Kindness isn’t a soft option. It’s a prophetic option

 

قال الله تعالى: (فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ ۖ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ ۖ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ).

Allah the Almighty said:

It is by of grace from God that you were gentle with them. Had you been harsh, hard-hearted, they would have dispersed from around you. So pardon them, and ask forgiveness for them, and consult them in the conduct of affairs. And when you make a decision, put your trust in God; God loves the trusting. (3:159)

وعن عائشة رضي الله عنها أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏ ‏ “‏ إن الله رفيق يحب الرفق، ويعطي على الرفق ما لا يعطي على العنف وما لا يعطي على ما سواه‏”‏ ‏(‏‏(‏رواه مسلم‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏

Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Prophet (peace be on him) said:

Verily Allah is kind and He loves kindness and confers upon kindness which he does not confer upon harshness and does not confer upon anything else besides it (kindness). (Muslim).

As it is Rabbi al Awwal, the month in which the beloved Prophet (peace be on him) was born and is in our hearts band minds, though we should think of him all year round, it is nevertheless appropriate to remind ourselves more of him.

The overarching ayah in the Quran is:

(If you truly love Allah follow me (the prophet) and Allah will love you). (3:31)

True love is emulation (itibā’). One of the characteristics of the Prophet (peace be on him) was kindness and gentleness (rifq).

Whoever has been given the quality of gentleness and kindness has been given goodness. (Sahih Muslim)

Allah Almighty will reward for gentleness and kindness what he will never reward for harshness (Sahih Muslim)

The Prophet (peace be on him) was gentle and kind and Allah Almighty loves kindness and encourages kindness.

The virtue of kindness

يَا عَائِشَةُ ارْفُقِي فَإِنَّ الرِّفْقَ لَمْ يَكُنْ فِي شَىْءٍ قَطُّ إِلاَّ زَانَهُ وَلاَ نُزِعَ مِنْ شَىْءٍ قَطُّ إِلاَّ شَانَهُ ‏”

He said to me: Aisha! show gentleness, for if gentleness is found in anything, it beautifies it and when it is taken out from anything it damages it. (Abu Dawoud)

عَنْ جَرِيرٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَنْ يُحْرَمِ الرِّفْقَ يُحْرَمِ الْخَيْرَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ مسلم.

Jarir reported from Allah’s Messenger (peace be on him):

He who is deprived of kindness is in fact deprived of good. (Muslim)

The practical application of kindness

Abu Umamah reported that a young man came to the Prophet (peace be on him) wanting to commit adultery. He said:

O Messenger of Allah, give me permission to commit adultery.’

The people turned to rebuke him, saying, ‘Quiet! Quiet!’

The Prophet (peace be on him) said, ‘Come close .’

The young man came close and he told him to sit down. The Prophet said, ‘Would you like that for your mother?’

The man said, ‘No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.’

The Prophet said, ‘Neither would people like it for their mothers. Would you like that for your daughter?’

The man said, ‘No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.’

The Prophet said, ‘Neither would people like it for their daughters. Would you like that for your sister?’

The man said, ‘No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.’

The Prophet said, ‘Neither would people like it for their sisters. Would you like that for your aunts?’

The man said, ‘No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.’

The Prophet said, ‘Neither would people like it for their aunts.’

Then, the Prophet placed his hand on him and he said, ‘O Allah, forgive his sins, purify his heart, and guard his chastity.’ After that, the young man never again inclined to anything sinful. (Ahmad)

Imagine this scenario today? People would have beaten him up in the mosque. Even the companions were incensed, yet the Prophet (peace be on him) called him closer to himself, he spoke gently, he reasoned with him softly, and he turned him away from sin kindly. He knew that he was a young man, full of energy who had not been able to get married and was unable to fulfil his desires so he wanted to commit adultery. Yet he had a pure heart, the fact he approached the Prophet (peace be on him) shows this, as he did not want to commit a sin for the sake of it, but he sought permission. The Prophet (peace be on him) understood his concerns and treated him with gentleness. Had he handled the situation sternly, it might have ended differently and the man might have committed zina. But he looked after him one to one. He increased his proximity, then talked him through each example logically, and then the feelings- so his delivery persuaded his heart and mind. It was the best way of teaching. It is practical. And he made dua. He did not reprimand him. He did not shout at him or frown or humiliate him. This is how we should teach our children and our community.

 

عن مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ الْحَكَمِ السُّلَمِيِّ، قَالَ بَيْنَا أَنَا أُصَلِّي، مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذْ عَطَسَ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ فَقُلْتُ يَرْحَمُكَ اللَّهُ ‏.‏ فَرَمَانِي الْقَوْمُ بِأَبْصَارِهِمْ فَقُلْتُ وَاثُكْلَ أُمِّيَاهْ مَا شَأْنُكُمْ تَنْظُرُونَ إِلَىَّ ‏.‏ فَجَعَلُوا يَضْرِبُونَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ عَلَى أَفْخَاذِهِمْ فَلَمَّا رَأَيْتُهُمْ يُصَمِّتُونَنِي لَكِنِّي سَكَتُّ فَلَمَّا صَلَّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَبِأَبِي هُوَ وَأُمِّي مَا رَأَيْتُ مُعَلِّمًا قَبْلَهُ وَلاَ بَعْدَهُ أَحْسَنَ تَعْلِيمًا مِنْهُ فَوَاللَّهِ مَا كَهَرَنِي وَلاَ ضَرَبَنِي وَلاَ شَتَمَنِي قَالَ ‏”‏ إِنَّ هَذِهِ الصَّلاَةَ لاَ يَصْلُحُ فِيهَا شَىْءٌ مِنْ كَلاَمِ النَّاسِ إِنَّمَا هُوَ التَّسْبِيحُ وَالتَّكْبِيرُ وَقِرَاءَةُ الْقُرْآنِ ‏”‏ .‏ صحيح مسلم.

On another occasion Mu’awiya b. al-Hakam said:

While I was praying with the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him), a man in the company sneezed.

I said: may Allah have mercy on you!

The people stared at me with disapproving looks, so I said: Woe be upon me, why is it that you stare at me?

They began to strike their hands on their thighs, and when I saw them urging me to observe silence (I became angry) but I said nothing. When the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) had said the prayer (and I declare that neither before him nor after him have I seen a leader who gave better instruction than he for whom I would give my father and mother as ransom).

I swear that he did not scold, beat or revile me but said: Talking to persons is not fitting during the prayer, for it consists of glorifying Allah, declaring his Greatness. and recitation of the Qur’an or words to that effect. (Muslim)

The man said the Prophet (peace be on him) is the best teacher with his kindness. How come he did not know not to speak during salah? He was a new Muslim and in the very beginning it was allowed for them to speak during salah so he did not know that an ayah had been revealed to abrogate this:

Guard your prayer, and of the middle prayer, and stand up in your prayer with attentiveness to Allah. (2:238)

Here qaniteen (stand up) means to not say anything other than tasbih, and takbir and the recitation of Quran. The Prophet (peace be on him) approached him with kindness.

We need to follow the Prophet’s (peace be on him) footsteps. When we have problems we need to approach them with kindness and gentleness (rifq) rather than harshness and frowning faces. Shouting and screaming is not prophetic character.

For us it is a practical lesson, not only to love the Prophet (peace be on him) theoretically but practically by emulating his goodness.

I ask Allah to enable us to follow his footsteps and be kind and nice. Ameen.

 

Khutbah delivered on 8th November 2019 at UKAMCCC, London.

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001.His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College).He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.