In the previous part of this topic, we emphasized that advertising peace and educating peaceful followers are of the main purposes of Islam. Here we review some more Islamic pieces of advice and lessons on having a balanced life and being in peace with other people of either the same religion or other.
Being equable and good-tempered, and avoiding irascibility and harsh words are continuously advised to in the Islamic teachings such that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is invited in the Quran to “argue with them (unbelievers) in a way that is best” (16:125). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Imams (AS), as role models for Muslims, have demonstrated these acts in a way that the Quran says about the Prophet (PBUH): “And indeed, you are of a great moral character” (68:4). That is why the Quran says about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “So by mercy from Allah, you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you” (3:159).
Imam Sadiq (AS) has described being good-tempered as: “using friendly words, nice behavior and receiving your brother happily” . Imam Ali (AS) said that the best and most important deed of a “believer” is behaving nicely with people . Even in the case of facing ignorant people, it is encouraged to treat kindly: “And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace” (25:63).
These examples and many other Islamic pieces of advice demonstrate how much Islam cares about one’s behavior towards others.
This is true that moderation can develop peace. Islam recognizes moderation as the most efficient and pleasant approach in life and interaction with others. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that: “the best of every affair is the middle of it” . The Quran describes Muslims as a moderate community and says that: “we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you” (2:143). This means that the nation and people who are educated based on the Islamic teachings and the Quranic guidelines will avoid extremes; neither they are radical, nor conservative .
However, whenever the truth (Haq) and falsehood (Batil) are clear and apparent, there is no place for moderation. An example is the holy struggle (Jihad); i.e., when land is attacked by others, there should be no moderation and defense becomes obligatory.
Islam has considered the rights for every being, from parts of the body to neighbors, parents, etc. Then, it is not surprising if Islam also considers some rights for non-Muslims over Muslims. Of the rights of non-Muslims are to believe in the promises they have given the Islamic state; not to bother them about what they want or on what they are obliged to; to judge among them just as God has ordered; not to oppress them since Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said that he would be against anyone who oppresses a non-Muslim1 . Imam Ali (AS) was sensitive to any harm or injustice to whether Muslims or non-Muslims. He (AS) said that: “if someone is not of your religion, he is still a human being like you.”, he (AS) was therefore against any harm or damage to non-Muslims .
After the rise of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) adopted the approach of moderation and fairness with the followers of the previous Abrahamic religions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) defended boldly Muslims and himself whenever needed. He (PBUH&HP) opposed any violence to Muslims, but he (PBUH&HP) still cared about the prisoners of the wars. He (PBUH&HP) had ordered to treat them with moderation, mercy, and humanity, to do good to them and to forgive them. Prisoners were usually kept in the mosques or proper and clean homes. The troops of Islam, following the manner of Prophet (PBUH&HP), preferred prisoners to themselves such that they provided prisoners with better foods and clothes. If a prisoner did not want to reveal the secrets of the enemies, he would not be beaten but whoever did so would be released .
Considering the points mentioned above about how Islam educates peaceful followers and how it considers rights for non-Muslims, the role of Islam in promoting peace can be fully grasped. However, this should not be confused that a Muslim must endure every situation or the violation of his\her rights or the rights of the Muslims in general. The key point is that a Muslim chooses the moderation and peace as the first solution to his social affairs as long as it does not require the violation of the rights of one or several people.
1 Here, the term “non-Muslim” refers only to a non-Muslim who is the citizen of an Islamic state or a non-Muslim who lives in a non-Muslim country which is in agreement with Muslims.
- Ibn Babawayh, "Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih," vol. 4, p. 412.
- Ibn Shu'ba al-Harrani, "Tuhaf al-'uqul," p. 200.
- Allama Majlisi, “Bihar al-Anwar,” vol. 74, p. 383.
- Reference to: “How and why did Islam spread very quickly throughout the world? – Part 4: Islam and its moderate views.”
- Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (AS), “Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq).”
- M. al-Kulayni, "Kitab al-Kafi."
- peace in islam
Don’t speak when it’s not a good time to talk.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no. 10274.
Any day on which you don’t commit sins or disobey Allah is a day of celebration (Eid).
Nahj al-Balagha, Wisdom no.428.
Looking at nature brings happiness.
Nahj al-Balagha, Wisdom no.400.
There are two things whose worth you will find out only after losing them; youth and health.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, vol. 1, p.449.
Do not impose your own traditions on your children, since they are living in a different era than yours.
Ibn abi al-Hadid, Interpretation of Nahj al-Balagha, vol.20, p.286.
Consult with your wise enemy, but avoid your ignorant friend’s advice.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.2471.
The wise, knowledgeable, experienced, and prudent ones are the best to consult with.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.4990.
Consult before making decisions and think before taking action.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.5754.
If you don’t endure the difficulties of working, you are made to bear the misfortunes of poverty.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.8987.
Be kind to the less privileged ones than you, so that your superiors be kind to you.
Muhammadi Reyshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, Hadith no. 6960.
Rise in respect to your father and your teacher, even if you possess a high status.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.2341.
The world is founded on justice.
Muhammadi Reyshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, Hadith no. 11955.
The fairest among you is the one who observes justice between people while in power.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.3242.
The fairest manner is to treat people the way you expect them to treat you.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.3170.
Don’t worry about how fast you do a job; instead, observe the best quality in whatever you do.
Ibn abi al-Hadid, Interpretation of Nahj al-Balagha, vol.20, p.267.
The worst homeland is the one that doesn’t keep its citizens safe.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.5712.
You need to have enough knowledge of a deed before doing it.
Nahj al-Bakagha, p.171.
Do every day’s work on that specific day, since each task is due to its special day.
Nahj al-Balagha, letter no.53.
The ones who don’t keep their promise do not believe in Allah.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.9577.
It’s beneath you to make a promise to your child and not keep it.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Al-Amali, p.342.
If you have a child, be childlike with him/her.
Usul al-Kafi, vol.6, p.50.
Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is yet to come, while today is a precious chance for you to make the most of it.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.9840.
The heart of the teenage is like an unplanted land that is ready to receive any seed planted in it.
Nahj al-Balagha, letter no. 31.
The greatest peace is obtained by reading books.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.8126.
Find the scholars’ heaven within the pages of the books.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.991.
The perfection of religion is in seeking knowledge and making use of it.
Usul al-Kafi, vol.1, p.30.
Pay attention to what is said, not who is saying it.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.5048.
Try to ponder and understand instead of quoting.
Muhammadi Reyshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, Hadith no. 3355.
You will be helped, the same way as you help others.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.7209.
The faithful who help the destitute in the hardships and misfortunes of their lives are loved most by Allah.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.376.
I found peace, so far as it won’t degrade Islam, more beneficial than war.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.10138.
Don’t be happy about the mistakes of others, since you are not perfect either.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.10294.
Talk respectfully to people to hear respectful responses.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.2568.
Optimism reduces despair and keeps you away from committing sins.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.4823.
What is right is not distinguished by the people; You should first know what is right to find the ones following it.
al-Fattal al-Neyshaburi, Rawḍat al-wāʿiẓīn wa baṣīrat al-muttaʿiẓīn, p.31.
Whoever avoids holding grudges, his/her heart and mind will remain at peace.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.8548.
Be thankful to Allah on your days of comfort and happiness, and be patient on the days of difficulty and hardship.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.7148.
Health is more precious than any other of Allah’s blessings.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p.483.
Women are Allah’s trusts upon you, do not hurt them, and do not put pressure on them.
Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol.2, p.551.
Enjoy your moments of happiness with all your heart to help you at the time of sadness.
Ibn abi al-Hadid, Interpretation of Nahj al-Balagha, vol.20, p.286.
In the previous article, we explained the importance of generosity in Islam. This article presents you with six codes of behavior that are to be observed in the acts of charities and alms-giving. The religion of Islam attaches great emphasis to the way how we offer our generous help and kindness to others. Some of the rules regarding generosity in Islam are as follows:
“‘We feed you only for the sake of Allah. We desire no reward from you, nor thanks’” (76:9)
In this verse, Allah praises the family of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) [Ahlul-Bayt (AS)], who would give their food to the needy only for the sake of God's grace and satisfaction without asking for rewards and even waiting for thanks.
“As for him who gives and is Godwary” (92:5)
The companionship of generosity in Islam with piety is to avoid stinginess in almsgiving and also to earn and spend in lawful (Halal) ways. You can choose a deceitful way to reach a laudable aim since the ends can never justify the means.
“Do not keep your hand chained to your neck, nor open it all together, or you will sit blameworthy and regretful ” (17:29)
This verse stresses the importance of moderation saying we should neither quit almsgiving by being tight-fisted nor be too open-handed in our act of kindness towards others.
“O you who have faith! Do not render your charities void by reproaches and affronts” (2:264)
Expressing or reminding your favor upon others may hurt their feelings and would definitely invalidate your charitable act. Islam strongly recommends us to treat each other with dignity and respect. Therefore, we should seriously avoid any kind of hurtful behavior or words which we think might offend the receiver of help.
“O you who have faith! Spend of the good things you have earned [through trade and the like] and of what We bring forth for you from the earth, and do not be of the mind to give the bad part of it, for you yourselves would not take it unless you ignore…” (2:267)
We are surely reluctant to receive anything worthless; so how could we give away something we do not like ourselves in the path of Allah? This is definitely disrespectful to our fellow brothers and sisters, insulting the high status of God.
It is highly recommended in Islam to give charity in secret so that the needy does not feel embarrassed and to safeguard his/her dignity and self-esteem. We should know that we are never superior to the one we are helping no matter how great our charity is.
Shall We Help the One Whom Allah Would Help if He Wished?
This question is asked by the disbelievers when Allah tells them to give charity: “When they are told, ‘Spend out of what Allah has provided you,’ the faithless say to the faithful, ‘Shall we feed [someone] whom Allah would feed if He wished? You are only in manifest error’” (36:47).
You might also wonder why Allah does not provide for the destitute Himself and orders the rich to help them! To resolve this doubt one should think about how people would develop virtues if they were all the same and had the same facilities! What would responsibility mean then? What about freedom of choice? Wouldn’t it be deterministic if God chose to help the ones He wished? “Does man suppose that he has been abandoned to futility?” (75:36)
There would be only one answer to all these questions: Each of us is responsible for everything that happens to us and also for our fellow human beings. The teachings of generosity in Islam are recommended in many verses of the holy Quran and stories from our infallible Imams to help us all lead a better life.
Not only that, psychologists and researchers of modern sciences have proven the positive impacts generosity has on our lives, as well. That is why people around the world nowadays are getting more and more engaged in many charitable acts like voluntary works, donations, etc., which would help the cycle of “good” going and make us all live in a happier world.