July 31st, 2016

Can we emulate the Prophet?

MICHAEL H. Hart, in his book, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, chose Prophet Muhammad (the Prophet) to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons as he has been the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.

“He who obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allah (An-Nisaa’ 4:80).” Allah described obedience to the Prophet as being a part of obedience to Him. Can we emulate him?

As fate would have it, a Friday sermon I attended last week spoke of “The Reflection of a True Believer”. The imam elucidated that Muslims today are living in an age of slander and libel. Injustice is rampant, ignorance is widespread and neglect has created much chaos.

The Prophet had warned us these would happen during the end of times. He had said “one who still has faith (belief) in the morning and in the evening he has become a non-believer or one who is a Believer in the evening but by dawn the following day has become a non-believer, for he has sold his religion for the love of worldly possessions”.

To effectively address injustice, we must understand its underlying causes or root cause.

Today, the signs preceding the great slander and final days have begun to appear.

Humans are seen to be living devoid of guidelines and restrictions, without any means of differentiating between right from wrong and truth from falsehood, and jihad is no longer about defending honour.

Social ills involving ethics and morals like corruption, murder, adultery and robbery have become more rampant and serious.

Why do we seem to be lacking in inner strength and morality?

According to the imam, part of the problem is due to the lack of faith in our hearts. Iman (a believer’s faith in the metaphysical aspects of Islam) associated with faith should be strengthened.

There are many other areas to look at. And speaking of emulating the Prophet, let us look at him as a leader. In today’s scenario, who would fit that bill?

A friend forwarded me an article in which a Filipino said the people are still paying for the corrupt practices of one of its “first families” many decades ago. Injustices in the form of poverty, racism, human trafficking and abuse (physical and verbal) are widespread.

What is disturbing is that some of these things are happening in our own beloved country. We have also witnessed leaders of superpowers using the false pretense of a country having weapons of mass destruction to invade it.

To effectively address injustice, we must understand its underlying causes or root cause. These causes may have to do with underdevelopment, social problems and/or international conditions/pressures.

The roots of discrimination and other injustices could stem from more complex political, social and economic problems. Ameliorating these root causes and strengthening civil society may help in addressing these issues.

Addressing political injustice is often a matter of fair governance, such as having an accountable police force, legislative, executive and judiciary.

Such measures can be done by reforming state institutions and/or revising state constitutions. Citizens’ views are paramount since political leaders are elected by the former. A culture of political involvement and public participation should be fostered.

Let us cherish our multiethnic and multicultural society that emphasises unity, loyalty and respect for others. Let us all strive to maintain “face” (good name and good character) and avoid shame towards individuals and the country as a whole.

Surely we do not want to sell our religion and morality for the love of worldly possessions. Let us become leaders with a vision to make Malaysia a well-respected country in eyes of the world in economic, social and political terms.

Let us strive to be successful on both the religious and secular levels. We may not match the supreme successes of the Prophet, but at least, we could try to mirror his qualities.