, by PROF. M.A. HAQUE
Today we find the world to be topsy-turvy with all systems having become faulty and unable to serve the purpose they were intended to. Today our economic, political, social, cultural, ethical, governance, judicial and reconciliatory systems have gone awry. Self-interest, exploitation of economic and political power, concentration of wealth in a few hands resulting in other people’s plight who have been degraded to sub-human status, deprived of necessities of life, and subjugation of weak nations by powerful nations is the order of the day. Ailing humanity is crying for a system, a social order, and scheme of things which will usher in an era where justice, fair play, honesty, human sympathy for the disabled, weak and the deprived will be seen in the conduct of man.
BEACON OF LIGHT IN DARK WORLD
A child was born in Arabia in 571 C.E. He was a posthumous son of Abdullah. He was brought up by his mother Amina, who too departed from this world when the child was merely six years of age. Deprived of the parental shelter and care, this orphan was brought up by his paternal grandfather Abdul Muttalib. As the design of Almighty would have it, this temporary support also did not last for long. Thereafter he came under the care of his uncle Abū Talib who provided succour to this child who was named Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be to him. As we all know, being an orphan is a precursor of a very hard, shaky, difficult and deprived life which our Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) led.
History proves that this person possessed wonderful virtues of head and heart which attracted everybody’s attention. He was endowed with a lovable conduct having truthfulness, honesty and integrity, bravery, generosity, forgiveness, valour, un-daunting courage even in the face of grave dangers, composure and cool disposition in situations of worst provocation, sense of sacrifice for others at the expense of his own discomfort or financial loss. He was endeared to many because of his cheerful disposition and friendly gestures, merciful conduct towards whosoever sought his help, even towards animals and plant kingdom.
GEM OF HUMANKIND
His good manners and sweet conversation, sharing of others’ grief and joy, and just conduct (if fact, his conduct was driven by Ihsan, which is much greater than justice or Adl) won him admirers and loyal and devoted companions who stood by him in the most challenging and testing times. This ‘orphan’ became the refuge of other orphans. Having suffered the worst deprivations of being an orphan, he laid, under the guidance of Allah, the foundation of a socio-economic system which took care of the destitute, deprived, poor, widows and other victims of the onslaught of miseries, bankruptcy, financial loss in business or natural calamities.
MOST LEARNED MEN LEARN FROM HIS SAYINGS
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) was not formally educated. But the Divine revelation bestowed upon him raised his level of knowledge to be greater than anybody’s cutting across the barriers of time, place, race or nationality. Though himself an ‘Ummi’, hundreds of thousands of writers, researchers, historians, sociologists, etc. have made intense, in-depth and multi-pronged study of his sayings and conduct. Nothing said by him has proved to be wrong. If we conjure up images of great men of all times, he stands tallest and most towering personality. Throughout the world the most common name number-wise is Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him).
Another unique phenomenon with the Apostle of Allah is that not a fragment of a second, not even trillionth or billionth fraction of a second passes without a muezzin testifying aloud from mosques (in the form of Azaan) that Muhammad is the slave and Messenger of God. This is so because all the five obligatory prayers (Salat) are based on apparent movement of the sun (which in fact is due to movement of the earth around the sun).
Some time of the day his name is being called aloud in one hemisphere, some time in the other. The relative movement of the sun and the earth being smooth (there is a difference of 4 minutes for a difference of 10 longitude), no time of the day or night elapses without his Prophethood being declared aloud somewhere or the other on earth. God did not confer this honour on any other person, howsoever mighty and influential he/she might have been in any field of human activity. This fact is in correspondence with the Quran’s famous verse: wa ra faana laka zikrak.
NOT MOULDED BY CIRCUMSTANCES, HE SHAPED THE WORLD
History bears ample testimony to the phenomenon of a man’s achievements and moulding of his personality to be dependent on the circumstances, place, position, environment, education, social, economic and political opportunities which knock at the door of the person. But here is the uncommon, uniquely singular, amazing case of a person who swims against the current, fights the prejudice of continuing to stick to idolatry and the ways of their forefathers. The residents of Makkah and nearby places testified to his truthfulness and integrity before he declared his Prophethood but the moment he called them to the message of Allah, they became his sworn enemies.
CALL FOR MONOTHEISM
Soon after having been blessed by God with Prophethood, he invited his kith and kin and standing on the hill asked them if they would believe him if he were to say that on the other side of the hill there was an army of enemy, ready to strike against them. To this all people without exception declared they would as they had always found him truthful and trustworthy during the forty years he spent by then among them and, therefore, there was no reason for them to disbelieve him. But when he delivered the message of Allah requiring them to believe in one unseen Allah and worship Him alone, they did not follow his sermon, rather cursed him for asking them to give up their false ‘gods’ who were being worshipped for centuries.
HIS GREATEST MIRACLE: QUR’ĀN
Prophets of the yore were bestowed with miracles. But the greatest miracle of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) is the Qur'an which is complete guidance for human race across the race, place or time. While the Prophethood of other Prophets was limited to a particular region, group of people living during a particular period, Prophet Muhammad’s message has finality and universality and validity for all times to come. The Qur'an shows us light in every walk of life be it family life of an individual, collective life of a community, religious, economic, cultural, ethical life, may the matters pertain to social peace and tranquillity, efforts to secure halal (permissible) earning, helping others, doing one’s obligations towards neighbours, moral standards in business and trade, conduct during journeys or stay, agreements with other communities, management of state and law and order, or dispensation of justice without any discrimination.
MOST IMPORTANT DUTY OF THE HOLY PROPHET
The purpose of installation of a person as a prophet is to inform the people about the ultimate destination of human beings lies in the Hereafter. A prophet also warns them of their neglectful and ignorant behaviour towards the undeniable truth of the Day of Judgement. A prophet is giver of glad tidings to the righteous and warns the wrong-doers of the doom and peril which awaits them. The basic and fundamental points of the Holy Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) teachings was belief in Oneness of God, belief in Prophethood or Divine scheme of sending Prophets for guidance of human beings and belief in the Day of Judgement and life hereafter. Emphasis is laid on reckoning of deeds in the hereafter. Eternal blissful abode in the Paradise is the reward for good deeds in this world whereas eternal punishment results from transgressions, mischief and wrong doings.
PARABLE FOR THE ROLE OF PROPHET
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) has compared the role of a Prophet to the guide of a caravan who used to be the most trusted person. During a long journey through a desert, such a guide used to decide about the suitable halting places. He knew the best camping sites where wherewithal of life such as water and food would be available. Obviously the safety of the caravan depended on the sincerity and truthfulness of the guide. A slight mistake or neglect on his part could endanger the whole caravan. Similar is the position of a Prophet who under Divine Guidance leads his Ummah to safe shores, away from the ocean of impending disasters.