Friday reflection: Building blocks for a flourishing Muslim presence

Friday reflection: Building blocks for a flourishing Muslim presence

By Muneeb Nasir

When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sought refuge in the city of Madina, having migrated from his hometown of Makkah, it was predominantly populated by non-Muslims.

However, the atmosphere in Madina was filled with anticipation and excitement as the residents eagerly awaited the arrival of the Prophet, whose reputation and teachings had preceded him.

In the gathering stood Abdullah ibn Salaam, a renowned resident of the city and a prominent Jewish leader, who vividly recounts the moment when word began to spread that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was on the verge of entering Madina.

Abdullah ibn Salaam recalls being in awe when he saw the Prophet's face, as it radiated truth and sincerity, far from the countenance of a liar.

“When the Prophet, peace be upon him, came to Al-Madinah, the people rushed to meet him, and it was said: ‘The Messenger of Allah has come! The Messenger of Allah has come! The Messenger of Allah has come!’ I came with the people to see him, and when I saw his face clearly, I knew that his face was not the face of a liar. The first thing I heard him say was, ‘O people! Spread peace, feed others (the hungry), uphold the ties of kinship, and pray during the night when people are sleeping, and you will enter Paradise in peace.” (Hadith, Sunan Ibn Majah).

In his address, the Prophet began by saying, "O people!" This inclusive greeting affirmed that the message of Islam was not exclusive to Muslims alone but intended for all peoples.

The four pieces of advice given by the Prophet in this version of the hadith (narration) set a strategic direction for the community, representing fundamental principles that would guide their presence in society.

As a minority faith community and settlers in a new land, these principles also serve as pillars for us who are seeking to establish our presence in Canada.

They include spreading peace, feeding the hungry, maintaining healthy family relations, and praying at night when others are asleep.

By embracing these principles, the Muslim community can actively contribute to a harmonious society and work towards achieving inner peace and ultimate success in the Hereafter.

  1. The first advice from the Prophet upon entering Madina is to spread peace wherever you go - let peace permeate your speech and interactions with others.

Promoting peace entails cultivating harmonious relationships with others, aiming to improve our society.

By spreading peace, we strive to repair our connections with fellow humans, the environment, and the wider creation.

Spreading peace also involves reconciling our relationship with Indigenous communities.

When we say salaam, both with our words and from our hearts, we offer a supplication, invoking the name of God, As-Salaam, to protect and watch over the person.

 2. The second advice from the Prophet is to feed the hungry.

By urging the people to be selfless and not selfish, the Prophet emphasizes the importance of compassion.

Being a good person entails more than self-centeredness; it requires caring about the well-being of others.

Allah describes selfless individuals as those who provide food out of love for Him, extending help to the needy, orphans, and captives (ref: Qur’an, 76:8).

Feeding the hungry serves as a vital principle for our community's presence, reflecting our social conscience.

By standing with the deprived and those who struggle, we demonstrate our commitment to supporting marginalized individuals in our society.

 3.  The third advice from the Prophet is to uphold the ties of kinship.

Ties of kinship hold great significance in shaping individuals, societies, and the overall well-being of communities, and these relationships are particularly emphasized in Islam.

They provide us with a sense of belonging, love, and emotional support.

Moreover, family connections play a crucial role in preserving cultural and historical heritage, contributing to our identity.

It is narrated by 'A'isha, the wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), that he said, "Kinship (rahim) is derived from Allah. If anyone maintains ties of kinship, Allah maintains ties with him. If anyone cuts them off, Allah cuts him off."

 4.  The fourth advice from the Prophet is to pray during the night while others are asleep.

It is essential to note that prayer is mentioned as the fourth advice, reminding us not to confine Islam solely to rituals.

The instruction to pray during the night emphasizes the significance of establishing a spiritual foundation.

Without a solid relationship with Allah, we cannot foster healthy relationships with others.

In concluding his exhortation, the Prophet assures that focusing on these four pieces of advice will lead to entering Paradise in peace.

In his narration of the Prophet’s arrival in Madine, Abdullah ibn Salam  recounts being deeply moved by the Prophet's face, recognizing the absence of deceit in his countenance.

The Prophet's beauty, majesty, presence, and spiritual radiance profoundly impacted Abdullah ibn Salam, a man of sincerity and he would embrace Islam.

In conclusion, amidst the numerous changes and disruptions in the world, let us strive to:

  1. Spread peace - by cultivating positive relationships with others, promoting harmony, and fostering understanding.
  2. Feed others - by supporting and standing in solidarity with those who are deprived or in need within our society.
  3. Maintain familial relationships - by nurturing and valuing ties of kinship which have far-reaching positive impacts on us, our families and communities.
  4. Pray during the night when people are sleeping - by anchoring our lives in the spiritual foundations of faith in God, seeking His guidance and strength.

By embracing these principles, we can contribute to a more peaceful and compassionate world, even in the face of challenges and uncertainties.