit Sa’d ibn Ubada, one of the Companions who had fallen ill. On the way, he en- countered a gathering assembled by the ringleader of the unbeliev- ers, ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy. The Prophet stopped for a while. Ibn Ubayy began to taunt the Prophet, saying arrogantly, “Careful you, your animal is making dust. Get out of here, your animal is bothering us!” The Prophet greeted the group and then began to speak of Islam. Ibn Ubayy, seeing that the people were listening to him, was beside himself. Saying, “If anyone wants to hear some- thing from you he will come to you! Do not talk to us of Islam!”,
he hurled curses at the Prophet. But the Prophet’s adab would not let him respond in kind; he simply continued his address. On see- ing this, the great poet ‘Abdullah ibn Rawaha was moved; he stood up and said, “O Messenger of God, come here more often, and speak to us; we love you greatly!” Then a disagreement began between the Muslims and the disbelievers. They started to argue. The Prophet, calm and gentle as always, calmed them down and then departed, continuing on his way.2
The Jewish tribes living in the Arabian Peninsula at that time were among the Prophet’s most relentless enemies. Some of them had a rancorous, jealous, greedy character. It should also be noted that these Jews took great pains to separate their own education, scholarship and literature from the Arabs, whom they believed to be inferior in these areas. As a result, they knew about the prophe- cies concerning the advent of a new Messenger, and were waiting for the coming of God’s Messenger. When Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, first declared his prophetic mis- sion from God, many Jews who had thought that the Prophet would be from the Children of Israel did not believe him. These enemies created the most evil strategies against him and tried des- perately to get rid of him.
One of them cast a spell on the Prophet, who became ill and was confined to bed for several days. Finally Archangel Gabriel came and told him, “O Muhammad, one from among the Jewish people cast a spell on you by throwing a knotted string into (such and such a well). Send someone there and have him remove the string.” The Prophet sent Ali, who took out the knotted string and brought it to him. As soon as they untied the knot he was released from the illness and got well. Although he knew who had done this, the Prophet never confronted the perpetrator about it.3
However, there were, of course, good and righteous people among the People of the Book (those who had been blessed with previous Revelations; that is, the Jews and Christians); there were those who sought the truth. There were many signs and much knowledge in the earlier Scriptures regarding the unique characteris- tics and virtues of the coming Prophet, that is, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.
One of the most easily recognizable of the signs related in the Torah about the coming Prophet was his hilm. The Torah pro- claimed that the Prophet would be of gentle spirit and show great patience and tolerance in inviting the people to God’s way. The Jewish scholars saw with their own eyes that the Prophet had many qualities which the Torah had predicted. Some of them con- tinued to search and question, and when they saw all of the signs fulfilled in the Prophet they believed him.
One of these Jewish scholars, thinking, “I have seen in him ev- ery single sign and characteristic foretold in the Torah except hilm,” decided to test this last trait. “I went and lent the Prophet thirty di- nar for a specified time. Then I went to him one day before the payment date and said, ‘O Muhammad, pay me back. You sons of Abdul Muttalib never pay your debts on time.’” Hearing this, Umar retorted, “O foul Jew, by God, if we were not in the Messenger’s house, I would slap your face.” But the Messenger said to Umar, “O Umar, God forgive you. I expected better from you. You should have said that I would gladly pay what I owe him, and you should have said that you would assist him to collect it and acted courte- ously toward him.”
The Jewish man recounts, “The Messenger responded to my ignorant, harsh, rude manner only by increasing his own gentleness. He said to me, ‘O Jewish man, I will surely pay you back tomorrow morning.’ Then he told Umar, ‘O Umar, tomorrow morning take him to whichever date grove he wishes, and give him as much as he wishes. Then give him more than he asks for. If he is not pleased with the dates in that grove, take him to another one.’
“The following day Umar brought me to the date grove of my choice. He gave me as much as the Messenger had told him to, and added even more.” The Jewish man, after being repaid in this manner by the Prophet, declared the shahada, or testimony of faith, and became a Muslim. He explained his conversion to Umar as follows: “O Umar, do you know why I acted that way to the Messenger of God? I acted thus because I saw in him all of the characteristics and morals foretold in the writings of the Torah. The only ones I had not observed were hilm and kindness. Today I tried his patience, and he responded just as the Torah said he would. With you as my witness, I hereby donate these dates and half of all my possessions to the poor among the Muslims.” This one simple demonstration of the Prophet’s patience and gentleness brought many other people to belief.4
The Prophet responded to words and actions that were turned against him with maturity, compassion, and kindness. He exhibit- ed akhlaq to a level that others could never possibly reach. Abu Said al-Khudri narrates, “The Prophet was distributing the spoils from the Battle of Hunayn to the Companions who had fought.
He gave a bit more from the captured property to some of the Companions. Among them were Aqra ibn Habis and Uyayna ibn Hisn, who each received a hundred camels. When this happened Dhu al-Khuwaysira of the house of Tamim came to him and ob- jected, saying, ‘O Messenger of God! Do not swerve from equality and justice. By God, this distribution cannot be pleasing to God!’ The Prophet was saddened and answered, ‘Shame on you, if I do not act justly, who will? For if I do not carry out justice, I will earn a terrible punishment. May God’s mercy be on Moses, he was patient in the face of worse insults than this.’”5
Another time the Prophet was in the mosque with the Companions, sitting and talking with them. A Bedouin entered and prayed two rakats of salat, then opened his hands and prayed, “O God, have mercy on me and on Muhammad. Do not have mercy on anyone else.” When the Prophet heard him praying thus, he said, “You are limiting God’s great and wide mercy,” thus cor- recting the Bedouin’s mistake.
A little later, the Bedouin got up, went to a corner of the mosque, and urinated there. When the Companions saw what he was doing they jumped up to stop him. The Prophet, however, in- tervened and told them, “Leave him alone. Let him see what he has done. Later, go and wash it with a bucket of water, for you have been sent to make the way easier, not to complicate.” Then he called the Bedouin to his side and told him, “Mosques are not for reliev- ing ourselves or for any other kind of uncleanness. They are made for the remembrance of God, praying, and reading the Qur’an.”6
This incident happened in the mosque that our Prophet had helped build with his own hands for the purpose of worship; the man had made a very great error. But the Prophet knew that the Bedouin had not done so intentionally, but rather out of ignorance.
It is only when one is confronted with repulsive behavior that a display of understanding, tolerance and gentleness can be truly meaningful; it is at such times that being forgiving and forbearing are most difficult. Indeed, anyone can be patient and calm during normal situations. Just as he was in every other way, the Prophet was extraordinary in his hilm and gentleness. In fact he was utterly unique; it would be impossible to find his equal.
Anas ibn Malik tells of another example of the hilm and gen- tleness of the Prophet: “I was walking with the Prophet. He was wearing a garment made of rough Najran fabric. A Bedouin came running up behind the Prophet, grabbed his robe and yanked it back. His garment was torn and his neck rubbed raw by this roughness.” The man had yanked it so hard and the fabric was so rough that it left an angry welt on the Prophet’s neck. Then the man said, “O Muhammad! Load my camels with grain. For the possessions you hold do not belong to you nor to your father.”
The Bedouin’s behavior was rude and uncouth, and the Prophet was troubled. He turned to the man and said, “First apologize, for you have injured me.” The Bedouin retorted, “No, I will not apolo- gize.” The Prophet was trying to guide him in the way of courtesy, but the other man was unconcerned. The Prophet then turned to the Companions and, ignoring the man’s incivility, instructed them, “Load one of this man’s camels with barley, and the other with dates.” The man, satisfied, went away. The Companions were sur- prised by the Prophet’s kind treatment of this rude Bedouin.7
Likewise, our Prophet treated all those under his authority and in his service with the utmost gentleness; he did not get angry with them or hurt their feelings. Even if they were negligent in their duties or did not do what they said they would, he would only inquire with kindness and polite consideration.
Anas ibn Malik, who was in his service for many years, spoke of the akhlaq of the Prophet: “I served the Messenger for ten years. He never once showed impatience with me, never reproved me for neglecting to do something, nor ever asked me why I had done something I was not supposed to do.”8
Anas recalled one time when the Prophet had to admonish him for neglecting his duty, “The Messenger of God sent me out one day with a task. At first I said, ‘By God, I cannot go.’ But in wardly I felt compelled to go wherever he sent me. I went out, and then I came across some children playing on the street. I for- got myself and started playing with them. Then the Prophet came up behind me, and put his hand on my head. I looked at his face, and he was smiling. ‘Dear Anas, did you go where I sent you?’ he asked. ‘Yes, I am going, O Messenger of God,’ I said.”9
The Prophet’s wife Aisha said that the Prophet once advised her, “O Aisha, be gentle. For wherever gentleness is found, its pres- ence beautifies, but wherever gentleness is absent, its absence is ugly.”10
Our Prophet’s true courage and heroism was not in the physi- cal strength to overpower, but in the knowledge and ability to stay calm when something upset him and to act gently even when he was offended.
‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud relates, “The Messenger of God said, ‘Who among you do you call a hero?’ We answered, ‘One whom the wrestlers cannot defeat; one who cannot be overcome.’ He re- plied, ‘No, that is not a hero. The hero is one who can control himself when offended, the one who always practices self-mastery and temperance.’”11
From this perspective, Prophet Muhammad, peace and bless- ings be upon him, was a hero in the true sense of the word. He could not be defeated by his enemies in this aspect as well; those who sought to defeat his self-control, to overwhelm his restraint, could not do so. Instead, God’s Messenger responded to wrongs done against his person with forbearance.
According to a narration of Jarir ibn ‘Abdullah, the Prophet said, “Without a doubt, God rewards gentleness and kindness, not harshness and roughness. And when God loves one of His ser- vants, He grants them the blessing of gentleness. A person or household bereft of this blessing is bereft of everything.”12
The “gentleness and kindness” referred to here means a mature morality which requires, on principle, that one never loses one’s temper. To get irritated and fly into a rage at any time is totally contrary to the nature of hilm, which entails a gentle and morally up- right character. Thus, disciplining oneself in this one area—by cool- ing a quick temper and avoiding irritability—can bring a great num- ber of positive effects and make great changes in one’s morality.
Abdur Rahman ibn Awf relates, “Once someone came to our Prophet and asked, ‘O Messenger of God! Teach me words with which I can attain comfort and peace. But let them be brief, so I won’t forget.’ The Prophet replied, ‘Don’t lose your temper!’”13
Our Beloved Prophet taught us that there is also a satanic side to anger, and gave a practical solution: “Anger is from Satan, and Satan is created from fire. Fire can only be put out with water. For this reason, when you become angry, make ablutions.”14 Another helpful solution from the Prophet is, “When one of you becomes angry, if he is standing, let him immediately sit down. If his anger passes, good; if it does not, let him lie down.”15
ISLAM 101: Muslim Culture and Character: Dynamics of Spiritual Life: Part 6
Conscience, which has a central position in a person’s being and feeling that he or she is a human being, is a spiritual mechanism which wills, feels, perceives and is always open to eternity.
The will-power, feeling, mind and heart which are the “senses” or faculties of the perceptiveness of the spirit, is also the most important dynamics of conscience, by which a person is able to attain human perfection in this world and eternal happiness and vision of the Almighty in the next.
Conscience is a pure, bright mirror to the existence of God and is matchless in recognizing Him and making Him known to others, provided it has eyes to look with insight. Since collective conscience serves as an unerring and undeceiving judge, everyone should resign themselves to its verdicts and affirm it as a referee in their disputes. Duty is what God commands and Prophets carry out and communicate with others. Everyone must accept it and set themselves to do it. God, the Truth, is the Absolute Judge and conscience is the purest mirror to Him. It reflects whatever it reflects with such clarity and power that only the dread of inability to live up to its truth can cloud it, and even that most rarely. The more intellectually and spiritually disciplined one is, the more consistent and harmonious one’s thoughts and actions are. The more open to the realms beyond one’s conscience is, the more Divinely inspired and guided one’s manners are. Since conscience is the feeling and perceptive faculty of the spirit, it has always been regarded as open to the realms beyond, uncontained by space, having sound criteria and as pure as angels.
There are many judges and almost all of them issue verdicts based on the same sources, and yet their verdicts may differ. But the conscience is a judge with such penetrating insight that it can issue verdicts based on truths and its verdicts will deceive no one.
Collective conscience means the perception, discernment, and insight of the great majority of people and therefore rarely errs, especially when its knowledge is corroborated by a Divinely inspired source.
Seeds of Reality 75
If doubt in the matters of belief destroys one, or even a hundred, evidences, it does not harm what is posited; for there are hundreds of evidences.
~Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (r.a.)~