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The Dangers of Narrow-Mindedness
|Despite several odds that came his way, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not buckle under pressure and reflecting on many little instances of his life, it is a sobering thought that how we as Muslims lose hope and give up, when faced with difficult situations It's life on the fast lane these days for everybody who wants to acquire everything as soon as possible. Patience and perseverance have been discarded on the wayside.-nobody really wants to practice it anymore-its so old fashioned you see or that's what some tend to think. With the materialistic world tempting us to grab wealth and fame as soon as possible, the pressure, gets on us with most of them succumbing to it as victims. So there we go again looking around for self-help books on 'how to win' 'how to succeed', 'how to make money' and 'how to be happy,' scripted by writers who are natives from land across the seven seas. But we forget that there can be no better role model than the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
"You have a good example in God's Apostle for anyone who looks to God and the Last Day and remembers God always," says the Qur'an.. Prophet Muhammad spent his life working for a cause-and that being propagation of Islam. Despite several odds that came his way, he did not buckle under pressure and reflecting on many little instances of his life, it is a sobering thought that how we as Muslims lose hope and give up when faced with similar situations be it in our day to day lives, our profession or the cause that we are working for. In the face of manifest oppression, the Prophet adopted a passive attitude and exhorted others to do the same.
The following incident has been recorded by Ibn Hisham on the authority of Abu Uthman al-Nahdi. When Suhayb decided to emigrate to Madinah, the Quraysh said to him: "You came to us in an abject and destitute state. You became rich while with us, until eventually you reached your present state of wealth. Do you think we will let you run away and take everything with you? If so you are mistaken!" Suhayb enquired, " If I hand over all of my wealth to you, will you let me go then?" They said they would, so Suhayb gave them everything he had. When the Prophet heard about this he said: " Good for Suhayb! He has made a fine profit."
At the beginning of the period he spent in Makkah, the Prophet enjoyed the protection of his uncle Abu Talib, the chief of Bani Hashim. In the tenth year of his mission, Abu Talib died and his mantle descended upon Abu Lahab. Since Abu Lahab refused to extend any protection to him, the Prophet sought the protection of some other tribe and for this purpose, he went to Taif to continue with his missionary activity of preaching the word of God. Along with Zayd ibn Harithah, the Prophet made the 65 mile journey to Taif, a fertile oasis south-east of Makkah. At that time, the power rested with three individuals-Abd Yalayl, Mas'ud and Habib. The Prophet met all three of them and all three refused to join him or even extend their protection. "I will tear the curtain of the holy Ka'bah, if God has made you his Prophet," one of them said. " Couldn't God find anyone else to send as his Prophet," added another sneeringly. "I swear I won't speak to you," said the third. Dispirited, the Prophet set out on the return journey. But still the people of Taif did not leave him alone. They set the urchins upon him and a volley of stone-throwing and abuse drove him out of the town. Zayd tried to shield the Prophet with his blanket, but with no success, he was wounded from head to foot. But later it was the same people of Taif who humbly accepted the Prophet's preaching and accepted him as the Messenger of God. In our normal transactions and interactions with others, our ego seems to play a major role in determining how we treat them.
But look how the Prophet handled the situation. When at Hudaybiyah in the year A H 6, during peace negotiations with the Quraysh, young Abu Jandal bloodstained and in chains pleaded with the Muslims not to send him back to the idolators now that he had accepted Islam, the Prophet ordered that according to the terms of the treaty which had been agreed upon, he be sent back to Makkah. " Abu Jandal," he said. "God will grant you, and those persecuted along with you, release from your suffering". When the Treaty of Hudaybiyah was being drawn up, Prophet Muhammad told Ali, to whom he was dictating the terms of the treaty to write: "In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful," The representative of the Qurasysh, Suhayl ibn Amr, said that he had no idea what the word "Rahman"-the Beneficent meant. Write, "In Your Name O God' as we are accustomed to." The Muslims were enraged and did not want to accede to Suhayl's demand, but the Prophet commanded Ali to write as Suhayl wished, then continued to dictate the terms of the treaty to him. "This is the accord entered into by Muhammad, the Messenger of God." Again Suhayl objected. " If we had considered you to be the Messenger of God, we would not have barred you from the House of God, neither would we have fought against you--write instead-" Muhammad, son of Abdullah," Ali had already written-" The Messenger of God." The Prophet told him to strike out these words, but he said he could not. So the Prophet himself struck them out, then he told Ali to write in that place-the "son of Abdullah" which he did. The Prophet continued: " The Quraysh will not prevent us from visiting the House of God." Again Suhayl objected: "No this year you must return, next year you may come and visit God's House," The Prophet accepted this demand of the Quraysh also. Next Suhayl laid down that Muslims would return any of the Quraysh who had joined them in Madinah, but that the Quraysh would not have to return any of the Muslims who happened to have come to them. Much as it infuriated the Muslims, the Prophet acceded to this demand too. He accepted all the demands of the Quraysh thus securing a ten-year truce with them. This was the ultimate test of the Prophet's patience. The Prophet did not lose his calm or give up his mission half-way because of these hurdles that came in his way.
As Muslims while we are working for a cause-be it any cause that has some beneficial effect on society, we could pick up lessons from the patience and perseverance displayed by the Prophet. People working for a cause normally do not have too many followers-they are most of the time alone in their mission.
While some leave half way due to differences in ideology, friends who promised to be with you for a lifetime leave for greener pastures. It takes a brave heart to continue with the mission despite the fact that the last ray of hope around you has burnt out and it is at times like this that it is worthwhile to turn towards the best role model that one can look for-Prophet Muhammad!
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