Recently, whilst waiting at Holborn Tube Station, the train thundered in and commuters of all ages and walks of life,' from the business world with Armani suits and skirts, to less well attired students, from young children to the old, gathered on the platform edge. As the doors opened some waited patiently to allow passengers off whilst others jostled their way through ignoring angry glances, intent on obtaining that elusive seat on the train. Squashed between a tourist with her camera digging into my back and a student with his files I saw an old lady with her shopping withering by the side clearly feeling unwell and needing a seat. I looked across to those seated and a smartly dressed lady poured over the Evening Standard,' a teenager pulled out a magazine,' others glanced away whilst some just sat with stony faces ignoring the ladies distress. The train entered Chancery Lane station and a few commuters prepared to leave their seats. At this point other passengers edged their way into the aisles trying to ascertain which seat would be left vacant. Sure enough as the doors opened and travelers alighted and boarded, that same old lady was pushed further to the back. Wedged between two business men I thought II Survival of the fittest! "
My mind then traveled back to another old lady who was offered help, by a man when he saw her struggling with her baggage. As he walked with her she warned him of another man who claimed to be a new and final Prophet, who wanted to get rid of their idols and religion. She threw insults at this "Prophet" cursing his life and message. When she reached her destination she turned to the man and thanked him for his assistance. "What is your name young man"? she asked. Muhammad (saw) was the reply. I am that Prophet you spoke of. The lady was shocked and surprised. Subhan 'Allah I thought, what kindness and humbleness from a man so great and how sad that so few follow his (saw) true example. Despite being insulted he (saw) remained patient and polite. He (saw) did not react to the old lady but was tolerant of her words. Allah Almighty (swt) says in the Qur'an.
“It is because of mercy from Allah that you (Muhammad) have been so kind to them, for if you had been harsh and cruel-hearted they would have dispersed from around you(3:159)”.
Surely if the Prophet of Allah (saw) can display such fortitude then we too can try and act in a like manner? Yet these days very few people would give a helping hand and even less, display such forbearance. We are asked by Allah (swt):
“be kind as Allah has been kind to you... "(28:77) and
“tolerate patiently what (unbelievers) say and part from them in polite manner” (73:10).
However we are always quick to react when we are in need but slow when it affects others. My mind returned to the commuters and the old lady, still standing, her head leaning on the side of the train, her eyes closed and wearing a weary face...
By Ghazala Hassan Qadri