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IDEAL MUSLIM (2)

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HE IS COMPASSIONATE AND MERCIFUL:

The Muslim who truly understands the teachings of Islam is compassionate and merciful, for he understands that the compassion of people on earth will cause the mercy of heaven to be showered upon them:

“Have compassion on those who are on earth so that the One Who is in heaven will have mercy on you.” [5]

The Muslim has learned from his religion that:

“Whoever does not show compassion to people, Allah (S.W.T.) will not have mercy on him.” [6]

And:

“Compassion is not taken away except from the one who is doomed.” [7]

The true Muslim does not limit his compassion only to his family, children, relatives and friends, but he extends it to include all people. This is in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) which included all people and made this compassion a condition of faith, as Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari (RadiyAllahu Anhu) narrated from the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam):

“You will not believe until you have compassion towards one another.”

They said:
‘O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), all of us are compassionate.’

He (s.a.w.s.) said:
“It is not the compassion of any one of you towards his friend, but it is compassion towards all people and compassion towards the common folk.” [8]

This is comprehensive, all-embracing compassion, extending to all people, that Islam has awoken in the Muslim, so that the Muslim community may become a source of mutual compassion filled with deep love, compassion and sincerity.

The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) was a brilliant example of compassion, and was the embodiment of this virtue, so much so that when he led the prayer, if he heard a child crying, he would be filled with mercy and compassion for the mother who would be distressed by her child’s crying. So he would shorten the prayer, as was reported by Bukhari and Muslim from Anas (RadiyAllahu Anhu):

“The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

“I commenced the prayer, and I intended to make it long, but I heard a child crying, so I cut my prayer short because of the distress I knew his mother would be feeling.”‘

A Bedouin came to the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) and asked:
‘Do you kiss your sons? For we do not kiss them.’

He (s.a.w.s.) said:
“What can I do for you when Allah (S.W.T.) has removed compassion from your heart?”
[Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) kissed al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali when al-Aqra‘ ibn Ahbis al-Tamimi was sitting with him. Al-Aqra‘ said:
‘I have ten children and I have never kissed any of them.’

The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) looked at him and said:

“The one who does not show compassion will not be shown mercy.”
[Bukhari and Muslim]

‘Umar (RadiyAllahu Anhu) wanted to appoint a man to some position of authority over the Muslims, then he heard him say something like al-Aqra‘ ibn ahbis had said, i.e., that he did not kiss his children. So ‘Umar (r.a.) changed his mind about appointing him, and said:

“If your heart does not beat with compassion towards your own children, how will you be merciful towards the people? By Allah (S.W.T.) I will never appoint you.”
Then he tore up the document he had prepared concerning the man’s appointment.

The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) expanded the feeling of mercy and compassion in the Muslim conscience to cover animals as well as humans. Bukhari and Muslim reported from Abu Hurayrah (RadiyAllahu Anhu) that the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

“A man was walking on the road when he felt very thirsty. He saw a well, so he went down into it, drank his fill, then came out. He saw a dog panting and biting the dust with thirst, and said, ‘This dog’s thirst is as severe as mine was.’ So he went back down into the well, filled his shoes with water, held them in his mouth (while he climbed out), and gave the dog water. Allah (S.W.T.) thanked him and forgave him.”

They asked:
‘O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), will we be rewarded for kindness towards animals?’

He (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“In every living creature there is a reward.”

Bukhari and Muslim also report from Ibn ‘Umar (RadiyAllahu Anhu) that the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

“A woman was punished because of a cat which she locked up until it died of starvation. She was thrown into Hell. It was said — and Allah (S.W.T.) knows best — ‘You did not feed her or give her water when you locked her up, neither did you let her roam free so that she could eat of the vermin of the earth.”

The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) reached such heights of mercy that once, when he and his Companions stopped in some place, a bird appeared above his head, as if she was seeking his help and complaining to him of the wrongdoing of a man who had taken her egg. He said:

“Which of you has distressed her by taking her egg?”

A man said:
‘O Messenger of Allah, I have taken it.’

The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:
“Put it back, out of mercy to her.” [9]

The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) wanted, in this instance, to instill a sense of all-encompassing mercy in the conscience of the Muslims, so that they would become compassionate by nature, even to animals, because whoever has the heart to be kind to animals will not be harsh towards his human brother.

The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) was full of mercy and compassion towards both people and animals, and he never stopped exhorting the Muslims to be likewise, so that mercy and compassion would pervade the world of the Muslims and fill their societies and lands. When compassion spreads upon earth, an abundance of divine mercy descends upon the lands and its inhabitants from on high, according to the words of the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam):

“Have compassion on those who are on earth so that the One Who is in heaven will have mercy on you.” [10]

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[5] Reported by al-Tabarani; its men are rijal al-sahih.

[6] Reported by al-Tabarani; its isnad is hasan.

[7] Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad.

[8] Reported by al-Tabarani; its men are rijal al-sahih.

[9] Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad.

[10] Reported by al-Tabarani; its men are rijal al-sahih.