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Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) — 59: Seeking The High Moral Ground

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali

When we go out in the morning, seeking God's grace and hoping to earn well for our families, we encounter a mixture of what is good and pure and what is bad and adulterated. A Muslim knows that a person who is nourished by evil, unjust earnings will not be admitted into heaven. He further knows that God is good and He only accepts what is good. Hence a believer must seek only what is permissible and wholesome. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has taught us this supplication to say every morning: "My Lord, make me contented with what You have made lawful in preference to what You have forbidden; happy with Your grace in preference to anyone else." He also taught us to say: "My Lord, grant me useful knowledge, wholesome provisions, and make my deeds acceptable to You."

In the hustle of life a person may encounter some adversity, or may be provoked and find himself eager to retaliate. It is better, however, that as one goes out one should intend to forbear and forgive. Anas ibn Malik quotes the Prophet as saying: "Does any of you find it too difficult to emulate Abu Damdam?" When they asked who Abu Damdam was, the Prophet answered: "When he started his day, he said: ‘My Lord, I make of myself and my honor a gift to You.' He would not respond to abuse, injustice or physical attack."

The hustle of life is full of psychological and social incentives. Responding to these is well engrained in human life. We need to explain how prophets responded to these in order to fully appreciate the last Prophet's attitude to them. All prophets were ordinary people like us. Their supreme status did not relieve them of the burden of their duties. In fact, they were more severely tested and had to struggle harder. Scholars say: Infallibility did not exempt any from being tested.

Take the example of the Prophet Joseph who was falsely accused and unjustly imprisoned. As a human being, he disliked captivity and was eager to regain his freedom. Hence, he said to his fellow prisoner as the latter was about to be released, ‘Remember me to your Lord.' Why shouldn't he when he was unjustly imprisoned? His inmate knew him to be a man of great integrity, highly honorable and sincerely devout. A word from him to the king whom he would be soon serving could bring Joseph his freedom. Hence, Joseph's request.

It was God's will that after his release, that prisoner should forget all about Joseph, which meant that Joseph stayed in prison for several years. Then the day arrived and the king sent for him after he had interpreted his dream. By that time, however, Joseph was more mature and his dignity was enhanced. Hence, he demanded that the truth about his case should be known first. He would not leave prison until all has been cleared. Therefore, when he was ultimately released, he was placed in charge of Egypt's affairs.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made a comment on Joseph's attitude. His comment shows his humility and self-effacing attitude. He said: "Had I been imprisoned as long as Joseph was, I would have gone with the messenger.' What he meant is that he would have grabbed the chance that was certain to bring about his release. He would not have insisted on the women, who tried to seduce him, to be questioned.


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