A Perfect Religion Part - II MUHAMMAD, PROPHET OF ISLAM (Grace, Peace and Blessings of Allah on him)
A Perfect Religion
Part - II
MUHAMMAD, PROPHET OF ISLAM
(Grace, Peace and Blessings of Allah on him)
Is The Mightiest Ever-Lasting Challenge to:-
Intellectual Monopoly, Cultural Imperialism, Religion Fanaticism, Social injustice, Political Despotism and Economic Exploitation.
He is the Seal of the Prophets, i.e., the Final Prophet-the Last Prophet on whom the line of Prophets is closed 40 : 33. He is the Harbinger of Mercy from God for all the worlds. 107 : 31. He confirms all Prophets and their scriptures. 285 : 2. He was born on Monday, 12th Rabii-‘ul-Awwal, in the year 570A.D. in Makkah. His father, ‘Abdullah, was the son of Abdul-Muttalib, Leader of the Qureish tribe, and his mother, Aamina, was the daughter of Wahb, Leader of the Bene Zuhra tribe of Madina. As an orphan, he was brought up under the protection of his uncle, Abu Taalib, ‘Ali’s father.
COMPANIONS:- Muhammad, peace be on him, attained Prophethood at the age of 40, and lived in Makkah in spite of bitter opposition till the age of 53, then he migrated to Madina, where he passed the last ten years of his life, in marvelous progress and achievement, till he returned to his Lord at the age of 63, on Monday, 8th June, 632 A.D. in Madina. He was blessed by God with a number of sincere and capable followers; either family members like Abu Taalib and ‘Ali, wives like Khadiija and ‘aa-isha, daughter like Faatima, wife of ‘Ali, and grandchildren like Hassan, Husayn,: he Martyrs, and Zaynab; or companions like Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Usmaan, and Ali. First Four Caliphs In Islam, an several others, all of whom took up the cause of Islam with unparalleled devotion and success.
MARRIAGES:- Muhammad (peace be upon him) was engaged by a wealthy widow-merchant, Khadiija to look after her mercantile business, with the result that she, forty years old, married Muhammad, at the age of 25. She was the first and only wife till she died at the age of 65 in Makkah. Their married life of 25 years was a model of happy and high co-operation. During the last ten years of his life in Madina, the Prophet, for a number of reasons, at once delicate and intricate had to accept, at intervals, about ten wives, all, with the exception of only one, widows or divorced, and some quite old. Those who do not appreciate the situation are puzzled with such an odd family. Many make it a point of objection. But in fact they will find their own contradiction, if they seek honest explanation. Of all these, ‘Aa-isha, daughter of Abu Bakr, was the only virgin wife of high status and personality. She was reputed for scholarship in Qur-‘aan and Tradition, and taught people Islam ably for 48 years after the Prophet’s death.
REVELATION OF THE QUR-‘AAN:- At the age of 40, Muhammad (Peace be on him) received “Wahee” of First Message from Allah, through the Angel Jibreel, on Mount Hira, in one of the odd nights (21 to 29)’of Ramadan Beginning with Sura 96 as, “Read in the name of the Lord Munificent, who taught man by the pen” Here the emphasis is on God’s bestowing on Man, the basis of his superiority to all other creatures, and lastly the paramount need of reading and writing with pen, so as to acquire, preserve and propagate Knowledge in Mankind.
The Spiritual experience marks the start of Prophetic career. Tjhere is historical association of Ramadaan with the Qur-’aan, and this is one of the reasons why special attention is paid to the recitation and study of the Qur-‘aan and activities and blessings, peculiar to this month, vide 185: 2. Moreover, the Prophet’s Mi’-raaj or Ascension to High Heavens is dated to the 27th night of the month of ‘Rajab’ in the year before his “Hijrat” from Makkah to Madina. Vide 1 : 17, 8 : 53. The Qur-‘aan is the Highest Gift of God to mankind, better than all the possessions of the world. So it must be the source of greatest delight as well. Vide 57, 58 : 10. So Muslims are commanded to be attentive to the Qur-‘aan, to seek the company of spiritual people, and not to make a fetish of this world. 27, 28 : 18.
MUHAMMAD AS FORTOLD:- The Qur-‘aan is most emphatic on its Revelation to the Prophet, and on its Message of the Unity of God. 19 : 6. At the same time Islam is most liberal within the limits of Truth, but not beyond the limits, like any expedient compromise. The way of Islam is straight and broad, not crooked or narrow for its followers, so that it claims to include all Religions in Truth (158: 7, 285: 2). The Basic Beliefs in Islam are mentioned at several places in the Qur-‘aan. 136: 4. But the Prophet is denied recognition by the Divines of other Religions, in spite of Prominent Prophesies about him, contained in their own Books.
“The people of the Book know this Apostle (Muhammad) as they know their own sons, but a party of them conceal the Truth (of Prophethood) which they themselves know (from the references in their Books) (Torah and Gospel), but they conceal or misinterpret.” (146: 2, 20: 6, 16 to 18: 5, 157: 7).
“And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary said: O children of Israel ! I am the Apostle of God (sent) to you, confirming the Law (of Moses which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of an Apostle to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmed; but when he came to them with clear signs they said! This is Evident Sorcery.” 6, 7: 61.
MODEL OF BALANCE:- The Prophet of Islam has two specific names, Muhammad (Highly Praised) and Ahmad (Most Praised). In other worlds, Muhammad is associated with the sphere of “Khalq” (Creation), and Ahmad with the sphere of “Amr” (Command), and since Jesus Christ is more endowed with ‘Amr’ than with ‘Khalq’, as shown by his birth, his miracles and his end, he calls the Prophet (of Islam) “Ahmad,” according to his own Complex. This “Amr” is expressed by ‘Kun” or (Be) which is also called “Kalima” or Word); hence Jesus Christ is also called “Word” in the Qur-‘aan. But the Prophet of Islam is a model of Balance in his relations with ‘Khalq’ and ‘Amr’, and as such, he is also a model of ‘Abd’ (servant) in his relation with his ‘Rab’- and this Model marks the Zenith of Religion---both the relations extending to the extreme and still safe, free from exaggeration. While the prophet seems to live like a common man in this world, he rises to heights beyond imagination in the Spiritual sphere. And even then, on a broad outlook, his all-round success, in this world as well, stands out a Monument of human achievements.
MODEL OF CONDUCT :- So the Muslims are advised in the Qur-‘aan:- “Say O Prophet! I am but a man like yourselves (neither a Son of God nor an Incarnation of God), but the Inspiration has come to me that your God is One God. Whoever expects to meet his Lord (and Man can meet his Lord), let him work (with Righteousness, and in the Worship of his Lord (let him) admit no one as partner, vide 110 : 18. You have indeed, in the Apostle of God (Muhammad) an Excellent Model (of Conduct) for anyone whose hope is in God and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of God. 21 : 33. In addition to Muslims, the Prophet is also congratulated on his personal progress. “And We raised high for thee (Muhammad), the Talk about thee (in the form of Salaat and Salaam and Azaan from Allah, from Angels and from Men).” 1 to 4 : 94. The Talk about Prophet, raised high. Is further explained by the Qur-‘aan: “Verily Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet (Muhammad): O ye who believe! Invoke blessings on him and offer your Salutation to him with all respects.” 56: 33. Allaa-humma salli ‘alaa Muhamma-din wa ‘alaa ‘Aalehii wa As-haabehii wa baarik wa sallim. (O Allah Bestow Thy grace on Muhammad, his family members, his companions, shower Thy blessings on him, and grant peace to him).
PERICLYTOS:- It is not necessary to open here the old long controversy, how far the Prophet is foretold in preceding Books; but the fact remains that Deut XVIII: 18 in Old Testament, and the Gospel of St. John XIV (16) XV (26) and XVI (7) in the New Testament contain obvious specifications which identify the Prophet as their Object. Wilful mistranslation is however a different matter. For instance the Greek name ‘Periclutos’ or ‘Periclytos’ which is almost a literal equivalent of ‘Ahmad’ or ‘Muhammad’, may be easily corrupted as ‘Paracletos’(Advocate), which also applies to the Prophet, and then it may be mistranslated further as ‘comforter’, which again applies to the Prophet, and still such Prominent References are denied to the Prophet, lest he should be accepted by many people of their own fold. Let Jesus Christ (God’s Blessings on him) speak for himself and for the next Prophet Ahmad or Muhammad:-
“If you love me, keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, (being the Final Prophet-?-author, M.E. Burney) even the spirit of Truth (he will be-?-author, Burney). (John) XIV, 15-17. Similarly Jesus Christ is highly admired more than once in the Qur-‘aan. Vide 45 : 3.
ABD-APOSTLE RAB:- The Abd should train his mind to the full realization, in knowledge and action, of his intimate relationship with the Supreme Being, after asserting his firm Belief in the Unity of God and in the Prophetship of Muhammad.
“ ‘Abd and Rab” is the essence of the Teachings of Islam which determines Human position in Creation. “Abd means one who has nothing originally his own, but whatever he has he gets from his ‘Rab’ (God), be it his life or its numerous constituents (powers and qualities), in fact his entire existence. ‘Rab’ is the Supreme Being who creates and sustains his creation in entire existence, called ‘Rabbul- ‘Aalameen’ (the Lord of all the worlds). Those who know ‘Rab’ and accordingly, to the point of realization, are called Apostles and saints. This association of ‘Abd’ and ‘Rab’ (the created and the Creator), dispenses with the need of the sons or (Avatars) Incarnations of God Himself (in human or other form). Man as man is capable to hold any exalted Position, subject to God. Thus it is that Muhammad is called “ ‘Abdu-huu wa Rasuu-luhuu.” His ‘Abd and His Apostle (God’s blessings on him). Vide (25 to 29: 20, 110: 18).
“Abds’ in their high grades are gifted with ‘Amaanat’ (Trust) and ‘Khilaafat’ (Vicegerency) in the universe, and they are superior to Angels, because they are capable of wider and higher Manifestations of the Supreme Being, but still they keep human level in their life, under the action, of ‘Khalq’ (Creation) and ‘Amr’ (Command).
NEXT TO GOD:- Prophet’s contact with people is called his ‘Nuzuul’ (Descension), and his rise to his Lord, Most Excellent, is called his ‘Urooj’ (Ascension), and his life between the two extremes is called his ‘Maqqaam’ (Position) which may be higher and lower among the Prophets. The farther the extremes , the greater the ‘Zuhoor’ (Manifestation) of ‘Amaanat’ (Trust) ans ‘Khilaafat’ (Vicegerency) in the Prophet’s personality. The two extremes are also called ‘Misiiat’ (Similarity) and ‘Afzaliat’ (Superiority). In brief the Qur-‘aanic conception of Prophetship is at once Human and Spiritual, without any super-humanity to substantiate his position. Thus Man stands next to God, but strictly in the sphere of creation, entirely subject to his Lord, Most Exalted. The Prophet’s Message (Islam) has been summed up as:- ‘Say; He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute, on whom all depend. He begettith not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like unto Him.’ Vide 1 to 4: 112, 1 to 3 : 25, 108 : 12, 180 to 182: 37). Let those Reflect Who Seek Truth.
COMPARATIVE STUDY OF RELIGIOUS BOOKS:- As to the Qur-‘aan, all Major Religions of the world, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Confucianism, have got their Basic Books and these Books stand as the sole and final Authority for the system of their respective Religions. Of all such Books, the Qur-‘aan alone claims, and claims definitely and emphatically, to be entirely the Words of God, communicated to the Prophet (Muhammad) through “Wahee” or Inspiration in origin. Other Books either make no such claim in themselves, but are taken, more or less, to be the Words of God, by implication; or even if they were the Words of God in origin, they are held to have suffered various alterations in the Text, or to have been lost and replaced by Memoirs written by Disciples themselves.
Again the Qur-‘aan is available, original, intact, in a living and progressive ‘Arabic’ language of great Refinement and Literature, more or less current all the world over, while other Books are found in Languages, antique, or even obsolete or even extinct so as to be preserved in Translations, some very far-fetched indeed. In fact the Qur-‘aan is the ONE BASIC BOOK, which is read in OriginalText, on the largest scale in the world. (Vide Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th Edition), while other Books have got their own limitations. It is hard to deny that the Qur-‘aan has been exercising strong influence in favour of Monotheism over other religions as well. It is a Common Spiritual Heritage of mankind like air, light and water.
MUHAMMAD – A HISTORICAL PERSONALITY:- Similarly, of all the Heads of Major Religions, Muhammad is the One and the Only Prophet, whose life can be studied in full details on the standard of History. None else has been so well known, so intimate with Mankind and so congenial to Humanity. It is so sure to know how to follow him in what matters. It is not so practicable in other cases. And the study and application of the Qur-‘aan, according to Prophet’s system, leads to very wide, very high and very safe spheres of Spiritual Culture, so natural, and so balanced, as to keep the normal of human life undisturbed, and thereby discourage Asceticism and Monkish Life, which is baneful to Humanity in the long run. Any way, every Religious system must be presented entirely on the ground of the Basic Book, so as to make it Authoritative to all concerned for comparative study of Religion. And this has been attempted here.
HOW TO EMBRACE ISLAM:- At last, a question may arise in some minds after all, what is to be done, if one decides to embrace Islam. The answer is short and simple. First of all, one has to assert one’s firm Belief in the Unity of God, and in the Prophetship of Muhammad, by reciting ‘Kalima’- tut- Tawheed’:-
“Laaa Ilaa-ha Il-lal-laah, Muhammadur-Rasuulul-laah.” (There is no God, but Allah, Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah).
This Kalima is further to be asserted for emphasis:-
“Ash-hadu allaaa ilaaha il-lal-laa-hu, Wah-dahuu, Laa sha-reeka lahuu, wa ash-hadu anna Muhamma-dan ‘Abduhuu wa Rasuuluhu. (I bear witness that verily there is no God but Allah. He is the One, None is Partner with Him. And I bear witness that verily Muhammad is His ‘Abd (servant) and His Apostle. (He is neither God, nor a Son of God, nor the Incarnation of God). There is no priesthood in Islam. No rituals, no formalities of baptism.
BASIC BELIEFS AND DEEDS:- Then the other Basic Beliefs of Islam given on the title page of this volume have to be asserted. 136 : 4. Thus when knowledge had been set Right by means of Beliefs, there comes the sphere of Action which consists of four Basic Duties as below:-
1. Salaat or Namaaz (Prayers)., five times a day. If prayers be missed at one time, they may be made up at another time. Islam, being a Religion of Association, and not of Isolation, teaches to be attentive to God and Truth, not only in solitude, but also in Crowd and Company, so that it is more meritorious to offer prayers in congregation than alone, in mosque than at home. Man must learn to live in Truth, Just as fish live in water. Just as there are people Worldly wise, Islam wants people to be Worldly Religion.
2. Zakkat or Poor-Due, to pay annually for religious purpose 2 ½ P.C. of wealth held in the form of cash or jewellery during the whole year.
3. Sawm or Roza, to fast the whole day in the month of Ramazaan, with exceptions and alternatives in illness or old age or difficult journey.
4. Hajj-Pilgrimage to Makkah, seat of Islam, at least once in life, is binding, if one can afford to do so, in respect of his finance, health and other considerations. Pilgrimage to Madina, to visit the Prophet’s Tomb with Hajj is very meritorious.
To live a truthful Life of Spiritual Attitude and Right Remembrance of Allah, Muslims are advised to repeat Basic Truths in their mind and heart in their daily life. For instance they should say:
(1) ‘Bismillah’ (in the name of Allah, at all occasions of beginning and start,
(2) ‘Sub-haanallaah’ (Glory to Allah) at all occasions of greatness and wonder,
(3) ‘Al-Hamdu-lil-laah, (Praise be to Allah), at all occasions of favour and comfort,
(4) In-Shaaa-Allah, (God willing), at all occasions of action and enterprise, (5) ‘As-tag-firul-laah’ (I seek forgiveness from Allah), at all occasions of slip and sins,
(6) Salaamun ‘alay-kum (Peace be on you), at all occasions of meeting and greeting,
(7) ‘Innaa lil-laah’ (We belong to Allah), at all occasions of misfortune and grief,
(8) ‘Allaahu-Akbar’ (Allah is Great) at all occasions of difficulty and crisis, and
(9) ‘Allaa-huma salli ‘alaa Muhammadin wa ‘alaa Aali Muhammadin wa baarik wa sallim’ (O Allah! Bestow grace, blessings and peace on Muhammad and His family members, for cultivating love and reverence for the Prophet. But Words must be accompanied by deeds, and Knowledge must be transformed into Action, so more stress is laid on Duties and Obligations in daily life.
RISAALAT, THE SOUL OF TAWHEED:- The concept of the Unity of God in its purest form has been furnished to mankind through Muhammad (peace be on him). So it is the duty of every Muslim to entertain the highest respect and love for Him, and to follow the best example in Knowledge and Action set by Him in the light of Qur-‘aan . May it be made clear that obedience to the Apostle is always to be charged with an unalloyed love and reverence for Him, for it is through His love alone that the highest truths can be comprehended and Communion with God can be vouchsafed. In fact, Love is the motive force; Reverence disciplines Love, and implicit Obedience to the Prophet is their natural outcome.
To sum up, true relationship with God (Tawheed’) cannot be obtained without ‘Risaalat (the Belief in the Aposteship of Muhammad and his love and obedience), as declares the Qur-‘aan:-