A Heartfelt Plea
Do not obstruct pathways
Head of Central Executive Committee of Dawat-e-Islami, Maulana Muhammad Imran Attari
Just as the religion of Islam has provided guidance on various aspects of life, guidance has also been given pertaining to pathways. The final Prophet of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said (to his companions), ‘Avoid sitting on the roads’. They replied: ‘(Sometimes) we need to sit there to talk.’ The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated: ‘If you must sit, then fulfil the rights pertaining to the road.’ They asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم! What is the right of the road?’ He said: ‘Lowering the gaze, removing harmful objects, replying to salaam, commanding good and forbidding evil.’ (Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 165, Hadith 6,229)
Once, during a journey for battle, people occupied a lot of space and blocked the road. Upon seeing this, the final Prophet of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم sent someone to announce to the people: ‘Whoever occupies a lot of space or blocks the road, then there is no battle for him.’ (Abu Dawood, vol. 3, p. 58, Hadith 2,629)
In relation to the words ‘occupied a lot of space and blocked the roads’ found in this Hadith, Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan Na’eemi writes: ‘People placed their luggage on the road, resulting in the road becoming blocked and those passing by facing difficulty. And some people had taken more space than required, causing a lack of space for others.’ (Mirat al-Manajih, vol. 5, p. 498)
Even nowadays, people tend to place shop goods on the footpath or in front of the shop, and therefore obstruct the pathway of those going by. In some countries, people sometimes construct a terrace or a seedbed in front of their house which constricts the road. Likewise, in some places, a pit is dug in the street for cooking food and various functions are held, all which lead to public footpaths being closed. People are seen to cause problems for drivers by parking incorrectly on the streets and roads without any regard for road regulations.
A while ago, I left my house in an emergency to take a family member to the hospital. Afflicted with pain, he was moaning in agony and his condition was worrying. I drove the car myself. That day, I realised that many people were not mindful whilst driving and that they were negligent of the laws concerning road traffic. Some people had parked their cars in the road as if it was a car park. In one place, a motorcyclist stopped in the middle of the road to have a conversation with someone else. In some areas, rickshaw drivers had parked obstructively.
I experienced this incident which although was not a major emergency, it was an emergency nonetheless. It is possible that people experience such things on a daily basis, but who can they complain to? Likewise, just how people sometimes do not give way to a normal car, they also do not give way to an ambulance in which a patient is being taken to the hospital in an emergency. Ambulance drivers might constantly horn to make way, but senseless drivers do not seem bothered. In some instances, people may see an empty ambulance and think that its driver is causing an issue for no reason as there is not a patient inside. However, it may be the case that the ambulance quickly needs to reach someone injured and take them to hospital.
There are some moments in life where we come to realise the importance of a few seconds, let alone a few minutes. Matters of this nature include incidents when we are taking someone to the hospital due to an emergency. The mere sound of them crying out in pain is enough to make us feel distressed. Our patience is really tested during such a journey if unnecessary things become a source of worry and prevent us from reaching the hospital on time. In such situations, some people become enraged, get out of their car, show anger and swear. At times, the situation escalates to the point of physical confrontation. They should not act this way. The time spent in these matters is perhaps the time it would take to get the patient to hospital. Moreover, one should ponder over whether such behaviour reduces or adds to the discomfort of the patient they are taking to hospital. Not only does such conduct cause oneself to reach the hospital late, but it also becomes the reason for the people in the cars behind reaching their destination late too.
Returning to the original point, all drivers should ask themselves when parking their car: ‘Is this place actually a parking area?’ Motorcyclists and rickshaw drivers should also reflect on their approach. We should not cause distress to other drivers, nor should we create issues that will either lead to an ambulance reaching the hospital late or cause other drivers to reach their destination late.
Sometimes, two cars face one another when passing through a narrow street, and each driver tries to pass through first. However, as a result, both cars end up getting stuck. This then leads to a queue of cars forming behind them, eventually causing a traffic jam. If any of the two drivers were patient and decided to move their car to the side instead of advancing towards the narrow part of the road, they would not encounter a situation like this.
If only we develop a mindset that instead of creating problems for others, we should become people who solve the problems of others. It is my request to all that we should reduce other people’s hardships instead of adding to them. As well as improving other matters in life, improve your driving habits. Assess yourself and ensure that you are not causing anyone any difficulty through your speech or actions. Do not confront others irrespective of whether or not there is a reason for doing so.
To learn about the ways in which people incur difficulties as a result of our actions, refer to the book from Maktabah-tul-Madinah entitled ‘Takleef mat di jiye.’
May Allah Almighty grant us the ability to better ourselves.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم