By: Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi*
Islam is only religion on the surface of the earth which deserves to be called the complete system of the life. Islam doesn’t guide its followers only to prepare for the hereafter; but it also instructs about all those things, actions and activities which are necessary for a person to live a perfect human life in a society. As Islam orders its followers to offer five times Salah, to fast in the month of Ramadhan etc., it also teaches them the etiquettes of eating and drinking, siting and walking, talking and chatting, even answering the call of nature etc. as all these are the parts of Islam. Here it seems to be appropriate to quote the conversation of Salman Farsi (RA) with a certain Jew (Badhl Al-Majhud: 1/185) who questioned about the Islamic teaching about answering the call of nature with the intention of fault-finding. The Jew asked: “Has your Prophet taught you everything, even how to defecate?” Slman (RA) replied, “Yes! He prohibited us from facing the Qiblah while defecating or urinating, and from cleansing ourselves with our right hands, and from cleansing ourselves with less than three stones or with dung or bones.” (Sunan Abu Dawood: 07) In brief, if the people act upon Islamic instructions according to the Islamic guidelines and considering them the Sunnah of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Sallam), they will get success in the world along with being rewarded in the hereafter, In Shaa Allah.
Some people do their works sitting on a way. Sometimes, it is observed that some people start chit chat and idle talks standing on the road; while the passersby feel problem due to them. The beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) has stopped from such action. If sitting or standing on the road is very essential, the people should follow the rights and the etiquettes of the way given by Allah’s Messenger (SAWS).
There are numerous narrations which speak about the rights and the etiquettes of the way. In this reference, some narrations are quoted here where one can find those rights.
It is narrated by Abu Saeed Khudri (RA) that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “Beware, avoid sitting on the roads!” The people said: “There is no way out of it as these are our sitting places where we have talks”. He (SAWS) said: “If you must sit there, then observe the rights of the way”. They asked: “What are the rights of the way?” He (SAWS) said: “They are lowering of your gazes (on seeing what is illegal to look at), refraining from harming people, returning greetings, commanding (others to do) what is good and forbidding (other from) what is evil”. (Sahih Al-Bukhari: 2465)
There is one another narration where Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) guides: “Do not sit on the road and not in the courtyards”. The companions (RA) said: “O Allah’s Messenger (SAWS)! It is not possible (as they are our sitting places)”. He (SAWS) said: “If not, then observe their rights”. They said: “O Prophet of Allah (SAWS)! What are its rights?” He (SAWS) replied: “Replying the greetings, lowering of the gazes, responding to the sneezer, guiding the way (for the one who has missed right path.)”. (Sahih Ibn Habban, 2/357)
Two Ahaadeeth have been quoted here. There are five rights and the etiquettes of the way mentioned in the first Hadeeth; whereas four rights have been said in the second narration. The famous commentator of Sahih Al-Bukhari, Allamah Ibn Hajar Asqalani (1372-1448) has written 14 etiquettes of the road. They are mentioned here. (1) To spread greetings, (2) to talk politely and tenderly (If a passerby asks something, he should be answered tenderly and guided.), (3) to respond one who sneezes, (4) to return the greeting in polite manner, (5) to assist someone in lifting the luggage, (6) to assist the oppressed one, (7) to assist the one who is afflicted or troubled, (8) to guide the one who has lost his way, (9) to guide the one who is restless and confused, (10) to command to do good deed, (11) to forbid from evil, (12) to refrain from harming others (form the tongue or the hand), (13) to lower one’s gazes from seeing what is illegal and (14) to remember Allah abundantly.” (Fath Al-Bari: 11/11)
There are some other narrations related to the road. In one narration, after mentioning several deeds of charity, the Prophet (SAWS) has counted removing a harmful thing from the way as the charity too. The narration goes like this: “To remove a harmful thing from the way is also a charity”. (Sahih Bukhari: 2989) The simple explanation of the Hadith is that if a person finds something fallen on the way which can harm the people, e.g. broken glass, thorn, nail etc., he removes it with the intention of the protecting the people, this action will be counted as charity on his behalf and he will be rewarded for it.
Abu Burzah (RA), one of the companions of the Prophet (SAWS), asked him (SAWS) to guide him to do something which can be counted as good deed. The Prophet (SAWS) replied: “Remove the harmful thing from the way of the Muslims.” (Sahih Muslim: 2618)
According to one Hadith which is narrated by Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) said: “While a man was on the way, he found a thorny branch of a tree there on the way and removed it. Allah appreciated him for that deed and forgave him.” (Sahih Bukhari: 2472) This Hadith makes it clear that removing a thorny branch from the way is a good deed and its doer was forgiven due to this deed.
It is understood by these narrations that if a person find something dangerous fallen on the way which can harm a walking person, it should be removed. Such action is taken as the charity on behalf of the one who has removed it. How beautiful teaching of Islam is!
As the responsible citizens and sensible members of a society, we should take care of those rights and the etiquettes of the way mentioned in the narrations in order to protect the fellow member from any type of the harm, trouble and disturbance. Not only concerning the road, but we should move some steps ahead and make the rule of our lives that we would not commit any action which is harmful even in the least degree for a fellow human being to prove that we are true followers of Islam and disciplined citizens. Then we should also preach what we practice in our societies. It is the instruction and the teaching of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) that none should be harmed by us. The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: “The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe, and the believer is the one from whom the people’s lives and wealth are safe.” (Sunan Nasa’iee: 4995)
Our success lies in following the path shown by our Prophet (SAWS). If we want success in the world and the hereafter, we will have to follow the Sunnah and method of the Prophet (SAWS). We will have to embrace his instructions and teachings in our day-to-day lives. It is the Sunnah and the instructions of the Prophet (SAWS) that by abiding by them the companions (RA) became the role model for the whole Ummah. Allah’s Messenger (SAWS), therefore, said: “My companions are like the stars, whoever of them you will follow, you will be guided.” (Razeen)****
*Moon Rays Trust School, Zambia, Africa