Foundation & Growth of Islam

Islam is the fastest growing religion all over the world. It is n,t on ritual only but most practical implications in everyday life. Peoples life changes through its impleentations. Qur,an and sayings of prophet(saw) attract each other and affects body and mind and soul tremendously.

Each person is born in a circumstance which is not of his own choosing. The religion of his family or the ideology of the state is thrust upon him from the very beginning of his existence in this world. By the time he reaches his teens, he is usually fully brain-washed into believing that the beliefs of his particular society are the correct beliefs that everyone should have. However, when some people mature and are exposed to other belief-systems, they begin to question the validity of their own beliefs. The seekers of truth often reach a point of confusion upon realizing that each and every religion, sect, ideology and philosophy claims to be the one and only correct way for man. Indeed, they all encourage people to do good. So, which one is right? They cannot all be right since each claims all others are wrong. Then how does the seeker of truth choose the right way?

God gave us all minds and intellects to enable us to make this crucial decision. It is the most important decision in the life of a human being. Upon it depends his future, Consequently, each and every one of us must examine dispassionately the evidence presented and choose what appears to be right until further evidence arises.

Like every other religion or philosophy, Islam also claims to be the one and only true way to God. In this respect it is no different from other systems. This booklet intends to provide some evidence for the validity of that claim. However, it must always be kept in mind that one can only determine the true path by putting aside emotions and prejudices, which often blind us to reality. Then, and only then, will we be able to use our God-given intelligence and make a rational and correct decision.

There are several arguments, which may be advanced to support Islam’s claim to be the true religion of God. The following are only three of the most obvious. The first argument is based on the divine origin of the names of the religion and the comprehensiveness of its meaning. The second deals with the unique and uncomplicated teachings concerning the relationship between God, man, and creation. The third argument derives from the fact that Islam is universally attainable by all men at all times. These are the three basic components of what logic and reason dictate necessary for a religion to be considered the true religion of God. The following pages will develop these concepts in some detail.

The Religion’s Name:

The first thing that one should know and clearly understand about Islam is what the word ‘Islam” itself means. The Arabic word “Islam” means the submission or surrender of one’s will to the only true God, known in Arabic as “Allah”. One who submits his will to God is termed in Arabic a “Muslim”. The religion of Islam is not named after a person or a people, nor was it decided by a later generation of man, as in the case of other religions. Islam (submission to the will of God) is the religion which was given to Adam, the first man and the first prophet of God, and it was the religion of all the prophets sent by Allah to mankind. Further its name was chosen by God Himself and clearly mentioned in the final scripture which He revealed to man. In that final revelation, called in Arabic the Qur’an Allah states the following:

“This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Qur’an 5:3]

“If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of Him.” [Qur’an 3:85]

Hence, Islam does not claim to be a new religion brought by Prophet Mohammed into Arabia in the seventh century, but rather to be a re-expression in its final form of the true religion of Almighty God, Allah, as it was originally revealed to Adam and subsequent prophets.

“Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” [Luke 11:2/Matthew 6:9-10]

This concept was emphasised by Jesus in a number of his statements recorded in the Gospels. He taught, for example, that only those who submitted would inherit paradise. Jesus also pointed out that he himself submitted to the will of God.

“None of those who call me ‘Lord’ will enter the kingdom of God, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” [Matthew 7:21]

“I cannot do anything of myself I judge as I hear and my judgment is honest because I am not seeking my own will but the will of Him who sent me.” [John 5:30]

There are many reports in the Gospels which show that Jesus made it clear to his followers that he was not the one true God. For example, when speaking about the final Hour, he said:

“No-one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, not the son, but only the Father.” [Mark 13:32]

Thus, Jesus like the prophets before him and the one who came after him, taught the religion of Islam: submission to the will of the one true God.

God(Allah) And Creation

Since the total submission of one’s will to God represents the essence of worship, the basic message of God’s divine religion, Islam, is the worship of God alone. It also requires the avoidance of worship directed to any person, place or thing other than God. Since everything other than God, the creator of all the things, is God’s creation, it may be said that Islam, in essence, calls man away from worship of creation and invites him to worship only his Creator. He is the only one deserving of man’s worship, because it is only by His will that prayers are answered.

Accordingly, if a man prays to a tree and his prayers are answered, it is not the tree which answers his prayers but God, who allows the circumstances prayed for to take place. One might say, “That is obvious”. However, to tree-worshippers, it might not be so. Similarly, prayers to Jesus, Buddha, or Krishna or Saint Christopher, or Saint Jude or even to Muhammad, are not answered by them, but are answered by God. Jesus did not tell his followers to worship him but to worship God, as the Quran states:

“And behold! Allah will say: ‘O Jesus, the son of Mary! Did you say to men, worship me and my mother as gods besides Allah?, He will say: “Glory to you, I could never say what I had no right (to say).” [Qur’an 5:118]

Nor did Jesus worship himself when he worshipped, but rather he worshipped God. And Jesus was reported in the Gospels to have said,

Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” [Luke 4:8]

This basic principle is contained in the opening chapter of the Qur’an, known as Soorah alFaatihah, verse 4:

“you alone do we worship and from you alone do we seek help.”

Elsewhere, in the final book of revelation, the Quran, God also said:

“And you Lord says: ‘Call on Me and I will answer your (prayer).’” [Qur’an 40:60]

It is worth emphasizing that the basic message of Islam (namely, the worship of God alone) also proclaims that God and His creation are distinctly different entities. God is neither equal to His creation nor a part of it, nor is His creation equal to Him or a part of Him.

This might seem obvious, but man’s worship of creation, instead of the Creator is to a large degree based on ignorance, or neglect, of this concept. It is the belief that the essence of God is everywhere in His creation or that His divine being is or was present in some parts of His creation, which has provided justification for the worship of God’s creation and naming it the worship of God. However, the message of Islam, as brought by the prophets of God, is to worship only God and to avoid the worship of His creation either directly or indirectly.

In the Qur’an God(Allah) clearly states:

“For we assuredly sent amongst every people a prophet, with the command Worship Me and avoid false Gods.” [Qur’an 16:36]

When idol worshippers are questioned as to why they bow down to idols created by men, the invariable reply is that they are not actually worshipping the stone image, but God who is present within it. They claim that the stone idol is only a focal point for God’s essence and is not in itself God! One who has accepted the concept of God being present in any way within His creation will be obliged to accept this argument for idolatry. Whereas, one who understands the basic message of Islam and its implications would never agree to idolatry no matter how it is rationalized.

Those who have claimed divinity for themselves down through the ages have often based their claims on the mistaken belief that God is present in man. Taking one step further, they claim that God is more present in them than in the rest of us, and that other humans should therefore submit to them and worship them as God in person or as God concentrated within their persons. Similarly, those who have asserted the godhood of others after their deaths have found fertile ground among those who accept the false belief of God’s presence in man.

It should be abundantly clear by now that one who has grasped the basic message of Islam and its implications could never agree to worship another human being under any circumstance. God’s religion, in essence, is a clear call to the worship of the Creator and the rejection of creation-worship in any form. This is the meaning of the motto of Islam:

“Laa Ilaaha Ill Allah” (there is no God but Allah)

The sincere declaration of this phrase and the acceptance of prophethood automatically bring one within the fold of Islam, and sincere belief in it guarantees one Paradise. Thus, the final Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h) is reported to have said, “Any one who says: There is no God but Allah, and dies holding that (belief) will enter paradise.”

Belief in this declaration of faith requires that one submit his/her will to God in the way taught by the prophets of God. It also requires the believer to give up the worship of false gods.

The Message Of False Religions

There are so many sects, cults, religions, philosophies, and movements in the world, all of which claim to be the right way or the only true path of God How can one determine which one is correct or whether, in fact, all are correct? One method by which the answer can be found is to clear away the superficial differences in the teachings of the various claimants to the ultimate truth, and identifies the central object of worship upon which they call, directly or indirectly. False religions all have in common one basic concept with regard to God they either claim that all men are gods, or that specific men were God, or that nature is God, or that God is a figment of man’s imagination.

Thus, it may be stated that the basic message of false religion is that God may be worshipped in the form of His creation. False religions invite man to the worship of creation by calling the creation or some aspect of it God. For example, prophet Jesus invited his followers to worship God, but those who claim to be Jesus’ followers today call people to worship Jesus, claiming that he was God.

Buddha was a reformer who introduced a number of humanistic principles in the religion of India. He did not claim to be God, nor did he suggest to his followers that he be an object of worship. Yet today most Buddhists who are to be found outside of India have taken him to be God and they prostrate themselves to idols made in their perception of his likeness.

By using the principle of identifying the object of worship, we can easily detect false religions and the contrived nature of their origin. As God said in the Qur’an:

“That which you worship besides Him are only names and you and your forefathers have invented for which Allah has sent down no authority: the command belongs only to Allah He has command that you worship Him; that is the right religion, but most men do not understand.” [Qur’an 12:40]

It may be argued that all religions teach good things, so why should it matter which one we follow? The reply is that all false religions teach the greatest evil the worship of creation.

Creation-worship is the greatest sin that man can commit because it contradicts the very purpose of his creation. Man was created to worship God alone as Allah has explicitly stated in the Qur’an:

“I have only created jinns and men, that they may worship Me” [Qur’an 51:56]

Consequently , the worship of creation, which is the essence of idolatry is the only unforgivable sin. One who dies in this state of idolatry, has sealed his fate in the next life. This is not an opinion, but a revealed fact stated by God in his final revelation to man:

“Verily Allah will not forgive the joining of partners with Him, but He may forgive (sins) less than that for whomsoever He wishes.” [Qur’an 4:48 and 116]

Universality Of God’s Religion

Since the consequences of following a false religion are so grave, the true religion of God must have been universally understandable and universally attainable in the past and it must continue eternally to be understandable and attainable throughout the entire world. In other words, the true religion of God cannot be confined to any one people, place, or period of time. Nor is it logical that such a religion should impose conditions that have nothing to do with the relationship of man with God, such as baptism, or belief in man as a savior, or an intermediary. Within the central principle of Islam and its definition (the surrender of one’s will to God) lie the roots of Islam’s universality. Whenever man comes to the realization that God is one and distinct from His creation, and submits himself to God, he becomes a Muslim in body and spirit and is eligible for paradise.

Consequently, anyone at any time in the most remote regions of the world can become Muslim, a follower of God’s religion, Islam, by merely rejecting the worship of creation and turning to God alone. It should be noted, however, that in order to actually submit to God’s will, one must continually choose between right and wrong. Indeed, man is endowed by God with the power not only to distinguish right from wrong but also to choose between them. These God-given powers carry with them an important responsibility, namely, that man is answerable to God for the choices he makes. It follows, then, that man should try his utmost to do good and avoid evil. These concepts are expressed in the final revelation as follows:

“Verily, those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians (angel-and-star-worshippers) -- any of these who believe in Allah and the Last Day and work righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord. They will not be overcome by fear or grief.” [Qur’an 2:62]

If, for whatever reason, they fail to accept the final message after it has been clearly explained to them, they will be in grave danger. The last Prophet said:

“Whoever among the Christians and Jews hears of me but does not affirm his belief in what I brought and dies in this state will be among the inhabitants of hell.” (Sahih Muslim [English Translation], Vol.1 P.91 No, 284)

Recognition Of God(Allah-one God)

The question which arises here is : How can all people be expected to believe in the one true God, given their varying backgrounds, societies and cultures? For people to be held responsible for worshipping the one true God, they all need to have access to knowledge of Him. The final revelation teaches that all humans being have the recognition of the one true God imprinted on their souls as a part of their very nature with which they are created.

In the seventh chapter of the Qur’an (Al-A’raaf, verses 172-173), God explained that when He created Adam He caused all of Adam’s descendants to come into existence and He took a pledge from them saying:

“‘Am I not your Lord?’ To which they all replied, ‘Yes, we testify to it’”

Allah then explained why He had all of mankind bear witness that He is their creator and the only true God worthy of worship. He said:

“That was in case you (mankind) should say on the day of Resurrection, ‘Verily we were unaware of all this’” [Qur’an 7:172]

That is to say, we cannot claim on that day that we had no idea that Allah, was our God and that no one told us that we were only supposed to worship Allah alone. Allah went on to further explain that:

“It was also in case you should say, ‘Certainly it was our ancestors who made partners (with Allah) and we are only their descendants; will you then destroy us for what those liars did?’” [Qur’an 7:173]

Thus, every child is born with a natural belief in God and an in-born inclination to worship Him alone. This in-born belief and inclination is called in Arabic the “Fitrah“.

The Prophet Muhammad(saw) reported that Allah said, “I created my servants in the right religion, but devils made them go astray.” The Prophet also said, “Each child is born in a state of Fitrah. Then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian.” If the child were left alone, he would worship God in his own way, but all children are affected by the environment. So, just as the child submits to the physical laws, which Allah has imposed on nature, in the same way his soul also submits naturally to the fact that Allah is his Lord and Creator. But, if his parents try to make him follow a different path, the child is not strong enough in the early stages of his life to resist or oppose the will of his parents. In such cases, the religion, which the child follows, is one of custom and upbringing, and God does not hold him to account or punish him for his religion up to a certain stage of his life.

The Signs Of God(Allah)

Throughout people’s lives, from childhood until the time they die, signs of the one and only true God are shown to them in all regions of the earth and in their own souls, until it becomes clear that there is only one true God (Allah). God says in the Qur’an:

“We will show them our signs In the furthest regions (of the earth) and in their souls, until it becomes clear to them that this is the truth.” [Qur’an 41:53]

The following is an example of God revealing by a sign to one man the error of his idol-worship. In the south-eastern region of the Amazon jungle in Brazil, South America, a primitive tribe erected a new hut to house their man-idol Skwatch, representing the supreme God of all creation. The following day a young man entered the hut to pay homage to the God, and while he was in prostration to what he had been taught was his Creator and Sustainer, a mangy old flea-ridden dog slunk into the hut. The young man looked up in time to see the dog lift his hind leg and pass urine on the idol.

Outraged, the youth chased the dog out of the temple; but when his rage died down he realized that the idol could not be the Lord of the Universe. God must be elsewhere, he concluded. As strange as it may seem, the dog urinated on the idol was a sign from God for that young man. This sign contained the divine message that what he was worshipping was false. It liberated from slavishly following his traditionally learned worship of a false god. As a result, this man was given a choice: either to seek the true god or to continue in the error of his ways.

Allah mentions Prophet Abraham’s quest for God as an example of how those who follow His signs will be rightly guided:

“So also did we show Abraham the power and the Laws of the heavens and the earth that he might (with understanding) have certitude. When the night covered him over, he saw a star. He said: ‘This is my Lord.’ But when it set, he said: ‘I love not those that set’ When he saw the moon rising in splendor, he said: ‘This is my Lord.’ But when the moon set, he said: ‘Unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray.’ When he saw the rising sun in splendor, he said: ‘This is my Lord this is the greatest (of all).’ But when the sun set, he said; ‘O my people I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to Allah. For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah” [Qur’an 6:75-79]

As was mentioned earlier, prophets have been sent to every nation and tribe to support man’s natural belief in God and man’s in-born inclination to worship Him, as well as to reinforce the divine truth in the daily signs revealed by God. Although much of these prophets’ teachings became distorted, portions revealing their God-inspired messages have remained untainted and have served to guide mankind in the choice between right and wrong. The influence of God-inspired messages down through the ages can be seen in the “Ten Commandments” of Judaism’s Torah which were later adopted into Christianity’s teachings, as well as in the existence of laws against murder, stealing and adultery in most societies throughout the ancient and modern world.

As a result of God’s signs to mankind through the ages combined with His revelation through His prophets, all mankind has been given a chance to recognize the one only true God.

Consequently, every soul will be held accountable for its belief in God and its acceptance of the true religion of God, namely Islam, which means total submission to the will of Allah.

Status of Women in Islam-a woman is a vase of beauty and fragrance. so smell her gently, donot wrestle with her.
The liberation of woman in Islam is far superior to others liberation as it allows woman to live with respect, dignity and equality in soceity. equality does mean aping and behaving like men or dancing with them in clubs,bars etc.A real woman will never degrade her and sell her dignity to the highest bidder.No woman is truly liberated if she is still the slave of her wayward,bodily lust or infidelity. Thus in Islam, whatever their role as mother, wives, sisters or daughters command respect and have a constructive role to play in society.

Islam emphasiges the equality of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or social status or position.Islam has prescribed different roles and responsibilities for men and women.

Muslims consider four ladies to be the most noble and pious:
1. Aasiya-wife of Firawn/Pharaoh
2. Maryam/Mary-Mother of Issa(as)
3.Khadija(ra)-wife of Muhammad(saw)
4. Fatima(ra)-Daughter of Muhammad(saw)

The first contact with a woman is with one's mother, who suffers in the pregnancy,delivery,nursing and rearing of her child. History does not recall a religion or a system which honours the woman as a mother and which raises her, as Islam does. Islam repeatedly commends the woman, and this comes directly after the command to worship and believe in the Oneness of Allah. Allah has made honouring one's mother a virtue, and He puts forth the mother's right over that of the father for what she endures in pregnancy, delivery,nursing and raising her children.

This has been honoured and restated in the Qur'an, in multiple chapters, to imprint this notion in the child's mind and heart as per the following verses:

"And we have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years-give thanks to Me and your parents,-unto Me is the final destination. [The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 31, Verse 14]

"And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship and she brings him forth with hardship, and the bearing of him, and the weaning of him is thirty (30) months. [The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 46, Verse 15]

The status of women as mother has been restated in many Ahadis ( Sayings of Muhammad (PBUH)).

A man came to the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) asking, "Who is most deserving of my care?" He said, "Your mother." The man asked, "Then who?" He said, "Your mother." The man asked, "Then who?" He said, Your mother." The man asked (the fourth time), "Then who?" He said, "Your father. [ Transmitted by Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Abu Huraira The Pearl and the Coral (Al-Lu'lu' wal-Marjan) (1652)]

Al-Bazzar recounts that a man was circumambulating the Ka'bah carrying his mother. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked him, "Have you repaid her?" The man said, "No, not even for one of her moans (i.e. one of the moans of labour, delivery and so on) [Transmitted by Al-Bazzar (1872)]

As to be good to her, it means treating her well, respecting her, humbling oneself in front of her, obeying her without disobeying Allah, seeking her satisfaction and pleasure in all matters, even in a holy war. If it is optional, he must have her permission, for being good to her in a type of jihad. [ Jihad is the struggle (physical, mental, psychological, spiritual, etc.) to preserve the purity and practice of Islam. ]

A man came to the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) and said, "O Messenger of Allah, I want to fight and I want your advice." He asked him, "Have you a mother?" The man said, "Yes." He said, "Do not leave her because Paradise is under her feet. [ Transmitted by Al-Nisaai, 6/11; Ibn Majah, 1/278 and Al-Hakim. It is amended and approved by Al-Dhahaby, 4/151, on the authority of Muaaweya Ibn Jammah.]

Some religious laws before Islam neglected the mother's relations, making them insignificant. With the advent of Islam, it recommended caring for uncles and aunts, both on the father's side and the mother's. A man approached the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) and said, "I committed an offence, could I atone for it?" He asked, "Have you got a mother?" The man said, "No." He asked, "Have you got a maternal aunt?" The man said, "Yes." The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Be good to her. [ Transmitted by Termithy in "Righteousness and Relations" (1905); Ibn Hibban Charity (EI-Ehsan) (435); and Al-Hakim who amended it on the terms of the two Sheikhs, agreed upon by Al-Dhahaby, 4/155, all on the authority of Umar.]

It is amazing that Islam commanded us to be good to a mother even though she is an unbeliever!

Asma'a bint Abu Bakr asked the Prophet (PBUH) about her relationship to her unbelieving mother who had come to her. He said, "Yes, be on good terms with your mother". [Transmitted on the authority of Asmaa (agreed upon), The Pearl and the Coral (Al-Lu'lu' wal-Marjan) (587).]

An indication that Islam cares for motherhood, for the rights of mothers and their feelings is that a divorced mother has greater rights and is worthier of looking after her children than the father.

`Abdallah ibn `Amr ibn Al-as transmitted that a woman asked, "O Messenger of Allah, this son of mine had my womb as a container, my breasts for drinking, my lap to contain him. His father has taken him from me." The Prophet (PBUH) said, "You have more right if you do not marry". [Transmitted by Ahmad in Al Musnad (6707). Sheikh Shaker said its authenticity is correct. Transmitted also by Abu Dawud.]

Imam Al-Khataby said in Landmarks of Traditions (Maalem As-Sunna): "Container" is the name of the place that contains a thing. This means that the mother is worthier as she and the father shared in the begetting of the child, then she was singled out for such things as nursing which the father had no share in. Therefore she deserves to be the first when it comes to disputes about the child.

On the authenticity of Ibn `Abbas who said, "`Umar ibn Al-Khattab divorced his wife from Al-Ansar, the mother of `Asim. He met her carrying the child in Mahser (a market- place between Quba and Medina). The child was weaned and could walk. `Umar held out his hand to take the child from her and disputed about it till the boy cried out in pain. `Umar said, "I am worthier of my son than you "They complained to Abu Bakr, whose verdict was that the mother should keep the child. He said, "Her scent, her bed, and her lap are better for him than yours until he grows up and chooses for himself ". [ Landmarks of Traditions (Maalem as-Sunna) (2181).]

The mother who is cherished that much by Islam and given all these rights has a task to perform. She has to take care of her children, raise them well, implant virtues, and make them loathe evil. She has to teach them to obey Allah, encourage them to defend what is truthful, not dissuade them from fighting for the saka of Allah (one form of jihad) because of the motherly sentiments in her heart but to favour the correct way over sentiment.

We saw a believing mother, Al-Khansaa, in the Battle of Qadesseyah eloquently urging her four sons to be brave and steadfast. Then as soon as the battle was over and the news of their four deaths came to her, she did not wail and carry on but said with certainty and contentment, "Praise be to Allah who honoured me with their martyrdom for His faith."

Immortal mothers

Out of Qur'anic guidance, we have been supplied with superb examples of good mothers who had influence and position in the history of the faith in Allah.

Moses' mother, for example, responded to Allah's inspiration and calling when she cast the apple of her eye into the river, assured of Allah's promise:

"And We inspired the mother of Moses, (saying): `suckle him (Moses), but when you fear for him, then cast him into the river and fear not, nor grieve. Verily! We shall bring him back for you, and shall make him one of (Our) Messengers." [The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 28, Verse 7]

There is also Mary's mother, who promised what she had in her womb to be devoted to Allah, to be pure of any polytheism or worship of anything other than Allah. She prayed to Allah to accept her vow:

"so accept (this), from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing". [ The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 3, Verse 35]

When the child turned out to be a female, which she had not expected, it did not prevent her from fulfilling her vow, asking Allah to protect her from all evil:

"and I seek refuge with You (Allah) for her and for her offspring from Satan, the outcast" [The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 3, Verse 36]

Moreover, the Qur'an has made Mary (may Allah be pleased with her), daughter of `Imran and mother of the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), an example of purity, humility to Allah and of faith in His word.

"And Mary, the daughter of `Imran who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (the sleeve of her shirt or her garment) through Our "Ruh" (i.e. Gabriel), and she testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord (believed in the Words of Allah "Be! and he was; that is Jesus-son of Mary;-as a Messenger of Allah), and (also believed in) His Scriptures, and she was of the Qanitun (i.e. obedient to Allah). [ The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 66, Verse 12]

Excerpted from the article "The Status of Women in Islam" by Sh. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

Muhammad (s): "The Greatest Man"

By: Siddique Saqafi
The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad –peace be upon him- was born in Arabia and he made Arabs a community of outstanding excellence both in manners and humanity. Wherever they- the holy companions of Prophet Muhammad (s)- went, the thought and life were revolutionized and this is the reason why Islam was spread around the world very rapidly after Prophet Muhammad’s (s) birth.

Prophet Muhammad (s) was very handsome and powerful, and his childhood gave indication of the sublime and dynamic personality that was going to emerge. As and when he grew up, the nobility of his behavior and personality showed greater impacts on anyone who behold him. With God’s will, he presented perfect personality being tolerant, magnanimous and extremely truthful that gave him a noble name ‘Al-Ameen’.

The Arabia, before the advent of Prophet Muhammad (s) was calamitous. Arabs were religiously ignorant and morally worsened. They were divided themselves in to clans and clans in to families and each family had its own idols in their domain. The Idolatry had gained such extreme hold in the Arabia and it was greater challenge on Prophet Muhammad (s). As we see from the very natural and religious perspectives of Islam, the fundamental tenet of Islam is “zero tolerance approach” to idolatry. Islam suggests worshiping a single God and Him alone, not being represented through idols. Women, War and Wine were the three ‘W’s of the time that the Arabs were mad about. A man could have as many wives as he wished and any number of mistresses. Prostitution was quite rife among them and they made money from ‘prostitution’ too. As for education, it was fully unknown to them. This is a small overview picture of the Arabia before Prophet Muhammad’s (s) mission.

Prophet Muhammad (s) had to put such hard efforts to put forth the ideologies of Islam and Moral life. It is Allah’s grace that when ignorance and moral darkness became rampant and the people were led by cruelty and oppression, they should be brought back to the right path. It was Prophet Muhammad (s) who brought significant ‘change’ in the history like rain after intense heat or light of day after night’s darkness. The Holy Prophet of Islam converted Arabs from being divided people and they became a united nation. The uncivilized people of the Arabs underwent a ‘transformation’ that made them most civilized people. His mission of religious renaissance in the Arabia of 23 years had become an illuminating example of revolution unparalleled in the known history that made him the ‘greatest man’ and ‘exemplary conduct’ forever.

Islam is a religion, oneness of God being its basic principle. It preaches man to surrender and worship one God, the Almighty. God in Islam bears no parents, nor children. He is not divided into the Holy Ghost the son and the father. He is the creator, the omniscient, the everlasting,, the first, the last, the holy, the truth, the benignant, the most loving, the most merciful, the pardoner all and all.
How did man tend to worship one thing? It is a matter of opinion. It is said that, primitive men turned to worship natural objects and elements, like fire, lightning, thunder bolt, for having feared them. Gradually it paved the way for paganism. People started symbolizing their Gods in idols and images. Thus, the most irrational idol worship came into existence. Islam strictly prohibits symbolization of God in anything, man or substance. Divinity is vested in His hands. Islam asks those people who are indulged in idol worshipping, despite their intelligence and sensibility, to think what nonsense they are doing. He prays to an image framed himself, that is so lifeless even to hear what he prays.

Against superstitions:
Islam uproots all the superstitious beliefs. Hence the detestation to polytheism and paganism. Islam, being a religion of reason, cannot tolerate with those foundations that are liable to lead man to misconceptions and superstitions. When Islam was introduced in the dark age of sixth century in Arabia, where idol worshipping and superstitions were boiling and bubbling with all its splendor, where each family had their own gods, Islam first crossed it, calling their attention into the fallacy and falsity of their worship. Gradually, when Islam gained strong hold therein, Prophet (P.B.U.H) removed all the idols and images from the Holy Ka-aba. Since they were well convinced and were rooted into the conviction of God none protested doing so.

It was the same method brought into operation by Prophet Ibrahim(A). With outstanding perspicacity, he approached his man. Sun rose, he turned denying it to be so. Likewise, when appeared, shedding his milky rays he announced it publicly to be his god, the protector. But when it set, he denounced it for its being unable to stand still as his object of worship. When, on a festival day some of the idols were demolished, it was he who did it but when asked about it, he told them to ask the larger one who should proudly unpolluted. To this, they turned furious. They were made to think that, Ibrahim (A) was actually making fun of them for they themselves knew well that those lifeless stones cannot utter even a word, and that he himself knew that they knew it. But, at least few of them started thinking straight forward, and dared denouncing to worship man-made gods.

Islam always antagonized superstitions. There had been, among the uneducated Arabs and the unsophisticated heathens, the belief in bad augury. While setting out for a journey, if some black cat happened to cross one’s way, or an way, or any bird having some exaggerated features occurred noising, he puts off to his endeavour then and there for he thought some danger awaited him, it being a bad omen. How far senseless is this? Prophet(P.R.U.H.) saw this false notion grow, so he publicly denounced it and advised them to give up that misconception.

Another superstition widely spread among the Arabs was that which concerned with eclipse. They maintained the belief that it was due to the birth of a rogue or to the noble that either sun or moon tended to hide thus causing eclipse. In other words, nature too proves his being an elite by taking part in the mourning or nature itself announces the other to be cantankerous. It seems some what like with the literary concept called the pathetic fallacy by Ruskin. But, admittedly and more avowedly it had not been familiar to that dark age. So, undoubtedly it was a superstition and it was in those day of misbelieves that Prophet’s newborn son named Ibrahim(R) passed away someday, on which there happened an eclipse. People started praising Prophet. They even dared to attribute the highness also to the defunct baby. Even the hostile opponents of the Prophet(P.B.U.H.) started surprising as well as his proponents.

It would have been a golden opportunity so far as Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was concerned, provided he wished being praised. He could have made profit out of it declaring “I am not as mean as you think, learn me more, acknowledge me, surrender to me” and the like. Had we been in his place, we would have argued likewise and had even justified our stand saying, that was for the sake of propagating the true religion But the Prophet who kept always warring against superstition boldly declared that “certainly, the sin and the moon are the two signs among the various signs of God. Never do they undergo eclipse due to the death or birth of any”. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) who declared this in an age to which astronomy was unknown deserves glorification. These are some of the instances. A close study of Islamic history and the Prophet’s life will impart you more in this regard.

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