All praise belongs to Allah Almighty Who has blessed us with the Holy Month of Ramadan and has enabled us to come to the end of this year’s Ramadan. We are very much fortunate to witness yet another blessed Month of Ramadan and we should be thankful to Allah Almighty for that.
Ramadan being one of the most sacred months of Islam and for Muslims is indeed a month that brings with it many blessings. A month that draws Muslims nearer to their Creator Allah Almighty, being devoted to His worship, seeking His favours and trying their best in advancing mutual love, brotherhood and unity between not only themselves and their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters but with their neighbours of other faiths. To understand the blessing and also the special favours of this month, we need not look further than the Holy Quran which stated the purpose and blessings of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is not only about refraining from food and drinks during the hours of fasting but rather the spirit of Ramadan goes way beyond that. It is a month that helps us become righteous, a month in which the Holy Quran was revealed for our guidance and a month that Allah Almighty says He is nearer to us and answers our prayers and supplications.
As the month of Ramadan teaches us many virtues, some have to do between man and God Almighty and others have to do between man and the creation of Allah Almighty be it human beings or animals. We see that during this month, Muslims increase their levels of humility, kindness and are very charitable as well.
We should carry those spirits even outside Ramadan and as Muslims, we should try our best to foster and nurture the spirit of Tolerance, love, brotherhood and understanding between us and people of other faiths. Our dear and beloved Master, the Holy Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad Mustapha (saw), set us the best examples of tolerance, love, brotherhood and understanding not just only between Muslims but between Muslims and non – Muslims alike even the arch enemies of Islam.
We have learnt the most beautiful example of the Tolerance and Respect of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) from this incident: It is recorded that the Christians (delegation) of Najran, part of Iraq came to see the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). He arranged the meeting in his mosque at Madinah, during the meeting the Christians asked leave from the mosque for worship. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said that the mosque in which they were was a house of God Almighty and they were welcome to offer their prayers there. So they did offer their prayers in the mosque of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). (Ibn Hisham, I, 575-577). This excellent example is unparallel in the annal history of humanity
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was very accommodating, hospitable, tolerant and understanding to people of other faiths and this heartwarming gesture of his has demonstrated that. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) of Islam also lived side by side with the Jews and pagans in Medina and never did he attack, abuse or persecute anyone of them because of they had a difference faith from his.
As Muslims we have to take the Holy Prophet Muhammad as our role model and live our lives according to his excellent examples. Muslims should always be ambassadors of peace and should never be violent or attacking the faiths/religions of other people be it their properties, places of worship or their persons and personalities. Islam being a religion of peace, tolerance, love and understanding protects not only the rights of Muslims but also the rights of people of other faiths and religions as indicated in the Holy Quran (Ch. 22: V.41).
The Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad addressing a gathering of people of different faiths at the inauguration of Baitul Afiyyat Mosque (Sheffield) on 8 November 2008 in UK. Said:
What the world requires most of all is tolerance. As the world draws closer and a global village begins to emerge, there is a need to replace hatred and malice with love, affection and forbearance. One should be sensitive to the feelings of others and there should be respect and reverence for each other’s faith. Attention needs to be drawn towards discharging the rights of each other.
Explaining that fact that how Allah Almighty is merciful towards His creation and despite our many wrongdoings, Allah Almighty does not immediately punish us but gives us time to amend those sins, seek forgiveness and reform ourselves as Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran:
And if Allah were to punish men for their wrongdoing, He would not leave thereon a living creature, but He gives them respite till an appointed term… (Ch.16: V.62)
His Holiness said:
When Allah the Almighty is so merciful towards His creation then what right do people have not to show mercy to their fellow beings and not treat them with kindness?… In the Holy Qur’an, God Almighty has instructed us that There should be no compulsion in religion. (Ch.2: V.257) When each person is free to adopt any religion, there can be no reason for any hatred. It is our duty to mention the beauties of Islam and spread this message far and wide because this too is one of the duties owed to man, that is to say, that whatever you find good for yourself, you should try and invite others to join you in the same. Nevertheless, if anyone does not accept your invitation, relations should continue as before. This is the beautiful teaching that we try to spread.
His Holiness further stated that:
God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an:
Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and wrongful transgression. He admonished you that you may take heed. (Ch.16: V.91)
In this verse we have been commanded to adopt three values and to abstain from three evils. If we ponder over them, we will find that these are the qualities that lead to love and affection and that prevent chaos and disorder in society. Every just person will surely accept that the comprehensiveness of this verse is unparalleled elsewhere.
The first point a true Muslim has been enjoined to act upon, is justice. Justice is not limited to one’s family and friends, nor is it limited to one’s fellow country-men, nor to those of a like faith. We have been commanded to act with justice even towards an enemy who has been most cruel. If you look at the early history of Islam you discover that many Muslims were killed; some were even tied to two camels that were then driven in opposite directions, thereby rending their bodies apart. This cruel treatment was inflicted on both men and women. Furthermore, Muslims were prevented from even worshipping in the Ka’abah, the most sacred House of Allah. Indeed, so many cruelties and tortures were inflicted upon the Muslims by the non-believers of Makkah that there is no time to recount all of the incidents here. In spite of all this, when the Muslims rose to power they were commanded not to let a people’s enmity incite them to act otherwise than with justice because justice was the preferred way of God Almighty. If today some Muslims do not rise up to these standards, it is not the fault of the teachings of Islam but a folly on the part of such Muslims.
Another quality (mentioned in the verse I just quoted) is to not only act with justice but to do good unto others. How did the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) do good to others? Well, he not only forgave those who were extremely cruel but he went so far as to assist them in their businesses and trade. For instance, some were given thousands of sheep, and that was not because they had become Muslims; on the contrary, they were given the assistance whilst they were still non-Muslims. This is the standard of good works that can establish peace in society and can end enmities.
And this becomes apparent from the next commandment, which is ‘giving like kindred’
When somebody does good to someone else he should not follow it up by reminding him of his past favours. Furthermore, treating the cruel as though they were your kindred is even more virtuous than the doing of good alone…Only then will enmities be converted into friendship. Only then will peace and security in societies prevail. And only then will the world be saved from a catastrophic war. God Almighty widens the circle of His Mercy for such people who have this love for their fellow human beings and they are saved from natural and seasonal disasters.
Having mentioned these three good deeds, God Almighty has pointed out three evils. The three good deeds can only be developed when a person abstains from the three evils. The first of the three evils mentioned is ‘fahshaa’. This is an Arabic word. The meaning of this word is an evil that is known only to he who commits it.
If we reflect, then we will see that there are many evils that man commits that he alone knows about whilst he continues to appear pure in the sight of others. However, we have been commanded that in order to maintain peace to a high standard we should save our-selves from such evils that only we ourselves know about.
The second evil that we have been warned against is ‘munkar’, which means an evil that outwardly causes no harm but upsets people. And the third evil is ‘baghyi’ which means an evil that is both internally and externally manifest and that causes harm and grief to people. So unless these three evils are removed, a person cannot perform the good deeds required to establish peace and love in society.
This, in brief, is the teaching which I said is to be expected from a true Muslim. If today man really wants to be successful in establishing peace, then instead of finding fault with others he should try to control the Satan within. By removing his own evils, a person should present a wonderful example of justice, of doing good and of giving like kindred. He should discharge the rights of others and only then can trust be developed amongst others.
As citizens and residence of this beautiful and peaceful country of ours called The Gambia, we should always be accommodating to each other, be tolerant, understanding and always nurture the spirit of love, brotherhood and unity despite differences in faith, religion, colour or ethnicity. We should be united in diversity.
May Allah Almighty bless us to always follow the excellent examples of the Holy Prophet Muhammad Mustapha(saw). May He make this easy upon us. Ameen.
We are hereby extending to you all the warmest salaam, love, prayers and EID MUBARAK of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V(May Allah be his Helper), the Spiritual and Supreme Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. On behalf of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at the Gambia, I humbly wish you all EID MUBARAK.
May Allah Almighty accept and reward all the humble devotions, prayers and sacrifices that we have made during the Holy Month of Ramadan and beyond. May He continue protecting and blessing our beloved and dear motherland, the Gambia and her people and shower peace, security, prosperity and stability on entire population and humanity at large. Ameen.
Baba F Trawally