By Khurram Murad
In this article two images will be shown to you of the human being who, of all people, had the purest heart. He is Allah’s Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Let us ponder these two images and draw lessons from them.
First Image: Tearful Eyes
The first picture has been preserved for us by `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud. He narrated, “Allah’s Messenger said to me,‘Recite (of the Qur’an) for me.’I said, ‘Shall I recite it to you although it had been revealed to you?’ He said,‘I like to hear it (the Qur’an) from others.’So, I recited Surat An-Nisaa’ till I reached(How will it be, then, when We bring from every people a witness and bring you [O Muhammad] as a witness against these?) (An-Nisaa’ 4:41). He then said,‘Stop! Recite no more.’So, I turned to him, [only to see] his eyes flowing with tears.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Look at this picture with attention. What could be that great responsibility, the appreciation of which melted the heart and brought tears to the eyes? It is the obligation to stand witness to the Truth before the slaves of Allah. It is the responsibility ofda`wah(Arabic for: calling people to Islam). Indeed, it is due to the deep sense of accountability.
One day, Almighty Allah will question the extent to which this duty was performed. What would be the reply? Look at the love Prophet Muhammad had for his Lord. Admire his fear of confronting his Master. What a strange and appealing combination of love and fear! Mark his compassion and mercy for humankind. Such was his faith in the Divine Word (i.e. the Qur’an) that only a few verses brought all the love, fear, and kindness to his eyes in the form of tears. How can one fail to love such a man?
Now, have a look at yourself in light of this picture. You know that as a Muslim, you have been raised as an individual in an Ummah that should stand witness to the Truth in front of the nations and the whole world. This is the real objective of your life.
Day and night, you repeat words such asShari`ah, deen(Arabic for: Islamic religion or way of life), andwitness to the Truth. Yet, let’s be honest and speak the truth:
How many times have we cried, during the day or night, thinking of the hour when Almighty Allah will make us stand before Him as witnesses to the people living around us? What will our position be?
You know it very well: You, too, are obliged to stand witness to the Truth before the world in the way the Prophet stood in his days. You will have to stand before Allah, as the Prophet will. You will also be asked if you had stood witness to the Truth with your family members, schoolmates, friends, and colleagues at the university or at work, inhabitants of your town or country, and those who followed the ways of evil and went astray.
Were you a true or a false witness? Were you mindful or negligent of your duty? Were you thoughtful of all human beings or just worried about your own comforts and your own salvation?
Did such thoughts ever move you to tears? If not, it means that this image of the Prophet is not affixed in your heart. Your heart is still devoid of that tenderness of love for your Lord and His creatures, without which your life cannot attain any beauty and grace. You may deliver speeches, read books, shout slogans, and hold grand meetings. However, nothing will be fruitful without a deep passion and dedication to the Truth.
Viewing this picture should make you tremble. You should shiver and shed tears whenever you recall that you will be accountable for every indifference shown to the Lord by the people who neither follow the right path nor obey Him. By neglectingda`wah, you may be held responsible for the lapses of others around you.
Second Image: Tender and Tormented Heart
Let’s take a look at the second picture. It was not drawn by any mortal human being — it was rather drawn by Him Who is the Creator and Maker of Perfect Harmony. The entire universe speaks of the excellence and perfection of His art. He, the Almighty, says:
The statement is brief, but the picture is complete and comprehensive. Only a few words reflect a myriad of colors; the picture has several features that stir the heart. One aspect is the Prophet’s faith in his own truthfulness — a faith that one has in the existence of the sun in a bright, sunny morning.
His faith was confronted by repeated denials and rejection from the disbelievers. What would be the mental condition of a person who, pointing to the shining sun, declares that it is daytime and people refuse to believe him? They branded the Prophet as a liar and an impostor. Could you imagine how stifling their attitude toward him was? The people were satisfied only with refuting his claims; they laughed at him, turned against him, and oppressed him. Think of what his heart went through and how correctly the Lord paints this picture by using the expressiontorment yourself.
There is another feature that is far more fascinating. To grieve over rejections is natural. Every human being suffers them. But, there is one thing that is very hard to visualize. The Creator brings it before our eyes. Despite rejections, accusations, and enmity, there are no signs of anger or bad will on the part of the Prophet. He had only one desire, one concern, one passion: to bring these people to the way of Allah and rescue them from the wrath of Allah and the fire of Hell. His greatest wish was that they would be sent to heaven and rewarded in this world and in the hereafter.
It is one of the most attractive combinations of devotion, concern, and grief from which emerge the characteristics of the picture of one who was tormenting himself and was virtually dying of his grief.
He was not aggrieved only because people were not paying the attention he sought. He was not suffering only because people were rejecting the invitation to the Truth. The pain and grief were due to people’s rush toward fire like moths. They were, above all, happy and contented to die this way. Almighty Allah says:
On one hand, the Prophet loves his Lord and his fellow humans. He is, by nature, a compassionate being. Mercy for the Creationis his title. On the other hand, his beloved fellow human beings were running away from his beloved Lord and almost killing themselves. Can you imagine the condition of such a heart? The Prophet is reported to have said:
Now, look at yourself. Do you believe in your message so intensely as to find it difficult to breathe when people refuse to accept it? Do you love humanity so much so that disappointment, anger, and hate do not replace the feelings of love, sympathy, and concern? Do you feel the same pangs of grief when you see people going astray as you would feel when you see some dear one burn in fire?
The worldly cares, financial concerns, and hardships of those whom we love depress us and render us well-nigh dead. All of us have been through this in some way or another. Does the concern to deliver the message of Allah to people and the desire to save them from Hellfire and lead them to salvation keep you impatient and agitated? Do you try to hold people back and save them from disasters instead of branding them as transgressors when you see them go astray?
Believe me, until our lives reflect the image oftorment yourselfdescribed in the Qur’an, we will not be able to do or even think of what was successfully performed by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).