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Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) — 39: Secrets Of Success

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

Those who are critical of Islam often claim that its early success at the hands of its Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the bearer of God’s last message to mankind, was due to the promises and threats it gives.

They cite the Qur’anic descriptions of heaven and hell, claiming that people’s fear of the punishment in the hereafter or their eagerness to enjoy the supreme pleasures of heaven prompted their speedy acceptance of Muhammad’s message. Even today some people try to dismiss the spread of Islam into new areas as due to such promises and threats. Nothing can be further from the truth.

By their nature, people prefer today’s pleasure and immediate comfort even when what they are promised for tomorrow is much better and greater. Tomorrow always seems to them to be distant. It appears even more so to those who indulge in pleasure at every opportunity. What the message of Islam promised was nothing of the pleasures of this world. It never promised its followers that they would be always victorious against their enemies. On the contrary, it told them that they would encounter stiff opposition and suffer great hardships. They would be expected to withstand all this, never wavering in their commitment, even if it meant that they faced death, loss of their land, homes, families, and all they had. Their reward does not come in this life. It is there, in the next world, the life to come.

To a person who is keen on the pleasures of life, such a promise does not score highly. It appears so distant. Would that merit sacrificing all the pleasures that may be had in this life?

Yet those who responded to the Prophet’s call and believed in his message were fully aware that the immediate promise they were given involved great hardship and exposure to unrelenting persecution. When the delegates of the Ansar met the Prophet and were about to give him their pledges of support against all his enemies, one of them shouted: “Stop. Do you know what you are pledging to do for this man? You are committing yourselves to go to war against the whole world. If there is any doubt in your minds or if you feel that if your wealth is looted and your honoured leaders are killed you will give him up, it is more honourable for you to leave him alone now.”

It was the case with every new Muslim. They were clear that the road ahead was full of difficulties. They would be called upon to sacrifice their all. Hence, those who responded to the Prophet’s message were the best of all people. Had it been true that the motivation to accept Islam was based on the promises of the pleasures of heaven, such as the endless flow of wines and the scores of young beautiful women allocated to every man, we would have found that the early Muslims would have been those who cared for such pleasures. Yet these were the ones who never wavered in their opposition to Islam. They still do today.

Those early Muslims had to fight battles, but every single battle was imposed on them. They were only defending themselves against clear aggression. They never thought of attacking anyone for any reason. All they wanted was to live in peace and to be allowed to present their faith to people so that they may choose to accept if they wanted. They realized that there was much to life than cheap pleasures. Hence, they were able to establish a model society, which humanity today can do no better than to emulate.

 

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