[33:40] MuHammad is not a father of any of your men, but he is a messenger of Allah and the last of the prophets. And Allah has the Knowledge of every thing.
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What the bible says about Muhammad (Peace be upon Him)?
A lecture by Shaykh Ahmed Deedat (RA)
SAY: "DO YOU SEE ? WHETHER THIS MESSAGE BE FROM ALLAH (God Almighty), AND YET YOU REJECT IT, AND A WITNESS FROM AMONG THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL BORE WITNESS OF ONE LIKE HIM......." (Holy Qur'an 46:10). (see note 1)
Mr.Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The subject of this evening's talk - "What the BIBLE says about MUHAMMED" - will no doubt come as a surprise to many of you because the speaker is a Muslim. How does it come about that a Muslim happens to be expounding prophecies from the Jewish and Christian Scriptures ?
As a young man, about 30 years ago, I attended a series of religious lectures by a Christian theologian, a certain Rev. Hiten, at the "Theatre Royal", Durban in South Africa.
Pope or Kissinger? :
This Reverend gentleman was expounding Biblical prophecies. He went on to prove that the Christian Bible foretold the rise of Soviet Russia, and the Last Days. At one stage he went to the extent of proving that his Holy Book did not leave even the Pope out of its predictions. He expatiated vigorously in order to convince his audience that the "Beast 666" mentioned in the Book of Revelation the last book of the New Testament was the POPE, who was the Vicar of Christ on earth. It is not befitting for us Muslims to enter into this controversy between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants. By the way, the latest Christian exposition of the "Beast 666" of the Christian Bible is Dr. Henry Kissinger(2). Christian scholars are ingenious and indefatigable in their efforts to prove their case.
Rev. Hiten's lectures led me to ask that if the Bible foretold so many things - not even excluding the "Pope" and "Israel" - then surely it must have something to say about the greatest benefactor of mankind(3) , the Holy Prophet Muhammed (may the peace of Allah be upon him).
As a youngster I set out to search for an answer. I met priest after priest, attended lectures, and read everything that I could lay my hands relating to the fields of Bible prophecies. Tonight I am going to narrate to you one of these interviews with a dominee (4) of the Dutch Reformed Church.
I was invited to the Transvaal(5) to deliver a talk on the occasion of Birthday celebration of the Holy Prophet Muhammed. Knowing that in that province of the Republic, the Afrikaans language is widely spoken, even by my own people, I felt that I ought to acquire a smattering of this language so a s to feel a little "at home" with the people. I opened the telephone directory and began phoning the Afrikaans-speaking Churches. I indicated my purpose to the priests that I was interested in having a dialogue with them, but they all refused my request with "Plausible" excuses. No.13 was my lucky number. The thirteenth call brought me pleasure and relief. A dominee Van Heerden agreed to meet me at his home on the Saturday afternoon that I was to leave for Transvaal.
He received me on his verandah with a friendly welcome. He said if I did not mind, he would like his father-in-law from the Free State (a 70 year old man) to join us in the discussion. I did not mind. The three of us settled down in the dominee's library.
Why nothing? :
I posed the question: "What does the Bible say about Muhummed?" Without hesitation he answered, "Nothing!" I asked: "Why nothing? According to your interpretation the Bible have so many things to say about the rise of Soviet Russia and about the Last Days and even about the Pope of the Roman Catholics?" He said, "Yes, but there was nothing about Muhummed!" I asked again, "Why nothing? Surely this man Muhummed who had been responsible for the bringing into being a world-wide community of millions of Believers who, on his authority, believe in:
1 the miraculous birth of Jesus,
2 that Jesus is the Messiah,(note 6)
3 that he gave life to the dead by God's permission, and that he healed those born blind and the lepers by God's permission.
Surely this book (the Bible) must have something to say about this great Leader of men who spoke so well of Jesus and his mother Mary?"
The old man from the Free State replied. "My son, I have been reading the Bible for the past 50 years, and if there was any mention of him, I would have known it."
Not One by name!:
I enquired: "According to you, are there not hundreds of prophecies regarding the coming of Jesus in the Old Testament." The dominee interjected: "Not hundreds, but thousands!" I said, "I am not going to dispute the 'thousand and one' prophecies in the Old Testament regarding the coming of Jesus Christ, because the whole Muslim-world has already accepted him without the testimony of any Biblical prophecy. We Muslims have accepted the de facto Jesus on the authority of Muhummed alone, and there are in the world today no less than 900,000,000 followers of Muhummed who love, respect and rev ere Jesus Christ as a great Messenger of God without having the Christians to convince them by means of their Biblical dialectics. Out of the 'thousands' of prophecies referred to, can you please give me just one single prophecy where Jesus is mentioned by name? The term 'Messiah', translated as 'Christ', is not a name but a title. Is there a single Prophecy where it says that the name of the Messiah will be JESUS, and that his mother's name will be MARY, that his supposed father will be JOSEPH THE CARPENTER; that he will be born in the reign of HEROD THE KING, etc. etc.? No! There are no such details! Then how can you conclude that those 'thousand' Prophecies refer to Jesus (Peace be upon him)?"
What is Prophecy? :
The dominee replies: "You see, prophecies are word-pictures of something that is going to happen in the future. When that thing actually comes to pass, we see vividly in these prophecies the fulfillment of what had been predicted in the past." I said: "What you actually do is that you deduce, you reason, you put two and two together." He said: "Yes." I said: "If this is what you have to do with a 'thousand' prophecies to justify your claim with regards to the genuineness of Jesus, why should we not adopt the very same system for Muhummed?" The dominee agreed that it was a fair proposition, a reasonable way of dealing with the problem.
I asked him to open up Deuteronomy, chapter 18, verse 18, which he did. I read from memory the verse in Afrikaans, because this was my purpose in having a little practice with the language of the ruling race in South Africa. (8)
'N PROFEET SAL EK VIR HULLE VERWEK UIT DIE MIDDE VAN HULLE BROERS, SOOS JY IS, EN EK SAL MY WOORDE IN SY MOND LE, EN HY SY SAL AAN HULLE SE ALLE WAT EK HOM BEVEEL. Deut.18: 18.
The English translation reads as follows:-
"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and I will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." Deut.18:18.
Prophet Like Moses?
Having recited the verse in Afrikaans, I apologized for my uncertain pronunciation, The dominee assured me that I was doing fine. I enquired: "To whom does this prophecy refer?" Without the slightest hesitation he answered: "JESUS!" I asked: "Why Jesus?... his name is not mentioned here." The dominee replied: "Since prophecies are word-pictures of something that is going to happen in the future, we find that the wordings of this verse adequately describe him. You see the most important words of this prophecy are 'SOOS JY IS' (like unto thee), - LIKE YOU - like Moses, and Jesus is like Moses. " I questioned: "In which way is Jesus like Moses?" The answer was: "In the first place Moses was a JEW and Jesus was also a JEW; secondly, Moses was a PROPHET and Jesus was also a PROPHET - therefore Jesus is like Moses and that is exactly what God had foretold Moses - "SOOS JY IS". "Can you think of any other similarities between Moses and Jesus?" I asked. The dominee said that he could not think of any. I replied: "If these are the only two criteria for discovering a candidate for this prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:18, then in that case the criteria could fit any one of the following Biblical personages after Moses:- Solomon, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Malachi, John the Baptist etc., because they were also ALL Jews as well as Prophets. Why should we not apply this prophecy to any one of these prophets, and why only to Jesus? Why should we make fish of one and fowl of another?" The dominee had no reply. I continued: "You see, my conclusions are that Jesus is most unlike Moses, and if I am wrong I would like you to correct me."
So staying, I reasoned with him: "In the FIRST place Jesus is not like Moses, because, according to you - 'JESUS IS A GOD', but Moses is not God. Is this true?" He said: "Yes." I said: "Therefore, Jesus is not like Moses! SECONDLY, according to you - 'JESUS DIED FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD', but Moses did not have to die for the sins of the world. Is this true?" He again said: "Yes." I said: "Therefore Jesus is not like Moses! THIRDLY, according to you - 'JESUS WENT TO HELL FOR THREE DAYS', but Moses did not have to go there. Is this true?" He answered meekly: "Y-e-s." I concluded: "Therefore Jesus is not like Moses!" "But dominee," I continued: "these are not hard facts, solid facts, they are mere matters of belief over which the little ones can stumble and fall. Let us discuss something very simple, very easy that if your little ones are called in to hear the discussion, would have no difficulty in following it, shall we?" The dominee was quiet happy at the suggestion.
Father and Mother:
(1) "Moses had a father and a mother. Muhummed also had a father and a mother. But Jesus had only a mother, and no human father. Is this true?" He said: "Yes." I said: "DAAROM IS JESUS NIE SOOS MOSES NIE, MAAR MUHUMMED IS SOOS MOSES!" Meaning: "Therefore Jesus is not like Moses, but Muhummed is like Moses!" (By now the reader will realize that I was using the Afrikaans language only for practice purposes. I shall discontinue its use in this narration).
(2) "Moses and Muhummed were born in the normal, natural course, i.e. the physical association of man and woman; but Jesus was created by a special miracle. You will recall that we are told in the Gospel of St. Matthew 1:18".....BEFORE THEY CAME TOGETHER,(Joseph the Carpenter and Mary) SHE WAS FOUND WITH CHILD BY THE HOLY GHOST.' And St. Luke tells us that when the good news of the birth of a holy son was announced to her, Mary reasoned:'.......HOW SHALL THIS BE, SEEING I KNOW NOT A MAN? AND THE ANGEL ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO HER, THE HOLY GHOST SHALL COME UPON THEE, AND THE POWER OF THE HIGHEST SHALL OVERSHADOW THEE:......'(Luke 1:35). The Holy Qur'an confirms the miraculous birth of Jesus, in nobler and sublimer terms. In answer to her logical question:
" O MY LORD! HOW SHALL I HAVE A SON WHEN NO MAN HATH TOUCHED ME? "
The angel says in reply:
"EVEN SO: ALLAH CREATETH WHAT HE WILLETH: WHEN HE HATH DECREED A PLAN, HE BUT SAITH TO IT "BE," AND IT IS " (9) (HOLY QUR'AN, 3:47).
It is not necessary for God to plant a seed in man or animal. He merely wills it and it comes into being. This is the Muslim conception of the of birth of Jesus.
(When I compared the Qur'an and the Biblical versions of the birth of Jesus to the head of the Bible Society in our largest City, and when I enquired: "Which version would you prefer to give your daughter, the QUR'ANIC version or the BIBLICAL version?" The man bowed his head and answered: "The Qur'anic.") In short, I said to the dominee: "Is it true that Jesus was born miraculously as against the natural birth of Moses and Muhummed?"He replied proudly: "Yes!" I said: "Therefore Jesus is not like Moses, but Muhummed is like Moses. And God says to Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy 18:18 "LIKE UNTO THEE" (Like You, Like Moses) and Muhummed is like Moses."
(3) "Moses and Muhummed married and begat children, but Jesus remained a bachelor all his life. Is this true?" The dominee said: "Yes." I said: "Therefore Jesus is not like Moses, but Muhummed is like Moses."
Jesus Rejected by his People:
(3) "Moses and Muhummed were accepted as prophets by their people in their very lifetime. No doubt the Jews gave endless trouble to Moses and they murmured in the wilderness, but as a nation, they acknowledged that Moses was a Messenger of God sent to them. The Arabs too made Muhummed's life impossible. He suffered very badly at their hands. After 13 years of preaching in Mecca, he had to emigrate from the city of his birth. But before his demise, the Arab nation as a whole accepted him as the Messenger of Allah. But according to the Bible: 'He (Jesus) CAME UNTO HIS OWN, BUT HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT.' (John 1:11). And even today, after two thousand years, his people- the Jews, as a whole, have rejected him. Is this true?" The dominee said: "Yes." I said: "THEREFORE JESUS IS NOT LIKE MOSES, BUT MUHUMMED IS LIKE MOSES."
(5) "Moses and Muhummed were prophets as well as kings. A prophet means a man who receives Divine Revelation for the Guidance of Man and this Guidance he conveys to God's creatures as received without any addition or deletion. A king is a person who has the power of life and death over his people. It is immaterial whether the person wears a crown or not, or whether he was ever addressed as king or monarch: if the man has the prerogative of inflicting capital punishment - HE IS A KING. Moses possessed such a power. Do you remember the Israelite who was found picking up firewood on Sabbath Day , and Moses had him stoned to death? (Numbers- 15:13). There are other crimes also mentioned in the Bible for which capital punishment was inflicted on the Jews at the behest of Moses. Muhummed too, had the power of life and death over his people. There are instances in the Bible of persons who were given gift of prophecy only, but they were not in a position to implement their directives. Some of these holy men of God who were helpless in the face of stubborn rejection of their message, were the prophets lot, Jonah, Daniel, Ezra, and John the Baptist. They could only deliver the message, but could not enforce the Law. The Holy Prophet Jesus (Peace b.u.h) also belonged to this category. The Christian Gospel clearly confirms this: when Jesus was dragged before the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, Charged for sedition, Jesus made a convincing point in his defense to refute the false charge: JESUS ANSWERED, "MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD': IF MY KINGDOM WERE OF THIS WORLD, THEN WOULD MY SERVANTS FIGHT, THAT I SHOULD NOT BE DELIVERED TO THE JEWS; BUT NOW IS MY KINGDOM NOT FROM HENCE"(John 18:36) This convinced Pilate (A Pagan) that though Jesus might not be in full possession of his mental faculty, he did not strike him as being a danger to his rule. Jesus claimed a spiritual Kingdom only; in other words he only claimed to be a Prophet. Is this true?" The dominee answered: "Yes." I said: "Therefore Jesus is not like Moses but Muhummed is like Moses."
No New Laws:
(6) "Moses and Muhummed brought new laws and new regulations for their people. Moses not only gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, but a very comprehensive ceremonial law for the guidance of his people. Muhummed comes to a people steeped in barbarism and ignorance. They married their step-m others; they buried their daughters alive; drunkenness, adultery, idolatry, and gambling were the order of the day. Gibbon describe the Arabs before Islam in his "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", THE HUMAN BRUTE, ALMOST WITHOUT SENSE, IS POORLY DISTINGUISHED FROM THE REST OF THE ANIMAL CREATION.' There was hardly anything to distinguish between the "man" and the "animal" of the time; they were animals in human form.
"From this abject barbarism, Muhummed elevated them, in the words of Thomas Carlysle, 'into torch-bearers of light and learning.' 'TO THE ARAB NATION IT WAS AS A BIRTH FROM DARKNESS INTO LIGHT. ARABIA FIRST BECAME ALIVE BY MEANS OF IT. A POOR SHEPHERD PEOPLE, ROAMING UNNOTICED IN ITS DESERTS SINCE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD. SEE, THE UNNOTICED BECOMES WORLD NOTABLE, THE SMALL HAS GROWN WORLD-GREAT. WITHIN ONE CENTURY AFTERWARDS ARABIA WAS AT GRANADA ON ONE HAND AND AT DELHI ON THE OTHER. GLANCING IN VALOUR AND SPLENDOUR, AND THE LIGHT OF GENIUS, ARABIA SHINES OVER A GREA SECTION OF THE WORLD. ...' The fact is that Muhummed gave his people a Law and Order they never had before.
"As regards Jesus, when the Jews felt suspicious of him that he might be an imposter with designs to pervert their teachings, Jesus took pains to assure them that he had not come with a new religion - no new laws and no new regulations. I quote his own words: 'THINK NOT THAT I AM COME TO DESTROY THE LAW, OR THE PROPHETS: I AM NOT COME TO DESTROY, BUT TO FULFILL. FOR VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, TILL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS, ONE JOT OR ONE TITLE SHALL IN NO WISE PASS FROM THE LAW, TILL ALL BE FULFILLED.'(Mathew 5:17-18). In other words he had not come with any new laws or regulation he came only to fulfill the old law. This what he gave the Jews to understand- unless he was speaking with the tongue in his cheek trying to bluff the Jews into accepting him as a man of God and by subterfuge trying to ram a new religion down their throats. No! This Messenger of God would never resort to such foul means to subvert the Religion of God. He himself fulfilled the laws. He observed the commandments of Moses, and he respected the Sabbath. At no time did a single Jew point a finger at him to say, 'why don't you fast' or 'why don't you wash your hands before you break bread', which charges they all levied against his disciples, but never against Jesus. This is because as a good Jew he honored the laws of the prophets who preceded him. In short, he had created no new religion and had brought no new law like Moses and Muhummed. Is this true?" I asked the dominee, and he answered: "Yes." I said: "Therefore, Jesus is not like Moses but Muhummed is like Moses."
How they Departed?
(7) "Both Moses and Muhummed died natural deaths, but according to Christianity, Jesus was violently killed on the cross.(10) Is this true?" The dominee said: "Yes." I averred: "Therefore Jesus is not like Moses but Muhummed is like Moses."
(8) "Moses and Muhummed both lie buried in earth, but according to you, Jesus in heaven. Is this true?" The dominee agreed. I said: "Therefore Jesus is not like Moses but Muhummed is like Moses."
Ishmael The First Born:
Since the dominee was helplessly agreeing with every point, I said, "Dominee, so far what I have done is to prove only one point out of the whole prophecy- that is proving the phrase 'LIKE UNTO THEE' - 'Like You' 'Like Moses'. The Prophecy is much more than this single phrase which reads as follows : "I WILL RAISE THEM UP A PROPHET FROM AMONG THEIR BRETHREN LIKE UNTO THEE......." The emphasis is on the words- "From among their brethren." Moses and his people, the Jews, are here addressed as a racial entity, and as such their 'brethren' would undoubtedly be the arabs. You see, the Holy Bible s peaks of Abraham as the "Friend of God". Abraham had two wives - Sarah and Hagar. Hagar bore Abraham a son - HIS FIRST-BORN- '......And Abraham(11) called HIS SON'S name, which Hagar bare Ishmael.' (Genesis 16:15). 'And Abraham took Ishmael HIS SON......" (Genesis 17:23). 'And Ishmael HIS SON was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.'(Genesis 17:25). Up to the age of THIRTEEN Ishmael was the ONLY son and seed of Abraham, when the covenant was ratified between God and Abraham. God grants Abraham another son through Sarah, named Isaac, who was very much the junior to his brother Ishmael.
Arabs and Jews:
If Ishmael and Isaac are the sons of the same father Abraham, then they are brothers. And so the children of the one are the BRETHREN of the children of the other. The children of Isaac are the Jews and the Children of Ishmael are the Arabs - so they are BRETHREN to one another. The Bible affirms, 'AND HE (ISHMAEL) SHALL DWELL IN THE PRESENCE OF ALL HIS BRETHREN.' (Genesis 16:12). 'AND HE (ISHMAEL) DIED IN THE PRESENCE OF ALL HIS BRETHREN.(Genesis 25:18). The children of Isaac are the brethren of the Ishmaelites. In like manner Muhummed is from among the brethren of the Israeli that's beause he was a descendant of Ishamel the son of Abraham. This exactly as the prophecy has it- 'FROM AMONG THEIR BRETHREN'.(Deut.18:18). There the prophecy distinctly mentions that the coming prophet who would be like Moses, must arise NOT from the 'children of Israel' or from 'among the my selves', but from among their brethren. MUHUMMED THEREFORE WAS FROM AMONG THEIR BRETHREN!
Words in the Mouth:
"The prophecy proceeds further:'.......AND I WILL PUT MY WORDS INTO HIS MOUTH.......' What does it mean when it is said 'I will put my words in your mouth'? You see, when I asked you (the dominee) to open Deuteronomy chapter 18, verse 18, at the beginning, and if I had asked you to read, and if you had read: would I be putting my words into your mouth?" The dominee answered: "No." "But," I continued: "If I were to teach you a language like Arabic about which you have no knowledge, and if I asked you to read or repeat after me what I utter i.e.:
"SAY: HE IS ALLAH THE ONE AND ONLY; ALLAH, THE ETERNAL ABSOLUTE; HE BEGETTETH NOT, NOR IS HE BEGOTTEN: AND THERE IS NONE LIKE UNTO HIM. (Holy Qur'an 112:1-4)( I read them in Arabic )
Would I not be putting these unheard words of a foreign tongue which you utter, into your mouth?" The dominee agreed that it was indeed so. In an identical manner, I said, the words of the Holy Qur'an, the Revelation vouchsafed by the Almighty God to Muhummed, were revealed.
History tells us that Muhummed was forty years of age. He was in a cave some three miles north of the City of Mecca. It was the 27th night of the Muslim month of Ramadaan. In the cave the Archangel Gabriel commands him in his mother tongue:'IQRA' which means READ! or PROCLAIM! or RECITE! Muhummed w as terrified and in his bewilderment replied that he was not NOT LEARNED! The angel commands him a second time with the same result. For the third time the angel continues.
Now Muhummed, grasps, that what was required of him was to repeat! to rehearse! And he repeats the words as they were put into his mouth:
"READ! IN THE NAME OF THE LORD AND CHERISHER, WHO CREATED- CREATED MAN, FROM A (MERE) CLOT OF CONGEALED BLOOD: READ! AND THY LORD IS MOST BOUNTIFUL,- HE WHO TAUGHT (THE USE OF) THE PEN, TAUGHT MAN THAT WHICH HE KNEW NOT". (Holy Qur'an 96:1-5)
These are the first five verses which were revealed to Muhummed which now occupy the beginning of the 96th chapter of the Holy Qur'an.
The Faithful Witness:
Immediately the angel had departed, Muhummed rushed to his home. Terrified and sweating all over he asked his beloved wife Khadija to 'cover him up!' He lay down, and she watched by him. When he had regained his composure, he explained to her what he had seen and heard. She assured him of her faith in him and that Allah would not allow any terrible thing to happen to him. Are these the confessions of an imposter? Would imposters confess that when an angel of the Lord confronts them with a Message from on High, they get fear-stricken, terrified, and sweating all over, run home to their wives? Any critic can see that his reactions and confessions are that of an honest, sincere man, the man of Truth- 'AL-AMIN' - THE Honest, the Upright, the Truthful. During the next twenty-three years of his prophetic life, words were 'Put into his mouth', and he uttered them. They made an indeliable imp ression on his heart and mind: and as the volume of the Sacred Scripture (Holy Qur'an) grew, they were recorded on palm-leaf libre, on skins and on the shoulder-blades of animals; and in the hearts of his devoted disciples. Before his demise these words were arranged according to his instructions i n the order in which we find them to-day in the Holy Quran.
The words (revelation) were actually put into his mouth, exactly as foretold in the prophecy under discusiion: 'AND I WILL PUT MY WORDS IN HIS MOUTH.'(Deut. 18:18).
Muhummed's experience in the cave of Hira, later to be known as Jabal-un Noor - The Mountain of Light, and his response to that first Revelation is the exact fulfilment of another Biblical Prophecy. In the Book of Isaish. Chapter 29, verse 12, we read: "AND THE BOOK" (al-Kitaab,al-Quran the 'Reading', the 'Recitation') "IS DELIVERED TO HIM THAT IS NOT LEARNED," (Isaiah 29:12) "THE UNLETTERED PROPHET " (Holy Qur'an 7:158) and the biblical verse continues : "SAYING, READ THIS, I PRAY THEE:" (the words "I pray thee", are not in the Hebrew manuscripts; compare with the Roman Catholics' "Douay Version and also with the "Revised Standard Versions") "AND HE SAITH, I AM NOT LEARNED." ("I am not learned." is the exact translation of the Arabic words which Muhummed uttered twice to the Holy Ghost - the Archangel Gabriel, when he was commanded : "READ!").
Let me quote the verse in full without a break as found in the "King James Version," or the "Authorized version" as it is more popularly know "AND THE BOOK IS DELIVERED TO HIM THAT IS NOT LEARNED, SAYING, READ THIS I PRAY THEE: AND HE SAITH, I AM NOT LEARNED." (Isaiah 29:12).
Important note :
It may be noted that there were no Arabic Bibles(12) in existence in the 6th Century of the Christian Era when Muhummed lived and preached Besides, he was absolutely unlettered and unlearned. No human had ever taught him a word. His teacher was his Creator:
"HE DOES NOT SPEAK (AUGHT), OF (HIS OWN) DESIRE: IT IS NO LESS THAN INSPIRATION SENT DOWN TO HIM: HE WAS TAUGHT BY ONE MIGHTY IN POWER," (Holy Qur'an 53:3-5).
Without any human learning, 'he put to shame the wisdom of the learned'.
"See!" I told the dominee, "how the prophecies fit Muhummed like a glove. We do not have to stretch prophecies to justify their fulfillment in Muhummed."
The dominee replied, "All your expositions sound very well, but they are of no real consequence, because we Christians have Jesus Christ the "incarnate" God, who has redeemed us from the Bondage of Sin!"
I asked, "Not important?" God didn't think so! He went to a great deal of trouble to have His warnings recorded. God knew that there would be people like you who will flippantly, light-heartedly discount his words, so he followed up Deuteronomy
18:18 with a dire warning: "AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, " (it is going to happen) "THAT WHOSOEVER WILL NOT HEARKEN UNTO MY WORDS WHICH HE SHALL SPEAK IN MY NAME, I WILL REQUIRE IT OF HIM. (in the Catholic Bible the ending words are - "I will be the revenger", I will take vengeance from him - I will take revenge!) "Does not this terrify you? God Almighty is threatening revenge! We shake in our pants if some hoodlum threatens us, yet you have no fear of God's warning?"
"Miracle of Miracles! in the verse 19 of Deuteronomy chapter 18, we have a further fulfilment of the prophecy in Muhummed! Note the words-'.....MY WORDS WHICH HE SHALL SPEAK IN MY NAME," In whose name is Muhummed speaking?"
I opened Yusuf Ali's translation of the Holy Qur'an, at chapter 114- 'Sura Nas', or Mankind - the last chapter, and showed him the formula at the head of the charpter: and the meaning: "IN THE NAME OF GOD, MOST GRACIOUS, MOST
MERCIFUL." And the heading of chapter 113: and the meaning: "IN THE NAME OF GOD, MOST GRACIOUS, MOST MERCIFUL". And every chapter downwards 112 , 111, 110.......was the same formula and the same meaning on every page,
because the end SURAS (chapters) are short and take about a page each. "And what did the prophecy demand?' ......WHICH HE SHALL SPEAK IN MY NAME and in whose name does Muhummed speak? 'IN THE NAME OF GOD, MOST GRACIOUS MOST MERCIFUL.' The Prophecy is being fulfilled in Muhummed to the letter "Every chapter of the Holy Qur'an except the 9th begin with the formula: IN THE NAME OF GOD, MOST GRACIOUS, MOST MERCIFUL.' The Muslim begins his every lawful act with the Holy formula. But the Christian begins: "In the name of the Father, son and holy ghost.'"(13)
Concerning Deuteronomy chapter eighteen, I have given you more than 15 reasons as to how this prophecy refers to Muhummed and NOT to Jesus.
Baptist Contradicts Jesus:
In New Testament times, we find that the Jews were still expecting the fulfillment of the prophecy of 'ONE LIKE MOSES', refer John 1:19-25. When Jesus claimed to be the Messiah of the Jews, the Jews began to enquire as to where was Elias? The Jews had a parallel prophecy that before the coming of the Messiah, Elias must come first in his second coming. Jesus confirms this Jewish belief:
".......ELIAS TRULY SHALL FIRST COME, AND RESTORE ALL THINGS. BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, THAT ELIAS IS COME ALREADY, AND THEY KNEW HIM NOT,...THEN THE DISCIPLES UNDERSTOOD THAT HE SPOKE UNTO THEM OF JOHN THE BAPTIST."(Matthew 17:11-13). According to the New Testament the Jews were not the ones to s wallow the words of any would-be Messiah. In their investigations they underwent intense difficulties in order to find their true Messiah. And this the Gospel of John confirms: "AND THIS IS THE RECORD OF JOHN,"(the Baptist) "WHEN THE JEWS SENT PRIESTS AND LEVITES FROM JERUSALEM TO ASK HIM, WHO ART THOU? AND HE CONFESSED AND DENIED NOT; BUT CONFESSED, I AM NOT THE CHRIST." (This was only natural because there can't be two Messiahs (14) at the same time. If Jesus was the Christ then John couldn't be the Christ!) "AND THEY ASKED HIM, WHAT THEN? ART THOU ELIAS? AND HE SAITH, I AM NOT." (Here Joh n the Baptist contradicts Jesus! Jesus says that John is "Elias" and John denies that he is what Jesus ascribes him to be. One of the TWO (Jesus or John), God forbid!, is definitely not speaking the TRUTH! On the testimony of Jesus himself, John the Baptist was the greatest of the Israelite prophet s: "VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, AMONG THEM THAT ARE BORN OF WOMEN THERE HAS NOT RISEN A GREATER THAN JOHN THE BAPTIST:... (Matthew 11:11).
We Muslims know John the Baptist as Hazrut YAHYAA Alai-his-salaam (peace be upon him). We revere him as a true prophet of Allah. The Holy Prophet Jesus known to us as Hazrut ISAA Alai-his-salaam (peace be upon him), is also esteemed
as one of the mightiest messenger of the Almighty. How can we Muslims impute lies to either of them? We leave this problem between Jesus and John for the Christians to solve, for their "sacred scriptures abound in discrepancies which they have been glossing over as the "dark sayings of Jesus"(15). We Muslims are really interested in the last questions posed to John the Baptist by the Jewish elite- "ART THOU THAT PROPHET? AND HE ANSWERED, NO."(John 1:21)
Please note that three different and distinct questions were posed to John the Baptist and to which he gave three emphatic "NO'S" as answers. To recapitulate:-
1 ART THOU THE CHRIST?
2 ART THOU ELIAS?
3 ART THOU THAT PROPHET?
But the learned men of Christendom somehow only see two questions implied here. To make doubly clear that the Jews definitely had T-H-R-E-E separate prophecies in their minds when they were interrogating John the Baptist, let us read the
remonstrance of the Jews in the verses following:
"AND THEY ASKED HIM, AND SAID UNTO HIM, WHEY BAPTIZEST THOU THEN, IF THOU BE
a NOT THAT CHRIST,
b NOR ELIAS,
c NEITHER THAT PROPHET?"
The Jews were waiting for the fulfillment of THREE distinct prophecies: One, the coming of CHRIST. Two the coming of ELIAS, and Three, the coming of THAT PROPHET.
If we look up any Bible which has a concordance or cross-references, the we will find in the marginal note where the words "the Prophet", or "that Prophet" occur in John 1:25, that these words refer to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18. And that 'that prophet' - 'the prophet like Moses' - "L IKE UNTO THEE", we have proved through overwhelming evidence that he was MUHUMMED and not Jesus!
We Muslims are not denying that Jesus was the "Messiah", which word is translated as "Christ".(16) We are not contesting the "thousand and one prophecies" which the Christians claim abound in the Old Testament foretelling the coming of the Messiah. What we say is that Deuteronomy 18:18 does NOT ref er to Jesus Christ but it is an explicit prophecy about the Holy Prophet MUHUMMED!"
The dominee, very politely parted with me by saying that it was a very interesting discussion and he would like me very much to come one day and address his congregation on the subject. A decade and half has passed since then but I am still awaiting that privilege.
I believe the dominee was sincere when he made the offer, but prejudices die hard and who would like to loose his sheep?
The Acid Test:
To the lambs of Christ I say, why not apply that acid test which the Master himself wanted you to apply to any would be claimant to prophethood? He had said: "BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM. DO MEN GATHER GRAPES FROM THE THORNS, OR FIGS FROM THE THISTLES? EVERY GOOD TREE WILL BEAR GOOD FRUIT AND EVERY EVIL TREE WILL BEAR EVIL FRUIT....BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM. (Matthew 7:16-20).
Why are you afraid to apply this test to the teachings of Muhummed? You will find in the Last Testament of God - the Holy Qur'an - the true fulfilment of the teachings of Moses and Jesus which will bring to the world the much-needed peace and
happiness. "IF A MAN LIKE MOHAMED WERE TO ASSUME THE DIC TATORSHIP OF THE MODERN WORLD, HE WOULD SUCCEED IN SOLVING ITS PROBLEMS THAT WOULD BRING IT THE MUCH NEEDED PEACE AND HAPPINESS."(George Bernard Shaw)
The Weekly Newsmagazine "TIME" dated July 15, 1974, carried a selection of opinions by various historians, writers, military men, businessmen and others on the subject: "Who Were History's Great Leaders?" Some said that it was Hitler; others
said-Gandhi, Buddha, Lincoln and the like. But Jules Masserman, a United States psychoanalyst put the standards straight by giving the correct criteria wherewith to judge. He said: "LEADERS MUST FULFILL THREE FUNCTIONS:-
1 Provide for the well-being of the led,
2 Provide a social organization in which people feel relatively secure
3 And provide them with one set of beliefs."
With the above three criteria he searches history and analyses - Hitler, Pasteur, Gaesar, Moses, Confucius and the lot, and ultimately concludes:
"PEOPLE LIKE PASTEUR AND SALK ARE LEADERS IN THE FIRST SENSE. PEOPLE LIKE GANDHI AND CONFUCIUS, ON ONE HAND, AND ALEXANDER, CAESAR AND HITLER ON THE OTHER, ARE LEADERS IN THE SECOND AND PERHAPS THE THIRD SENSE. JESUS AND BUDDHA BELONG IN THE THIRD CATEGORY ALONE. PERHAPS THE GREATEST LEADER OF ALL TIMES WAS MOHAMMED, WHO COMBINED ALL THREE FUNCTIONS. To a lesser degree, MOSES DID THE SAME."
According to the objective standards set by the Professor of the Chicago University, whom I believe to be Jewish, - JESUS and BUDDHA are now - here in the picture of the "Great Leaders of Mankind", but by a queer coincidence groups Moses and Muhummed together thus adding further weight to the argument that JESUS is not like MOSES, but MUHUMMED is like MOSES: Deut.18:18 "LIKE UNTO THEE" - Like MOSES!
In conclusion, I end with a quotation of a Christian Reverend the commentator of the Bible, followed by that of his Master:
"THE ULTIMATE CRITERION OF A TRUE PROPHET IS THE MORAL CHARACTER OF HIS TEACHING."(Prof.Dummelow.)
"BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM." (Jesus Christ)
A concluding suggestion: Come let us reason together!:
SAY: "O PEOPLE OF THE BOOK! COME TO COMMON TERMS AS BETWEEN US AND YOU: THAT WE WORSHIP NONE BUT GOD; THAT WE ASSOCIATE NO PARTNERS WITH HIM; THAT WE ERECT NOT, FROM AMONG OURSELVES, LORDS AND PATRONS OTHER THAN GOD." IF THEN THEY TURN BACK, SAY: "BEAR WITNESS THAT WE (AT LEAST) ARE MUSLIMS (BOWING TO GOD'S WILL)." (Holy Qur'an 3:64)
"PEOPLE OF THE BOOK" is the respectful title given to the Jews and the Christians in the Holy Qur'an. The Muslims is here commanded to invite - "O People of the Book!" - O Learned People! O People who claim to be the recipients of Divine Revelation, of a Holy Scripture; let us gather together onto a common platform - "that we worship none but God", because none but God is worthy of worship, not because "THE LORD THY GOD IS A JEALOUS GOD VISITING THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHERS UPON THE CHILDREN UNTO THE THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATION OF THEM THAT HATE ME."(Exodus 20:25). But because He is ou r Lord and Cherisher, our Sustainer and Evolver, worthy of all praise, prayer and devotion.
In the abstract the Jews and the Christians would agree to all the three propositions contained in this Qur'anic verse. In practice they fail. Apart from doctrinal lapses from the unity of the One True God, (ALLAH_ Subha-nahu wa ta-ala) there is the question of a consecrated Priesthood (among the J ews it was hereditary also), as if a mere human being - Cohe or Pope, or Priest, or Brahuman, - could claim superiority apart from his learning and the purity of his life, or could stand between man and God in some special sense. ISLAM DOES NOT RECOGNIZE PRIESTHOOD!
The Creed of Islam is given to us here in a nutshell from Holy Qur'an:
Say ye: "We believe in Allah, And the revelation given to us, And to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, And that given to Moses and Jesus And that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: We make no difference Between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam)." (Holy Qur'an 2:136).
The Muslim position is clear. The Muslim does not claim to have a religion peculiar to himself. Islam is not a sect or an ethnic religion. In its view all Religion is one, for the Truth is one. IT WAS THE SAME RELIGION PREACHED BY ALL THE EARLIER PROPHETS. (Holy Qur'an 42:13). It was the truth taught by all the inspired Books. In essence it amounts to a consciousness of the Will and Plan of God and a joyful submission to that Will and Plan. IF ANYONE WANTS A RELIGION OTHER THAN THAT, HE IS FALSE TO HIS OWN NATURE, AS HE IS FALSE TO GOD'S WILL AND PLAN. Such a one cannot expect guidance, for he has deliberately renounced guidance.
(1) This refers to Moses. See Yusuf Ali's commentaries Nos. 4783/4 to this verse.
(2) Christian exegesists give progressive numerical values by sixes, to the English alphabet and add up to get the total 666. i.e.A=6,B=12,C=18, D=24 and so on. Progression by 6's because the number of the Beast in the Bible is "666". Try it for Dr.Kissinger.
(3) The writer has just delivered another talk in the City Hall, Durban on the 10th December, 1975 on the subject "Muhummed the Greatest".
(4) "Dominee" is the Afrikaans equivalent of priest, parson and predikant.
(5) One of the Provinces of the Republic of South Africa.
(6) The word "Messiah" comes from the Arabic and Hebrew word masaha which means to rub, to massage, to anoint. The religious significance is "the one who is anointed' - priests and kings were anointed in consecration to their offices. Messiah translated Christ does not mean God. Even the heathen Cyrus is called "Christ" in the Bible, (Isaiah 45:1)
(7) Muhummed is mentioned by name in the Song of Solomn 5:16. The Hebrew word used there is Muhammuddim. The end letters IM is plural of respect majesty and grandeur. Minus "im" the name would be Muhamudd translated as "altogether lovely" in the Authorised Version of the Bible or 'The Praised One' 'the one worthy of Praise' i.e. MUHUMMED!
(8) If this lecture is translated into any language, please change the Afrikaans words into the local dialect; and do not try a free hand translation of the Biblical quotation. Obtain a Bible in the language in which translation is being made and transcribe exactly as the words occur in that Bible.
(9) Please open the Holy Qur'an 3:42 and 19:16 where the birth of Jesus is spoken about; read it with the commentary, note the high position which Jesus and his mother occupy in Islam.
(10) Write for "Was Christ Crucified?" by the writer, free on request.
(11) According to the Bible Abraham's name was Abram before it was changed by God to Abraham.
(12) There are today Arabic Bibles in Fourteen different scripts and dialects for the Arabs alone. See "The Gospels in many tongues", obtainable from the Bible Society.
(13) The Christian theologians are ignorant of even the "name of God. Because "God" is not a name, and "Father" is also not a name. What's his name? See "Muhummed-the Natural Successor to Christ", by the author, available free.
(14) The Jews were expecting a single Messiah not two.
(15) See the "TIMES" Magazine December 30th, 1974, article "How true is the Bible?" And write for your free copy of "50,000 Errors in the Bible? a reproduction from the Christian Magazine "AWAKE!" September 8, 1957.
(15) How the word Messiah was transmuted to Christ? Write for booklet above, reference 13.
END OF LECTURE
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9- Muhammed (PBUH) the Greatest
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11-Al-Qur'an -- The Miracle of Miracles
12-The God that Never Was
13-Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction?
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15-Muhammed (PBUH) the Prophet of Islam
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Thomas Carlyle in 'Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History,' 1840
"The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only."
"A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest. He was to kindle the world, the world's Maker had ordered so."
A. S. Tritton in 'Islam,' 1951
The picture of the Muslim soldier advancing with a sword in one hand and the Qur'an in the other is quite false.
De Lacy O'Leary in 'Islam at the Crossroads,' London, 1923.
History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.
Gibbon in 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' 1823
The good sense of Muhammad despised the pomp of royalty. The Apostle of God submitted to the menial offices of the family; he kindled the fire; swept the floor; milked the ewes; and mended with his own hands his shoes and garments. Disdaining the penance and merit of a hermit, he observed without effort of vanity the abstemious diet of an Arab.
Edward Gibbon and Simon Oakley in 'History of the Saracen Empire,' London, 1870
"The greatest success of Mohammad's life was effected by sheer moral force."
"It is not the propagation but the permanency of his religion that deserves our wonder, the same pure and perfect impression which he engraved at Mecca and Medina is preserved after the revolutions of twelve centuries by the Indian, the African and the Turkish proselytes of the Koran....The Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation of reducing the object of their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and imagination of man. 'I believe in One God and Mahomet the Apostle of God' is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honors of the prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue, and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion."
Reverend Bosworth Smith in 'Muhammad and Muhammadanism,' London, 1874.
"Head of the State as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Pope's pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a police force, without a fixed revenue. If ever a man ruled by a right divine, it was Muhammad, for he had all the powers without their supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life."
"In Mohammadanism every thing is different here. Instead of the shadowy and the mysterious, we have history....We know of the external history of Muhammad....while for his internal history after his mission had been proclaimed, we have a book absolutely unique in its origin, in its preservation....on the Substantial authority of which no one has ever been able to cast a serious doubt."
Edward Montet, 'La Propagande Chretienne et ses Adversaries Musulmans,' Paris 1890. (Also in T.W. Arnold in 'The Preaching of Islam,' London 1913.)
"Islam is a religion that is essentially rationalistic in the widest sense of this term considered etymologically and historically....the teachings of the Prophet, the Qur'an has invariably kept its place as the fundamental starting point, and the dogma of unity of God has always been proclaimed therein with a grandeur a majesty, an invariable purity and with a note of sure conviction, which it is hard to find surpassed outside the pale of Islam....A creed so precise, so stripped of all theological complexities and consequently so accessible to the ordinary understanding might be expected to possess and does indeed possess a marvelous power of winning its way into the consciences of men."
Alphonse de LaMartaine in 'Historie de la Turquie,' Paris, 1854.
"Never has a man set for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a more sublime aim, since this aim was superhuman; to subvert superstitions which had been imposed between man and his Creator, to render God unto man and man unto God; to restore the rational and sacred idea of divinity amidst the chaos of the material and disfigured gods of idolatry, then existing. Never has a man undertaken a work so far beyond human power with so feeble means, for he (Muhammad) had in the conception as well as in the execution of such a great design, no other instrument than himself and no other aid except a handful of men living in a corner of the desert. Finally, never has a man accomplished such a huge and lasting revolution in the world, because in less than two centuries after its appearance, Islam, in faith and in arms, reigned over the whole of Arabia, and conquered, in God's name, Persia Khorasan, Transoxania, Western India, Syria, Egypt, Abyssinia, all the known continent of Northern Africa, numerous islands of the Mediterranean Sea, Spain, and part of Gaul.
"If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astonishing results are the three criteria of a human genius, who could dare compare any great man in history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws, and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples, dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and the souls.
"On the basis of a Book, every letter which has become law, he created a spiritual nationality which blend together peoples of every tongue and race. He has left the indelible characteristic of this Muslim nationality the hatred of false gods and the passion for the One and Immaterial God. This avenging patriotism against the profanation of Heaven formed the virtue of the followers of Muhammad; the conquest of one-third the earth to the dogma was his miracle; or rather it was not the miracle of man but that of reason.
"The idea of the unity of God, proclaimed amidst the exhaustion of the fabulous theogonies, was in itself such a miracle that upon it's utterance from his lips it destroyed all the ancient temples of idols and set on fire one-third of the world. His life, his meditations, his heroic revelings against the superstitions of his country, and his boldness in defying the furies of idolatry, his firmness in enduring them for fifteen years in Mecca, his acceptance of the role of public scorn and almost of being a victim of his fellow countrymen... This dogma was twofold the unity of God and the immateriality of God: the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with words.
"Philosopher, Orator, Apostle, Legislator, Conqueror of Ideas, Restorer of Rational beliefs.... The founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?"
Mahatma Gandhi, statement published in 'Young India,'1924.
I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind.... I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet's biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life.
Sir George Bernard Shaw in 'The Genuine Islam,' Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936.
"If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam."
"I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion for from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity."
"I believe that if a man like him were 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: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today."
Michael Hart in 'The 100, A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons In History,' New York, 1978.
My choice of Muhammad 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 on both the secular and religious level. ...It is probable that the relative influence of Muhammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity. ...It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.
Dr. William Draper in 'History of Intellectual Development of Europe'
Four years after the death of Justinian, A.D. 569, was born in Mecca, in Arabia, the man who, of all men, has exercised the greatest influence upon the human race... To be the religious head of many empires, to guide the daily life of one-third of the human race, may perhaps justify the title of a Messenger of God.
Arthur Glyn Leonard in 'Islam, Her Moral and Spiritual Values'
It was the genius of Muhammad, the spirit that he breathed into the Arabs through the soul of Islam that exalted them. That raised them out of the lethargy and low level of tribal stagnation up to the high watermark of national unity and empire. It was in the sublimity of Muhammad's deism, the simplicity, the sobriety and purity it inculcated the fidelity of its founder to his own tenets, that acted on their moral and intellectual fiber with all the magnetism of true inspiration.
Philip K. Hitti in 'History of the Arabs'
Within a brief span of mortal life, Muhammad called forth of unpromising material, a nation, never welded before; in a country that was hitherto but a geographical expression he established a religion which in vast areas suppressed Christianity and Judaism, and laid the basis of an empire that was soon to embrace within its far flung boundaries the fairest provinces the then civilized world.
Rodwell in the Preface to his translation of the Holy Qur'an
Mohammad's career is a wonderful instance of the force and life that resides in him who possesses an intense faith in God and in the unseen world. He will always be regarded as one of those who have had that influence over the faith, morals and whole earthly life of their fellow men, which none but a really great man ever did, or can exercise; and whose efforts to propagate a great verity will prosper.
W. Montgomery Watt in 'Muhammad at Mecca,' Oxford, 1953.
His readiness to undergo persecution for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as a leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement - all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an impostor raises more problems that it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad.... Thus, not merely must we credit Muhammad with essential honesty and integrity of purpose, if we are to understand him at all; if we are to correct the errors we have inherited from the past, we must not forget the conclusive proof is a much stricter requirement than a show of plausibility, and in a matter such as this only to be attained with difficulty.
D. G. Hogarth in 'Arabia'
Serious or trivial, his daily behavior has instituted a canon which millions observe this day with conscious memory. No one regarded by any section of the human race as Perfect Man has ever been imitated so minutely. The conduct of the founder of Christianity has not governed the ordinary life of his followers. Moreover, no founder of a religion has left on so solitary an eminence as the Muslim apostle.
Washington Irving 'Mahomet and His Successors'
He was sober and abstemious in his diet and a rigorous observer of fasts. He indulged in no magnificence of apparel, the ostentation of a petty mind; neither was his simplicity in dress affected but a result of real disregard for distinction from so trivial a source.
In his private dealings he was just. He treated friends and strangers, the rich and poor, the powerful and weak, with equity, and was beloved by the common people for the affability with which he received them, and listened to their complaints.
His military triumphs awakened no pride nor vain glory, as they would have done had they been effected for selfish purposes. In the time of his greatest power he maintained the same simplicity of manners and appearance as in the days of his adversity. So far from affecting a regal state, he was displeased if, on entering a room, any unusual testimonials of respect were shown to him. If he aimed at a universal dominion, it was the dominion of faith; as to the temporal rule which grew up in his hands, as he used it without ostentation, so he took no step to perpetuate it in his family.
James Michener in 'Islam: The Misunderstood Religion,' Reader's Digest, May 1955, pp. 68-70.
"No other religion in history spread so rapidly as Islam. The West has widely believed that this surge of religion was made possible by the sword. But no modern scholar accepts this idea, and the Qur'an is explicit in the support of the freedom of conscience."
"Like almost every major prophet before him, Muhammad fought shy of serving as the transmitter of God's word sensing his own inadequacy. But the Angel commanded 'Read'. So far as we know, Muhammad was unable to read or write, but he began to dictate those inspired words which would soon revolutionize a large segment of the earth: "There is one God"."
"In all things Muhammad was profoundly practical. When his beloved son Ibrahim died, an eclipse occurred and rumors of God 's personal condolence quickly arose. Whereupon Muhammad is said to have announced, 'An eclipse is a phenomenon of nature. It is foolish to attribute such things to the death or birth of a human being'."
"At Muhammad's own death an attempt was made to deify him, but the man who was to become his administrative successor killed the hysteria with one of the noblest speeches in religious history: 'If there are any among you who worshiped Muhammad, he is dead. But if it is God you Worshiped, He lives for ever'."
Lawrence E. Browne in 'The Prospects of Islam,' 1944
Incidentally these well-established facts dispose of the idea so widely fostered in Christian writings that the Muslims, wherever they went, forced people to accept Islam at the point of the sword.
Cn the desert of Arabia was Mohammad born, according to Muslim historians, on April 20, 571. The name Mohammad means "highly praised." He is to me the greatest man among all the sons of Arabia. He means so much more than all the poets and kings that preceded him in that impenetrable desert of red sand.
The time he appeared, Arabia was a desert-- a nothing. Out of nothing a new world was fashioned by the mighty spirit of Mohammad -- a new life, a new culture, a new civilization, a new kingdom which extended from Morocco to Indies and influenced the thought and life of three continents -- Asia, Africa and Europe. When I thought of writing about Mohammad, the prophet, I was a bit hesitant because I was to write about a religion I do not profess and it is a delicate matter to do so for there are many people professing various religions and belonging to diverse schools of thought and denominations even in same religion. Though it is sometimes claimed that religion is entirely personal yet it can also be said that it has a tendency to envelop the whole universe seen as well as unseen. It somehow permeates something or other, our hearts, our souls, our minds, their conscious as well as subconscious and unconscious levels too. The problem assumes overwhelming importance when there is a deep conviction that our past, present and future all hang by the soft delicate, tender silked cord. If we further happen to be highly sensitive, the center of gravity is very likely to be always in a state of extreme tension. Looked at from this point of view, the less said about other religions the better. Let our religions be deeply hidden and embedded in the resistance of our innermost hearts fortified by unbroken seals on our lips.
But there is another aspect of this problem. Man lives in society. Our lives are bound with the lives of others willingly or unwillingly, directly or indirectly. We eat the food grown in the same soil, drink water, from the same spring and breathe the same air. Even while staunchly holding our own views, it would be helpful, if we try to adjust ourselves to our surroundings, if we also know to some extent, how the mind of our neighbor moves and what the main springs of his actions are. From this angle of vision, it is highly desirable that one should try to know all religions of the world, in the proper sprit, to promote mutual understanding and better appreciation of our neighborhood, immediate and remote.
Further, our thoughts are not scattered as they appear to be on the surface. They have got themselves crystallized around a few nuclei in the form of great world religions and living faiths that guide and motivate the lives of millions that inhabit this earth of ours. It is our duty, in one sense if we have the ideal of ever becoming a citizen of the world before us, to make a little attempt to know the great religions and system of philosophy that have ruled mankind.
In spite of these preliminary remarks, the ground in this field of religion where there is often a conflict between intellect and emotion is so slippery that one is constantly reminded of "fools that rush in where angels fear to tread." It is also not so complex from another point of view. The subject of my writing is about the tenets of a religion which is historic and its prophet who is also a historic personality. Even a hostile critic like Sir William Muir speaking about the Holy Quran says that: "There is probably in the world no other book which has remained twelve centuries with so pure text." I may also add that Prophet Mohammad is also a historic personality, every event of whose life has been most carefully recorded and even the minor details preserved intact for the posterity. His life and works are not wrapped in mystery. My work today is further lightened because those days are fast disappearing when Islam was highly misrepresented by some of its critics for political reasons and other reasons too. Prof. Bevan writes in Cambridge Medieval History, Those account of Mohammad and Islam which were published in Europe before the beginning of the century are now to be regarded as literary curiosities." My problem is to write this monograph is easier because we are now generally not fed on this kind of history and much time is needed to be spent on pointing out our misrepresentation of Islam. The theory of Islam and the Sword for instance is not heard now frequently in any quarter worth the name. The principle of Islam that there is no compulsion in religion is well known. Gibbon, a historian of world repute says, " A pernicious tenet has been imputed to Mohammadans, the duty of extirpating all the religions by sword". This charge, based on ignorance and bigotry, says the eminent historian, is refuted by the Quran, by history of Musalman conquerors and by their public and legal toleration of Christian worship. The great success of Mohammad's life had been affected by sheer moral force, without a stroke of sword.
But in pure self-defence, after repeated efforts of conciliation had utterly failed, circumstances dragged him into the battlefield. But the prophet of Islam changed the whole strategy of the battlefield. The total number of casualties in all the wars that took place during his lifetime when the whole Arabian Peninsula came under his banner, does not exceed a few hundreds in all. But even on the battlefield he taught the Arab barbarians to pray, to pray not individually, but in congregation to God the Almighty. During the dust and storm of warfare, whenever the time for prayer came, and it comes five times every day, the congregation prayer had not to be postponed even on the battlefield. A party had to be engaged in bowing their heads before God while other was engaged with the enemy. After finishing the prayers, the two parties had to exchange their positions. To the Arabs, who would fight for forty years on the slight provocation that a camel belonging to the guest of one tribe had strayed into the grazing land belonging to other tribe and both sides had fought till they lost 70,000 lives in all; threatening the extinction of both the tribes to such furious Arabs, the Prophet of Islam taught self-control and discipline to the extent of praying even on the battlefield. In an age of barbarism, the battlefield itself was humanized and strict instructions were issued not to cheat, not to break trust, not to mutilate, not to kill a child or woman or an old man, not to hew down date palm nor burn it, not to cut a fruit tree, not to molest any person engaged in worship. His own treatment with his bitterest enemies is the noblest example for his followers. At the conquest of Mecca, he stood at the zenith of his power. The city which had refused to listen to his mission, which had tortured him and his followers, which had driven him and his people into exile and which had unrelentingly persecuted and boycotted him even when he had taken refuge in a place more than 200 miles away, that city now lay at his feet. By the laws of war he could have justlay avenged all the cruelties inflicted on him and his people. But what treatment did he accord to them? Mohammad's heart flowed with affection and he declared ""This day, there is no REPROOF against you and you are all free."" This day he proclaimed. ""I trample under my feet all distinctions between man and man, all hatred between man and man.""
This was one of the chief objects why he permitted war in self-defence; that is to unite human beings. And when once this object was achieved, even his worst enemies were pardoned. It even extended to those who killed his beloved uncle, Hamzah, mangled his body, ripped it open, even chewed a piece of his liver.
The principles of universal brotherhood and doctrine of the equality of mankind which he proclaimed represents one very great contributions of Mohammad to the social uplift of humanity. All great religions have preached the same doctrine but the prophet of Islam had put this theory into actual practice and its value will be fully recognized, perhaps centuries hence, when international consciousness being awakened, racial prejudices may disappear and greater brotherhood of humanity come into existence. Miss. Sarojini Naidu speaking about this aspect of Islam says, "It was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for in the mosque, when the minaret is sounded and the worshipers are gathered together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant and the King kneels side by side and proclaims, "God alone is great." The great poetess of India continues " I have been struck over and over again by this indivisible unity of Islam that makes a man instinctively a brother. When you meet an Egyptian, an Algerian and Indian and a Turk in London, it matters not that Egypt is the motherland of one and India is the motherland of another."
Mahatma Gandhi, in his inimitable style, says "Someone has said that Europeans in South Africa dread the advent Islam-Islam that civilized Spain, Islam that took the torch light to Morocco and preached to the world the Gospel of brotherhood. The Europeans of South Africa dread the Advent of Islam. They may claim equality with the white races. They may well dread it, if brotherhood is a sin. If it is equality of colored races then their dread is well founded."
Every year, during the Haj, the world witnesses the wonderful spectacle of this international exhibition of Islam in leveling all distinctions of race, color and rank. Not only the Europeans, the African, the Arabian, the Persian, the Indians, the Chinese all meet together in Medina as members of one divine family, but they are clad in one dress. Every person in two simple pieces of white seamless cloth, one piece round the loin the other piece over the shoulders, bare head without pomp or ceremony, repeating "Here am I O God; at thy command; thou art one and alone; Here am I." Thus there remains nothing to differentiate the high from the low and every pilgrim carries home the impression of the international significance of Islam.
In the opinion of Prof. Hurgronje "the league of nations founded by prophet of Islam put the principle of international unity of human brotherhood on such Universal foundations as to show candle to other nations." In the words of the same Professor "the fact is that no nation of the world can show a parallel to what Islam has done not even in the realization of the idea of the League of Nations.
The prophet of Islam brought the reign of democracy in its best form. The Caliph Umar, the Caliph Ali and the son in law of the prophet, the caliph Mansur, Abbas, the son of Caliph Mamun and many other caliphs and kings had to appear before the judge as ordinary men in Islamic courts. Even today we all know how the black Negroes were treated by the civilized white races. Consider the state of BILAL, a Negro Slave, in the days of the prophet of Islam nearly 14 centuries ago. The office of calling Muslims to prayer was considered to be of status in the early days of Islam and it was offered to this Negro slave. After the conquest of Mecca, the Prophet ordered him to call for prayer and the Negro slave, with his black color and his thick lips, stood over the roof of the holy mosque at Mecca called the Ka'ba the most historic and the holiest mosque in the Islamic world, when some proud Arabs painfully cried loud, "Oh, this black Negro Slave, woe be to him. He stands on the roof of holy Ka'ba to call for prayer." At that moment, the prophet announced to the world, this verse of the holy QURAN for the first time : «"O mankind, surely we have created you, families and tribes, so you may know one another. Surely, the most honorable of you with God is MOST RIGHTEOUS AMONG you. Surely, God is Knowing, Aware."»
And these words of the holy Quran created such a mighty transformation that the Caliph of Islam, the purest of Arabs by birth, offered their daughter in marriage to this Negro Slave, and whenever, the second Caliph of Islam, known to history as Umar the great, the commander of faithful, saw this Negro slave, he immediately stood in reverence and welcomed him by "Here come our master; Here come our lord." What a tremendous change was brought by Quran in the Arabs, the proudest people at that time on the earth. This is the reason why Goethe, the greatest of German poets, speaking about the Holy Quran declared that, "This book will go on exercising through all ages a most potent influence." This is also the reason why George Bernard Shaw says, "If any religion has a chance or ruling over England, say, Europe, within the next 100 years, it is Islam".
It is this same democratic spirit of Islam that emancipated women from the bondage of man. Sir Charles Edward Archibald Hamilton says "Islam teaches the inherent sinlessness of man. It teaches that man and woman have come from the same essence, possess the same soul and have been equipped with equal capabilities for intellectual, spiritual and moral attainments."
The Arabs had a very strong tradition that one who can smite with the spear and can wield the sword would inherit. But Islam came as the defender of the weaker sex and entitled women to share the inheritance of their parents. It gave women centuries ago right of owning property, yet it was only 12 centuries later, in 1881, that England, supposed to be the cradle of democracy adopted this institution of Islam and the act was called "the married woman act", But centuries earlier, the Prophet of Islam had proclaimed that ""Woman are twin halves of men. The rights of women are sacred. See that women maintained rights granted to them.""
Islam is not directly concerned with political and economic systems, but indirectly and in so far as political and economic affairs influence man's conduct, it does lay down some very important principles to govern economic life. According to Prof. Massignon, it maintains the balance between exaggerated opposites and has always in view the building of character, which is the basis of civilization. This is secured by its law of inheritance, by an organized system of charity known as Zakat, and by regarding as illegal all anti-social practices in the economic field like monopoly, usury, securing of predetermined unearned income and increments, cornering markets, creating monopolies, creating an artificial scarcity of any commodity in order to force the prices to rise. Gambling is illegal. Contribution to schools, to places of worship, hospitals, digging of wells, opening of orphanages are highest acts of virtue. Orphanages have sprung for the first time, it is said, under the teaching of the prophet of Islam. The world owes its orphanages to this prophet who was himself born an orphan. "Good all this" says Carlyle about Mohammad. "The natural voice of humanity, of pity and equity, dwelling in the heart of this wild son of nature, speaks."
A historian once said a great man should be judged by three tests: Was he found to be of true mettle by his contemporaries? Was he great enough to rise above the standards of his age? Did he leave anything as permanent legacy to the world at large? This list may be further extended but all these three tests of greatness are eminently satisfied to the highest degree in case of prophet Mohammad. Some illustrations of the last two have already been mentioned. The first is: Was the Prophet of Islam found to be of true mettle by his contemporaries?
Historical records show that all the contemporaries of Mohammad (both friends foes)acknowledged the sterling qualities, the spotless honesty, the noble virtues, the absolute sincerity and every trustworthiness of the apostle of Islam in all walks of life and in every sphere of human activity. Even the Jews and those who did not believe in his message, adopted him as the arbiter in their personal disputes by virtue of his perfect impartiality. Even those who did not believe in his message were forced to say "O Mohammad, we do not call you a liar, but we deny him who has given you a book and inspired you with a message." They thought he was possessed. They tried violence to cure him. But the best of them saw that a new light had dawned on him and they hastened him to seek the enlightenment. It is a notable feature in the history of the prophet of Islam that his nearest relation, his beloved cousin and his bosom friends, who know him most intimately, were not thoroughly imbued with the truth of his mission and were convinced of the genuineness of his divine inspiration. If these men and women, noble, intelligent, educated and intimately acquainted with his private life had perceived the slightest signs of deception, fraud, earthliness, or lack of faith in him, Mohammad's moral hope of regeneration, spiritual awakening, and social reform would all have been foredoomed to a failure and whole edifice would have crumbled to pieces in a moment. On the contrary, we find that devotion of his followers was such that he was voluntarily acknowledged as dictator of their lives. They braved for him persecutions and danger; they trusted, obeyed and honored him even in the most excruciating torture and severest mental agony caused by excommunication even unto death. Would this have been so, had they noticed the slightest backsliding in their master?
Read the history of the early converts to Islam, and every heart would melt at the sight of the brutal treatment of innocent Muslim men and women. Sumayya, an innocent women, is cruelly torn into pieces with spears. An example is made of " Yassir whose legs are tied to two camels and the beast were driven in opposite directions", Khabbab bin Arth is made lie down on the bed of burning coal with the brutal legs of their merciless tyrant on his breast so that he may not move and this makes even the fat beneath his skin melt." "Khabban bin Adi is put to death in a cruel manner by mutilation and cutting off his flesh piece-meal." In the midst of his tortures, being asked weather he did not wish Mohammad in his place while he was in his house with his family, the sufferer cried out that he was gladly prepared to sacrifice himself, his family and children and why was it that these sons and daughters of Islam not only surrendered to their prophet, their allegiance but also made a gift of their hearts and souls to their master ? Is not the intense faith and conviction on part of immediate followers of Mohammad, the noblest testimony to his sincerity and to his utter self-absorption in his appointed task ?
And these men were not of low station or inferior mental caliber. Around him in quite early days, gathered what was best and noblest in Mecca, its flower and cream, men of position, rank, wealth and culture, and from his own kith and kin, those who knew all about his life. All the first four Caliphs, with their towering personalities, were converts of this period.
The Encyclopedia Britannica says that "Mohammad is the most successful of all Prophets and religious personalities". But the success was not the result of mere accident. It was not a hit of fortune. It was recognition of fact that he was found to be true metal by his contemporaries. It was the result of his admirable and all compelling personality. The personality of Mohammad! it is most difficult to get into the truth of it. Only a glimpse of it I can catch. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes. There is Mohammad, the prophet, There is Mohammad the General; Mohammad the King; Mohammad the Warrior; Mohammad the businessman; Mohammad the preacher; Mohammad the philosopher; Mohammad the statesman; Mohammad the Orator; Mohammad the Reformer; Mohammad the Refuge of Orphans; Mohammad the Protector of Slaves; Mohammad the Emancipator of Women; Mohammad the Law-giver; Mohammad the Judge; Mohammad the Saint.
And in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is like, a hero. Orphan-hood is extreme of helplessness and his life upon this earth began with it; Kingship is the height of the material power and it ended with it. From an orphan boy to a persecuted refugee and then to an overlord, spiritual as well as temporal, of a whole nation and Arbiter of its destinies, with all its trials and temptations, with all its vicissitudes and changes, its lights and shades, its ups and downs, its terror and splendor, he has stood the fire of the world and came out unscathed to serve as a model in every face of life. His achievements are not limited to one aspect of life, but cover the whole field of human conditions.
If for instance, greatness consists in the purification of a nation, steeped in barbarism and immersed in absolute moral darkness, that dynamic personality who has transformed, refined and uplifted an entire nation, sunk low as the Arabs were, and made them the torch-bearer of civilization and learning, has every claim to greatness. If greatness lies in unifying the discordant elements of society by ties of brotherhood and charity, the prophet of the desert has got every title to this distinction. If greatness consists in reforming those wrapped in degrading and blind superstition and pernicious practices of every kind, the prophet of Islam has wiped out superstitions and irrational fear from the hearts of millions. If it lies in displaying high morals, Mohammmad has been admitted by friend and foe as Al Amin, or the faithful. If a conqueror is a great man, here is a person who rose from helpless orphan and a humble creature to be the ruler of Arabia, the equal to Chosroes and Caesar, one who founded great empire that has survived all these 14 centuries. If the devotion that a leader commands is the criterion of greatness, the prophet's name even today exerts a magic charm over millions of souls, spread all over the world.
He had not studied philosophy in the school of Athens of Rome, Persia, India, or China. Yet, He could proclaim the highest truths of eternal value to mankind. Illiterate himself, he could yet speak with an eloquence and fervor which moved men to tears, to tears of ecstasy. Born an orphan blessed with no worldly goods, he was loved by all. He had studied at no military academy; yet he could organize his forces against tremendous odds and gained victories through the moral forces that he marshaled. Gifted men with genius for preaching are rare. Descartes included the perfect preacher among the rarest kind in the world. Hitler in his Mein Kamp has expressed a similar view. He says "A great theorist is seldom a great leader. An Agitator is more likely to posses these qualities. He will always be a great leader. For leadership means the ability to move masses of men. The talent to produce ideas has nothing in common with capacity for leadership." "But", he says, "The Union of theorists, organizer and leader in one man, is the rarest phenomenon on this earth; Therein consists greatness."
In the person of the Prophet of Islam the world has seen this rarest phenomenon walking on the earth, walking in flesh and blood. And more wonderful still is what the Reverend Bosworth Smith remarks, "Head of the state as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but, he was Pope without the Pope's claims, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue. If ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by a right divine it was Mohammad, for he had all the power without instruments and without its support. He cared not for dressing of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life.
After the fall of Mecca, more than one million square miles of land lay at his feet, Lord of Arabia, he mended his own shoes and coarse woolen garments, milked the goats, swept the hearth, kindled the fire and attended the other menial offices of the family. The entire town of Medina where he lived grew wealthy in the later days of his life. Everywhere there was gold and silver in plenty and yet in those days of prosperity many weeks would elapse without a fire being kindled in the hearth of the king of Arabia, His food being dates and water. His family would go hungry many nights successively because they could not get anything to eat in the evening. He slept on no soften bed but on a palm mat, after a long busy day to spend most of his night in prayer, often bursting with tears before his creator to grant him strength to discharge his duties. As the reports go, his voice would get choked with weeping and it would appear as if a cooking pot was on fire and boiling had commenced. On the very day of his death his only assets were few coins a part of which went to satisfy a debt and rest was given to a needy person who came to his house for charity. The clothes in which he breathed his last breath had many patches. The house from where light had spread to the world was in darkness because there was no oil in the lamp.
Circumstances changed, but the prophet of God did not. In victory or in defeat, in power or in adversity, in affluence or in indigence, he is the same man, disclosed the same character. Like all the ways and laws of God, Prophets of God are unchangeable. An honest man, as the saying goes, is the noblest work of God. Mohammad was more than honest. He was human to the marrow of his bones. Human sympathy, human love was the music of his soul. To serve man, to elevate man, to purify man, to educate man, in a word to humanize man-this was the object of his mission, the be-all and end all of his life. In thought, in word, in action he had the good of humanity as his sole inspiration, his sole guiding principle. He was most unostentatious and selfless to the core. What were the titles he assumed? Only true servant of God and His Messenger. Servant first, and then a messenger. A Messenger and prophet like many other prophets in every part of the world, some known to you, many not known you. If one does not believe in any of these truths one ceases to be a Muslim. It is an article of faith.
"Looking at the circumstances of the time and unbounded reverence of his followers" says a western writer "the most miraculous thing about Mohammad is, that he never claimed the power of working miracles". Miracles were performed but not to propagate his faith and were attributed entirely to God and his inscrutable ways. He would plainly say that he was a man like others. He had no treasures of earth or heaven. Nor did he claim to know the secrets that lie in the womb of future. All this was in an age when miracles were supposed to be ordinary occurrences, at the back and call of the commonest saint, when the whole atmosphere was surcharged with supernaturalism in Arabia and outside Arabia.
He turned the attention of his followers towards the study of nature and its laws, to understand them and appreciate the Glory of God. The Quran says «"God did not create the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in play. He did not create them all but with the truth. But most men do not know"». The world is not an illusion, nor without purpose. It has been created with the truth. The number of verses inviting close observation of nature are several times more than those that relate to prayer, fasting, pilgrimage etc. all put together. The Muslim under its influence began to observe nature closely and this gave birth to the scientific spirit of the observation and experiment which was unknown to the Greeks. While the Muslim Botanist, Ibn Baitar, wrote on Botany after collecting plants from all parts of the world, described by Myer in his Gesch. der Botanikaa-s, a monument of industry, while Al Byruni traveled for forty years to collect mineralogical specimens, and Muslim Astronomers made some observations extending even over twelve years. Aristotle wrote on Physics without performing a single experiment, wrote on natural history, carelessly stating without taking the trouble to ascertain the most verifiable fact that men have more teeth than animal. Galen, the greatest authority on classical anatomy informed that the lower jaw consists of two bones, a statement which is accepted unchallenged for centuries until Abdul Lateef takes the trouble to examine a human skeleton. After enumerating several such instance's, Robert Priffault concludes in his well known book "The making of humanity", "The debt of our science to the Arabs does not consist in starting discovers or revolutionary theories. Science owes a great more to Arabs culture; it owes is existence". The same writer says " The Greeks systematized, generalized and theorized but patient ways of investigation, the accumulation of positive knowledge, the minute methods of science, detailed and prolonged observation, experimental inquiry, were altogether alien to Greek temperament. What we call science arose in Europe as result of new methods of investigation, of the method of experiment, observation, measurement, of the development of Mathematical in form unknown to the Greeks. That spirit and these methods, concludes the same author, were introduced into the European world by Arabs.
It is the same practical character of the teaching of Prophet Mohammad that gave birth to the scientific spirit, that has also sanctified the daily labors and the so-called mundane affairs. The Quran says that God has created man to worship him but the word worship has a connotation of its own. Gods worship is not confined to prayer alone, but every act that is done with the purpose of winning approval of God and is for the benefit of the humanity comes under its purview. Islam sanctifies life and all its pursuits provided they are performed with honesty, justice and pure intents. It obliterates the age-long distinction between the sacred and profane. The Quran says if you eat clean things and thank God for it, it is an act of worship. It is saying of the prophet of Islam that a morsel of food that one places in the mouth of his wife is an act of virtue to be rewarded by God. Another tradition of the Prophet says ""He who is satisfying the desire of his heart will be rewarded by God provided the methods adopted are permissible"". A person was listening to him exclaimed 'O Prophet of God, he is answering the calls of passions, is only satisfying the craving of his heart. Forthwith came the reply, ""Had he adopted an awful method for the satisfaction of his urge, he would have been punished; then why should he not be rewarded for following the right course"".
This new conception of religion that it should also devote itself to the betterment of this life rather than concern itself exclusively with super mundane affairs, has led to a new orientation of moral values. Its abiding influence on the common relations of mankind in the affairs of every day life, its deep power over the masses, its regulation of their conception of rights and duty, its suitability and adaptability to the ignorant savage and the wise philosopher are characteristic features of the teaching of the Prophet of Islam.
But it should be most carefully born in mind this stress on good actions is not the sacrifice correctness of faith. While there are various schools of thought, one praising faith at the expense of deeds, another exhausting various acts to the detriment of correct belief, Islam is based on correct faith and righteous actions. Means are as important as the end and ends are as important as the means. It is an organic unity. Together they live and thrive. Separate them and both decay and die. In Islam faith cannot be divorced from the action. Right knowledge should be transferred into right action to produce the right results. How often the words came in Quran-- «Those who believe and do good works, they alone shall enter paradise.» Again and again, not less than fifty times these words are repeated as if too much stress cannot be laid on them. Contemplation is encouraged but mere contemplation is not the goal. Those who believe and do nothing cannot exist in Islam. These who believe and do wrong are inconceivable. Divine law is the law of effort and not of ideals. It chalks out for the men the path of eternal progress from knowledge to action and from action to satisfaction.
But what is the correct faith from which right action spontaneously proceeds resulting in complete satisfaction? Here the central doctrine of Islam is the Unity of God. There is no God but God is the pivot from which hangs the whole teaching and practice of Islam. He is unique not only as regards to His divine being but also as regards His divine attributes.
As regards to the attributes of God, Islam adopts here as in other things too, the law of golden mean. It avoids on the one hand, the view of God which divests the divine being of every attribute and rejects, on the other, the view which likens him to things material. The Quran says, On the one hand, there is nothing which is like him, on the other, it affirms that he is Seeing, Hearing, Knowing. He is the King who is without a stain of fault or deficiency, the mighty ship of His power floats upon the ocean of justice and equity. He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. He is the Guardian over all. Islam does not stop with this positive statement. It adds further which is its most special characteristic, the negative aspects of a problem. There is also no one else who is guardian over everything. He is the meander of every breakage, and no one else is the meander of any breakage. He is the restorer of every loss and no one else is the restorer of any loss what-so-over. There is no God but one God, above any need, the maker of bodies, creator of souls, the Lord of the Day of Judgment, and in short, in the words of Quran, to him belong all excellent qualities.
Regarding the position of man in relation to the Universe, the Quran says «"God has made subservient to you whatever is on the earth or in universe. You are destined to rule over the Universe."» But in relation to God, the Quran says «"O man God has bestowed on you excellent faculties and has created life and death to put you to test in order to see whose actions are good and who has deviated from the right path."» In spite of free will which he enjoys, to some extent, every man is born under certain circumstances and continues to live under certain circumstances beyond his control. With regard to this God says, according to Islam, it is my will to create any man under condition that seems best to me through cosmic plans that finite mortals can not fully comprehend. But I will certainly test you in prosperity as well in adversity, in health as well as in sickness, in heights as well as in depths. My ways of testing differ from man to man, from hour to hour. In adversity do not despair and do resort to unlawful means. It is but a passing phase. In prosperity do not forget God. God-gifts are given only as trusts. You are always on trial, every moment you are on a test. In this sphere of life there is not to reason why, there is but to do and die. If you live, then you have to live in accordance with God; and if you die, then die in the path of God. You may call it fatalism but this type of fatalism is a condition of vigorous increasing effort, always keeping you on the alert. Do not consider this temporal life on earth as the end of human existence. There is a life after death and it is eternal. Life after death is only a connection, a link, a door that opens up hidden reality of life. Every action in life, however insignificant, produces a lasting effect. It is correctly recorded somehow. Some of the ways of God are known to you, but many of his ways are hidden from you. What is hidden in you and from you in this world will be unrolled and laid open before you in the next. The virtuous will enjoy the blessing of God which the eye has not seen, nor has the ear heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of men to conceive of they will march onward reaching higher and higher stages of evolution. Those who have wasted opportunity in this life shall under the inevitable law, which makes every man taste of what he has done, be subjugated to a course of treatment of the spiritual disease's which they have brought about with their own hands. Beware, it is a terrible ordeal. Bodily pain is torture, you can bear somehow. Spiritual pain is hell and you will find it almost unbearable. Fight in this life itself the tendencies of the spirit prone to evil, tempting to lead you into iniquities ways. Reach the next stage when the self-accusing spirit in your conscience is awakened and the soul is anxious to attain moral excellence and revolt against disobedience. This will lead you to the final stage of the soul at rest, contented with God, finding its happiness and delight in him alone. The soul stumbles no more. The stage of struggle passes away. Truth is victorious and falsehood lays down its arms. All complexes will then be resolved. Your house will not be divided against itself. Your personality will get integrated around the central core of submission to the will of God and complete surrender to his divine purpose. All hidden energies will then be released. The soul then will have peace. God will then address you «O Thou soul that art at rest, and restest fully contented with thy Lord return to thy Lord. He is pleased with thee and thou are pleased with him; So enter among my servants and enter into my paradise. »This is the final goal for man; to become, on the one hand, the master of the universe and on the other, to see that his soul finds rest in his Lord, that not only his Lord will be pleased with him but that he is also pleased with his Lord. Contentment, complete contentment, satisfaction, complete satisfaction, peace, complete peace. The love of God is his food at this stage and he drinks deep at the fountain of life. Sorrow and defeat do not overwhelm him and success does not find him in vain and exulting.
The western nations are only trying to become the master of the universe. But their souls have not found peace and rest. Thomas Carlyle, struck by this philosophy of life writes "and then also Islam-that we must submit to God; that our whole strength lies in resigned submission to Him, whatsoever he does to us, the thing he sends to us, even if death and worse than death, shall be good, shall be best; we resign ourselves to God." The same author continues "If this be Islam, says Goethe, do we not all live in Islam?" Carlyle himself answers this question of Goethe and says "Yes, all of us that have any moral life, we all live so. This is yet the highest wisdom that heaven has revealed to our earth."
Muhammad (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam): His Life Based on the Earliest Sources
Martin Lings (Abu Bakr Sirajud-deen) [RA]
Noble Life of the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)
Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee [HA]