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Prophet Muhammad 15 — The Essence Of Permanent Relations

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

Some people are eager to have friends, and extend a generous hand to others hoping to forge good relations with them, yet they always complain of poor response. They have the necessary emotion to develop friendship, but the response from others is lacking. This could be because of some negative trait in their personality or manners. Take, for example, the case of one who rigidly sticks to his ideals and wants others to adhere to them at all times. They may like him generally and enjoy his company up to the point where such ideals are touched upon, when he becomes uncompromising. They may be apathetic to these ideals, or at least flexible in regard to them. Hence, they are disturbed when he insists that they should be meticulously observed. This could lead to some estrangement at times, allowing the friendship to weaken and dissolve.

Another reason for the failure to forge friendships is bad manners. A person may be generally of good manners, but he has one or two failings which could put people off. However, the main characteristic that helps to cement friendship and gives it a solid foundation is loyalty. When we realize that a particular friend is loyal to us, we would cherish his friendship and do all we can to ensure that it is a lifelong friendship.

In his emotions, manners, character and loyalty, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) set a high example which is hard to follow. Hence, all those who knew him were eager to be his friends. His loving emotions were always overflowing, particularly to those who were close to him. Yet we see the best expression of these emotions given to those who looked after him when he was young, particularly because he was an orphan. He was only 12 when he saw his uncle Abu Talib, who had been looking after him since he was 8, getting ready to travel to Syria on business. He clung to him, unwilling to let him go alone. His uncle realized what was troubling him and decided to take him along, even though the trip was very hard. This was not the whim of a spoiled boy who sticks to his spoiling father. It was the blossoming feeling of loyalty that made him want to go with the man who looked after him when he stood alone in the world at a very young age.

The same feeling of loyalty is demonstrated in a different setting. He was around 60 years of age when he stood weeping hard by his mother’s grave. He did not forget her although she was dead for over half a century during which he went through a life experience that was so rich that it would have been sufficient for a whole community, rather than an individual.

Another example of his loyalty is seen in his reception of Halimah, his wet nurse who breast-fed him when he was a baby. More than fifty years had passed before she visited him in Madinah. His warm reception thrilled her as he cried with joy, “Here is my mother! Here is my mother.” In Islam a wet nurse is treated like a mother. When she was about to depart, he gave her camels and sheep that would give her enough to live on for the rest of her life.

Could loyalty to friends have a better expression than the Prophet’s treatment of the women taken prisoner after a war their tribe waged on him and his companions? There were hundreds of them, and according to the practice of the time, they would have become slaves. Yet an old man related to Halimah, his wet nurse, from that tribe came to him and reminded him that as a baby, he was breast-fed in that tribe. He told him: “These women are, then, your mothers and your aunts. I am appealing to you for their release.” As slaves they did not belong to him, but to the army which fought the war. He appealed to his companions and the majority relinquished their claims. Some refused, so he bought their shares and set all those women and children free.

 

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