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Roots of Religion: Proclamation of Prophethood

At last, the promised moment, glad tidings of which had been given by the past Prophets (a.s.), arrived. On 27 Rajab 610 A.D. at the age of 40 years, the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) got the divine command declaring his prophethood when he was busy worshipping Allah in the cave of Hira. At night, this divine leader, who had acquired knowledge directly from Almighty Allah, and had never sat even for a moment to acquire anything from a mortal, heard ‘O Muhammad!’ followed by ‘Read’ (Iqra). This was the commencement of revelation.

After the announcement of the position of Prophethood, he (s.a.w.s.) departed from the cave of Hira towards his house. He accepted the responsibility of divine leadership of mankind. He took it upon himself to guide the deviated people away from darkness towards light. After that, he became the trustee of divine Revelation and the representative of Allah. Hazrat Jibrael (a.s.) used to come and recite the verses in front of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Armed with strong insight, total confidence and the slogan of divine unity (tauheed), he (s.a.w.s.) started inviting the people towards Allah.

In the beginning, he invited his near relatives towards the real Creator and the worship of the real God, and later, extended his (s.a.w.s.) invitation to the inhabitants of Mecca. Still later, he invited the other Arabs of the Arabian peninsula towards the religion of Allah. He (s.a.w.s.) introduced himself as a prophet like the past Prophets (a.s.), and the final messenger of Allah. Amongst men, Hazrat Ali (a.s.) was the first person to accept Islam and amidst women, it was Ummul Mo’meneen – Hazrat Khadija (s.a.), the wife of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). And then, gradually people started accepting Islam. For three years, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) invited people towards the religion of Islam secretly. Then by the order of Allah, he started calling them openly. He propagated in Mecca for a period of 13 years. As the dissemination of Islam increased, the oppression of the polytheists also was on the rise. Finally, Allah ordered the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) to migrate to Medina.

MIGRATION (HIJRAT)

For a period of time (13 years), the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was in the holy city of Mecca. The idol worshippers of Quraish left no stone unturned in torturing the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and the Muslims. As the tortures of the Quraish reached unbearable limits, a group from among the followers of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) were ordered to migrate to Habasha (Ethiopia) in the 5th year of declaration of Prophethood. It was impossible for the Quraish to stop the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) from achieving his grand, divine purpose. They realised that their threats and intimidation had no effect on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). So they planned to kill Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in the dead of night by surrounding his house. The Almighty Allah made the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) aware of their plot and ordered him (s.a.w.s.) to make Hazrat Ali (a.s.) sleep on his (s.a.w.s.) bed. Then as commanded by Allah, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) made Ali (a.s.) lie down on his bed and that very night, he migrated from Mecca towards Medina. The people of Medina had a soft corner for the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and were wholeheartedly waiting to welcome him. This occasion (Hijrat) marked the commencement of the Islamic calendar.

Even after the migration of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), the Quraish did not stop opposing the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). They were constantly hindering his movements and continued torturing the Muslims. Due to this very reason the battles of Badr, Ohad and Khandaq took place. In the 8th year of migration, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and a large group of Muslims marched towards Mecca and conquered it. Afterwards, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) returned to Medina and till his last moments, he (s.a.w.s.) stayed there. During this period of 10 years of his stay in Medina, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was busy defending the Muslims against the infidels, guiding the people towards the religion of Islam, and propagating the laws of the Shariat. The remaining part of the Quran was revealed on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in this decade. By the time the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had breathed his last, a large proportion of the Arabian population had embraced Islam.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) passed away on the 28th Safar 11 A.H., plunging the world in darkness. His (s.a.w.s.) pure body was buried in Medina-e-Munawwara. Even today after more than 1,400 years, we witness the triumph and success of his (s.a.w.s.) mission.

The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was the paragon of virtues and excellent traits, some of which are mentioned below. This is to enable us to recognize him (s.a.w.s.) in a better way, gain enlightenment by his (s.a.w.s.) impeccable character and attributes, and take him as a role model. Thus, we would achieve success in both the worlds.

While declaring support for him, Allah the Almighty says,

"And that Allah might help you with a mighty help."

(Surah Fath: 3)

Allah Almighty loves his name, religion and his teachings and keeps it high and elevated and exalted.

"And exalted for you your esteem."

(Surah Inshirah: 4)

Sometimes Allah mentions the matchless morals of His Prophet (s.a.w.s.)

"And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublime morality."

(Surah Qalam: 4)

The Holy Quran which remembers this world by the word ö½æÎê¼ä³ èªBN¿ which means an ordinary thing of little value, describes the morals of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as the greatest and most sublime.
Allah who has bestowed abundance goodness (kauthar and katheer) on the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in this world as well as hereafter, declares,

"Surely We have given you Kauthar."

(Surah Kauthar: 1)

By giving him the right of intercession, Allah declared his greatness and made him a blessing for the whole universe. On top of all these, the Majestic Quran orders,

"Whoever obeys the Apostle, he indeed obeys Allah."

(Surah Nisa: 80)

This is because he (s.a.w.s.) does not utter even a single word on his own accord or desire.

"Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but a revelation that is revealed."

(Surah Najm: 3 – 4)

And he (s.a.w.s.) never deviates from the right path

"And surely you (O Prophet) are on the right path."

(Surah Zukhruf: 43)

We are talking about that great personality who had to surmount numerous difficulties and faced unbearable tortures to guide the people towards the right path. Due to which this verse was communicated,

"Ta Ha! We have not revealed the Quran upon you that you may bear difficulties."

(Surah Taha: 2)

Dear readers, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had come to purify our souls and to give knowledge, and basically the aim of all the Prophets (a.s.) was the same. Tazkiya means to purify so that people make themselves free of evils, pollution, selfishness and prejudices. Here, it would not be inappropriate to narrate the following incident:

One man riding a horse came near a shallow stream. The horse refused to cross the stream. The man after climbing down the horse lifted his clothes and pulled the reins of the horse. But it did not budge. The man started whipping the horse. But all his efforts were in vain. A learned person who was standing in the corner observed the entire incident. He called the man and told to him that if he makes the water muddy with his stick, the horse will easily cross the stream. He did accordingly, and the horse duly obliged. The owner too crossed the stream and thanked the learned person. He also inquired about the logic behind the suggestion.

The learned man replied that since the water was clean and transparent, the horse could see his shadow in water and hence did not like to keep his feet on his face. So, he stood still. Similarly when man sees himself, he focuses his attention on himself and desires goodness for himself. He looks at himself and does not like to keep his feet on his evil desires and satanic greed. That is why he stops and abhors any type of change. One who doesn’t suppress the whisperings of Shaitaan and his evil desires, he will never reach the stage of meeting Allah.

Tazkiya means a person should not be buried under his lust and greed. He should not be a slave of his desires. He should purify his soul from polytheism, jealousy, acquiring status and dignity, disgrace and dishonour, fear and dreadfulness, hard-heartedness and must deliver his thoughts from ignorance, negligence and carelessness.

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) teaches us to purify our souls. That teaching which is in accordance with the Glorious Quran and of which he (s.a.w.s.) himself was the teacher.

Even though there is no occasion here of describing the excellence of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) but as an example we mention a few instances of the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.s.) ethics and character so that by learning about these instances, we too may follow his (s.a.w.s.) footsteps.

  • Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was the possessor of high morals.
  • He (s.a.w.s.) used to meet people happily and cheerfully.
  • He (s.a.w.s.) was always the first to salute and there was perpetual smile on his face.
  • Whenever a stranger used to enter the gathering, it was difficult for him to recognise Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as there was no discrimination between him (s.a.w.s.) and the companions in the seating arrangement.
  • He (s.a.w.s.) used to meet the poor and the needy with love and kindness and behaved with them like brothers.
  • His (s.a.w.s.) dress was simple and his life style was like that of an ordinary person.

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS OF HOLY PROPHET (S.A.W.S.)

As already mentioned, the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had came to purify the human souls (from the contamination of sins and polytheism) and finally to teach and train them. For only when the land is ready for cultivation can one can sow the seeds. The work of Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was on the same lines – first he (s.a.w.s.) attempted to purify the hearts from evil thoughts and polytheistic beliefs, so that he (s.a.w.s.) could then sow the seeds of Divine Unity in the hearts of the people.

To narrate the excellence and pure characteristics of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is a near impossible task, and would require a herculean effort. Here we only wish to hint at a few important characteristics, so that readers can acquire some basic knowledge about his (s.a.w.s.) impeccable morals and can trend his (s.a.w.s.) path.

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), amongst all actions, gave utmost importance to namaz, because namaz is the foundation and pillar of religion. A believer engaged in namaz is in fact talking to Allah, his Creator. Whatever is present on the earth and in the skies is in His domain and power. Namaz is the first step towards worshipping Allah. Namaz saves the believer from the filth of sins. During namaz, we declare our belief in Allah, and repeat this five times a day, so it is necessary that whatever we declare in namaz, must be actualised through our deeds.

Let us examine ourselves, and see whether we enact what we proclaim in our namaz. For instance, when we say – Malike Yaumid Deen – Master of the Day of Judgement.
This means that we acknowledge Allah as the Sole Authority on the Day of Judgement. We testify to the fact that Allah will give reward/punish us for our deeds of this world in the hereafter. But do we really consider Allah as the Master of our daily affairs, or do we consider wealth and fame as our Masters? Then in namaz we claim –
Iyya Ka Na’bodo Wa Iyya Ka Nastaeen – You alone we worship and from You alone we seek help.

But very often we tend to ignore this covenant and resort to others (deities) for help and assistance.
Then we must check our character and see if it is truly Islamic. Namaz is the sign and announcement of faith (Eemaan). Namaz is from the obligations of religion, it is one of the most critical acts of worship. When we see that the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.s.) gave utmost priority to namaz, then we as believers, must also accord namaz the importance it deserves and pray it punctually.

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was the upholder of high morals and good deeds. He valued cleanliness highly as it was a part of faith. The Prophets (a.s.) were in fact the doctors of both the body as well as the soul. For this very reason Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used to say that keep yourselves clean and tidy so you are away from sickness and keep your body as well as the environment clean and pure. God forbid, it should not be that we, as well as our surroundings, are all unclean and impure while we take pride in being Muslims.

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) always accepted the invitation of poor and needy. During his journeys, he (s.a.w.s.) was the best companion and a sincere helper. He consoled the oppressed and the afflicted ones. He helped the indigent and visited the sick people, as all these are acts of worship. He (s.a.w.s.) used to befriend the sick in their loneliness and grief. He (s.a.w.) used to take some fruits or some gifts as these invigorate the sick.

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used to respect the elderly and ordered us to do the same. He was very kind and merciful towards the orphans and has also recommended us to adopt his (s.a.w.s.) kind disposition. Humility was second nature to him (s.a.w.s.). He (s.a.w.s.) never allowed pride and conceit to enter his (s.a.w.s.) heart, despite being Allah’s greatest creation. Pride, arrogance and conceit are signs of meanness in a person. Examine a tree, which is without fruits. It stands upright like a proud man, but as soon as the tree starts bearing fruits, its branches starts bending due to the weight of the fruits and the worth and value of that tree increases due to the fruits it bears. Similarly, the proud man is like the tree without any fruits. Allah doesn’t love and nor does He befriend the proud and the arrogant ones. After all what do we mortals possess, and what are we proud of?

Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.s.) behaviour towards his family members was very good. He advised others also to behave well with their family members. But unfortunately, most of us keep all the possible information of other people’s lives – their lifestyle, their clothes, family gossip, marital discord, income level, eating and drinking habits, etc. But ironically, we are unaware of our own family members and are oblivious to what is going on in their lives. We shower favours and gifts on othes, but we deprive our own family members of their most basic wants. Whatever pent-up fury we have inside us, is targeted at our family members in the form of violent outbursts of anger. This is only because we know that they will not retaliate. We never do this to our superiors at work, because we know that our behaviour will not be tolerated there. This is not how a true Muslim is expected to behave.

The Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.s.) was always endeavoured to fulfil the needs of others. He himself participated in the battles. He behaved very nicely and magnanimously with his companions. He never associated with the disobedient, and the haughty ones. His (s.a.w.s.) only concern was to reform mankind, to make the hearts attentive towards the Almighty Allah, and to propagate the importance of excellent morals. His (s.a.w.s.) character, sayings, behaviour, politeness and kindness was always at its peak and was clearly evident to everyone. If he (s.a.w.s.) wanted to stop someone from doing something wrong, he never said so in an insulting manner so as to humiliate that person. He always took precedence in offering salutations (salaam). The people considered the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) to be so truthful that even the infidels (kuffaar) of Mecca began calling him (s.a.w.s.) as ‘Sadiq’. Friends and enemies alike, considered him as an excellent trustee of their wealth and belongings, and gave him (s.a.w.s.) the title of ‘Ameen’.

Having gained such invaluable insight into the Prophet’s (s.a.w.s.) life, we must try to make a dedicated effort to emulate his (s.a.w.s.) excellent morals. Inshallah, Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.s.) will definitely help us in our endeavour.

MIRACLES

A Prophet should posses two attributes viz. divine knowledge and power to perform miracles. These two characteristics signify his relation with the celestial world (Aalame Malakoot). In order to have the desired effect, the miracle performed by the Prophet must be suited to the prevailing era. Now we would like to enumerate the distinctive characteristics of our Prophet’s (s.a.w.s.) miracle:

  1. Keeping in mind that the prophethood of our Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is to last till Qiyamat, his miracle should also last till that time. So the Prophet’s (s.a.w.s.) everlasting miracle is the Holy Quran.
  2. The matter of Islamic miracle is language and speech with which people are always in touch.
  3. The Noble Quran is the best of literary works with regard to its concept and meaning, it is the best conversation and it also describes the best mode of life.
  4. The Glorious Quran, apart from being a most wondrous miracle, is also Allah’s covenant with man. This was not the case with the miracles of other Prophets (a.s.).

The Majestic Quran, the Book of guidance, is present in every Muslim’s house. This Book was revealed on Prophet Mohammed b. Abdullah (s.a.w.s.) by Allah, in the most eloquent of languages – Arabic. Quran contains 114 chapters (surahs), 30 sections, 6,205 verses (ayaat) and 87,000 alphabets. The reason for conflict in the number of verses is because some scholars consider ÁæÎêYìj"A øÅ{ÀæYìj"A êÉé}¼"A øÁænøI and Huroof-e-Muqatta’aat (Á"A) as a complete verse while others don’t.

The Holy Quran was revealed in an environment where people were unaware of the importance of knowledge, wisdom, manners and civilisation. According to historians, only 17 persons were able to read and write in the whole city of Mecca. This included the tribe of Quraish as well as other tribes surrounding Mecca. Allah, the Almighty, revealed the Quran on His Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in such circumstances. Allah, the High, at many places in Quran has invited the skeptics to bring a book like it. For instance, He declares,

"If men and Jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Quran, they could not bring the like of it, though some of them were assistants of others."

(Surah Bani Israel: 88)

At another place, the Holy Quran challenges,

"Or do they say: He has forged it, say: Then bring ten forged chapters like it."

(Surah Hud:13)

Again, it proclaims,

"Say: Then bring a chapter like this and invite whom you can besides Allah if you are truthful."

(Surah Yunus: 38)

While Allah is aware that none can bring the like of Quran, He dares,

"Or do they say: He has forged it. Nay! They don’t believe. Then let them bring an announcement like it if they are truthful.’

(Surah Toor: 33-34)

Dear readers if you ponder over the above Quranic verses, you will realise that time and again Allah has invited the enemies to bring a lesser similitude of the Quran and even reduced the limits of His challenge. More than 1,400 years have passed. Till date, none has displayed the ability or power to bring a Surah like Surah Kauthar, which is the smallest chapter of Quran, although there has been no scarcity of antagonism from the disbelievers, polytheists and the hypocrites who expressed their hatred and enmity through various means. On the other hand, each and every verse of the Holy Quran, is a vast ocean of eloquence whose like is not found. Even the great scholars of Arabic literature submit themselves with great surprise in front of the greatness and magnificence of the Holy Quran.

Apart from eloquence, Allah the Almighty, in the Quran, has brought lofty ethics and beliefs that can never be rivalled by man. The Holy Quran guides us towards the path of success in this world, as well as the hereafter. Every thing is mentioned in the Quran, and this is clear testimony to the fact that it is a miracle.

Dear readers, let us understand the Glorious Quran in a better way. It is that Book of Allah, which shows how to train our souls. It introduces the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and Hazrat Ibrahim, the friend of Allah (a.s.) as the idol breakers. It is a guide that takes man from deviation towards Allah’s proximity. It is easy and clear and invites man to reflect about himself. It is that Book which advances clear proofs to support its arguments. It educates man through the history of previous Prophets (a.s.) and incidents of past nations. By narrating examples, conclusions, and good exhortation, it invites man to struggle and endeavour in Allah’s way. Its stories and incidents are not for entertainment but for taking lessons. It not only narrates details of the past nation but also cites reasons for their advancement and destruction.

The Holy Quran is the light that removes all darkness. It is a cure for all diseases. It quenches the thirst of the scholars. It gives life to the jurists, gives arguments and proofs to the orators, a proof to thwart enemies, beneficial for the readers, a verdict for rulers and judges. Our pens are incompetent to narrate its excellence.

Unfortunately, Muslims are unaware of this Book of deliverance and salvation. Today, we just use this book as a tool for rituals or for adornment. For example, to show the skill of architecture, they carve the Quranic verses, by using the verses in the monograms of advertisement, engraving the verses on the graves, engraving verses on the stones of wells. Adorned in a decorative covering, Quran is presented as dowry to our daughters.

We still have time, as yet, death has not knocked on our doors. Let us take a look at the saying of Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), who says regarding Allah’s Word,

"When the mischief of the world surrounds you and your society, like the darkness of night, then take hold of the Quran for your deliverance and salvation."

(Usul-e-Kaafi, vol. 2)

THE END OF PROPHETHOOD: THE SEAL OF PROPHETS

Let us now talk about the end of Prophethood. The Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Mohammed Mustafa (s.a.w.s.) is the last messenger of Allah, and no Messenger or Prophet will succeed him (s.a.w.s.). To believe that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is the last messenger is one of the necessities of Islam. In other words, it is obligatory on all Muslims to have this belief and whosoever denies Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) to be the last Prophet, is an unbeliever. This is because denying this belief is in fact denying the Quran and the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.s.).

Dear readers! When Allah created man, He sent messengers for their guidance. As previously man’s mode of living was very simple and uncomplicated, Allah did not inform the people about everything – just like a teacher who does not teach those lessons that are above the student’s level. Similarly, Allah sent Prophets (a.s.), who guided the people in accordance with the needs of people. After sending 123,999 prophets, Allah sent the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as the last of His Prophets (a.s.). It is evident from the Holy Quran and books of traditions that the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.s.) was the last divine Prophet. So whosoever claims to be the prophet of Allah after Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is a liar, and he can only be a messenger of Shaitaan.

Allah the Almighty has very clearly declared Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) to be His last Messenger so that nobody has a doubt. It is revealed in the 40th verse of Surah Ahzaab,

"Mohammed is not the father of any of your men, but he is the apostle of Allah and the last of the prophets and Allah is Cognisant of all things."

Thus, Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.s.) is the last Messenger of Allah, after which prophethood has ended. Now, if somebody states any other meaning of this verse, then surely he is a fraud.

As regards the finality of prophethood, the enemies of Islam raise objections by asking how it is possible that the religion, which had come fourteen centuries back, can solve the problems and difficulties of the present era. Therefore, the existence of a new prophet is necessary.

Then we must ask these people whether the religion of Allah is some fashionable dress, shoes, bag etc. whose fashion changes according to the time. Individual and social virtues/evils are constant and do not alter according to the era. In these circumstances it is necessary to have laws that are constant and do not change. For instance, truthfulness, trustworthiness, honesty, faithfulness, loyalty, lying, breach of trust, obscenity, etc. – these evils and virtues were always present in society and their existence will continue even in future. Then it is important to have some laws that are everlasting and permanent and are not affected by the changes and alterations in society.

Secondly, the religion of Allah has introduced very general laws that are applicable for wide-ranging problems. If a new problem crops up and it is difficult for us to determine our religious obligation then we must refer to the jurists who will try to resolve the problem in line with the terms and conditions stated by the Ahle Bayt (a.s.). They will inform us about Allah’s commands regarding that problem and will issue a decree (fatwa) in the light of Quranic verses and traditions of Ahle Bayt (a.s.).

Islamic laws have been framed keeping in view the reality of mankind – his nature and instinct, and his real and basic necessities. On this basis, even as society keeps evolving, the Islamic laws can regulate the society of every era in a better way.

Allah has clearly declared the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to be the last of prophets, in Surae Ahzaab 40 :

‘And Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Apostle of Allah, and the last of prophets;’

After this declaration of the Holy Quran, it would be appropriate to narrate the tradition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) regarding the "The seal of Prophets". The tradition is famous as Hadith-e-Tamtheel which has been narrated by the Shia and Ahle Sunnah scholars. We are quoting the names of the Ahle Sunnah books in which this tradition has been recorded, viz. Sahihe Bukhari, part 4, page 22, Musnade Ahmad b. Hanbal vol. 2, page 938, Al Taj al-Jaame’ vol. 3, page 229 – sourced from Sahihe Muslim, Sahihe Bukhari and Sunane-Tirmizi.

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) narrates:

‘My similitude and the similitude of the previous prophets is like somebody constructing a beautiful house. He completes the construction of the house, except for one brick in a corner. Then whoever enters the house will find the house attractive, but will most certainly inquire about the missing brick in the corner of the house. Then the last brick will ensure the completion of the house. My similitude is like that of the brick as I am Allah’s last prophet and it is through me that Prophethood has been completed and perfected. "I am that last brick and I am the one through whom the chain of Prophethood has been completed.

(Saheeh Bukhari part 4, page 22, Musnade Ahmad b. Hambal vol. 2, page 938, Al Taj al-Jaame’ vol. 3, page 229 – sourced from Sahihe Muslim, Sahihe Bukhari and Sunane-Tirmizi)

The conclusion of this entire discussion is that on the basis of Islamic tenets, Quranic verses, and the traditions of the infallibles (a.s.), Islam is the last religion of Allah, the Holy Quran is the last divine book and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is the last link in the chain of prophethood. Whoever denies this belief is in manifest error and has no relation with Islam. In fact such a person has stepped outside the realm of Islam into the realm of disbelief (kufr).