Reflecting on the Example of the Prophet’s (Pbuh) Companions
Present-day Muslims find that all the many efforts that they continue to make produce no positive results at all and why all their sacrifices, of lives and wealth, have been an utter waste.
By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
There is a narrative related by Tabarani about the Companions of the Prophet. It has been quoted by Ibn Kathir in his commentary on Chapter al-Asr of the Quran. The narrator of the narrative is a Companion, Abdullah ibn Hasan. He says that whenever any two of the Companions of the Prophet would meet, they would not part from each other until one of them had recited the Chapter al-Asr to the other. They would then say ‘Salam’ to each other and leave.
This was the practice of the Companions of the Prophet. Now, compare this with the practice of many present-day Muslims. When they meet each other—be it two of them or more—they generally talk only about the ‘oppression’ by their supposed enemies. For instance, they talk about what the Israelis are doing to the Arabs in Palestine, the coming to power of a certain political party in India, the discrimination that Muslims are said to face in America post-9/11, exaggerated stories of Islamophobia in the West, news directed against Muslims in non-Muslim media, alleged anti-Muslim conspiracies, claims about anti-Muslim prejudice in government institutions. And so on.
The fact is that these and other such cases of what many present-day Muslims term as ‘oppression and prejudice’ existed, and in a more severe form, at the time of the Prophet’s Companions. Yet, the Prophet’s Companions did not discuss these things. They would always discuss those matters that the Quran considers worth talking about.
This sharp distinction between the Prophet’s Companions and many of today’s Muslims indicates why it was that the former were successful and why the latter have failed. It tells us why the former were blessed with the help of God, and why present-day Muslims find that all the many efforts that they continue to make produce no positive results at all and why all their sacrifices, of lives and wealth, have been an utter waste. It tells us why it is that while Muslims today gather in huge numbers in mosques and beseech God, they find that their supplications are not accepted by Him. It tells us why it is that while present-day Muslims claim to be the ‘best community’, actually the truth is quite the opposite.
Imam Malik ibn Anas (d. 795 CE) is said to have remarked that the Muslim community, in its last phase, will be reformed along the same lines as it was in its first phase.
This should be considered as the guiding principle in this matter. Present-day Muslims must heed this saying of Imam Malik ibn Anas. No principle other than this is going to help them at all, no matter how hard they might try. Fiery press statements, massive rallies and demonstrations, calling down the curse of God on other communities, fanning hate and wrath on social networking sites, suicide bombing, boycott of so-called anti-Muslim businessmen, taking people hostage—till now those Muslims who have resorted to such tactics gained nothing at all from these various methods. Nor will they in the future.
All these methods are simply an expression of their anger.
In this world, you cannot get anything through anger and hatred.