A society that has been able to absorb Islam into all its particles like the fragrance of a rose, so to speak, duly perceiving it with its spirit and form, builds a ‘civilisation of virtue’, just as has been the case in a great many stages throughout our illustrious and noble history. Believers possessing such a quality are the fortunate ones who have attained happiness in both worlds, regardless of the time and space in which they live. And so, the peace and happiness of the journey of life, each facet surrounded by surprises and unknowns, is contingent upon adequately acquiring a share in the spiritual fabric of Islam.
1. Allah Almighty Loves His Servants
Allah, the Most High, has favoured humankind in ways very different to other creation for He loves His servants much and has great mercy towards them. The thousand and one masterpieces that we constantly observe around us with great awe, the Divine embroidery and manifestations of Divine power are presented to us as each a letter of love, so to speak. It is revealed in a Qur’anic verse in relation to these bounties:
“He has also made of service to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth, all is from Him (a gift of His Grace). Surely in this there are (clear) signs for a people who reflect.” (Jathiyah, 45:13)
Again, in Qur’anic verses, Allah Almighty declares His love for His servants as follows:
“…Allah will raise up a people whom He loves, and who love Him…” (Ma’ida, 5:54)
“Allah is All-Pitying towards His servants.” (Baqara, 2:207; Al- ’Imran, 3:30)
Our Lord, the Supreme, reveals His love for His servants in a great many verses, in various contexts. For instance, He declares that He loves “who are devoted to doing good”, “who turn to Him in sincere repentance” and “who cleanse themselves” , “the God-revering, pious” , “the patient and steadfast”, “who put their trust (in Him)” and “the scrupulously equitable”.
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, also reveals that Allah Almighty loves His servants who treat others with kindness, are pious, God-conscious, free from want, hidden from fame, preoccupied with reforming their carnal selves, are modest, virtuous, obedient and humble.
Again, the Most High treats those virtuous servants of His who shun a livelihood from begging and illicit earnings17, who work to provide for their household, become fatigued in pursuit of the permissible, practice asceticism in relation to the world, show tolerance when selling, buying, repaying and requesting repayment of a debt, draw near to Him through obligatory and supererogatory worship, carry out their work in the best way, are of benefit to others, are generous, persistent in supplication, and love, visit and get along with one another for Allah’s sake. This means to say, Allah Almighty has created a great many causes by way of loving His servants. He immerses them in the ocean of love and mercy in one way or another.
One of His most beautiful names is the All-Loving (al-Wadud) – the One Who loves much and is loved much… The Almighty’s creating human beings in the best way, bestowing upon them every kind of blessing, always forgiving their sins and delaying their punishment so as to give them a chance to repent, is the most explicit proof of how much He loves them.
Again as a manifestation of this love and mercy, our Exalted Lord has revealed, in detail, the things that are of benefit and those that are harmful in both this world and in the Hereafter. The greatest blessing bestowed upon human beings is this. Allah Almighty wills for His servants to become friends to Him by observing these principles, and for them to attain eternal tranquillity as a result.
For this reason, the Almighty has established human nature upon the realities of belief in His Divinity and has embellished it with sacred rapture. In the depths of the human heart there lies a sense of truth and justice, a strong need for belief and the desire to know Allah through the heart, known as ma’rifa, and reach Him. These manifestations have, without a doubt, become apparent throughout history with the blessing of the practice of Islam.
2. The Greatest Need of the Human Being
Security and Peace At the fore of the worldly needs of humankind are security and peace. It is elemental for a person to be protected from all kinds of oppression and to secure their rights, hence finding felicity in this world as well as in the Hereafter. One who is not secure in the place in which they live can have no peace and comfort. The most influential power guaranteeing this security are the Divine laws that Allah, glory unto Him, has decreed – that is, Islam. The Most High indicates this fact as follows:
“(At least) for (Allah’s constant) favor of concord and security to the Quraysh, their concord and security in their winter and summer journeys, let them worship the Lord of this House (the Ka‘ba), Who has provided them with food against hunger, and made them safe from fear.” (Quraish, 106:1-4)
Man-made systems and laws are far from ensuring this security and tranquillity for they have no spiritual dimension. Prior to the emergence of Islam, the world was enveloped in a deep darkness of ignorance. Enjoying their rights belonged only to those with might. The powerless had no rights and were seen as deserving of oppression. Human beings were crushed beneath an inexpressible tyranny and persecution. Famous Turkish poet Mehmed Akif expresses the end of this state with the advent of Islam in the following words:
Weakness, its entire lot being oppression, was revived;
Tyranny, never considering doom, died!
Allah Almighty favoured the Quraysh tribe with a unique security in such an environment, out of His Divine grace. Comfortably conducting their political, commercial and cultural undertakings within this security, they attained material and spiritual riches and repose. When the time came, the Almighty raised up from among them His Last Prophet. By means of him, the Most High taught humankind the principles of peace, felicity and security.
3. Islam: The Source of Peace and Salvation
The word ‘Islam’ has such meanings as security, salvation, peace, tranquillity, submission and attaining repose. This demonstrates that the religion of Islam conferred upon the entire world a complete security, salvation and peace, in every sense.
That is to say, Islam grants comfort and tranquillity not only to human beings, but to animals, plants and even inanimate beings also. The twenty three years of the Prophethood of the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, were spent with struggle against every kind of terror; ultimately, a religion of truth serving as a source of eternal peace and security was bestowed to this world.
a. Human Beings Find Peace
Islam raises the human being out from every kind of oppression, injustice and misery, into security. Muslim scholars maintain that the objective of religion is to establish and protect the five principles known as the essentials of religion (zarurat al-diniyya):
a) The protection of religion;
b) The protection of life;
c) The protection of mental health;
d) The protection of dignity, honour and, as a result, the preservation of progeny; and
e) The protection of property.
When these five principles are protected, the human being attains a complete peace and security. Islam has placed well-founded laws for the protection of each of these principles and has delineated the prohibited (haram) and the permissible (halal). Islam’s rulings pertaining to mundane worldly matters, known as mu’amalat, are more so concerned with these.
Prior to the emergence of Islam, people’s belief, worship, dealings and everyday lives were in a pitiful state. Just as there was no security of life, property and honour, there was also no belief, worship and morality which would exalt the human being. People would worship the idols they made out of halva and would eat them when they became hungry. They would command their slaves to make for them idols of wood and stone and would later anticipate help from these.
When travellers camped in a certain place, they would take four stones, placing three beneath their cooking pot as coal for their fire and worship the fourth as their deity. Abu Raja’ al-’Utaridi says the following in regard to this practice:
“We used to worship stones [before Islam]. But when we found a better stone than the first one, we would throw the first one and take the latter. If we could not get hold of a stone then we would collect some earth (soil), bring a sheep and milk that sheep over it, and then circumambulate it.” (Bukhari, Maghazi, 70)
Islam abolished such erroneous beliefs, which reduced human dignity to nought. It brought the exalted beliefs, worship and morality that elevated the honour and integrity of the human being. It ordered every area of human life in the best possible way. Muslims tasting the sublime feelings bestowed by Islam displayed great sacrifices in order for others to benefit from this great blessing also. A noteworthy example in this regard is as follows:
When Umm Sulaym, may Allah be well pleased with her, was proposed marriage by Abu Talha, who was very eager to marry her, she based her acceptance on the condition of his abandoning idol worship and embracing Islam. Addressing him, she said:
“Consider the stones that you worship. They can neither benefit not harm you. And consider the idols you make from trees. Someone comes, cuts down a tree and fashions it and then you worship it as a god. If you throw it into the fire, it will turn to ashes. Are you not ashamed to worship wood that grows out the earth and is fashioned by an Abyssinian slave? If you pronounce the Declaration of Faith and declare your allegiance to the Messenger of Allah, I will marry you and ask nothing of you [in way of bridal due].”
The words that he had heard countless times prior to this moment finally affected Abu Talha and became a means for him to be honoured with belief. Overjoyed by this, Umm Sulaym, may Allah be well pleased with her, accepted Abu Talha’s acceptance of Islam as her dowry and married him without asking for anything, when she was in actual face in a position to demand as much worldly wealth as she wished. In other words, her marriage dovry was Islam. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, vividly expresses the principle that is to ensure the security and peace of all humanity:
“No one is fully a believer until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” (Bukhari, Iman, 7; Muslim, Iman, 71-72)
Sure enough, when human beings practise this altruism mentioned in the Prophetic Tradition, problems in society would be minimised and injustice would come to an end.
Islam: The Religion of Truth and Justice
The following Divine commandment prescribes a remedy for the greatest cause of unrest between human beings:
“And do not consume your wealth among yourselves in false ways (in vanities, sins and crimes such as theft, usurpation, bribery, usury, and gambling); nor proffer it to those in authority so that you may sinfully consume a portion of other people’s goods, and that knowingly.” (Baqara, 2:188)
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, once asked his Companions:
“Do you know who the bankrupt person is?”
“A bankrupt person amongst us is the one who has neither money nor property.”
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said:
“The bankrupt person of my community is he who will come on the Day of Judgement with prayer and fast and giving great amounts in charity. And at the same time, he will come having insulted this one, and slandered that one, and unlawfully consumed the wealth of the other, and shed the blood of yet others and having beaten others still. Then any person whom he has wronged will be given from his good deeds on that Day. And if his good deeds are exhausted until he clears the account concerning all of the people he has oppressed, the sins of those people whom he has wronged will be transferred to his account and thereafter, he will be thrown into Hellfire.” (Muslim, Birr, 59; Tirmidhi, Qiyama, 2; Ahmad, II:303, 324, 372)
A person who has wholeheartedly submitted to Islam, in consideration of such Qur’anic verses and Prophetic Traditions, cannot even think of causing even the slightest harm to anyone. The understanding of justice that Islam brought is above every other conception. An example of such examples is as follows:
On the day of Badr, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, straightened the ranks of his Companions using an arrow that was in his hand. As he passed by Sawad ibn Ghaziya, who was standing out of line, he pricked him in his belly with the arrow, saying,
“Stand in line, O Sawad!”
Sawad, may Allah be well pleased with him, responded saying,
“You have hurt me, O Messenger of Allah. Allah has sent you with truth and justice, so allow me to retaliate”.
The Messenger then uncovered his belly and said,
“Go ahead, retaliate.”
Becoming anxious, the Ansar exclaimed,
“O Sawad! He is the Messenger of Allah!” in an attempt to bring him to his senses. Sawad, may Allah be well pleased with him, replied,
“No human being has superiority over another when it comes to justice.”
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, repeated:
“Have your retaliation.”
Sawad embraced him and kissed his stomach. Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, asked:
“What induced you to do that, Sawad?”
“O Messenger of Allah,” he replied, “You see the situation we are in. I was not sure that I would not be killed, and I wanted my last recollection of you to be that my skin had touched yours.”
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, prayed for his welfare and heartened him.
Showing painstaking attention to the rights of all creation throughout his life, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, was even concerned for the rights of others while on his deathbed and, despite his weakened state, mounted the pulpit and declared:
“My Companions! If I have dispossessed anyone of any wealth, let him come forth and seize his from me.” If I have (unwittingly) lashed the back of anyone, let him come forward and lash my back in return. If there be any such men as these, let them come forth without fear of retaliation or hatred, for neither of these become of me.”
Islam: The Religion of Grace and Kindness
Islam teaches Muslims to live their lives in consideration of the Day of Judgement and not to violate the rights of anyone else. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, has succinctly described the perfected believer in the following way:
“The Muslims are those from whose tongues and hands other Muslims are safe and sound.” (Bukhari, Iman, 4-5.)
Indeed, throughout their education and worship a Muslim receives training in ‘harmlessness’. They then reach such a point that no one ever thinks that any harm can come from them. Such a believer always infuses peace and trust to their surroundings. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, states:
“The believer is comparable to the honeybee which eats that which is pure and wholesome and produces that which is pure and wholesome. When it lands on something it does not break or ruin it.” (See: Ahmad, II:199; Hakim, I:147;)
The honeybee is a creature that is extremely proficient, skilled, clever, useful and humble. It even works during the night. It always eats of clean and pleasant things. It gathers its provisions from flowers. It follows and obeys its leader. Its nuisance and harm is very slight. It steers clear of things that are unclean and does not consume the earnings of another. In exactly the same way as the honeybee, the believer earns a licit livelihood, eats of the licit and is present in places that are pure.
They exude mercy in every place they are present. They hurt no one and are not hurt by anyone. When they err, they immediately redress their error and constantly maintain their character and dignity. They are humble and strive for the welfare of all people. They shun oppression, heedlessness, dissension, wrongdoing and the vain desires and whims of the carnal self.
A society with individuals like honeybees will of course attain the peak of peace and security. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, gave the glad tidings of this in the early years of Islam: Khabbab ibn Arat, may Allah be well pleased with him, explains:
One day the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, was sitting in the shadow of the Ka’ba, leaning against his cloak. We complained to him (about our state) and said,
“O Messenger of Allah, will you pray to Allah (for our relief)?”
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, was greatly moved and, with his colour altered, he straightened himself up and said,
“Among those who were before you a (believer) used to be seized and a pit used to be dug for him and then he used to be placed in it. Their bones were scraped with combs of iron and their bodies were sawn into two from head to toe, yet, all this did not cause them to abandon their religion. By Allah! Allah will assuredly complete this religion and make it triumphant, till a rider (traveller) goes from San’a’ (the capitalof Yemen) to Hadramut fearing nothing save Allah and the wolf lest it should attack his sheep, but you are impatient.” (Bukhari, Manaqib, 25; Isti’zan, 35; Manaqib al-Ansar, 29; Abu Dawud, Jihad, 97:2649.)
Again, Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said to ‘Adiyy ibn Hatim, who was hesitant about becoming a Muslim:
“Perhaps, O Adiyy, the only reason that prevents you from entering this religion is what you see of the destitution of the Muslims and their poverty. Do you know Al-Hirah?”
“I do not know it, but I have heard of it.’’
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said: “I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, Allah will assuredly perfect this religion such that a woman will come out from Hiram until she circumambulates the Ka’ba without her being given protection by any person, and the treasures of Chosroes the son of Hormuz will be opened.”
“The treasures of Chosroes the son of Hormuz?’’’
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“Yes, the treasures of Chosroes the son of Hormuz, and wealth will be given until there will be no one who will accept it.”
Adiyy, may Allah be well pleased with him, later said:
“I (lived long enough and) saw a woman travel and circumambulate the Ka’ba without any fear except that of Allah and I was among those who opened the treasure of Chosroes the son of Hormuz. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, the third thing will also come to pass, because the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said it.’’ (Bukhari, Manaqib, 25; Ahmad, IV:257, 377-379; Ibn Hisham, IV:246; Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidaya, V:62.)
Indeed, Islam aims to ensure that human beings live in a privileged environment of peace in which they fear none but Allah. Financial prosperity is also engendered as a result. Indeed, in the era of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-’Aziz, the Muslims had appealed to the Caliph to ask him what they were to do with their prescribed annual alms (zakat), as they could not find any needy person to which they could offer them.
Islam: The Religion of Magnanimity
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, had granted written amnesty to a great number of people. In his work on the Prophet’s letters of diplomacy, Professor Muhammad Hamidullah states that he has seen a great many copies of the Messenger’s declarations of amnesty in various countries. The following recollection in regard to one of these arrests the attention:
When Istanbul was conquered, many delegations of neighbouring rulers came with offers of congratulations for the conquest. Among these was the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem, Athanasios IV. Entering the presence of Sultan Mehmed II, the Patriarch showed him the declaration of amnesty that the Messenger of Allah signed with his fingerprint as well as documents from the time of Caliph ‘Umar written in the Kufi calligraphic script.
He requested that the places of worship in Jerusalem remain as they were. Affirming the rights that were bestowed by the Messenger of Allah to the letter, Sultan Mehmet II penned a royal decree and added the stipulation, “Damned by the curse of Allah be the one who overrules this Imperial Edict!” This decree is currently held in the Prime Ministry Ottoman Archives, Kilise Defteri, no 8.
By virtue of the principles of Islam, the Muslim community had reached such a point that those living under their administration, whether Christian or Jew, lived in affluence and were contented with their lives. They even rejected the rule of their coreligionists and invited the Muslims to their lands, to administer them with justice. Bernard Lewis says:
“The Ottoman Empire affected Europe in a number of ways… For merchants, manufacturers, and later financiers, it was a rich and increasingly open market, and for many also it exercised a powerful fascination. The disaffected and the ambitious were attracted by Ottoman opportunity… Downtrodden peasants looked hopefully to the enemies of their masters. Martin Luther in his ‘Admonition to prayer against the Turk’, published in 1541, gave warning that the poor, oppressed by greedy princes, landlords and burghers, might well prefer to live under the Turks rather than under Christians such as these.”
Islam: The Religion of Compassion
Islam is a religion of compassion. Compassion is one of the most important tenets of the religion of Islam, so much so that the heading of the Book of Allah, the ‘Basmala’, mentions the names the AllMerciful and the All-Compassionate in juxtaposition to the name Allah. In the first chapter immediately following the Basmala, the same names have been repeated in the second verse of the Opening chapter entitled al-Fatiha. Allah Almighty has revealed the attribute All-Merciful as the first word in a later chapter, and this Divine attribute has also become the eponym for the chapter.
Stating herein, “The All-Merciful He has taught the Qur’an,” it is indicated that the Qur’an has been presented to humankind as a requirement of Divine mercy. That the Qur’an is “a healing and a mercy” is explicitly mentioned in the Qur’anic chapter Isra’. (Isra’, 17:82)
In the other chapters of the Qur’an, compassion and mercy are repeated and encouraged hundreds of times. One of the most exalted characteristics that Allah Almighty has bestowed upon His Prophets is mercy. Most particularly, according to the declaration, “We have not sent you (O Muhammad) but as an unequalled mercy for all the worlds,” this characteristic constitutes a pinnacle in the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, to which no one else is able to attain. An example of his unparalleled mercy is as follows:
When the armies met during the Battle of Badr, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, sent envoys to the Makkan polytheists for conciliation. During this time, the enemy faced a drought. A group of Makkan polytheists, among them Hakim ibn Hizam, came to drink water from the well of the Muslims. When the Muslims wanted to prevent them, Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“Allow them to drink!” They then came and drank. (Ibn Hisham, II:261)
It can be said that in Islam the first fruit of belief is mercy. The friends of Allah, who spend their lives along such a course, have described servanthood briefly through these two dimensions:
a. Fulfilling the commandments of Allah in due reverence;
b. Showing mercy and compassion to the created by virtue of the Creator.
Islam is a religion of mercy. While humankind, which has stumbled into many a pit of sin and heedlessness, has become deserving of ruin and disappointment as a result of their doings, Allah Almighty wills to draw them into a climate of felicity by forever enveloping them with wings of mercy and forgiveness. His declaring,
“My mercy takes precedence over My wrath,” is a vivid demonstration of this.
Thus, it can be said that a society that duly practises Islam becomes a society of peace. Its citizens both live therein in security in terms of their worldly life and at the same time look to their continued existence in the Hereafter with hope. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, states:
“He is successful who has accepted Islam, who has been bestowed with sufficient provision and has been made contented by Allah with what He has given him.” (Muslim, Zakat, 125. Also refer to: Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 35:2348.)
b. Animals Find Peace
Prior to the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, being sent to humankind, those who were weak as well as women were not even valued. It is self-evident, then, that animals would not be regarded in such a society. Animals, in a pitiable state, would both serve human beings and would live in suffering and anguish, one on top of the other. When Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, arrived, they were saved from oppression and were now at ease. Abu Waqid, may Allah be well pleased with him, explains:
“When the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, came to Madina, the people used to like [eating] the humps of camels and would cut off the fat tails of sheep.
“Whatever is cut off from an animal while it is alive is carrion and cannot be eaten.” (Tirmidhi, Sayd, 12:1480)
In so doing, he rescued animals from this agonising and brutal torment. The Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, cursed those who tied animals up and shot at them from a distance and who used any living thing as a target. (Bukhari, Zaba’ih, 25)
Similarly, he forbade the killing of animals in vain and leisure. He states in a narration:
“If someone kills a sparrow for sport, the sparrow will cry out on the Day of Judgement, “O Lord! That person killed me for nothing! He did not kill me for any useful purpose!” (Nasa’i, Dahaya, 42)
Islam commands human beings to treat animals with mercy and to shun behaviour that causes them pain and suffering.
“A man said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I was going to slaughter a sheep and then I felt sorry for it (or ‘sorry for the sheep I was going to slaughter’)’.
He said twice, ‘Since you showed mercy to the sheep, Allah will show mercy to you.’” (Ahmad, III:436; Hakim, IV:257)
Again, Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, states:
“Whoever shows mercy even when slaughtering a bird (for food), Allah will have mercy on him on the Day of Judgement.” (Tabarani, Kabir, VIII:234:7915; Bayhaqi, Shu’ab, VII:482.)
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, entered an orchard belonging to one of the Madinan natives (Ansar) and there saw a camel. When the camel saw him, it began to groan and its eyes shed tears. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, approached it and patted it on the hump and behind its ears until it quieted down. Then he asked,
“Who is the owner of this camel?”
An Ansari youth stepped forward and said:
“It is mine, O Messenger of Allah!’’
The Pride of Humanity said,
“Do you not fear Allah concerning this beast which Allah has placed in your possession? This camel is complaining to me that you give it too little to eat and overburden it with work.’’ (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 44:2549.)
Sawad ibn Rabi’, may Allah be well pleased with him, relates the following extraordinary example of such refinement and mercy:
“I came before the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, and requested something from him. He instructed that a few (between three to five) camels be given to me and then he advised:
“When you return home, tell the members of your household that they should take very good care of the animals and feed them well. Instruct them to clip their nails before milking the camels so as to avoid hurting them.” (Ahmad, III:484; Haythami, V:168, 259, VIII:196)
Again, Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, had encountered a man milking his sheep and said to him,
“O So-and-so, leave some milk for its young when you milk an animal!” (Hathami, VIII:196.)
One of the Companions, Abu al-Darda’, may Allah be well pleased with him, once came across some people who had overburdened their camels. The camels were unable to stand to the weight they carried on their backs. After immediately relieving the camel of its excess load, Abu al-Darda’, may Allah be well pleased with him, said to its owners,
“If Allah, the Most High, forgives you of this torture that you have inflicted on these animals, then He would have shown you a great forgiveness indeed, for I once heard the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, say:
“Fear Allah in your treatment of these mute animals. When you are journeying through a fertile land, go slowly so that your camels graze. And when you pass through a barren and dry land, go quickly so that your animals don’t get hungry and weak.” (Ibn Hajar, Matalib al-’Aliya, IX:346:1978)
As a result of these injunctions of Allah’s Messenger, Muslims showed the kindness and courtesy which even human beings were not deemed worthy of prior to the emergence Islam, to animals. On one occasion, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, had set off from Madina for Makka dressed in pilgrim garb (ihram). He travelled until he reached the well of al-Uthaba, located between ar-Ruwaytha and al-’Arj (between Makka and Madina), where he unexpectedly came upon a gazelle which was curled up asleep in some shade.
The master of creation, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered someone to stand watch by its side to ensure that no one disturbed it until everyone had passed by. (Muwatta, Hajj, 79; Nasa’i, Hajj, 78)
The Prophet and his Companions displayed yet another remarkable example of the way animals ought to be treated when heading towards Makka for its conquest. This attitude was also an expression of the manner of looking at creation through the eyes of the Creator. When the master of creation set off from al-’Arj in the direction of Talub, with a magnificent army of ten thousand men, he saw a dog stretched over its puppies and feeding them.
Immediately summoning Ju’ayl ibn Suraqa to his presence, he instructed him to stand guard over the animals, cautioning him to take due care that the dog and her young were not startled by the Muslim forces. (Waqidi, II:804)
It can be understood from this that Allah Almighty does not will for even a single ant to be disturbed. In point of fact, it is indicated in the Qur’an that the stupendous army of Prophet Solomon, upon him be peace, were most careful with respect to not trampling upon ants unwittingly. (See, Naml, 27:18)
Another noteworthy example of such an attitude is related by Bayazid al-Bistami. Returning from Makka, he once stopped over in Hamadan and purchased from there some black cumin. When he returned to his homeland Bistam, he saw a few ants in the black cumin that he had purchased. Exclaiming,
“I have deprived these ants of their homeland,” he set off for Hamadan once again and returned the ants to the place from which he took them. (Farid al-Din Attar, Tazkirat al-Awliya, I:176)
Muslims even established charitable trusts for animals and, as such, fed hungry animals, treated those that were ill and sheltered birds that were unable to migrate. It is a reflection of this mercy that foreigners travelling to Ottoman lands relate in their memoirs that the cats and dogs living in Muslim neighbourhoods revolved around human beings, while in other neighbourhoods they fled at the sight of them. In short, Islam has also established laws pertaining to animals.
In the Age of Ignorance, people had forgotten that animals had rights also and that they needed to be treated with kindness. They certainly could not have presumed that treating animals with compassion could be meritorious. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, once said:
“While a man was walking on his way he became extremely thirsty. He found a well, he went down into it to drink water. Upon leaving it, he saw a dog which was panting and lolling its tongue out of thirst. It was licking the moist earth due to its extreme thirst. The man thought to himself:
‘This dog is extremely thirsty, as was I.’ So he descended into the well, filled up his leather sock with water, and holding it in his teeth, climbed up and quenched the thirst of the dog. Allah Almighty was well pleased with his action and forgave his sins.”
The Companions asked:
“Shall we be rewarded for showing kindness to animals also?’’
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“A reward is given in connection with every living creature”. (Bukhari, Shurb, 9; Muslim, Salam, 153)
c. Trees and Plants Find Peace
The germination and sprouting of seeds and their developing into majestic trees, and the countless species of herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers, in myriad colours, that grow out of the same soil are extraordinary phenomena that deserve reflection. A mind that contemplates these will ultimately reach Allah Almighty, Who creates everything in the best way, and such a mind will delve into observation of such beautiful attributes as His majesty, power, compassion and beauty.
Thus, Muslims gaze upon all living things and plants, the manifestation of Allah Almighty’s matchless masterpiece, as a Divine trust. They do not pluck them unnecessarily or use them carelessly.
Islam has prohibited certain actions such as cutting down trees, plucking grass, hunting and even assisting therein, for believers who are in pilgrim dress (in a state of ihram) or who are in the sacred Haram region, and has established various penalties for those who violate these prohibitions.
In this way, He has willed for the believers to, in time, attain such a state where they do not even commit the slightest of wrongdoing and where they do not harm any plant or living thing, a state expressing ‘harmlessness’ in the complete sense. Declaring the city of Madina and the Ta’if region as a sanctuary also in addition to Makka, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, has forbidden destroying vegetation and hunting therein, saying,
“The leaves should not be beaten off and the trees should not be cut in the protected land of the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, but the leaves can be beaten off softly (out of necessity) for the fodder of one’s camel.” (Abu Dawud, Hajj, 95-96:2039)
Again, in reference to the grazing pasture of the Banu Harith, the Prophet said,
“Whoever cuts down a tree in this area must plant another in its place.”
Abu Du’shum al-Juhani’s grandfather relates:
“The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, saw a Bedouin hitting the branches of a tree with the stick in his hand so that its leaves would fall and become feed for his animals. He said to those next to him,
‘Go and bring the Bedouin to me, but treat him with kindness and do not alarm him.’ When the Bedouin approached, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said, ‘O Bedouin, shed the tree’s leaves gently and with kindness, not by beating and hitting.’ I still remember the man with the leaves upon his head.” (Ibn alAthir, Usd al-Ghaba, VI:351)
While the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, protected existing vegetation on the one hand, he encouraged revegetation and regrowth on the other. He once said,
“Even if the end of time is upon you and you have a sapling in your hand, plant it at once!” (Ahmad, III:191, 183)
What glad tidings the following Prophetic Tradition constitutes for those who plant trees:
“There is no Muslim who plants a plant or a tree, except that whatever is eaten from it is a charity for him. Whatever is stolen from that is a charity for him. Whatever is eaten from it by an animal is a charity for him. Whatever a bird eats is a charity for him; no one suffers a loss except that it will be a charity for him till the Day of Judgement.’” (Muslim, Musaqat, 7)
One of the leading figures among the Companions, Abu al-Darda’, may Allah be well pleased with him, was once planting a tree in Damascus. A person approached him and asked, in bewilderment,
“Are you planting this even though you are one of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger?”
Abu al-Darda’ replied,
“Do not hasten to judgement; I heard the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, say:
‘If a person plants a tree, the fruits eaten by any person or any of Allah’s creatures will be recorded as charity for the one who planted it.’” (Ahmad, VI:444. See also, Muslim, Musaqat, 7)
Even when the Muslims mobilised in great armies, they strove not to inflict damage on vegetation and trees. For instance, Caliph Abu Bakr, may Allah be well pleased with him, instructed his troops who were in preparation for a military expedition, as follows:
“Do not be deserters. Do not defraud, nor be guilty of treachery (by stealing the spoils of war). Do not oppress or mutilate. Do not kill women, children or the elderly. Do not injure date palms and do not cut down fruit trees. Do not slaughter any sheep or cows except for food. You will encounter people who spend their lives in monasteries; do not disturb them…”
Everything that exists in the universe is in a constant state of remembrance of Allah Almighty and recitation of His names. Those who are most heedless in this regard are human beings and the jinn. Consequently, a Muslim approaches the things around them with this consciousness and Muslim students and children are raised with this consciousness:
One of the greatest spiritual masters of the Ottoman period, Uftada, had set out with his disciples for a discussion of a spiritual nature in the countryside. Upon his wishes, all the disciples wandered about the most beautiful areas of the countryside to bring back to their teacher a bouquet of flowers. He wanted to establish the spiritual level of each of his disciples. However, Madmud Efendi held only a wilted flower with a broken stem in his hand. After all the other students presented their bouquets in great joy to their teacher, Mahmud Efendi timidly presented this broken and wilted flower to his teacher, Uftada. Uftada asked, among the inquisitive glances of his other students,
“Mahmud, why did you bring a flower with a broken stem while all your peers brought bouquets of them?”
Respectfully lowering his head, he answered,
“Respected master, no matter what I were to present to you, it could never do you justice; however, whichever flower I intended to pick, I found it in glorification of its Lord, saying, “Allah, Allah”. I could not find it in my heart to prevent their invocation and remembrance. Left with no other option, I was forced to bring this flower whose invocation I found to have already ceased.”
Pleased to the utmost with this extraordinary and meaningful response, Uftada said,
“My son, may your name hereafter be Hudayi! O Hudayi, only you have benefited from this visit to the countryside!”
In this way, Madmud became Hudayi, for he was now acquainted with the Divine secrets in the universe. It was as though the universe had become like a living book that revealed its secrets to him. Continuing his life in this way, in worship of Allah Almighty, Aziz Mahmud Hudayi served as a guide to Ottoman Sultans who shaped the world. In our day, people visit his tomb in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district, in throngs, and find spiritual repose there.
d. Inanimate Beings Find Peace
When human beings receive an Islamic education and training, they learn how to treat even inanimate beings with care and kindness, for these beings are also in remembrance and glorification of the Almighty – in a manner above and beyond our comprehension – and carry within them a thousand and one wisdoms. Allah, the Most High, declares:
“The seven heavens and the earth, and whoever is therein, glorify Him. There is nothing that does not glorify Him with His praise (proclaiming that He alone is Allah, without peer or partner, and all praise belongs to Him exclusively), but you cannot comprehend their glorification. surely He is (despite what His servants have deserved from Him) All-Clement, All-Forgiving.” (Isra’, 17:44)
When the human being behaves selfishly, irresponsibly and is concerned only for their own self-interest, inanimate beings, like the living, are also disquieted. One day, a funeral procession passed before the Messenger of Allah. Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,
“Relieved or relieving.”
The Companions asked,
“O Messenger of Allah, what is relieved and relieving?”
“A believer is relieved (by death) from the troubles and hardships of the world and leaves for the Mercy of Allah, while (the death of) a wicked person relieves the people, the land, the trees, (and) the animals from him.” (Bukari, Riqaq, 42; Nasa’i, Jana’iz, 48; Ahmad, V:296, 302, 304)
This means to say that while the place in which we live is disturbed by certain people, it finds peace with the believing servants who pursue deeds of righteousness. When Muslims live the kind of life that is demanded of them from Allah, they realise a harmony with the earth. ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be well pleased with him, relates:
“One mountain cries out to the other by name, “O So-and-so, did a person remembering Allah Almighty visit you today?” If it says, “Yes, they have,” the mountain is very pleased. Narrating this incident from Ibn Mas’ud, ‘Awn ibn ‘Abd Allah adds:
“How can mountains not hear words of goodness when they hear evil ones? They listen to words of goodness with greater ardour and interest. That mountains hear evil speech is revealed in a Qur’anic verse as follows:
“As it is, some say: ‘The All-Merciful has taken to Himself a child.’ Assuredly you have (in such an assertion) brought forth something monstrous – The heavens are all but rent, and the earth split asunder, and the mountains fall down in ruins – That they ascribe to the All-Merciful a child! It is not for the All-Merciful to take to Himself a child. There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes to the All-Merciful as a servant.” (Maryam, 19:88-93) (Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, I:453; Tabarani, Kabir, IX:103)
This means to say that the sins committed by human beings disturb both time and space. In contrast, the deeds of righteousness, worship and invocation of Allah that believers perform delight time and space. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, brought love to this world. He taught human beings to love even mountains stones and inanimate beings. He stated one day,
“Uhud loves us, and we love Uhud.” (Bukhari, Jihad, 71)
It was as though Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, accepted the mountain of Uhud as living and approached it with love. In return, mountains and stones loved him also. For Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, states:
“I recognise a stone in Makka which used to pay me salutations before my Prophethood and I still recognise it even now.” (Muslim, Fada’il, 2)
This stone is the towering stone located in the street known as Zuqaq al-Hajar or Zuqaq al-Mirfaq during the tenth century after the Hijra. ‘Ali, may Allah be well pleased with him, relates:
“I was with the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, in Makka where we went to certain places together. Every rock and tree welcomed him, saying, ‘Peace be on you, O Messenger of Allah.’” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 6:3626)
In the same way, the trunk of the date-palm that he used to lean on in the Prophet’s Mosque was fortunate indeed. It derived great joy in being near the Prophet and in his invoking the name of Allah by its side. When the pulpit was constructed and Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, began delivering his sermons from upon it, the trunk of the palm tree could not bear this separation. Whereas the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, had not gone far at all; it could still hear his voice and still see him. However, the trunk of the date palm wanted to be as close to him as possible.
For this reason, it began to weep in a manner that was audible to all those who were present. When the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, descended the pulpit and placed his hand on top of it, its lamentation ceased. Allah’s Messenger said,
“It cried because of the remembrance of Allah that it used to hear.”
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, did not want for any evil word, curse or insult to be directed towards any living or non-living being. He used to advise people to beseech Allah Almighty for the good of these things and seek refuge in Him from their evil. He keenly instructed them to use all created beings for good and shun making them an instrument for evil. As he has stated in a Prophetic Tradition:
“Do not curse the night, day, sun, moon and the winds, for they are mercy for some people and (a means for) punishment for others.” (Hathami, VIII:71.)
“Do not speak ill of the world, for what a beautiful mount it is for the believer. They attain goodness by mounting it and again are freed of evil by means of it.” (Suyuti, al-jami’ al-saghir fi ahadith, no: 16459)
“Do not curse the wind. If you dislike what you see of it, then say, “O Allah, we ask You for the good of this wind and the good of what is in it and the good of what it is ordered to do. We seek refuge with You from the evil of this wind and the evil of what is in it and the evil of what it is ordered to do.” (Tirmidhi, Fitan, 65:2252)
Abu al-Darda’, may Allah be well pleased with him, states:
“If a person curses the world, the world says to them, ‘May Allah curse whichever one of us is more disobedient to Him.’” (Bayhaqi, Shu`ab, IV:302:5187; Hakim, IV:348:7870)
Jabir ibn Sulaym, may Allah be well pleased with him, relates:
“I saw a man whose opinion people consulted, and he did not say anything without them taking his opinion.
‘Who is this?’
They said, ‘The Messenger of Allah.’ I said twice,
‘On you be peace, Messenger of Allah’.
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
‘Do not say, “On you be peace.”
“On you be peace” is the greeting to the dead. Say, “Peace be upon you.”’
‘You are the Messenger of Allah?’
He said, ‘I am the Messenger of Allah. If harm befalls you, my supplication will remove it from you. If a year of drought afflicts you, my supplication will make things grow for you. When you are in an empty land or wilderness and lose your mount, my supplication will return it to you.’
He said, ‘Do not abuse anyone.’ (The narrator than said, ‘After that I abused neither free man or slave, nor a camel or a sheep.’)
Then the Prophet continued,
‘Do not disdain any act of kindness. And speaking to your brother with a cheerful face is part of being kind. Raise your waistwrapper to the middle of your calves. If you refuse, then to the ankles, but beware of dragging the wrapper. It is part of arrogance and Allah does not love arrogance. If a man insults you and criticises you for what he knows about you, do not criticise him for what you know concerning him. The bad effects of that are suffered by him.’” (Abu Dawud, Libas, 25; Haythami, VIII:72)
Allah, the Most High, declares:
“The (true) servants of the All-Merciful are they who move on the earth gently and humbly, and when the ignorant, foolish ones address them (with insolence or vulgarity as befits their ignorance and foolishness), they response with (words of) peace, (without engaging in hostility with them).” (Furqan, 25:63.) “Woe to every one who slanders and vilifies.” (Humazah, 104:1)
Luqman Hakim was a dark-skinned individual. Criticising him, someone said,
“What an unsightly face you have, O Luqman!”
Luqman Hakim retorted,
“Is your criticism directed at the embroidery or at the Embroiderer?” (Ismail Haqqi Bursawi, Ruh al-Bayan, [Luqman, 12])
In other words, the Almighty has created all things and they each have much distinct wisdom. Consequently, nothing should be scorned or looked down upon. In this way, Islam bestows peace to everything in the universe. Those holding fast to it both find peace themselves and exude peace to their surroundings. When they die, the heavens and the earth weep along with human beings. While those in the world mourn the loss of these special people, the people of the grave and the angels receive them with great jubilation and happiness.
The eternal life of a person whose life in the world is thus will certainly be of even greater beauty. In the same way that those who do not follow Islam and who pursue a selfish life in accordance with the desires of their carnal self cause discomfort to the world and its inhabitants, they will disturb those graves neighbouring them after their death. One cannot help but recall the following lines of verse when they die: Neither did they find repose themselves, nor offer it to others, They left this world in ruin, may those in the grave endure!
O Lord, include us among those honoured with salvation in two abodes by practising Islam in the best way. May no creature come to harm from our hand or tongue. Allow us to live a peaceful life without injuring or being injured by anyone. Enable us to use all the faculties and blessings with which You have favoured us forever in the way of goodness.
4. Islam Leads to Salvation in the Hereafter
Upon consideration of the human being’s past, we see that they were in compounds of soil as an element of nature. When the time came, they passed to plants sprouting out of the soil and from there to certain creatures, until they were eventually transferred to their father as a drop of seminal fluid and from there to their mother’s womb.
Humankind attained a different existence in the mother’s womb. There, they lived within a sac of water and were nourished with the blood they received from their mother. They were subsequently forced to leave that life which they sustained therein and opened their eyes to a different realm or world. This new life possessed conditions that were very different to those which came before. They were no longer to maintain an existence in water or be nourished with blood.
Similarly, when a human being dies, they will again move on to a different realm. The prevailing conditions in that realm will be different to those in our current life. Allah Almighty has revealed the nature of that life and what needs to be done in preparation for it, through His Messengers. These revelations are at a level which human beings can understand with the impressions they have acquired in the world. Consequently, human beings will come to perceive a great many things when they move on to that realm, analogous to the very limited knowledge a child has of the world while in its mother’s womb.
It must not be forgotten that the last garment of the marketplace of this fleeting life, the shroud, will one day most certainly envelop everyone and the reality of death will set its seal on all transient transactions, desires, attractions and deceptive glitters. As is indicated in the Qur’an and in the Prophetic Traditions, a life in the grave will manifest itself in accordance with a person’s manner of living in this world. For those living a life befitting the approval of Allah, the grave will be a garden from the gardens of Paradise; for those who spend their lives in disobedience, it will be one of the infernal pits of the Fire. (Tirmidhi, Qiyama, 26)
For the human being, a third life will begin after the life of the grave, with the Judgement, and this will have no end. This neverending life of the Hereafter will again be shaped in accordance with their life in this world. On that day, Allah Almighty will produce a book in which the deeds performed in the world are recorded and declare,
“Read your book! Your own self suffices you this day as a reckoner against you.” (Isra’, 17:14)
Other witnesses will also be brought forth on that day to testify against the human being. It is stated in a Qur’anic verse:
“And (remind of) the day when the enemies of Allah will be raised up (from their graves) and gathered for the Fire: they will be driven (to the place of reckoning) in arrays, Until when they reach it, their ears, and their eyes, and their skins will bear witness against them as to all that they did habitually. They will ask their skins, ‘Why have you borne witness against us?’ They will answer: ‘Allah Who makes everything speak has made us speak.’ It is He Who has created you in the first instance, and to Him you are being brought back.” (Fussilat 41:19-21. See, Nur 24:24; Yasin 36:65)
“On that day she [the earth] will recount all its tidings, As your Lord has inspired her to do so.” (Zalzalah 99:4-5)
All people will feel regret on that day. Those who live as Muslims and die as Muslims rue that they did not perform even more deeds of righteousness. Those who live their lives in wrongdoing and unbelief grieve at their not believing and abandoning sin and are stricken with an intense sense of remorse Those who end up in Hellfire cry out in horror,
“O our Lord! Take us out, we will do good, (righteous deeds), not (the wrong) we used to do before.” However, the Almighty will declare,
“Did We not grant you a life long enough for whoever would reflect and be mindful to reflect and be mindful? In addition, a warner came to you (to warn against this punishment). Taste then (the consequences of your heedlessness); for the wrongdoers have none to help them (against it).” (Fatir 35:37)
A person’s greatest helper on such a difficult day is Islam, or the belief and deeds of righteousness described by the Messenger of Allah. On that formidable day when the world of trial comes to an end and human beings begin to be called to account and receive either reward or punishment, Islam will deliver those who surrendered to it.
That is to say, the sole religion that will enable the human being to attain salvation in the Hereafter, as in this world, is again Islam. Allah, exalted and glorified be He, declares: “The (true) religion with Allah is Islam…” (Al-’Imran 3:19)
“Whoever seeks as religion other than Islam, (which is the standard religion conveyed by all the Prophets during history, and is based on complete submission to Allah,) it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he will be among the losers.” (Al- ’Imran 3:85)
Once, the Jews said to ‘Umar,
“O leader of the believers, there is a verse in your Book, which you recite. Had it been revealed in connection with the Jews, we would have taken it as the day of rejoicing.”
‘Umar, may Allah be well pleased with him, said,
“Which verse do you mean?”
“This day I have perfected for you your Religion (with all its rules, commandments and universality), completed My favor upon you, and have been pleased to assign for you Islam as religion.” (Ma’ida 5:3)
‘Umar, may Allah be well pleased with him, said,
“I know the day when it was revealed and the place where it was revealed. It was revealed to Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, at ‘Arafat on a Friday.” (Bukhari, Iman, 33; Maghazi, 77; Tafsir, 5:2; Muslim, Tafsir, 3-5)
Both ‘Arafa and Friday are days of festivity for Muslims. According to these Qur’anic verses, the only religion which Allah accepts from humankind from the day that Allah’s Messenger Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, was sent as a Prophet, is Islam. No previous religion or belief will be accepted, for the era of the prior Messengers ended and that of the last Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, began.
The Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, explains this point as follows:
“By Him in Whose hand is the life of Muhammad, he who amongst the community of Jews or Christians hears about me, but does not affirm his belief in that with which I have been sent and dies in this state (of disbelief), he shall be but one of the denizens of Hellfire.” (Muslim, Iman, 240)
“I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I am His Messenger. One who meets Allah without entertaining any doubt about these (two fundamentals) will enter Paradise.” (Muslim, Iman, 44)
Hearts Attain Rest with Remembrance of Allah
The human being, in addition to their physical constitution, has a spiritual aspect also. Unfortunately, the majority of people today strive to procure only their material needs, whereas a person’s body is mortal while their spirit is eternal. When human beings neglect the needs of their spirits, that are to live eternally, they experience psychological crises and depression. There is only one way to freeing the human spirit of these crises and enable it to attain eternal bliss and that is embracing Islamic belief and worship. As stated in a Qur’anic verse:
“Be aware that it is in the remembrance and of and wholehearted devotion to Allah that hearts find rest and contentment.” (Ra’d, 13:28)
The greater part of illnesses in our day are depression and stress, such that these illnesses have far exceeded and outnumbered physical ones. When the era of the Prophet is considered, it quickly becomes apparent that there was no Muslim who became afflicted with psychological illness as they lived within the spirituality, love and rapture of the Qur’an and the Sunna. This contented their spirits and inner worlds. In fact, Allah Almighty declares that He has revealed the Qur’an as “a healing and a mercy”. (See, Isra’ 17:82)
In the same way, the Almighty declares that He will bestow His Divine Mercy upon those who follow the Qur’an and His Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings.
“…My Mercy embraces all things; and so, (although in the world every being has a share in My Mercy, in the Hereafter) I will ordain it for those who act in reverence for Me and piety and pay their Prescribed Purifying Alms, and they are those who truly believe in all of Our revelations and signs. They follow the (most illustrious) Messenger, the Prophet who neither reads nor writes, whom they find described (with all his distinguishing features) in the Torah and the Gospel (that are) with them. He enjoins upon them what is right and good, and forbids them what is evil; he makes pure, wholesome things lawful for them, and bad, corrupt things unlawful. And he relieves them of their burdens (remaining of their own Law) and the restraints that were upon them. So those who believe in him (with all sincerity), honor and support him, and help him, and follow the Light (the Qur’an) which has been sent down with him – they are those who are the prosperous.” (A’raf, 7:156-157)
Such an elixir were the Divine morality that the Prophet brought to humanity, as well as his outward training and inward influence, that they produced within a short space of time a civilisation of virtue beyond imagination, out of the society of the Age of Ignorance – half of whom were savage and the majority of whom were bereft of humanity.
Ignorant and savage peoples became cultured, barbaric individuals became civilised and the criminal and corrupt became pious; in other words, they became greatly righteous people possessing tenderness of heart, who lived with love and fear of Allah. Consider a person so savage and whose heart had become so hard that they could mercilessly rip their baby daughter from her mother’s embrace and then bury her alive, and so tyrannical that they could see their slaves as an item of property and subject them to inhumane treatment…
After embracing Islam and attaining guidance, such crude and ignorant people established a civilisation of virtues in humanity by deepening in knowledge, morality, propriety and conscience. When these people, who had hit rock bottom with respect to humanity and civilisation during the Age of Ignorance, began to live in accordance with the Divine commandments and morality, they reached a peak like that of Everest, so to speak. As can be gleaned from all these, individuals and communities which benefited from the healing and mercy of the Qur’an not only achieved happiness in this world, but will also attain eternal happiness in the Hereafter. Spirits unacquainted with belief and Islam, however, will not attain peace of mind in this world and will face the pain and anguish of life after death.