I went to a conference this weekend, organised by Mercy Mission, and of all the lectures I sat in, it was the one about the Prophet Muhammad that moved me the most. Often I get lost in the trials and tribulations of life and forget to take a moment to centre myself. I forget to look at the life of the Prophet as an example of how to deal with family problems or issues at work, and it’s only when I take a moment to feed my soul and attend conferences such as this that I find that connection again.
Lately I have been feeling detached and I have desperately been seeking spiritual sustenance in this great city of London. And I am grateful to speakers such as Nouman Ali Khan for bringing the story of the Prophet to life and inspiring me with their words. On Saturday Nouman Ali Khan said: ‘Rigidity and intolerance was not the way of the Prophet’.
He mentioned the story of the man who urinated in the mosque of the Prophet. The story goes that a man walked into the mosque of the Prophet, which at the time also functioned as his house. He came in, exposed himself and began to urinate. The companions of the Prophet stood up, ready to defend the purity of the mosque, instead the Prophet ordered them to leave him be and let him finish. For those of you who don’t know this story, it is understood that the man came armed, agitated and ready to fight. So imagine his astonishment when the Prophet ordered the men to leave him alone and let him urinate in peace.
After he finished the Prophet ordered his companions to get some water and purify the spot. He then took the man aside and said calmly ‘this is a house of God, it is a place of worship and should be kept pure, do not repeat this action again’. It is then reported that in reaction to the treatment he received that the man faced the heavens and said ‘There is no God but God and I pray that He accepts me and Muhammad, only, into heaven’. At this the Prophet laughed and said ‘Why would you limit this limitless mercy to me and you?’ So the man looked to the sky once more and said ‘O God, permit me and Muhammad into heaven’. Although he didn’t include everyone the second time, he didn’t limit it either.
It is stories of this nature that I am grateful for, I’m grateful to have such a wise, kind, patient and tolerant teacher in the Prophet Muhammad. And I find his reply ‘Why would you limit this limitless mercy’ applicable to my work this year. Why should we not spend the limitless mercy that God has bestowed on us in the form of our health, wealth, family and all that surrounds us to those less fortunate? Why should we limit the time we volunteer for worthy causes? Why should we limit the patience we have with those who don’t understand us? Why should we limit the money we give to charity? Or the food we donate to homeless shelters? In essence, why should we limit this limitless mercy?