Islam is revival of humanity

The main object and claim of every system of thought is to raise the state of human beings and bring human relations to a higher level. However none of the manmade systems could reach a point which Islam has succeeded to achieve. The main reason for this is that  manmade systems depend on the limited capabilities of the human intellect. On the other hand, since Islam is the product of Our Lord’s Divine volition, it created a balanced system between humanity and the reality of universe. Human beings’ recognition of themselves and other creation, and their systems established to regulate their own affairs is trivial compared to the infinite power of Allah the Almighty,which is why, contrary to their claims, most philosophical systems and religions created by humans have not been able to show humanity the right path. They have left the human state destitute rather than fulfilled.

The result of most systems from Freud, who dragged humanity to an ethical collapse, to Marx who claimed to take humanity to economical prosperity has been the opposite of their claims. In the end, they caused social disorder and misery.

It is a historical fact that the Prophet (pbuh) embraced humanity, which was drowning in oppression and anarchy, with compassion and mercy. He also presented the best example to humanity by his merciful and affectionate behavior. Before his prophethood, human beings were such people that were fighting, oppressing and attacking each other starting from their childhood. But in his blessed hands every one of them were saved from all blameworthy characteristics and became bright and exceptional individuals like “stars in the heaven.” There are several exemplary incidents in the lives of these people called “distinguished Companions.” The following example is taken from Mus’ab b. Umair’s life.

Mus’ab b. Umair (r.a.) went to the land of Abd-i Ashal and sons of Zafar in Medina together with As’ad b. Zurarah (r.a.). In those days Sa’d b. Mu’az and Usayd b. Hudayr were the leaders of sons of Abd-i Ashal. They were polytheists. When Sa’d heard Mus’ab’s arrival, he told Usayd:

“What are you waiting for? Go and take these guys away.  They are here to trick our weak and stricken people.”

Usayd came to Mus’ab b. Umayr and As’ad b. Zurarah and stated to abuse them. He directed his spear at them and said:

“If you want to live, get out of here!”

Mus’ab (r.a.) replied him smiling:

“If you sit and listen, we have some thing to tell you. You are a clever and prudent person. If you like what we say, you can accept them; if you do not like, you can stay away from us.”

Usaid though for a while then:

“You are right” and left his spear and started to listen.

Having listened, he liked what he said and converted to Islam. Then he peacefully left and went to Sa’d:

“I listened to them and saw nothing wrong about what they said.”

Sa’d got pretty upset and went to Mus’ab. Mus’ab (may Allah be pleased with him) greeted him similarly and appeased him. He gently explained some Divine facts to Sa’d. This time Sa’d was blessed with conversion to Islam.

Of course this incident reveals the level that the Companions reached under the discipline of the Prophet (pbuh). Those fortunate people wrote the principle of “those who come to kill you should be revived in you” to the pages of history.

In this context The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) forgave many criminals even Wahshi, his uncle’s killer and treated them with mercy. For him (pbuh) mercy and forgiveness always came before anger. Many devastating fires of heedlessness and corruption were extinguished by the river of truth he brought. People of his era, who were characterized by famous Turkish poet Mehmed Akif Ersoy as “If a man is toothless, first his brothers would eat him”, were saved from this savagery. They became humans who would say on the battle ground: “take this water to my brother” while he, himself, was burning from extreme thirst.

The Prophet (pbuh), who took his people to the peaks of spirituality, was always in front of his spiritual caravan. In fact at the beginning of last century a group of scholars gathered in La Hague, Netherlands and selected one hundred most influential men of human history. Even though the selection committee was consisted only Christian scholars, they had to select The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as the most influential man of human history based on ethical criteria, which they looked for in a candidate.

Again it is worth to mention that almost ninety percent of the Companions converted Islam just because of the Prophet’s perfect personality and beautiful conduct called excellent exemplar (al-uswa al-hasanah). Even those who were the Prophet’s ardent enemy never called him “liar” or “oppressor,” when they attempted to defame him, they could only praise his beautiful conduct.

Those who most sincerely accept Islam and want to serve Islam should know that this blessed path primarily aims to reinvigorate humanity. Every human being should be approached as the noblest of all creation. For the object of Islam is to make the exemplary manners dominant characteristics of human beings. This means to clean all incidental negative qualities of humans and revive them in their original nature. This is only achievable by reinvigorating some spiritual beauties.

That is why Islam pays attention to the conduct and ethical maturity of humans starting the day they were born. And it has succeeded to transform its followers into personalities to whom everybody admires. Islam has given maturity with angelic attributes to many heedless people, who lived like animals. For instance Umar b. al-Khattab (r.a.), who had buried his own daughter alive, became such a gentle Muslim that he was afraid even to hurt ants.

In this regard Islam represents a soul approaching humans with love and compassion. The sense of responsibility emanating from the seeds of mercy takes human beings to perfection in manners and happiness in both worlds. For Islam is revival of humanity. All manners born by sublime system of Islam are the most humane ones. Yunus Emre says in this regard:

Let’s become friends,

Let’s make our affairs easy

Let’s love and be loved,

The world will not be left to anyone.

This sense of mercy was so great in our history that it made to the captive enemy commander say that “O mercy! How cruel you are, you even made me love my enemy.”

Nowadays some unfortunate and heedless ones can pronounce the name of Islam together with the concept of “terror.” In a way they are trying to plaster the sun with mud. They usually choose innocent people to spread fright and terror and to influence the populace with an imaginative and nameless danger. On the other hand Islam orders to embrace even the guilty and the peccable with mercy and forgiveness. Therefore is it imaginable to think that Islam would accept to intimidate and frighten the innocent?

Since the emergence of Islam, it has treated everybody, believer or nonbeliever, with justice and compassion. It strongly prohibited all kinds of destructive actions against property, life and nature. It obligates the state to protect life, property, honor and family and to provide psychological well being, social order and balance. There is not even remotely connection between the real Islamic thought and terror. It should also be known that Islam prohibits not just terror but also all kinds of action leading to it.

Muslim b. Harith (r.a.) narrates:

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sent us to a battle. When we got close to our destination, I speeded up my horse and passed my friends. I talked to the village community and they converted Islam. In this way there was no need left for battle. However some of my friends who are unaware of the sensitivity of the situation reproached me saying:

“We lost the loot because of you.” When we came back to the Prophet (pbuh), they told him what I had done. The Prophet (pbuh) called me and praised me for my action:

“You should know that Allah rewarded you for each of the people you saved today.” Then he continued: “Let me write a letter suggesting you to future Muslim administrators.” Then he has the letter written and he sealed and gave it to me.[1]

Another exemplary scene is as follows:

Upon the massacre of seventy teachers in Bir Ma’unah tragedy and some other attacks, the Prophet (pbuh) started to send soldiers along with every group of teacher he sent. Those soldiers were not allowed to use their arms unless it was absolutely necessary. Once Khalid b. Walid used his sword over the limits the Prophet (pbuh) had given. When the Prophet (pbuh) heard what happened, He sadly said: “O Allah! I am free from what Khalid bin Al-Walid has done,” and repeated it thrice. Then he sent Ali b. Abi Talib to the place where the incident happened and had him paid the blood money not just for humans but also for animals even for dogs.[2]

The Ottomans, who accepted this conduct as a motto for themselves, did not force non-Muslims to convert Islam and never persecuted the local public by massacre or cultural imperialism. They accepted non-Muslims in their lands as a trust of Allah and treated them accordingly. That is why saying of “This country will not gain its freedom, unless the Ottoman horses drink water from Vistula River” became a proverb among the people of Lechia.

From this respect the Ottoman Empire became a country where other nations preferred to live. In fact while the Ottoman armies were forcing against Istanbul’s walls, Christian Grand duke Notaras’s respond for the request to ask help from Pope:

“I would prefer to see Turkish turban here, instead of seeing cardinal’s headgear.”

We, as Muslims, have to live showing mercy and compassion to all creation especially today. And this is the most effective way to get closer to Allah the Almighty.

The following narration is a very good example to show a believer’s state of mind:

Bayazid al-Bistami stopped under a tree, had his meal and then continued his way. After a while he saw an ant on his bag and sadly thought:

“I separated this poor animal from its land.”

He immediately turned back to the place where he had meal and left the ant, because Bayazid knew the significance of showing mercy to all creation for the sake of their Creator.

Islam, which makes people to show such high level of compassion to animals, regards human beings much more glorious and asks them to move towards sublime horizons. In other words when human being’s essence of “the best of creation (ahsan-i taqwim)” is considered; the significance which should be given to concept of humanity will be better understood. This state of mind can be observed in all principles of Islam regarding human beings. One of the objects of Islam is to take human beings to such sublime levels that even angels envy.

Today the reason for witnessing so much oppression and anarchy in the world is to walk away from elevating characteristics such as Divine love and mercy and to follow the self’s carnal desires. This is a natural result of being bereft of the beauties of Islam. In this way to better understand Islam, to listen what it says heart and soul and to realize the transience of this world will provide the opportunity for the salvation of humanity. In other words, humanity’s real need is to learn the principles of Islam and to regulate our lives according to these principles. Is not the following line of Yunus Emre: “Love creation; because of the Creator” a life preserver for a person who deviates from the reality, which will save him both in this world and in the Hereafter? And, as Muslims, to provide them help is our responsibility. Modern means of transportation and communication increase our responsibility. Utilizing technological advances in conveying the message of Islam to humanity and scattering the mist of negative publicity over Islam exist today more than ever. This fact makes our individual and social responsibilities a universal one. To better understand this situation, let’s see the following narration:

A doctor in America converted Islam and organized a ceremony in a mosque for his conversion. In the ceremony to which several Muslims from near and far attended, the doctor was going to make a speech and explain why he had chosen Islam. Before starting to his speech, he said:

“I have a question for you. I would like to get its answer before my speech.”  Then he asked:

“Both my parents died as Christians. I would like to ask you their state in the Hereafter.”

Congregation started to get worried. Could their answer upset the new convert? In this manner they answered:

“If they did not get the message of Islam in their lives, they are excused. They are waiting at the world between this and the Hereafter. Their state will appear after the Judgment Day.

Upon this respond, the doctor continued his words:

“O Muslims! Both my parents were more knowledgeable, more ethical and fairer than I am. However, because of the pressure of the society they lived as Christians and passed away as Christians. They thought the innocent prophet Jesus was god. They knew nothing about Islam. Maybe they just heard its name.

May Allah be pleased with you all. You came to America and built this mosque. You told me about Islam and became the reason for my conversion. Thank you for that. But my mother and father are two retired people. Why had not one of you approached them and told them what you told me? If you had done that, I have no doubt that they would accept Islam more enthusiastically than I did.

I know faith is fate. However, this world is the world of causes. Why did you refrain from performing your responsibility? I believe that your neglect and heedlessness is the reason for their death without the blessing of Islam. They will hold you responsible for that and so will I.” Then he cried and started to talk about his reasons for conversion.

This exemplary incident should horrify us and make us think. For conveying the message of Islam is our Divine responsibility as much as we could. And this responsibility is now heavier with the advanced means of communication. Not just the people who are away from us but also people around us will hold us responsible for our neglect and insufficiency in conveying the message of Islam.

We should clearly mention that religion cannot be used as an instrument for political issues. In this manner religious facts and political issues should be separated. For instance “Kharijites” were claiming that whatever they did, they did it in the name of Islam, but on the contrary their actions were demands of a political thought and anarchy which is completely outside the Islamic thinking. Throughout history, people, groups and sometimes even states which want to break the society’s peace for their own benefit and make profit out of disorder have performed these kind of political maneuvers. These centers used elements accepted lawful by the populace, especially religion, in order to present their unjust case as a just one. Then they began campaigns that defamed religious people. We can mention what Abdullah b. Saba, who prepared the grounds for the Battle of Jamal, said to his supporters:

“O people! Your life and honor depends on disorder and fight in the society. Then make them fight each other. Tomorrow when those people started to fight, provoke the fight. Do not let them occupy themselves with anything else. For that, people whom you are together with should think that it is necessary to keep the fight going between Ali, Zubair, Talha and those who think like them, and that it is necessary to turn away from something that you do not want, that is peace….” (I. Canan, Hadis Ansiklopedisi, XIII, 334)

These words can be keys to understanding what underlies the Muslims’ state of heedlessness and discord in the past and the present. During the last century we observe that the Muslim world is left leaderless and has been struggling in various types of conflicts and battles. In order to figure out the real reason behind all this hostility, we need to carefully analyze the meaning of the above-mentioned lines.

How appropriately stated by Jalal al-Din al-Rumi (q.s.):

“O you who sows the seed of thistles in the world! Come to your senses and be warned not to look for the thorn you sown in the rosary where nightingales sing; do not blame rosary for your own mistakes.”[3]

“With which mental state you look for deficiencies and blemishes on the surface of the moon; try to pick up thorns in the paradise. O you who look for thorns instead of roses! If you go into paradise, you could not find thorns other than yourself”

Rumi then warns Muslims against such makers of mischief:

“There are those who ate humans like beasts. Their greetings and words of “la hawla” are all blurry. For their hearts are beds for devils, and they, themselves, are human devils.”

“Some others look like butchers who would like to skin their friends. On the one hand he says “my dear, my love”, on the other hand he prepares his knife. In short he deceives you with nice and pleasing words in order to skin you. And yet what a pitiful state of those who swallow the opium given by their enemies.”

Every person in this state uses humanness as a mask because he is unaware of real human dignity; he has not tasted Divine love and has not had a share of compassion. If these had been ideas, they would have killed reality; If they were poets, they would have corrupted the souls; if they were defenders of morality, they would have destroyed it. Rumi says about them:

“If he takes a rose in his hand, it becomes a thorn for others; and if he goes to a friend, he bites like a snake.”

Allah the Almighty states the circumstances of this state of heedlessness:

“And when it is said to them, Do not make mischief in the land, they say: We are but peace-makers. Now surely they themselves are the mischief makers, but they do not perceive.”(2; 11-12)

Then the important thing is not a person’s personal decisions, wishes and ambitions but Allah the Almighty’s desires and requests. Those who use religious motifs and principles as a cover for their heinous aims are the ones who lose Allah the Almighty’s contentment. In fact Allah the Almighty says the following about those who corrupted the world and even killed their Prophets:

“For this reason did We prescribe to the children of Israel that whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men; and certainly Our messengers came to them with clear arguments, but even after that many of them certainly act extravagantly in the land.”(5; 32)

Because a murderer who unjustly kills a soul, by attacking that soul’s innocence did not acknowledge that soul’s right to live and encouraged others to commit the same act. Hence anyone who takes a life, deserves Allah the Almighty’s rage and punishment as if he slew the entire humanity, according to Allah’s Word. And saving a life is equal to saving all of humanity.

In this regard Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi (q.s.) resembles Islam to elixir:

“No one dies on the shores of the water of life” In this way he reflects the kindness of this religion.

We can say that all principles of Islam are circled around this type of sensitivity. In this respect Islam molds human beings first with correct faith then with good manners, mercy, serving humanity, knowledge, courtesy, obeying the law and high ethical standards. In this way it revives humanity in a real sense.

Nowadays the only characteristics that could save, deepen and adorn the soul is mercy. And the fruits of mercy are generosity, modesty, service, forgiveness and freedom from envy.

All sincere services reaching humanity without worldly considerations transcend the self and bring the servant closer to Allah the Almighty. Only by serving creation, the doors of hope in our hearts can be opened, therefore increasing our chances to unite with Allah the Almighty. Otherwise the selfish tendencies and qualities seen in our actions are very difficult to eradicate since they shadow the main goal of our birth.

In short, faith and good manners constitute the foundations for Islamic peace and happiness. That is why righteous believers turn their mind and soul to Allah the Almighty and dedicate all their organs to do good and beneficial deeds. As was stated by Jalal al-Din Rumi: “Oh, happy is the ugly one to whom the beauteous one has become a Companion; alas for one of rosy countenance with whom autumn has consorted!”

O Allah! Bless our two worlds with the beauties of Islam. Protect us, our state, Muslim nation and entire humanity from all kinds of sedition and calamities.

Amin!

[1].      See Ibn Sa’d Tabaqat, VII, 419-20.

[2].      See Bukhari, Ahkam, 35; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa-al-Nihayah, IV, 304-05.

[3].      Vol. II, verse 153