Muhammad (Peace And Blessings Of Allah Be Upon Him): The Preacher Of Peace (I)

16 June 2014

By Umar Jibrilu Gwandu

The principle and practice of ensuring a peaceful and non-violent society is the crux of the Islamic teachings. Documented literature of Islamic history is full of the stories of torture and persecution meted out to the early Muslims. The most pronounced included the histories of Ammar, Bilal, Sumayyah,Yasir (RA) who were subjected to harsh punishment for accepting to be Muslim.

The Muslims were scorned and ridiculed by the non-Muslims in many unprintable terms.

The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) did not ask his followers to do any harm to the non-Muslims. Otherwise, he was instructed to "bear with patience what they utter, and part from them with a fair leave-taking" (Qur'an 73:10).

Muhammad (S.A.W) was sent as "mercy to the world" (Qur'an 21:107) but being initially rejected by his people was asked to leave his own home town.

The first batch of his peace-loving companions migrated to Abyssinia in Ethiopia and later to Medina. Perhaps, if he were not a preacher of peace, it would have been a different story.

One clear point that further buttresses the fact that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) was the messenger of peace was the agreement, pact and treaties he entered into with the non-believers. When he wanted to come back to his own home town, six years after his migrating to Medina, the unbelievers did not agree that he and his followers should stay there for more than three days. The treaty of Hudaibiyyah was, therefore, signed in by the two parties.

Some of the clauses of the treaties do not stop at demanding the Muslims to go back and come to Mecca next year, but also said that Muhammad (S.A.W) should allow any of his followers who wanted to return to Quraish to do so; while any of the Quraish who goes over to Muhammad (S.A.W) without the permission of his/her guardian should be sent back to the Quraish.

Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) demonstrated his tolerance and the love for peace which included deleting the clause that says he was a messenger of Allah at the preamble of the text of treaty and got it changed to Muhammad the son of Abdullah as demanded by the non-Muslims.

Preaches tolerance and understanding in diversity

Although, the religion of Islam was meant to be the dominating civilization that overpowers all other faiths (Qur'an 9:33, 48:28 and 61:9), Prophet Muhammad was not sent to compel people to his faith. "It is He Who has created you; and of you are some that are Unbelievers, and some that are Believers: and Allah sees well all that ye do" (Qur'an 64:2).

It is on this basis that the Prophet Muhammad (S. A. W) was told, "therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish. 22. Thou art not at all a warder over them" (Qur'an 88:21-22). After all "There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error" (Qur'an 2:256). Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered [unto Him]" (Qur'an 3:64).

Condemns killings and bloodshed

The message of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) condemns in unequivocal terms the killing of lives. As seen above, Jihad does not mean killing and wanton destruction of lives and property. The Glorious Qur'an warns that "whoever kills a person, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he had killed all men. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had save the lives of all men" (Qur'an 5:32).

"Whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell, abiding therein; and Allah is wroth with him and He has cursed him and prepared for him a grievious chastisement" (Qur'an 4:93)

"And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loves those who do good.-(Qur'an 2:195)

"Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah hath been to you Most Merciful!-(Qur'an 4:29)
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) made it categorically clear that, "Whoever kills himself with something will be tormented by it in the Hellfire." (Bukhari)

Abhors vulgar language

In a bid to guard against instigation of conflict, the message of the Prophet (S.A.W) was against insulting the non-Muslims. The Qur'an makes it emphatically clear that "revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings.

"In the end will they return to their Lord, and We shall then tell them the truth of all that they did." (Qur'an 6:108).

The message of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) abhors the followers to carryout reprisal even on insult done to them by non-Muslims. He rather recommended them to be patient. "Certainly you will Hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if ye persevere patiently, and guard against evil,-then that will be a determining factor in all affairs." (Qur'an 3:186).

In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (R.A), Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) ordered the fasting faithful "if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, I am fasting" [al-Bukhari]. The principle is applicable even during non-fasting periods. Ibn Mas'ud reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Insulting a Muslim is going off the path (fusuq) and killing him is disbelief." [Agreed upon] "Allah loveth not the utterance of harsh speech" (Qur'an 4:148).

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