Soldier of Allah 

Muhammad (Pbuh)
The Benefactor of Humanity

[Pg. 140] (Muhsin-e-Insaniyat)
By Nayeem Siddiqi

Table of Contents


  - Preface
  - Introduction
  - A light in the prevailing darkness
  - Revolution erupts
  - An Order - A Movement
  - The spirit of the revolution
  - A new man born
  - The Prophet's great sacrifice
  - How to study the Prophet's life



Before we study the life history of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) we must have a clear idea of the mission for which he worked all his life, its true nature and scope and its main features. If we scan the wide range of history we come across great reformers, founders of religions and philosophic systems and great rulers and revolutionaries who changed the course of history. But the common feature of all of them is that while they influenced only one part of human life they left loopholes open for evils creeping into others aspects. We do not find any movement or ideology which has transformed the whole nature of man, his entire being from within and without and his individual as well as his community life. This is what Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) accomplished as we will see in the following pages. This transformation of man from within and without in his individual and social aspects was unique in history and no such example can be found elsewhere. The transformation was such that human society from mosque to market, from school to court and from home to public field - the entire gamut of human life- was changed, and as a result of this change, there was goodness and virtue without the least tinge of evil. In fact, human life received a new base and the foundation was laid for all round progress and a virtuous life on an international scale.

A Light In The Prevailing Darkness

At the time of the advent of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the entire world was steeped in darkness. Beliefs in multiplicity of gods and idol worship had shaken the foundation of civilized life. The light of civilization had faded over the then known world from Egypt to India and from Greece to China. Banners of Roman and Iranian empires, immersed in the worst forms of tyranny, and terrorism fluttered over the degraded humanity. Rulers had become not only the representatives of God but in some cases claimed to be gods, with whom were allied fiefdoms and religious orders, and the combined forces of the three had strangled the common man, who already overburdened with heavy taxes, bribes and graft and forced to labour under duress. No one seemed to take any notice of this malaise or provided any remedy or escape from this course. Sensuous and ease- going overlords were sunk in moral degradation, while devastating wars and frequent changes in ruling dynasties instead of giving any relief to the common man further ground him under heavier strain. And new orders introduced newer forms of oppression. The Roman and Iranian empires were frequently at war and large territories at intervals passed from one empire to the other and the new masters after consolidating their powers unleashed still greater forces of oppression. Churches and temples on changing hands became places of worship of the conqueror. All over the world armed clashes were the order of the day and humanity suffered most. The common man was deprived of the most essential necessities of life and could not even raise his voice of protest. Freedom of conscience was unknown. Man groped in darkness and no light from any religion or philosophy could guide him. Teachings of seers and prophets were lost in corruption and erroneous interpretations and whatever religion was left had become a profitable trade in the hands of religious orders which were in alliance with the ruling class. Greek philosophy had lost its force, teachings of Confucius and Mani were forgotten, and Buddhist Vedantic ideologies were discarded. When humanity despaired, found no way of escape, the crisis reached a critical stage that the light of the redeemer of the humanity emerged.

The very country where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born was steeped in utter moral degradation. Great civilizations of Ur and Nineva, of Aad and Thamud and of Aden and Saba were lost in ancient history and there was barbarism and disruption all over Arabia. Debaucher, drinking and gambling was rampant. The idol-worshipping Quraish were trading in religion with the custody of the Kaabah Tribes fought with one another on flimsy grounds. The Jews were engaged in religious controversies, usurer of Makkah and Taif had large-scale dealings in money-lending at exorbitant interest rates and traffic in slavery was rife. In short, men lived according to their whims while the strong were oppressing the weak.

In the midst of this degradation, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had to redeem humanity and prove to the world the phenomenal success of his great mission. He stood up single-handed to change the entire human outlook. Those who hated evil but were unable to reform their surroundings retired to forests and mountain caves and became recluses. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on the other hand, boldly faced the situation and reformed the humanity. To resolve the cultural crisis brought about by the clashes of Iranian and Roman powers, he rose as a third power which, having consolidated itself by then, challenged both the Iranian and Roman empires and crushed them, restoring freedom to the common man to rise.

God selected Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as the most suitable man for bringing about this great revolution, the desert as the most suitable place for making such an attempt; the Arabs as the most suitable people to received and propagate the message. It was also the most suitable age, as the feudal era was about to end and be replaced by the era of brotherhood, and history was all set to enter the scientific arena. The Prophet's advent coincided with these two phases of history and it was necessary to revive and reassert the truth and justice and enlighten the world with the Divine message. Then, humanity having lost all hope was ready to accept the message of peace in Islam. Despite being a land of desert, Arabia occupied a central place in the then known world where all caravan routes from east and west met and the foreign trade of different countries passed through the hands of Arab merchants. There were regular caravans from Oman, Yemen, Makkah, Jeddah, Yanbu, medina, etc., which could not pass safely without the Arab guides and Quraish passports. Thus Arabia and, in particular Makkah, Taif, Medina, Yanbu had contacts with India, china, Iran, Iraq, Rome, Abyssinia, etc., and was ideal as an effective centre for a world movement. Makkah and Medina were important towns from religious and commercial points of view. The uncivilized, disorganized and economically weak condition of Arabia, though disadvantageous in certain respects, was ready to take up message of hope from any quarter. Furthermore, the country was more or less free from outside political control while internally also there was no such power which held political sway throughout the country and which could crush a new movement as was done in the case of several former messengers of God. The Quraish tribe was no doubt influential but, despite being strong in its religion and commercial influence, it could not take the place of an established government.

From the religious point of view wherever the prophets had preached the truth, archaeological remains of their cities had been preserved. In the north, Abraham was born at Ur. Further north was the land of Noah and Lot, and Madain of Saleh, and there were Palestine and Jerusalem where the Israelites rose and fell and where Christ gave his message of truth and godliness. In the south were the lands of Aad and Thamud and the Ma'arib dam which had burst and deluged the ungodly land, and across the sea in the west was Egypt where Joseph and Moses had brought light of God, and then Makkah where Abraham and Ismael had established the centre of monotheism. A call to truth here was most likely to rekindle in the minds of men the fading light of the teachings of these prophets.

And lastly, the human resources were rich and untapped in Arabia and untainted by the decadence of the oppressive civilizations of Iran and Rome. Nomadic life had produced certain defects in their character but it also had its merits. Due to their simple life they had their habits free from ostentation or artificialities and having proximity to nature they could read its signs in the universe.

The extremely hot climate desert winds, day and night travels, experiences of hunger and thirst frequent murders and robberies had made them hardy and engendered in them a spirit of bravery which could be most valuable in sponsoring a world movement. They were generous and possessed powerful memory which enabled them not only to recall their own genealogy but even the pedigree of their horses. They also possessed self-respect and sense of dignity and so could preserve their independence. They had highly developed language which had been well polished and could be used effectively in propagating a mission. They were firm in their determination and if they adopted even a wrong course they pursued it wholeheartedly and faced all obstacles and difficulties. At the same time they had the capacity to follow the right path with the same determination without wavering. Thus, as the Prophet in his own person was the ideal leader of his movement he was also given the most suitable human material to work on and the best geographical location where a great culture could evolve and flourish.

The Arabs were restless in their search for the path of progress and already some intelligent persons had their minds stirred and looked for some Divine guidance Politically, in cities like Makkah and Medina a system of government was slowly emerging and a crude form of democratic state had already come into existence, while the limited economic resources of the country were creating an urge in the population to expand. In is a well-known historical fact that when the existing civilizations were deepening the crisis and political leadership stagnated, a new poser arose form Beduins to challenge it, as Israelites rose against the power of the pharaohs. Arabia was thus the ideal place for inspiring men to carry out the prophet's revolution.

Revolution Erupts

This all embracing programme was not taken up haphazardly but was the result of firm conviction, deep meditation and contemplation. For years the deep thoughts of life's meaning and purpose engaged the Prophet's mind and in the cave of Hira he examined his own capacities and thought over the world condition, devoted his mind to basic problems which afflicted human society but did not take any practical step without receiving guidance in Divine revelation. The greatest truth was that God is Master of the universe and man is His servant. It was from this seed that the tree of wholesome civilisation grew with its roots deep in the earth and its branches over the earth (heavens).

The revolutionary slogan of the Prophet (La Ilaha Illallah), although brief, has tremendous significance. There is no divine being except Allah, the only God, Who should be obeyed, loved, worshipped, praised and remembered, from Whom we expect all good and Whose displeasure we fear, Who will reward the virtuous and punish the wicked, Who is regard as the Master, Ruler and Law-giver, Whose orders must be obeyed and prohibitions avoided and Whose prescribed injunctions are to be strictly observed. Life must be moulded according to His will. Those favoured by Him are to be respected and those frowned upon by Him must be resisted. Everything must be sacrificed on His command and His pleasure to be made the ideal of life. It was this comprehensive meaning of divinity that was condensed into a single phrase.

These attributes of divinity were separated from God and appropriated by different peoples, and innumerable divinities ruled over the society, viz. man's wishes and desires, social rites, tribal and group traditions, feudal and priestly dominance, kingly and court prestige, under which man was powerless, La Ilaha Illallah struck at the root of all this. One who believed in this pronouncement declared that he did not recognize any other greatness except that of God, did not submit to any other rule, did not recognize any other law or code conduct and would not bow before any other power, nor seek any one else's pleasure or shape his life ordained by anyone else. All edicts except those of the one God must be discarded This slogan was in fact the declaration of man's freedom. The second part of this slogan prescribed that the only means of uplift and social reform was the prophet hood established by God, that real knowledge given by revelation, which guided thinking Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) completed the prophethood, that life's purpose can be secured from this source alone and it is only through Divine guidance that humanity can successfully advance towards its true goal. It was this interpretation of the slogan that was made the foremost item of Islam.

Is was proclaimed by muazzins and given the status of the most exalted recitation and from every point of view it became the criterion of the Islamic movement and it was this pronouncement that when it entered the heart, changed the entire outlook of man and gave birth to a new humanity on the march towards progress and rectitude.

In order to gain profit from the Prophet's life, it is necessary to find the answer to the question as to what ideal the Prophet had in view, for the reformation of society and the extent of work in that direction? Did he want a partial change in social structure or a complete metamorphosis? Was his call only religious and moral or did it also have a political significance? In other words, what was his aim in the social field? The Qur'an answers these questions in full detail and in different forms the aim of Islamic mission has repeatedly been explained. Here we quote only two passages. The aim of all prophetic missions has been stated in the following words:

(Translation Of Ayah - Alhadeed, LVII-25)

"We have sent Our prophets with clear arguments and revealed to them the laws and given them the scale to measure truth with the object that they establish justice among me." (LVII: 25)

The meaning is clear that the aims for moulding human lives according to absolute justice and for creating social balance. The use of the rod is implied as essential for the purpose, that is for the establishment of justice and its preservation the use of political and military force may also be inevitable.
The mission of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself has clearly and repeatedly been specified:

"It is Allah Who has sent His Prophet with guidance and the Way of Truth so that he may make it dominate over all other ways of life howsoever unpleasant it may be to those who assign partners to Allah."(LXI:9)
Let us now study the Prophet's life to find the ideal, which he taught.
In the earliest stage of his ministry, the Prophet invited the clan of Hashim to a feast to deliver his message which he assured them would ensure their welfare in this world and in the Hereafter. Some time later, while talking to a deputation, he repeated this by saying:

'If you accept my message, it will be for your own good here and in the Hereafter."
It will be futile to attribute partial good to some aspects of this life. Partial good can be seen in every mission. And even in a bad system there is random good. The aim is total reform of life, social uplift, the establishment of justice and attainment of a virtuous life.
In the first stage, in the course of his early preaching, the Prophet said:

"It is just one phrase; and if you accept that from me, the whole of Arabia will be under your rule as also the non-Arab lands."

In the markets and public places and in the congregations of Hajj, the Prophet used to tell every head of the tribe: "Take me with you, let me have the chance to work and cooperate with you till I have explained the mission for which God has sent me." Bayhara bin Firas, chief of the Banu Amir clan, was so impressed by the Prophet's mission, his personality and his devoted zeal that he declared: "If we accept this young man and include him among us, we will dominate the whole of Arabia". His mind foresaw a bright future and he tried to strike a bargain. He offered to cooperate with the Prophet on the condition that when all opposition had been subdued, the Prophet would transfer power to him. Bayhara's eyes were on the distant future, and if the Prophet's mission were confined to mere preaching he would have said: 'My brother, I am just a servant of God, what have I to do with power and there is no question of gaining power in my mission?" Instead, he said, "Power is in the hands of God and He confers it on whomsoever He likes," and refused to enter into the bargain with Bayhara.

In connection with the Prophet's mission the talk of domination over the Arabs and the non-Arabs was so widespread that it looked as if Islam would succeed, and everybody talked of it, so much so that the opponents had taken it as a pretext for ridicule and taunt. The slaves and the poorer classes were rallying under the banner of Islam and those who had been oppressed by the Quraish were taunted by their oppressors thus: "Look at these people, who aspire to become leaders of the Arabs and the non-Arabs!"

Despite all these taunts, opposition and obstruction, the sensible people among the Quraish believed that this mission was not an ordinary one but had great potentialities. On one occasion when the chiefs of Makkah sent Utbah to negotiate with the Prophet, he offered all kinds of temptation to deflect the Prophet from his mission, but the Prophet recited before him some verses of Sura Ha-Mim. Utbah was so moved that when he left the colour of his face had changed and he told the Quraish on return: "This mission carries with it something very great and portends a profound change. A revolution is in the offing which will entirely transform our lives". Then he advised them that Muhammad (PBUH) should be left alone and not be interfered with. If the Arabs defeated him they might be relieved but "if he gained power his kingdom will be yours and his power will be yours and you will become the most respected among the people". Thus when even Utbah could see the potentialities of this mission (that it would set forth a great power), how could the Prophet and his Companions remain in any doubt about it?

At one time when oppression had reached its peak, some of the Prophet's followers told him of their woes and requested that he should call a curse upon the oppressors; the Prophet at first explained that the path of mission like his was always fraught with difficulties and obstacles. What tribulations were not faced by those who treaded this path earlier! With full confidence he gave them good tidings saying: "By God this campaigns will meet with success with Divine Grace" and then he gave a picture of what would happened in the end- "a rider will journey from Sanaa to Hadramaut and he will not have any fear except that of God". He forecast such a bright future that as compared wit the existing conditions where there were robberies and murders and men were killed in broad daylight and women openly outraged, an order of justice and peace would prevail when a traveler could go on his journey unhampered and no one would dare attack him. On another occasion the Prophet had said that the time was not far off when caravans would come to Makkah without escorts.
How clear and unambiguous was his goal!

Once the Prophet asked Usman bin Talha, the key-bearer of the Kaabah, to open the door of the sacred House, which he refused. The Prophet felt embarrassed but declared that a time would come when the key would be in his hand and he would entrust it to whomsoever he liked.

If one considers the historical pledges of the Ansar at Aqabah one will find that even the Ansar had foreseen the fears of the political strife involved in this mission of truth, which would have to be decided on the battlefield. On the one hand, the Ansar pledged their complete support to the Prophet in his struggle and welcomed the sacrifice of their elders and destruction of their property, and on the other hand, they secured a promise from the Prophet that when God gave him power he would not leave them and return to Makkah. Struggle, sacrifices and power! Did not all these concepts clearly bring out the aim which the Prophet had before him? On the eve of his migration to Medina the prayer which was revealed to the Prophet had its end. "And grant me your help and power" Power and domination were needed to support this holy mission. When the Prophet's uncle Abu Talib was urged to stop his support to him and Abu Talib entreated him not to put him in difficulties, the Prophet made his famous declaration that even if they placed the sun on his right hand and the moon on his left hand, he would not give up his mission… "Till the mission triumphs or I sacrifice my life in the struggle". It implies that the struggle was such that it involved danger of life.

At Medina Adi bin Hatim came to the Prophet, studied his personality, tried to understand the nature of his mission and examined the manners of the Prophet and was greatly impressed. The Prophet, reading his mind, told him not only of the prospects of the white palaces of Babylon coming under his control, of abundance of wealth pouring in and the vast numerical strength of Muslims but also explained to him the system of Islamic justice declaring that soon conditions would improve so much that a woman starting from Qadisiya alone for the Prophet's Mosque would reach it in perfect safety. Obviously he, who in the most distressing conditions of migration could foresee the bracelets of the monarch of Iran on the wrist of Saraga, could not be ignorant of his ultimate aim and social idea! He did not struggle for it but it came to him as a gift from God. It can be said that government was not sought for personal dominance or for worldly gains but for the establishment of the mission, enforcement of the order of justice for redeeming the humanity and constructing a social order! In fact, while the Prophet had spiritual and moral revolution in view, he had before him, and in equal measure, a political revolution as well.

An Order - A Movement

Philosophy is a mental attitude. A philosopher has no direct concern with practical life or history. He draws conclusions from events and conditions but takes no practical part in the efforts to change them. Religion (in its current restricted sense) goes a little further. It sets forth certain beliefs, and separating the individual from society, also gives him some moral lessons. But the path of religion lies outside any collective system. It neither interferes with the political conditions nor seeks any comprehensive change in social institutions, nor challenges the leadership of the time. The preaching of religion is on the lines of a sermon. The preacher makes some exhortations in idealistic words and passes on. He cares little about the condition of his hearers, whether they are free or in bondage, nor worries how the public mind and character are moulded by the activities of interested groups, nor does he think about what influences the trend of daily events, nor even about ideologies acting against his own exhortations or to what social system his most ardent followers belong. He has no social ideal nor any plan of changing it. He has no political sense nor capacity for leadership. He does whatever he can to instil partial virtue in one department of life, while the rest continues to flourish unchecked. What has a man of God to do with it!

Our Prophet, on the other hand, was neither a philosopher to be contented with just propounding some lofty ideals without taking any note of the factual conditions nor a mere preacher who gave only pleasant sermons and shut his eyes to the pervasive evil and never bothered about the consequences. This redeemer of the humanity was gifted with social awareness and planned a complete transformation of human society. He comprehended the forces and elements dominating the society, kept in view the leadership which was at the helm of the crude social order, argued against it, criticized it and even challenged it. He kept his eyes on the trend of history and watched every event. He looked upon every move with the insight of a leader and with a political consciousness and whether it would be a help or hindrance in his campaigns of reform. He kept his eyes on all elements of society to ascertain at what time each may be expected to help. He matched his strength against that of the enemy and waited for the most appropriate time to strike and when that time arrived he boldly advanced. He minutely studied the movements of public opinion and smashed every propaganda of the enemy. Hostile fronts of poets and orators were formed and to meet them he set up rival groups of poets and orators. He strictly followed his principles but not with closed eyes, rather watched the conditions and expediencies and adopted the wisest course. Wherever he found opportunity he advanced his steps but when the occasion was unfavourable he retraced his steps. Where two evils were faced he avoided the one and dealt with the other. When war was inevitable he did not shirk it and when peace was possible he would not shun it but readily extended his hand of friendship. And what is most remarkable is that in all his dealings he not only observed but also advocated fear of God and the moral approach. When we consider this in the light of the Quranic teachings, we can easily discover the difference between a religion and a system mere preaching and a revolutionary call, individual purity and collective transformations.

Since the Prophet had launched a new order, he selected persons of sound intellect and everybody who had his heart illumined by truth was absorbed in the order after a severe test and whatever organized forces were available at a particular time were put under his guidance to fight against the barbarous system, intellectually and politically, and, as a last resort, on the battlefield.

He did not make Sufis and derveshes of those who gathered around him and did not lead them on to the path of hermits and ascetics. He did not expect them to dread evil or fear those in authority. They were not simple-minded and inert worshippers, but bold, fearless, conscientious, wise, self-respecting dignified, intelligent, sensible, active, energetic, initiators and restless workers. They did not adopt the ways of priest and sadhus but were endowed with ability to lead. Men of refinement after the best training and association with the finest order under the best guidance became an invincible force. It was thus in spite of being a small minority they dominated over the pagan Arabs. When in Makkah the number of Muslims was just forty, it created such a stir in the city and the surrounding areas that for years it was the main topic of conversation. In Medina, while the supporters of the Islamic movement hardly exceeded a few hundred, an Islamic state was established in the face of a non-Muslim majority.

For establishing a collective order, the Prophet did not wait for the whole of Arabia to accept Islam or till the majority of them was reformed. Nor was it his idea to go on preaching and reforming thoughts and beliefs till at last a wholesome order emerged or God fulfilled Himself by making them dominant. He knew from history that the bulk of the common people remains passive while only a small minority becomes active, and one section of it becomes the bearer of reform or revolution while another section obstructs it. The real struggle is between these two factions of active elements, and when the scores are settled the masses are aroused of their own accord. He was full aware that so long as evil leadership stood in the way and continued its campaign of contaminating the people or at least in keeping them stagnant, they could not accept a call for reform nor bring about a change in their lives. Even for those who had responded to the call, it was not possible to reform their lives to the full extent in the prevailing corrupt atmosphere.

On the other hand, if the revolution is delayed it becomes difficult for those who have achieved a position after long efforts as the bearers of truth to maintain that position, since the adverse conditions exert their full force in pushing them back. Thus the only course open to a collective movement is to gather as much strength as possible by selecting right-minded persons from among the active elements and to put them in the struggle against the opponents and break their ranks. History proves that all revolutions have been accomplished by active minorities. Since the movement for reform attracts comparatively larger numbers from among the active elements, rouses their latent sentiments and enhances their moral strength by training, the opposing group despite its power and influence, wealth and resources and also numerical superiority is defeated in the struggle. The Battle of Badr is a clear proof of this. So when the Prophet collected a sufficient number of right-minded persons, who, steeled by moral force, could confront the evil leadership and its supporters, he did not hesitate in taking the necessary steps to achieve his political aim. The real significance of the victory over Makkah is that the evil leadership was totally subjugated and as soon as it was routed people voluntarily began to respond to the call of truth.

There is not a single example in history where any virtuous system has ever prospered under evil leadership or that a collective revolution was accomplished by mere preaching and sermons and individual reform without political struggle. During the last thirteen centuries after the Caliphate, there has been so much preaching and sermonising in the schools, khanqahs and mosques where people are actively engaged in individual reforms that even today the amount of work being done by the Ulema, Sufis, teachers and writers is gigantic in its magnitude, and yet no reform has been accomplished to the desired extent nor the society been so far developed as to bring about a transformation in the collective life as Prophet Muhammad's revolution had brought about in Arabia fourteen centuries ago. Obviously, there is some missing link in the theory of revolution, and that is without political supports, change of leadership is impossible and so individuals are approached leaving the general social order untouched.

Unfortunately, the political aspect of the Prophet's accomplishment has been so much obscured that it is difficult to form a true concept of his mission and aims, and unless this aspect is fully kept in view, it is impossible to understand the difference between limited religiousness and the wider concept of the Islamic order. The Prophet had come with a complete system to establish an order based on virtue and to enforce the Divine laws. We should understand that the Prophet launched the movement for comprehensive reform in the widest sense and to establish a new society, for carrying out this movement he was fully endowed with the ability of leadership and political consciousness and just as there is no other person equal to him in other respects, in the same way he has no match in the greatness of his political leadership.

The prophet ceaselessly advocated virtue, struggled for the supremacy of truth and established a complete system, on this basis. This cannot be comprehended within the narrow meaning of religion. It was a mission, and a movement.

The glorious movement of the Prophet, which established a Divine system of life by bringing about a revolution, had as its distinguishing feature caused the essence of its creed pervaded all aspects of life with equal strength. It dominated the entire social order. All the institutions absorbed its impact. The one God, Who was worshipped within the four walls of the mosque, was also Omnipresent and Omnipotent. The Qur'an that was recited was the same Qur'an that formed the basis of court judgements. Moral principles which were obeyed in the homes were also followed in international relations. The truth which was preached from the pulpits was also practiced in administration. The beliefs which were impressed on the minds of individuals were also enforced on collective institutions. The mode of thinking which guided the educational system also moulded the entire culture. The Divine pleasure which was sought in prayer was also sought on the battlefield and in wielding the bow and the sword. It was a system in which the entire human life was under one Divine law and different values and codes were not followed in different areas. There were no contradictions in the system and its different parts never clashed with each other. There was no confusion. There was no eclecticism. It was due to this phenomenon that the humanity progressed under it with no parallel in history.

The Spirit Of The Revolution

It has probably been the greatest misfortune of the humanity that whosoever found an opportunity to come to power, by force of arms or by intrigue, by democratic means or by accident, presumed that he was also a teacher a reformer. When such teachers and reformers gain power, they appropriate all wisdom to themselves. They regard themselves as the greatest thinkers. Discarding all sources of knowledge and dismissing the wisest and most sensible elements of society wantonly, they embark on things which prove disastrous at every turn. They want to mould the humanity by violence reform life by using the rod. Often these sponsors of reform and revolution are quite ignorant of human nature and do not possess even the elementary knowledge about it. They have never given thought to the subject of the correct methods of reforming life or to the causes of degeneration and how best to remove them. Without learning from the experience of the past, they start experiments of their own. In order to remove all obstacles in their ventures, they reject all advice or criticism. They have only one remedy for every evil, and that is wholesale violence. They enact oppressive laws, subjecting people to unmitigated tyranny.

The revolution brought about by the Prophet, on the other hand, had no element of violence in it, but a spirit of affection and concern for human welfare marked every step. The Prophet was most merciful to the humanity and had real love for all mankind. He explained the nature of his mission by the example that he was saving them from falling into the abyss towards which they were madly rushing. Hence, the Qur'an described him as the Apostle of Mercy. Just imagine how he accomplished such a great revolution without a single instance of his having resorted to undue force. The decade of the Prophet's life at Medina was a period of continuous emergency. Three large-scale attacks were made by the Quraish while small clashes and frontier attacks were quite frequent. Different tribes attacked Medina at different time from different places. Patrol parties were regularly sent from Medina and military expeditions were undertaking to deal with disturbing elements while guards had to be kept ready at night. In addition to this, there were constant conspiracies by the Jews and the hypocrites. In short, it was the life of a military camp. There were intrigues for disrupting Muslim society, for creating dissension, for defeating the Prophet's mission and for even killing the Prophet. Could there be any greater emergency? But the Prophet never assumed dictatorial powers, nor promulgated despotic laws. No one was ever imprisoned or punished by emergency powers. No fines or punitive taxes were imposed and no citizen was taxed beyond the impositions ordained by the Divine law. The right of opposition and criticism was never taken away nor was anyone silenced or confined. Even the most mischievous person, Abdullah bin Ubay, was left unhindered. The Prophet had full trust in the righteousness of his mission and excellence of his character. He never imposed his superiority over others. He never indulged in extravagant talk nor insulted anyone but patiently bore the affront of enemies, who, in fact, were weaker. It was this attitude which won the hearts of his enemies, while his followers were loyal to him with all their souls. His opponents appeared meek and inferior before him and when they bow end their heads before truth and nobility, they were completely transformed.

The love of God which the Prophet bore in his heart manifested itself in another form: he loved God's creation with the same intensity. Illustration of his love for the humanity can be had from the fact that for the very people of Makkah who opposed him with all their might, the Prophet sent a supply of food when they were afflicted with famine and also five hundred gold coins for the relief of the poor. One night when the wailings of the prisoners of Badr reached his ears, he was so upset that he could not sleep till the ropes which bound them were loosened. Then by his order six thousand prisoners of Banu Hawazin were freed on their appeal. The greatest demonstration of his love for the humanity was at the time of his triumphant entry into Makkah. When those who had fought against him for 20 years came to him defeated, he pardoned them all. A conqueror on such an occasion would have ordered a general massacre or perennial imprisonment as the people of Makkah were legally and morally guilty and deserved to be punished, but because of the Prophet's love for the humanity, they were generously forgiven for their crimes and excesses, and the Prophet declared: 'There is no punishment for you today. You are all free!" to win their hearts, he showered wealth on them and instead of humiliating them, he gave them responsible work. The Prophet knew the revolution which degrades itself by taking revenge digs its own grave while the revolution which forgives and pacifies wins the hearts of even enemies and gains the support of those who had opposed it. The Quraish forced the Prophet into war and once on the battlefield, the Prophet fought with courage and determination but his military and defensive policies were such that they did least harm to the enemy; he took every possible care that even during war respect for the humanity was maintained. No other revolution can present such outstanding and generous examples of love for the humanity. His revolution was purely educative, and based on goodwill towards all mankind.

A New Man Born

We have before us histories of numerous movements of reform, uplift and revolution, but each one of them accepted man as he was and concentrated only on external change. Such changes were superficial and totally failed in solving the problems of life. the most striking achievement of the Prophet was that man was changed from within and completely transformed. The self-seeking animal which existed in the shape of man was totally effaced by the power of truth and in his place emerged a God-fearing and principled man. If you look at the mesmeric spell of this man you will be wonder-struck. A young drunkard of Makkah like Hazrat Umar was transformed and to what great heights he rose! Fuzala was elevated and to what greatness! Look to Zul Bajadain, how he spurned wealth and comforts and took to the life of simplicity! Look at Hazrat Abu Zarr and his revolutionary spirit that challenged the unbelievers at the Kaabah and suffered much beating at their hands. Look at the character of Ka'ab bin Malik and condition of Abu Khaisma and to the revolutionary courage and determination of the maid servants like Lubaina and Summaiyya and also see Ma'iz bin Malik Aslami and Ghamidiya. Take a lesson from the boldness of Hazrat Jafar at the court of Negus and the independent spirit of Rabie' bin Amir at the court of the Iranian commander-in-chief and who among the galaxy of heroes does not display the courage of his conviction!

These personalities formed the society and such leaders and workers were produced to run the organization of truth, that when the prohibition of wine was proclaimed the cups raised to the lips were promptly thrown away and the casks of the best of wines were emptied on the streets. When women were ordered to cover their heads and bosoms, immediately scarf's were prepared. When the call of Jihad was made, children stood on their tiptoes to increase their heights so that they might not be disqualified. When subscription were called forth, rich merchants like Hazrat Usman presented a long line of camels laden with wealth and the devoted companion like Abu Bakr placed all his belongings at the feet of the Prophet Similarly, even the labourer surrendered the dates earned as the day's wages and kept nothing for himself. When the Ansar were called to rehabilitate the Muhajirin they equally divided their property, their houses, corns fields and orchards and gave evidence of exemplary brotherliness. When officers were called for civil service, the world found for the first time governors working on the token salary of just one dirham per month. When the spoils of war were ordered to be deposited with the army commander, even needles were brought before the commander and it will be recorded in history in its brightest page that a soldier named Amir came with a large treasure of Madain and before anybody could discover it, he carried it in the darkness of the night and quietly deposited it with commander. These were the people who introduced an era of righteousness, where crimes became rare and during the ten years of Prophet's life at Medina only a few cases came to the court. The conditions were so ideal that there was no need for the crime investigation body. The conscience of the people was sufficient as their guard and guide.

This was the revolution which while changing the external order also changed the mind and heart of man and produced a new character. It succeeded in solving the basic problems of life and thus the salvation of the prevailing crisis.

The Prophet's Great Sacrifice

The Islamic revolution is unique in another respect in that its sponsor, in spite of its accomplishment with innumerable sacrifices, did not take any compensation or reward for it. He sacrificed everything for the good of the humanity but did not take in return even as much as was rationally, legally and conventionally, permissible and just. Not the slightest stain of selfishness or avarice is found in this great triumph. Can one find any other example to equal that?

From the economic point of view, the Prophet sacrificed his successful trade, a gave away all his earnings for the mission and when its success was assured, he distributed all his wealth with his own hands; he preferred a life of extremely modest and simple living for his own. He did not leave behind any money for his family nor acquire any property or establish any financial rights for his household during his lifetime nor did leave behind any hereditary office of succession. He did not recruit any guards or servants or acquire conveyance and did not like to have any furnishings in his home.

From the political point of view, he did not claim any prerogative for himself and never used his authority against anyone beyond that prescribed by God. He did not issue any arbitrary law to exalt his political position. Although a serious state of emergency persisted in Medina, and he had to face ever increasing intrigues and conspiracies of the Jews and hypocrites, he never interned anyone or imposed any restrictions of issued any conscience-killing orders, or established any emergency courts or ordered flogging. On the other hand, he gave perfect liberty for criticism, advice and difference of opinion. He also allowed people to reject his personal suggestions. These rights and privileges were not merely on paper but were actually practiced. Occasionally, the Prophet discarded his own valuable opinion and accepted others point of view.

If he wanted to give some concession to someone he obtained permission from his companions. For instance, once when Hazrat Abul Aas came as a prisoner and Hazrat Zainab sent a necklace as his ransom, which was gift from Hazrat Khadija (the Prophet's first consort), the Prophet appealed at a public meeting for the return of that necklace. Similarly, when the property of Abul Aas came as a booty he returned it but only after taking permission from the public. Once, a deputation arrived at Jaarana for the release of prisoners of the Battle of Hunain appealing to the Prophet in the name of his foster mother. The prisoners had already been distributed and when the Prophet released prisoners attached to the Quraish on his own initiative, he appealed for others at a public meeting and when the people, found that the Prophet had released prisoners allotted to his relatives, all of them released those given to them. In such cases the Prophet never used any pressure.

From the social point of view, the Prophet preferred equal status for himself and never claimed any preferential treatment, nor did he adopt any higher standard in the matter of food or dress, nor did he like a distinctive place at public gatherings. He would not see people standing before him as a mark of respect or encourage others to address him with the title of master or chief. On the battlefield or while travelling, digging the ditch or building mosques, he worked with his companions in carrying building material, breaking stones and collecting wood with his own hands. He allowed the people to make a stern demand from him for the recovery of a loan and he offered himself to the public for taking revenge if he had done any wrong to anyone.

It was this lofty ideal of the redeemer of the humanity which was entrusted to us, and it was to popularize this message that we were raised to the high position of "witnesses over men" and the "balanced community". This slogan of truth was given to us as a trust so that as successors of the Prophet we play the role of redeemer of the humanity and whenever mankind is in difficulties and the society is involved in a crisis, we rush to their rescue. But we failed to keep aloft this banner of truth, rather we destroyed it with our own hands. The result was that when the modern age took a turn towards materialism, we were unable to check it. It is the bitter fruit of our failure that the entire human life is now facing a crisis, world leadership is in ungodly hands, conflicting materialistic ideologies clashing with one another are disturbing the peace of mind, and we ourselves have become their slaves. No amount of misfortunes instils in us a sense of shame, and neither the disorders in Islamic society nor the crisis in human ranks infuse in us a sense of duty.

Behind the deceptive curtains of the modern materialistic civilization, let us survey the conditions of the humanity and a distressing spectacle will be before our eyes. The mankind is caught in the clutches of strange values and everywhere there is a struggle for wealth and power. The light of moral consciousness in man has extinguished, crimes are increasing with the advance of civilization and as psychological perplexities prevail, mental peace is altogether gone. Confusion prevails in the human mind and character. No sector of human life is uncontaminated. The spirit of truth has gone out of philosophy and science and there is no sincerity in beliefs and ideas. Spiritual values have declined while the law has become devoid of the spirit of justice, and self-seeking mentally has replaced the deep urge for service in politics. In the social sphere, groups of oppressors and the oppressed have emerged. Sex dominates the fine arts and contradictions are found in every part of social life. Rival forces are at war and the whole history is turned into a dreaful drama. Learning has advanced but its follies continue to pester us. Fountains of knowledge are there but these very fountains foster misconception which enslave humanity. Piles of wealth lie scattered all over but a vast majority still lives in abject poverty, penury and want. Thousands of organizations, political groups, ideological parties and contradicted relationships exist but there is no brotherly attachment between man and man. There is the talk of development of rational, political, moral and social consciousness, but the most hateful weapons of oppression and violence are still being used against humanity. History is a vast battleground in which there are horrifying clashes between imperialism and freedom, Communism and capitalism, democracy and dictatorship, individualism and collectivism, and the Orient and the Occident.

This is the world in which we live. We are facing the challenge of global crisis. Modern materialistic civilization or the man fostered by it is incapable of taking up the challenge. There is no new philosophy which can provide even a momentary relief. Nowhere can salvation be found. In this perplexing period when darkness is enveloping man from all sides there is only one light which can be seen, far off, fourteen hundred years away. This is the light of the greatest benefactor of the humanity, light of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which we claiming to be the followers of Muhammad (PBUH), have eclipsed by our confused thinking and unprincipled conduct.

How To Study The Prophet's Life

To our mind the only object of studying the Prophet's life is that the light of his message becomes again fresh before us and before humanity, and in the midst of prevailing darkness life again finds the path of felicity just as the way was found in the crisis-ridden sixth centuries of Christian era.
Unfortunately, we do not study the Prophet's life in appropriate spirit with the understanding that we have to adopt him as our model and mould our lives accordingly. On the other hand, some other considerations have come in the way and are multiplying.

Muslims take interest in the Prophet's life just for the sake of heavenly reward. It is true that every attempt to get access to the Prophet is a virtue in the sight of God and we expect reward for it, but should not the foremost aim of such an effort be to reform our lives? We hold gatherings on the Prophet's birthday in the belief that the Prophet's soul is present at these gatherings and is pleased to see the devotion of his followers. Trays of sweets, garlands of flowers, qawwalis and poems in praise of the Prophet, burning incense, and illuminations are all mere ostensible indications of this devotion. But the picture of the Prophet's life which is presented to us in such gatherings is not the picture of a man- a man of flesh and blood. We are introduced to a superhuman being whose body has a halo of light, whose shadow does not fall on the ground, whose entire life is full or miracles and all his duties and prayers are performed by angels and everything and about his is a mystery. It is not denied that the Prophet's spiritual and moral level is supreme among the human beings. Many superhuman factors can be seen as also miracles and the presence of angels. But in any case the holy life was that of a human being and this is the very basis of its greatness because a life with no parallels was presented by a man. Every activity of his is carried on under the laws of nature and conventions of history and culture, and sacrifices are made at every stage of success. His life can be a model for us to emulate only as a man and only as a man can we take lessons from him, learn adherence to principles and recognition of duties, acquire courage determination from him, cultivate the spirit of service to the humanity from his example and create in ourselves an urge to fight against the forces of evil. If you make the Prophet's life all miracles and give it the colour of the life of a superman, where will then be the model for this earthly man? We can feel dreaded for such a person but cannot imbibe any of his attributes. We can adore him but cannot follow him.

Of late, a tendency has crept in from the West which is called hero worship under which great personalities of history are adored and idolized and their birthdays are celebrated with all pomp. But such demonstrations are hollow and although a particular kind of sermonising is common in all such celebrations they have the least effect on our lives.

Another tendency is to regard the Prophet's message not as a code of conduct of life, but just as a religion only for reverence. Those who think like this feel that the Prophet came to teach a few beliefs, some rites and prayers, some recitations, some moral principles and some religious laws and his object was just to produce people who would call themselves Muslims. For them the Prophet's life is nothing more than the combination of some rules of cleanliness, prayers, recitations and individual moralities. But in the wider field of social life they serve every evil purpose with perfect ease and league themselves with any mischief. Such people have missed the brightest chapters of the Prophet's life and got themselves lost itself in its preface alone. This picture of the Prophet's life cannot have any effect on other nations of the modern age, even the Muslim youths cannot conceive that the Prophet can also be a leader of civilised life and that some of the most complex and difficult problems can be satisfactorily solved through him. This had led a curtain being drawn before the Prophet's life.

These erroneous conceptions flourish only because the atmosphere is congenial to them. The political and social system which is before us and the kind of life we lived need a particular type of man and want to see a particular type of character in him. In other words the practical life here does not at all need the type of man which is presented by the Prophet's life, and the mind and character which can acquired from the Prophet's life has no relevance. Parents are fostering their children on the model of their choice and years are devoted to educate the young for this life. now entire world which has been consciously or unconsciously adjusting itself to this model can gain nothing by writing or reading books on the Prophet's life or by hearing and delivering sermons on the subject. They will never have the urge to follow the real model of the Prophet's life.

The fact is that we have completely missed the correct concept of the Prophet's life because other extraneous viewpoints are at work. Thus despite the presence of all the spectacles of devotion and love and the minds devoted to the study of the Prophet's life, the man whose model the Prophet has presented never appears. The Prophet's life cannot enter into us in any other way except by our determination to work for the ideal to which he dedicated himself.

The Prophet's life is not the story of Rustam and Sohrab or the tale of a Thousand And One Nights. It is not the story of an imaginary character and its study is not to be treated as a literary pastime! It is not the life of a person but the story of a historical force which appeared in the form of a man. It is not the story of a darvesh who cut himself off from the world and sitting in seclusion had devoted himself to self-purification. On the other hand, it is the biography of one who was the moving spirit of a movement. It is not the story of a man but of a man-maker. It covers the noble deeds of the builder of a new world. The achievements of a whole community, a revolutionary movement and a collective effort are comprised in it. The Prophet's life from the cave of Hira to the cave of Thaur, from the sanctuary of the Kabaa to the market of Taif, from the closets of the Mothers of Muslims to the battlefield, is all-embracing. His impress is the hallmark of many lives. Abu Bakr, Umar, Ali, Ammar, Yasir, Khalid, Khwailid, Bilal and Suhail are different chapters of one life. There is a whole garden where every flower and petal narrates the gardener's life.

The prophet, in fact, is not a "great man" in the limited sense of the term. His life is not the story of any great or famous man as are indicated among the heroes. His personality is far above that of any of the great and famous men. The world has produced many great men and is still producing them. There have been great men who presented a constructive idea, and those who thought over moral and legal codes, and those who worked for social reforms and those who conquered countries and left mark of glorious achievements, and those who administered kingdoms and those who presented surprising examples of spiritual life and those who showed the world the highest models of personal morality. But when we study the lives of these great men we find that their energies were concentrated on one branch only, leaving the other branches bare. We find one part very bright while the others are quite dark. There is excess on one side and deficit on the other. But in the Prophet's life, every part is well-balanced and the whole is the model of perfection. There is warmth as well as coolness, spiritualism as well as materialism, prayers as well as respect for the individual, leadership of the community as well as household engagements, relief for the oppressed and restraint on the oppressor, and all features are evenly balanced and supplement one another. There is a model for every aspect of human life and once a man takes a lesson from it, he needs no other guidance from anywhere and it is a light for all ages to come and for all climes and communities, the hottest or the coldest, the black or the white. Many great men have taken light and guidance from this greatest of men and prospered and wherever there is progress and advancement it is because of examples set by him.

The community organized by him had the responsibility of fostering and propagating his great message, but the community itself has strayed away from the right path and is in disorder. There are volumes and volumes of books describing his great achievements and the methods by which they were accomplished, but there is not a trace of this in the lives of the community or its actions or mental attitudes. Some faded lines of his thinking, politics, life, conduct, character and culture are still visible but they are being eroded by a mixture of many new features and as the community stands today it gives no evidence of being representative of those traditions. Rather, it stands as a beggar at the door of every perverse ideology and is ashamed of its own proud inheritance. The Qur'an has been kept wrapped up in covers and the Prophet's life has become a forgotten chapter.

Worst of all, the Muslim community has lost its universal character and degraded itself into a religious and communal group and assigns to the Prophet the role of only religious and national leader and confines this international personality and his universal message to a specified group although the Prophet's role was that of a world teacher and a redeemer of the humanity. It was necessary to present the Prophet as a model for the humanity so that anyone casting himself in its mould could become a source of happiness for himself and for the human race and disentangle himself from perplexing problems and achieve a purified system of life. The example of Prophet's life is a universal boon like the light of the sun or the rain or the air. It is we who have shut ourselves in the shell of ignorance and inaction. Today we try to gain something from the teachings of Plato, Socrates, Machiavelli, Marx, Freud and Einstein without any prejudice but there are innumerable prejudices in the way of seeking any guidance from the light and enlightenment of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). There is a notion prevailing that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Prophet of the Muslims and since others have no concern with the Muslims, Muslims have no concern with them. Whey should others have anything to do with the Prophet and teacher of the Muslims? Unfortunately, our own attitude is to a large extent responsible for this trend.

The western nations which held the leadership in later rationalistic and democratic age could not comprehend the Prophet's message and the order established by it. The European mind could not visualize the personality which shines in the background of the European renaissance and whose hand could be traced behind the democratic and international movements and religious reforms. There are various factors to account for it but the major factor is the religious prejudice of the minority among them which became dominant and confronted the Muslim power with all available weapons making them subservient in the end. The bitterness created by the crushing defeat of the Crusades was also partly responsible for this. Furthermore, the life of the Prophet is not studied as a whole but in fragments, giving prominence to the features regarded as unfavourable by the Western mentality. That method of studying a mission can never lead to a correct appraisal and the result is an overdose of biased and hostile literature on the subject, prejudicing the minds of even those who are not absolutely averse to the truth.

This book is a humble attempt to remove the cobwebs of prejudice and misconception and to present the Prophet's life in a manner that will appeal to a wider circle of the humanity, to bring out clearly the universal aspects of the Prophet's message, his concern for the entire mankind, for the whole world of the East and the West, of both black and white for the classes and the masses, for labourers and the elite class, for men and women of all walks of life and of all religions and political persuasions, for the rulers and the ruled, for the learned and the ignorant and for every man in every field of activity.

Go to top