Careless Silence


by Ahmed Zaafran

If you have ever been involved or seen an altercation between Egyptians, it happens to be one of the most intense, yet hilarious moments you’ll see.

Here’s the situation: Two Egyptian men are involved in a scuffle about something. One shoves the other, both are screaming, and sandals are in hand. Intense. And then, something quite beautiful happens. Amidst all the chaos, somebody screams out, “Salla `ala Nabi!” which means “pray on the Prophet”! The guy about to swing his dusty slipper stops, people are still trying to hold him back and he starts making prayers on the Prophet and calms down.

Somehow, people in Egypt have figured out that sending prayers and blessings on the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) when angry, is like pouring ice cold water over a raging flame and immediately extinguishing it.

May God grant him our prayers and salutations.

I did not bring this up to exemplify the Egyptian people for implementing this into their cultural psyche. I brought it up to illustrate the power of the remembrance of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and to analyze the reasons why God commanded Muslims to do so. Through these we can learn the pragmatic reasons why it is solely for our benefit.

In the Qur’an chapter entitled The Confederates, God says,

“Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.” (Qur’an, 33:56)

On hearing this verse, most Muslims fulfill this commandment, but often do it without the emotion and understanding of why. One of the most disheartening feelings of going to some masajid (mosques) these days is that when the name of Prophet Muhammed ﷺ, peace and blessings upon him, is mentioned, all you hear are mumbles and mechanical utterances. Where is the love?

Sometimes, we forget that one of God’s most profound favors upon us is that He sent us a man as a guide who ate like us, slept like us, married like us, and lived like us. But he was perfect in his demeanor and was clearly a blueprint to which, if sincerely sought after, we could emulate and strive to personify.

Some people, when feeling insecure about their own lives and their perceived shortcomings, often say, “What do expect from me! I’m not the Prophet and I’ll never be anywhere near him.” Well, that might be true but that’s hardly the point of trying.

Look at your own lives for a moment. Better yet, look at the lives of those around you and take a look at some of the hardships that they endure. Some have lost a spouse. Some have lost children, and some are going through terrible financial times. Some have dealt with murder, others with revenge. Have you ever thought that all of these calamities were in fact faced as a singular issue by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, personally, in his lifetime? Why? God used His beloved Prophet, the only man who could deal with such stresses, as an amorous gift to humanity and an exemplar to how we can live our lives.

May God grant him our prayers and salutations.

In the year 619 AD, the “year of sadness”, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ lost his wife of 25 years, Khadijah (ra). He also lost his uncle Abu Talib, a source of protection and familial strength. Pause for a second. When people lose loved ones, reading about them in texts is hardly a realistic way to relate to them. The Prophet ﷺ was still dealing with the death of the love of his life, the first person to enter Islam wholeheartedly. Khadijah was the one who covered him physically and spiritually when the weightiness of revelation shocked him. And still, revelation never ceased after her demise nor did he have an opportunity to rest for a long period. He had to move forward and endure. He still had to go home to sleep without the warm soul next to him that gave him so much strength and love. He, peace be upon him, did this for you and for me.

That same year, after inviting a neighboring town called Ta’if to Islam, he was met with a violent response. People rejected him and his message and he was chased out of the town to the retched tune of insults and shouts and stones thrown at his face by children. It wasn’t until his arrival at a private orchard that he was able to tether his camel to a palm tree and sit in its shade.

Now, for many of us, we would have used our favor with God to seek revenge or question why on this depth of abuse would be happening to us. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ did not do this. He raised his hands to the sky and prayed,

“O, God, unto You do I complain of my weakness, of my helplessness, and of my lowliness before men. Oh, Most Merciful of the merciful, You are Lord of the weak. And You are my Lord. Into whose hands will You entrust me? Unto some far-off stranger who will ill-treat me? Or to an enemy whom You hast empowered against me? I care not, so You will not be angry with me. But Your favoring help – that were for me the broader way and the wider scope! I take refuge in the Light of Your Countenance whereby all darkness is illuminated and the things of this world and the next are rightly ordered, unless You make Your anger upon me, or unless Your wrath overwhelms me. Yes, it is Yours to reproach until You are well pleased. There is no power and no might except through You.”1

When we are maliciously hurt by others, sometimes our inclination is to curse them or reciprocate the harm done unto us. We can clearly see here the merit of keeping your emotions at bay, introspecting over the event that just occurred, and seeking comfort from the One who actually instills comfort. Our reactionary ways are a bottomless pit into our own insecurities. If we follow the Prophet’s example, we learn to control ourselves and place our souls directly in the hands of God; the One who will lift us out of our despair.

In the Qur’an, God says,

“If We had sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain, you would have seen it humbled and coming apart from fear of Allah. And these examples We present to the people that perhaps they will give thought.” (Qur’an, 59:21)

So let’s reflect. No, the Qur’an was not sent down to a gargantuan mountain, not even the most magnificent mountain ever created. It was laid upon the shoulders of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, a human being sturdier than a mountain, a beacon of light to mankind, and the example we must strive to mirror. Take the time and make the effort to reflect on why we say our prayers over him every time his name is mentioned. And the real wisdom lies in the fact that when we pray and greet him with salutations, the blessings transcend directly into our hearts.

May God grant him our prayers and salutations.

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  1. Martin Lings, Muhammad-His Life Based on the Earliest Sources (United Kingdom:Inner Traditions, 2006), 100-101 []

24 Comments

  1. Asad123 says:

    Great article. I didn’t know that Egyptians used durood to quell anger and I find that very interesting.

    There is a sentence in here that I would have written differently. “God used His beloved Prophet, the only man who could deal with such stresses, as an amorous gift to humanity and an exemplar to how we can live our lives.”
    You misused the word “amorous.” Amorous relates to romantic love, especially the kind that is arousing. I think it is inappropriate to apply this adjective to Allah (SWT). I would substitute the word “generous.”

    • fezz says:

      I second the above.

    • Junaid says:

      Actually Amorous can mean “Showing, Feeling, Enamored OR relating to sexual desire” … A word in any language can have many different meanings. The meaning of the word usually depends on the context in which it is used. Here in this context it DOES NOT mean relating to sexual desire AT ALL. The word generous would actually narrow the scope of the meaning that was being implied and also it just doesn’t sound as nice.

      • fezz says:

        In a modern context i’m afriad it does mean exactly that. Unfortunately modernity has altered the meanings and connotations of many words in the English language (“gay” being a particular apt example) and since the article is being written for a general audience the vocabulary should reflect that and not allude to more obscure less frequently associated meanings.

  2. Amal Killawi says:

    Beautiful beautiful piece. Thank you for writing this.

  3. Ahmed Zaafran says:

    Thank you for the correction.

  4. Yasmin says:

    Mashallah, this post is simply beautiful and full of meaning. I really enjoyed reading it!

  5. mizo says:

    mashaAllah.. you’ve got talents in writing!
    yup, Egyptians do that when some quarrel happening..
    plus they are reallu cooperative to each other.. and everyone is like a family. :)

    may Allah bless you. :) keep up the good work!

  6. Alaa El-Feqi says:

    Excuse me, I’m from Egypt and I’m very much offended by the example in this article. I know the intentions of the writer must have been good, yet I don’t like this type of stereotyping, not to Egyptians or to any other nation.

  7. Ahmed says:

    Brother Alaa,
    Assalam Alaykom. I’m sorry that you felt offended by the article and the percieved stereotype. What exactly offended you? The example could have applied to any group of people. In this case, I used Egyptians as an example in their remembrance of Prophet Mohammed. I am Egyptian also, and to be honest, take a lot of pride in the fact that this phrase is so common amongst our people, even in the heat of the moment. So much so, that people say it to each other when they don’t agree with each other in casual disagreement. I’m sure you know that. Please don’t be offended, and if there was anything positive you took from the article, accept that and forgive any shortcomings. Good luck and thanks for your necessary feedback.

  8. John Ederer says:

    Beautiful Point. Glory and Praise be to the One who inspired you to remind us. Remind! Since reminders benefit the believers.

  9. Akeel says:

    MashaAllah beautiful write up, in particular the part in explaining the state of his mind when his wife passed away and “When people lose loved ones, reading about them in texts is hardly a realistic way to relate to them.”

    amazing, may Allah give you rewards and more abilities to express for our benefit. jazakAllah

  10. Mustafa says:

    Assalam aleikum,

    Truly incredible article. Really brought a crucial matter into perspective for me. May Allah bless you.

  11. Barbara says:

    Oh Allah First Love, You are my only Strength. The Only Trustworthy One. Through You Everlasting unfolding I am tested and purified, so I may e found worthy by You to receive guidance and wisdom, to be justified into Your Favor and Grace and thus sanctified by You alone to life in the here and after. Ameen. Allahhumma Sali alaa Muhammeed!Jazakum Allah Firdaws. Wal’alaiku assalaam Barbara

  12. Shabana says:

    Jzkllh khair for an excellent paper!! I was thinking past few months about the Durood coincidentally:-O…. And something hit me. The Durood as in ANY Salam to anybody is not merely a greeting, it is a prayer. A supplication to Allah to grant the prophet PBUH peace where he lay now and the day that he’ll be raised again.

    The 1 thing that really troubled our prophet PBUH on his death bed was whether his Ummah will be faithful to him or wheather they will create divisions. So in order for him to be in a state of peace, we, his Ummah need to put his example into serious practice.
    Imagine how his heart would shake at our behaviors, divisions, squabbles and unislamic demeanor?
    So I gather, that Egyptians pray a Durood during such times, brings about peace during unrest and peace to the Prophet PBUH. It sort of reminds you, that if the prophet were alive to witness this, what would his heart be going through? Not peace at all! So in order for our nabi saw to have Peace, we need to recite Durood and perchance get the hidayah of putting his example into practice.

  13. convert says:

    What would be the prayers said during the mention of the Prophet other than pbuh?

    • Mariam says:

      Asalamualikum,

      There are multiple ways of sending peace and salutations on the Prophet(SAW).They are called Durood and some of them can be found in the Quran and others through Hadiths.

      I know this is vague but you should consult an Imam or a Scholar. I am sure they will be able to provide you with more information regarding this.

      I apologize in advance if I made a mistake on this. I would like to add that the immense benefits of reciting Durood are incredible and the spiritual gain is MashAllah beautiful.

      Masalama

  14. Erum says:

    Wow! Alhumdullilah amazing article Br. Ahmed definitely something to reflect upon… Prophet Mohammad PBUH is a blessing from the all mighty Allah to mankind! We constantly need to reflect back to his life and Hadith along with the Quran so we can continue to stay on the straight path and be guided iA. I guess Allah swt provides us with means when we ask him for help.. So we have to do our part and study and reflect iA… Jazakhallah khair

  15. Jeehan says:

    Masha’allah! I can feel the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) perseverance and patience towards life’s struggle is really not easy. I believe we can be like him… accepting what Allah has given us. We MUST help other non Muslim also to know Allah so that we can help them if the judgment will soon to come.

  16. k says:

    subhanallah, how can u know what’s in someones heart by if they are mumbling or not…

  17. k says:

    sorry i was in denial. u can tell, if u love prophet more u can cry and even if u don’t love him, better not to mumble but to strive with ur heart and effort to love him and ask God al7amdulilah! to soften ur heart!!
    peace out akhs

  18. Aiseh Smith says:

    I now know that when the nonbelievers make fun of me it’s because I’m different then everybody else. Myshallah. Thank you. May Allah be pleased with you.

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