5 Kasım 2015 Perşembe

The Holy Prophet (SAW) says: “He isn’t of us who isn’t kind to our youngsters, and shows no respect to our elders...”

Leviticus 19:32 ESV / 155 helpful votes

“You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1-4 ESV / 154 helpful votes

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
1 Peter 5:1-14 ESV / 100 helpful votes

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” ...
Ephesians 6:1 ESV / 92 helpful votes

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Titus 2:1-15 ESV / 75 helpful votes

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. ...
1 Timothy 5:1 ESV / 71 helpful votes

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers,
Proverbs 20:29 ESV / 62 helpful votes

The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
Proverbs 20:11 ESV / 51 helpful votes

Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
Exodus 20:12 ESV / 39 helpful votes

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
1 John 2:1-29 ESV / 33 helpful votes

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: ...
Mark 7:9-13 ESV / 33 helpful votes

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
1 Timothy 5:2 ESV / 22 helpful votes

Older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.
Matthew 18:15-20 ESV / 19 helpful votes

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. ...
Acts 20:17-35 ESV / 12 helpful votes

Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. ...
Revelation 20:1-15 ESV / 11 helpful votes

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. ...
Revelation 19:11-16 ESV / 11 helpful votes

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. ...
Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV / 11 helpful votes

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
Revelation 21:1-27 ESV / 10 helpful votes

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” ...
John 3:16-17 ESV / 7 helpful votes

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) : A Mercy to the World -- (Part- 1/2)

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is the best role model for all humankind. Among his outstanding virtues and characteristics, he was an extraordinary husband, a perfect father, and a unique grandfather. He was also a great statesman, judge, and spiritual leader. His most distinctive quality, however, was the fact that he was a blessing to all in both word and deed. He infused justice, love, and dignity in all those around him. He spread the power of brotherhood to the extent that it became exceptional in human history. Affirming that these grand virtues were bestowed on him by Allah the Almighty and that He prepared His loyal messenger to call for the true religion, is part of one's belief.
The Qur'an describes the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as merciful and kind to the believers. Allah the Almighty says,
{Now hath come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that ye should
perish: ardently anxious is he over you: to the Believers is he most kind and merciful.)
(At-Tawbah 9:128)

The Prophet's Love for Mankind

The Prophet Muhammad is introduced in the Qur’an in these words:
[And We have not sent you forth but as a mercy to mankind. ] (Al-Anbiyaa’: 107)

This shows that his distinctive quality was that he was a blessing incarnate in word and deed.

According to a tradition recorded in the Sahih of Imam Muslim, when the Prophet’s opponents greatly increased their persecution, his Companions asked him to curse them. At this the Prophet replied, “I have not been sent to lay a curse upon men but to be a blessing to them.” His opponents continued to treat him and his Companions unjustly and cruelly, but he always prayed for them.

Once he was so badly stoned by his enemies that the blood began to spurt from all over his body. This happened when he went to Ta’if, where the Hijaz aristocracy used to while away their summer days. When he attempted to call them to Islam, instead

of listening to his words of wisdom, they set the street urchins upon him, who kept chasing him till nightfall. Even at that point, when he was utterly exhausted and bleeding from head to foot, all he said was, “O my Lord, guide my people along the true path, as they are ignorant of the truth.”

His heart was filled with intense love for all human kind irrespective of caste, creed, or color. Once he advised his Companions to regard all people as their brothers and sisters. He added, “You are all Adam’s offspring and Adam was born of clay.”

All this tells us what kind of awareness he wanted to bring about in man. His mission was to bring people abreast of the reality that all men and women, although inhabiting different regions of the world, and seemingly different from one another as regards their color, language, dress, culture, etc., were each other’s blood brothers. Hence a proper relationship will be established between all human beings only if they regard one another as sisters and brothers. Only then will proper feelings of love and respect prevail throughout the world.

According to a hadith, the Prophet once said, “A true believer is one with whom others feel secure. One who returns love for hatred.” The Prophet made it clear that one who would only return love for love was on a lower ethical plane. We should never think that we should treat people well only if they treat us well. We should, rather, be accustomed to being good to those who are not good to us and to not wronging those who harm us.

The Prophet once borrowed some money from a Jew. After a few days the Jew came to demand
payment of his debt. The Prophet told him that at that moment he had nothing to pay him with. The Jew said that he wouldn’t let him go until he had paid him back. And so the Jew stayed there, from morning till night, holding the Prophet captive. At that time the Prophet was the established ruler of Madinah and could have easily taken action against him. His Companions naturally wanted to rebuke the man and chase him away. But the Prophet forbade this, saying, “The Lord has forbidden us to wrong anyone.” The Jew continued to hold the Prophet captive until the following morning. But with the first light of dawn,
the Jew was moved by the Prophet’s tolerance, and he thereupon embraced Islam. In spite of being a rich man, he had detained the Prophet the day before on account of a few pence.
But now the Prophet’s noble conduct had had such an impact on him that he was willing to give all his wealth to the Prophet,
saying, “Spend it as you please.”

According to another hadith, the Prophet once said, “By God, he is not a believer, by God, he is not a believer, by God, he is not a believer, with whom his neighbors are not secure.” This hadith shows how much he loved and cared for all human beings. One of the lessons he taught was that we should live among others like flowers, and not like thorns, without giving trouble to anybody.

In another hadith the Prophet said, “If a believer is not able to benefit others, he must at least do them no harm.” This shows that to the Prophet the man who becomes useful to others leads his life on a higher plane. But if he fails to do so, he should at least create no trouble for his fellow men. For a man to be a really good servant of God, he must live in this world as a no-problem person. There is no third option.

The Prophet’s own example was testified to by Anas ibn Malik, who served the Prophet for ten years. He said that the Prophet never ever rebuked him. “When I did something, he never questioned my manner of doing it; and when I did not do something, he never questioned my failure to do it. He was the most good-natured of all men.” Such conduct gained him the respect even of his enemies, and his followers stood by him through all kinds of hardship and misfortune. He applied the principles on which
his own life was based in equal measure to those who followed his path and to those who had harmed or discountenanced him.

In the present world, everyone’s thinking, tastes, aptitude, likes, and dislikes can never exactly coincide. For many reasons, differences do arise in this world. But then, what is the permanent solution to the problem? The solution lies in tolerance. The Prophet’s entire life served as a perfect example of this principle. According to his wife `A’ishah, “He was a personification of the Qur’an.”

That is to say, the Prophet molded his own life in accordance with the ideal pattern of life that he presented to others in the form of the Qur’an. He never beat a servant, or a woman, or anyone else. He did, of course, fight for what was right.

Yet, when he had to choose between two alternatives, he would take the easier course, provided it involved no sin. No one was more careful to avoid sin than he. He never sought revenge on his own behalf for any wrong done to him personally. Only if God’s commandments had been broken would he mete out retribution for the sake of God. It was such conduct which gained the Prophet universal respect.

In the early Makkan period when the antagonists far exceeded the Prophet’s Companions in number, it often happened that when the Prophet would stand to pray, his detractors would come near him and whistle and clap in order to disturb him, but the Prophet did not even once show his anger at such acts. He always opted for the policy of tolerance and avoidance of confrontation.

When the opposition became very strong, the Prophet left Makkah for Madinah. But his antagonists did not leave him in peace.

They began to attack Madinah. In this way a state of war prevailed between the Muslims and non-Muslims. Since the Prophet avoided war at all costs, he strove to bring about a peace agreement between him and the Makkans. After great efforts on his part, the non-Muslims agreed to the finalizing of a 10-year peace treaty, which was drafted and signed at Al-Hudaybiyyah.
While the Hudaybiyyah treaty was being drafted, the Makkans indulged in a number of extremely provocative acts. For instance, the agreement mentioned the Prophet’s name as “Muhammad the Messenger of Allah.” They insisted that the phrase “the Messenger of Allah” be taken out and replaced by “son of Abdullah.” The Prophet accepted their unreasonable condition and deleted the appellation with his own hands. Similarly, they made the condition that if they could lay their hands on any Muslim they would make him a hostage, but if the Muslims succeeded in detaining any non-Muslim, they would have to set him free. The Prophet even relented on this point. For the restoration of peace in the region, the Prophet accepted a number of such unjustifiable clauses that were added by the enemy. In
this way he set the example of peace and tolerance being linked with one another. If we desire peace, we must tolerate many unpleasant things from others. There is no other way to establish peace in society.

Once the Prophet was seated at some place in Madinah, along with his Companions. During this time a funeral procession passed by. On seeing this, the Prophet stood up. One of his Companion remarked that the funeral was that of a Jew. The Prophet replied, “Was he not a human being?”

This incident illustrates how an atmosphere of mutual love and compassion can be brought about in the world only when we consciously rise above all insidious demarcation of caste, color, and creed. Just as the Prophet did, we, too, must look at all men as human beings who deserve to be respected at all events.


Perfection of the Prophet's Mercy

It is argued by many scholars that the central ethos of Islam is mercy, as it takes precedence over all other values and virtues such as justice, peace, knowledge, and benevolence. In his momentous work Mercy: The Stamp of Creation, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah establishes the transcendence as well the epitome of mercy in God actions, attributes, and creation as well as in the Prophet, his life and example, and how is this translated in Islam into an existential, theological, legal, moral, and spiritual commitment and accountability to mercy.

The Perfection of Prophetic Mercy:

    The Mercy of the Prophet (PBUH) with Mankind

    The Mercy of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with Family and Children

    His Mercy with Children, Orphans, Widows, and the Sick

    His Mercy with Animals

        The Mercy of the Prophet (PBUH) with Mankind

        God Almighty says, “And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.” (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:107). Prophet Muhammad

        (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) and his House, is the Prophet of mercy, sent by God as a mercy to all mankind; believers, non-believers, and hypocrites. His mercy sheltered all humanity: men, women and children. Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) was merciful to all creatures including animals and birds. God almighty describes Muhammad’s pity, kindness, and mercy to all the creatures:

        “Certainly a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves; grievous to him is your falling into distress, excessively solicitous respecting you; to the believers (he is) compassionate,” (At-Tawbah 9:128).
        It was even perceived by some that God favored Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him
        and his house) by describing him by two of His names. It was narrated that a man asked Prophet Muhammad for charity. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) gave it and then asked the man, “Have I dealt with you rightfully?”
        The man answered, “no, and you have not dealt with me in a beautiful manner either.” The Muslims then got angry and rose up. Then he (the Prophet) waved them to stop. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) went home and sent him something. He then asked him once more, “Are you content?” the man answered, “Yes, I am. May Allah reward you with kindness in your family and kin.” The Prophet then said, “You said what you said and it left something in my companions’ hearts. So, what if you repeat what you have just said now before them, to take away what is in their hearts towards you?” The man agreed. In the evening or the day after, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) told his companions, “This man showed his dissatisfaction so I
        increased what I gave him to let him be satisfied.” He turned then to the man and asked him “isn’t that right?” The man answered: “Yes, may God reward you with kindness in family and kin.”

        The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) then commented, “The example of me and this (man) is like that of a man whose camel went astray. People following the camel only increased its unwillingness. The man called to them, ‘leave me and my camel alone. I am more gentle and knowledgeable about it.’ He then turned to the camel, offering it some vegetation from the earth. He then called it back until it came forth, kneeled down, put the saddle on it and rode it away. Had I left
        you with what the man said you would have killed him and he would go to Hellfire” (Ahmed).

        It was also narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “I do not want any one of you to tell me off about any of my Companions. I want to go out to (meet) you with a free heart.” (Abu Dawud).

        His pity and mercy to his people were manifested in lightening their load, making their obligations easy, in avoiding certain things for fear that they would become obligations upon the people. Among his sayings in this regard is, “was it not for fear of tiring my nation, I would have asked them to use a miswak (tooth stick) with each ablution.” His mercy was reflected in what he said about the Qiyam-Al-Layl (Night Vigil Prayer), meaning that one should not do it all night long; continuous fasting; and his disliking to enter the Ka`bah so that his nation would not become obstinate [about following him in that].

        His mercy was also manifested in his prayer that God might turn his cursing of any one of them unto mercy. Whenever he heard a child crying during prayers, he used to shorten the prayer1.
        Prophet Muhammad prayed to God, “O Allah! Whoever I insulted or cursed, turn this into charity, mercy, a prayer, cleansing, and an immolation with which you bring him closer to You on Doomsday.” When his people did not believe him, Jibreel (the Archangel) came to him and said, “God Almighty heard the sayings and accusations of your people and He, Almighty, asked the angel of the mountains to obey any order from you against them. The angel of the mountains called Prophet Muhammad and said, “Ask for whatever you want, and I would crush them with the akhshabin (surrounding mountains).” Yet, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “No, but I hope that Allah will bring out of their offspring people who worship Allah alone with no associates.”

        Ibn Al Monkader narrated that Jibreel told Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house), “God commanded the sky, the earth and the mountains to obey your orders.” The Prophet answered, “I delay my nation and Maybe Allah will induce them to repentance.” A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “Never was the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) left to make a choice between two matters but he would prefer the easier among them.” Ibn Mas`ud (may

        Allah be pleased with him) told us that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) preferred “positive” preaching to preclude pessimism and boredom A’ishah narrated that she once found difficulty in riding a horse, so she kept reining it in repeatedly. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) then said, “You must have gentleness2.”

        Among the examples of his general mercy is his mercy with the hypocrites by saving them from death and captivity for their outward following of Islam in this life. From his comprehensive mercy is his mercy with the non-believers by lifting the punishment of annihilation in this world. As for past nations, when Allah, majestic in His praise, sent them a messenger and they disbelieve him, they would be and tortured and annihilated.

        God almighty tells us how nations of Noah, `Aad, Thamoud, and Lout and others were tortured and how were they rewarded for their mockery.As for the infidels among the nation of Muhammad, their general chastisement by annihilation was lifted in honor of this gracious Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) whom Allah, majestic in His praise, has sent as mercy for the worlds.

        The Mercy of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with Family and Children

        In his Hadith, Imam Moslem narrates that `Amr Ibn Sa`id reported that `Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “I have never met one more merciful with children. He also said, “Ibrahim (the Prophet’s son) was being breastfed by a wet nurse in a village on the outskirts of Madinah. He (the Prophet) used to rush to enter the house with smoke coming out of it (the wet nurse’s husband was a metal smith). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) would take his grandson, kiss him, and then return him. So when Ibrahim died, the Prophet said, “Ibrahim is my son. He died while still suckling. Verily, he will have two wet nurses to breastfeed him in Paradise.” Meaning they will complete his
        two-year weaning period, as he died at sixteen or seventeen months of age.” (An-Nawawi)
        His mercy with his family was shown in the way he used to assist them with housework.
        Al-Aswad mentioned that he asked `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) what the Prophet did at home. She answered, “He was humble in the common service of his family. But, when time for prayer came, he used to go and pray.” He (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) was not like tyrannical men. A lot of times, he (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) used to serve himself. It’s mentioned in Ahmad’s Mosnad and others that `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) used to sew his clothes, mend his sandals, and do what other men do in their homes.”

        His Mercy With Children, Orphans, Widows, and the Sick.

        The two sheikhs (Bukhari and Muslim) narrate on the authority of `Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “I start the prayers, intending to lengthen them. I then hear a child crying so I make them shorter, knowing how emotional a child’s mother gets.”

        An example of his mercy (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) with the children is that he used stroke their heads and kiss them. It was mentioned in the two books of Al -Bukhari and Muslim that `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) kissed Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein (his grandsons) while Al-Aqra’ ibn Hobis Al Tamimi was present. So Al Aqra’ said, “I have ten children. I have never kissed any of them!”

        Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) looked at him and said, “He who does not have mercy will not have mercy upon him.”

        It is in the two authenticated books that `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “A nomad once told Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house), “you kiss the children and we never do!” Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “Has Allah withdrawn mercy out of your hearts?” Meaning that he who has mercy in his heart for children drives him to kiss them. And he who gets mercy withdrawn from his heart withholds from kissing them.

        The two sheikhs and At-Tirmidhi narrate that Al-Bara’ (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “I saw the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) carrying Al-Hassan on his shoulder, saying, “Oh Allah! I love him so love him.”At-Tirmidhi narrates that `Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) was asked, “Which member of your family do you love the most?” He said, “Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein.” He used to tell Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her), “Bring me my two sons” and then he would embrace them closely, may
        Allah be pleased with them.

        Among the examples of his mercy and his love to please children happy that whenever he (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) was given the first of the harvest of fruits, he would give it to give it to the children in his circle. At-Tabrani, said that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) said that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) used to hold the first of any seasonal harvest, he used put it on his eyes then on his lips and say “Oh Allah! Like you have made us see its beginning (of the season), allow us to see its end.” Then he would give it to any child sitting around him3.”
        An example of his mercy was his crying on the passing of his son Ibrahim (may Allah be pleased with him). On the authority of `Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), “The Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) entered the room while Ibrahim was dying. Upon that, his eyes started dropping tears. Then `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf said, ‘Even you, messenger of Allah!’ Then he said ‘Oh Ibn `Awf! It is but mercy.’ He continued (crying) some more and then said, “The eyes weep, the heart is full of grief, and we are nothing but that which does not please our Lord. Verily, we are sorrowed for your departure O! Ibrahim.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

        On the authority of Osama Ibn Zaid (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) when the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) was handed his daughter’s son who was dying, his eyes flooded with tears (peace and blessings be upon). Sa`d then told him, “What is this, Prophet of Allah!” He said, “This is a mercy that exalted Allah has made in the hearts of His servants. And surely Allah has mercy to merciful ones among His servants.” (Agreed upon)

        From his mercy is that he (peace and blessing be upon him and his house) never used to disdain from walking along with a widow or with a poor person and fulfill their needs 4.

        He used to visit weak and sick Muslims and attend their funerals 5. He used to treat orphans well and charitably. He used to commend people to sponsor them and treat them with excellence and he also used to announce the consequent virtues of that saying, “I and a patron of an orphanage are as close in Paradise (while waving with the index and middle finger and parting them 6.” He also said that the best house in Muslim houses is the one with an orphan being treated well in it. 7”

        Of his mercy is when he used to see any of his companions in a state of stress or misfortune, he would feel deep sorrow for that, have pity, and cry, being affected by the circumstances. He went once with `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf and others to visit Sa`d Ibn `Obabah. Upon seeing him, he cried and everyone with him then cried 8. He cried and kissed `Othman Ibn Maz`oun after he died. `A’ishah then said that she saw the tears of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) flow on

        `Othman’s cheeks 9. In another version, it was narrated that The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) kissed `Othman between his eyes and cried for a long time 10.

        His Mercy With Animals

        He (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) used to commend having mercy on animals. He used to forbid his companions from hurting them, tiring them, overburdening them with heavy loads for long periods, torturing them, or pushing them beyond their limits, for that is a form of suffering.
        Once the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) passed by a camel that was so emaciated its back was one with its abdomen. Upon that, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “Fear Allah with regard to livestock. Ride them in a fitting way and eat them when they are in good condition.11”
        He once entered the garden of man from the Ansar (Muslims of Madinah) and there was a camel. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) saw the camel it froze and its eyes started watering. Then the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) came to it and rubbed its ears so it calmed down. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “Who is the owner of this camel?
        Whose camel is this?” A young man from the Ansar told him (peace and blessings be upon him and his house),”O Messenger of Allah, it belongs to me.” Then he told him (peace and blessings be upon him and his house), “Do you not fear Allah with regard to this beast which Allah has let you own? It complained to me that you starve it and tire it by overworking it and using it beyond its capacity.”

        He (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) used to forbid burdening an animal by keeping it standing or sitting on it for a long time unnecessarily. He saw some people sitting on animals so he commented, “Keep them safe and sound when riding them and when leaving them, don’t use them as chairs for your side talks in the streets and markets. A ridden animal might be better than its rider and might remember and mention God more than its rider does.”

        Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) called not to kill even a frog and he said, “Its croaking is tasbeeh (praising God).”

        Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) once said, “A woman was doomed to enter the Fire because of a cat. She imprisoned it and neither fed it nor set it free to eat the rodents of the earth.”

        Prophet Muhammad also called for not harassing animals by goading them to hurt or cause harm to each other.
        Prophet Muhammad warned against any human being causing a bird to feel panic about its little offspring. Someone took two chicks of a bird (hamra), which came in panic searching for its chicks. Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him and his house) then asked, “Who has distressed it by taking its chicks?” Then he asked them to return the chicks. The Prophet once passed by a burned out anthill. When the Prophet saw it he asked, “Who has burned it?” When he was informed of who had
        done it, he said, “Only the Lord of Fire has the right to punish with fire.”

        It was also reported that Prophet Muhammad prohibited the killing of a bird for the sake of pleasure and not for a specific beneficial need, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “Anyone who would kill a bird, this bird would come on Doomsday and say, “God, this person killed me for pleasure and not for benefit.”

        It was also reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) called for mercy and perfection in slaughter. He saw a person preparing a lamb, laying it down while he was still sharpening his knife. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) then commented, “Do you want to kill it twice? Sharpen your knife before you lay it down.”

        He prohibited taking any animal or any living creature as a target for shooting.


        Outstanding Forgiveness of the Prophet

        Another great quality of Muhammad was that he never took revenge on anyone for personal reasons and always forgave even his firm enemies. His wife `A'ishah reported that Allah's Messenger was not unseemly or obscene in his speech, nor was he loud-voiced in the streets, nor did he return evil for evil, but he would forgive and pardon. The people of the Quraysh rebuked him, taunted and mocked at him, beat him and abused him. They tried to kill him and when he escaped to Madinah, they waged
        many wars against him. Yet when he entered Makkah victorious with an army of 10000, he did not take revenge on anyone. He forgave all. Even his deadliest enemy, Abu Sufyan, who had fought so many battles against him, was forgiven, as was anyone who stayed in his house.

        `Abdullah ibn Ubayy, the leader of the hypocrites of Madinah, worked all his life against Muhammad and Islam and left no stone in trying to defeat his mission. He withdrew his three hundred supporters in the Battle of Uhud, which almost broke the backbone of the Muslims. He engaged in intrigues and acts of hostility against the Prophet of Islam and the Muslims. He tried to discredit Allah’s Messenger by spreading slander about his wife `A’ishah. About this incident Almighty Allah says: "Lo! They who spread the slander are a gang among you. Deem it not a bad thing for you; nay, it is good for you. Unto every man of them will be paid that which he has earned of the sin; and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be an awful doom." (An-Nur: 11) Yet Muhammad forgave him and offered his funeral prayer and prayed Allah to forgive `Abdullah. But afterwards, Allah revealed: "And never (O Muhammad) pray for one of them who dies, nor stand by his grave. Lo! They disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger, and they died while they were evil doers." (At-Tawbah: 84)

        An Abyssinian slave who had killed Muhammad’s beloved uncle Hamzah in the Battle of Uhud was also forgiven when he embraced Islam after the victory of Makkah. The wife of Abu Sufyan, who had cut open Hamzah’s chest and torn his liver and heart into pieces in the Battle of Uhud, quietly came to the Prophet and accepted Islam. He recognized her but did not say anything. She was so impressed by his magnanimity and stature that she said, "O Allah's Messenger, no tent was more deserted in my eyes
        than yours; but today no tent is more lovely in my eyes than yours."

        Habar ibn al-Aswad was another vicious enemy of Muhammad and of Islam. He had inflicted a grievous injury to Zaynab, daughter of the Prophet. She was pregnant when she emigrated from Makkah to Madinah. The polytheists of Makkah obstructed her and Habar ibn al-Aswad intentionally threw her down from the camel. She was badly hurt and miscarried as a result. Habar committed many other crimes as well. He wanted to run away to Persia but then he came to Muhammad, who forgave him.

        Muhammad was all for forgiveness and no amount of crime or aggression against him was too great to be forgiven by him. He was the complete example of forgiveness and kindness, as mentioned in the following verse of the Qur'an: "Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant." (Al-A`raf: 199)
        He always repelled evil with good, for, in his view, an antidote was better than poison. He believed and practiced the precept that love could foil hatred and aggression could be won over by forgiveness. He overcame the ignorance of the people with the knowledge of Islam, and the folly and evil of the people with his kind and forgiving treatment. With his forgiveness, he freed people from the bondage of sin and crime, and also made them great friends of Islam. He was an exact image of the following verse of the Qur'an: "Good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with what is better. Then he, between whom and you there was hatred, will become as though he was a bosom friend." (Fussilat: 34)


        The Prophet's Mercy Towards the Elderly

        In the last years, the world has witnessed a remarkable interest in the elderly. Many international conferences and symposiums were held to deal with the issues and problems they encounter. In 1982, the first initiative to care for the elderly was declared as the United Nations declared the ninth decade of the 20th century "the decade of the elderly."
        In 1983, the World Health Organization adopted the slogan "Add Life to Years." In addition, the UN conference held in Madrid in 2002 adopted a plan of action to solve the problems of the elderly in various countries around the world. The outcome of these conferences, however, was just sweet promises and plans without any actual application. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), on the other hand, was a pioneer in this field. He taught caring for the elderly irrespective of sex,
        color, or religion, and he himself set a great example in practicing the principles he taught. This article highlights Islamic teachings related to treating the elderly, and gives glimpses of how the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) put them in effect.

        A Duty of the Young

        AnasibnMalik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "If a young man honors an elderly on account of his age, Allah appoints someone to honor him in his old age." (At-Tirmidhi; ranked hasan by Al-Albani)

        The Prophet here advises the young of the Muslim society, who will be tomorrow's elderly, to honor the elderly. Continuous application of this Prophetic advice helps bridge the gap between generations and spreads an atmosphere of love and understanding between the young and the old. Consider here also the generalization in the Prophet's words: "If a young man honors an elderly;" the hadith requires honoring the elderly regardless of their color or religion.

        In another hadith Muslims are told to be merciful to all people, Muslim and non-Muslim:Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "By Him in Whose hand my soul is, Allah does not bestow His mercy except on a merciful one." They (the Companions) said, "All of us are merciful." The Prophet replied, "Not only that each of you has mercy upon the other, but to have mercy also upon all people." (Abu Ya`la; authenticated by Al-Albani)

        A Sign of Reverence for Allah

        Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "It is out of reverence to Allah to respect the white-headed (aged) Muslim." (Abu Dawud; ranked hasan by Al-Albani)

        In the hadith above, the Prophet considered respecting the elderly a way to show reverence for the Almighty. He linked reverence for the Creator and His creatures with veneration of the All-Powerful and the weak elderly. The hadith implies all kinds of respect and care for the elderly: Health care, psychological care, social care, economic care, ending illiteracy, providing education, and other forms of care that the international community calls for today.

        In one hadith, the Prophet disavows those who do not venerate the elderly and considers them alien to the Muslim society: He is not one of us who does not show mercy to our young ones and esteem to our elderly. (At-Tirmidhi and Ahmad; authenticated by Al-Albani)

        Practical Examples

        Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "The young should (initiate) salutation to the old, the passerby should (initiate) salutation to the sitting one, and the small group of persons should (initiate) salutation to the large group of persons." (Al-Bukhari)
        In the hadith above, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gives practical examples of Islamic etiquette and starts with a token of respect to the old. Thus the young should take the initiative toward the aged in greeting and also helping, showing kindness, visiting, advising, phoning, and so on.Similarly, giving priority to the elderly in different situations is a token of respect and honor to them:

        It was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Jibreel ordered me to give priority to the elderly." (Al-Fawa'id, Abu Bakr Ash-Shafi`i; authenticated by Al-Albani)

        The Prophet also ordered Muslims to "start with the elderly" when serving a drink or the like (Abu Ya`la; authenticated by Al-Albani).
        In addition, the Prophet ordered that priority be given to the old concerning leading prayers:
        Malik ibn Al-Huwayrith (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet said, "When the time for prayer is due, one of you should announce Adhan and the oldest among you should lead the prayer." (Al-Bukhari)

        This hadith does not contradict the other hadith that gives priority in leading the prayer to one who is distinguished in recitation and memorization of the Qur'an. The two criteria are to be considered, as reported in the hadith of Mas`ud Al-Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him):

        The Prophet said, "The person who is best versed in the recitation of the Book of Allah should lead the prayer; but if all those present are equally versed in it, then the one who has most knowledge of the Sunnah; if they are equal in that respect, then the one who has immigrated (to Madinah) first; if they are equal in this respect, then the oldest of them." (Muslim)

        Furthermore, according to Prophetic guidance, the elder are worthier to start cnversation. Once, Huwayyisahand Muhayyisah, the sons of Mas`udibnKa`b, and `Abdur-RahmanibnSahlcame to the Prophet to discuss a certain matter with him. `Abdur-Rahman, who was the youngest of them all, started talking. Thus, the Prophet said, "Let the eldest (among you) speak first" (Al-Bukhari).

        Easy Rulings for the Elderly

        Shari`ah always adopts leniency and ease with persons having excuses, such as the elderly. This can be noticed in expiations and obligations required from them.
        The best evidence of easing expiations for the elderly is the story of Khawlah bint Tha`labah, which was mentioned at the beginning of Surat Al-Mujadilah. Her aged husband, Aws ibn As-Samit, who was also her cousin, pronounced zhihar (declaring her unlawful to him as a wife, while at the same time not divorcing her so she can remarry). Thereupon the general Islamic ruling concerning zhihar was revealed:

        (Those who put away their wives (by saying they are as their mothers) and afterward would go back on that which they have said, (the penalty) in that case (is) the freeing of a slave before they touch one another [that is, have intercourse]. Unto this you are exhorted; and Allah is Informed of what you do. And he who finds not (the wherewithal), let him fast for two successive months before they touch one another [that is, have intercourse]; and for him who is unable to do so (the penance is) the feeding of sixty needy ones.) (Al-Mujadilah 58:3–4)

        After this revelation the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) spoke to Khawlah:The Prophet said to Khawlah, "Let him free a slave." She said, "O Messenger of Allah, he does not have the means to do that." The Prophet said, "Then let him fast for two consecutive months." She replied, "By Allah, he is an old man; he is not able to do that."
        So the Prophet told her, "Then let him feed sixty poor people with a wasaq (a measure equal to approximately 132.6 kilograms) of dates." She said, "O Messenger of Allah, he does not have that much." The Prophet then promised to help him by giving him an amount of dates; after all this he did not forget to advise the lady, "Take care of your cousin properly." (Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, vol. 8)

        Concerning obligations, Islam exempts the elderly who cannot bear fasting the month of Ramadan from observing this obligation, but requires them to feed a poor person for each day that they miss. Also, the elderly who cannot pray standing up are allowed to pray sitting down; if they cannot pray sitting down, they are allowed to pray lying on a side.
        In addition, it is authentically reported that the Prophet once rebuked Mu`adh ibn Jabal when he led people in prayer and prolonged it:
        The Prophet said to him, "O Mu`adh! Are you putting the people to trial? [Thrice] It would have been better if you had recited Sabbihisma Rabbika-l-a`la [Surah 87], Wash-shamsi wa duhaha [Surah 91], or Wal-layli idhayaghsha [Surah 92], for the old, the weak, and the needy pray behind you." (Al-Bukhari)

        Also, Islam allowed the elderly who cannot perform Hajj to delegate another person to perform it on their behalf. Al-Fadl narrated that a woman from the tribe of Khath`am came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, "O Allah's Prophet! The obligation of Hajj has become due on my father while he is old and weak, and he cannot sit firm on the mount; may I perform Hajj on his behalf?" The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, "Yes, (you may)" (Muslim).

        Examples of the Prophet's Mercy

        Having discussed the Islamic code of treating the elderly, itis now appropriate to give some practical examples from the Prophet's life. We will see him listening politely and respectfully to an elderly polytheist, seeking to release an elderly man captured by Quraish, and honoring an elderly person and ordering him to improve his appearance. Listening to an elderly polytheist respectfully. IbnKathir, in his biography of the Prophet, narrated that `Utbah ibn Rabi`ah, one of the chiefs of Makkah's polytheists, came to the Prophet trying to dissuade him from his call. He addressed the Prophet in a ridiculing manner, "Are you better than `Abdullah (the Prophet's father)? Are you better than `Abdul-
        Muttalib (the Prophet's grandfather)?" But the Prophet did not respond to those degrading remarks. `Utbah continued, "If you say that they are better than you, then they worshiped the gods you criticize; and if you claim that you are better than they, you can proclaim this loudly in order to be heard. You exposed us before the Arabs until it was spread among them that the Quraish has a magician or a monk. Do you want us to unsheathe the sword and engage in a bitter war until annihilation?"

        When `Utbah noticed the politeness of the Prophet, he changed his offensive tone and continued, "Oh my nephew! If you desire money and wealth by preaching what you are preaching, we will collect enough for you from our own. We will make you the wealthiest of all of us. If it is chieftainship that you desire, we are ready to make you our paramount chief, so that we will never decide on a matter without you. If you desire rulership, we will make you our ruler. And if this condition that you call revelation is a jinn whose grip you cannot escape from, we are ready to call the most distinguished physicians of time to examine you, and we will spend generously till you are completely cured. For sometimes a jinn seizes hold of a victim totally till the former is exorcised."

        When `Utbah finished his impudent speech, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked him politely, "Is that all, Abu Al-Walid?" "Yes," he replied. "Then listen to me," the Prophet said to him. "I will," agreed `Utbah. Then the Prophet recited the beginning of Surat Fussilat (41).

        Seeking to release an elderly captive. In his biography of the Prophet, Ibn Hisham reported that when the Muslims captured `Amr ibn Abi Sufyan ibn Harb in the Battle of Badr, it was said to Abu Sufyan, "Pay for the ransom of your son `Amr."

        However, Abu Sufyan answered, "Must I lose twice! They have killed Handhalah and now I must pay for the ransom of `Amr! Let him stay with them, they can keep him as long as they wish."

        Afterwards an old man called Sa`d ibn An-Nu`man of the tribe of Banu `Amr ibn `Awf departed for Makkah to perform `Umrah. In spite of the critical political conditions, especially after the Battle of Badr, Sa`d ibn An-Nu`man thought that he would not be captured in Makkah since the Quraish did not harm pilgrims. However, Abu Sufyan attacked him and held him hostage until the Muslims in Madinah released his son. Some people of the tribe of Banu `Amr ibn `Awf went to the Prophet (peace and
        blessings be upon him) and told him what had happened to their relative. They asked him to give them the son of Abu Sufyan to free Sa`d ibn An-Nu`man from captivity. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) released the son of Abu Sufyan without a ransom and then sent him to his father who, consequently, released the old man.

        Treating the elderly gently. IbnKathir tells the following in his biography of the Prophet. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) entered Makkah in Ramadan AH 8 (January 630) and entered the Sacred Mosque, Abu Bakr brought his father, Abu Quhafah, to the Prophet to embrace Islam. When the Prophet saw him, he said to Abu Bakr, "Why didn't you leave the old man at his house and I would've gone to him there?" Abu Bakr said, "You are more deserving of him coming to you than
        he is of you going to him." The Prophet seated Abu Quhafah in front of him and honored him. Then he passed his hand on Abu Quhafah's chest and asked him to embrace Islam and Abu Quhafah did. The Prophet, noticing that Abu Quhafah's hair was white, directed that his hair be dyed.

        These are just few examples of the Prophet's gentleness, mercy, and respect towards the elderly. These examples, and many others, translate the sublime Islamic code of ethics for treating the elderly and provide Muslims, generation after generation, with a practical model that they should follow. Such care for the elderly is in line with the Islamic principle of the dignity of the human being and with the spirit of solidarity and mercy that pervades the Muslim society.


        The Prophet’s Care for Children

        Children are a great blessing from Allah. With their tender hearts, children can be molded into righteous people only with a positive and tender approach. Islam considers children to be an amanah (trust) given to the family and says it is fard (obligatory) for the family to raise a child in a righteous manner. One should not favor one child over another. In Islam, both male and female children should be treated equally and should be loved and cherished. The children have certain rights over their parents; it is the family’s obligation to shelter, feed, clothe, educate, support, nurture, and love them.

        In today’s world many parents are so immersed in worldly life that they forget to pay attention to their children. Many parents think that providing financial support for their child is enough. The fact is, financial support alone doesn’t fulfill a parent’s duty towards their child. One can only win a child’s heart through love and a gentle attitude.

        It is the child’s right to be loved and cherished.

        I remember that, as a child, I yearned for the attention of my family, but being in a joint family—my family and my uncle’s family lived together and a few other cousins stayed with us as their parents were working abroad—did not give me the opportunity to experience the kind of attention I expected. My parents felt that they should not express their love for their children in front of others, as people might think they were favoring us. As a child (and even now), I heard people saying “We need not to express our love to prove that it is there, it is enough to have a loving heart.” But the fact is that only when one expresses love to a child will the child feel more confident and stronger. Children have the capacity to easily distinguish when there is a difference in the attitude of the adults. Whether an adult shows or does not show love will have a significant impact on a child. Hence, we adults have to be conscious with our behavior in the child’s presence and be constantly aware of the emotions we project to our children.Nowadays, we see people have become hardhearted so that their attitude towards children is unpleasant. There are some who show much partiality toward one gender, and there are some
        who don’t treat others’ children with the same kindness or affection which they show to their own children. It is common to see even people who claim that they act on the Qur’an and Sunnah showing less interest in playing with their children or giving them the due attention or expression of love.

        The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is the model for the whole of humankind. His attitude towards children was always compassionate and merciful. Being fond of children, Prophet Muhammad showed great interest in playing with them. His involvement in children’s games shows us the great importance in playing with our children. He would have fun with the children who had come back from Abyssinia and tried to speak in Abyssinian with them.

        It was his practice to give lifts on his camel to children when he returned from journeys. Prophet Muhammad never held back his love for the children and always expressed his fondness to them. In one hadith Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: I went along with Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) at a time during the day but he did not talk to me and I did not talk to him until he reached the market of Banu Qainuqa`. He came back to the tent of Fatimah and
        said, “Is the little chap (meaning Al-Hasan) there?” We were under the impression that his mother had detained him in order to bathe him and dress him and garland him with sweet garland. Not much time had passed that he (Al-Hasan) came running until both of them embraced each other, thereupon Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “O Allah, I love him; love him and love one who loves him.” (Muslim)

        Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him), the servant of the Prophet, had another recollection:
        I never saw anyone who was more compassionate towards children than Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). His son Ibrahim was in the care of a wet nurse in the hills around Madinah. He would go there, and we would go with him, and he would enter the house, pick up his son and kiss him, then come back. (Muslim)

        The Prophet’s love for children was not restricted to his children and grandchildren. The scope of his mercy and affection embraced all children, and he showed the same interest and gentleness to his Companion’s children. The following hadith narrated by Usamah ibn Zaid (may Allah be pleased with him) shows this humane aspect of the Prophet’s personality:
        Allah’s Messenger used to put me on (one of) his thighs and put Al-Hasan ibn `Ali on his other thigh, and then embrace us and say, “O Allah! Please be merciful to them, as I am merciful to them.” (Bukhari)
        Some people who were not able to understand the power of expressing love to children wondered why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) played with children and took such an interest in them. Narrated Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), Allah’s Messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn `Ali while Al-Aqra` ibn Habis At-Tamim was sitting with him . Al-Aqra` said, “I have ten children and have never kissed one of them.”
        The Prophet cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” (Al-Bukhari)

        The Prophet was always concerned about everyone’s thought and feeling. The following hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) proves his thoughtful character:
        The Prophet said, “(It happens that) I start the prayer intending to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I shorten the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother’s passions.” (Al-Bukhari)

        The Prophet was always patient and considerate with children and took great pain not to hurt their tender feelings.
        Narrated Abu Qatadah: “The Messenger of Allah came towards us while carrying Umamah the daughter of Abi Al-`As (Prophet’s granddaughter) over his shoulder. He prayed, and when he wanted to bow, he put her down, and when he stood up he lifted her up.” (Al-Bukhari)

        In a another hadith,
        Narrated Umm Khalid: I (the daughter of Khalid ibn Said) went to Allah’s Messenger with my father and I was wearing a yellow shirt. Allah’s Messenger said, “Sanah, Sanah!”
        (`Abdullah, the narrator, said that sanah meant “good” in the Ethiopian language). I then started playing with the seal of prophethood (between the Prophet’s shoulders) and my father rebuked me harshly for that. Allah’s Messenger said, “Leave her.”

        The Prophet, then, invoked Allah to grant her a long life thrice. (Al-Bukhari)

        In another narration we see the Prophet’s tolerance towards children.
        Narrated `A’ishah: The Prophet took a child in his lap … and then the child urinated on him, so he asked for water and poured it over the place of the urine. (Al-Bukhari)
        Finally I would like to add another saying of the Prophet that proves that Muslims should be conscious to treat their sons and daughters justly:
        “Fear Allah and treat your children [small or grown] fairly (with equal justice).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
        From all the above hadith we see Prophet Muhammad’s attitude toward children is an example for the whole human race that shows how to treat them and cherish them at all times.

        The Prophet and the People who Opposed him

        Bleeding from head to toe, battered and exhausted, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was faced with a choice.

        Should he or should he not seek to destroy the people who had just humiliated him by having their children chase him out of town while throwing stones at him? And what was his crime? All he wanted to do was to share his message and seek to benefit his people.

        Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was in At-Ta’if, a lush town of green palm trees, fruit and vegetables, about 50 miles southeast of his arid hometown Makkah. He was hoping that perhaps the people of this town would be receptive to his message, which had been rejected by most of the Makkans for more than a decade. However, the people of At-Ta’if proved just as cruel and intolerant as his own people. Not only did they scorn his message of Allah's Oneness, they turned their
        youth against him. In the face of this misery, the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) was sent and presented him
        with an option: the whole town could be destroyed, by Allah's will, for their arrogance and hatefulness.
        He (peace and blessings be upon him) could have done it. He could have asked that those children who pelted him with stones be finished off along with their intolerant parents, but he didn't! No, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told the Angel not to destroy the people of At-Ta’if. Instead of cursing the children of this town, he prayed for their salvation.

        That is just one example of how this man, whom Allah describes as a "mercy to mankind" (Qur’an 21:107) dealt with those who opposed him. It is just one of the many examples in the life of a person who faced constant death threats, actual attempts on his life, and abuse and humiliation at the hands of those threatened by his simple yet profound message: there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.

        The people of At-Ta’if were not the only ones who tasted this mercy. It was his habit to pray for his enemies all the time.

        Two of his most bitter enemies, Abu Jahl and `Umar were also the objects of his prayers.
        The Prophet made similar Du`as (supplications) for his people on a regular basis: "O Allah! Guide my people, for they know not," he would pray, as he and his followers were beaten, humiliated, scorned and ridiculed.
        On another occasion, some Companions came to the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah! The tribe of Daws have committed disbelief and disobeyed (your commands). Supplicate Allah against them!" Contrary to the people’s expectations, the Prophet said: "O Allah! Guide Daws and let them come to us." (Reported by Al-Bukhari).

        These are just a few glimpses at how the Prophet dealt with those who opposed him. His opponents were not just people who fought his message on an intellectual level, they were individuals bent on destroying him, his family, his followers and Islam itself.

        Contrast this nobility with some ignorant believers today who are found cursing others and praying for the destruction of the world. We do not know the aims of individuals. We do not even know ourselves. So let's keep making Du`a’ that we stay on the right path and that Allah will guide others to it as well. We must not play God by assuming we know where others will end up.

        When Allah tells us in the Qur’an about the kind of behavior which leads to receiving a good reward and the character which takes people to the Hellfire, He is saying this so that people may adopt the correct behavior and avoid Hellfire by abandoning what He forbade for our own good. Those verses are not meant to be a criterion for us to determine where others will end up. That knowledge is only with Allah, the Lord of the universe.
        Our Prophet was a mercy to all human beings. Any person may turn to Islam regardless of his original religious background.
        We, as his followers, must live and spread this message today at a time when hatefulness and ugliness towards each other has become the norm. We must also remember that most Muslims do not face the kind of opposition to Islam that the Prophet and his Companions faced in their day. Then should it not be easier for us to deal in the way of the Prophet with those who oppose us, which is usually done out of ignorance?


        The Prophet With Non-Muslims

        In the Qur’an, Allah commands believers to
        [Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allah alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, Allah is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. ] (An-Nisaa’ 4:135)

        With the rules he imposed on Muslims, his just and tolerant attitude towards those of other religions, languages, races, and tribes, and his way of not discriminating between rich and poor, but treating everybody equally, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) is a great example to all of mankind.

        Allah says this to His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in one verse,[They are people who listen to lies and consume ill-gotten gains. If they come to you, you can either judge between them or turn away from them. If you turn away from them, they cannot harm you in any way. But if you do judge, judge between them justly. Allah loves the just.] (Al-Ma’idah 5:42)

        The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) abided by Allah’s commands, even with such difficult people, and never made any concessions in his implementation of justice. He became an example for all times with the words [My Lord has commanded justice] (Al-A`raf 8:29).

        A number of incidents testify to the Prophet’s justice. He lived in a place where people of different religions, languages, races, and tribes all coexisted. It was very difficult for those societies to live together in peace and security and check those who sought to spread dissension. One group could become aggressive towards and even attack another over the slightest word or action. Yet, the justice of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was a source of peace and security for those other communities, just as much as it was for Muslims. During the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), Christians, Jews, and pagans were all treated equally. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) abided by the verse [There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned] (Al-Baqarah 2:256), explaining the true religion to everyone, but leaving them free to make up their own minds.In another verse, Allah revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) the kind of justice and conciliation he needed to adopt towards those of other religions:
        [So call and go straight as you have been ordered to. Do not follow their whims and desires but say, “I believe in a Book sent down by Allah and I am ordered to be just between you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. We have our actions and you have your actions. There is no debate between us and you. Allah will gather us all together. He is our final destination.] (Ash-Shura 42:15)

        This noble attitude of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), being in total harmony with the morality of the Qur’an, should be taken as an example of how members of different religions today should be treated.

        The Prophet’s justice brought about understanding between people of different races. In many of his addresses, even in his final sermon, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stated that superiority lay not in race, but in godliness, as Allah states in the verse [Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in Allah’s sight is that one of you who best performs his duty. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.] (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

        Two hadiths report that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

        “You are sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust. Let the people cease to boast about their ancestors.” (Abu Dawud)

        “These genealogies of yours are not a reason to revile anyone. You are all children of Adam. No one has any superiority over another except in religion and taqwa (godliness).” (Ahmad)

        During his final sermon, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) called on Muslims in the following terms:
        “There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab; or for white over the black or for the black over the white except in piety. Verily the noblest among you is he who is the most pious.”

        The agreement that was made with the Christians of Najran in the south of the Arabian Peninsula was another fine example of the justice of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). One of the articles in the agreement reads, The lives of the people of Najran and its surrounding area, their religion, their land, property, cattle, and those of them who are present or absent, their messengers and their places of worship are under the protection of Allah and guardianship of His Prophet.

        The Compact of Madinah, signed by the Muslim immigrants from Makkah, the indigenous Muslims of Madinah, and the Jews of Madinah is another important example of justice. As a result of this constitution, which established justice between communities with differing beliefs and ensured the protection of their various interests, long years of enmity were brought to an end. One of the most outstanding features of the treaty is the freedom of belief it established. The relevant article reads

        The Jews of Banu `Awf are one nation with the Muslims; the Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs. Article 16 of the treaty reads,
        The Jew who follows us is surely entitled to our support and the same equal rights as any one of us. He shall not be wronged nor his enemy be assisted.The Prophet’s Companions remained true to that article in the treaty, even after his death, and they even practiced it with regard to Berbers, Buddhists, Brahmans, and people of other beliefs.

        One of the main reasons why the golden age of Islam was one of peace and security was the Prophet’s just attitude, itself a reflection of Qur’anic morality.
        The justice of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also awoke feelings of confidence in non-Muslims, and many, including polytheists, asked to be taken under his protection. Allah revealed the following request from the polytheists in the Qur’an, and also told the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) of the attitude he should adopt towards such people.

        [If any of the idolaters ask you for protection, give them protection until they have heard the words of Allah. Then convey them to a place where they are safe. That is because they are a people who do not know. How could any of the idolaters possibly have a treaty with Allah and with His Messenger, except for those you made a treaty with at the Masjid al-Haram? As long as they are straight with you, be straight with them. Allah loves those who do their duty.] (At-Tawbah 9:6-7)

        In our day, the only solution to the fighting and conflict going on all over the world is to adopt the morality of the Qur’an, and, like the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), never to depart from the path of justice, making no distinction between different religions, languages, or races.

The subject of Elderly is very important in every society in the world and especially in the western societies. The elderly are not respected as it should be. Many of them are sent to senior citizen homes instead of keeping them in their own houses or instead of being cared for by their own children. Many of the elderly while in the nursing homes are either killed or attacked by different people. It seems that the elderly are unwanted by the new generation for one reason or another.
This type of life for the elderly is miserable and unbearable. Such type of a situation is considered to be a crisis in the society. It needs to be corrected as soon as possible or else the crisis would lead to a catastrophe.
Islam teaches us to respect the elderly whether they are parents, relatives or any old persons. The word elderly has been used in the Qur'an to mean: Shaikh, Kabeer, 'Ajooz, Arzalil 'Umur, Kibar, etc.
In all those cases, we are informed that the elderly may end up with the following characteristics:
  1.     Many of them may lose their biological potency.
  2.     The majority may lose their physical vitality
  3.     Some of them may lose their mental capacity.
  4.     A large number of the elderly may increase their emotion feelings beyond limits.
As far as the loss of biological potency is concerned, Allah gave us two examples in the Qur'an about Prophet Zakariah and Prophet Ibrahim. Concerning Prophet Zakariah's wife, the Qur'an states the following about her biological impotency in Surah Al- 'Imran (The Family of Imran):
He said: 'O my Lord! How shall I have a son, seeing I am very old, and my wife is barren?' 'Thus,' was the answer, 'Doth God accomplish what He wills.'     [3:40]
While in Surah Mariam, Zakariah is said to have asked the following (in surprise) about getting a child:
He said, 'O my Lord! How shall I have a son, when my wife is barren and I have grown quite decrepit from old age?'     [19:8]
Concerning Prophet Ibrahim, Allah informed us that he was also shocked when he was told about having a child. In Surah Al Hijr (The Rocky Tract) the Qur'an states the following about his biological impotency:
He said: 'Do you give Glad tidings that old age has seized me? Of what , then, is your good news?'    [15:54]
The wife of Prophet Ibrahim was even shocked when she was informed about having a child. She knew that she was an old lady and she could not bear children anymore. In Surah Hud (The Prophet Hud), the Qur'an states the following:
...Seeing I am an old woman, and my husband here is an old man? That would indeed be a wonderful thing!    [11:72]
The wife of Prophet Ibrahim reconfirmed her biological impotency is Surah Al Zariyat (The Winnowing Winds). The Qur'an states the following:
But his wife came forward laughing aloud: She smote her forehead and said: A barren old Woman!    [51:29]
As far as the loss of physical vitality is concerned, an old person can't do much of the hard work that a young man is able to do. The Qur'an informs us about Prophet Shu'aib who was an old person. He could not do the hard work anymore. His daughters has to take the animals to the spring for water and also to raise them. In Surah Al-Qasas (The Narration), the Qur'an states the following:
...They said: We cannot water our flocks until the shepherds take back their flocks: and our father is a very old man.    [28:23]
The Qur'an also informs us about Prophet Zakariah who admitted his old age and his lack of physical ability. In Surah Mariam, Allah says:
Praying: O my Lord! Infirm indeed are my bones, and the hair of my head does glisten with grey...    [19:4]
As far as the loss of mental capacity is concerned, Allah (swt) informs us, in the Qur'an, that any old person may lose most of his mental capability. Hence he may become senile. In Surah Al-Hajj (Pilgrimage) and Surah Al-Nahl (The Bee), Allah (swt) informs us about the senility of the elderly ones. In Surah Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage) Allah (swt) says the following:
...And some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the feeblest old age, so that they know nothing after having known so much...   [22:55]
As far as the emotional feelings are concerned, Allah informed us about Prophet Yacoub (Jacob) and his sentimental feelings toward his two last sons: Yusuf and Benjamin. His emotions, his love, his concern, his sympathy, and his sentiments were too high to the extent that he cried and wept extensively until he lost his sight. The climax of this anecdote is summarized in Surah Yusuf as follows:
And he turned away from them, and said: how great is my grief for Joseph! And his eyes became white with sorrow, and he fell into silent melancholy.     [12:84]
When he was blamed for his continuous crying
He said: I only complain of my distraction and anguish to God, and I know from God that which you Know not...    [12:86]
In all these cases we are taught as Muslims, that we should respect the elderly even if they are senile. Our respect to the elderly is more confirmed toward our parents. In Surah Al-Isra' (Night Journey), Allah says to us:
... and that you be kind to parents. Where one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor.    [17:23]
Our beloved Prophet (pbuh) instructed us to respect all those who are old and at the same time we are to have mercy on the young. In one Hadith, it is said:
I advise you to be good to the elderly, and to have mercy on the youth. [El Dailami]
It was reported by Aisha that Prophet (pbuh) instructed us to respect people according to their position. The Arabic text is as follows:
We are informed that any young person who respects the elderly, is to be respected when he becomes old. In one Hadith, the following is reported:
Narrated by Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) saying that the Prophet (pbuh) said:
Any young person who is kind to an elderly because of his age, Allah will send him someone who will be kind to him when he becomes old.   [Tarmazi]
In another place, our beloved Prophet (pbuh) denounces the young if they don't respect the elderly in as much as the elderly are denounced if they don't have mercy on the young. the Hadith is as follows:
Narrated by 'Amr Ibn Shu'aib through his father and from his grandfather (May Allah be pleased with them), saying that the Messenger of Allah said:
He is not of us, the one who does not have mercy on our young ones, and the one who does not know the respect of our old ones.    [Dawood & Tarmazi]
The respect that the Prophet (pbuh) instructed us to give to the elderly is also in the field of prayer itself. We are to feel sympathy and concern for the elderly while we are performing the prayer. We should not extend or prolong the congregation prayer especially if there are elderly among the faithful. In one Hadith the Prophet (pbuh) said:
Narrated by Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (pbuh) said:
When a person leads a congregation prayer, let him make it short, as there may be around the weak, the sick and the elderly. However, when a person prays by himself, he may extend his prayer as much as he wishes.    [Agreed]
I wish to mention here that Allah Himself gives, among other things, respect to the elderly Muslims. The Prophet (pbuh) says in this regards:
Narrated by Abu Musa (May Allah be pleased with him) saying that the Messenger of Allah said:
Among the respect that Allah bestows is to the one who is elderly, gray-haired Muslim, the one who memorized the Qur'an without bragging or deserting it, and the respect to the just ruler.    [Abu Dawood]
I hope and pray that we Muslims should do our best to respect the elderly and especially our parents. It is a bad habit to send our elderly to senior citizen homes. It is also bad to get rid of our parents and send them to nursing homes. The presence of our parents in our own houses is a blessing from Allah (swt). Their presence will bring peace, happiness, concord, tranquility, mercy and reward from Allah. We should try our best to request our parents to stay with us at our own houses so as to receive the blessings of Allah. We should give a good example to the non-Muslim to do the same with their parents. If we take the initiative and practice this good habit in the American society, we will establish a better society where there is no generation gap. There won't be animosity between the young generation towards the elderly. Instead, there will be kindness, respect, sympathy, concern, and love toward one another. We feel sorry for the elderly who are living in nursing homes, that they are not wanted in the society, that they are deserted, and that arson is committed on them to get rid of them. Poor are the elderly in this society! Many of them are being attack while walking on the streets, robbed and killed. Others are killed while asleep in the nursing homes. Still others are strangled for no reason.
I want you to think seriously about yourself when you will be old. Think seriously abut what is going to happen to you in this part of the world when you will become a senior citizen. I am sure none of us want to be deserted, unwanted or to be thrown away in those nursing homes. None of us want to think that he is a liability when he still an asset to the society.
I wish to request that you visit some of the nursing homes and see for yourselves the life habitat of the elderly. Try to see the type of treatment they receive, the type of food they eat, the type of atmosphere they live in, and the type of feeling they have. Many of us will run away from those places. However, if anyone wishes to live in the open society, he will not feel safe either. We hope and pray, that we will do something good as of today to improve the situation. Once it was said:
Treat people the way you like to be treated.
Also it was once said:
The way you treat people, you will be treated.
Let me end this chapter with this Hadith:
Were it not for the elderly who are praying, were it not for the nursing infants, and were it not for the youth who are praying night Tahajud, people would have been destroyed.
Let us pray that Allah guide us to the straight path. Let us ask Allah's guidance and forgiveness. Ameen.

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