Embodiment of the Quran

46 EMBODIMENT OF THE QURAN (Abrahim Okimo) Such were the above words used by Hazrat Ayesha, wife of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) in describing his character. He taught the Quran to others and practised what he preached. It should be remembered that words have to be translated into actions to demonstrate the presence of moral virtues. How can one preach to others what one does not understand and practise? The best way of preaching is through personal example. The Holy Prophet practised whatever he taught. The best model is the one who has experienced adversity and success, setting a practical example of proper ‘conduct under all kinds of circumstances. This is what the Holy Prophet of Islam practised all his life from early childhood. He passed through many stages during his life from a young orphan to a king. All kinds of diverse events occured during his life which called upon him to meet and handle in the proper manner. He was a perfect model in all walks of life. He was a friend, a neighbour, business man, soldier, general, judge, adviser, statesman, husband, father and a king. He did not preach only theoretical religion but demonstrated the teachings of Islam in all situations. He was, indeed, an ideal exemplar illustrating that example is better than precept. FORGIVENESS Forgiveness, for example, requires situations for its demonstration otherwise nobody can truly claim to have exercised it. The mere preaching of mercy is of little use unless one has opportunities to show it. No doubt, according to the New Testament, Jesus is reported to have asked God to forgive his tormentors but he was not actually in a position to show practical forgiveness because they were not at his mercy. In the early days of .Islam the Holy Prophet and his small band of devoted followers were subjected to barbarous persecution by the ‘Meccans. Eventually they were compelled to find refuge in Medina. Ten Years later the Holy Prophet returned to Mecca with ten thousand followers and his persecutors were at his mercy. He could have taken revenge upon them or severely punished them for the atrocities they had earlier inflicted. He would have been quite justified to have taken retaliatory action against them. On the other hand he showed merciful magnanimity and forgave them for their cruelties. REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 47 One of his formidable enemies was Ikrama, son of Abu-Jahl, his most implacable enemy who was killed in the battle of Badr. On the Holy Prophet’s triumphant return to Mecca Ikrama fled from the town. His wife followed him and persuaded him to return and seek pardon from the Prophet who graciously granted it to him. The Holy Prophet passed through all conditions of life. He experienced adversity and prosperity and conducted himself in an exemplary manner under all circumstances. His life was a perfect commentary of the practical teachings of the Holy Quran. He practised every virtue and avoided every sin. FAITHFUL TO PROMISES The Quran instructs that one should fulfill one’s promises and agreements: And who are watchful of their trusts and their covenants. (23:9) Before the battle of Badr two of the Prophet’s companions were intercepted by the enemy on their way to join him. They were released, however, on the condition that they would not side with the Prophet. Although every man was sorely needed to participate in the vital battle that lay ahead the Prophet insisted that they should keep their promise and not join in although his followers were outnumbered by three to one. JUSTICE On the matter of justice the Holy Quran says: Verily Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others. (16:91) 0 ye who believe! be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely Allah is aware of what you do. (5:9) Once a woman of high social standing was found guilty of stealing. Her relatives endeavoured to persuade the Prophet to overlook her crime. He responded by saying that in the past nations had been destroyed because they had punished the poor but exempted the rich from punishment. He said that even if his own daughter was proved guilty of theft he would not hesitate in passing due punishment upon her. 48 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS FAIR DEALING The Holy Prophet was scrupuously honest and fair in every way just a’s he was in matters of justice. We read in the Quran: And give full measure when you measure and weigh with a right balance; that is best and most commendable in the end. (17:36) Verily Allah commands you to give over the trusts to those entitled to them, and when you judge between men you judge with justice. (4:59) Once someone came to the Holy Prophet and demanded in a rough and uncouth manner that he should return some money which he had borrowed from him. Some of the companions of the Prophet expressed their annoyance and remonstrated with the man. The Prophet interve- ned and checked them saying the man was in his right. On another occasion he observed a heap of corn for sale in the market. He thrust his arm into it and found it was wet inside although on the outer service it was dry. He reproved the owner for -deceiving the public and remarked that a person who deals unfairly with others cannot become a useful member of society. BENEVOLENCE The Holy Quran has laid much emphasis on benevolence: And worship Allah and associate naught with Him, and show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour who is a kinsman and the neighbour who is a stranger, and companion by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess. Surely Allah loves not the arrogant and the boastful. (4:37) The Holy Prophet was the most generous of men. He would never refuse a person anything if it was proper and within his means to do so. He would often receive gifts of money and merchandise which he would quickly distribute. Often he would stress the importance of being benevolent towards parents in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Quran: We have enjoined on man benevolence towards his parents. (29:91) A man once asked the Holy Prophet who deserved the kindest treatment and he replied your mother. And who after her the man asked. REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 49 your mother replied the Prophet. The man asked the same question for the third time and again received the same answer your mother. This shows the very high esteem the Holy Prophet possessed for mothers. Moreover, on another occasion he said Paradise lies at the feet of your mothers. It was established that a certain man who depended on Abu Bakr for his means of livelihood, was involved in a slander against Ayesha the wife of the Holy Prophet and who was also the daughter of Abu Bakr. The latter was very much aggrieved and ceased to support the man. When the Holy Prophet learned of the action taken by Abu Bakr he admonished him to resume giving support to the man despite of his wrongdoing. Such was the benevolent attitude of the Holy Prophet. There was an occasion during a famine when a boy stole some fruit from a garden. He was caught by the owner who gave him a thrashing. When this matter was brought to the notice of the Prophet he sent for the owner and told him that the boy was ignorant and hungry. The Prophet gave the boy a quantity of corn. TRUTHFULNESS The Holy Prophet was renowned from childhood for his truthfulness and honesty. His standards were so high that the people called him The Trusty and Truthful one. The Holy Quran describes devout followers of the Holy Quran as: Men who are truthful and women who are truthful. (9:119). The Holy Prophet said: Speak the truth even though it be against thyself. Abu Bakr was an extremely close friend of the Holy Prophet since childhood. When he heard that the Holy Prophet had claimed to be a Messenger of God he went to him and asked him if it were true. The Holy Prophet tried to explain but Abu Bakr insisted that he be just told Yes or No. Yes was the reply where upon Abu Bakr immediately accepted his claim having always known him to be strictly truthful. The Holy Prophet decided to announce his Divine mission to the people of Mecca. He called them around him and asked them whether they would believe him if he informed them that a hostile army was approaching Mecca from behind the surrounding hills? They replied that they would believe him because they had always known him to speak the truth. Then he proclaimed that he was a Messenger of God. Such were a few of the characteristics of the Holy Prophet of Islam who was a practical embodiment of the teachings of the Holy Quran. The REVIEW of RELIGIONS The Review of Religions is the oldest magazine of its kind published in English language in the Indo-Pakistan Sub-Continent. Its first issue was published in 1902 and it has been continuously published since. It bears the distinction that it was initiated under the direction of Hazrat Mirza Ghulara Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah himself. During more than eighty-eight years the message of Islam has been conveyed through this magazine to millions of readers and many fortunate persons have recognized the truth of Islam and accepted it through its study. The articles published in it deal not only with the doctrines and teachings of Islam but also set forth a comparative appreciation of the teachings of other faiths. One of its outstanding features is the refutation of the criticism of Islamic teachings by orientalists and non-muslim scholars. It also presents solutions in the light of Islamic teachings of the problems with which the Islamic world is from time to time confronted. A study of this magazine is indispensable for the appreciation of the doctrines of the Ahmadiyya Movement and the teachings of its Holy Founder. Printed by Raqeem Press; Islamabad, Sh««phatch Lane, Tilford, Surrey GU10 2AQ, U.K. Published by The Review of Religions, The London Mosque, 16 Gressenhall Road, London SW18 SQL