How Can We Establish Peaceful Communities?
by Iman Ahmad
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is believed to be one of the most influential people in history. He was known for his kindness, patience, and leadership skills. One of his main attributes was the way he treated others. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) respect and dignity for others is why he is a perfect example of how to secure a peaceful community.
First, it is important to look at how the Prophet (PBUH) treated people in his own community. The Prophet (PBUH) was known for being kind and respectful to everyone. In the early years of Islam, the Prophet (PBUH) tried to get people to convert to Islam. The chiefs of the Quraysh tribe told the Prophet (PBUH)’s uncle that they would convert if the Prophet (PBUH) told the poorer Muslim companions to leave the Prophet (PBUH)’s side. The Prophet (PBHU) knew how impactful it would be if the chiefs of the Quraysh tribe converted. Before making any decisions, the Prophet (PBUH) consulted his poorer companions, and they said that they would be alright with it. Then, the following verse was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH), “And do not send away those who call upon their Lord morning and afternoon, seeking His countenance. Not upon you is anything of their account and not upon them is anything of your account. So were you to send them away, you would [then] be of the wrongdoers,” (6:52). This verse explains that it would be wrong to send away any Muslim, even if they were poor, to favor those who have not even converted to Islam yet. The Prophet (PBUH) realized he should value the quality not quantity of believers.
Second, it is necessary to also look at how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) treated non-Muslims in surrounding communities. After the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions migrated from Mecca to Medina, a constitution was created to ensure that all existing communities and the Muslims could live in harmony. The existing communities consisted of eight Jewish tribes that lived in Medina. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) created the Constitution of Medina to end violence within these tribes. The constitution also displayed the rights of Muslims and non-Muslims. Non-Muslims were given the right to practice their religion, have the same cultural and political rights as Muslims, fight against enemies of the nation, and were not obligated to fight in the religious wars of Muslims. All of the Jewish tribes were considered part of the Ummah, even though they were not Muslim. The Constitution of Medina was fair to all religious groups involved. This is a great example of the respect and dignity shown by the Prophet (PBUH) to non-Muslims. He created a constitution that would unite all of the tribes of Medina in a peaceful manner. The Quran also mentions how Muslims should treat non-Muslims. For example, the Quran says, “Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes-from being righteous towards them and acting justly towards them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly,” (60:8). This verse illustrates the importance of acting just or fair to those who treat you well, regardless of the religion they follow. The Prophet (PBHU) always showed respect and dignity to Muslims and non-Muslims and treated both of these groups equally.
The examples above illustrate how the Prophet (PBUH) was respectful and showed dignity to those in his community and those outside of his community. In order to secure a peaceful community, it is very important to respect people inside our communities first. The first example shows that the Prophet (PBUH) was instructed by God to treat the people around him equally, regardless of wealth or financial status. A person’s value does not come from their financial status, gender, race, etc. Treating everyone respectfully and equally will guarantee an amicable community. The second example demonstrates the respect and dignity the Prophet (PBUH) gave to non-Muslims. The Prophet (PBUH) created the Constitution of Medina as a way to give every person in Medina freedom to practice their religion of choice. The Constitution of Medina shows the importance of respecting all communities, especially the communities around you. In order to secure a peaceful environment, respect and dignity must be present within a community and must be shown to the surrounding communities. Even though Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lived over 1,400 years ago, his actions are still relevant today, and we can learn a lot from him.