Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Last Update : 03:48 PM IST

  Opinion   Oped  09 Dec 2017  Mystic Mantra: The right message of Islam

Mystic Mantra: The right message of Islam

Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam. She can be contacted at sadiafeedback@gmail.com
Published : Dec 9, 2017, 1:58 am IST
Updated : Dec 9, 2017, 5:08 am IST

The Prophet taught to love the one God, emphasising that the path leading to him consists of kindness, compassion and moderation.

The only way to spread the right message of Islam is for Muslim to become exemplary ambassadors of the true prophetic message, which is one of peace, compassion and mercy.
 The only way to spread the right message of Islam is for Muslim to become exemplary ambassadors of the true prophetic message, which is one of peace, compassion and mercy.

This blessed month of Prophet Muhammad’s birth invites reflection on his message. He inspired with the words: “I have come to perfect noble character.” Ayesha, his wife once commented: “His character was the Quran. He approved of what the Quran approved and disapproved of what the Quran disapproved.” Prophet Muhammad said the bankrupt ones are those who despite good deeds of prayer and worship, abuse one another, treat neighbours badly and lack virtue.  

The Prophet’s character was based on moderation, generosity, justice, dignity, moral excellence, humility, bravery, sympathy for others, detachment of the world, and constant fear of the Lord. He chose poverty over wealth, sleeping on the floor with a bed made of stuffed palm fibres.

Muhammad’s kindness extended to all beings particularly towards women, children and animals. On seeing the Prophet kissing his grandchildren, a companion remarked that he had 10 children but had never kissed any of them. Muhammad commented: “He who does not show mercy will not receive mercy.”

The Prophet taught to love the one God, emphasising that the path leading to him consists of kindness, compassion and moderation. He taught that women be respected and accorded a high status to mothers declaring: “Paradise lies beneath the feet of the mothers.” Laying emphasis on purification of the heart, he said: “Surely in the breasts of humanity is a lump of flesh, if sound then the whole body is sound, and if corrupt then the whole body is corrupt. Is it not the heart?” On another occasion, he said: “The most excellent jihad is to speak up for the truth, in the face of a tyrannical authority.”

A man once asked Prophet Muhammad for advice, and he said: “Do not become angry.” The man asked the question again and he got the same reply. The man questioned him a third time and the Prophet repeated his advice. Prophet Muhammad said that the strong man is not one who can wrestle people, but one who controls himself when angry.

The Prophet promised paradise to a sinful woman who fetched water for a dog and saved him from dying of thirst. On another occasion when a cat slept on the Prophet’s garment, he cut the sleeve to leave the cat undisturbed while he got up to offer prayers. Once, while heading for an armed conflict, the messenger noticed a bitch delivering her litter and asked his followers to change tracks, ensuring that the animal did not get trampled.

Laying great emphasis on the heart, Muhammad spoke of it as a repository of knowledge, sensitive to the needs of the body. He said that wrongdoing irritates the heart for it perceives wrong action and is designed to be in a state of calm. In established narrations, the Prophet said: “When in doubt ask your heart for a fatwa, ruling, for virtue is when the heart and soul are at peace.” Another time he said: “The best Islam is feeding the hungry and spreading peace amongst those you know and those you do not know.”

Today we see Islam being hijacked by the discourse of anger and the rhetoric of hate. We must remember that Prophet Muhammad, called us to moderation often repeated warnings of extremism, he said, “Beware of extremism, for it was extremism that destroyed the communities before you.” He also said: “Moderation. Moderation! Moderation. For only with moderation will you succeed.”

The “middle way” of the Prophet must be restored, one that defines Islam as an authentic summon to cultural and spiritual renewal. Nothing defames Prophet Muhammad and his message than those who kill innocents and spread terror in the name of Islam. The only way to spread the right message of Islam is for Muslim to become exemplary ambassadors of the true prophetic message, which is one of peace, compassion and mercy.

Tags: prophet muhammad, quran