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ON THE PROPHET'S BIRTHDAY: 

TEACHINGS ON LIFE
   [By Prof. Mohamed Elmasry, Canada]

As millions of Muslims worldwide mark the birthday of Prophet
Muhammad (May God's peace and blessings be upon him), it is a good
time to reflect on the exemplary life of this remarkable human being.

In this age it is very difficult to follow the example of the Prophet.
We live in a world of more-is-better -- more food, more wealth, more
money, etc. Our egos stand in the way of our reaching out to God and
to His creation. We allow ourselves to judge others too easily, but
cannot accept anyone else's judgment of us. We have become self-
centred, not God-centred.

But in the Holy Qur'an, God Almighty states: "You all have an
excellent example in God's Messenger (especially) those who hope to
meet God, who believe in the Last Day, and who always remember God."
(33:21)

The Qur'an also states: "Say (Oh Muhammad), 'If you love God, then
follow me. God will love you and forgive your sins, as God is All-
Forgiving, All-Merciful'." (3:31)

In the life and teachings of the Prophet, there are many examples for
Muslims and non-Muslims alike, concerning how to love God Almighty,
and about the benefits to be gained by filling our hearts and lives
with that love.

Today I would like to share with you seven of the Prophet's teachings
to which I personally aspire and which I have pledged to follow in my
life:

1. "Whoever believes in God and in the Last Day should say what is
good or keep silent; and one should also be generous to his/her
neighbors and guests." (adapted from Imam Muslim's narration)

2. "Always look to those who are less fortunate than you; do not look
up to those who are more fortunate... in order that you not take
lightly God's bounties upon you." (adapted from the narrations of Imam
Al-Boukhary and Imam Muslim)

3. "Give gifts to one another, as this will enhance your love for one
another." (adapted from the narration of Imam Al-Boukhary)

4. "God has no mercy on people who show no mercy to others."  (adapted
from the narrations of Imam Al-Boukhary and Imam Muslim)

5. God's Messenger used to pray:  "O God, I seek your protection from
anxiety, sorrow, weakness, laziness, cowardice, stinginess, the burden
of debts, and being oppressed by others." (as narrated by Imam Al-
Boukhary and Imam Muslim)

6. "The worst thing for a person to fill is the stomach. A few
mouthfuls are sufficient for anyone to survive.  If a person insists
on filling the stomach, then one should fill a third of it with food,
another third with water, and leave one third empty for easy
breathing."  (adapted from the narration by Imam Tirmizi)

7. "Live in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler." (as
narrated by Imam Al-Boukhary)

[Prof. Mohamed Elmasry is a faculty member at the University of
Waterloo and national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress.]

 

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