On more than one occasion recently I have been out in public only to have others make rude/hurtful remarks towards me/my appearance. I feel myself getting uncomfortable and hurt, surprised especially since I live in such a multi-cultural city like Toronto. Wondering is my being dressed like a Muslim woman really that out of the ordinary? But I find that the surprise and hurt soon turns to anger and it is all I can do to surpress the urge to turn around and say something.
I was reading recently about our beloved prophet Muhammad (SAW) and what he did in similar instances and the answer is...
"The Prophet (SAW) never took revenge for his own sake, but if the laws of Allah (SWT) were violated, he would take revenge for the sake of Allah SWT)." --Bukhari and Muslim
Once a man came to the Prophet (SAW) asking him for advice in just one word, and Muhammad (SAW) replied" Do not become angry." The man repeated his request for advice several times and each time the Prophet said "Do not become angry". --Fath al Baari 10/519
Aishah (RAH) said " The Prophet (SAW) never struck any person, woman or servant with his hand, except when he was fighting in the way of Allah, and he never took offence at anything and sought revenge for it, except when one of the laws of Allah had been violated and then he would take revenge for the sake of Allah." -- Muslim 15/84
The Prophet (SAW) never reacted in a way that brought wrong to a situation. That demonstrated anything other than patience, forgiveness and kindness unless someone was going against Allah and the religion of Islam. The examples of this are many and insha'Allah the ones I have chosen demonstrate his (SAW) personality.
This is the personality we as Muslims should be trying to emulate. Not only in public by non-Muslims, but by those closest to us as well. At times in friendships, relationships and even marriages we may leave a discussion feeling as though we have been criticized unjustly, or treated unfairly. It is often a situation which is hard to walk away from or ignore. But if we look at the example of the Prophet (SAW) we will see that we should be responding with love, patience and forgiveness. If someone says something hurtful, we should not engage or retaliate. We should strive to be better... to be like the Prophet (SAW) who even forgave a woman who tried to poison him.
May Allah (SWT) give us the strength to uphold our faith, to follow the Quran and sunnah and to act in accordance of them both... Ameen.