Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mi’raj: An ascension in character-building

The following is a brief summary of some of the key ideas and lessons I derived from of a talk delivered by Shaykh Seraj Hendricks at the Zawiyah Institute in Cape Town, South Africa on the topic of Mi’raj on the 17/6/2012.

As muslims commerate the Prophet’s (p.b.u.h) miraculous twin journey’s of the Isra and the Mi’raj, it is opportune to reflect of some of the amazing character building lessons that flow from the prophetic example.:

The magnanimity of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) is poignantly illustrated in his du’a responding to the persecution and humiliation by the people of Ta’if:

“O Allah! Unto You do I complain of my weakness, of my helplessness and of my lowliness before men.  O most Merciful of the merciful. O Lord of the weak and my Lord too. Into whose hands have you entrusted me?  Unto some far off stranger who receives me with hostility? Or unto a foe whom you have empowered against me? I care not, so long as You are not angry with me.  But Your favouring help, that were for me the broader way and the wider scope.  I take refuge in the light of Your countenance whereby all darknesses are illuminated and all things of this world and the next are rightly ordered, lest You make descend Your anger upon me or lest Your wrath beset me. Yet it is Yours to reproach until You are well pleased. There is no power and no might except through Thee.”

Following this, equally remarkable is his response to the offer of help that came in the form of the Angel of the Mountains. The prophet refused this indicating that “they did not know” and he prayed that their future off-spring would one day become true worshippers!

The following lessons may be extracted from these events:
1.      Despite the enmity of the people of Ta’if the Prophet did not sever ties with them
2.      He made du’a for them despite their disdain and castigation
3.      He made excuses for their behaviour
4.      He remained optimistic despite very bleak conditions and severe circumstances.

In addition, the following benchmarks of Adab need to be pursued in emulation of our Prophet (p.b.u.h) and in the ongoing struggle for self- purification:
·         When one experiences suffering or hardship, not complain to people but complain to Allah (in the right tone though)
·         Never to demand that others should earn one’s respect – respect people unconditionally, as the creation of the All-mighty. This is the default position of a muslim. Any such a demand is a likely manifestation of Kibr.
·         Speak and act well towards others – so as not to cause hurt. The fitrah (the primordial way, endowed by Allah) is for human beings to avoid being pain in life, so we would be transgressing this fitrah by inflicting pain on Allah’s creation.
·         Strive for objectivity – to see things as they are. Without bias, prejudice, half-truths, assumptions, generalisations, stereotyping, etc. This is what the prophet demonstrated both in times of hardship and elevation ( e.g. The Mi’raj)

May Allah, The Most High, give us the wisdom and resilience to embrace these elements of the prophetic mindset and behaviour in confronting the many challenges facing the us in these turbulent times.

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