some ways of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) to create an Islamic atmosphere in society
some ways of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) to create an Islamic atmosphere in society
1. Promoting optimism and avoidance of slander and pessimism
If a society is determined to grow and to develop Islamic ethics within itself, it has to adopt this method. In the Quranic ayahs where “purification” comes before or after “instruction”(1) it is possible that purification means purifying the people, just like a doctor who does not just tell his patient what to do and what not to do, rather he puts his patient in a special place and gives him whatever he needs and keeps away whatever that is harmful to him. The Holy Prophet of Islam (s.w.a.) followed this method throughout his 23-year prophet hood, especially during the ten years that he was living in Medina and had established an Islamic government. There are a few examples that I would like to discuss. This is very important for our current conditions in the Islamic Republic, both for the people and particularly for government officials and those who can speak to the people. The point that we should keep in mind is that if we are determined to cleanse ourselves of the behaviors which have survived from the time of taghut – and which are extremely harmful to our growth and transcendence – we have no choice but to courageously and decisively follow the methods of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.).
One example is related to creating a healthy social atmosphere, an atmosphere that is free from ignorant prejudices. Except for those who are at very high levels in terms of knowledge and understanding, in many cases the lives of people are ruled by prejudices, ulterior motives, spite and other such things which prevent people from acting in a just way and make the social environment unhealthy.
It is necessary to make the social environment healthy. In order to create a healthy social environment and make the people think positively, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) used to take certain actions besides the recommendations that he would offer, particularly during the time when this issue was very important in his society because there was a lot of spite, suspicion and tribal prejudice among Arabs of the jahiliyya era, and the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) had to cleanse the hearts of early Muslims of these things and to clear mistrust and suspicion.
There is a narration from the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) which says: “None of you is allowed to speak to me behind the back of any of my companions because I want to come to you while I have nothing against you in my heart.” (2) Some people would go to the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and speak behind other people’s back. Sometimes their statements were truthful and some other times they were not. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) asked everybody to avoid speaking behind other people’s back. He told them to avoid going to him and speaking behind each other’s back. He said that he wanted to visit his companions without having any preconceptions or suspicions about them.
This is a narration from the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), an order to Muslims about how to behave as far as he was concerned. Notice how much this act by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) would help Muslims feel that they should have no suspicion towards each other in an Islamic society. According to Islamic narrations, when government is in the hands of evil and corrupt people, one should view everything withsuspicion, but when government is in the hands of benevolent people, suspicions should be avoided and replaced with trust, vices should be ignored and virtues should be highlighted.
Muslims would customarily go to the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and whisper in his ear. They would whisper certain matters in his ear. Then an ayah was revealed which prohibited people from whispering in the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) ear. This was because whispering would create suspicion in the minds of other Muslims.
Spreading rumors against one of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) wives was a very important event. I have repeatedly reviewed it in my mind and I have frequently referred to the ayahs which are related to the event. In Sura an-Nur, there are a few ayahs which are related to this event. One of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) wives was left behind at a caravan stop in a battle. She was accompanying the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) on his trip. The caravan did not realize that she was missing. The reason is not really important: she might have fallen asleep somewhere or she might have been away to take care of a personal matter. It was only later on that the caravan realized that the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) wife was missing. Later on, she was found by a Muslim and accompanied to Medina.
Shia and Sunni Muslims do not agree which of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) wives she was. According to Shia narrations, she was Maria al-Qibtiyya and according to Sunni narrations, she was Aisha. It is not important to debate who she was and about which of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) wives these ayahs have been revealed. The point is that the story contains a very important ethical rule for social life.
After she returned to Medina, certain people started rumors about where she had been, why she had been left behind and who the person who found her was. They started certain rumors among the people without being clear and leveling a specific allegation against her.
The point is not that she was the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) wife and that she deserved respect. The point that has been highlighted in the Holy Quran is something else. The ayahs in Sura an-Nur which are related to the rumors that were spread by hypocrites and ill-wishers in the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) society, strongly react to the rumors. In several ayahs, Muslims are strongly criticized for not silencing andreacting to those rumors.
Two of the ayahs start with the word “lawla”. Those who are familiar with Arabic know that “lawla” is used when one wants to strongly criticize somebody for not doing something. “Why did not the believing men and the believing women, when you heard it, think well of their own people, and say: This is an evident falsehood?” (3) And in another ayah, Allah the Exalted says: “And why did you not, when you heard it, say: It not does beseem us that we should talk of it. Glory be to You. This is a great slander.” (4) Allah the Exalted says: “When you heard this rumor, why did you not say that we you do not have the right to spread it? This is a gross slander.”
And finally another ayah says: “Allah admonishes you that you should not return to the like of it ever again if you are believers.” (5) That is to say, “Allah the Exalted advises you against such rumors and against giving rise to such events in the Islamic community, if you are believers.” This means that avoiding rumors is a requirement for religious faith.
As I pointed out earlier, the point is not that she was the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) wife. Even if she was not the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) wife, Muslims would still have the same obligation. In Islam, if a person accuses another person of certain things but fails to provide four witnesses to prove his claims, he will have to take the punishment for making unfounded accusations. One cannot just throw accusations at another person, create doubts and concerns and get away with it even if one fails to prove one’s claims. If a person who makes certain kinds of accusations fails to prove his claims, he will have to take the punishment for slander.
I believe that the event is a very significant event in the history of Islam, one that helped counter efforts at spreading rumors about personal affairs of people in Islamic communities. Such efforts create suspicion among people and they make the general atmosphere unhealthy. This is the attitude of Islam. Therefore, one of the things that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) did was that he filled the general atmosphere of his society with affection and love so that everybody could treat each other with affection and trust. And today this is an obligation that we should observe.
1. Sura Baqara, Ayah 129
2. Makarim al-Akhlaaq, P. 17
3. Sura an-Noor, Ayah 12
4. Sura an-Noor, Ayah 16 3.
5. Sura an-Noor, Ayah 17
Reference:Lessons from the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.w.a.)
A selection of statements by Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei on the personality and be’that of the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.w.a.)