In Sahih Bukhari, there is the story of AlFadl ibn Abbas who was riding in a group with Rasul Allah, sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He happened to see – and stare at – a beautiful woman who came to ask Rasul Allah a question. The Prophet noticed this and instead of making a rude comment or embarrassing him, he subtly reached out for his chin and turned his face so he wouldn’t be staring at her.
We all know that we’re supposed to lower our gaze. That’s not the point I want to make. What I do want to bring attention to is the manner in which The Prophet advised ibn Abbas. There was no yelling or screaming or a khutbah on the evils of zinna. He didn’t place even turn to the woman and place the blame on her – something we see too much in our day. He gently, kindly, lovingly turned his face away. The point was made. The reminder was given. Without any fireworks.
We know Rasul Allah, sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa salaam cared about his companions AND about us. Truly, deeply cared. That’s why he was the best of example. He’s meant to be emulated. Because he cared, he didn’t embarrass others. He knew we all make mistakes. He didn’t condescend or belittle. He’s human too. He sincerely wanted the best for each one of us, especially in the akhirah, so he acted in the best manner.
When we interact with others and hurt them in some way, we say we do it out of love. Because we care. But do we? Yes, sometimes hurt will be involved. But was yelling necessary? Was turning someone away from the deen necessary? Was giving in to our anger necessary? If we actually cared, if we actually loved those whom we advise, perhaps we would act in a slightly different manner.
Ramadan exposes us to hundreds of people at a time – at iftars, at taraweeh, at the mosque for salah. Lack of food and sleep (and sometimes common sense) gives us the excuse to lash out for people when we see things we may not like. If we do so, we would be losing the point of fasting: to always be conscious of Allah. It doesn’t matter if we’re fasting or not – the way we treat others is always being watched. Just as in the example of the Prophet speaking to the bedouin who urinated in the mosque and in this one, the Prophet didn’t flip out. He cared and loved. Let us let the month of mercy put this mercy back into our lives. Bi’idnillah, we’ll see the same mercy enter our lives as well.