The Messenger of Peace
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
The 12th of Rabi ul Awwal marks the birth date of the holy messenger of Allah Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). Muslims everywhere ought to remember this day. This occasion is not for frivolity or pleasure seeking, but an event of inner joy and happiness. Assemblies and conferences are held throughout the Muslim world to narrate the stories of the Prophet’s birth, childhood and his preaching, his character, his sufferings and his forgiveness of even his enemies, and about his leadership, his triumphs through Allah’s mercy over the hearts of men.
Almighty Allah ensures that we should not go astray in our journey through life. He has given us a conscience enabling us to differentiate between what is right and wrong. But whenever man has failed to listen to his conscience or was deaf to the silent message emanating from every object of God’s creation, he sent his prophets to bring the truth and to see that these God-sent messages should not be incomprehensible to the people of many different lands, they were communicated to them in their own language.
Poised between Africa, Asia and Europe, the Arabian peninsula lay at the very heart of the ancient world. There were three major towns, Yathrib, a large oasis now called Madinah, Taif, a cool refuge in the mountains famous for its grapes and Makkah which lay in a barren valley and it was here that Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) was born. His father Abdullah ibn Abdul Mutallib died two months before the birth of the Prophet and he was only six years when his mother Aminah also passed away. For two years, he was cared by his grandfather Abdul Mutallib and when he too died, the Prophet’s uncle, Abu Talib became his guardian. A leader of men, the Prophet’s noble character was undisputed, yet when in his 40th year, he announced his prophetic mission which was bestowed on him by Almighty Allah, the people of his own hometown Makkah poured scorn on his claim to prophethood. “Look at this village boy who reckons he is in contact with the heavens,” they would say. But the Prophet remained undeterred and continued with his mission for 23 years, the first 13 years in Makkah and 10 years in Madinah. In this short time, he brought about a revolution among the Arab tribes, the like of which the world had never seen before.
Man of peace
The Prophet’s principle was to avoid any material conflict coming between himself and those to whom he was addressing his teachings. No matter what price had to be paid, he would let no worldy rivalry come in between himself and his congregation. One outstanding example of this policy was the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. By constantly waging war against the Muslims, the Quraish tribe had made Muslims and non-Muslims into two separate parties eternally at loggerheads with one another. Both sides were spending all their time preparing for war. In this Treaty, the Prophet accepts all demands of the Quraish in return for a ten-year truce. The terms of the Treaty were so one-sided that many Muslims considered it a humilation, but in reality it paved the way for what the Quran called a “clear victory.”
This Treaty put an end to the animosity between the Muslims and the non-Muslims. Muslims could freely communicate the teachings of their faith to non-Muslims who in turn were free to accept them. No worldy rivalry or prejudice stood in the way of dissemination of faith. The Prophet’s most important task was to bring peace to the world and so he urged people to accept the fact that regardless of skin, colour, language, lifestyle or dwelling place, they were all brothers and sisters. The Prophet himself led the way with his kindness, humility and good humour.
Enjoining the best status on women
Feminism has become something of a craze in the world today with women agitating for equality of sexes. But it should be remembered that it was the Prophet who bestowed the best status on women with his very first injunction touching the respect due to women especially mothers: “ Paradise lies at the feet of your mother,” says the Prophet.
The Quran was revealed to the holy Prophet as the final and complete Book of God for the benefit of humanity. The world at the advent of Prophet Muhammad was a lost world, a veritable sea of sin. In the words of the Quran, “ On land and sea, moral degradation had settled.” When the evil became universal, it was necessary to adopt a universal cure. The Quran says, “ Today your religion was made complete and perfect,” which means that the religion which was initiated by God at the beginning of the world became complete on his sending the Quran through Prophet Muhammad. In 610 A D, when the Prophet was alone in the cave where he often took refuge to reflect in solitude, the angel of God, Gibraeel (AS) appeared before him and taught him the words that appear as the first verse of the 96th chapter of the Quran-” Read in the Name of your Lord who has created all that exists.”.
Special envoy to the world
God had entrusted the Prophet with the responsibility of preaching His message to the world as a special envoy. The truth revealed to the Prophet was that this world did not spring up by itself, but was created by Allah who continues to watch over it. All men are His servants and responsible to Him for their actions. Death is not the end of man’s life, rather it is the beginning of another permanent world where the good will enjoy the bliss of paradise and the wicked will be cast into a raging hell. The teaching of the Prophet killed the narrow outlook of nationalism by making all, whether Indian, Arab, Turk, Englishman or African equal and one before God. The Hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah where millions of worshippers from all over the world gather every year is the best example of harmonious international relations.
The Prophet's Advice to His Daughter
Ali, the son of Abu Talib, related how Fatimah, his wife and also daughter of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), had to do all the housework herself. Her hands used to become blistered from working a millstone, her clothes became dirty from sweeping the floor and she had a mark on the neck from having to bring water from outside in a large leather bag. On one occasion, when the Prophet had many servants come to him, Ali suggested to Fatimah that she go and request her father to give her one of them. But there were many people gathered at his house, so she returned home without meeting him. The next day the Prophet came to the house of Ali and Fatimah and asked what she wanted to discuss, but Fatimah remained silent. Then Ali told the Prophet the whole story. The Prophet did not however say yes to their request. “ Fear God,” he said, and fulfill your duty to the Lord. Continue to do your housework and when you go to bed at night, glorify Allah 33 times, praise Him the same number of times and exalt Him 34 times. That makes 100 times altogether. That will do you more good than a servant will.”
A brave and simple man
In his article entitled “Bravery’, the renowned Hindi writer Sardar Pooran Singh called Prophet Muhammad the “bravest man in history”. In his own words, “ to strive every moment, every hour towards making oneself greater and greater is bravery. Cowards say ‘raise the sword’, while the brave say,’ bring you head forward.’ With God’s choice of Prophet Muhammad, the Prophethood was given historical credibility. This meant that no more prophets had to come to the world in the future. But it was not merely a matter of divine proclamation. Certain conditions had to be fulfilled before this could happen. Firstly God’s commandments relating to every walk of human life had to be revealed. This was duly accomplished as the Quran states, “ It is He who has revealed the Quran for you fully explained.” Secondly a perfect pattern had to be presented before mankind. Prophet Muhammad provided mankind with such a good example and this condition was fulfilled. Thirdly there had to be arrangement for the permanent preservation of the Quran. This task Almighty Allah took upon Himself: “ It was We who revealed the Quran and We will certainly preserve it.” Prophet Muhammad’s life went through various stages of well-being and extreme hardship, yet never once did he stray from the path of moderation. At all times, he remained humble bringing his message of peace and tolerance to mankind.
Paving the way to democracy
In pre-Islamic times, religious institutions had become debased by the veneration of mere mortals, whereas the Prophet approved of no other form of religion, but that based on the worship of the immortal God. Religious beliefs had been founded on superstition, but by the Prophet, they were established on the foundation of reality. It was he who taught people to conquer nature instead of worshipping it, thus paving the way for the scientific era. And where political power had been in the hands of one hereditary monarch, he showed the way to governance by the people.
Systematic approach towards reforms
The Prophet’s exemplary conduct is a perfect example for mankind. He never sought revenge for any wrong done to him. Only if the divine commandments had been broken, would he mete out retribution for the sake of God. It was this conduct on the part of the Prophet which made him respected in the eyes of his enemies too. An important aspect of the Prophet’s public mission was a realistic step-by-step approach to everything he did. He was always careful to introduce social reforms gradually
What others say about
Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)
“ When I closed the second volume of Prophet Muhammad’s biography, I was sorry that there was not more for me to read of the great life. Prophet Muhammad is the best of one, who holds today undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind.” Mahatma Gandhi
“My choice of Muhammad (Pbuh) to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful in both the religiousand secular levels. Of humble origins, Muhammad (Pbuh), founded and promulgated one of the world’s great religion and became an immensely effective political leader. Today 13 centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive.”
Micheal Hart (The 100: A Ranking of the most influential persons in history, New York, 1978).
‘Muhammad (Pbuh) is the most successful of all prophets and religious personalities.” The Encylopaedia Britannica
After much study of the man, I am convinced that if a man like Muhammad (Pbuh) would undertake leadership of the new world, he would succeed in solving its problems and secure that peace and prosperity which all men want.” Bernard Shaw
Knowledge as Your Friend
“ Acquire knowledge,” the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) used to tell his followers. “Seeking knowledge is the duty of every Muslim. It will enable you to be your own friend in the desert, it will be your mainstay in solitude, your companion in loneliness, your guide to happiness, your sustainer in misery, your adornment when you are amongst people and your arrow against your enemies. Whoever goes out in search of knowledge is on the path of Allah until returning.” Another of the Prophet’s sayings was that if anyone went on his way in search of knowledge, God would make it easy for him to find the way to Paradise.