Rahmatullah Khan Shakir (1901-2000), Former Assistant Editor and Manager of Al Fazl
The Islamic teachings had generated such a great bond of love and affection between the Companionsra that they would try their best to resist quarrels. They would not pursue trivial matters, which, among the masses, could cause serious dissension and would thus not allow national unity to be undermined. If something unpleasant occurred from some brother, the Companionsra would exhibit extreme forbearance and tolerance.
In fact, the secret of their enormous strength and power lay in the fact that they would not at all allow mutual dissent and differences to arise. Mutual differences are detrimental to national power and strength. Evidently, a nation whose individuals are engaged in fighting with each other and are at daggers drawn, forfeit the ability to encounter an enemy.
A few accounts of the Companionsra in this regard are as follows.
Forgiving the murderer of a son
Hazrat Qaisra bin Asim Al-Munqari was the chief of his tribe. His son was killed by the son of his brother, i.e. his nephew. This was not a small thing. There is no greater grief than for a man to see his son slain.
On such an occasion, even the greatest of those who show forbearance and tolerance lose their senses. People arrested the killer and brought him to their chief. Everyone can gauge the feelings of a father who finds the dead body of his young son lying before him; indeed, he would be ready to annihilate the culprit.
History is replete with such accounts that on such occasions, even the weakest and most helpless of humans have also behaved very dangerously.
Despite having the full authority and power, Hazrat Qaisra avenged him not. He only advised him like an elder of the family. Admonishing him about the wickedness of his evil deed he only said, “How evil an act it is. You defied divine command and earned Allah’s displeasure. Aside from this, you severed the ties of kinship and also caused the strength of the family to weaken.”
That’s it! Then he directed another son of his to untie the arms of the criminal and arrange for his brother’s burial.
There is an important lesson in this account for those who, on trivial issues, sever ties of kinship with their brothers for many years. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 4, p. 133, Zikr Qais bin Asim Al-Munqari)
Astonishing display of forgiveness
Hazrat Huzayfara bin Al-Yaman was a young companion. He joined in the Battle of Badr accompanied by his father. During the battle, his father happened to come in between the Muslim and idolater forces. The Muslim troops attacked the idolaters. Hazrat Huzayfara called out to the Muslim troops to be watchful lest his father was killed, but the Muslims could not catch his voice.
Naturally, when one army is encountering the other and fighting has commenced, they cannot catch a distant voice. Thus, this voice too proved to be a cry in the wilderness and his father was killed inadvertently by a Muslim troop.
Instead of creating an issue of it, Hazrat Huzayfara simply said to the Muslim troop, “May Allah forgive you.”
Reflect on this account in the perspective of the mentality of the Arabs before Islam that they had been at daggers drawn with each other for years at the death of as small a thing as a puppy.
To see the revolution brought by the Holy Prophetsa in their state of mind our tongues are naturally articulated to invoke durood on the Holy Prophetsa.
اَللّٰھُمَّ صَلِّ عَلٰی مُحَمَّدٍ وَبَارِکْ وَسَلِّمْ
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Maghazi, Bab “Idh hammat ta‘ifatan minkum an tafshala…”)
To give up one’s rights for a fellow Muslim
Once, two companions, Hazrat Amra‘ul Qaisra and Hazrat Rabi‘ahra bin ‘Abdan Hazrami had a dispute over proprietary rights of a piece of land. Hazrat Rabi‘ahra, the plaintiff, brought the matter to the notice of the Holy Prophetsa.
The Holy Prophetsa demanded its proof from Amra‘ul Qaisra and also said that if he could not provide proof, the matter would be decided in favour of Rabi‘ah after the latter’s oath.
Amra‘ul Qaisra submitted, “O Prophetsa of Allah! If a person, deeming it a right of his, gives it up in favour of the other, what reward would he get (from Allah)?”
The Holy Prophetsa replied, “Heaven.” At this Hazrat Amra‘ul Qaisra said, “O Prophetsa of Allah! I withdraw from the proprietary right of this piece of land in favour of Rabi‘ah.” (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 1, p. 137)
Preference for peace and harmony
Hazrat Urwahra bin Mas‘ud was fatally wounded by some people in a clash. Some men from his clan began preparing to avenge his blood. Sensing that it would start a civil war among the Muslims, he addressed his clan and said, “I forgive my blood. Do not wage war because of me. I would rather that peace is maintained between you.” (Tabqat Ibn Saad, Dhikr Urwah bin Mas‘ud, Vol. 3, p. 529)
Justice in disputes
In most cases, the Companionsra would put off dissensions through exhibiting meekness and forbearance. As a result, there were very few disputes between them. Hazrat Salmanra bin Rabi‘ah Bahli was a judge in Kufa.
About him, Hazrat Abu Wa‘ilra says, “I regularly visited him for 40 consecutive days, but I never saw any party of a lawsuit with him.’ (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 2, p. 263)
Silence in response to foul language
Marwan would openly malign Hazrat Alira from the pulpit. Hazrat Imam Hasanra heard his maligns with his own ears, but kept quiet. Once, he sent a very abusive and foul message to Imam Hasanra through somebody. Hazrat Imam Hasanra calmly heard the message and replied:
“Tell him that by God, I will not wipe off this blemish of abuse from him by resorting to foul language in reply to his invectives. Ultimately, both of us, one day, will be presented before God, the best of Judges and the Avenger will avenge the lie uttered by the liar.” (Tarikh-ul-Khulafa li-Suyuti, Vol. 1, p. 146)
This aspect of the lives of the Companionsra should be focused on especially in this age of ours. Tolerance and forbearance is lacking among the Muslim masses. A major cause of this is the lack of any supervisory system.
Since the Muslims are like a leaderless, dispersed crowd, they are bereft of the sense of national unity and resulting national dignity and engage themselves in prolonged dissensions and lawsuits on insignificant issues.
Despite their flagging economy, they waste not only a large amount, but also their time and resolution to do something productive.
One of the major reasons of this is that their ulema and religious leaders never present to them the traits of their elders and never narrate to them the practices of their forefathers – how they would manifest extraordinary forbearance on such occasions.
(Translated by Shahid Mahmood Ahmad, Missionary in Ghana, from the original Urdu, Muslim Nau-jawanon kay Sunehri Karnamey)