Saving one life is like saving the whole mankind

Saving one life is like saving the whole mankind

(Reproduced from author’s own article published in The Muslim Reader of 33 Issue 2015-2016)

(1)Front cover of The Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore’s biannual magazine, “The Muslim Reader (TMR), 33 Issue 2015-2016. (2)	Title page of Shaik Kadir’s article in TMR on Page 76.

(1) Front cover of The Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore’s biannual magazine, “The Muslim Reader (TMR), 33 Issue 2015-2016.
(2) Title page of Shaik Kadir’s article in TMR on Page 76.

First page of the article on Page 77 of TMR

First page of the article on Page 77 of TMR

The saving of even one human being life from death is like saving the whole mankind.  This is the message of Islam.

The essence of Islam is believing in God and doing righteousness.  And saving of lives of human beings or animals is an act of righteousness.  In fact, the instruction to do righteous acts is a thread that runs through all religions.  Indeed, according to the Islamic faith, Islam is the zenith of the divine or revealed teachings (of all the prophets down the ages) that started from Prophet Adam (AS), the first prophet of God, and completed by Prophet Muhammad, the final prophet. Between these two prophets there were hundreds of other prophets of God sent to all nations and tribes with every one of them giving the same fundamental Islamic instruction: Serve God and be righteous.  With the completion of the way of life for all mankind, comes Islam, the divine name as given by God in the Qur’an.  Islam, in its core, means peace.  When a person observes Islam seriously, his life will be at peace, his actions will motivate righteousness and his environment will stimulate harmony.

In Islam, torturing or killing of animals for entertainment or sports, like in cock-fight, bull-fight and rodeos as well as cruelty to animals in whatever way, like depriving them of food or keeping them in a small and confined place, are haram (prohibited).  No animal ought to be abused for fun or killed for entertainment.  In Islam, even when one kills a permitted animal for food, the animal must be killed in the Islamic way (without making the animal suffer or go through fright and pain) for the meat to be deemed halal (permitted for consumption).

Islam considers all life forms as sacred but the life of human beings is even more precious.  Thus, the killing of any human being, except by the decision of the court of law of the country concerned, is a hideous act; it is un-Islamic and is a crime.

The killing of an innocent person by a member of the public or by people of any group, is often carried out, in its core, due to societal or political animosity and vengeance or religious hate or misguidance; and is not based on the teachings of a religion.  In this respect, if a person who called himself a Muslim and killed any human being, Muslim or a non-Muslim, by any method, he ought to be condemned as a murderer and due punishment by the law of the country meted out to him when arrested. God says: “If any one kills a person, it would be as if he had killed the whole mankind…” (Al-Maida, 05:32)

There have been many reported killings by people who call themselves Muslims.  Many of them kill innocent people, both Muslims and non-Muslims, in the name of Islam.  These so-called Muslims who killed innocent people in public places and even during their prayers in churches and mosques had clearly gone against the basic rules of Islam.  The Qur’an instructs: “Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He (God) command you, that you may learn wisdom.” (Al-An’am, 06:151)

In Islam, the sanctity of human life is so special and sacred that the Qur’an gives a vivid emphasis, thus: “If any one kills a person, it would be as if he had killed the whole mankind: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole mankind.”  (Al-Maida, 05:32)

First page of the article on Page 78 of TMR

Second page of the article on Page 78 of TMR

Violence is against Islam – because in a violent situation, people, both the perpetrators and the innocent bystanders, would be hurt or killed. The living condition of their family members of both sides would also suffer.

Islam wants Muslims to show restraint, patience, fortitude and piety in the face of provocation and humiliation.  This is evident from the moral character of our Prophet, Prophet Muhammad (SAW).  He was a living exponent of the Qur’an.  Indeed he showed restraint, courage, patience, fortitude and piety when people insulted and humiliated him.

Despite all the provocations and insults, our Prophet (SAW)never retaliated the provokers; instead he advised his followers, who were ready to die to defend his honour, to restrain and be patient. Our Prophet (SAW) was abused and even physically attacked.  He was stoned and he bled.  But he and his followers, though angry, did not retaliate.

Islamic teachings advocate the saving of lives and the Prophet (SAW) had to restrain to be an exemplar to his followers, himself following what he had been sent to teach: Save lives.  He was sent as a mercy to all mankind (Rahmahtul-Alameen) and not restrictive to Muslims only.

So, what happened to our Prophet (SAW) and Islam for observing and fortifying the principle of restraint and patience to save lives?  Our Prophet (SAW) became victorious, his followers increased and Islam flourished – all in a period of 10 short years during his stay in Medina after being driven away from Mecca, the city of his birth and growth.

A decade later, when the Prophet (SAW) re-entered Mecca with 10,000 followers, he could have easily demolish his enemies but he did not.  His bitter enemy, Abu Sufyan, was spared.  Abu Sufyan’s wife, Hindon, had engaged an assassin to kill the Prophet’s beloved uncle, Hamza, and when he was killed, Hindon even cut open the deceased’s chest and pulled out his heart and abused it. Still, the Prophet (SAW) saved her life.  The lives of many others who had a hand in driving away the Prophet (SAW) from Mecca and who had humiliated and provoked him and killed his followers were all saved.

What happened to Mecca?  Mecca and the whole of Arabia became Muslim within 15 years of the passing of the Prophet (SAW).

Muslims, from any part of the world need to follow the moral example set by our Prophet (SAW).  Indeed more and more unbiased people are embracing Islam through the efforts of Muslims in portraying Islam through admirable behaviour, conduct and speech.  Insulting and demeaning religious founders, especially by educated people, is highly deplorable.  In the case of Muslims, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is near and dear to them. Insulting and demeaning the Prophet (SAW) would certainly anger Muslims.  But Muslims ought to emulate the character of their beloved Prophet in observing restraint and patience.

Muslims need to do their part to portray a good image of Muslims and the beauty of Islam indirectly through good behaviour, conduct and speech and directly through inter-faith dialogues and forums and through writings from organisations and individuals.

Third page of the article on Page 79 of TMR

Third page of the article on Page 79 of TMR

Also, what both Muslims and non-Muslims should seriously begin to act upon as from now is to take the recent the incidents in Paris, Syria and North Carolina as lessons and banish hate, prejudice, bigotry, ignorance, provocation, vengeance and intolerance from their hearts and souls, and instead come forward to establish rapport and bonding with one and all and learn from each other’s way of life for enrichment and appreciation.

God, addressing all people of whatever race or religion, says:  “O mankind! We created you from (a single pair of) a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you.”  (Al-Hujurat, 49:13)

There are black sheep among people of every religion; but the good ones are certainly overwhelming in number.  So, we must not let the handful of the bad people hijack the religion and the good people.  Islamophobia needs to be ousted.  Indeed, there are many broad-minded non-Muslims who understand Islamic practices and principles lend support to Muslim aspirations.

With understanding and tolerance, we can make the earth a safe place to live and dwell for our children and future generations. Save lives, and promote humanity and humanitarian endeavours to build a harmonious and peaceful world. Perhaps some countries need to take a leaf from the success of Singapore in maintaining peace, harmony and togetherness among its multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural citizens, where freedom of speech does not mean that anyone can poke fun or ridicule other religions or religious founders and leaders, where freedom in their religious and cultural practices are allowed and where possession of fire-arms are outlawed.

As for Muslims in general, they have a great deal of self- improvement and development to do to observe righteousness. The Straits Times (13 February 2015) in its subsequent report of the Chapel Hill (North Carolina) incident mentions that Mr Farris Barakat hoped that the murder of his brother would not be retaliated with further violence.  He said: “Do not fight fire with fire…do not let ignorance propagate in your life, do not reply ignorance with ignorance.”

Islam instructs all people: Do not kill but save lives: “…if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole mankind.”  (Al-Maida, 05:32)

*  **  *  **  *

Shaik Kadir

(Reproduced from author’s own article published in The Muslim Reader of 33 Issue 2015-2016)

5 February 2017



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