Lessons of Islam fit into every day
It is reported that the Prophet Muhammad said:
“My Lord gave me nine (bits of) advice and I give them to you. He advised me:
- To be sincere, whether in private or in public.
- To do justice, whether in anger or in happiness.
- To be moderate, whether in riches or in poverty.
- To join (in relations) with those who (try to) cut me off.
- To give to those who deprive me.
- To forgive those who wrong me.
- That my silence be thoughtful.
- That my speech be mindful (of God).
- That my vision be to take admonition.”
These pieces of advice contain the basic ethics of Islam, which is not an ordinary set of ethics but is divine and prophetic. These principles have lasting values and bring eternal blessings.
The challenge is to live by these principles, teach them to our younger generations, and to form and build a community of faithful who are willing to dedicate themselves to them.
Here is a brief description of the principles:
Sincerity: The messenger of God was a sincere person who had purity of heart and mind. He taught people that true honesty was to act in private as one would act in public.
Justice: Justice and fair dealing with all people was the lifestyle of Muhammad. He taught people to act justly, in both word and deed, even with those who hated him and who mistreated him.
Moderation: Moderation is the message of Islam in everything; the prophet condemned extremism. One day, he heard some of his companions talking about praying nonstop, giving up food and abstaining from their marital relations for the sake of God. The prophet immediately counseled them that what God has made lawful, they should not forbid upon themselves. He also taught people to be generous in moderation, whether they had little to give or much to give, and that their sustenance would be increased if they were generous with others.
Forgiveness: Islam teaches that one should forgive as much as possible. The greatest forgiveness is to pardon someone while one is capable of punishing. Prophet Muhammad gave the best example when he was willing to forgive his enemies who had driven him and his followers out of their homes in Mecca and tortured and murdered some of his best followers and beloved relatives. When they returned in full force to reclaim their homes, the prophet strictly forbade any revenge, and he gave amnesty to all in the city.
Peace: The prophet was a peaceful person for whom war was always the last option. There were even periods when the enemies and opponents of Islam wanted to buy some time to strengthen themselves, regrouped and offered peace treaties. The prophet accepted such offers, even knowing their true intentions, and used to take every opportunity for promoting peace. He had historic peace agreements with many Jewish tribes, Christian tribes and others.
Family time: The prophet divided his time into three segments: one for prayers and supplications to God, one to listen to the people and fulfill their requests, and one for being with his family. He emphasized respect and companionship with women in the family, and treating them with compassion and care. He told his companions that the best among them was the one who was best toward his wife. Similarly, he taught that a daughter is a great blessing in the house, and that paradise lies under a mother’s feet, i.e., is earned by serving her.
The truthful and the trustworthy: He was a man of great trust and truth, and was called “the trustworthy, the truthful” by his people since childhood. Even those who did not believe in his teachings kept their trust in his character and used to submit their disputes to him for judgment. He was known as a man of good humor and a gentle smile, but he never used to tell lies, even in jest.
May all of us strive to better follow the example of the prophet Muhammad!
Safdar Razi Ali is the Imam for the Islamic Ahlul Bayt Association, a participant in Austin Area Interreligious Ministries