As we move through history and the chaos of our time, and amid the chaos in places like Gaza, when all they can hear is the thunder of gunshots, and all we can hear is the thunder of materialism and greed and all they could smell is the violence in the air, and all we can smell is our own lack of content. I think back and am amazed at how I could allow myself to loose hope whatever the circumstance in my own life be here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. We all have something we are hurting from and we reach out to each other as Muslims hoping someone will lend a helping hand. Maybe it is time to rethink whether we really care or not, or are we just living day to day?
And it is then that my thoughts become so clear and true, that three words run through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: Smiling is a charity, Smiling is a charity, smiling is a charity. His saying softening my heart somehow and seeing things differently allowing the anguish and the pain to fade like the stars at dawn.
The final messenger of God named Muhammad (peace be upon him), when first learning of him it was through a smile that I became a practicing Muslim.
And now when thinking of the Prophet he reminds me of a Desert Rose, a desert rose dressed tall in Red standing and illuminated by the light of the moon, his message calls to me like a siren in the night and he is a freedom to me from the evil of my soul, hope, faith and the strength to carry on and his selfless message contained the greatest gift to me and to you, a healing and a solace – the greatest gift being the love of God and a clean soul. A hope that through a smile we can end the injustice and hatred against the innocent.
In every story of the Prophet Muhammad there is a reminder of how he would treat people with a soft heart, affection, concern, love, and most of all, a smile. They say that He once said something magnificent-“Even a smile is charity.”
A long time ago this young man in his early twenties used to hate going to the mosque and would only go when his mother would force him to. When he would go there all he would see were faces of hatred and discontent. One day feeling lost and alone he found himself at the footsteps of that mosque. As he stood outside it, a brother of Syrian origin appeared and he had a great big smile on his face and he was smiling right at the young man. This brother had noor (Iight) on his face and around him, metaphorically speaking. He really did, and the young man could not gather why he smiled at him and actually greeted him and asked him how he was doing. The young man developed a burning desire after that day to seek out this man and he eventually became his student and learned the basics of Islam from him.
It was a smile that brought that confused young man to the light of God. A simple implementation of the practice of our beloved Prophet Muhammad being a smile that shined the light of Islam on him. Who would have every thought that a smile could go so far and it came from the heart connected to the light of God. “Light upon Light.”
It is through learning about the Prophet and how he dealt with people that we can learn to love again and treat our loved ones with respect and a kind word. It is not easy to do but it can be attained. The Prophet Muhammad who had a prayer for everything one could think of conveyed stories of how he dealt with his people including the non-Muslims, the new converts to Islam, travelers, the poor, the passerby, his friends and his loved ones and so on. And we learn from his history that he took everyone’s situation into consideration and dealt with them with a gentle word and not with harshness as we are so accustomed to these days. As the Prophet said, “one who is devoid of mercy is not shown any mercy (Sahih Muslim).”
It’s hard to go up to a father who treated you and your family in an inhuman way on a daily basis for years and forgive. What will we do as Muslims? Let’s, let the hurt go, because it is time to stop playing victim to depression, anger, hatred, guilt, and greed as our Prophet taught us to not dwell on the past.. As one scholar said, if we were tested with some of the things that Muhammad , had to deal with, then we would end up in the puzzle factory wondering what hit us. Because the problem with our new culture is that we can’t handle pressure and we break at the slightest things because we live in a Prozac society of instant gratification.
Instead, Shine your light and be all that you can for Allah and his Prophet and help yourself and lead yourself and your family and humanity. And lastly the Prophet said, “Sabr (patience) is a shining glory. The Qur’an is an argument either for you or against you. Everybody goes out in the morning and sells themselves, either setting themselves free or destroying themselves.” It is time to stop running and hiding between the shadows and the lies wherever that may be for us and to be a light to other people and make the world a better place as the Quran tells us.
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth,
The parable of His Light is as if there were a niche,
And within it a Lamp: The Lamp enclosed in Glass;
The glass as it were a brilliant star;
Lit from a blessed Tree,
An Olive, neither of the East nor of the West,
Whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it;
Light upon Light!
Allah doth set forth parables for men: and Allah doth know all things.
Quran 24:35 Al Nur (The Light)
Faisal Ansari writes about social issues that affect the Muslim American Community.