Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) The Saviours of Humanity, Mercy For All Creatures
Dr. Mozammel Haque
Like every year, the Muslims from around the globe, are celebrating the birth of their beloved prophet (peace be upon him). In this article, we shall endeavour to remind ourselves of his life and mission in brief.
Four years after the death of Justinian (A.C. 569), a great man, with the mission to change the world, was born in Makkah, Arabia, which was in dense darkness of social dissolution and spiritual despair.
The famous writer, H.O. Armstrong, in his book Lord of Arabia, described the situation of Arabia and its people at that time: "Arabia remained isolated and unknown, for it was a brutal country and inhospitable, a land of cruelty and violence and its inhabitants, Arabs, were as brutal and cruel as their land. Both villagers and Bedouins lived hard and dangerously. They were pagans and savages, unclean, poverty-stricken, debased in their habits, idolaters with cruel and brutal beliefs. They were bestial in sex, untamed and untameable; they were split up into small tribes which were continuously at war with each other and were savagely intolerant of any stranger or of any innovation".
The Prophet (pbuh) was sent by Allah Almighty as a blessing to Mankind as he said in the holy Quran: “And We sent you (O Muhammad) not, but as a mercy for all creatures". (21:107) Islam united the Arabs, purified them and bound them into one people.
He filled them with a great faith and transformed their lives from darkness into light. The historian Gibbon has truly discovered: “Through Islam, Muhammad banished from the Arab within ten years their hard-heartedness, spirit of revenge, anarchy, female infanticide degradation, rivalry, lawlessness, usury, drunkenness, infanticide, murderous quarrel and human sacrifice as well as stupid superstitions and fetishes". Within ten years he controlled the whole of Arabia. He created a new civilisation to the world - a civilization which is not only rich in science but also contributed towards the moral, spiritual and human development.
Unlike other great religious teachers, there are no mythical elements surrounding him. He created a society more free from widespread cruelty and social oppression than any society had ever been in the world before. “Let it be fully understood that Islam protects all, whether a man be Muslim, Christian or anything else and persecution is forbidden in any shape or form. Complete toleration was the gift of Islam to the world and it is gradually permeating the strata of narrowness and hatred”, writes Dr Sheldrake about Islam and its founder.
The religion of Islam proclaimed the first real democracy ever conceived in the minds of men. Islam is essentially a religion which propagated democracy and social equality. All the believers are equal and this fundamental equality is not a fiction as is so common among Christianity. It is accepted and real. The Hungarian Professor Dr Germanus, a great scholar, writes, “It is the people who are addressed in the Quran and it is for the benefit of the people and their salvation that all the injunctions of the rituals and beliefs are imposed on the believers. It is not a class privilege by descent or esoteric love which can rule over the oppressed and cowed en masse, but every individual man and woman stand directly before God in worship, duty and right”.
Islam imposes no restrictions on any individual enterprise towards amelioration of his status while it regulates the duties and rights towards his fellow men. The respect and observance of Islamic social laws are a safety-valve against disruptive theories. These teachings are pillars of every sound society. Islam prohibits selfish exploitation of the helpless and imposes severe punishments for theft and robbery. No slogans or hatred but serious work and self-discipline - all represented by the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh)..
No other society has such a record of success in uniting in an equality of status of opportunity and of endeavour, so many and so various races of mankind. Islam has been more successful in mitigating race prejudice than other universal creeds. There is absolutely no colour bar for marriage. Islam has never known class-struggle and social hatred. It has banned human hatred and opened the way for human brotherhood and equality, whereas the western civilisation is still unable to look beyond narrow horizons of racial and national antagonism.
When shall the modern nations place love of man above love of the world? There can be no democracy without love of man as a man. This democracy is the very essence of Islam. That faith makes Islam a Brotherhood, an International Brotherhood, a fellowship of many races and tribes.
One of the commonest sneers at Islam in the West is that it teaches that women have no souls. Servicer remarks, "Muhammad sought to make himself the champion of women whose position he tried to ameliorate. Before his reform women and children could not inherit what was worse, the nearest relation of the deceased took possession of the women and their property in the same way as he took over his slaves with their savings. Muhammad gave the women the right to inherit; and often insisted in their favour. His last sermon at Makkah contained these memorable words: Treat your women well, they are your helpers. He well knew that if a woman is a slave by day, by night, she is a queen and her influence is at all times worthy of consideration".
Because of its democratic nature, freedom, equality, toleration and justice, Islam spread throughout the whole world. The expansion of Islam is the most miraculous of all miracles. Being inspired by the light of Islam, the medieval Arabs conquered most of the then civilised world in less than a century, whereas the Roman Empire of Augustus was won over a period of 700 years.
"Within a century after their rise these people became the masters of an empire extending from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the confines of China, an empire greater than that of Rome at its Zenith", wrote Philip K. Hitti in his well-known book History of the Arabs.
Islam has been and still is a living force from Morocco to Indonesia and a way of life to more than a billion of the human races. The holy Prophet (pbuh) established a civilisation wherein there was peace, harmony and co-operation. Arrogance, haughtiness and conceit were hated. Modesty, humbleness and simplicity were praised and appreciated. All forms of extremism, violence and aggression were prohibited. Islam is a message of peace and stands for freedom and equality which, as a matter of fact, had long been forgotten in all the lands of the degenerated ancient civilisations.
The people throughout the world welcomed this religion because of its message of peace. Findlay in his book History of the Roman Empire, writes, "The inhabitants of Syria welcomed the followers of Muhammad; the Copts of Egypt contributed the place their country under the domination of the Arabs".
Islam calls for brotherhood and unity amongst Muslims. It is a religion of peace and toleration. The dominant feature of Islam, as its very name implies, is the making of peace. A Muslim is one who has made peace with God and man; peace with God implies complete submission to His Will and obedience to the laws of creation. Peace with mankind implies the doing of good to one's fellow creatures.
The Holy Prophet of Islam was the greatest of all mankind. His honesty and probity as a poor young man earned him the social title of Al-Amin: The Just. His immense contribution to civilisation remains an outstanding and astounding fact of history.
Howsoever we may judge, the character of this great man is a precious heritage for Humanism. He was always very abstemious in his habits and contented himself with simple food, clothes and lodging. He was entirely free from avarice. He was an exemplar of patience and forbearance to the proud hot- tempered Arab. His sweet patience was indeed his great virtue. His boundless charity and generosity to all flowed from his unworldly heart like a fountain in the Arabian desert.
Bernard Shaw wrote in his book the Genius of Islam, "He (Muhammad) is a Saviour of Humanity”: "I believe that if a man like him to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness." Shaw has truly acknowledged, "Muhammad was a saviour of Humanity, the Mercy for all men, a blessing for men and an exemplar in every age."
We must send blessings to the holy Prophet (pbuh) as the Qur’an says, "Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Holy Prophet: O you who believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect". (33:56).