Ataul Mujeeb Rashed, Missionary-in-Charge UK
The blessed account of the life of Prophet Muhammadsa is sustenance for the soul of a true believer. It freshens one’s faith and revitalises dead hearts. It is the account of that holy personage who has been praised by God of the Throne Himself. His revered and celebrated name is Muhammadsa,who lives eternally as an excellent model and spiritual beneficence.
How beautifully the Promised Messiahas has said:
“God did not desire for anyone to live eternally, but this chosen Prophet lives forever.” (Noah’s Ark, p. 23)
His spiritually quickening effect has been giving new life to mankind, as affirmed by Allah:
اِذَا دَعَاکُمۡ لِمَا یُحۡیِیۡکُمۡ
“When he calls you that he may give you life” (Surah al-Anfal, Ch.8: V.25)
Undoubtedly, his sacred account will continue to give new spiritual life to mankind till the end of the days. However, this is a reality too:
“One cannot fathom the limit of his sublime status and it is not given to man to estimate the extent of his spiritual effectiveness”. (Haqiqat-ul-Wahi – The Philosophy of Divine Revelation, pp. 137-138)
It is impossible to do justice to his seerat (life).
اُوچه ميد اردبمدحِ كس نياز
مدحِ اُو خود فخرهرمدحت گرے
“He is not in need of praise by anyone; one who praises him should take pride in doing so.”
Every aspect of the life of the Holy Prophetsa has an extraordinary grandeur and uniqueness. It always occurs to me that just like a beautiful diamond appears beautiful and attractive from every angle, similarly, rather to a greater extent, every topic of seerat-un-Nabi attracts the hearts in every respect.
This article deals with commitment to, and fulfilment of, compacts and treaties.
Islam is a complete code of conduct for life. It is the divine Shariah that has the most perfect guidance in it, that enlightens every aspect of human life and comprises of teachings that fulfil all human needs. Islamic teachings pay extraordinary emphasis on commitment to, and fulfilment of, compacts and treaties:
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اَوۡفُوۡا بِالۡعُقُوۡدِ
“O ye who believe, fulfil [your] compacts” (Surah al-Maidah, Ch.5: V.2)
وَ اَوۡفُوۡا بِالۡعَہۡدِ ۚ اِنَّ الۡعَہۡدَ کَانَ مَسۡـُٔوۡلًا
“And fulfil the covenant; for the covenant will be questioned about” (Surah Bani Israel, Ch.17: V.35)
Let us look, in light of historical events, at the matchless example set by our beloved master, Muhammadsa, in the context of commitment to, and fulfilment of, compacts and treaties.
We see beautiful glimpses of fulfilment of compacts during the period when he was on the threshold of manhood. He was known as amin (trustworthy) and sadiq (truthful). Both these titles have a deep and fundamental relation with fulfilment of covenants. Sadiq and sadooq is used for the one whose whole life is entirely free of falsehood. Amin is one whose every statement and deed is inextricably blended with truth and honesty. Both these attributes go hand in hand with commitment to fulfilment of compacts.
The fact that Meccans called him by these names long before he claimed prophethood proves that Allah the Almighty had deposited the quality of fulfilment of compacts in his soul in such a way that it became an inseparable part of his being. And we see its beautiful manifestations throughout his life.
During his early adulthood, some noble-minded young men set up an organisation called Hilf al-Fudhul – League of the Virtuous. All its members gave an undertaking that they would always resist the oppressor and help the victims.
When the amin and sadooq of Mecca, the young Muhammadsa heard of this, he gladly joined. Only God knows whether any other member of this association was ever called upon to discharge the undertaking or not. However, as divine wisdom would have it, our Perfect Guidesa who was always true to his words, got the opportunity to fulfil this pledge. He honoured this pledge more than anyone else, during his youth and later throughout his life. Whenever he was called upon to fulfil the pledge, he would stand up boldly in support of the oppressed. As an example, I present a beautiful event that is preserved in detail in the annals of history:
A man from the Arash tribe came to Mecca to sell his camels. A chief of Mecca, Abu Jahl, bought a camel from him, but as for payment, he wavered. When the trader failed to get the money, he approached the Quraish and cried out for help of the chiefs of Mecca. It was the duty of the members of the Hilf al-Fudhul association to redress his grievances. However, none of them had the courage to approach the oppressor, Abu Jahl, to exhort him to pay the poor trader what was due to him.
One of the chiefs, out of mischief, suggested that he should approach Muhammadsa; “He will help you get your rights”. The chief knew very well that Abu Jahl was the worst enemy of the Holy Prophetsa and he would never miss an opportunity to persecute and humiliate him.
The trader went straight to the Holy Prophetsa who was in the Masjid al-Haram at that time. The trader narrated his ordeal and invoked Hilf al-Fudhul to help him. And lo! The flag-bearer of truth and faithfulness and guardian of pledges, Muhammadsa, stood up right away in support of the aggrieved person.
The chiefs of the Quraish were wonderstruck on seeing this. They got one person to follow him to witness the humiliation of Muhammadsa by Abu Jahl. Humiliation? What humiliation? This was the occasion to demonstrate the honour and greatness of our Mastersa.
He went with that man straight to Abu Jahl’s house and knocked at the door. He enquired who it was? “It is me, Muhammad”, he replied and asked him to come out. Abu Jahl came out. The Holy Prophetsa said, “Pay this man what you owe him, immediately”. Abu Jahl was dumbfounded by the courage and greatness of the Holy Prophetsa. He said, “Wait, I will bring money for him now”. He went in, brought the money and paid the man in full.
After this incident, the chiefs of Mecca reproved Abu Jahl, telling him that he had been advising them to humiliate Muhammadsa and disobey him, yet he himself had accepted the directive from him, thus making him an honourable man. Abu Jahl replied that they would have done the same in that situation. He told them that he saw two wild camels standing on each side of Muhammadsa and had he refused, the camels would have killed him.
This extraordinary divine intervention proves, on the one hand, the divine support that he enjoyed at every step, while on the other, that the Perfect Guide, Hazrat Muhammad Mustafasa put his life and honour on the line to fulfil his undertakings with great courage and established a great model that is matchless in every respect.
Hazrat Abdullahra bin Ubai al-Hamsa reports another event that took place during that early period.
He stated that once he sold something to Muhammadsa, before he was invested with prophethood. However, he did not hand a part of what he had sold. He told the Holy Prophetsa to stay there as he would go to fetch it from his house. Once home, he forgot all about it. After three days, he remembered his promise, got hold of that thing and returned to the spot that had been appointed for the meeting. He saw that the Holy Prophetsa was there, according to his promise. The Prophetsa saw Abdullah and most magnanimously said, “I have been waiting here for you for the last three days” and said no more!
It cannot be inferred from this incident, as recorded by Abi Dawud, that the Holy Prophetsa stayed there continuously for three days and three nights; it can only mean that he went to that spot often at suitable times and waited for Abdullah.
How great it is that he gave so much regard to his promise that he fulfilled it even at his own inconvenience! Just matchless!
While studying the life of the Holy Prophetsa, it stands out that truth, honesty, and trust composed the whole life of the Holy Prophetsa. The quality of standing guard on his covenants and fulfilling every promise shines prominently at every juncture in his life.
Extremely prejudiced enemies target him for various accusations because of their ignorance and lack of knowledge. They attempt to defile his immaculate character by raising a variety of objections. However, this too is a fact that not even the most vicious enemies of Islam ever dare to accuse our beloved Master, Muhammad Mustafasa of a breach of contract. They fabricated lots of lies and concocted heaps of baseless allegations, but no enemy of Islam can come up with a single instance of breach of contract or contravention of a covenant by the Holy Prophetsa.
During his lifetime, the Messengersa of Allah entered many covenants with his enemies and his allies. The other parties breached their contracts and ignored conditions of the covenants many times. However, it never happened – not even once – that he fell short in this matter. He honoured the covenants even with those who had been guilty of breach of contracts previously. That is why, his opponents and even his deadly enemies never accused him of breach of contract during his lifetime and till today, no enemy of Islam has pointed an accusing finger at him in this regard.
During the period after the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, the Holy Prophetsa sent Hazrat Dihyah Kalbira with a letter addressed to Heraclius (Caesar), the Roman Emperor, to preach the message of Islam. The letter was delivered to him in Alia (Syria).
Caesar read the letter and directed that if any one of his acquaintances were around, they be brought to his court so that he could make some enquiries to determine whether he was true in his claim to prophethood or an impostor.
Abu Sufyan happened to be there and was called to Caesar’s court. Abu Sufyan was seated in front and his companions behind him. Caesar said to Abu Sufyan’s companions, “If he [Abu Sufyan] tells me a lie, refute him by shaking your heads”. Then the questioning started.
In the context of topic of my subject, one of the questions that Caesar asked about the Holy Prophetsa was, “Has he (ever) violated his covenant?” Abu Sufyan said, in the presence of everyone, “Never”. He went on to add only this much, “We are in a truce with him now and we cannot predict its outcome”.
It is obvious that Abu Sufyan added this as a mere conjecture. Otherwise, he could not but accept that he had never violated his contracts. After listening to Abu Sufyan, Caesar, being a man of discernment, concluded: “This is how the prophets behave. They never breach [their contracts].”
Caesar’s statement is a great testimony to the fulfilment of covenants by Hazrat Muhammad Mustafasa. This is the acknowledgement by a strong enemy of truth, who was aware of the Prophet’ssa life.
There is another incident of the Medinite period that presents a beautiful example of commitment to covenants.
The Quraish of Mecca sent a man as a messenger and envoy to the Holy Prophetsa. When he arrived in Medina, he visited the Holy Prophetsa and listened to what he had to say. He was so impressed that he decided to accept Islam there and then. He declared publicly that he would never part company with the Holy Prophetsa.
This inclination of the messenger and his firm resolve led the Holy Prophet to think that although the envoy had decided of his free will, fully satisfied at heart, without being pressurised into it, others might think that he had been coerced. Although there was no formal convention in this regard, the right of repatriation of envoys was practically considered as such. It was a sort of covenant. Therefore, the Holy Prophetsa, who was not only committed to wording of covenants, but also strictly fulfilled all its sections and the spirit behind it, told the envoy:
“I respect your feelings, but remember I cannot breach a covenant. As for now, you should go back to Mecca and fulfil the assignment that was given to you. If you have love of Islam in your heart and you have decided to accept it, once you have returned [to Mecca], you may come back in a personal capacity”.
I ask those who accuse Islam of coercion: Is this how those who spread a faith by force, power and authority, behave? A person is willing to sacrifice himself for Muhammadsa, yet gracefully, the champion of freedom of conscience tells him, “No, not while you have come here as a messenger and envoy of a nation. Go back and if you want to come again in a personal capacity, you are most welcome.”
This is a unique event in the history of religion and is a slap in the face of those who accuse Islam of coercion. And look what the result was. The character of the Prophetsa made captivated him so much by Islam that he went back to Mecca, but returned not before long and entered the fold of the devotees of Prophet Muhammadsa.
Allah, the Almighty had exalted our Master, the Benefactor of Mankind, the Holy Prophetsa to the highest levels of moral excellence. Not only did he glorify every field of moral quality with his own excellent model but also adopted every great moral quality by delving deep into its finest details in such a way that it illumined even those angles of that moral quality which never crossed the mind of anyone.