SUPREME MENTOR OF HUMANITY
Prophet Muhammed is not a legendary character but a great historic personality. Just like any other human being he had a natural birth, and grew up inspiring awe amongst his fellow beings through the exceptionally meritorious accomplishment of his mission and then, like any other human being, breathed his last. Neither was he a partner of God, nor a proxy for Him nor any divine incarnation. With his profound wisdom Muhammed assimilated the divine light of knowledge from God and lit the recesses of human mind with its luminous rays.
In a symbolic way it can be said that Muhammed was born in the bleakness of the desert, which he later transformed into a lush grove. His words possessed the potential to obliterate the scum of vulgarity from human minds; he could easily fill hearts with compassion, hearts that were once morally and spiritually depraved. His noble and righteous life reminds us that only a life of trials and tribulations could blossom our cherished goals into reality.
Though in the ultimate reckoning none OF Allah's creations could be termed an orphan, Muhammed was, in the practical sense of the term, born an orphan, for his father had died even before his birth. At the age of six his mother Amina departed him. He was then looked after by his grandfather, Abdul Muthalib. Within two years he too passed away.
Having been caught in the cauldron of calamities, his life, as was destined by God, sailed through catastrophes with refined purity. It lent him the fortitude to confront in later years the untold hardships that came to haunt him. He set out not merely to brave the woes of life but demonstrate the enduring remedy to overcome the agonies that haunted human lives and to give rise to a society free from miseries.
On being accorded with Prophethood, he dedicated his divine assignment to the emancipation of humanity. The way of Muhammed's life was simply as appreciable as worthy of emulation. Nobody was there between the heavens and the earth to clamp restrictions upon him. It was an atmosphere of complete freedom. But Muhammed who was illiterate proved quite capable of self-restraint, and at the peak of roaring howl of superstition, ignorance and barbarism that rent the air and disrupted peace of his living society, Muhammed led a life with the steadfastness and purity of a consistently upright man, unaffected by the widespread evils. Having been imbued with goodness he reacted to the superstitious practices in his society as an ordinary man while adhering to his principles. His relatives felt proud of him. Those who knew him kept their appreciation and those who did not, watched him with interest. Muhammed who was known for his constant faithfulness in words and deeds proved highly righteous and trustworthy to all around him so that he came to be called "Al Amin" (the Faithful).
A caring shepherd, sincere social worker, honest trader and devoted family man - Muhammed left the indelible imprint of his multi-faceted personality which was an epitome of all virtues, on all the domains he happened to set his foot on. At forty, he started experiencing some inner perturbations and, in order to secure peace of mind, he would go to the cave Hiraa and sit inside for a while. On one of such occasions when he went to the cave with the food packet given by his wife, he received the divine light from Allah and returned to his wife. The great hope of a new dawn of life was reflected in his eyes and the glories of Allah were on his lips. The experience Muhammed had in the Hiraa was indeed overwhelming.
He had felt like submitting to a spirited call from the innermost recesses, and had gone to the Hiraa in the hope of finding peace in the serene loneliness of the cave. In the tranquil atmosphere, the dedicated quest for something inexplicable made him unaware of the continuous lapse of days and nights. Even though in the dark about the purpose of or the reason for this solitary sojourn in the Hiraa, his wife, who was quite convinced of his integrity and sincerity of purpose, prepared for him food packets for his stay in the cave.
One night, to be specific, after the dead of night, he had an unexpected experience. Allah's angel, Gabriel, appeared before Muhammed. Gabriel asked a stunned Prophet to read something shown to him. He said he could not read. On hearing this, Gabriel embraced him. The command to read, his reply to it and the embrace that followed were repeated thrice and then Gabriel told him to read. Muhammed obeyed like a humble disciple and articulated the sweet strains of the divine message:
"Proclaim (or Read!) In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, who created - created man, out of a leech-like clot. Proclaim! And thy Lord is most bountiful. He who taught (the use of) pen, taught man that which he knew not".
What echoed in the words of Gabriel were exquisite clues to the origin of man, Allah's most wondrous art of creation and dissemination of versatile knowledge.
There the bud was slowly blooming into a blossom, a worm was metamorphosing into a butterfly- Muhammed was becoming the great mentor of humanity. The ultimate messenger of Allah! Allah was assigning him the mission of delivering HIS Message to humanity, being the ultimate link to a prophetic mission ever since the origin of humanity.
No one is born a Prophet-Allah fashions him into a prophet, a sort of recreation of man. When the rhythm of life is disrupted, the venom of transgression spreads through the land and the sea, the smooth passage of life gets distorted and the need for a Prophet becomes inevitable, the omniscient God invests the fittest of man with Prophethood. The chosen one shapes up into a Prophet.
The quite unexpected experience shocked Muhammed- He was stunned and his heart throbbed violently - his body shivered, bewilderment writ large on his face - like a homing pigeon, he hastened to be near Khadeeja and as the day broke, he set out to his home.
As Muhammed knocked at the door, Khadeeja opened it. There stood her husband before her but unusually perturbed. Worried she asked, "What happened to you?" The Prophet told her everything that occurred in the Hiraa in faltering words occasioned by the impact of the mental shock that made his face look pale. Having noticed the predicament of the Prophet, Khadeeja consoled him, "There is no room for any anxiety, Allah will never let you down to be scorned. You are keeping family bonds, always telling the truth, remain hospitable to guests and working hard for the triumph of truth".
Not a single word of hers was anything to do with flattery nor was there any exaggeration. Khadeeja was telling this out of her own experience she had with him for the last fifteen years. Neither would the inhabitants of Mecca who kept day-to-day contact with Muhammed have anything else to state.
In those times, the whole of Mecca was shrouded in the darkness of ignorance, marked by the free play of evil-minded forces. The rule was "might is right" and there was not even a vestige of virtue. Falsehood reigned supreme everywhere. Extravagance life style and savagery held centerstage. Homicide and robbery ruled the roost and swindlers predominated in all transactions. It was vandalism that attracted respect. Alcohol had free flow everywhere and no feast was devoid of inebriating cups and dancing damsels.
Unbridled depravity had cast its spell over the Arab people, relegating them to sheer barbarism. They were under the delusion that women, created merely for men's pleasure, possessed no soul. There was none to react to such iniquitous creed and therefore the flagrant perpetration of all vices was the order of the day. All human values were laughed at as absolute trash. The Arabs used to frequent Kaa'ba and secure anticipatory sanction for all their vicious deeds. The umpteen idols inside, they were sure, would come to their rescue.
Though Muhammed lived amidst filthy and foul customs and practices, he was never ever influenced by those vices or such other temptations. Muhammed carved out for himself a path of peace and grace and forged ahead. Even though he was in the dark about profound philosophies, he adhered to probity, integrity and righteousness and made valiant strides without any apprehensions. Never did he tell a lie even for a joke nor spoil his mind through slander nor do any harm to anybody, but instead rendered anyone all possible help and earned the love and trust of everyone. Muhammed lived in Mecca about 40 years. He was the apple of everyone's eye and just the thought of him would bring comfort to their minds. In those days, the attribute "Al Amin" (the faithful) invariably meant Muhammed.
It indeed remains an enigma in the annals of history how Muhammed who lived in a society infested with ignorance, stupidity and paranoia could keep himself untainted and preserve the pristine purity of his personality.
If ever any cynics harbour such misgivings that the followers of Muhammed who could exercise remarkable influence over the humanity worldwide were only exaggerating his life history, there have been irrefutable evidences by way of actual events that make such adverse critics silent. Muhammed was apprehensive as to whether the world would come to believe his unusual experience or inspiration he received at Hiraa. He was humble and modest, lacking self-confidence. One day he climbed on to the mount Safa and asked the people:
"Oh, my race of Khuraish, am I a liar or an honest one?"
Unanimously, the crowd proclaimed:
"Never do we know you have lied. Indeed you have always been honest and trustworthy".
The Prophet continued, "Look, I am on the mountain and you are down below. Suppose I tell you that a huge cavalry is standing ready on the other side of this mountain to attack you, would you believe it"?
They all said:
"Certainly, we find no reason to disbelieve you".
It was only after making sure of his trustworthiness that the Prophet started proclaiming his mission. Although they couldn't find anything to challenge him, many of them could not understand the meaning of his profound words - so deep was the darkness that covered their minds and hearts, resisting even a glimmer of light. Intransigency shaped out of ignorance filled their minds. The broken strings of their hearts could not vibrate to the divine melody of sacred sayings.
In the beginning, it was only a small group that followed the footsteps of the Prophet. History has registered its astonishment at securing even a small group dedicated to following Prophet in those days - we know that breaking established beliefs is as assiduous a task as breaking hard granite. In fact, the Prophet's approach was not of force nor was it ever based on the edifice of violence. He put forth the glorious picture of a new world rooted in wholesome ideology. The Prophet was emphasising that irrevocable faith in God. He established that humane and affectionate approach between fellow beings would produce contentment and richness in life. His was never a negative approach but invariably positive.
All this nobility notwithstanding, Prophet and his followers were inveterate enemies in the eyes of the Khuraishis. The latter regarded them as antagonistic to their gods, scoffers of their traditions, ridiculing their conventions and scornful of their power -This is how they reckoned the believers.
Soon they set the stage for nipping the true faith in the bud. They made up their mind to do away with the Prophet. Nevertheless it was indeed amazing that they would not doubt or question the honesty and faithfulness of the Prophet, so dignified and noble was his personality and illustrious the chastity of his life.
The Prophet forged ahead with his noble mission unleashing the storm of socio-political revolution. As he proceeded with the clarion call of emancipation of humanity, a heavy blow was dealt to wickedness and rudeness within the Arabian community, while the poor and the downtrodden found great relief in the movement. He radiated a rare light of virtue into the yearning minds of men with his words of sheer reason and ingenuity as well as deeds of wisdom and sanctity. For 13 years he engaged in disseminating the message of truth in Mecca. He incessantly endeavored to emancipate his compatriots from ignorance and superstitions. He held out untiringly against inequity and vices, but still change was not too easy, for many of them refused to get rid off long established beliefs and traditions.
When the Khuraishis realised that the Prophet proved an insurmountable barrier to their selfish interests, they started to harass him severely in many ways. Those who believed in the true religion were projected as outcasts and many an atrocity was inflicted upon them. Some succumbed to their tortures and others were ostracised from society. Many were forced to flee their country. After having accomplished his mission in Mecca, the Prophet had to emigrate to Yathreeb, Medina, along with some of his followers.
Certain Yathreebs who had heard of the true movement had come to Mecca to see and hear from the Prophet in person, and on their return to Yathreeb, their compatriots could understand from them the true system and evinced sincere interest in it. They took it on themselves as sacred duty to protect the Prophet and his companions so they concluded a treaty guaranteeing security to the Prophet and his followers, and invited them to Yathreeb which was since known as the city of the Prophet. In fact that land was submitting its entire heart to the true religion.
As the whole land was gifted to the immaculate system, a new polity was flourishing, a new world shaping up. It was the Prophet's city that happed to be the first Islamic nation. It was not one that was captured and built up. It was, as per God's will, the whole-hearted gift of the people of a land, imbued with the spirit of an ideology offered to them as a divine gift.
Prophet Muhammed who had so far been the messenger of God, deliverer of truth and social leader grew into ruler, the General of forces, and the dispenser of justice, and developed an exemplary society bound by an ideology that transcended all territorial frontiers. A good number of the Kuraishis who had ostracised the Prophet became his followers.
The contemporaries and associates of Muhammed unanimously testified to the fact that Muhammed was the really great messenger of God and that he has performed all of his obligations and duties to the God as well as to his fellow beings. This was the response of the Prophet's companions when, in his farewell speech, he asked them their appraisal of his performance of the mission assigned to him by God. Thus, after having successfully carried out the assignment and admirably accomplished his mission, the Prophet passed away at the age of 63. He bade adieu to this world only after having prescribed and presented the humanity the Holy Quran which consists of the divine revelations as well as his own life.