Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
In Arabia before Islam there was no respect for women and the poor. Among clans there was no concept of a state and central political authority. Idolatry, depravity and slavery was the order of the day. Outside Arabia, the world was polarized among the then super powers; the Romans and Persia. Even their good concepts introduced by Greeks and Romans were forgotten. The world was in a state of anarchy.
Amid such chaos Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born in Mecca in 571 AD. He was a posthumous child of Abdullah(R.A), a highly respectable merchant of the Hashemite clan who left for heavenly abode at the young age of 24.
Holy Prophet’s mother Amina (R.A) noticed extraordinary signs right at his birth. He spent 40 years in Mecca and everybody noticed that his habits, character were exemplary.
This first revelation establishes that learning is indispensable for our existence because life is based on facts, it is not an illusion. It is all practical. The basic creed of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is to have faith in all the Prophets, believe in all the Holy Books, believe in the hereafter and the day of judgment, and finally have a firm belief in the finality of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He is called Aaqib i.e, the last to come as a Prophet.
He is a model for all as he possesses the best character. The Quran terms him as the Highest of humanity and God is his custodian and it is He who will look after him against all his enemies.
Once his arch-enemy Abu Jahal advanced towards the Holy Prophet (PBUH) with a wicked intention to harm him. A few steps short of him, Abu Jahl was seen turning back, screaming, and shielding his face. When asked by his companions what had happened. He said, “I perceived a ditch of burning fire and some wings flying”. Later, while commenting about the incident, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “If he had proceeded further, the angels would have plucked his limbs off one after another”.
According to the Quran, the Quran is the source of guidance for all and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is the brightest light for the entire humanity. The Holy Prophet enjoys the pedestal position among all human beings and his actions cover the entire life for all times to come.
He abolished slavery and forbade fornication. The Arabs regarded women as a saleable commodity. She had no respect and no rights. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) made women equal partners in life, so much so that he discouraged divorce. For him, family life was most important. He said, ‘the best amongst you are those who are the best for their families and I am on the top of the best for my family.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) had perfection and the beauty of the soul. He had a love for children and his pity for animals is proverbial. The Prophet (PBUH) never put himself in a privileged position. He detested hypocrisy and disliked meddling in others’ affairs. In life, he maintained an ordinary lifestyle. People with pure hearts show intense emotional attachment to him. Only blind at heart would dare say anything against him. And those who did it, during and after Prophet’s (PBUH) life, eventually had to lick the dust. Surah Al-Qalam, 29th chapter of the Quran stands as a stark warning to all such people.
The Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) attitude towards this worldly life is remarkably most progressive. In this regard his advice to Hazrat Abbas, his uncle: “Act every day in such a way that you will never die, but be prepared for death as if you have to die the next day” gives us a fair idea of his progressive approach.
Prophethood – Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
After the proclamation of Prophethood, those who embraced Islam were mostly young men desiring an economic and social change. Many of these young men and women were slaves and maidservants who carried the day. History is a witness to this change in new converts. Strange it appears that the chiefs and elders of these young boys and girls were thirsty for their blood. They thought that Islam would not prosper in that social setup, but they got stunned that the new light was spreading fast. They fought tooth and nail to extinguish the flames of truth. While blindly opposing the movement, the Quraish subjected the new converts to the most inhuman torture but failed to weaken their resolve. Finally, with the Prophet’s (PBUH) advent to Madinah, the long and arduous spell of persecution came to a halt.
Hijrah – Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
At the beginning of the Hijrah, there were skirmishes outside Madinah between Muslims and Quraish, and the decisive battles of Badr and Ahad were fought, but all were put down. It might have been peace or war, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) worked for eternal peace for coming generations. He was a statesman with exceptional farsightedness. With his outstanding diplomatic skills, he made alliances and established relations with other religious communities and empires. Under his impeccable leadership, Mecca has triumphed within ten years, and a new welfare state based on equality and social justice came into being.
The gist of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) teachings is that he exhorts all people to live a collective life, useful for all. It reminds all to inculcate a culture that manifests the best of human character.
His message is further summed up in the farewell address at the time of his only Pilgrimage. He reiterates the middle path in life and shuns extremism as well as all types of superstition. He gives utmost importance to the human dignity, equality, justice, and rights of women. In his last sermon, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) stressed that: “It is the merit that counts whether you are a Black or White, an Arab or a non-Arab”.
At the same time he has warned that after him, his followers will indulge in many differences. The only way to avoid differences and be on the right track would be to follow the Quran and his conduct in letter and spirit.
At present Muslim states are suffering from degradation. As long as Muslims abided by the teachings of the Quran and the practice of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) they flourished. When they deviated from the right track, they lost the prestige and eminence they once enjoyed.
The current state of affairs is such that empty slogans have taken over practicing Sunnah. Claimants of Prophet’s love are many but the true followers are few and far between. In S.T.Coleridge’s words: “ water, water everywhere,/ nor any drop to drink”. Allama Iqbal pointed out the dilemma long ago in his emphatic Jawab e Shikwa: “Reh Gyi Rasm-e-Azan, Rooh-e-Bilali Na Rahi” Azan yet sounds, but not now Like Bilal’s, soulfully.
We understand that Islam is a complete code of life. There is no place for skepticism in God’s message. The Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) teachings and practice are crystal clear. The only requirement is to approach the teachings with a positive mind and open heart. I close this with the Quranic injunction given in Surah Ankabut i.e. Aya 69: “And those who strive in Our (cause) He will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily God is with those who do right”.
Blog by Prof.G.S.Qureshi is an eminent educationist, a scholar of English literature and religion. He is available at firstname.lastname@example.org
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