Ehtesham A Arif, Student Jamia UK
In these tumultuous and uncertain times, it is easy for individuals to succumb to anger and harbour animosity towards those with differing views. People find themselves making adversaries very quickly, and a sense of consideration and empathy for others is gradually eroding in our society. The surge of hate speech and racism is becoming more prominent and fostering an environment where disagreements lead to heated conflicts and divisive tensions.
Yet, the exemplary life of our beloved master, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa, stands as a testament to a love so profound that God Almighty forever immortalised the affection and empathy he held not only for Muslims, but for all of humanity:
لَعَلَّکَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفۡسَکَ اَلَّا یَکُوۡنُوۡا مُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ
“Haply thou wilt grieve thyself to death because they believe not.” (Surah Ash-Shua’rah, Ch.26: V.4)
The term بَاخِعٌ is derived from the root-word بَخَعَ. In Arabic, بَخَعَ الذَّبِیْحَةَ conveys the act of “slaughtering the beast with remarkable efficacy, completely severing the bone of the neck’—an action performed with exceptional skill and energy. Thus, the verb بَخَعَ signifies the execution of any task to an extraordinary extent and degree. The lexicons also illustrate that when expressing بَخَعَ نَفْسَہٗ, it denotes the complete annihilation of oneself due to overwhelming grief.” (Dictionary of the Holy Quran, Malik Ghulam Farid MA, p. 57)
Keeping this in mind, the above verse clearly demonstrates the fact that the Holy Prophetsa had reached such a level of compassion and empathy, that he would be in a perpetual struggle against profound grief for the entirety of humanity. His heart, completely pure and untainted, did not allow him to harbour any hate for his adversaries, rather it overflowed with an abundance of empathy towards them that they may be rightly guided.
This incredible level of compassion for mankind is perfectly surmised by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra in the following words:
“Indeed, Allah’s Messengersa did not just prove his superiority in the realm of intellect, but he also excelled beyond all lovers in the realm of emotions. His excellence was such that no other lover could match him in love. Leave aside his love for Allah Almighty, for that is beyond the reach of all. But consider human sympathy: Majnun was merely a lover of a woman, his love carried a selfish motive; he desired to indulge in her beauty and to benefit from it. In stark contrast, the sympathy of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings Allah be upon him, transcended such worldly desires and gains. His sympathy and compassion were not limited to one or two, not confined to friends or the beloved, not just for the beautiful, but it extended to all, and even more profoundly towards those who were less fortunate in appearance.
“Accordingly, Allah Almighty declares:
لَعَلَّکَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفۡسَکَ اَلَّا یَکُوۡنُوۡا مُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ
“O Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)! Perhaps you would destroy yourself in grief, not merely for those beautified in faith like Abu Bakrra and Umarra, but rather for those of unsightly and grotesque appearance, whose sight invoked disgust, individuals such as Utbah, Shaybah, and Abu Jahl. You agonised over your inability to benefit them. What is Majnun’s love in comparison? He loved one whose appearance he found pleasing. In stark contrast, the sympathy and compassion of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa extended even to those whose spiritual appearance was distasteful to him. His sympathy and compassion were not limited to one or two, to friends or beloved ones, nor to the beautiful alone, but it embraced all, including those unattractive in appearance.
As Allah Almighty says:
وَ اٰخَرِیْنَ مِنْھُمْ لَمَّا یَلْحَقُوْا بِھِم
“In other words, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, did not wish to confer benefits only upon those of his era, but also sought to extend his grace to those yet unborn.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir , Vol.9, pp. 313-314)
None among the prophets has been endowed with a magnitude of mercy and compassion for humanity comparable to that bestowed upon the Holy Prophetsa. It is he who has been uniquely blessed with this unparalleled degree of empathy for all of humanity, even for those who are yet to come, and the life of the Holy Prophetsa serves as testimony to this claim.
The Holy Prophetsa endured tribulation after tribulation throughout his entire life. He was orphaned at a young age; suffered the loss of his beloved grandfather; faced persecution from his own people; witnessed the slaughter of his Companionsra; endured the heart-breaking loss of the mother of his children; and was driven out from his homeland. He was the victim of many episodes of violence, including suffocation, strangulation, and physical assaults. The agony continued as his children, with the exception of one, passed away during his lifetime. His daughter was martyred, and the child she carried did not survive. Stones were hurled at him until his shoes were drenched in blood, and he was compelled to flee the town of Taif.
However, it was the Holy Prophetsa, the Mercy for Mankind, who proclaimed:
رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِقَوْمِي فَإِنَّهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ
“O My Lord! Forgive my people, for they do not know.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Jihad wal-Sair, Hadith 1792a)
In essence, لَعَلَّکَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفۡسَکَ اَلَّا یَکُوۡنُوۡا مُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ reflects the remarkable compassion embodied by the Holy Prophetsa which extended to all of humanity. He spent his days and nights with the grief and compassion he harboured for mankind that it would well-nigh draw him to the brink of death. He remained indifferent to his own sustenance, showing no concern for rest or sleep. Instead, throughout the night, he would fervently beseech his Lord to safeguard mankind from the abyss of misguidance. So much so, that his prayers for their salvation persisted until his feet swelled.
After the passing of our beloved master, the Holy Prophetsa, his Khulafa assumed the role of true advocates for mankind. Whether it be with Hazrat Abu Bakrra, who made it his duty to feed and clean the house of an elderly blind woman, or Hazrat Umarra who refused to pray in a church in Jerusalem, lest it be made into a mosque in the future. We also find that Hazrat Uthmanra earned the esteemed title of al-Ghani for his incredible disposition of generosity and noteworthy sacrifices for those in need, and the exemplary efforts of Hazrat Alira stand out, as he consistently strived to maintain peace within the Muslim world despite all of the mischief of the hypocrites.
Undoubtedly, the greatest Khalifa, admirer, follower, and servant of the Holy Prophetsa, the Promised Messiahas, was blessed by God Almighty with the same profound quality of compassion and advocacy. Similar to the Holy Prophetsa, he too faced severe persecution, enduring violence and abuse. As mentioned earlier, the compassion of the Holy Prophetsa surpassed all eras and times, and this compassion was once again embodied by his greatest devotee, the Promised Messiahas. He states:
“The principle to which we adhere is that we have kindness at heart for the whole of mankind. If anyone sees the house of a Hindu neighbour on fire and does not come forward to help extinguish the fire, most truly I declare that he does not belong to me. If anyone of my followers, having seen someone attempting to murder a Christian does not endeavour to save him, I most truly declare that he does not belong to us.” (Siraj-e-Muneer, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 12, p. 28)
On another occasion, the Promised Messiahas stated:
“I declare to all Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Aryas that I have no enemies in the world. I extend my compassion to humanity with a compassion akin to that of a caring mother for her children, and perhaps even more so. My only adversaries are the false doctrines that extinguish truth. It is incumbent upon me to empathise with fellow humans. My guiding principle is to shun falsehood, repudiating paganism, wrongdoing, misconduct, injustice, and immorality.” (Arbaeen, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 17, p. 344)
Even in the face of persecution and relentless opposition from within the Islamic world, the Promised Messiahas still found himself compelled to compose the following couplet:
اے دل! تو نیز خاطرِ ایناں نگاہ دار
کاخر کنند دعوئے حبِّ پیمبرمؐ
“‘O heart, be considerate towards them; For they claim to love my Prophetsa.” (“‘O heart, be considerate towards them’: Promised Messiah’s sympathy for Muslims”, www.alhakam.org)
In the present era, the embodiment of true compassion and love for all of humanity is none other than our esteemed Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa. He has dedicated himself day and night to for peace in the world. Over the course of two decades, he has consistently reiterated a message and warning to global leaders and the public alike, detailing the imperative need to unite for the establishment of peace, or else face a war with unprecedented consequences and loss of life.
He has travelled to every corner of the world with the same timeless message of love and compassion, and he has blessed the people and leaders of countless nations whilst delivering this counsel to unite and establish peace.
It is Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V’saa voice, the champion of peace, that stands alone as the true advocate for justice, as he has been urging world leaders to awaken to the dire need for genuine justice and freedom for the Palestinian people, who have endured relentless bombardment by Israel for over a month.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa states:
“Before sleeping at night there is no country of the world that I do not visit in my imagination and no Ahmadi for whom I do not pray whilst sleeping and whilst awake. I am not doing any favour because this is my duty and may Allah enable me to ever increase in assuming my responsibilities.” (Friday Sermon, 6 June 2014, “World Muslim Leader explains true Concept of Khilafat”, www.alislam.org)