The Prophet Ethics Our Daily Challenge
Articles In English
The Prophetic Ethics Our Daily Challenge
By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi
But those will prosper who
purify themselves, glorify the name of their Lord, and (lift their hearts) in
Prayer. Nay (behold), you prefer the life of this world; but the Hereafter is
better and more enduring. And this is in the Books of the earliest
(Revelations), the Books of Abraham and Moses. (Al-A`la 87:14-19)
Our daily challenge is how to live
in this world in the way of the prophets of Allah, all the prophets of Allah
from Adam to the last and final Prophet, Muhammad - peace be upon all of them.
The way of the prophets of Allah
was one and the same. They came to give the same message and followed basically
the same principles and values. The way of the prophets was not the way of kings
or rulers, the way of politicians and military commanders, the way of the rich
and comfortable people.
The way of the prophets was
different from what the world expects or from what we are used to seeing and
observing in this world.
The way of the prophets was to
uphold the real and permanent over the ephemeral and transitory, the spiritual
over the material, the moral and ethical over that which brings quick profit or
The way of the prophets was not
the way of power but the way of inner strength and energy. Their way was not the
way of worldly pomp and glory but the way of humble devotion to Allah and
service of humanity.
It is reported that the Prophet
Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
My Lord gave me nine (bits of)
advice and I give them to you. He advised me:
To be sincere whether in
private or in public
To do justice whether in anger
or in happiness
To be moderate whether in
riches or in poverty
To join (in relations) with
those who (try) to cut me off
To give to those who deprive
To forgive those who do wrong
That my silence be thoughtful
That my speech be mindful (of
That my vision be to take
(Reported by Razeen)
These are some very important
points of advice that Allah gave to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be
upon him). He lived by them in his whole life. He was a perfect example of these
virtues. He also gave this advice to us.
This advice contains the basic
ethic of Islam, which is not an ordinary ethic but is divine and prophetic. The
ethical principles given here require special effort, training, and sacrifice.
It is not easy or simple to live by these principles, but they have lasting
values and they bring eternal blessings.
This is our daily challenge. Our
challenge is how to live by this ethic in our daily life. The challenge is not
to live by these values and principles in the situation of ease and happiness,
but to live by them in all circumstances.
The challenge is to live by these
principles, teach them to our younger generation, and to form and build a
community of faithful who are willing to dedicate themselves to them.
The first principle of the Islamic ethic is sincerity, which means purity of the
heart and purity of the mind (intention). It means truth and honesty. Sincerity
in every situation whether alone or in public. There are many who are not
They live the life of hypocrisy.
There are some who show themselves very sincere when in public, but in their
private life when others are not watching them, their behavior changes. Real
sincerity comes from the fear of Allah.
In another version of this hadith,
it is mentioned that Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The fear
of Allah (khashyah) in private or in public.”
Justice and fair dealing is necessary with all people, with friends and foes
alike, whether in happiness as well as in anger. Sometimes it is easy to talk of
justice in the situation of comfort when there is no commotion or conflict, but
the real challenge is to uphold justice even in relation to those who make you
Justice even to those who hate you
and who never stop opposing and mistreating you. Justice not only in words, but
in words and deeds both.
It is to follow the middle path. Moderation should be in everything, not only in
financial matters but in every aspect of life. In tight situations, people
become extremist, upset, and afraid. In affluence also people lose control over
themselves. The rich do not see the need for moderation, but moderation is good
for all people in all circumstances.
ar-Rahm (Keeping the ties of kinship):
These are family ties. This means good relations between all members of the
family and taking care of those who are in need. The challenge is not only to
help those relatives who are nice or who give, but to give also to those who
withhold and do not give anything at any occasion. Family is moral commitment.
One should not be good to family
members only when they are good, but one should be good even to those relatives
who do not treat you well.
Believers are always generous. They give to all and everywhere. There is a great
reward in helping people in their needs. However, the extraordinary character is
to give to those who do not give and to also give to those who purposely deny
and deprive us.
It is not easy to forgive those who do wrong to us. Islam teaches that one
should forgive as much as possible, but the greatest forgiveness is when one
pardons while one is capable of taking revenge and punish. Prophet Muhammad
(peace and blessings be upon him) has given us the best example of this value.
He was ever willing to forgive his enemies
(Thinking and reflection):
It is good to be silent as much as possible. To speak only when it is necessary.
But silence should be with thinking and reflection.
(Remembrance and speaking of Allah)
: Our tongue is a great gift of Allah to us. We are distinguished from animals
because we can use our tongue. We should use our tongue to praise Allah and give
thanks to Him, but we should also keep Allah in mind whenever we open our mouth.
A lot of sins of the tongue, such as lying, backbiting, gossiping, using bad
words, et cetera, come because we do not remember Allah.
(Learning and taking lessons):
Our eyes and minds must remain open to understand things and to take lessons
from the events around us. We should be very thoughtful always.
Khutbah at Islamic Center of Orange County, Garden Grove, California, USA on
23 Safar 1424/1 November 2003.