AFTER hearing President Duterte’s first State of the Nation’s Address (Sona), I remembered a story about Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that described him as the Al Amin (The Trustworthy). The summary of the story is posted in a website called Al-Islam. I summarized it even further for my readers to learn the story. This story happened before the advent of Islam. The story goes like this.
The most holy place in Islam is located at Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is the place where we can find the Holy Ka’aba inside the Masjid-ul-Haram (the big mosque in Mecca). At one time, it had rained heavily and continuously for a long period the Holy Ka’aba collapsed and needed renovations. The people in Mecca started rebuilding the holy site. As the work progressed, the people renovating it needed to move the al-Hajar-ul-Aswad (the Black Stone) and to be put back in its proper place.
The prominent people in Mecca were mostly belonging to the Quraish tribe/ethnic group. Each quarter of the Ka’aba was being built by one leading family of the Quraish. Each family of Quraish felt the honor of placing the Black Stone belonging to it. The disagreement became deeper that led to a lot of arguments, shouting and physical confrontations. The members of each big family were thinking that a war was going to break out.
None of them were willing to change their own position. They regarded it as a great insult if they didn’t have that special honor of putting the Black Stone back in its place. Until one member stood up and said, “I have a suggestion, let us wait till tomorrow and see who enters the Masjid-ul-Haram first in the morning; then let him decide”. All agreed to this rational suggestion.
They anxiously awaited next morning to see who the first to come and enter Ka’aba was. Suddenly, they heard footsteps heading towards them. It was Muhammad (SAW), the son of Abdulla. Everyone, of course, knew, loved, admired and respected him. With a loud voice, everyone said, “Here comes Al-Amin” and the voice echoed through the place over and over again.
Muhammad (SAW) was surprised to hear of that title with which they called him. He was told about what the people of Quraish were fighting for. It was all silent for a while. Everyone thought his family was going to be favored. Their hearts were beating hard and they were getting anxious and impatient.
Muhammad (SAW) put his robe on the floor, took the sacred Black Stone and put it in the centre of the robe and said, “The chief of each family will take one corner of the robe and lift it together”. With that, each understood a marvelous example of justice in sharing the honor. It showed how Muhammad’s intelligence far exceeded those around him. It also showed his great capacity to solve difficult problems with such ease.
When the robe with the Black Stone was lifted to a reasonable height, Muhammad (SAW) took the Black Stone and put it in its proper place by his own hands. None felt insulted and each had his share of the privilege and honor. This is how Muhammad (S) the Prophet of Islam succeeded in uniting the ever-fighting and ignorant Arabs with his honesty, justice and noble character.
Last July 25, Monday, our nation listened to the Sona of President Duterte. There were so many different reactions from different groups who listened or read his speech. My reaction can be summarized in the story.
President Duterte was able to unite different ethno linguistic groups, different religions, different political ideologies, and even different economic status in Davao City. Because of being trustworthy, the people in Davao learned to trust their government. A government that is ready to serve them and a government for all Filipino people. He was able to do it in Davao and he can do this in the entire country.
President Duterte, like anyone of us, is not perfect. He has his own flaws and shortcomings. But when he said, “I assure you, this will be a clean government”, I believe him. But I will not just sit on my couch and wait for things to unfold in front of us. I will be more active in my socio-civic activities and in my work in Al Qalam to ensure that President Duterte will deliver his promise and his campaign slogan during the elections, Change is coming.