The Prophetic Peace Formula: Feed, Greet and Pray
Abdullah ibn Salam (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated When the Prophet arrived for the first time in Madinah, I went with everyone to see him. When I saw him, I knew his face was not that of a liar. The first words he said were, “O people, feed the hungry, spread Salam(greeting of peace), maintain your kin relationships, and pray at night while others are asleep. With this, you shall enter Heaven in peace.” (Al-Bukhari)
Community organizers and leaders of all kinds who share and promote ideas play an important role in spreading values and bringing people together. They have the ability to leverage the collective strength of people to serve the well-being of humanity.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was sincere and had strong, clear convictions in his message, which is why he implemented it first on himself before he took it to others. His sincerity showed on his face, attitude, and body language, lending confidence and credibility to his words and message. The essence of his message is the well-being of people, and his first words as he entered into the new community of Madinah emphasized that.
Eliminating hunger starts with everyone recognizing that we share the world’s food resources. We can start to feed the hungry by creating opportunities for people to have healthy meals through social occasions, dedicated outlets, or personal concerns on the individual level.
Food is a necessity of survival and a prerequisite for peace. We cannot expect communities and countries to tackle other issues until we have helped them ease the pangs of hunger among their people. Ensuring that everyone is able to find their meals for the day is an important step toward world peace.
As we meet each other on the road, while waiting in lines, in classrooms, in the workplace, or in social gatherings, warmly greeting each other goes a long way in creating compassion and awareness among one another. Ignorance leads to hatred and greeting one another opens the door to learning about one another. It diffuses tension and fosters dialogue. A greeting of peace like “I wish you peace” or “May Allah’s peace be with you today” goes even a step further. In Islam, one of Allah’s names is Peace. A greeting of peace is a prayer for Allah to send His peace upon each one of us.
The spiritual connection with Allah is the reactor that gives us the energy to sustain our relationship with others.
Family and relatives are important units for peace in the world. As families grow and expand, the connection and ties potentially grow weaker. Individuals may find themselves alone, unsupported, and without a safety net. Small cliques and competition for power may grow inside the family, and people slowly disconnect from one another.
Renewing and maintaining family ties on a regular basis, even with distant relatives, create opportunities for collaboration and appreciation for one another. It ensures that everyone belongs with someone, somewhere. In today’s world, we are fortunate that technology has provided means of communication by which we can easily stay in touch with other family members.
In an inspiring connection between our spiritual life and physical life, the Prophet lists praying at night along with feeding the hungry, greeting each other, and maintaining family ties. There is something special about praying at night. When we are by ourselves in the quiet moments of the night, it is a powerful time to build our connection with Allah. The spiritual connection with Allah is the reactor that gives us the energy to sustain our relationship with others and our service toward them.
By balancing our inner strength and implementing our role towards others, we chart not only a path to peace in our world but a peaceful path to Heaven as well.
By Dr. Hazem Said and Maha Ezzeddine