By Yakubu Musa
The theme of my this year’s essay to commemorate the birth of the most remarkable human being ever, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) cannot be more deliberate. The idea is to remind the people in desperate need of a renaissance about the most significant ingredient they are missing in their quest to remodel their society.
When the prophet warned his companion about that “Many a community ruined itself in the past as they only punished the poor and ignored the offenses of the exalted.” he was obviously talking to all of us. Perhaps this and many of his sayings as well as the numerous injunctions in the Holy Quran prompted the position of the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate, Sheikh Usman Bin Fodio, on leadership. According to him, society thrives with justice even if it is full of disbelief but crumbles under the weight of injustice even if it is full of faith.
Undoubtedly, the concept of justice played a central role in the life of Prophet Muhammad. He is revered for his unwavering commitment to justice, fairness, and equality throughout his prophetic mission. Yet, his sense of justice extended to various aspects of his life, and his teachings continue to serve as a model for ethical and moral behavior for Muslims around the world. As both a religious and political leader in Medina, Prophet Muhammad established a legal system that was based on principles of justice and fairness. He encouraged the use of arbitration and mediation to resolve disputes and emphasized the importance of treating all individuals, regardless of their social or economic status, equally under the law.
Perhaps what is more remarkable is his social justice. Prophet Muhammad was deeply committed to it and he championed the rights of the marginalized and vulnerable in society, including widows, orphans, slaves, and the poor. He emphasized the importance of caring for the less fortunate and admonished those who mistreated them. His famous saying, “The best among you are those who are best to their families,” underscores the importance of justice and kindness within the family unit.
In his last sermon, he famously declared, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white; none have superiority over another except by piety and good action.” This proclamation laid the foundation for the rejection of racism and the promotion of racial and ethnic equality in Islam.
Great leaders model the way, they live what they preach. Prophet Muhammad exemplified the principles of justice he orated. He was known for his honesty and integrity even before he received his prophethood, earning him the title of “Al-Amin” (the trustworthy) among his contemporaries. Today, his unwavering commitment to justice, his dedication to the poor and the marginalized, and his teachings on the sanctity of human life are beacons of hope and guidance for humanity in a world often beset by turmoil and division.
Little surprise that Prophet Muhammad’s legacy extends far beyond the borders of his era, resonating across centuries and touching the hearts of diverse nations.
As we commemorate his birth, let us rededicate ourselves to the path of his justice, compassion, and righteousness that he illuminated.