Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                                Table of ContentsTABLE OF CONTENTSTable of Contents.......
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                               Table of Contents  THE REWARDS OF RESTRAINT................
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                                 Table of Contents  THE BEST NATION ......................
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                               Table of Contents  THE APTITUDE OF THE ARABS ..............
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                               Table of Contents  NOTES ..................................
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                                 Table of Contents   DOING MORE THAN ONE IS LEGALLY BOU...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                      IntroductionINTRODUCTIONIn an American publication entitled The H...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                       Introductionthis “hero,” the Prophet Muhammad, arose fromthe Peo...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                       Introductionhim by God. If this miracle had been of the sameorde...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                      IntroductionThe Prophet was chosen by God to give the kind ofguid...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                       Introductionto the people of many different lands, they werecomm...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                       Introductionmanifest. All that is best in human values, all thei...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                       Introductionany time, can the followers of the Prophet prevailov...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                       IntroductionDuring the fourteen hundred years that havepassed si...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                1. From Adam to the Messiah1. FROM ADAM TO THE MESSIAHAll of the prophe...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity               1. From Adam to the MessiahFew people, for instance, followed the Prophe...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                1. From Adam to the MessiahIn God’s sight, the prophets stand head ands...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                1. From Adam to the Messiahpeople’s beliefs and actions. Consequently, ...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity               1. From Adam to the MessiahDavid’s son, and succeeded to his father’s th...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                1. From Adam to the Messiahto preach religion, but also to exalt it abo...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity               1. From Adam to the Messiahthe true recipients of the word of God. Hence...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                1. From Adam to the Messiahauthentic source on the Prophet’s life, as s...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity     2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammad2. THE EMERGENCE AND LEGACY OFT...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity     2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammaddemise occurred three years bef...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity     2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammadfrom Iran and Iraq to Bukhara i...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity     2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet MuhammadGazetter2 there are 900 million...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity     2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammadnatural qualities needed for de...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity     2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet MuhammadIt ushered in the age of the pr...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity     2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammadthe sombre evidence of the hist...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity     2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammadwealth and power—were meanwhile...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity     2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammadrevolution of the Prophet Muham...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary Conduct3. EXEMPLARY CONDUCTThe Prophet of Islam, Muhamma...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary ConductWhen he married at the age of twenty-five, hisun...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary ConductProphet was twenty-five, she offered herself to ...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary Conductmind. What is our true role in life? What does th...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary Conduct   there is nothing blocking one’s vision of   r...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary ConductThe word used in this verse for “wandering”(“dha...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary Conductcommunion with the Lord. Not only did God granth...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary Conduct  both poverty and affluence; That I should join ...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary ConductThe Prophet once said,  A discerning person shoul...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary Conductan integral part of the Prophet’s life. One who h...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary Conductimparted by his life is that, unless one changes...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary ConductEven this mildest of punishments was to beeschew...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary Conductpreparation for the future life. Just as every a...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary ConductTowards the end of the Prophet’s life MariahQibti...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary Conduct  God knows, Ibrahim, how we sorrow at your  part...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary Conductprotested, “we will do all the work.” “I know tha...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary Conductpoor Muslim sitting next to him. “Are you scared...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary Conductsuch forbearance and humility even after beingest...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary ConductArrows rained down on the Prophet from theenemy r...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary Conductcamel-load of barley and another of dates given t...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary ConductThree sons were born to the Prophet, all of whom...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary Conducthad wanted to see him about. ‘Ali told the Proph...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary Conductmade mention of the greatness of God. Then hewen...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary Conductinflicted on him. Yet throughout the twenty-three...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary ConductImagine how dreadful the situation must havebeen...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                  3. Exemplary Conductespecially Safwan, Suhayl and Harith. How can ape...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   3. Exemplary Conductuniverse should serve to remind us of God. In ev...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                    3. Exemplary Conduct6. Miswak, a stick used as a dentifrice.7. Hadi...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime Character4. SUBLIME CHARACTERIn the Qur’an the Prophet Mu...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                    4. Sublime Characterthe principle: do as you have been done by. Suc...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime CharacterBut this does not hold true for the ProphetMuham...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime Characterwere incensed on hearing this. “What, do youpref...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                    4. Sublime Characterwith those who honour their ties with you; it m...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime Character  and those who have migrated for the cause of  ...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime Characterdeaf ear. Obviously retribution will be morecomp...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime Characterimpact on him that now he was willing to give al...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                     4. Sublime Characteryou.’ The Prophet told ‘A’ishah not to answer ...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime Characterbeen the hardest night of his life. But even at ...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                    4. Sublime Characterthe enemy!’ he cried to the Muslims. This was a...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime CharacterMakkah became a living testament to truth of the...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime Charactervoice, people realized that, by releasing Thamam...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime Characterpinnacle of human ethics, never abandoning thelo...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime Characterprovided it did not involve sin: no one was more...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                    4. Sublime Characterhad been held in high esteem. From ancient time...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime CharacterMuslim during the period in between the peace of...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                   4. Sublime CharacterThis action of the Prophet illustrates that Musl...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity                    4. Sublime Character3. Hadith of Razin.4. Qur’an, 3:159.5· Qur’an, ...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity               5. Lessons of the Prophet’s Life5. LESSONS OF THE PROPHET’S LIFETHE REWA...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity               5. Lessons of the Prophet’s Lifeenable one to see the life of the Prophe...
Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity               5. Lessons of the Prophet’s Lifegiving their own personal whims the stam...
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Muhammad : A Prophet For All Humanity
Muhammad : A Prophet For All Humanity
Muhammad : A Prophet For All Humanity
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Muhammad : A Prophet For All Humanity

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In making the Prophet Muhammad the
greatest figure, and consequently one of the
most resplendent landmarks in human
history, God has bestowed his greatest favour
on mankind. Whoever seeks guidance cannot
fail to see him, for he stands out like a tower, a
mountain on the horizon, radiating light like a
beacon, beckoning all to the true path. It is
inevitable that the seekers of truth will be
drawn up to the magnificent pinnacle on
which he stands.

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Muhammad : A Prophet For All Humanity

  1. 1. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity Table of ContentsTABLE OF CONTENTSTable of Contents................................................................2Introduction ........................................................................8 NOTES ...........................................................................151. From Adam to the Messiah .........................................16 NOTES ...........................................................................232. The Emergence and Legacy of the ProphetMuhammad ......................................................................24 NOTES ...........................................................................323. Exemplary Conduct .....................................................33 HUMILITY AND FORBEARANCE............................45 NOTES ...........................................................................594. Sublime Character ........................................................61 ABSENCE OF ACRIMONY.........................................70 NOTES ...........................................................................785. Lessons of the Prophet’s Life.......................................80 ~2~
  2. 2. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity Table of Contents THE REWARDS OF RESTRAINT...............................80 NEVER YIELDING TO DESPAIR...............................88 THE PROPHET FORCED INTO EXILE .....................92 ABSOLUTE TRUST IN GOD.......................................95 REACHING A CONSENSUS ......................................97 AVOIDING CONFRONTATION .............................103 NOTES .........................................................................1116. The Path of the Prophet .............................................113 EVOLUTION NOT REVOLUTION ..........................113 UNSWERVING OBEDIENCE ...................................119 NOTES .........................................................................1297. The Revolution of the Prophet ..................................130 A COMPARISON .......................................................132 DIVINE SUCCOUR ....................................................138 EXALTATION OF THE WORD OF GOD ................145 A NEW NATION IS BORN .......................................149 ~3~
  3. 3. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity Table of Contents THE BEST NATION ...................................................155 AVOIDING EXTRANEOUS ISSUES ........................162 FITTING IN WITH GOD’S SCHEME.......................166 NOTES .........................................................................1758. Rising above Events ...................................................1779. The Prophetic Method ...............................................183 STRENGTHENING ONESELF INWARDLY...........183 INWARD STRENGTH ...............................................185 THE EXTERNAL TARGET: MISSIONARY ACTIVITY ......................................................................................198 PATIENCE AND STEADFASTNESS .......................209 TRUSTING IN GOD...................................................220 NOTES .........................................................................22110. The Prophet in Makkah ...........................................223 THE BEGINNING OF THE PROPHET’S PUBLIC MISSION......................................................................227 THE PROPHET’S CALL ............................................235 ~4~
  4. 4. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity Table of Contents THE APTITUDE OF THE ARABS ............................240 THE ALL–PERVASIVENESS OF THE PROPHET’S MESSAGE....................................................................247 FACTORS WORKING IN FAVOUR OF PREACHING WORK..........................................................................253 REACTION TO THE MESSAGE OF ISLAM ...........260 EXPULSION................................................................273 NOTES .........................................................................28111. Islam comes to Madinah ..........................................285 NOTE ...........................................................................29012. Emigration—From Makkah to Madinah................291 THE EMIGRANTS ARE MADE AT HOME ............293 VICTORY OF ISLAM .................................................307 NOTES .........................................................................32213. Victory and after.......................................................324 NOTES .........................................................................33514. The Termination of Prophethood ...........................337 ~5~
  5. 5. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity Table of Contents NOTES .........................................................................34915. The Qur’an—The Prophet’s Miracle.......................351 SOCIAL UPHEAVALS...............................................357 LITERARY ADVANCEMENT ..................................369 NOTES .........................................................................38216. The Companions of the Prophet .............................384 ISLAM WAS SOMETHING THEY LOVED.............384 RECOGNISING THE PROPHET AT THE VERY BEGINNING ...............................................................386 ADHERING TO THE QUR’AN WHEN IT WAS STILL THE SUBJECT OF CONTROVERSY .............389 SPENDING ONE’S WEALTH FOR THE SAKE OF A TRUTH WHICH HAS YET TO BE ESTABLISHED 392 PLACING ONE’S OWN CROWN ON THE HEAD OF ANOTHER ............................................................394 REALIZING ONE’S OWN LIMITATIONS..............396 TAKING RESPONSIBILITY UPON ONESELF .......398 NOT BEARING GRUDGES .......................................400 ~6~
  6. 6. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity Table of Contents DOING MORE THAN ONE IS LEGALLY BOUND TO.................................................................................401 AVOIDING CONTROVERSY, AND CONCENTRATING ON ONE’S BASIC GOAL ......404 BEING CONTENT TO REMAIN IN OBSCURITY..406 RATIONAL DECISIONS, DURING EMOTIONAL CRISES .........................................................................407 GROWING LIKE A TREE..........................................410 NOTES .........................................................................41317. Manifestation of Prophethood in the Present Dayand Age ...........................................................................414 NOTES .........................................................................439MUHAMMAD A PROPHET FOR ALL HUMANITY440 ~7~
  7. 7. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity IntroductionINTRODUCTIONIn an American publication entitled The Hundred,the author mentions the one hundred people hebelieves to have exerted the greatest influence onhuman history. The author, Dr Michael Hart, wasborn into a Christian family, and received ascientific education. But at the top of his roll ofhonour he has placed neither Christ’s name, norNewton’s. There was one person, he believes,whose achievements excelled all others: that personwas the Prophet Muhammad. No one else has hadsuch an impact on the history of man. “He was theonly man in history,” he writes, “who wassupremely successful on both the religious andsecular levels.”1Just as to the American, Michael Hart, he is themost outstanding figure of human history, to theEnglish historian, Thomas Carlyle, he is “the hero ofthe Prophets.”In ancient times, when Abraham and Ishmael werebuilding the House in Makkah, they prayed for aprophet among their descendants. 2,500 years later, ~8~
  8. 8. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity Introductionthis “hero,” the Prophet Muhammad, arose fromthe People of Makkah bringing with him specialdivine succour. The prayer of Abraham wasfulfilled, and with it the purpose of the prophets’coming to the world was achieved.Before Muhammad, history did not carefully recordthe lives of the prophets. From a strictly academicand historical point of view, then, theirprophethood was difficult to establish. The ProphetJesus was the last of the ancient line of prophets andhas a following of millions, yet so tenuous is hishistorical position that Bertrand Russell has hadoccasion to remark: “Historically it is quite doubtfulwhether Christ ever existed at all.” This is not thecase with the Prophet Muhammad, the last of theprophets. His life is so well-documented and clearlylaid down in history that anyone who studies hislife is forced to agree with Professor Philip Hittithat, “Muhammad was born in the full light ofhistory.”2The factor, which makes the greatest contribution tothe permanence of Muhammad’s prophethood, is theQur’an, that enduring miracle which was revealed to ~9~
  9. 9. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity Introductionhim by God. If this miracle had been of the sameorder as those bestowed upon his propheticpredecessors, its effects would not have outlived him,and his prophethood would not have been acceptedin the way that it was by subsequent generations. Amiracle is a wondrous event which man, on his own,is unable to produce. This definition applies in fullmeasure to the Qur’an: it is beyond man even toemulate it. There is no doubt that the Qur’an is amiracle wrought by the Almighty.Muhammad’s role was exceptional in that he was tobe the last of the prophets. It had been so ordainedby God. The final revelation of God’s will was to beconveyed to the people by him and, for posterity,the scriptures had to be preserved by him andsubsequently by his devoted followers throughoutthe centuries. To ensure this train of events, theProphet had to bring about a great revolution thatwould give him a following the world over. Muhammad is the father of no man among you. He is the Prophet of God and the last of the prophets. God has knowledge of all things.3 ~ 10 ~
  10. 10. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity IntroductionThe Prophet was chosen by God to give the kind ofguidance to people, which they needed if they wereto lead upright, virtuous lives. If people seeminglyhave complete control over what they do, it isbecause, in this world, they are on trial. If theillusion of free will causes them to act as theychoose, it is because they are being tested. TheProphets, in spite of their divine mission, cannotforce people to change their ways. All they can do iscommunicate the message with which God hasentrusted them: Yet what should Messengers do but give plain warning?4God has done the maximum to ensure that weshould not go astray in our journey through life. Hehas given us a conscience, enabling us todifferentiate between what is right and wrong, andhas placed us in a world based on justice. But -whenever man has failed to listen to his conscience,or was deaf to the silent message emanating fromevery object of God’s creation, God sent Hisprophets to bring him the truth, and so that theseGod-sent messages should not be incomprehensible ~ 11 ~
  11. 11. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity Introductionto the people of many different lands, they werecommunicated to them in their own languages.In pre-Islamic times religious institutions hadbecome debased by the veneration of mere mortals;whereas the prophet Muhammad admitted of noother form of religion but that based on the worshipof the immortal God. Religious beliefs had veryfrequently been founded on superstition; but by himthey were established on the foundation of reality. Itwas he who taught people to conquer nature insteadof worshipping it, thus paving the way for thescientific era. And where political power had been inthe hands of one hereditary monarch, he showed theway to government by the people. While learninghad been based on conjecture and assumption, hetaught people to learn from observation of reality. Incases where human society had been vitiated bycruelty and oppression, he showed people how tolive together in justice and peace. These are allachievements of the Prophet Muhammad. Hechanged the tide of human history.From whatever angle one looks at history, ever-broadening reverberations of his impact will be ~ 12 ~
  12. 12. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity Introductionmanifest. All that is best in human values, all theimportant advances of human civilization, aredirect or indirect results of the revolution hebrought about.His own personal life was a perfect example formankind. Because he himself was made to experienceall kinds of special conditions, he was able to providea model for living both at the individual and sociallevels. He showed us the life that God would like usto live on earth, for in all matters each and every oneof his actions was in accordance with the will of God.Not only did he establish the perfect pattern for theworship of God, but he also showed how God helpsthose who truly devote their lives to His service. Wecan see from his life how, if one fears God, there isnothing else that one need fear. If one remains patientin the face of provocation, He will pour oil ontroubled waters. If one rises above negative impulses,one can win over everyone, even enemies. If onesacrifices this world for the next, one will eventuallyhave the best of both worlds.Just as the farmer who cultivates his land bydivinely inspired methods reaps the best crop, so, at ~ 13 ~
  13. 13. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity Introductionany time, can the followers of the Prophet prevailover others. God has provided all of the conditionsnecessary for and conducive to the dominance ofHis, the divine religion. By understanding andutilizing them, adherents of this religion can bringIslamic thought into pre-eminence.Between the time of the Prophet Abraham and thecoming of the Prophet Muhammad, two thousandfive hundred years elapsed. Throughout this periodthe stage was being set for the coming of theProphet. The Prophet, acting at God’s behest,played the role for which he was cast. That waswhy his mission was supremely successful.In making the Prophet Muhammad the greatestfigure, and consequently one of the mostresplendent landmarks in human history, God hasbestowed his greatest favour on mankind. Whoeverseeks a guide for himself cannot fail to see him, forhe stands out like a tower, a mountain on thehorizon, radiating light like a beacon, beckoning allto the true path. It is inevitable that a seeker of truthwill be drawn up to the magnificent pinnacle onwhich he stands. ~ 14 ~
  14. 14. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity IntroductionDuring the fourteen hundred years that havepassed since the times of the Prophet Muhammad,the historical changes that have occurred, themassive advances in human knowledge that havetaken place, have all combined in support of Islam.The religion that the Prophet taught can still takepride of place over other religions. But, for this to beachieved, divinely-inspired methods have to beadopted. This rule, which applied to the Prophet,equally applies to his followers.NOTES1. Dr. Michael Hart, The Hundred, New York, 1978.2. Philip K Hitti, History of the Arabs, London, 1978.3. Qur’an, 33:40.4. Qur’an, 16:35. ~ 15 ~
  15. 15. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 1. From Adam to the Messiah1. FROM ADAM TO THE MESSIAHAll of the prophets who came into this world hadan identical mission. They taught that man’s life onearth was but an infinitesimal part of his eternal life.In this world he was put to the test. Reward orpunishment would come in the next. After death, ifhe had followed the Lord’s path, he would find hiseternal abode in heaven. But, if he had strayed fromit, he would be plunged straight into hell. Hisdamnation would be everlasting. This was thereality of life taught by each and every one of theprophets.Adam was the first man on earth and also the firstprophet. He was succeeded by a long line ofprophets right up to the time of the Messiah.Altogether there have been some 124,000messengers of God, of whom 315 have beenprophets. They appeared in different lands andamong different peoples, preaching the word ofGod and exhorting people to live in fear of Him. Butvery few of those they addressed have ever provedwilling to give up their freedom for the sake of God. ~ 16 ~
  16. 16. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 1. From Adam to the MessiahFew people, for instance, followed the ProphetYahya (John the Baptist) and he died a martyr’sdeath. When Lot left his people, only two of hisdaughters accompanied him. According to the OldTestament, only eight people entered the ark alongwith Noah. When Abraham left his native country,Iraq, the only people to accompany him were hiswife Sarah and his nephew Lot, although they werelater joined by his two sons, Ishmael and Isaac.Even after great missionary effort on the part ofJesus, the priests and religious authorities whoheard his teachings did not follow him, and evenhis twelve friends temporarily forsook him at themoment of truth.This was the unhappy lot of most of the prophets.The ties of kith and kin sometimes brought ahandful of followers to the more fortunate, but asoften as not, would-be prophets were forced by theinattention and insensitivity of those around themto live out their lives in solitude and persecution.This verse of the Qur’an very aptly sums upcommon attitudes to prophethood throughout thehistory of mankind: “Alas for the servants! Theylaugh to scorn every prophet that comes to them.”1 ~ 17 ~
  17. 17. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 1. From Adam to the MessiahIn God’s sight, the prophets stand head andshoulders above the human race. Howextraordinary it is, then, that they are the very onesto whom the least historical importance has beenattached. History has fully chronicled the lives ofkings and soldiers, but not one single prophet’s lifehas been given its due place in the annals of history.Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), who was born onethousand years after the Prophet Moses, was noteven acquainted with Moses’ name. The reason isnot far to seek: most of the prophets were rejectedby their peoples; their homes were demolished;they were treated as outcasts from society; theyappeared so unimportant that no one deemed itnecessary even to make any mention of them.Why were the prophets treated in this manner?There was just one reason for this, and that wastheir criticism of current practices, especially of theestablished religious authorities, the priesthood.People love nothing more than being praised; andthey loathe nothing more than being criticised. Theprophets exposed the difference between right andwrong, making no compromise with their peoples.They were persistently pointing out the faults in ~ 18 ~
  18. 18. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 1. From Adam to the Messiahpeople’s beliefs and actions. Consequently, peopleturned against them. If the prophets had taughtwhat everyone wanted to hear, they would neverhave been treated in this manner.Although this was the fate of most of the prophets,a few of them were spared, Joseph, Solomon andDavid being names that immediately spring tomind. But the power and prestige that theseprophets acquired was not due to the popularity oftheir teachings; they had an entirely separate origin.David was a young soldier in the army of theIsraelites under King Saul, during the time that theIsraelites and Philistines went to war with eachother. Among the army of Philistines was the giantGoliath. So powerful a fighter was he that no onewas prepared to do battle with him. King Saul thenannounced that he would give his daughter inmarriage to anyone who slew Goliath. David cameforward, challenged the giant, and killed him. Inthis way he became the son-in-law of the King ofIsrael. In a subsequent war, both King Saul and hisheir apparent were killed in battle. David wasthereupon crowned King of Israel. Solomon was ~ 19 ~
  19. 19. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 1. From Adam to the MessiahDavid’s son, and succeeded to his father’s throne.As for Joseph, he was endowed by God with theability to interpret dreams and the King of Egypt,impressed by his ability, went so far as to entrustthe affairs of state to him. But the King stillremained head of state and he and his subjectscontinued to adhere to their pagan religion.This hostile treatment meted out to the prophetsthroughout the ages, deprived people of trueguidance and, what was even more serious, madethe preservation of the scriptures and teachings ofthe prophets impossible. Only a prophet’s followerscan preserve his teachings after him; but theprophets either had no followers, or so few as to beunable to counter the challenges of their society tothe preservation of the Holy Scriptures.The knowledge of God is eternal. He sees the futurejust as He does the past. He was aware, before thesending of the prophets, that this would be the fateof the human race. So He had decreed that Hewould remedy this situation at the end of theprophetic era by sending His own special envoy tothe world: a prophet whose task would be not only ~ 20 ~
  20. 20. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 1. From Adam to the Messiahto preach religion, but also to exalt it above allothers on earth. He would be granted specialsuccour from God, enabling him to compel hispeople to bow to the truth. God would keep him onearth until he had rectified the perversions of thesociety around him. God’s own might would assistthe Prophet to vanquish his enemies. In this way thetrue religion would be established on solidfoundations and God’s word would be perpetuated,as it says in the Bible, “for the earth shall be filledwith the knowledge of the glory of God, as thewaters cover the sea.”2Translations and additions have taken the present-day Bible very far from the original. But it stillcontains multiple references to the coming of theProphet Muhammad. If one studies the Bibleobjectively, one will find certain references thatcannot be applied to anyone else. The very purposeof the mission of the Prophet Jesus was to announceto the world, and to the Jewish nation in particular,the coming of the final prophet. The “NewTestament” to which he referred was, in truth,Islam, for it marked the end of Jewish religioushegemony and projected the Children of Ishmael as ~ 21 ~
  21. 21. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 1. From Adam to the Messiahthe true recipients of the word of God. Hence therise of the Prophet Muhammad.The Prophet Jesus came to the world six hundredyears before the last of the Prophets. In onereference to Jesus, the Qur’an has this to say: And remember the Prophet Jesus, who said to the Children of Israel: “I am sent forth to you by God to confirm the Torah already revealed and to give news of an apostle that will come after me whose name is Ahmad.”3The words “Ahmad” and “Muhammad” have thesame meaning: the praised one. In the Gospel ofBarnabas the name of the coming prophet is givenquite clearly as Muhammad. But since Christiansconsider the Gospel of Barnabas to be apocryphal,we do not consider it proper to quote from thatsource. We cannot even be sure whether Jesus, inhis prophecy, referred to Ahmad or Muhammad.Most probably he used a word with the samemeaning as these names.In his biography of the Prophet, Ibn Hisham quotesthe historian, Muhammad ibn Ishaq, the most ~ 22 ~
  22. 22. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 1. From Adam to the Messiahauthentic source on the Prophet’s life, as saying thatwhen Jesus spoke in his mother tongue, Syrian, theword that he used of the coming prophet was“Munhamann” meaning “the praised one.” Thistraditionally accepted appellation was probablypassed on to him by Palestinian Christians who hadcome under Islamic rule. When the Bible wastranslated into Greek, the word became “Paraclete”.NOTESI. Qur’an, 36:30.2. Bible, Habakkuk, 2.14.3. Qur’an, 61:6. ~ 23 ~
  23. 23. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammad2. THE EMERGENCE AND LEGACY OFTHE PROPHET MUHAMMADPoised between Africa, Asia and Europe, theArabian Peninsula lay at the very heart of theancient world. Yet no ambitious conqueror hadinvaded the territory; no ruler had sought to bring itunder his domain. All military campaigns had beenlimited to the area bordering Arabia—Iraq, Syria,Palestine and Lebanon. As for the ArabianPeninsula, no one had considered it worth fightingfor. True, its shores were lapped by three seas, butits interior offered little beyond inhospitable desertand barren mountains.Makkah was the central township of this land, itwas in this “uncultivable valley” in which it lay thatthe Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, on whom bepeace, was born. His father, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘AbdulMuttalib, died a few months before the birth of theProphet. He was only six years of age when hismother, Aminah, also passed away. For two yearshe was cared for by his grandfather, ‘AbdulMuttalib, and, when he too died, the Prophet’suncle, Abu Talib, became his guardian. Abu Talib’s ~ 24 ~
  24. 24. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammaddemise occurred three years before the emigrationof the Prophet to Madinah. The Prophet then, at themost difficult stage of his life, was left without aprotector. But nature had endowed the Prophetwith a remarkable personality. Those who saw himin his youth used to remark: “This boy has a greatfuture.” His dignified and impressive personalitygrew with age. ‘Ali1 once commented, “Those whosaw him for the first time were filled with awe, andthose who came close to him grew to love him.” TheProphet’s noble character was undisputed, yetwhen in his fortieth year, he announced hisprophetic mission, people’s attitude to himchanged. They poured scorn on his claim toprophethood. “Look at this village boy who reckonshe’s in contact with the heavens,” they would say.His preaching mission extended over a meretwenty-three years. It was during this short timethat he brought about a revolution among the Arabtribes, the like of which the world had never seen.Within one hundred years this revolution hadvanquished both the Sassanian and the ByzantineEmpires. With the fall of these two great empires ofthe world, Islam annexed the territory extending ~ 25 ~
  25. 25. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammadfrom Iran and Iraq to Bukhara in the east, while inthe west, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and then the wholeof North Africa also fell to Islam. And the torrentdid not halt there. In A.D. 711 Islam surged forwardacross the Straits of Gibraltar into the IberianPeninsula. In 732 a Frankish prince, Charles Martel,arrested the advance of Islam at Tours. Thenfollowed the Crusades, stretching over twocenturies, and after the Crusades the horrificonslaughts of the Tartar tribes. But despite theseattacks from outside, the Islamic Empire held itsown until the 15th century, when, due to infightingamong the Muslims themselves, Spain was lost.It was then the turn of the Turks and the Mughalsto be aroused by the spirit of Islam. In 1453 theTurks conquered Constantinople and advanced intoEastern Europe as far as Yugoslavia. A Turkisharmy remained encamped outside Vienna until1683. In the 16th century the Mughals establishedIslamic rule in India and Afghanistan. Over the lastthirteen centuries Muslims have spread to everycorner of the globe. Close on four-dozen countriesof Asia and Africa have come to constitute aMuslim world. According to the World Muslim ~ 26 ~
  26. 26. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet MuhammadGazetter2 there are 900 million Muslims in the worldtoday.This was all the result of a twenty-three year effortconducted in Arabia under the Prophet’s guidance.In this short space of time, the Islamic revolutionnot only assured itself of a permanent place inhuman history; it also created a new history of itsown. Humans alone do not have it in them toaccomplish such a gigantic task; it can only be doneby God. The Islamic revolution was truly the workof God. When the Muslims were returning fromtheir victory at the Battle of Badr, they were met at aplace called Rauha by some well-wishers, whocongratulated them on the outcome of the fighting.“Why do you congratulate us?” asked Salmah ibnSalamah. “The enemy were just like tetheredcamels, and we duly slaughtered them.”3All of this was evidently pre-ordained by God. Fromthe bare Arabian Desert He raised up a people ofextraordinary tenacity, a people whose charactershad been tempered by their environment. Theyknew only acceptance or denial; for them there wasno third alternative. In them were preserved all the ~ 27 ~
  27. 27. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammadnatural qualities needed for dedication to a cause.Added to this there was the fact that the two greatpowers of the day lay on the borders of theircountry. It was only natural that the mighty empiresof Rome and Persia should not take kindly to theemergence of a new power on their doorstep. Intheir attempt to arrest the rise of Islam, they wagedwar against the Muslims. In so doing, they forced theMuslims to fight back. This gave the Muslims thechance to conquer the empires of Rome and Persia,whose borders, at that time, extended to the farthestreaches of the known world. There is no doubtingthe fact that the conquests of Islam were not wars ofaggression against others; rather they were aresponse to aggression from others. They were warsof self-defence and never, in any country of theworld, have there been two minds on thejustification for such wars.Over and above the political significance of theseevents was the fact that the Islamic revolutionopened out hitherto unexplored opportunities forhumanity. It made God’s revealed religion ahistorical reality, something that it had not beenbefore. ~ 28 ~
  28. 28. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet MuhammadIt ushered in the age of the press, ensuring thepreservation of the Qur’an for all time. It broughtthe age of democracy and freedom of speech to theworld, removing all artificial barriers that hadobstructed preachers in their call to truth. It madenew discoveries possible in the world of science,enabling religious truths to be proved andexplained on a rational, intellectual level.An even more important aspect of this revolutionwas that, through the Prophet, God showed theworld what would happen in the hereafter. His lifeand mission provided us with a preview of theevents of the next world. Those who accepted andpatterned their lives upon the truth that he broughtto them were made supreme, and that is how theywill remain forever in the hereafter, if God wills.The wicked, meanwhile, were made to taste thehumiliation that they would forever be a prey to inthe world to come.History shows that those who devote their lives toGod always appear in a passive and depressedcondition, while those devoted to wealth and poweralways seem to have their way in the world. Such is ~ 29 ~
  29. 29. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammadthe sombre evidence of the history of saints andprophets. This state of affairs is quite contrary toreality, for, eventually, God will bestow everlastinghonour and glory upon His true servants, whileself-worshippers and worshippers of the world willforever be assigned to a pit of humiliation anddisgrace.This world is for our trial. Here, people have thechance to act as they please. That is why God doesnot hold anyone in check in this world. But once, atleast, by means of the prophet of Islam, God hasshown on earth the situation that will prevail in itsmost complete and permanent form in the nextworld.The companions of the Prophet, whose homes weredemolished, for whom the earth had become a placeof unmitigated oppression, who were robbed oftheir properties, who were so victimized andterrorized that they lived in constant fear ofextermination—these very people were raised to aposition of great honour. The Quraysh and theJews, the Romans and the Iranians, the Yemenis andthe Ghassanis4—those who took pride in their ~ 30 ~
  30. 30. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammadwealth and power—were meanwhile reduced toignominy and disgrace.Every prophet who comes from God provides acriterion of divine justice. Through him Godannounces to humanity the decisions that HeHimself will announce in the next world. But theProphet of Islam gave such a display of divinejustice that it became a world experience; it becamean accepted historical reality. We could see with ourown eyes how God honoured His faithful servantsand degraded those who rebelled against Him.Heaven and hell were realities that would be mademanifest in the next world. But we had been given apreliminary glimpse of them in this world so thatwe might take heed.What really emerged with the prophethood ofMuhammad was the divinity of God Himself. Thatis why the New Testament foretells of hisprophethood as the “Kingdom of God.” There is nodoubting the fact that the revolution of the Prophethad great political and strategic implications. But itsmain importance is as an earthly manifestation ofGod’s glory, a revelation of divine justice. The ~ 31 ~
  31. 31. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 2. The Emergence and Legacy of the Prophet Muhammadrevolution of the Prophet Muhammad showed us inadvance the realities that would come upon us instark and absolute form in the hereafter.NOTES1. The Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law.2. World Muslim Gazetter published by Mu’tamaral- ‘Alam-al-lslami, 19713. Ibn Hisham, Sirah, p. 153.4. Arabian kingdom prominent as a Byzantine ally in the 6th century A.D. ~ 32 ~
  32. 32. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conduct3. EXEMPLARY CONDUCTThe Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, upon whom bepeace, was born in Arabia on 22 April A.D. 570, anddied on 8 June A.D. 632. He was a very handsomeand powerfully built man. His childhood gaveindications of the sublime and dynamic personalitythat was to emerge. As he grew up, the nobility ofhis personality used to have an effect on anyonebeholding him, but he was so soft-spoken and ofsuch genial disposition that anyone coming intoclose contact with him would learn to love him. Aperfectly balanced personality—tolerant, truthful,perspicacious and magnanimous—he presented thehighest example of human nobility. According toDaud ibn Husayn, he became known as he grewolder as the most chivalrous among his people,tolerant and forebearing, truthful and trustworthy,always the good neighbour. He would stay alooffrom all quarrels and quibbles and never indulged infoul utterances, abuse or invective. People even lefttheir valuables in his custody, for they knew that hewould never betray them. His unimpeachabletrustworthiness won for him the title of “al-Amin,” afaithful custodian, an unfailing trustee. ~ 33 ~
  33. 33. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary ConductWhen he married at the age of twenty-five, hisuncle Abu Talib performed the marriage service.“There is no one to compare with my nephew,Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah,” he said. “He outshineseveryone in nobility, gentility, eminence andwisdom. By God, he has a great future and willreach a very high station.” Abu Talib did not utterthese words in the sense in which later eventsproved them to be true. He meant them in aworldly sense. Nature had endowed his nephewwith a magnetic and versatile personality. Hispeople would surely appreciate his qualities, andraise him to a high position. Abu Talib envisaged afuture of worldly success and accomplishment forhis nephew; this was the “great future” which hereferred to in his sermon.Without doubt the Prophet had every opportunityfor worldly advancement. He was born into a noblefamily of Makkah and his virtues guaranteed hissuccess in life. True, he had inherited just one cameland one servant from his father, but his inborn highqualities had impressed the richest woman inMakkah, Khadijah, a forty-year-old widowbelonging to a family of merchants. When the ~ 34 ~
  34. 34. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary ConductProphet was twenty-five, she offered herself to himin marriage. Not only did marriage with Khadijahprovide the Prophet with wealth and property; italso threw open to him a vast field of business inArabia and beyond. The Prophet had everyopportunity, then, of leading a successful andcomfortable life. But he forsook all these things andchose something quite different for himself. Quiteintentionally, he took a road that could lead only toworldly ruin. Before his marriage, the Prophet hadearned his living in different ways. Now herelinquished all such activity, and dedicated himselfto his lifelong vocation—the pursuit of truth. Heused to sit for hours and ponder over the mysteriesof creation. Instead of socializing and trying to gaina position for himself among the nobles of Makkah,he would wander in the hills and dales of thedesert. Often he used to retire to the loneliness of acave in Mount Hira’—three miles from Makkah—and stay there until his meagre supply of food andwater was exhausted. He would return home toreplenish his supplies, and then go back to thesolitude of nature for prayer and meditation. Hewould beseech the Maker of the heavens and theearth for answers to the questions surging in his ~ 35 ~
  35. 35. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductmind. What is our true role in life? What does theLord require of us, as His servants? Whence do wecome and whither will we go after death? Unable tofind answers to these questions in the centres ofhuman activity, he betook himself to the stillness ofthe desert; perhaps, there, the answer would beforthcoming.The Romanian orientalist Konstan Virgil George(b. 1916) writes in his book, The Prophet of Islam: Until one has spent some time in the wilds of Arabia and the Middle East, one cannot begin to understand how the vastness and tranquility of the desert expands the human intellect and fortifies the imagination. There is a great difference between European and Arabian plants. There is no plant in the arid reaches of the desert that does not exude a sweet fragrance; even the acacia trees of this land are aromatic. The desert stretches for 3,000,000 square kilometres. Here it is as though man comes into direct contact with God. Other countries are like buildings in which massive walls obstruct one’s view; but ~ 36 ~
  36. 36. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conduct there is nothing blocking one’s vision of reality in the vast open reaches of Arabia. Wherever one looks, one sees endless sands and fathomless sky. Here, there is nothing to stop one from consorting with God and His angels.1It was no small matter that a young man should betaking up this course in the prime of his life. He wasrenouncing worldly happiness and choosing a wayfraught with difficulties and sorrow. He had allconceivable means and opportunities for acomfortable life, but his turbulent soul did not findsatisfaction in them. He attached no value to themand could not rest content until he had unravelledthe mysteries of life. He sought to delve beyondexternal appearances, and seek out the reality oflife. Worldly gain and loss, comfort and distress,did not concern him; what mattered to him was theall-important question of truth and falsehood.This phase of the Prophet’s life is referred to thus inthe Qur’an: Did he not find you wandering and guide you?2 ~ 37 ~
  37. 37. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary ConductThe word used in this verse for “wandering”(“dhallan”) can also be used to describe a treestanding alone in an empty desert. The Prophet,then, was like a lone tree standing amidst the vastwilderness of ignorance that was Arabia of the time.The idea of consolidating his position in this societywas abhorrent to him. He sought the truth, andnothing less than the truth could satisfy his soul.His quest had reached a point when life hadbecome an unbearable burden. The Qur’an looksback on that time: Have We not lifted up and expanded your heart and relieved you of the burden, which weighed down your back?3God, indeed, relieved him of his burden. He turnedin mercy to His Prophet, illuminating his path andguiding him on his journey. On February 12, A.D.610, the Prophet was sitting alone in his cave. Theangel of the Lord appeared before him in humanform and taught him the words, which appear atthe beginning of the ninety-sixth chapter of theQur’an. The Prophet’s quest had finally beenrewarded. His restless soul had joined in ~ 38 ~
  38. 38. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductcommunion with the Lord. Not only did God granthim guidance; He also chose Muhammad as HisProphet and special envoy to the world. Themission of the Prophet extended over the nexttwenty-three years. During this period the entirecontent of the Qur’an—the final divine scripture —was revealed to him.The Prophet of Islam discovered Truth in thefortieth year of his arduous life. If was anattainment that was not to usher in ease andcomfort, for this Truth was that he stood face to facewith an Almighty God. It was discovery of his ownhelplessness before the might of God, of his ownnothingness before the supernatural magnitude ofthe almighty. With this discovery it became clearthat God’s faithful servant had nothing butresponsibilities in this world; he had no rights.The meaning that life took on for the Prophet afterthe Truth came to him can be ascertained from thesewords: Nine things the Lord has commanded me. Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in ~ 39 ~
  39. 39. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conduct both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; and give to those who deprive me; and forgive those who wrong me; and that my silence should be meditation; and my words remembrance of God; and my vision keen observation.4These were no just glib words; they were areflection of the Prophet’s very life. Poignant andwondrously effective words of this nature could notemanate from an empty soul; they themselvesindicate the status of the speaker; they are anoutpouring of his inner being, an unquenchablespirit revealed in verbal form.Even before the dawn of his prophethood, theProphet’s life had followed the same pattern. Themotivation, however, had been subconscious; nowit came on to the level of consciousness. Actionswhich had previously been based on instinctiveimpulses now became the well-conceived results ofprofound thinking. This is the state of one whoreduces material needs to a minimum; whose lifeassumes a unique pattern; who in body lives in thisworld, but in spirit dwells on another plane. ~ 40 ~
  40. 40. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary ConductThe Prophet once said, A discerning person should have some special moments: a moment of communion with God; a moment of self-examination; a moment of reflection over the mysteries of creation; and a moment which he puts aside for eating and drinking.5In other words, this is how God’s faithful servantpasses the day. Sometimes the yearning of his soulbrings him so close to God that he finds somethingin communion with the Lord. Sometimes fear of theday when he will be brought before the Lord forreckoning makes him reckon with himself.Sometimes he is so overawed by the marvels ofGod’s creation that he starts seeing the splendoursof the Creator reflected therein. Thus he spends histime encountering the Lord, his own self, and theworld around him, while also finding time to caterfor his physical needs.These words are not a description of some remotebeing; they are a reflection of the Prophet’s ownpersonality, a flash from the light of faith thatilluminated his own heart. These “moments” were ~ 41 ~
  41. 41. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductan integral part of the Prophet’s life. One who hasnot experienced these states can never describethem in such a lofty manner. The soul from whichthese words emanated was itself in the state thatthey describe; through words that state of spiritualperfection was communicated to others.Before he received the word of God, this world—with all its shortcomings and limitations—appearedmeaningless to the Prophet. But now that God hadrevealed to him that besides this world there wasanother perfect and eternal world, which was thereal abode of man, life and the universe took onnew meaning. He now found a level on which hissoul could subsist, a life in which he could involvehimself, heart and soul. The Prophet now found areal world into which he could put his heart andsoul, a target for all his hopes and aspirations, agoal for all his life’s endeavours.This reality is discovered not merely on anintellectual level. When it takes root, it transformsone completely, and raises one’s level of existence.The Prophet of Islam provides us with a superlativeexample of this way of life. The greatest lesson ~ 42 ~
  42. 42. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductimparted by his life is that, unless one changes one’splane of existence, one cannot change one’s plane ofactions.When the Prophet Muhammad discovered thereality of the world hereafter, it came to dominatehis whole life. He himself became most desirous ofthe heaven of which he gave tidings to others, andhe himself was most fearful of the hell of which hewarned others. Deep concern for the life to comewas always welling up inside him. Sometimes itwould surge to his lips in the form of supplication,and sometimes in the form of heartfelt contrition.He lived on a completely different plane from thatof ordinary human beings. This is illustrated bymany incidents a few of which are mentioned here.Once the Prophet was at home with Umm Salamah.He called the maid-servant, who took some time incoming. Seeing signs of anger on the Prophet’s face,Umm Salamah went to the window and saw thatthe maid was playing. When she came, the Prophethad a miswak6 in his hand. “If it wasn’t for the fearof retribution on the Day of Judgement,” he told themaid, “I would have hit you with this miswak.” ~ 43 ~
  43. 43. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary ConductEven this mildest of punishments was to beeschewed.The men taken prisoner in the Battle of Badr werethe Prophet’s bitterest enemies, but still histreatment of them was impeccable. One of theseprisoners was a man by the name of Suhayl ibn‘Amr. A fiery speaker, he used to denounce theProphet virulently in public to incite people againsthim and his mission. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattabsuggested that two of his lower teeth be pulled outto dampen his oratorical zeal. The Prophet wasshocked by ‘Umar’s suggestion. “God woulddisfigure me for this on the Day of Judgement, eventhough I am His messenger,” he said to ‘Umar.This is what is meant by the world being a planting -ground for the hereafter. One who realizes this factlives a life oriented towards the hereafter—a life inwhich all efforts are aimed at achieving success inthe next, eternal world; a life in which real value isattached—not to this ephemeral world—but to thelife beyond death. One becomes aware that thisworld is not the final destination; it is only a roadtowards the destination, a starting-point of ~ 44 ~
  44. 44. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductpreparation for the future life. Just as every action ofa worldly person is performed with worldlyinterests in mind, so every action of God’s faithfulservant is focused on the hereafter. Their reactions toevery situation in life reflect this attitude of lookingat every matter in the perspective of the life afterdeath, and of how it will affect their interests in thenext world. Whether it be an occasion of happinessor sorrow, success or failure, domination ordepression, praise or condemnation, love or anger—in every state they are guided by thoughts of thehereafter, until finally these thoughts become a partof their unconscious minds. They do not cease to bemortal, but their minds come to function only onmatters related to the world of immortality, makingthem almost forget their interest in worldly matters.HUMILITY AND FORBEARANCEThe Prophet was a man like other men. Joyousthings would please him while sad things wouldsadden him. Realization of the fact that he was firstand foremost God’s servant, however, preventedhim from placing more importance on his ownfeelings than upon the will of God. ~ 45 ~
  45. 45. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary ConductTowards the end of the Prophet’s life MariahQibtiyah bore him a beautiful and vivacious son.The Prophet named him Ibrahim, after his mostillustrious ancestor. It was Abu Rafi’ who broke thegood news to the Prophet. He was so overjoyedthat he presented Abu Rafi’ with a slave. He usedto take the child in his lap and play with himfondly. According to Arab custom, Ibrahim wasgiven to a wet nurse, Umm Burdah bint al-Mundhir ibn Zayd Ansari, to be breast-fed. Shewas the wife of a blacksmith, and her small housewas usually full of smoke. Still, the Prophet used togo to the blacksmith’s house to visit his son,putting up in spite of his delicate disposition—with the smoke that used to fill his eyes andnostrils. Ibrahim, was just one and half years oldwhen, in the tenth year of the Hijrah (January A.D.632), he died. The Prophet wept on the death of hisonly son, as any father would: on this respect theProphet appears like any other human being. Hishappiness and his grief were that of a normalfather. But with all that, he fixed his heart firmlyon the will of God. Even in his grief, these were thewords he uttered: ~ 46 ~
  46. 46. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conduct God knows, Ibrahim, how we sorrow at your parting. The eye weeps and the heart grieves, but we will say nothing that may displease the Lord.It so happened that the death of Ibrahim coincidedwith a solar eclipse. From ancient times people hadbelieved that solar and lunar eclipses were causedby the death of some important person. The peopleof Madinah began attributing the eclipse to thedeath of the Prophet’s son. This caused the Prophetimmense displeasure, for it suggested thispredictable astronomical event was caused out ofrespect for his infant son. He collected the peopleand addressed them as follows: Eclipses of the sun and moon are not due to the death of any human being; they are just two of God’s signs. When you see an eclipse, then you should pray to God.On one of his journeys, the Prophet asked hiscompanions to roast a goat. One volunteered toslaughter the animal, another to skin it, and anotherto cook it. The Prophet said that he would collectwood. “Messenger of God,” his companions ~ 47 ~
  47. 47. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductprotested, “we will do all the work.” “I know thatyou will do it,” the Prophet replied, “but that wouldamount to discrimination, which I don’t approve of.God does not like His servants to assert anysuperiority over their companions.”So humble was the Prophet himself that he oncesaid: By God, I really do not know, even though I am God’s messenger, what will become of me and what will become of you.7One day Abu Dharr al-Ghifari was sitting next to aMuslim who was black. Abu Dharr addressed himas “black man.” The Prophet was very displeasedon hearing this, and told Abu Dharr to makeamends “Whites are not superior to blacks,” headded. As soon as the Prophet admonished him,Abu Dharr became conscious of his error. He casthimself to the ground in remorse, and said to theperson he had offended: “Stand up, and rub yourfeet on my face.”The Prophet once saw a wealthy Muslim gatheringup his loose garment to maintain a distance from a ~ 48 ~
  48. 48. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductpoor Muslim sitting next to him. “Are you scared ofhis poverty clinging to you?” the Prophet remarked.Once the Prophet had to borrow some money froma Jew by the name of Zayd ibn Sa’nah. A few daysbefore the date fixed for the repayment of the debt,the Jew came to demand his money back. He wentup to the Prophet, caught hold of his clothes, andsaid to him harshly: “Muhammad, why don’t youpay me my due? From what I know of thedescendants of Muttalib, they all put off payingtheir debts.” ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab was with theProphet at the time. He became very angry, scoldedthe Jew and was on the point of beating him up. Butthe Prophet just kept smiling. All he said to the Jewwas: “There are still three days left for me to fulfillmy promise.” Then he addressed ‘Umar “Zayd andI deserved better treatment from you,” he said.“You should have told me to be better at paying mydebts, and him to be better at demanding them.Take him with you, ‘Umar, and pay him his due; infact, give him 20 sa’ahs (about forty kilos) of datesextra because you have alarmed him with yourthreats.” The most remarkable thing about thisepisode is that the Prophet could still behave with ~ 49 ~
  49. 49. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductsuch forbearance and humility even after beingestablished as head of the Muslim state of Madinah.So successful was the Prophet’s life that, during hislifetime, he became the ruler of the whole of Arabiaright up to Palestine. Whatever he said, as themessenger of God, was accepted as law. He wasrevered by his people as no other man has ever beenrevered. When ‘Urwah ibn Mas’ud was sent to himas an envoy of the Quraysh (A.H. 6), he was amazedto see that the Muslims would not let any water usedby the Prophet for ablution fall on the ground, butwould catch it in their hands, and rub it on theirbodies. Such was their veneration for him. Anas ibnMalik, the Prophet’s close companion says that inspite of the great love they had for the Prophet, outof respect they could not look him full in the face.According to Mughirah, if any of the Prophet’scompanions had to call on him, they would first tapon the door with their fingernails. One night, whenthe moon was full, the Prophet lay asleep, covered ina red sheet. Jabir ibn Samrah says that sometimes hewould look at the moon and sometimes at theProphet. Eventually he came to the conclusion thatthe Prophet was the more beautiful of the two. ~ 50 ~
  50. 50. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary ConductArrows rained down on the Prophet from theenemy ranks, but his followers formed a ringaround him, letting the arrows strike their ownbodies. It was as though they were made of wood,not flesh and blood; indeed the arrows hung fromthe bodies of some of them like the thorns of acactus tree.Devotion and veneration of this nature can producevanity in a man and engender a feeling ofsuperiority, but this was not the case with theProphet. He lived among others as an equal. Nobitter criticism or provocation would make him losehis composure. Once a desert-dweller came up tohim and pulled so hard at the sheet he was wearingthat it left a mark on his neck. “Muhammad!” hesaid. “Give me two camel-loads of goods, for themoney in your possession is not yours, nor was ityour father’s.” “Everything belongs to God,” theProphet said, “and I am His servant.” He thenasked the desert-dweller, “hasn’t it made youafraid, the way you treated me?” He said not. TheProphet asked him why. “Because I know that youdo not requite evil with evil,” the man answered.The Prophet smiled on hearing this, and had one ~ 51 ~
  51. 51. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductcamel-load of barley and another of dates given tohim.The Prophet lived in such awe of God that he wasalways a picture of humility and meekness. Hespoke little and even the way he walked suggestedreverence for God. Criticism never angered him.When he used to put on his clothes, he would say:“I am God’s servant, and I dress as befits a servantof God.” He would sit in a reverential posture topartake of food, and would say that this is how aservant of God should eat.He was very sensitive on this issue. Once acompanion started to say, “If it be the will of God,and the will of the Prophet ... “ The Prophet’s facechanged colour in anger when he heard this. “Areyou trying to equate me with God?” he asked theman severely. Rather say: “If God, alone, wills.” Onanother occasion a companion of the Prophet said:“He that obeys God and His Prophet is rightlyguided, and he who disobeys them has goneastray.” “You are the worst of speakers,” theProphet observed, disliking a reference, whichplaced him in the same pronoun as the Almighty. ~ 52 ~
  52. 52. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary ConductThree sons were born to the Prophet, all of whomdied in infancy. His four daughters, all by his firstwife, Khadijah, grew to adulthood. Fatimah was theProphet’s youngest daughter, and he was extremelyattached to her. When he returned from any journeythe first thing he would do, after praying two rak’at8in the mosque, was to visit Fatimah and kiss herhand and forehead. Jumai’ ibn ‘Umayr once asked‘A’ishah whom the Prophet loved most. “Fatimah,”she replied.But the Prophet’s whole life was moulded bythoughts of the hereafter. He loved his children, butnot in any worldly way. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib,Fatimah’s husband, once told Ibn ‘Abdul Wahid astory about the Prophet’s most beloved daughter.Fatimah’s hands, he said, were blistered fromconstant grinding; her neck had become sore fromcarrying water; her clothes would become dirtyfrom sweeping the floor. When the Prophet hadreceived an influx of servants from some place, ‘Alisuggested to his wife that she approach her fatherand ask for a servant. She went, but could not speakto the Prophet because of the crowd. Next day, hecame to their house, and asked Fatimah what she ~ 53 ~
  53. 53. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conducthad wanted to see him about. ‘Ali told the Prophetthe whole story, and said that he had sent her. “FearGod, Fatimah,” the Prophet said, “Fulfill yourobligations to the Lord, and continue with yourhousework. And when you go to bed at night,praise God thirty-three times, and glorify Him thesame number of times; exalt His name thirty-fourtimes, and that will make a full hundred. Thiswould be much better than having a servant.” “Ifthat is the will of God and His Prophet,” Fatimahreplied “then so be it.” This was the Prophet’s onlyreply. He did not give her a servant.The truth revealed to the Prophet was that thisworld did not spring up by itself, but was createdby one God, who continues to watch over it. Allmen are His servants, and responsible to Him fortheir actions. Death is not the end of man’s life;rather it is the beginning of another, permanentworld, where the good will enjoy the bliss ofparadise and the wicked will be cast into a raginghell. With the revelation of this truth also came thecommandment to propagate it far and near.Accordingly, ascending the height of the rock ofSafa, the Prophet called the people together. First he ~ 54 ~
  54. 54. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductmade mention of the greatness of God. Then hewent on to say: By God, as you sleep so will you die, and as you awaken so will you be raised after death: you will be taken to account for your deeds. The good will be rewarded with good and the evil with evil. And, for all eternity, the good will remain in heaven and the evil will remain in hell.One who goes against the times in his personal lifeis faced with difficulties at almost every step, butthese difficulties are not of an injurious nature. Theymay wound one’s feelings, but not one’s body. Atthe most, they are a test requiring quiet forbearance.But the position is quite different when one makes itone’s mission to publicly oppose convention—whenone starts telling people what they are required todo and what not to do. The Prophet was not just abeliever; he was also entrusted with conveying theword of God to others. It was this latter role thatbrought him into headlong collision with hiscountrymen. All forms of adversity—from the painof hunger to the trepidation of battle—were ~ 55 ~
  55. 55. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductinflicted on him. Yet throughout the twenty-threeyears of his mission, he always remained just andcircumspect in his actions. It was not that he had nohuman feelings in him and, therefore, incapable ofbitterness; it was simply that his conduct wasgoverned by the fear of God.Three years after the Prophet’s migration toMadinah, Makkan opponents mounted an assaulton Madinah and the Battle of Uhud took place. Atthe beginning, the Muslims held sway; but later ona mistake made by some of the Prophet’scompanions gave the enemy the chance to attackfrom the rear and sway the tide of battle in theirfavour. It was a desperate situation and many of thecompanions started fleeing from the field. TheProphet was left alone, encircled by the armedforces of the enemy. Like hungry wolves, theyadvanced upon him. The Prophet started calling tohis companions. “Come back to me, O servants ofGod,” he cried. “Isn’t there anyone who willsacrifice his life for my sake, who will fend theseoppressors off from me and be my companion inparadise?’ ~ 56 ~
  56. 56. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary ConductImagine how dreadful the situation must havebeen, with the Prophet crying for help in thismanner. Some of his companions responded to hiscall, but such confusion reigned at the time thateven these gallant soldiers were not able to protecthim fully. ‘Utbah ibn Abi Waqqas hurled a stone atthe Prophet’s face, knocking out some of his lowerteeth. A famed warrior of the Quraysh, ‘Abdullahibn Qumayyah, attacked him with a battle-axe,causing two links of his helmet to penetrate his face.They were so deeply embedded that Abu ‘Ubaydahbroke two teeth in his attempt to extract them. Thenit was the turn of ‘Abdullah ibn Shahab Zuhri, whothrew a stone at the Prophet and injured his face.Bleeding profusely, he fell into a pit. When for along period the Prophet was not seen on the field ofbattle, the word went around that he had beenmartyred. Then one of the Prophet’s companionsspotted him lying in the pit. Seeing him to be alive,he cried jubilantly, “The Prophet is here!” TheProphet motioned to him to be silent, so that theenemy should not know where he was lying.In this dire situation, the Prophet uttered somecurses against certain leaders of the Quraysh, ~ 57 ~
  57. 57. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductespecially Safwan, Suhayl and Harith. How can apeople who wound their prophet ever prosper!’ heexclaimed. Even this was not to God’s liking, andGabriel came with this revelation: It is no concern of yours whether He will forgive or punish them. They are wrongdoers.9This admonition was enough for the Prophet andhis anger subsided. Crippled with wounds, hestarted praying for the very people who hadwounded him. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud later recalledhow the Prophet was wiping the blood from hisforehead, and at the same time praying: Lord, forgive my people, for they know not what they do.10Biographies of the Prophet are full of incidents ofthis nature, which show his life to be a perfectmodel for mankind. They show that we are God’sservants, and servants we should remain in everycondition. Being God’s humble servants, we shouldalways remain in a state of trepidation before ourLord and the life hereafter. Everything in the ~ 58 ~
  58. 58. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conductuniverse should serve to remind us of God. In everyevent we should see the hand of the Almighty, and,for us, every object should portray God’s signs. Inall matters of a worldly nature, we shouldremember that everything will finally be referred toGod. Fear of hell should make us live humblyamong our fellows, and longing for paradise shouldimpress on us the significance of this world. Soconscious should we be of God’s greatness that anyidea of demonstrating our own greatness shouldappear ridiculous. No criticism should provoke usand no praise should make us vain. This is the idealhuman character, which God displayed to us in theconduct of His Prophet.NOTES1. Konstan Virgil George (b 1917), The Prophet of Islam.2. Qur’an, 93:7.3. Qur’an, 94:1-3.4. Hadith of Razin.5. Hadith of Ibn Hibban. ~ 59 ~
  59. 59. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 3. Exemplary Conduct6. Miswak, a stick used as a dentifrice.7. Hadith of al-Bukhari.8. Rak‘at, section of prayer.9· Qur’an, 3:128.10. Hadith of Muslim. ~ 60 ~
  60. 60. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Character4. SUBLIME CHARACTERIn the Qur’an the Prophet Muhammad is describedas being of “sublime character.”1 Here are twosayings of the Prophet, which throw light on whatthis “sublime character” consists of: Never debase your character by saying that if people treat you well, you will treat them well, and if they harm you, then you will do worse to them. Rather, become accustomed to being good to those who are good to you, and not wronging those who harm you.2 Join hands with those who break away from you, forgive those who wrong you, and be good to those who harm you.3The sublime character described here was displayedin its noblest form by the Prophet himself Suchcharacter is required of ordinary Muslims as anaccessory, but with the Prophet it was a basicrequisite.There are two levels of character, an ordinary and asuperior level. An ordinary character is based on ~ 61 ~
  61. 61. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Characterthe principle: do as you have been done by. Such acharacter might be termed a “knee-jerk character,”for those possessed of such a character offer onlyreflex responses to treatment by others, breakingwith those who break with them, wronging thosewho wrong them, and harming those who harmthem.But the higher level of character is based on theprinciple: do as you would be done by. Thosepossessed of such a character deal with both friendand foe in the same principled manner, irrespectiveof how they have been treated. They arereconciliatory, even joining with those who breakwith them. They are compassionate, even to thosewho seek to harm them. They are forbearing, eventowards those who wrong them.According to the French philosopher, Voltaire(1694–1778), “No one is a hero to his valet.” Thereason for this is that a valet has access to a person’sprivate life, and in private life no one is perfect.Those close to a person usually do not hold him insuch high esteem as those who are further off. Thatis why they cannot come to think of him as a hero. ~ 62 ~
  62. 62. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime CharacterBut this does not hold true for the ProphetMuhammad. History shows that the closer onecame to him, the more one was impressed by hisfine qualities.Once some members of the tribe of Banu Qayn ibnJasr attacked the camp of the Banu Ma’an, a branchof the Tay’ tribe. In the midst of plundering theycaptured an eight-year-old boy called Zayd, whomthey subsequently sold as a slave at the fair of‘Ukaz. It so happened that the latter came into theservice of the Prophet, having been presented by hisbuyers to Khadijah shortly before her marriage tothe Prophet. The boy’s father and uncle soon learntof his whereabouts, and came to Makkah to recoverhim and take him home with them. They met theProphet, and said that they would give anycompensation that he required, so long as hereturned the child to them. The Prophet said that hedid not want any compensation; if Zayd wanted togo with them, they could take him. He called Zayd,and asked him if he knew these people. Zayd saidthat he did: they were his father and uncle. “Theywant to take you with them.’ “I won’t leave you togo anywhere: Zayd replied. His father and uncle ~ 63 ~
  63. 63. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Characterwere incensed on hearing this. “What, do youprefer slavery to freedom?’ they asked. “Do youwant to forsake your own folk, and live amongstothers?’ “I cannot prefer anyone to Muhammad.’Zayd replied, “not after seeing the qualities that hehas.’ They had no choice then but to go back homewithout him. Such was the charisma of the Prophet.This incident, which occurred before thecommencement of the Prophet’s mission, revealsthe tenderness that was inherent in his nature. TheQur’an has referred to this characteristic of his inthe following words: It was thanks to God’s mercy that you were lenient to them. Had you been cruel and hard- hearted, they would surely have deserted you.4It was this magnanimity of the Prophet that gavehim the power to capture people’s hearts: the closerone came to him, the more one would be won overby his noble character.The Prophet once said: “Honouring ties ofrelationship does not mean honouring your ties ~ 64 ~
  64. 64. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Characterwith those who honour their ties with you; it meanshonouring your ties with those who severe their tieswith you.’ The well-known case of ‘A’ishah, wife ofthe Prophet and daughter of Abu Bakr, beingaccused of adultery, is an apt illustration of thisprinciple.This accusation brought against ‘A’ishah when shewas accidentally left behind while returning fromthe expedition to Banu al-Mustaliq (A.H. 6), thenrescued by a young companion of the Prophet bythe name of Safwan ibn al-Mu’attal was absolutelyslanderous. Indeed, the episode has become famousin Islamic history as the “case of the slander.’ One ofthe persons responsible for fabricating it and thenspreading it far and wide was a relative of AbuBakr named Mistah. When Abu Bakr learnt thatMistah was one of those who had defamed hisinnocent daughter, he cut off the allowance that heused to grant Mistah as a needy relative. When AbuBakr took this step, God revealed this verse of theQur’an to His Prophet: Let not the honourable and rich among you swear not to give to their kindred, the poor, ~ 65 ~
  65. 65. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Character and those who have migrated for the cause of God. Rather, let them pardon and forgive. Do you not wish God to forgive you? He is Forgiving, Merciful.5That is, a person who is in need should not bedenied financial assistance because of hismisconduct. Rather one should pardon him andcontinue to help him.A man came up and insulted Abu Bakr one daywhen he was sitting with the prophet. Abu Bakrlistened but remained silent. The man continued toabuse him. Again Abu Bakr still held his peace.When the man kept on repeating his foul tirade,Abu Bakr could contain himself no longer, andanswered back. On hearing this, the Prophetimmediately got up and left. “Why have you leftyour place, Prophet of God?’ Abu Bakr enquired.“As long as you remained silent, Abu Bakr,’ theProphet replied, “God’s angel was answering foryou. But as soon as you burst out, the angel left.’Thus the Prophet illustrated that God requites anywrong done to one, as long as one does not oneselfretaliate. To one who seeks revenge God turns a ~ 66 ~
  66. 66. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Characterdeaf ear. Obviously retribution will be morecomplete if it is left to God.The Prophet once borrowed some money from aJewish scholar. After a few days the Jew came todemand payment of his debt. “At the moment, Ihave nothing to pay you with,’ the Prophet toldhim. “I won’t let you go until you have paid meback,’ the Jew retorted. And so he stayed there,from morning until night, holding the Prophetcaptive. At this time the Prophet was theestablished ruler of Madinah: he had the power totake measures against the Jew. His companions,indeed, wanted to rebuke the man and chase himaway. But the Prophet forbade them to take anyaction. “A Jew is holding you captive,’ protestedone of them. “True,’ the Prophet replied, “but theLord has forbidden us to wrong anyone.” Nightturned to morning. With the light of dawn, theJew’s eyes opened. He was profoundly moved onseeing the Prophet’s tolerance, notwithstanding thelatter’s power to take action, and he thereuponembraced Islam. This Jew, a rich man, had detainedthe Prophet the day before on account of a fewpence; but the Prophet’s noble conduct had such an ~ 67 ~
  67. 67. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Characterimpact on him that now he was willing to give allhis wealth to the Prophet, saying, “Spend it as youplease.’‘Abdullah ibn Abi al-Basma’ was once engaged in atransaction with the Prophet. It had not yet beencompleted when he had to go home on some urgentbusiness. “Wait here,” he said to the Prophet. “We’llsettle this affair when I come back.’ When hereached home, he became so engrossed in certaintasks that he forgot his promise. He remembered itthree days later and went back to that place wherehe found the Prophet still waiting. All he said to‘Abdullah ibn Abi al-Hasma’ was: “You have givenme a lot of trouble; I have been waiting here forthree days.’ Such conduct has a powerfulmagnetism, which even the most obdurate personcannot resist.Once a group of Rabbis came to the Prophet. Whenthey entered, instead of giving the normal ‘Assalamu‘alaykum’ greeting (Peace be upon you), they said‘Assamu ‘alaykum’, meaning “death to you.’ ‘A’ishahheard this, and was not able to contain herself“Death to you instead,’ she said. “May God damn ~ 68 ~
  68. 68. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Characteryou.’ The Prophet told ‘A’ishah not to answer backin this manner. “God is gentle,’ he said, “and Helikes gentleness in every matter.’ In truth, there isno more effective method of winning a person’sheart than by returning soft words for harsh. It ispossible to withstand armed onslaught, but nobleconduct is a force in itself that no one can resist. It issure to prevail in all situations.What a terrible thing it must have been for a mansuch as the Prophet when, as night was falling, hefound the urchins of Ta’if chasing him out of townand pelting him with stones. Ta’if was the placewhere the Hijaz aristocracy used to while awaytheir summer days and the Prophet had made thefifty-mile trip from Makkah to call them to Islam.But the lords of Ta’if did not listen to his well-meaning words; instead they set the street-urchinson him, and they kept on chasing him until nighthad cast a veil between them and God’s Prophet.His body was covered in wounds. Bleeding fromhead to foot and utterly exhausted, he took refugein a vineyard. This, even for the most ordinary ofmen, would have been a traumatic experience. TheProphet once told his wife, ‘A’ishah, that it had ~ 69 ~
  69. 69. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Characterbeen the hardest night of his life. But even at thisgravest of moments, the Prophet did not wish hisenemies any harm. All he said was: “Lord, guidethem, for they know not what they do.’ Such wasthe noble character of the Prophet, and it was thisnobility, which finally subdued his opponents andbrought the whole of Arabia within the Islamic fold.The force of his sublime spirit was enough toconquer all in its path. No prejudice, antagonism orcontumacy could withstand the magical power ofgood that was embodied in his person.ABSENCE OF ACRIMONYThe Prophet had made peace with the Quraysh atHudaybiyyah (A.H. 6) on three conditions: one wasthat if any Makkan accepted Islam and wanted tosettle in Madinah, he must be surrendered to theQuraysh. But if any of the Madinan Muslims shouldgo to Makkah, the Makkans would not send themback to Madinah. No sooner had this treaty beenmade than a Makkan youth by the name of AbuJandal escaped from Makkah and came toHudaybiyyah, his body bearing weals and bruiseswhere chains had abraded his skin. “Save me from ~ 70 ~
  70. 70. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Characterthe enemy!’ he cried to the Muslims. This was anextremely sensitive moment. The companions of theProphet drew their swords. The sight of Abu Jandalhad aroused their feelings to such a degree thatmost of them wanted to break the treaty and savehis life. The Quraysh meanwhile reminded theProphet that this was an occasion on which hewould be obliged to abide by the pact that had beenmade between them. Finally the Prophet decidedthat he could not go back on the terms that hadbeen agreed upon. Painful as this decision was forthe Muslims, Abu Jandal was returned to theQuraysh. Ostensibly the Prophet was putting aninnocent victim of oppression back into the clutchesof his oppressors. But, in effect, he was acting on thehighest of moral principles. The oppressors in turnwere confounded and awestruck by such uniquelymoral conduct, and then it became no ordinarymatter for them to take Abu Jandal away andimprison him; rather the event became symbolic oftheir own degradation in contrast to the moralascendancy of Islam. The result of this was that thepeople of Makkah were won over by the highethical standards of Islam, which many of themstarted to embrace. Abu Jandal’s very presence in ~ 71 ~
  71. 71. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime CharacterMakkah became a living testament to truth of theprophet’s faith. Even as a prisoner, Abu Jandalbegan to appear to his captives as a threat to theirnational security. Eventually they deemed itprudent to free him and deport him from Makkah.While the Prophet was living in Madinah, where hehad attained religious and political leadership, hesent some riders to Najd, the inhabitants of whichwere his sworn enemies. On the way, they cameacross the ruler of the city of Yamamah, Thamamahibn Uthal. They took him captive and brought himto Madinah, where they tied him up against a pillarof the mosque. The Prophet came to enquire afterhim. “If you kill me,” Thamamah said, “my peoplewill avenge my blood; and if you release me, I willalways be indebted to you. If it’s money you want,then I am ready to give you as much as you desire.”The Prophet did not kill Thamamah physically, butby his humane treatment he conquered the man’ssoul. After his release, Thamamah went to a nearbygarden, had a bath, and then returned to themosque. People wondered what he had come backfor. But when he proclaimed his conversion to Islamby pronouncing the testimony of faith in a loud ~ 72 ~
  72. 72. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Charactervoice, people realized that, by releasing Thamamah,the Prophet had in effect taken him captive for alltime. Thamamah then went on a pilgrimage toMakkah. When the people of Makkah heard of hisconversion, they told him that he had lost his faith.“I have not lost my faith,” Thamamah answered.“Rather I have adopted the faith of God and HisProphet.” Thamamah, moreover, became a sourceof strength to Islam. Yamamah was one of the mainplaces from which the people of Makkah used tocollect grain. Thamamah told them that without thepermission of the Prophet Muhammad, he wouldnot provide them with a single grain. The case ofThamamah shows that noble conduct—though itmay appear to have no practical value—issomething which can win the world.Adopting a high code of ethics means practisingwhat one preaches; treating the weak with the samecourtesy and deference as one shows to the strong;setting the same standards for oneself as one setsfor others; never budging from one’s principles;maintaining a high moral bearing even when othersstoop to the depths of degradation. From this pointof view, the prophet of Islam stood at the highest ~ 73 ~
  73. 73. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Characterpinnacle of human ethics, never abandoning thelofty standards that he preached. Expediency ordispute could not make him resort to unethicalconduct. No evidence could be more substantial inthis regard than that of his closest companions.Sa’id ibn Hisham belonged to the generationimmediately following that of the ProphetMuhammad, on whom be peace. He once asked‘A’ishah, the Prophet’s widow, about her latehusband’s character. “He was a personification ofthe Qur’an’, ‘A’ishah replied. That is to say, theProphet moulded his own life in accordance withthe ideal pattern of life, which he presented toothers in the form of the Qur’an. Anas ibn Malikserved the Prophet for ten years. He says that theProphet never even rebuked him. “When I didsomething, he never questioned my manner ofdoing it; and when I did not do something, he neverquestioned my failure to do it. He was the mostgood-natured of all men.” According to ‘A’ishah,the Prophet never beat a servant, a woman oranyone else. To be sure, he fought for what wasrighteous. Yet, when he had to choose between twoalternatives, he would take the easier course, ~ 74 ~
  74. 74. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Characterprovided it did not involve sin: no one was morecareful to avoid sin than he. He never soughtrevenge—on his own behalf—of any wrong done tohim personally. Only if divine commandments hadbeen broken would he mete out retribution for thesake of God.It was this conduct on the part of the Prophet,which made him respected even in the eyes of hisenemies. His followers stood by him through allkinds of hardship and misfortune. He was as lovedin times of oppression as in times of victory andsupremacy. His immediate followers found himwithout blemish—just as he appeared from afar. Heprovided mankind with an inimitable model ofexemplary conduct. The principles on which theProphet based his life were in the same mould ashis sublime disposition. These principles neverwavered. They formed a permanent part of his life.He applied them in equal measure to those whofollowed his path and to those who had harmed oraggrieved him.Even in pre—Islamic times-known as the Age ofIgnorance—the office of gate-keeper of the Ka’bah ~ 75 ~
  75. 75. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Characterhad been held in high esteem. From ancient timesthe task had been allotted to one particular family.In the time of the Prophet Muhammad a member ofthat family, ‘Uthman ibn Talhah retained it in hiscustody.Al-Bukhari, the greatest compiler of traditions ofthe Prophet, has related how the Prophet, before hisemigration to Madinah, once desired to go insidethe Ka’bah for worship. He asked ‘Uthman for thekeys, so that he could open the gate. ‘Uthmanrefused and insulted the Prophet. ‘Uthman,’ theProphet said, ‘perhaps you will see that one day Iwill have these keys in my hands. I will have thepower to dispose of them as I will.’ “It will be a dayof disgrace and woe for the Quraysh when the keysof the Ka’bah are handed over to one like you,’‘Uthman retorted.Then the time came when the Prophet conqueredMakkah and reigned supreme there. The first thinghe did on entering the holy city was to go to theHouse of God. Seven times he circumambulated theKa’bah. Then he summoned ‘Uthman ibn Talhah.According to one account, ‘Uthman had become a ~ 76 ~
  76. 76. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime CharacterMuslim during the period in between the peace ofHudaybiyyah and the Conquest of Makkah. TheProphet took the keys from him, opened the gate ofthe Ka’bah, and went inside. He remained there fora while, demolishing the idols that remainedstanding within its walls.Then he came outside, holding the keys in hishands. On his lips was this verse of the Qur’an: God commands you to hand back your trusts to their rightful owners.6It was then that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Prophet’scousin and son-in-law, stood up: “God bless you,’he said to the Prophet, “but we Banu Hashim havealways been entrusted with the task of bearingwater for pilgrims. Now is the time to take over theoffice of gate-keeper as well.’ The Prophet did notreply to ‘Ali, and asked where ‘Uthman ibn Talhahwas. When he came forward, the Prophet handedthe keys over to him. ‘Uthman,’ he said, “here areyour keys. This is a day of righteousness andfulfillment of promises. They will remain in yourfamily from generation to generation. It is only awrongdoer who will take them away from you.’ ~ 77 ~
  77. 77. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime CharacterThis action of the Prophet illustrates that Muslimsshould be meticulous in fulfilling obligations andreturning trusts. Even if they have been treatedacrimoniously by those with whom they aredealing, they should still pay them their full due.However much it may hurt them, they should neverdeny people their rights.When worldly people gain power, the first thingthey do is punish their opponents, removing themfrom their posts and installing their own henchmeninstead. All people who come to power think interms of supporters or opponents. Promotingsupporters and demoting opponents is an essentialpart of their policy. But when the Prophet of Islamgained power in Arabia, he did quite the opposite.He did not look at matters in terms of supportersand opponents; he considered only what was rightand fair. He buried all grudges and dealt witheveryone as justice and compassion would demand.NOTES1. Qur’an, 68:52. Hadith quoted in Mishkat al-Masabih. ~ 78 ~
  78. 78. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 4. Sublime Character3. Hadith of Razin.4. Qur’an, 3:159.5· Qur’an, 24:22.6. Qur’an, 4:58 ~ 79 ~
  79. 79. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 5. Lessons of the Prophet’s Life5. LESSONS OF THE PROPHET’S LIFETHE REWARDS OF RESTRAINTIn the Qur’an, these words have been addressed tothe faithful: You have a good example in God’s Apostle for anyone who looks to God and the Last Day and remembers God always.1It is clear from this verse that, in the life of theProphet Muhammad, there is a perfect example forevery human being. But the only real beneficiarieswill be those whose apprehension of God is alreadyprofound, whose hopes and aspirations centre onGod, whose lives are lived in fear of thepunishment of the Lord. Those who cherish thethought of eternal bliss and truly yearn for it withevery fibre of their beings will be the ones to learnfrom the Prophet’s example.Why should this be so? The reason is that one has tobe sincere in one’s search for truth if one is going tofind it. If one “looks to God and the Last Day,” onewill be sincere with regard to them. Sincerity will ~ 80 ~
  80. 80. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 5. Lessons of the Prophet’s Lifeenable one to see the life of the Prophet in trueperspective, and draw the right lessons from it.This point can be understood from one example.The following saying of the Prophet is related in theHadith: One killed in defence of his property is a martyr. One killed in defence of his life is a martyr. One killed in defence of his religion is a martyr. One killed in defence of his family is a martyr.2As is clear from the text, this hadith is about being“killed,” not about fighting as such. The Prophetdid not mean that whenever there is a threat toone’s property, life, religion or family, one shouldimmediately resort to arms, even if one is slain as aresult. What he meant was that if, on any of thesegrounds, a believer is slain, then his or her death isone of martyrdom. The hadith, then, is not anincitement to fight; it is a promise of martyrdom tothose who are slain.Those who are not sincere in their attitude toreligion, however, who are more concerned with ~ 81 ~
  81. 81. Muhammad a Prophet For all Humanity 5. Lessons of the Prophet’s Lifegiving their own personal whims the stamp ofprophetic sanction, will take the words of the hadithand use them to justify their selfish quarrels andnationalistic conflicts. Islam, they will say, teachesyou to stand up for your rights like a man; it urgesyou to fight in defence of your faith, your life andproperty, your family and relatives. If you arevictorious, then you have achieved your ends; andif you are defeated, then you are a martyr, and it isonly a fortunate minority who attain the heights ofmartyrdom.But those who fear God will look at the mattersoberly. After intense mind-searching they will askthemselves: if you are required to fight in defence ofyour property, life, religion and family, why thenare there cases in the Prophet’s life of his not doingso? Why, in the face of manifest oppression, did theProphet—on many occasions—adopt a passiveattitude and exhort others to do the same?The following incident, for instance, has been recordedby Ibn Hisham on the authority of Abu ‘Uthmanal-Nahdi. When Suhayb decided to emigrate toMadinah, the Quraysh said to him: “You came to us in ~ 82 ~

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