Building a Peaceful Society
As the migration to Medina was a remarkable event, the effort that lead to this event was also remarkable. As I mentioned in a few previous posts entitled, “in the shades of hijra,” the commitment from those who migrated, those who prepared the host city, and the prophet himself was a key to the success of this great event. What should not be forgotten is the effort that took place AFTER the migration, for migration would not have been that great without building on it. What was built on the great event of migration was the great society of Medina, a society that was the core of Islam, the example to follow, and the source of light to the whole world. In those few posts, I will share some of the stories as well as some of the lessons to learn how the Messenger (PBUH) and his companions, guided by Allah’s revelations, were able to build such a successful society. I will not go in a particular order and I will try my best to make the post self contained so the reader does not have to read more posts to get the essence of what I want to say. Please read these posts keeping in mind your very society, your very situation, and your very action plan, for that is the main purpose behind reading. If you are reading without this in mind, I suggest you stop reading now 🙂
Building a peaceful society where everyone, Muslims and non-Muslims, can live together in peace was one of the main factors that made Medina a great place. Islam will never be able to go into the hearts of people, affect the society and the lives of its members, and show its values and virtues in a troublesome society. Therefore, you find it very clear in the Prophet’s strategy to make the society of Medina, a healthy, welcoming, encompassing, organized, and brotherly society despite the effort of many others to promote otherwise. The constitution written during the onset of his life in Medina, the words and the values preached at the time, the actions taken by him and many of his companions, and the relationship established with different sectors of this society are a clear proof of this strategy. He (PBUH) even extended this strategy to neighboring tribes and groups around Medina to bring this peace to the whole surrounding area, something very needed for Islam to find home in Medina and to make it as a source of light for the rest of the world. If it weren’t for the massive opposition from Mecca and many big tribes around the Arab peninsula, no war would have taken place. But that is the law of the universe: good people will be opposed by bad people and the truth will always be fought by the falsehood.
Here is one story and a few thoughts for us to reflect …
Story #1: “Don’t bother us, go home and preach to those who come to you”
Narrated in: the Authentic book of al-Bukhari (and many other books) (The narration is detailed in al-Bukhari and I am capturing these details in my own way 🙂 However, I did not introduce anything extra to the story nor did I remove anything from it)
Time: shortly after the prophet arrived to Medina
- The prophet (PBUH)
- Ussama Ibn Zaied, the narrator of the story, a boy, and the son of the Prophet’s adopted son, Zaied Ibn Harithah
- Abdullah Ibn Ubai Ibn Salool, a non-Muslim, a leader of al-Khazraj one of the two major tribes in Medina. He was getting ready to be the king of Medina when the prophet arrived. He lost this opportunity and was very angry at the prophet as he believed the Prophet was the one who took this opportunity away from him.
- Jabbir Ibn Abdellah, a Muslim, a young man from al-Khazraj, the same tribe Ibn Salool is from.
- Saad Ibn Ubadah, a Muslim, a young leader in al-Khazarj, one of the early believers, one of the 75 people who came to invite the prophet to Medina, and one of the people who pledged support to him in the 2nd pledge of al3aqabah, one of the 12 leaders the 75 elected to lead Muslims in Medina until the prophet arrives.
Sa3b Ibn Ubada was sick. The Prophet (PBUH) went out of his house, rode his donkey, had the little boy Ussama behind him, and headed to Sa3d for a visit. While going, he passed by a mixed gathering of Muslims, Jews, and Polytheists sitting together. In this meeting, there was Ibn Salool, the leader of al-Khazraj. When the Prophet passed, his donkey moved the dust next to the meeting. Covering his nose with his cloth, Ibn Salool, very loudly, impolitely, and angrily said, “Take your dust away from us!” Ignoring the rough comment, the Prophet went down, greeted all of them, and used the opportunity to share with the gathering a few verse from the Qur’an. Ibn Salool, being a leader, spoke and said, “Hey man, There is nothing better than what you said IF it is true. However, do not bother us again in our gathering. Yet, go back to your home and whenever someone comes to you, recite that to him.” Jabir Ibn Abdellah, a young Muslim from the same tribe, stood up and said, “No o Messenger of Allah, come and recite that to us in our gatherings, we love you to do that,” defending the Prophet against the leader of his tribe.
This was enough to create a verbal fight within the gathering. The narration said, “A verbal fight occurred between the Muslims, the Polytheists and the Jews,…” although I have no idea why would the Jews participate in the fight. ” … until a real fight was about to happen.” The narration continued. The Prophet (PBUH) continued to calm them down until they cooled down.
The Prophet took his donkey and went to visit Ubadah. When he met him, he told him, “Havn’t you heard of what Abu Hubab did?” and he told him the story. Ubadah said, after telling the Prophet the story of this man waiting to be the king and losing the opportunity to be so because of the arrival of the Prophet, “O Messenger of Allah, forgive him!” The prophet did!
A few thoughts …
- Medina wasn’t a whole Muslim city; it had Muslims, Jews, and polytheist. It was reported that only 10-20 polytheists left Medina when the prophet arrived. The rest stayed and many of them were not hostile against Islam and the prophet.
- It was narrated that the strategy of the prophet and his companions with the non-Muslims in Medina was to, 1) convey the message of Islam to them, 2) be patient in response to any harm that may come from them (as mentioned by Allah in Surat Al Imraan), and 3) work with them on joint causes for the benefit of Medina (as mentioned in the constitution crafted by the Messenger pbuh)
- Learn from the attitude of the messenger pbuh, ignoring the original statement although impolite and using the opportunity to join the gathering and recite a few verses from the Qur’an. Look at his attitude when he did not respond to the ugly statement made by Ibn Salool hinting he is a lier and asking him to go to his home and not to come to their gathering again with his message. Look at his effort to cool the fight down and leave in peace. Look at his attitude when he (pbuh) reported the story to Sa3d by calling Ibn Salool, “Abu Hunbab,” using his nick name, something you don’t do with people whom you are angry with.
- Learn from the attitude of Sa3d Ibn Ubadah when he asked the prophet to forgive the man and trying to explain to the prophet some excuses that lead him to do so
- Try to draw a picture to Medina where the narration said, “a mix of Muslims, Jews, and polytheists” sitting together in a public gathering and compare that to a situation where Muslims isolate themselves from the society they are living in
- Look at the prophet, a leader who interacts with people, uses every opportunity to convey his message to them, feels no desire to avenge, and stops a whole fight that was originally made to defend him.
- Look at the wisdom of young leaders such as Sa3d and his love to an old leader of his tribe seeking forgiveness from the prophet and hoping that the light of Islam will enter his heart.
- And look at the narrator of the story, a young boy being in the company of a leader like the Prophet, experiencing serious political and social interactions such as the one he narrated, and learning first hand practical solutions to tough problems from his messenger. This very boy was a leader of an army in which great people were soldiers and it was sent to meet a huge power, the Roman empire.
That is how great societies are build! Let us learn
If you agree, disagree, want to share some more thoughts, please use the comment section. It is made for that 🙂