Saturday, December 17, 2011


The Prophet, peace be upon him, held one of his Companions, called Abu Lubabah, in great esteem, so much so that he had left him in charge of Medina when he had left for the first Badr expedition. Some time later, a young orphan came to Muhammad to complain that Abu Lubabah had taken from him a palm tree that had long been his. The Prophet summoned Abu Lubabah and asked him to explain. Investigations showed that the palm tree did belong to Abu Lubabah, and the Prophet judged in the latter's favour, greatly disappointing the young orphan. Muhammad privately asked Abu Lubabah, justice having now been rendered, to give the tree to the young orphan, for whom it was so important. Abu Lubabah adamantly refused: he had gone to such lengths to assert his right of ownership that to concede to this request was inconceivable. This obsession veiled his heart and compassion. Revelation was to recall, on both the individual and collective levels, the singular nature of the spiritual elevation that makes it possible to reach beyond the consciousness of justice, that demands right, to the excellence of the heart, that offers forgiveness or gives people more than their due: "God commands justice and excellence." [Quran 16:90]
It was not a question of giving up one's right (and Abu Lubabah had been justified in requiring it to be acknowledged); rather, it involved learning to sometimes reach beyond, for the sake of those reasons of the heart that teach the mind to forgive, to let go, and to give from oneself and from one's belongings, moved by shared humanity or love. The Prophet was saddened by the reaction of his Companion, whom he held in great esteem: he realized that Abu Lubabah's almost blind attachment to one of Islam's recommendations, justice, prevented him from reaching the superior level of justness of the heart: excellence, generosity, giving. Eventually, another Companion, Thabit ibn Dahdanah, who had witnessed the scene, offered Abu Lubabah an entire orchard in exchange for that single palm tree, which he then gave away to the young orphan. Muhammad rejoiced at that outcome and did not resent Abu Lubabah's attitude. He later entrusted Abu Lubabah with other missions.
Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 133

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