Taming the Violence and Cruelty In Our Societies, By Murtadha Gusau
Monday, January 21, 2019
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Grantor of Mercy
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. He guides His obedient servants to His love and admits the doers of good to His Paradise. I bear witness that there is no deity save Allah, having no associates. I also bear witness that our Master Muhammad is the Servant of Allah and His Messenger. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his pure blessed family and companions, and all those who follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment.
Dear brothers and sisters! The topic of our lesson today revolves around violence, cruelty, suppression and oppression that prevailed all over the world, and the opposite concepts of them such as mercy, forgiveness and justice which are recommended in Islam.
* First of all, know that, cruelty is not part of Islam
Dear brothers and sisters! The word “cruelty” is mentioned in seven contexts in the Noble Qur’an, and in each context it is despised. Allah the Almighty says:
“Then, after that, your hearts were hardened.” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 74]
And Allah the Most High says:
“So, woe to those whose hearts are hardened.” [Surah Az-Zumar, 22]
It is narrated in Sahih Bukhari, by Abu Mas’ud Al-Badri, that the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) pointed to Yemen with his hand and said:
“Verily Iman is towards this side, and harshness and callousness of the hearts is found amongst the rude owners of the camels who drive them behind their tails (to the direction) where emerge the two horns of Shaitan (Satan), they are the tribes of Rabi’ah and Mudar.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Dear brothers and sisters! The Prophet (may Allah have peace and blessing upon him), sought refuge in Allah from cruelty. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him said:
“I have heard Abu Al-Qasim, the Prophet, (Peace be upon him), saying: “Mercy is not taken away except from one who is wretched and nasty.” [Hadith hasan, by Imam at-Tirmidhi]
Even the she camel if you treat it with mercy, Allah will be merciful to you. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), was not sent forth – as you all know – but as a mercy for the Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).
* Cruelty and violence in all social classes
Dear brothers and sisters! The various aspects of the social violence, about which only Allah knows, are prevailed among the societies and among common Muslims. There is violence against woman; many women are brutally beaten, and sometimes they are forced out of their houses at night… Also violence is committed against children, weak people and strangers who have no support.
This violence is spread in the Islamic societies, but not all Islamic societies are violent. I avoid generalisation, because it is but ignorance. It is highly recommended that the houses of the knowledge seekers and those who go to Masaajid (Mosques) regularly should be heaven-like even if these houses are small, and that they should be full of mercy even if they are not well-furnished. Usually, the powerful people are violent and so are the opposers. I seek refuge in Allah from it. This violence is refused and condemned.
* Violence and cruelty refer to weak personality and lack of balance
Dear brothers and sisters! The widely prevailing aspects of violence all over the world are the main reason behind the catastrophic events in it, because violence brings about violence. Let me elaborate on this point and shed light on the horrible features of this violence. Violence could be the very harmful effect of the dangerous mental state of the violent person. He mistakenly thinks that giving other people the impression that he is a fearful person will enable him to have a strong character and make people freeze when he passes by. Actually, this way of thinking indicates how weak this person is; it is resulted from mental disorder, inferiority complex and guilt complex.
Dear brothers and sisters! Narrated Jarir Ibn Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him:
“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) had never prevented me from entering to see him since I embraced Islam, and whenever he saw me, he used to meet me with a smile.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
That’s how the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was.
* Forms of cruelty and violence
1. Cruelty and Violence In Speech
I am addressing every boss, President, Governor, Minister, Emir, King, Managing Director, Director, school director, hospital manager, and whoever frowns at people, and whoever likes to make people fear him thinking that doing so makes him a wise leader and a powerful man. This is absolutely wrong; your strength is derived from being merciful, modest, and from being admired by your surroundings.
Aggression can be represented by shouting at other people and raising one’s voice while talking to them. Scholars said:
“The ‘Adalah’ (The foundation of beliefs and manners) of someone is negatively affected if he shouts at home, threatens other member of the family and says dirty words.”
Loud voices are repeatedly heard at night from what supposed to be “Islamic homes.” Hereinafter some example: Cruelty can be manifested when a woman gives her husband a watch as a gift, and he asks, “How much does it cost?” Upon telling him, he says, “They ripped you off. It is a high price for such a watch.” This kind behaviour is unacceptable to someone who offers you a gift.
Also cruelty can be noticed when a man gives his wife a rose, and after smelling it, she throws it away and says, ”It is odorless.”
The Prophet (Peace be upon him), said:
“A good word is charity.” [Muslim]
Some people turn faces beat red, embarrass one another, make fun of the words of each other and belittle one another. People misbehave to each other even when insignificant issues in life are discussed not the serious topics of the creed. It is an act of violence to cause other people fish in troubled waters, look down to others, embarrass people, frown at them most of the time, be ill-tempered or say bad words to others.
2. Physical Cruelty and Violence
Dear brothers and sisters! In addition to attacking others, hitting, fighting, and killing, we have seen in some national and state assemblies people using chairs to hit others. This is a kind of violence.
* Causes of cruelty and violence
1. Cruelty Against Women
The members of some families are harsh, cruel and lack affection towards one another. Greeting is replaced with beating, kidding is replaced with cruelty. Latest studies have proved that fifty to eighty percent of those who beat their wives saw their fathers beat their mothers. The adapted behaviour of the child is based on what he sees. Hence, the patient, calm and tender father spreads mercy, tenderness and patience amongst his family, whereas the cruel and violent father, who shouts all the time, spreads in his absence violence, cruelty and shouting amongst his family.
2. Violence Against Children
Dear brothers and sisters! Another kind of violence is the one committed against children. A ruthless teacher may beat his student severely for a trivial mistake. Treating students harshly destroy their personalities and causes them psychological complexes. These complexes are also caused when a teacher makes fun of a student, his family, his appearance, or his weakness at a certain subject. Do you know why children suffer from these complexes? Because of a ruthless cruel father, a harsh mother or a violent teacher. Children are just like roses which are easily smashed by cruelty.
Some fathers put down their children, beat them severely and hush them before visitors if they want to speak. What if the man who treats his children badly was sterile? What if he had a son and he got sick? What if this son died? would not the father’s heart break if something wrong happened to his son?
Some men don’t know that having a wife is a blessing, some women don’t know that having a husband is a blessing, some fathers don’t know that having children is a blessing, and some children don’t know that having a father is a blessing.
Dear brothers and sisters! The Prophet (Peace be upon him), said:
“I start the prayer intending to make it long, then I hear a child crying, so I make it brief lest I cause hardship to his mother.” [Bukhari]
The Prophet of Ummah, who used to read many verses of Qur’an in Al-Fajr Salah (Prayer), read only short verse lest he caused hardship to the mother whose child was crying. Why are we emotionally drained? Why did we treat other people cruelly? Why do we raise our children to respect worn-out traditions such like revenge and retaliation?
Dear brothers and sisters! Violence is the main cause of most divorces. When a husband divorces his wife for no reason he is destroying his children. They get torn between their mother and their father.
Dear brothers and sisters! Most of houses are full of violence, and schools are like military barracks where the heads of students are saturated with information. Moreover, teaching methodology is based on educating children and giving them information at the expense of raising them and building their personalities. The Prophet (Peace be upon him), said:
“Instruct other people and don’t rebuke them, because the instructor is better than the rebuker.” [Reported by Al-Harith]
3. Cruelty of Media
Dear brothers and sisters! Someone said to me, “All you can watch on TV is violence, cruelty and sex.” That is exactly what one can watch on TV; violence and killing scenes are displayed on TV, whether the purpose is to inform people about what is going on (like in the news) or to entertain them (like in the movies and TV shows). Whenever you watch the news, you see killing scenes, you see bloodshed, you see burning the people’s properties, you see the killers and the injured, do not you? Do not these scenes affect our children negatively? They accumulates in their subconscious and later on they become violent even in their houses. Actually, the international events are violent makers; there are invasions and wars in many countries such as the forty-year-war in Sudan, war in Afghanistan, war in Iraq, war in Syria, etc.
4. International Cruelty and Violence
Actually, the international events are violent makers; there are invasions and wars in many countries.
At the summit conference which was held two years ago, someone said, “the Security Council is nothing but ‘horror council.’” All its resolutions are imposed only on weak countries. When the Security Council imposes economic sanctions on a country, who pays the price? Absolutely the poor people, while those who are supposed to be punished get away with it. Only the poor people pay the price. The Security Council which demands states to be democratic, is in itself oppressive in dealing with those countries as it uses double standard policy, is not that violence? Is not the ‘VETO POWER’ an act of violence? Is not it oppression? Is not it cruelty? What did the Spanish guest say at the summit conference? He said, “Terrorism is caused by oppression, tyranny and marginalisation.” Wallahi this is absolutely true.
5. Cruelty of Traditions
Dear brothers and sisters! We inherited traditions and customs of severe and violent nature and they have no relation whatsoever to our religion, depriving some heirs of inheritance and revenge are only some examples. For example, the case of revenge; for what sin the relatives of the killer should be killed? Avenging a murdered man involves the killing of an innocent man for a crime committed by a relative or someone of the same clan? Allah the Almighty says:
“And no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another.” [Surah Al-An’am, 164]
Even the crimes of honour have nothing to do with our religion. The first lady in Islam, Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, the Prophet’s wife, was falsely accused of being unchaste in Hadith Al-Ifk (the slanderous rumour that was fabricated by some hypocrites about Aisha) but what did the Prophet (Peace be upon him) do? He waited, because he had no proof to confirm that accusation or deny it, until Allah from above seven heavens declared her innocence.
How many crimes are committed in the world for honour!!!
6. Cruelty Against the Poor
Dear brothers and sisters! When a companion (Sahabi) caught a man in his garden eating some of its fruits, brought him to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) accusing him of theft, what did the Prophet (Peace be upon him) do? He said:
“He was ignorant; you should have taught him, he was hungry; you should have fed him.” [Hadith sahih, by Al-Hakim in His Mustadrak]
Here, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) dealt with the causes of the problem (Ignorance, hunger and poverty), not with its results.
He (Peace be upon him) said:
“You are given help and provision (from Allah) because of your weak ones.” [Bukhari]
If you feed the weak person when he is hungry, cloth him when he has no clothes, teach him when he is ignorant, treat him when he is sick and gives him information when he lacks it, this person will be a solid and beneficial member in the society. Consequently, the society will be strong enough against whatever may penetrate it.
Unfortunately, today, some Governments and some factory owners pay the workers 20,000 Naira per month while they need 50,000 Naira for transport only, they only have 20,000 Naira monthly. What can such workers buy? How much do they pay for electricity and essential needs? Can they be able to take care about the educational problems of their children? Can they buy any meat or clothes. As there are no jobs, and with the spread of unemployment they have to accept this little payment while the Governments and the owner of the factories don’t care to spend a hundred thousand Naira per day. With this kind oppression, they are always shouting they need peace in the county, Wallahi NEVER! Azzaluman banza azzaluman wofi!!!
Dear brothers and sisters! Please listen to the following Prophetic Hadith:
“The Jews collected for Abdullah Ibn Rawaha pieces of their women’s jewellery as a bribe, but Abdullah Ibn Rawaha said, “O tribe of Jews! What you have offered as a bribe is forbidden. By Allah, I came to you from the most beloved to me of Allah’s creation, and you are among the most hateful to me of Allah’s creation, but it does not prompt me to deal unjustly with you.” They said, “This is what supports the heavens and the earth.” [Bukhari and Abu Dawud]
* The Negative effects of cruelty and violence
Dear brothers and sisters! Being prevailed as a social phenomenon, violence causes gradual destruction and weakness of personality, not to mention destroying talents, potentials and capacities. Moreover, violence causes cowardliness, hesitation, confusion, fear of trying and fear of committing mistakes. Violence makes people concerned about other’s opinions, and it stops them from being happy and enjoying their lives. It also has bad effects on the person and on those around him. The most dangerous effects of cruelty is breaking up families, states, countries, societies, groups, and institutions.
* Alternatives of cruelty and violence
The alternative lies in dialogue. I would like to address the father: talk to your children, be their friend, teach them instead of rebuking them, listen to their complaints, check their needs, sit with them and be their therapist. Don’t build barriers between you and them or make them afraid of you when you get home and be relieved when you go out. A characteristic of a successful father is that his children rejoice his coming back home, wish that he lives longer and never wish that he dies.
Wallahi I was told by a doctor that after he finished examining one of his patients, he told his children that their father is not seriously sick. Upon hearing that, the children frowned and scowled, because they wished that their father had a serious disease. That father was stingy and wicked, so his children wished for his death.
Dear brother and sisters! If you are a manager, talk to your employees, find out what bothers them and what makes them get hurt. Ask them how they can satisfy their needs with such little salary, try to help them and give them top priority. If you are a teacher talk to your students. Use dialogue with all those around you, but have the Qur’an as the basis of your dialogue, we should have authentic evidences, and a method of research. Use dialogue even with deviated people. Can you imagine how unacceptable it is for a young man to ask the noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) to give him permission to commit adultery!
Abu Umamah Al-Bahili, may Allah be pleased with him narrated:
“Once a young man came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him), asking permission for committing adultry. The people, then, started to rebuke him and said, “shush, shush.” Then he Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked him, “Do you like it for your mother?” “No may Allah make me a sacrifice for you,” the man replied. “So are people,” the Prophet (Peace be upon him), commented. The Prophet (Peace be upon him), asked again, “Do you like it for your daughter?” “No may Allah make me a sacrifice for you,” the man replied. “So are people,” the Prophet (Peace be upon him), commented. The Prophet (Peace be upon him), asked once more, “Do you like it for your sister?” The man replied “No may Allah make me a sacrifice for you.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him), commented, “So are people.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him), eventually asked, “Do you like it for your aunt?” The man replied, “No may Allah make me a sacrifice for you.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him), commented, “So are people.” Whereupon the Prophet (Peace be upon him), placed his (blessed) hand upon him and said, “O Allah! May you forgive his sins, purify his heart and make him chaste.” The young man did not pay attention to anything else thereafter.” [Ahmad and Al-Tabarani in Al-Kabir]
See how Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) used dialogue not violence.
Dear brothers and sister! When our life is based on teamwork system, we will be all in one boat (as one group). Thus, our success and failure will be collective. To accomplish such a target, we should not achieve our triumph by weakening our brothers, we should not strengthen ourselves by causing them deterioration nor should we collect our wealth by impoverishing them. When we work together as one team, we will all survive In Shaa Allah. Allah the Almighty says:
“The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion).” [Surah Al-Hujurat, 10]
Whosoever considers himself superior to others is a racist. When a Bedouin entered upon the Prophet, may Allah have peace and blessings upon him, he asked, “Who is Muhammad?” This indicated that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) could not be distinguished among his Companions.
“The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion).”
Dear brothers and sisters! Wallahi, justice is the pillar of ownership, of the successful state, of the successful nation, of the successful family and of the successful factory, where rules are applied to all its workers alike and of every institution.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The people before you were destroyed because they used to inflict the legal punishments on the poor and forgive the rich.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Sometimes we get bored, so it is preferable to cheer up ourselves from time to time. It was reported in the tradition:
“Amuse your hearts every other hour, because if the heart is fed up with something, it becomes blind [of it].”
You can enjoy yourself by telling nice jokes, kidding your family, smiling, laughing and going for a halal picnic even if it was humble, to a nearby area and by a bus. These things bring joy to family members. Actually, cheering up your heart and soul moderately makes your souls tranquil. Spreading kind words has the same effect, and remember that a good word is Sadaqah.
About spreading forgiveness Allah the Most High says:
“Let them pardon and forgive.” [Surah An-Nur, 22]
And He the Almighty says:
“But forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds). Verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (good-doers).” [Surah Al-Ma’idah, 13]
And He says:
“So turn away from them (O Muhammad), and say: Salam (peace)! But they will come to know.” [Surah Az-Zukhruf, 89]
Abu Hurairah narrated, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The strong man is not the one who can overpower others. Rather, the strong man is the one who controls himself when he gets angry.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Dear brothers and sisters! When you go to sleep, why do not you supplicate and ask Allah for the best for your fellow believers and Muslims (male or female) with no exception? Why don’t you make Du’a exclusively for those who oppressed and insulted you? Why don’t you follow the example of the Prophet (Peace be upon him)? He was seriously beaten yet he said:
“O Allah, forgive my people, for they do not know.”
Our master Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, felt deeply hurt and he was taken by his human nature when a person, to whom he used to give charity, insulted his daughter (Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her) in Hadith Al-Ifk, so he decided to stop giving him charity. As a result, Almighty Allah blamed him saying:
“And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give (any sort of help) to their kinsmen, Al-Masakin (the poor), and those who left their homes for Allah’s Cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you???” [Surah An-Nur, 22]
Abu Bakr As-Siddiq burst in tears upon listening to this Qur’anic verse and said:
“Sure, I love that Allah forgives me.”
So he resumed giving charity to that man although he was mistreated by him.
The Prophet, may Allah have peace and blessings upon him, said:
“There was a merchant who would lend money to people. Whenever he saw a poor person who could not pay, he would tell his workers, ‘Write off his debt that Allah may forgive us.’ So Allah forgave him.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
* Lenience is part of the religion
Dear brothers and sisters! Allah the Almighty says:
“The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion).” [Surah Al-Hujurat, 10]
My beloved people! Till when shall we keep paying lip services about the religion and refrain from adapting its way and method?
Most of us, as Muslims, are too far from the Prophetic conducts and those of the esteemed Companions. Is not it time to teach our children how to respect others and consider their rights? Is not it time to teach our children how to be keepers of the public interests? Is not it time to teach our children how to abide by the common sense, and how to say those words that are the best as Allah recommends us in the following Qur’anic verse:
“And say to My slaves (i.e. the true believers of Islamic Monotheism) that they should (only) say those words that are the best.” [Surah Al-Isra’, 53]
“That are the best” means that there could be thousand of kind words, but you should choose the best of them. Allah the Most High says:
“Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur’an) and fair preaching.” [Surah An-Nahl, 125]
There is a big difference between inviting people to the way of Allah with wisdom and arguing with them; when you argue with people, you are challenging them. For some people, the ideas they are convinced by are linked to their dignity. Thus, if you want to win the argument, you should argue with people in a way that is better. Allah the Almighty says:
“Say (O Muhammad to these polytheists, pagans, etc.) “Who gives you provision from the heavens and the earth?” Say: “Allah, And verily, (either) we or you are rightly guided or in a plain error.”?” [Surah Saba’, 24]
These are the manners which are indicated in the Noble Qur’an, and which are required to be adapted by dialogists.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“A believer will attain by his good behaviour the rank of one who prays during the night and observes fasting during the day.” [Abu Dawud, By Aishah]
A man with good conducts will attain the rank of the one who prays during the night and observes fasting during the day.
O Allah, indeed we are Your slaves, and the children of Your slaves, and the children of Your female slaves, our forelocks is in Your Hand, Your command over us is forever executed and Your decree over us is just. We ask of You with all Your names, which belong to You, which You have named Yourself with, or which You have taught someone from Your creation or revealed it in Your Book or that which You have taken unto Yourself with the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur’an the life of our hearts and light of our breasts and keep away from us our sadnesses, and that our grief goes away.
Lastly, we pray that the forth coming 2019 elections in Nigeria brings about: peace for all, security for all, education for all, food for all, befitting employment for all, unepileptic power supply, world class health care centres and diversified booming economy…this is our dream!!!
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, the Ever-Living, Who does not die, and Peace and Blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and Companions.
Your brother, Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, writes from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.