By: Yusuf Rios
And we have not sent you except as a mercy to all of Creation.
Allah Almighty says:
And we have not sent you except as a mercy to all of Creation. (Al-Anbiya’ 21:107)
We are going to make a thematic introduction to this verse.
Theme I: Islam Is Peace and Justice for All
This verse of the Glorious Quran defines the reality of the person of Muhammad (peace be upon him) emphasizing him as primarily characterized by mercy.
The most prominent feature describing the mission of Muhammad (peace be upon him), besides his comprehensiveness, is his being a mercy to humanity, not to mention to the whole of creation.
The mission of the Prophet (peace be upon him) thus is to communicate Allah’s mercy to the whole of humanity without restriction. This message is to be communicated by mercy and not by force, based upon the well-known verse,
There is no compulsion in religion.” (Al-Baqarah 2:256)
This can be said to be the first unique characteristic of Islam that it is a divine message rooted in boundless mercy and this is defined by its universality and its call to the brotherhood of humanity based on a life of justice and spirituality, both of which are marks of mercy.
Theme II: Islam Cares for the Life of the Soul and Body
Islam is a way of life aimed at catering to and facilitating the needs of life, whether they are material or spiritual. Islam looks to preserve the life of the soul, intellect and family, as well as the economic life.
Also, it seeks to protect the physical life of individuals, which is highly valued in Islam. It is these five arenas that Islam looks to develop and better the conditions for their growth and well-being because these are the essential living arenas.
So, it was a demonstration of Allah’s Mercy that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent with the religion that facilitates the needs of all facets of life.
Humanity is not left unto itself without guidance, but it is aided in the process of life and assured in time of hardship that life is more than just material existence. Rather, it has a spiritual aspect that transcends death.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) teaches humanity the purpose of their life and how to establish justice in the process of realizing the needs and demands of daily life, without forgetting or neglecting the demands of the heart, soul and intellect.
Theme III: Muhammad and the Environment
The role of the Prophet (peace be upon him) according to the above verse is that of servant and educator. He (peace be upon him) taught humanity how to live in the most productive and meaningful way. He taught that human beings are not just responsible for being just to one another but also to other life beings.
According to Islam, establishing the justice requires that business and science are conducted in an environmentally friendly manner because the ethics of Islam demand that the human being be charitable and not greedy, considerate and not indifferent, and that his actions promote not reduce or stifle life. In fact, the role of the human being, in relation to the creation, according to Islam, is one of stewardship that is bound by self-accountability in this life and the next.
The problems of today when we look to the environmental crisis are rooted in a lack of consciousness of the real role of humanity which is clear in Islam.
Likewise, much of the environmental crisis is because of the greed and corruption run rampant in business dealings and the management of the world’s resources. Islam teaches that all creations are in a state of submission to the Creator.
So, from the lens of Islam all of creatures, including human beings, are servants and guests of Almighty Allah so long as they remain in existence. Therefore, humanity is obliged to act responsibly and not arrogantly, wisely and not hastily, sincerely and not hypocritically, and frugally and not extravagantly.
Theme IV: Morals of Wars
Even in the time of war, Muslims are obligated not to kill women, children, monks and priests, or even to destroy trees or animal life.
So, what is to be said at the time of peace? Even at the time of war, Islam does not aim to destroy people’s life because the whole message of Islam is meant to save people’s life. The teachings of Islam order its adherents when camping or out in the desert or forest regions for example, not to relieve themselves on the roads, under trees or on things of value. All these injunctions are aimed at instilling a character that is concerned with others and environment. Because living involves cooperating with others, the Muslim is obliged to act responsibly and justly.
Theme V: Reaffirming the Identity of the Prophet Muhammad
The uniqueness of person of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is that history has left us with a very accurate and detailed record of his doings, sayings and life history all which indicate to the reality of his mission and life. As an educator, he was occupied and concerned with the affairs of human life and how to teach humanity to realize that life is meaningful when they devote the worship to the One God who created us.
The power of Islam lies in this teaching that the human being was created to worship the Creator with sincere devotion. This worship is the purpose of our existence. We must submit in gratitude to our Creator worshipping Him alone while seeking his guidance and forgiveness. The test of life is about realizing this truth.
By Yusuf Rios
He or she who wishes to understand what Islam is and who was the person of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) let him resort to what the Quran said about the Prophet (peace be upon him). Almighty Allah says,
And we have not sent you except as a mercy to all of Creation.” (Al-Anbiyaa 21:107)
The single verse mentioned illustrates in detail his mission and identity.
The Arabic words of this verse are much richer in meaning. Arabic is the language of the revelation and the oldest living language on the earth.
There are other tongues like Sanskrit older than Arabic but they are all dead languages, no longer spoken. Given this reality we wish to expound upon this verse from its original language so that the most meaning can be derived from it. Let us begin to ponder on the meaning of the verse as it is traditionally done in the Arabic language.
An Analytical View of the Verse
1. “And We”
In these two words, the message related is that it is the one and only Allah, the Exalted, who commissioned the Prophet (peace be upon him). So, the origin of the Prophetic teachings and message is not the wisdom of a wise man or an ascetic, but rather it is Divine.
Sometimes, Allah uses the singular first person “I” referring to Himself and sometimes uses the royal “We”. In many languages, there is a mechanism for one to speak in the plural giving the meaning of elevated status. For example, a chief of an Arab tribe might address his people as “We” when talking to them. Of course, after the revelation and the conversion of Arabia to Islam this became restricted to the Qur’an, Islam urges people to be humble.
2. Have Not Sent You except as a Mercy
This part of the verse is very profound and deserves the most possible attention. Here, Almighty Allah is declaring why He commissioned the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Arabic reflects a restrictive meaning as it reads as such -the Prophet was sent for no other purpose except to be a means for humankind to attain Allah’s Mercy. There is an emphasis on the role of the Prophet as a vehicle of mercy sent from Allah, in addition to the point that this mercy is to be shared with all of humanity.
The mission with which Allah sent the Prophet (peace be upon him) is not restricted to a particular audience but rather it is an inclusive message. It is a message to all humanity. In other words, Islam is a message for all of humanity. It is comprehensively characterized by mercy for all of humanity and all of creation, thereby inclusive of the eco-system. This Mercy even applies to those who choose not to believe in it.
To understand the Quranic verse better, it is necessary to key in on the notion of “mercy” in this verse. Mercy here means that Allah (glory be to Him) sent the Prophet (peace be upon him) with “guidance to a meaningful existence”.
He was sent to teach humankind the path to a communal and social life which is pleasing to Allah. He taught respect and love in a way that grants all the right to co-exist and lead a full life. This understanding of mercy is a path to a peaceful existence in this world and a path to a blissful eternity after death.
Also, this can only be understood in the context of Allah having created the human being to lead a purposeful life, a life of worship and a life in which the purpose of existence is fulfilled by living a committed and profound relationship with the Creator.
It is the Prophet (peace be upon him) who guided us to understand the nature of our life and taught us the path to self-fulfillment and how to be humane not only to fellow human beings but also to fellow creatures.
This was not merely done by wise sayings but it was through his lived example. The thousands of authentic narrations related about his life (known as Hadiths) were; statements, actions or tacit approvals.
3. To All of Creation
This part of the verse makes clear that the message of Islam is universal and directed at all peoples in all walks of life and from all backgrounds without any kind of discrimination.
In fact this part of the verse is a declaration that Islam calls humanity to brotherhood and cooperation and rejects tribal, nationalistic and racist thinking. Islam considers all humanity as brothers, and promotes mutual sense of brotherhood.
Islam declares that the unity of humanity lies in recognizing Allah’s Mercy as presented by all Prophets. The noble Prophets of Allah all taught that even though life is not free of hardship, it has meaning and that existence is not haphazard.
The aim of life is to contemplate our origin and our end and to reflect on the deeper order of Creation. It is through reflection upon the life of the Prophet, being sent as “a mercy to mankind”, this issue can be more firmly grasped and better understood.
The following are a list of authentic narrations about the mercy propounded by Almighty Allah by means of the Prophet Muhammad for all of mankind.
1- There were a lot of people who went to extreme inhuman measures to assassinate him, cursed him and the divine message with which he was sent, and tortured and killed his followers. Also, there were hundreds of enemies who did many horrible things to the believers. Yet, when asked by his companions to invoke Allah against them, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“I was not sent to curse people. Yet, I have been sent as a mercy.” (Muslim)
2- It is also well known that the Arabs were harsh hearted. Men rarely ever interacted with their children and would show little love to them. Once a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and saw that He (peace be upon him) was holding his grandson Husain and that He (peace be upon him) kissed him. The man said to the Prophet “I have ten kids and I have never kissed anyone of them”. The Prophet said
“Whoever is not merciful, will not receive mercy.”(Al-Bukhari)
3- It is also well known that Arabs used to view their women and servants as inferior beings, and they would often beat them in a fit of anger. Lady Aishah, the wife of the Prophet and mother of the believers, said about her husband (peace be upon him),
“He never hit a women or a servant.”(Al-Bukhari)
It was also narrated that he said
“I would come to prayer sometimes intending to read a long portion of the Qur’an. Then I would hear a baby crying and I would shorten the prayer, so his mother who wishes to leave the prayer can attend to him.”(Al-Bukhari)
4- The Prophet was even merciful and compassionate when in war. He commanded his companions,
“Do not kill women, old men, children, or religious monks and priests. Do not cut or burn down trees.”(At-Tirmidhi and Al-Bukhari)
No woman knows a good marital companionship –as that companionship means in the perfectness of a person- as she knew of the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him), which is clear in the Quran in his attitude, sayings, and deeds.
The most things that specify the Prophet’s companionship with his wives were his good relationship, cheerfulness, joking with his family, laughing with his wives, mildness, and generosity.
Even when he was racing with Aishah (mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her) in the desert in one of his trips, it was to show love to her by that. She said that the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) raced me and I won, that was before I gained some weight. Then I raced him after that and he won. He said: “We are equal.” (Abu Dawud)
Also, the Prophet used to gather his wives every day in the house of the one he will spend the night with. He sometimes eats dinner with them then everyone leaves to her home. He used to sleep with his wife on the same sheets, take his rope off his shoulders and sleeps in his loincloth. After praying Isha (Night prayer, which is the last prayer of the day), he goes home and sits with his family a little before he goes to sleep.
Furthermore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) put the criterion of the best of men in the good treatment of men to their wives. He said: “The best one of you is the best to his family, and I am the best one of you to my family.” (At-Timidhi)
That is because artificiality and pretension of high moral standards becomes weak when the person feels that he has authority and power, and becomes weaker when he stays a long time with whom he has authority upon.
If the person keeps on his moral perfection in a society he has power upon and has continuous intimacy with, so this is the best person in morals.
If the Prophet (peace be upon him) is the best one for his family, so his companionship with them must be really perfect, in all what goodness means of moral perfection in behavior, love, justice, mercy, loyalty, and all what marital life demands in all conditions, situations and days as it was clarified in books of Sunnah and the Prophet’s biography books. This was indicated in the honourable Sunnah in many of the Prophet’s sayings regarding his behavior with his family and his treatment to them.
Regarding the Prophet’s love to his wives, Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said: ‘The things that were rendered beloved to me in this life are; women, perfume, and my tranquility is in prayers.’” (Ahmad)
Amr ibn Al-Aas (may Allah be pleased with him) asked the Prophet: “O Prophet of Allah who is the person you love most?” The Prophet replied: ‘Aishah.’ Amr said: ‘And from men”’ The Prophet said: ‘Her father.’ Amr said ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said ‘Umar,’ and he named other men, so I kept silent fearing to be the last one.’” (At-Tirmidhi)
About the Prophet’s playing with his family, Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “I used to play with dolls at the house of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and my friends used to come and play with me and when he (peace be upon him) arrives, they leave, so he let them come in to play with me again.” (Al-Bukhari)
Aishah also, narrated: “The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) was standing at the door of my room covering me with his rope so I can watch the Abyssinians playing in the mosque”.
An example of his good companionship and the nobility of his morals, Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: ‘When I drink while being menstruating, and then give the cup to the Prophet (peace be upon him), he used to put his mouth where I put mine to drink.’” (Muslim)
Source: Taken with modifications from the book entitled “Prophet as a Husband” by Rasoulallah.net.
By Yasmina Blackburn
I often get into debates with people about women in Islam. How we dress. How we don’t dress. What we think or don’t think or should-be-thinking. I get into debates about feminism. What it is and what it isn’t. I think I’ve spawned permanent foes because I don’t care to apply the label, feminist, to describe myself. (I’m not one for labels, sorry.
But if it’s even required of me, “Muslim woman” suits me just fine.) But if we could agree for a moment that there exists a pure definition of the word feminist to mean: awesomely fierce to the millionth degree, then I’d like to introduce you to Islam’s first feminist.
Her name is Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. She was the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him.) And she is one of the people that I think about when I face or debate issues surrounding women today. Khadijah’s existence precedes mine by more than 1,400 years; and, if I can at the very least, continuously strive to emulate her character, I will consider myself a success in life.
7 things you might not know about the awesomely fierce, Khadijah (may God be pleased with her):
1- She was a successful and esteemed business woman
I would give anything to do an on-the-job, ride-along with Khadijah. Gladly swipe my car for a camel- my laptop for a government-issued glass weight to measure goods in trade. What could I learn in one day of shadowing this highly-respected business leader, trading furniture, pottery and silks?
Khadijah was born to a father who was a successful merchant in their Quraysh tribe of Mecca. She inherited her father’s skills in a time in history where society was male-dominated and dangerous. Upon her father’s death, she took over the business and traded goods through the primary commerce centers at that time, from Mecca to Syria and to Yemen, hiring the most trustworthy men of character to brave the dangerous trade routes.
Her business was larger than all of the Quraish trades combined and the most acclaimed with a reputation of fair-dealing and high-quality goods. She had a keen eye and was highly intuitive, earning the monikers, Ameerat-Quraysh (“Princess of Quraysh”) and al-Tahira (“The Pure One”) due to her stellar reputation. Khadijah knew what she was doing business-wise, never compromising her modesty or integrity to succeed in the male-dominated trades- hiring only those that could meet these standards. Glass ceiling? Hah! 1,400 years ago, yes, Khadijah shattered it.
2- She turned down many marriage proposals
Being the most successful woman around, rich in worldly attainment as well as character, it seems Khadijah faced a consistent campaign of men seeking her hand in marriage. She was married twice before her wedlock to the Prophet; both of these marriages produced children and both left her widowed. Her keen sense of character left her picky; and, she was less than eager to suffer another painful loss of a husband. She resigned herself to being a widowed woman taking care of herself and her family. Until …
3- She asked the Prophet to marry her
Love comes when you aren’t looking, or so I have heard. Khadijah learned of the stellar character of Muhammad as well as his experience managing caravans on the trade routes accompanying his uncle, Abu Talib. She hired him into her conglomerate. Marriages at this time were typically necessary for survival and not always about love as we know it in today’s world. Khadijah didn’t need a husband to take care of her financially. And Muhammad did not have the means to seek a wife. She fell in love with him, and through a friend, asked him to marry her. (He said yes.)
4- She was 15 years older than Muhammad
If Khadijah’s story hasn’t broken stereotypes about Islam yet, it might intrigue you to know that she was 40 years old when she married Muhammad. He was 25.
5- She was an ideal wife; theirs was a true love story
Your wives are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them. (Al-Baqarah 2:187)
Taking multiple wives was a common practice, yet Khadijah and Muhammad’s marriage was monogamous until her death 25 years later. Muhammad’s prophethood began during his marriage to Khadijah, when he received the first of God’s revelations through the Angel Gabriel that left him frightened, strained and feeling alone when no one believed in him. Khadijah comforted her husband and encouraged him during the most difficult days of his life. She bore him 6 children. He loved no one more than Khadijah during his lifetime.
6- She was the first Muslim
Khadijah, the mother of Islam, was the first person on earth to accept Muhammad as the final prophet of God and accept the revelations that culminated into the Holy Qur’an. She was greeted with “Salam” (peace) by God himself as well as the Angel Gabriel. She bequeathed her worldly goods and put herself in the face of danger to stand by the Prophet Muhammad as Islam became established in the land.
7- She spent her worldly riches on the poor
In Islam, whether rich or poor, one’s financial condition is a test. Khadijah gave her earnings to the poor and to the orphans, to the widows and the sick. She helped poor girls get married and provided their dowry.
Khadijah was one of history’s most remarkable women. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said that the four greatest women of mankind were: Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad (his youngest daughter,) Maryam bint `Imran (the Virgin Mary) and Asiyah bint Muzahim (the wife of Pharaoh.) Khadijah continues to inspire people to this day who revere her for taking great care of the Prophet of Islam and for showing the world, through her behavior, what a pious, modest and courageous woman can accomplish. The example she left for mankind remains timeless.
Source: Quoted with modifications from http:huffingtonpost.com.
By Editorial Staff
A born Muslim from Iraq is confused about some basic issues related to the existence of God. He claims that he is agnostic and does not feel the existence of God in his life.
Watch the video to see how Dr. Zakir Naik answered him.
Source: Dr. Zakir Naik Channel
If you have a question about Islam and Muslims, please feel free to have a one-to-one live chat with us:
By Editorial Staff
Islam teaches that all prophets taught primarily the same messageز
A New Muslim asked Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada the following question:
I converted to Islam recently. In few days, my non-Muslim family will be celebrating Easter. Can I join them in their celebrations?
In responding to his question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, gave the following answer:
“You may do so to join your family on their joyous occasions while affirming your Islamic identity.
By doing so, you are merely sharing their joys; and partaking meals with them. I understand it does not involve any specific Christian rituals they expect you to participate.
Saying grace and giving thanks to God for His blessings and joining in common prayers to God are all acceptable. Islam teaches that all prophets taught primarily the same message: worship the one and only God and renounce false gods.
Muslims should have no objection in expressing joys of Christians commemorating the events of Jesus; as long as we stay clear of the dogmas of triune God and crucifixion and Jesus as a lamb sacrificed for redeeming the world.
Such are erroneous beliefs no Muslim can accept. When the Prophet Muhammad came to Madinah, and he saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura, he asked them why they were fasting? They told him: We are doing so to commemorate the victory of Musa (Moses, peace be upon him) over Pharaoh. Then he said to them: We are more worthy of Musa than you. So he ordered his followers to fast on the tenth. (Ibn Majah)
By doing so, the Prophet in no way practiced the specific Jewish rituals; instead, he was affirming the common bond that we share.
Likewise, Islam stresses the shared rituals we have with all revealed religions, more especially with the People of the Book.
Moreover, Islam stresses emphatically that a Muslim ought to foster ties of kinship with his parents and blood relations, with the sole proviso: if they order you to worship any other than God, do not obey them.
Another critical point to note: To join your Christian relatives on their festivities and feast and expressing joy with them is not done as a ritual practice; but just as a custom; and customs are allowed unless strictly forbidden; since there is no revealed text to prove otherwise, there is no reason to oppose it.”
Source of the answer: www.aboutislam.net