Muslims around the world have begun observing the holy month of Ramadan with long hours of fasting during daylight and by flocking to the mosques everywhere for taraveeh (extra prayers) after sundown. The imams are delivering khutbas and making television presentations on the blessings of Ramadan and emphasizing extra rewards for praying during the month. Meanwhile, the Taliban have refused to agree to a ceasefire by claiming that the “reward of fighting is much higher in the holy month.”
How about discussing Huqooq ul Ibad (human rights) in this blessed month? How about saying that there is no greater right of the living than the right to life? And there is no greater sin than the taking of an innocent life which is happening with regularity in indiscriminate bomb attacks almost everyday in public places?
And We have sent you (Muhammad) not but as a mercy for mankindAs to the convoluted justifications for killing of the "infidels", it is important to remember that the Holy Quran describes Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as Rehmat-ul-lil-Alamin, not just Rehamt-ul-lil-Muslimeen. The Prophet of Allah was sent to this world as a blessing for all, not just Muslims, a fact often forgotten by bigots and terrorists who claim to be Muslims and carry out unimaginable atrocities in the name of Islam.
Quran: Sura Al-Anbiya 21:117
Quran: Sura Al-Anbiya 21:117
It seems to me that there is an urgent need to bring Huqooq ul Allah (Duties to God) in better balance with Huqooq ul Ibad (Duties to humans and all of Allah's creation). And Ramadan is an ideal time for the imams (prayer leaders) and khatibs (preachers) and popular televangelists to give equal time to both in their sermons, TV shows and speeches to the faithful attending the mosques or watching TV.
The Muslim preachers must take this opportunity to tell the worshipers that Allah will not forgive any wrongs done by them to their fellow human beings; such wrongs can only be forgiven by those who are wronged.
“And render to the kindred their rights,as also to those in want and to the wayfarer” (Surah Bani Isra’il, verse 26)
“Serve Allah, don’t associate anyone with Him, do good to parents, kinsfolk,orphans, those in need, neighbors who are of kin, neighbors who are strangers,the companion by your side, the wayfarer,and what your right hand posses: for Allah loves not the vainglorious;nor those who are niggardly, enjoin niggardliness on others,hide bounties which Allah has bestowed on them” (Surah Al-Nisa, verse 36)
It's important to remember durig Ramadan from the teachings and the life Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lived to learn how to deal with the serious crises Muslims face today. Here is how I remember the Prophet I know from my reading about his life:
The Prophet I know instructed Muslims to "go as far as China to seek knowledge". It was clear at the time that China was not a Muslim nation. It is therefore safe to conclude that the Prophet encouraged all necessary efforts to seek all knowledge including secular education.
Faith and Reason:
The Prophet I know brought the Holy Quran to humanity, the Book that repeatedly and emphatically challenges readers to "Think" (Afala Taqelon) and "Ponder" (Afala Tatafakkron) for themselves. This is the best proof that Islam wants Muslims to reconcile faith and reason. It was this teaching that brought greatness to Muslims in seventh through thirteenth centuries following the death of Prophet Muhammad.
The Prophet I know showed compassion and understanding when a Bedouin person entered the Prophet's mosque in Medina and urinated, an act that infuriated the Prophet's companions. He restrained his companions and asked them to show understanding for the ignorance of the Bedouin.
The Prophet I know spoke softly and briefly. His last khutbah was a mere 430 words lasting a few minutes. He did not make long, fiery speeches.
Response to provocation:
The Prophet I know responded to abuse by prayer. When the people of Taif threw rocks at him, he responded by praying to Allah to give guidance to those who abused him.
Respect for Life:
The Prophet I know brought the Holy Quran, the Book that equates " unjust killing of one person" with "the killing the entire humanity". It commands respect for life.
In this terror-stricken world, it is more important than ever for Muslims to make a serious effort to understand what Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stood for and how he lived his life. The issues of education, faith, reason and compassion need to be understood in the light of the Quran, the Sunnah and the Hadith. It is this understanding that will help guide the Ummah out of the deep crisis it finds itself in.
I urge the Muslim imams and the Islamic scholars everywhere not to waste the opportunity to educate Muslims about the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the high importance of Huqooq-ul-Ibad in Ramadan to contribute to ending the long nightmare Pakistanis and others are are being subjected to.