Prof. Dr. Anis Ahmed
He is a well-known figure for his scholastic work on the teachings of Islam. Basically, Prof. Ahmad is a social scientist; he specializes in Islamic Studies and is Meritorious Professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion. He is founder Vice Chancellor of Riphah International University, Islamabad, and is also Editor- in-Chief of West and Islam, an Academic journal Published from Islamabad.
ideals within one’s own life time, a genuine total institutional revolution. Even among the most respected heroes and leaders of the world not every one could, in his own life time, bring a change of that magnitude as, correctly, concluded by Hart. This very fact persuades a student of history to explore into the personality, mission and vision of this man (peace be upon him) who not only left behind a viable universal ethical system but also established institutional set up to translate Islamic teachings into a political, social, economic, legal, educational and cultural system. In twenty three years of his
He will speak on “Muhamamd (SAW) as a role model”. The
term role model generally means any “person who serves as an example, whose behavior is emulated by others”. The term first appeared in Robert K. Merton’s socialization research of medical students. Merton hypothesized that individuals compare themselves with reference group of people who occupy the social role to which the individual aspires. The personality of Muhammad (SAW) is the best example to be followed by the mankind.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is regarded a highly effective leader of
all ages, who brought social change in human societies during his life time, which continues till today. This fact is one reflected even by his critics. He caused substantial change in the movement of
Prophethood he (saw) prepared a team of ethically motivated companions (sahabah) who internalized the teachings of the Qur’an and the noble example of the Messenger to make the change management smooth, effective and result oriented.
The benchmark of leadership
Methodologically it may be appropriate to first determine, for our own sake, a criterion for a personality to be a role mode. In general we call a person role mode due to his or her specific and unique quality or skill. For example the fastest bowler in the world of cricket is taken as a role model by youth who love cricket and who want to join one day in world class cricket. But while a fast bowler may be a role model for those who play cricket can he also be a role model for those who
His impact on the history of mankind has been
play soccer or polo? Similarly can the fastest bowler of the
tremendous,1 even after fifteen centuries he enjoys enormous respect
and following not only by the Muslims who constitute one fifth of the total population on the earth, but also by others who study his life and achievements.However, during last three decades the image of Islam and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in the mind of many listeners and viewers, due to a global medial war, has been projected rather negatively. Islam and its Messenger are projected as a threat to the West, and by implicit suggestion to world peace.2 The Qur’an on the contrary calls him “mercy and blessing for the world”.3 Elsewhere the Qur’an mentions that he represents the highest level of ethical and moral behavior.4 This paper makes an effort to look objectively into the personality of the Prophet (pbuh) as a role model for humankind in this century.
world be a role model for compassion, love, care, knowledge, strength of character and wisdom needed for conflict
The basic problem we face when we want to determine bench mark for a role model is our own human finitude. Some music fans may consider a pop singer of their choice as their ideal. Consequently they mimic his glamorous looks, have their hair style similar to his and have his life size photograph or poster on their bathroom wall. But can a show biz hero also be a model father, a model husband, a model of modesty and practical wisdom? With all possible excellence in one area we find the same person, often, highly deficient in several others and equally, vital areas. To extend further the example of the narrow area of cricket, it is also not necessary that the fastest bowler of the world may also be a role model
of best wicket keeper, fielder, or batsman. Even when a
sallalahualayheywasallam (peace be upon him) as the first
amongst the hundred most influential person in the history of mankind. “¼ but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels¼ Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive¼ It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad (pbuh) to be considered the
most influential figure in human history”.5
The benchmark used by Hart is understandable. Among the great religious as well as “secular” persons none represent such a comprehensive, realization of cherished
person is all rounder he may not equally excel in each area.
It is possible that a person excels in one or two areas such as memory, statesmanship or expertise in economic and financial matters in a country or in a region or even at global and international level. But it is not common to have a person who excels equally in his moral and ethical behavior in matters of economic transaction, in political power sharing, in law making and its adjudicating in legal matters and at the same time presenting an ideal of spirituality and wisdom of a war strategist. It is therefore necessary that before we look into the life example of the Prophet (pbuh) we work out a criterion for a role model for humanity.
First important bench mark for a role model, in our view, is historical existence of such a person. Mythological figures can not serve the purpose of a role model. An obvious example is Krishna an avatar of the Hindu Triad of Gods. The great Hindu epic, the Mahabharatha enlightens us on the role of Krishna, god incarnate, when Arjuna encounters his own blood relation in the battle field. The classical dialogue between the two mythical figures constitutes core of ethics in Bhagvad gite.6 The question that remains to be answered is can an Avatar, god incarnate, be a role model for a man of flesh and bones, emotions, attachments, feelings and finite temporal existence.
On that count does the great reformer and religious leader Sakhyamuni or Tathagata, the Prince who turned a hermit, and after his enlightenment the spiritual leader of the global Buddhist community, offer a role mode for a person who wants to be a statesman, a warrior, a nuclear scientist or
or the great religious leader Buddha we can hardly find partial
information with big gaps with no details about personal behavior and conduct as a family man, behavior in business transactions, international treaties and contracts, legal judgments, political decisions and so on.
On the other hand when we look into the life example of the final Messenger of Allah sallalahualayheywasallam, from a holistic perspective, starting from his birth to his youth, his life as a married person, as a businessman, as a person who handled trusts of people of Makka, as well as a caller (da’iyah) to the path of Allah, or as one who was persecuted in Makka, and as one who was expelled from his home town and who later became the ruler of Madinah for about ten years, historically verified account of all these is recorded by first hand reporters. In brief he is a person whose personal, social, economic, political and legal actions were not only keenly observed and recorded, during his own life time, by his companions but while preserving these events they observed
a business executive. Does the life example of the highest possible standards of historical criticism. Today as in
respectable Buddha provide a practical example which can be
followed by a husband, a father or a son?
The general belief in Christianity is that Jesus (peace be upon him) was one of the three components of Divinity. He was god walking in the street. And according to the Christian sources he was ultimately God’s only son, who was both human and divine, and was sacrificed for the atonement of sins of mankind. The Christian sources inform us about three years of his ministry out of around thirty years of his total life span. Even for these three years the earliest first hand historical account of who he was, and what did he teach, and how did he behave, is conveyed to us by the four primary scribes, while none of them even saw or met Jesus (pbuh). With these glaring historical gaps can he (pbuh) provide a role
the past ages we have authenticated objective and critically examined details of every aspect of his life style and conduct and behavior. This comprehensiveness and completeness of information make his role model holistic, viable and feasible for a person to follow may he or she be a Muslim or a non- Muslim.
Looking purely from an applied perspective if we search for details about the life history of most of the religious leaders of the world, for example the Buddha, all we know about him is that he was born as a prince, he spent his early life inside his palace knowing nothing beyond its boundaries and when he experienced for the first time what is suffering, pain, death and old age, he left behind his newly wed wife in order to wander in forests to solve the riddle of life, death and suffering
model for a statesman, an entrepreneur, an army officer or a or dukkha. The hermit ultimately achieved nirvana or
Historical accuracy as first criterion of a role model means not only historical existence of such a person but also authentic historical record of his life experience. On this count a review of the hadith and sirah literalture7 indicates, how mature was the sense of history of the early writers on sirah, starting with Imam Muhammad ibn Shihab al-Zuhri (58-124 H/670-737 CE) who, on the instruction of ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz, collected and compiled ahadith available in al-Madinah. The famous sirah writers Muhammad ibn Ishaq and Musa bin ‘Aqbah were his disciples. Urwah bin Zubair 645-710 CE) a grand child of Abubakr who was raised by his aunt Sayyeda ‘Aisha, wrote first book on sirah. He died in 94 H. It is not our concern, at the present, to go into details about the first hand historical records of the sirah of the Rasul (p.b.u.h). The point we want to make is if the life example of a person is shrouded in myth and is not historically verifiable it can not be taken as role model by others.
Second important criteria for accepting a person as role model is completeness of the life example i.e. does it provide guidance in a narrow and specific professional area while other important areas are not touched or it provides a comprehensive image of the person. Again on this count if
enlightenment under the Bodhi tree near Banaras and came up with the ultimate truth that life is dukkha, pain and suffering, and that there can be cessation of pain through an eight fold path. Having known that much, if we want to know how one could be an ideal husband, an ideal father, an ideal ruler, an ideal businessman, and ideal peace negotiator, an ideal war strategist or a compassionate judge – we fail to get a glimpse of these vital aspects in the life example of the Buddha.
Political leadership, political decision making and political relations at international level are ground realities today as these were millions of year ago. With all available details about the three years ministry (Prophethood) of Sayyedena Esa (Jesus, peace be upon him) we fail to have guiding principles or living example to follow, on how to resolve international conflicts and how to reduce the ever increasing gap between the 13 percent rich population of the world and the 87% poor of the world, or how to respond to the threats of unipolarism, economic and political globalization or homogenization of culture and similar existential issues for which we find no practical guidance in the role model of the great Buddha nor in the life example of Sayyedena Esa (peace and blessing be upon him).
This does not in any way reduce the importance of having faith in the Prophethood of Sayyedena Esa (pbuh). No Muslim can remain a true behavior if he does not take him as
we try to find out details about Sayyedena Esa (Jesus, pbuh) a true messenger of Allah. However, due to lack of
information available in the Christian sources one does not
find a complete and comprehensive view of his life example. This is a fact of the matter, a historical reality and undeniable truth.
Holistic and integrated
World religions have always been facing a dilemma namely how to reconcile the spiritual with the material or worldly life. Often spirituality prevails over materiality and the more the former gains ground the more material life shrinks. Christianity and Hinduism consider a person as ideal who denounces his or her marital demands and excels in spirituality through world renunciation. Can giving to Ceaser what belongs to him, and giving to Jesus (pbuh) what is his due, solve the problem of suffering and sin? Or can a person who leaves his wife, parents, children, business and belongings and moves to a forest or a cave or a river bank, where he plans to stay for seven or eleven years just by himself, provide a role model in solving the problems of nuclear threat and global warming or unfair and unjust allocation of resources of the wealth? Or does it help in solving the social problem of old age persons who live in
senior citizen’s residences away from their own children?
These are actual life situations which invite us to look into who could be a role model in order to solve genuine and real problems of today and tomorrow.
Can a “holy” person who lives in a world of spirituality and has no room for family life, and social, political and economic relations with society be a role model for a common man in the street or for a parliamentarian, or a judge, or an army officer or a banker? Reason tells us that only a holistic personality which combines both the material and spiritual aspects of life can be a viable role model.
The pre-Islamic Arabs, like other people of the world,
bed, invariably ensured that there was no amount left in his
home undistributed, before the night falls.
The Prophet (pbuh) has been projected by the Qur’an as a person who is full of mercy and compassion for the mankind. His life in Makkah offers historical evidence to the fact that while his opponents used all possible methods to insult and humiliate him; his response to them was of forgiveness, kindness and compassion. The Qur’an refers to this aspect: “We have sent you forth as nothing but mercy to people of the whole world”.9 The holistic and compassionate Prophetic model therefore is exemplary not only for the Muslims but for the whole of humanity.
Similarly elsewhere the Qur’an calls the Prophetic role model as most appropriate imitatable example for the Muslims. “Surely there was a good example for you in the Messenger of Allah, for all those who look forward to Allah and the Last
Day and remember Allah much”.10
The above discussion indicates how important it is, for us to have a role model, which is neither mythical nor supernatural, rather historically verifiable, totally human, comprehensive and applicable in order to live an ethical life. Only then men and women, children and mature persons can look toward this role model as an imitatable example. If a person is a store-house of spirituality but offers no guidance in political, economic, social and legal matters, it will be an incomplete role model and consequently difficult to follow.
Needless to say with all comprehensiveness and totality the role model has to be simple, and approachable for a common man in the street as well as for a highly educated professor, or for a housewife or for a legal and political leader.
Steadfast, motivating and moderate
Another important aspect for a role model to be relevant and viable is its being firm in principles yet considerate, kind,
visualized a religious reformer or revivalist to be an angelic or loving and compassionate. That makes a role model
a supernatural being. The Qur’an responds by saying “They balanced, harmonious and not fanatical and extremist. The also say “why has no angel been sent down to this Prophet. Qur’an provides precise guidance on qualities of a role model. Had We appointed an angel, We would have sent him down To begin with a role model should be persuasive and not in the form of man – and thus We would have caused them coercive. Through persuasion and without fear or reprimand, the same doubt which they now entertain”.8 Here the Qur’an a personality should influence, motivate and engage others. It argues that a role model for humans has to be totally and fully should not have pride or sense of false ego but a highly human. The conduct and behavior of a supernatural being ethically motivated behavior “O mankind we created you from can not be emulated by a common human being. single (pair) of male and female and made you into nations
Added to it is the Qur’anic assertion that the role model and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most (uswah, qudwah) for human beings, besides being historical, honored of you in the sight of Allah is (one who is) most comprehensive and totally human should also have aspects righteous of you¼”11 Ethical conduct and behavior or being of social entrepreneurship. He should work for the social virtuous, motivates others and persuades other to act with a good of the people. Islamic view of social good (maslahah sense of social responsibility. Those who adopt ethical ‘Aamah) is embeded in the teachings of the Qur’an. One conduct become an ethical force, even when quantitatively obvious example is zakah, sadqat and infaq. The former is an they may not be in majority. It is the ethical power, as the ‘ibadah or worship as well as a social obligation on every Qur’an tells us which overcomes a quantitatively larger group Muslim male and female toward the poor, the needy, and the “If there be of you twenty steadfast (sabirun) they shall deserving members of society. No Muslim male or female overcome two hundred and if there be of you a hundred can complete faith without payment of Zakah to the needy, steadfast they shall overcome a thousand of those who the poor, the wayfarers, those in debt and those who fight for disbelieve, because they are a people without deep removal of injustice, exploitation, and oppression, in order to understanding”.12 Ethical role model is a dynamic role model restore human rights of the people of the world. The later two which provides for an on going and continuous improvement Qur’anic terms, simply invite believers to contribute toward in conduct and behavior. It is in this context that the Qur’an social good whatever wealth and resources are at hand after declares the role model of the Prophet at the height of
meeting their own needs. The Prophet (pbuh) before going to
morality “And you are certainly on the most exalted standard
of moral excellence”.13
Ethical and Moral
Ethics and morality are often understood in their very limited connotation i.e. the standards of right and wrong, good and bad and translation of these standards in a society in acceptable behavior and conduct. This is why both the standards as well as their application in society, as acceptable conduct, are made subservient to social evolution in the Western and Eastern thought. What was considered morally acceptable and ethical at one point of time in history, with the
change of space and time may undergo a substantial change. norms and principles which are universal, not subjective and The changing pattern of concept of family is one obvious beneficial for those who are created by the Ultimat Designer example in the western culture. Less than a century ago it (al-Musawwir), the Creator (al-Khaliq) the real Owner (al- was a norm and ethical expectation to have no pre-marital Malik) and the Caretaker and Nourisher (Rabb). The most relations between the opposite genders. With the social Compassionate and Caring, invites mankind to live a unified change in North American and Europe, dating became a (tawhidi) life. The Qur’an refers to this global ethical principle socially accepted phenomenon and later even same gender in several places. For example “Do they now seek a way of marriage, which was a social as well as a religious tabu in the life other than that prescribed by Allah and this despite all that Jewish and Christian religious traditions became not only is in the heaven and the earth is in submission to Him – tolerable but a matter of human rights. willingly or unwillingly – and to Him all shall return. Say: We
While ethics and morality in the East or the West is believe in Allah and what was revealed to us and what was subservient to social change and ethical relativism, in Islam revealed to Abraham and Ismail and to Issac and Jacob and ethics and morality are absolute and not subject to social his discredents and the teaching which Allah gave to Moses evolution. Ethical norms and values, in Islam are global, and Jesus and to other Prophets. We make no distraction universal as well as divine in their nature. Change of space between any of them, and to Him do one submit. And and time, in Islam does not change these values. If honesty, whosoever seeks a Way (din), than this way of obedience – fairness, keeping of promise, standing for truth and justice Islam – will find that it will not be acceptable from him and he were noble values in the time of Confucius (551-479 BC), in will be among the losers in the life to come”.15 This ethical call the case of Islam, the same are upheld by Allah’s messengers was the biggest threat to the feudals, dictators, kings and all Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Sayyadena Muhammad (may those who claimed ultimate authority for their own word as Allah’s peace be upon all of them), these values and norms well as for those who were not prepared to use one and the do not change, but remain relevant for our century as well as same standards of ethics and morality for the friend and foe. for later times. Accepting, consciously, Allah as their God meant they could
The Islamic ethical paradigm constructs society on the no more worship their own customs, traditions, speculations basis of global and universal values. These primary values and mythologies. First obvious implication of accepting unity can be summarized in a seven fold scheme of objectives of in life is to recognize all human beings as member of larger an ethical and moral human order on earth. global family therefore no discriminatory treatment because of
The following simple diagram summarizes these global color, ethnicity, language, religion or territorial affiliation. A and absolute ethical values. Muslim (one who accepts tawhid, Allah as Ultimate Authority)
First universal value in the above scheme is unity in life has to be a person with a universalistic outlook and vision. A which has been, according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah, the world citizen, and not biased against people of different color
core common value in the message and call of all the and language or ethnicity.
messengers of Allah. This global ethical norm and principle The second implication is observing one and same implies that sine all animate and inanimate beings in the ethical norms for oneself and others.16 According to this universe follow their Creator’s plan of action, human beings principle no one can have the moral or legal right to test should also, by choice, live a unified life. Human life should nuclear devices on other nations as guneapigs and cause not suffer from fragmentation conflict and clash or double devastations like done in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The stands of ethic and morality. The Qur’an names this value relativistic ethics of the east and the west, according to this tawhid or unity. In most compact way the essence of tawhid principle is inadequate because of its ever changing nature. or unity is expressed in a short surah of the Qur’an viz “Say Truth, justice, human dignity, fairness and rightfulness can not
He is Allah the One and Unique, Allah who is in need of non change with the change of space and time.
and of whom all are in need, He neither begot any nor was He Unity in life in its cosmic context is a fact of the matter. begotten, and non is comparable to Him”.14 Universe, for example, represents a unified system of
operating on one single norm i.e. the way as chartered by its
Unity in life Creator the Great Designer (sw.). Therefore unity in life
This short surah talks about the nature of the source of (tawhid) which liberates man from his own inhibitions, guidance in ethical and moral decision making. A totally mythologies, mental constructions, prejudices and cultural
objective, detached and independent Being alone can provide
baggage; it also creates harmony between the human and
the cosmic world.
Unity in life means a unified vision of conscious ethical living as desired by the divine guidance for the simple reason that divine guidance along can be objective, absolute and not- changing. The Qur’an asserts that ways of Allah are one and same for the whites, the blacks, the yellow and so on. He judges people not on their genetic origin (as believed in the ethnocentric Judaism) nor on their cast or class (as maintained in the Varnas and dharma of Hinduism), not because of their geographic or linguistic grouping (as believed by the secularist ideologies) but He judges people on their ethical conduct and behavior. Even gender differentials have no meaning for Him. This global ethical principle, the core teaching of the Qur’an and the most obvious practice of the Prophet (pbuh) is stated explicitly in the Qur’an: “Surely the men who submit (to Allah) and the women who submit (to Allah), the men who have faith and the women who have faith, the men who are obedient the women who are obedient, the men who are truthful and the women who are truthful, the men who are steadfast and the women who are steadfast, the men who humble themselves (to Allah) and the women who humble themselves (to Allah), the men who give zakah and the women who give zakah, the men who fast and the women who fast, the men who guard their chastity and the women who guard their chastity, the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember Allah much, for them Allah
has prepared forgiveness and a mighty reward”.17
The ethical and moral conduct and behavior and not the gender or color, therefore is the core value, the divine guidance puts forth, as the expected human conduct in society. It does not allow dual standards of morality which has become a distinction of the modern technological and materialist culture. This much for the first global ethical value of tawhid or unity in life which is the primary objective of divine guidance in the Qur’an and manifested in the life example of the Prophet (pbuh).
Equity, moderation, harmony and fairness
The second universal ethical value underscored by the Qur’anic guidance and fully translated in the role model of the Prophet (pbuh) is ‘adl or equity, fairness, justice, balance,
not observe his or her obligations (huquq al-’ibad) towards
parents, family members, members of society even toward animals, in the day of final judgment Allah will not forgive these violations.
Realization of balance, harmony and integration of the so called spiritual and worldly dimensions can be illustrated if we only look into one authentic report in the sahih of Muslim (202/817-261/875) “Anas (r.a) reported that some of the companions of Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) asked his wives about the acts that he performed in private (after that) someone among them said: I will not marry women; someone among them said: I will not eat meat; and someone among them said: I will not lie down in bed. He (the Prophet, pbuh) praised Allah and glorified Him and said what has happened to these people that they say so and so, whereas I observe prayers and sleep too; I observe fast and suspend observing them; I marry women also: And he who turns away from my Sunnah
has no relation with me”18
A critical analysis of this hadith illustrates how the Prophet (pbuh) visualized ideal ethical and moral behavior of a person who wants to have taqwa and khashyah. The word taqwa in the Qur’an has its root in (wqy) or waqayah, which means prevention, protection or averting. Similarly khashyah means more fearful, more timorous one who feels Allah’s presence around and humble down consequently. The Prophet (pbuh) used these two words, in his observation and mentioned that he cares more for Allah consciousness or taqwa and feels more humbled before Allah than anyone else, yet some part of night he prays and some part of night he takes rest, some days of the week he fasts and some days of the week he skips and then he declared that to get married to a woman is not against spirituality and piety or fearing Allah but is his Sunnah. Therefore a “religious”, “pious” or “holy” person is not one who never marries a woman, never sleeps during night and never breaks his fast, but one who lives a balanced, moderate and harmonious life like the Prophet did himself.
In this hadith the Prophetic role model reveals itself as a holistic, human, ethical moral, balanced way of life away from extremism, (ghulu) and distorted versions of piety and celibacy etc.
Realization of ‘adl at economic level means observance
moderation and harmony. All these words are not of distributive justice and not to have a monopoly on
comprehensive enough to reflect and convey the full meaning economic resources. Neither the so-called capitalism nor the the Qur’anic term ‘adl. so-called socialism offers economic justice to the common
‘Adl or equity and justice is essentially an ethical teaching men. Islamic ethical teachings demand creation of wealth with direct social, economic, political, religious, legal and with transparent ethical means of production, investment and cultural implications. The Prophet’s behavior was ideal fair and just distribution. Islam calls for a global ethical manifestation of ‘adl as a role model for the humankind. economic order and not a New Economic Order in the name
Needless to say a society can survive with less quantity of of exploitation capitalist economy.
food, with lack of appropriate housing and clothing but no Realization of ‘adl at political level means recognition of human society can survive in the absence of ‘adl or justice the political rights of the people, involvement of people in and fairness. This is another primary and core ethical value decision making process (shura), selection of most highlighted by the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah or appropriate honest, Allah conscious and trustful persons for conduct. Its implications in actual life situation are vital. public officers (amanat) as well as personal and public
Realization of ‘adl at social level means observing one’s accountability of the officers and the people (ehtisab). It also moral and ethical obligations toward one’s own self, one’s means freedom of speech (qawl-i-haqq), right to stand for parents, wife, children, grand parents, relatives, neighbors, moral and ethical good (ma’ruf) and removal of unethical
servants, co-workers, and even strangers. The Qur’an and obscene and wicked ways (munkar) from society.
the Prophetic behavior makes it explicit that if a person does
Realization of ‘adl at legal level means legal equality of all, practice of the Prophet (pbuh). Suicide killing has no basis in
irrespective of the color, gender, race, or religion. It also the Islamic legal doctrines.
means ethical values to be the basis of law. What is ethically The fourth ethical value namely promotion and protection wrong should not be legally condoned. An obvious example is of reasoned judgment provides a rational basis for human same gender marriage. Since it is ethically wrong no society. Instead of “emotional intelligence” it introduces a legislation in the name of so called human rights should reasoned ethical judgment. The basis for doing or not doing a condone and no religious authority or church should officiate thing is how ethical it is to do and not what one’s heart or such activity. one’s self wants.
Realization of ‘adl at cultural level means recognition of The firth global value of respect and freedom of religion cultural plurality and not to impose practices of the majority of and culture has been touched earlier in the context of second people in a country on other cultural groups. Therefore if in a primary global value. Yet as an independent value it is Muslim majority context there is a Zoroastrian community who important to make sure that plurality of cultures and religions wears specific kind of dress, or has specific ceremonies, they is fully respected and observed in human societies. The must enjoy their cultural and religious rights in an Islamic state. Qur’anic principle is “There is no compulsion in din” (al-
Similarly if Muslims live in a secular state with majority of Baqarah 2:256).
Catholic or Methodist or Anglican Christians, Muslim women The sixth global value relates with respect and dignity of must have liberty to wear head scarf and Muslims should human gene. That no less than the sanctity of life, is the have liberty to build masajid (mosques) with the typical and dignity of gene. A society where human genes are available symbolic architecture such as minaret and dome. Denial of in a super market with their respective price tags, is bound to these basic human rights is denial of justice and ‘adl which face the problem of anonymity, confusion, psychological the Qur’an calls grave and serious violation of divine disorders and conflicts. Islamic value system does not permit command or zulm. anonymity of gene. A person has a birth right to be known
Similarly ‘adl at religious level means recognition and through his or her lineage. Social relations are ethical and viability of more than one interpretations of Islamic law within legitimate so long as they exist on the basis of ethical and
the Muslim community. So long as an interpretation is based moral bond of family living.
on the obvious meaning of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Last but not the least is the global value of protection of Prophet (pbuh) a knowledgeable Muslim or a scholar has a property, which makes theft an unethical, immoral as well as a right to interpret the scripture. This is why during the fifteen criminal offence. Respect of property of the other persons century of Islam at least five major schools of law have been creates sense of security, mutuality and social cohesiveness recognized as legitimate these include the Hanafi, Shafi’i, among fellow human beings, while violation of right to Maliki, Hambali and Jafari schools of law (fiqh). When property leads to insecurity and economic frustration and
compared we find great commonability in them but at the exploitation..
same time certain important differences in interpretation. Though these seven primary values constitute the core or These differences do not lead to heritication of one by the objectives of the shari’ah (divine law), in the Islamic vision of other. life, their being universal in nature, makes them global ethical
Similarly it means religious pluralism or presence of values with their relevance to all human beings, irrespective of followers of other religions in a pre-dominant Muslim society. their color, race, or religion.
History is evidence to the fact that throughout the Muslim In this context the Qur’an calls the Prophet (pbuh) as one History non-Muslims have not only lived with full religious who has reached the highest level of observing ethical values freedom but many of them contributed to the development of and norms “And you are certainly on the most exalted science and technology and other civilizational manifestations. standard of moral excellence”.20 His being a model of moral
The above elaboration of two out of seven primary global behavior toward friends and foes is elsewhere referred to as Islamic values will be in- complete without giving an idea being most kind, compassionate and merciful. “There has about the other five global ethical principles, norms and come to you a Messenger of Allah from among yourselves, values. However to cut short this discussion we will only who is distressed by the losses you sustain, who is ardently touch on their meaning and leave their implications and desirous of your welfare and is tender and merciful to those impact on social, economic and political life for a separate who believe”.21 At another place the Qur’an adds “(O Prophet) discussion. The other five values in terms of their import are it was thanks to Allah’s mercy that you were gentle to them. no less paramount than the first two. Nevertheless on a Had you been rough, hard hearted, they would surely have
deeper analysis these five global and absolute values follow scattered away from you”.22
the first two and in a sense and further re-enforce primacy of Morel and ethical excellence of the Prophet (pbuh) is the first two principles. reflected in his everyday dealings with his companions as well
The third global ethical value is protection and promotion as with his opponents who forced him to migrate from Makkah
of life. The Qur’an with most strong expression declares to al- Madina.
killing of one single human life, unjustly, is equal to killing the When we look into the life example of the final Prophet of whole of humanity.19 The Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah Allah (pbuh) we find that he alone meets the five fold criterion is explicit on preservation and promotion of life. Therefore all we tried to develop in the first part of this paper. First and acts of killing people for no crime of theirs are contrary to the foremost the Prophet as the Qur’an tells us is a total human very value system, ethical and legal commands and the being “Say (O Muhammad) I am no more than a human being
like you; on to whom revelation is made. Your Lord is the
One and Only Allah¼”.23 The same aspect is highlighted in a followed by a person born in a Muslim family or a person who
totally opposite context elsewhere. Here the Qur’an tires to by choice becomes a servant of Allah (SWT).
tell the non-believers that the prophetic role model is The educative role of the Prophet’s model in manners, imitatable. He is like you a human being therefore if he is way of doing things, resolution of conflicts and creation of punctual and humble in his prayers or loving to children and peace, harmony, balance and moderation in human life is compassionate to his wives or is fair to even his enemies; it outstanding and unique yet imitatable. We can further simply means that his conduct and behavior can be emulated illustrate the educative and persuasive dimensions of the without any excuse. At another place the same appears as a Prophetic example in the mirror of history. It was in the firth question mark coming from the Makkans who say that since year of hijrah (627 CE) that a large number of tribes, from all the Prophet is like them a human being and not an angel or a over the Arabia, were mobilized by the Qurayh of Makkah in “sacred” and “holy” person why should they fallow him. “This order to wipe out the growing Muslim community in al-Madina, is no other than a mortal like you who eats what you eat and the city which welcomed the Prophet when his own tribe of drinks what you drink, if you were to obey a human being like the Quraysh forced him to leave Makka in the year 622 CE/1
yourselves you will certainly be losers”.24 The Qur’an answers Hijrah.
their query raised in the above ayat as well as in other place According to historical accounts major tribes of Arabia that indeed he has to be a human being in order to joined their hands against the Muslim community and sieged communicate and interact with the humans in a human al-Madina. The Prophet consulted his companions and on the language. If he was alien or supernatural how could he be a advice of Salman from Persia, decided to dig a defensive role model for mankind. However, what makes him different ditch at the outskirt of al-Madina. Using the most modern is that he receives revelation or wahi from Allah which no concepts of time management, resource management and human being however keen and desirous he may be, can not total involvement he allocated a specific piece of land to a receive unless Allah so desires. “Tell them (O Prophet) I am specific number of companions with clear instructions about only a human being like you. It is revealed to me that your the length, depth, and width of the part of ditch they were to God is One God, so direct yourselves straight to Him¼”25 dig. He himself joined them as an ordinary worker and when
Second aspect highlighted by the Qur’an is completeness some of them came to him to share how they suppressed of the message conveyed by the Prophet to the whole of their hunger and thirst to complete the project, they found the mankind. “This day I have perfected for you, your din (way of Prophet (pbuh) much ahead of them in suppressing his desire
life) and have bestowed upon you My Bounty in full measure to eat or take rest.
and have been pleased to assign for you Islam as your din.26 A role mode is effective only when people see with their The ethical revolution and social change Islam wants to eyes the teachings and principles translated into one’s own introduce was fully manifested in the conduct and behavior of conduct and behavior. Leaders of the so-called democratic the Prophet (pbuh) therefore the Qur’an says “And you are societies who live in luxurious palaces and enjoy an eighty certainly on the most exalted standard of moral excellence”.27 course dinner can not justify their sermons on austerity and
Both aspects indicate that the Prophetic role model is not eating less in order to feed the hungry. The Prophetic model only within the reach of a common human being but has a is transparent applied and coherent. It translates the Qur’anic historically verifiable status. His moderate way of talking, the caution: “Believers why do you profess that which you do not way he made political contracts with enemies, the way he practice. It is most loathsome in the sight of Allah that you responded when his son passed away or when he fulfilled his should profess what you do not practice” (al-Saff 61:2-3). promise to a person to wait for him, provides an example of The Prophet asks others to do what he himself practices. In ideal ethical and moral conduct. The model of his companions order to make his example easy for the followers, a hadith and those who followed confirms its viability. It also indicates sahih from Sayyeda ‘Aishah tells us that if the Prophet (pbuh) comprehensiveness of his life example as a role model for had a choice between two thins he always went for the easier others. one. The Qur’an also underscores that Allah does not desire
To be relevant for all times to come a model has to be any difficulty in din, rather did has been made easy for those dynamic yet principled. It should not make compromise on who follow it (al-Baqarah 2:185). The Prophetic role model matters of truth however it should have flexibility and therefore is totally practical, human, and viable today as it was
adaptability in changed environment. An obvious example is in his own life time.
the ethics of dress instructed by the Qur’an and manifested in While living in the age of individualism, materialism, the behavior of the Prophet (pbuh). alienation from nature, pleasure seeking and worshiping our
The guidelines and principles given by the Book and the own unending desires, we need to look critically on our ways Prophet (pbuh) are dress to be Islamic should to be modest, of living. We need to think how can we bring back unity in our simple, comfortable, dignified, and protective and not a matter life and way of living, how can we become more near to of showing off one’s status and class. With these parameters original nature of man and be fair and just to our fellow human a person living in high mountains or in low deserts, on an beings. What kind of role model we need to emulate, imitate island or in metropolitan city can fabricate a dress of his and follow? A sincere and unbiased search for an ideal yet choice of color and shape. However if it is glamorous, imitatable role model shall lead us to one and only example indecent, not covering the body, or revealing the beauty of the modern history of mankind has produced namely the body, it can not be considered ethical therefore un-Islamic. model behavior of the one called by the Qur’an as Similarly in social, economic, political and cultural areas the compassionate, kind, human, recipient of divine guidance, the Prophetic example provides a model which can be easily Qur’an, who called mankind to the Straight Path – non other
than Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah, sallalhualayhe wasallam. May
Allah keep us always on the straight path of the Sunnah, the way of moderation, love, fairness and peace which can help in creating global peace, harmony and love in one single word – the path of Islam.
10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.
Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4 Al-’Imran 3:83-85
4. 5. 6.
Michael H. Hart, The 100: A Ranking of the Most
Influential persons in History, (New York, A and W
Publishers inc. 1978)
See Charles Allen, God’s Terrorists The Wahhabi Cult and the Hedden Roots of Modern Jihad, London, Little Brown, 2006.
“We have sent you forth as nothing but mercy to people of the whole world “al-Anbiya” 21:107.
Michael H. Hart, op.cit. P 33,44
See Swami Prabhavananda, tr. The Song of God: Bhagvad Gita, New York, Mentor Books, 1951; Also R.C. Zaehner, The Bhagvad Gita, London, Oxford University Press. 1969; Frank Edgerton, The Bhagvad Gita, New York, Harper & Row, 1964.
Shibli Nu’mani, Sirat an Nabi, A’zamgarh, 1946 (1918), P 1-85. This is perhaps the most exhaustive and in depth review of sirah literature which shows historical continuity, use of historical criticism and development of sirah literature during the time of sahabah, tabi’in and later ages. In the later part (p86-102) the author makes a critical review of books on sirah by the orientalists in English, French and German languages. The Qur’an, al-An’am 6:8.
Do you enjoin righteousness on people and forget your
own selves, even though you recite the Scripture” al- Baqarah 2:44; see also al-saff 61:2.
Imam Muslim, al-Jami’al-Sahih, Kitab al-Nikah, hadith No.3236, Engl. tr. By Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, Lahore,
Sh.M.Ashraf, 1976, Vol.11, P.703
“¼that he who slays a soul unless it be (in punishment) for murder or for spreading mischief on earth shall be as if he had slain all mankind, and he who saves a life shall be as if he had given life to all mankind” (al-Ma’idah 5:32); Also “Do not kill your children for fear of resource, We will provide for them and for you. Surely killing them is a great sin¼ Do not kill any person whom Allah had forbidden to kill, except with right¼” (Bani Isra’il 17:31- 33).
Al-’Imran 3:159 Al-Kahaf 18:110
Fusilat/Ha Mim al-Sajdah 41:6
Al-Ma’dah 5:3 Al-Qalam 68: