Monday, February 8, 2010

The Holy Prophet Muhammad's Example: Keeping Company with Ex-slaves and Poor Muslims

One day the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was sitting with Salman (Persian ex-slave), Bilal ibn Rabah (African ex-slave), Ammar (Yeman ex-slave), Suhayb (Roman ex-slave), Khabbab (African ex-slave and the 6th person to accept Islam) and a group of poor Muslims. When some unbelievers passed by and saw these 'unimportant' people with the Prophet, they said, "Have you chosen these persons from among your people? Do you want us to follow you along side them? Has Allah bestowed His favor on them, that they have believed, and not us? You better remove them from around you; if you do so, then perhaps we would follow you." The Prophet did not agree to their demand, and Allah sent down the following verses in respect to this scenario.

"And do not drive away those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening seeking His pleasure. Thou are not accountable for them nor are they at all accountable for thee. In case you do it you would be counted as the unjust. In this way have We made a distinction in some of them from the other with the result that they say: Are these lowly ones whom Allah has favored by choosing them from among us? Does not Allah know best the grateful? And when those who believe in Our signs come to you, say: "Peace be upon you, your Lord has taken Himself to show mercy..." (Holy Qur'an 6:53-55)

Salman, Bilal, and 'Ammar said, "When Allah revealed these verses, the Prophet turned towards us, called us to come nearer to him, and said, 'Your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself.' Then we used to sit with him, and when he wanted to stand up to leave, he did so. Then Allah revealed:

"And keep yourself attached to those who call upon their Lord morning and evening, constantly seeking His pleasure; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the adornment of the life of the world;..." (Holy Qur'an 18:29)

"When this was revealed, the Prophet used to make us sit so near him that our thighs almost touched his thighs; and he did not stand up before us. When we felt that the time had come for him to stand, we took his leave; and then he stood up after we had gone. And he used to say to us, 'I thank God, who did not take me out of this world until He ordered me to keep patience with [this] group of my community. I shall spend my life with you, and after death, shall remain with you.' " *

Back in the days of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) many of those who were attracted to Islam were ex-slaves and poor people. Like wise, in America today, many of those who have accepted Islam are ex-slaves and poor people. This scenario has repeated itself going back, in American history, to the Islamic movement, which began here in the early 1900's. During the 1920's the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community began to preach the true Islam, which was taught and practice by the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

The Occident is the "unbeliever" in this day and age. They are the people who look upon themselves as being above the ordinary, belong to what is called higher society and would consider it beneath them to join a Divine movement where there are ex-slaves and the poor in it. They're message of material prosperity, sympathy, kindness, godliness and gentle behavior, plays magic on ears with its mellow music. It is this world of romance which generally attracts people to Occidental culture. However, at the same time they maintains systems that result in cruelty, suppression, gross injustice and large scale subjugation of defenseless ex-slaves and the poor from having an equal footing with them.

True Islam is the way to end this inhuman cruelty and the true followers of Islam will dismantle those systems, not by physical means, but by spiritual means. The true representatives of Islam will be engaged in prayer and divine worship day and night. Ex-slaves and the poor have the promise of success and Divine Mercy from Almighty Allah.

* Source: Al-Majlisi, M.B., Hayatul Qulub, vol. II, Tehran: Kitabfurushi-e Islamia, 1371 AH, pp.562-3; Abu Naim Ahmad al-Isfahani, Hilyatul Awliya, vol. I, Beirut, 1967, pp. 146-7

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