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The Holy Prophet Of God: A Brief Biography Of The Final Apostle

16 November 2012

By Al-Ikhwah Al-Mujahidun

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

In the midst of a nation stepped in barbarism, a prophet had arisen " to rehearse unto them the signs of God; to sanctify them; to teach them the scriptures and knowledge, them who before had been in utter darkness.

"He found them sunk in a degrading and sanguinary superstitions; he inspired them with the belief in one sole God of truth and love. He saw them disunited and engaged in perpetual war with each other; he united them by the ties of brotherhood and charity.

From time immemorial, the Peninsula had been wrapped in absolute moral darkness. Spiritual life was utterly unknown. Neither Judaism nor Christianity had made any lasting impression on the Arab mind. The people were sunk in superstition, cruelty and vice. Incest and the diabolical custom of female infanticide were common. The eldest son inherited his father's widows as property, with the rest of the estate. The worse than all was inhuman fathers buried alive their infant daughters; and this crime, which was most rife among the tribes of Koreish and Kinda, was regarded as among Hindu Rajpoots, a mark of pride. The ideas of a future existence, and of retribution of good and evil, were, as motives of human action, practically unknown. Only a few years before, such was the condition of Arabia.

What a change had these few years witnessed! The angel of heaven had veritably passed over the land and breathed harmony and love into the hearts of those who had hitherto been engrossed in the most revolting practices of semi-barbarism. What had once been an immoral desert, where all laws, human and divine, were condemned and infringed without remorse was now transformed into a garden. Idolatry, with its nameless abominations, was utterly destroyed. Islam furnishes the only solitary example of a great religion which though preached among a nation and reigning for the most part among a people not yet emerged from the dawn of an early civilization had succeeded in effectually restraining its votaries from idolatry. This phenomenon has been justly acknowledged as the pre-eminent glory of Islam and the most remarkable evidence of the genius of its founder.

Long had Christianity and Judaism tried to wean the Arab tribes from their gross superstition, their inhuman practices and their licentious immorality? But it was not till they heard the spirit-stirring strains of "the appointed of God" that they become conscious of the God of truth, overshadowing the universe with his power and love. Henceforth, their aims are not of this earth alone; there is something beyond a grave, higher, purer and diviner calling them to the practice of charity, goodness, justice and universal love. God is not merely the God of today or of tomorrow, carved out of wood or stone, but the mighty loving, merciful Creator of the world. Mohammad (peace be upon him) was the source, under providence, of this new awakening—the bright fountain from which flowed the stream of their hopes of eternity and to him they paid fitting obedience and reverence. They were all animated with one desire, namely, to serve God in truth and purity to obey his laws reverently in all the affairs of life. The truths and maxims, the precepts which, from time to time, during the past twenty years, Mohammad (peace be upon him) had delivered to his followers, were embalmed in their hearts and had become the ruling principles of every action.

Law and morality were united "Never, since the days when primitive Christianity startled the world from its sleep and waged a mortal conflict with heathenism, had men seen the life arousing of spiritual life—the like faith that suffered sacrifices and took joyfully the spoiling of goods for consciences sake.

The Mission of Mohammad (peace is upon him) was now accomplished. And in this fact—the fact of the whole work being achieved in his lifetime—lays his distinctive superiority over the prophets, sages and philosophers of other time and other countries. Jesus, Moses, Zoroaster, Sakya-Muni, Plato, all had their notions of realms of God, their republics, their ideas through which degraded humanity was to be elevated, into a new moral life; all had departed from this world with their aspirations unfulfilled, their bright visions unrealized'; or had bequeathed the task of elevating their fellow-men to a sanguinary disciples or monarch pupils. It was reserved for Mohammad (peace be upon him) to fulfill his mission, and that of his predecessors. It was reserved for his alone to see accomplished the work of amelioration; no royal disciple came to his assistance with edicts to enforce the new teachings. May not the Muslims just say, the entire work was the work of God?

The humble preacher, who had only the other day been hunted out of the city of his birth, and been stoned out of the place where he had betaken him to preach God's words had, within the short space of nine years, lifted up his people from the abysmal depths of moral and spiritual degradation to a conception of purity and justice. His life is the noblest record of a work nobly and faithfully performed.

He infused vitality into a dormant people. He consolidated a congeries of warring tribes into a nation inspired into action with the hope of everlasting life; he concentrated into a focus all the fragmentary and broken lights which had ever fallen on the heart of a man. Such was his work and he performed it with an enthusiasm and fervor which admitted not compromise, conceived no halting; with indomitable courage which brooked no resistance and allowed no fear of consequences; with a singleness of purpose which thought of no self. The Recluse of Hira, born among a nation of unyielding idolaters—impressed ineffably the unity of God and the equality of men upon the minds of the nations who once heard his voice. His democratic thunder was the signal the uprise of the human intellect against the tyranny of priests and rulers. In "that world of wrangling creed and oppressive institution" when the human soul was crushed under the weight of unintelligible dogma, and the human body trampled under the tyranny of vested interests, he broke down the barriers of caste and exclusive privileges. He swept away with his breath the cobwebs which self-interest had woven in the path of man to God. He abolished all exclusiveness in man's relations to his creator.

This unlettered Prophet, whose message was for the masses, proclaimed the value of knowledge and learning. By the Pen, man's works are recorded. By the pen, man is to be judged. The pen is the ultimate, arbiter of human actions in the sight of the Lord. His persistent and unvarying appeal to reason and to the ethical faculty of mankind, his rejection of miracles, "his thoroughly democratic conception of divine government, the universality of his religious ideal, his simple humanity" all serve to differentiate him from his predecessors, "all affiliate him" says the author of oriental religions "with the modern world" His life and work are not wrapped in mystery. No fairy tale has been woven round his personality. When the hosts of Arabia came , flocking to join his faith, the prophet felt that his work was accomplished and under the impression of his approaching end, he determined to make a Farewell pilgrimage to Mecca. On the 25th Zul-Kada ( 23rd February 632), the Prophet left Medina with an immense concourse of Moslems. On his arrival at Mecca , and before completing all the rites of pilgrimage, he addressed the assembled multitude from the top of the Jabal-ul- Arafat (18th Zul Hijja, 7th March) in words which should ever live in the hearts of all Moslems:

"Ye people! Listen to my words for I know not whether another year will be vouchsafed to me after this year to find myself amongst you at this place.

"Your lives and properties are sacred and inviolable amongst one other until ye appear before the Lord, as this day and this month is sacred for all; and (remember) ye shall have to appear before your Lord, who shall demand from you an account of all your actions… ye people ye have rights over your wives and your wives have rights over you … Treat your wives with kindness and love. Verily ye have taken them on the security of God, and have made their persons lawful unto you by the words of God. Keep always faithful to the trust reposed in you and avoid sins… Usury is forbidden. The debtor shall return only the principle; and the beginning will be made with ( the loans of ) my uncles Abbas; son of Abdul Mutallib… Henceforth the vengeance of blood practiced in the days of paganism ( Jahiliyyat) is prohibited; and all blood feuds abolished commencing with the murder of Ibn Rabia, son of Harith son of Abdul Mutalllib…

"And your slaves! See that ye feed them with such food as ye eat yourselves, and clothe them with the stuff ye wear; and if they commit a fault which ye are not inclined to forgive, then part from them , for they are the servants of the Lord, and are not to be harshly treated,

"Ye people! Listen to my words, understand the same, and know that all Moslems are brothers unto one another. Ye are one brotherhood. Nothing which belongs to another is lawful unto his brother, unless freely given out of goodwill . Guard yourselves from committing injustice.

"Let him that is present tell it unto him that is absent. Haply he that shall be told may remember better than he who hath heard it."

This Sermon on the Mount 2, less poetically beautiful, certainly less mystical than the other appeals by its practicability and strong common-sense to higher minds, and is also adopted to the capacity and demands of inferior natures which require positive and comprehensible directions for moral guidance.

Towards the conclusion of the sermon, the prophet, overcame by the sight of the intense enthusiasm of the people as they drank in his words, exclaimed: " O Lord! I have delivered my message and accomplished my work." The assembled host below with one voice cried:" Yea, very thou hast." O Lord, I beseech Thee, bear Thou witness unto it ."

With these words, the prophet finished his address, which according to the traditions, was remarkable for its length, its eloquence, and enthusiasm, soon after the necessary rites of the pilgrimage were over, the prophet returned with his followers to Medina .

The last days of the Prophet were remarkable for the calmness and serenity of his mind, which enable him though weak and feeble , to preside at the public prayers until within three days of his death. One night, at midnight, he went to the place where his old companions were lying in the slumber of death. He prayed and wept by their tombs, invoking God's blessing for his companions resting in peace.

He chose Ayesha's house, close to the mosque, for his stay during his illness, and as long as his strength lasted, took part in the public prayers. The last time he appeared in the mosque, he was supported by his tow cousins, Ali and Fazl, the sons of Abbas. A smile of inexpressible sweetness played over his countenance, and was remarked by all who surrounded him. After the usual praises and hymns to God, he addressed the multitude thus:" Moslems, if I have wronged any one of you, here I am to answer for it; if I owe aught to any one, all I may happen to posses belongs to you." Upon hearing this, a man in the crowd rose and claimed three dirhams which he had given to a poor man at the prophet's request. They were immediately paid back with the words:" Better to blush in this world than in the next." The Prophet then prayed and implored heaven's mercy for those present and for those who had fallen in the persecutions of their enemies; and recommended to all his people the observance of religious duties and the practice of a life of peace and goodwill and concluded with the following words of the Quran:" the dwelling of other life, we will give unto them who do not seek to exalt themselves on earth or do wrong: for the happy issue shall attend the pious.

After this, Mohammad( peace be upon him) never again appeared at public prayers. His strength rapidly failed. At noon on Monday ( 12th of Rabi I , 11 A. H., 8th June, 632 A.D.) Whilst praying earnestly in whisper, the spirit of the great Prophet took flight to the "blessed companionship on high."

So ended a life consecrated, from, first to last, to the service of God and humanity.

Is there another to be compared to his, with all its trials and temptations? Is there another which stood the fire of the world, and came out so unscathed? The humble preacher had risen to be the ruler of Arabia , the equal of Chostoes and of Caesars, the arbiter of the destinies of a nation. But the same humility of spirit, the same nobility of soul and purity of heart, austerity of conduct, refinement and delicacy of feeling and stern devotion to duty which had won the title of Al-amin, combined with a severe sense of self-examination, are ever the distinguishing traits of his character.

Once in his life whilst engaged in a religious conversation with an influential citizen of Mecca, he had turned away from a humble blind seeker of the truth. He was always referring to this incident with remorse, and proclaiming God's disapprobation. A nature so pure, so tender and yet so heroic, inspires not only reverence but love. And naturally the Arabian writers dwell with the proudest satisfaction on the graces and intellectual gifts of the son of Abdullah. His courteousness to the great, his affability to the humble, and his dignified bearing to the presumptuous, procured him universal respect and admirations. His countenance reflected benevolence of his heart. Profoundly read in the volume of nature, though ignorant of letters, with an expansive mind, elevated by deep communion with the soul of the Universe, he was gifted with the power of influencing equally the learned and the unlearned. Withal, there was majesty in his face, an air of genius, which inspired all who came in contact with him with a feeling of veneration and love.

His singular elevation of mind, his extreme delicacy and refinement of feeling, his purity and truth from the consonant theme of the tradition. He was most indulgent to his inferiors and would never allow his awkward little page to be scolded whatever he did. "Ten years" said Anas, his servant" was I about the prophet, and he never said so much as "Uff" to me." He was very affectionate towards his family. One of his boys died on his breast in the smoky house of the nurse, a blacksmith's wife. He was fond of children. He would stop them in the streets and pat their little cheeks. He never struck any one in his life. The worst expression he ever made use of in conversation was "What has come to him? May his forehead be darkened with mud?" When asked to curse some one, he replied" I have not been sent to curse, but to be a mercy to mankind"

He visited the sick, followed every bier he met, accepted the invitation of a slave to dinner, mended his own clothes, milked his goats and waited upon himself, relates summarily another tradition. He never first withdrew his hand from another's palm and turned not before the other had turned. His hand was the most generous; his breast, the most courageous; his tongue, the most truthful; he was the most faithful protector of those he protected; the sweetest and most agreeable in conversation. Those who saw him, were suddenly filled with reverence; those who came near him loved him; those who described him would say " I have never seen his like, either before or after" He was of great taciturnity; and when he spoke, he spoke with emphasis and deliberation and no one could ever forget what he said. Modesty and kindness, patience, self-denial and generosity pervaded his conduct and riveted the affection of all around him. With the bereaved and afflicted, he sympathized tenderly… He shared his food with others even in time of scarcity and was sedulously solicitous for the personal comfort of every one about him. He would stop in the street to listen to the sorrows of the humblest. He would go to the house of the lowliest to console the afflicted and to comfort the heart-broken.

The meanest slaves would take hold of his hand and drag him to their masters to obtain redress of ill- treatment or release from bondage. He never sat down to a meal without first invoking a blessing and never rose without uttering a thanksgiving. His time was regularly apportioned. During the day, when not engaged in prayers, he received visitors and transacted public affairs. At night, he slept little, spending most of the hours in devotion. He loved the poor and respected them, and many who had not home or shelter of their own, slept at night in the mosque contiguous to his house. Each evening it was his custom to invite some of them to partake of his humble fare. The other would become the guests of his principle disciples. His conduct towards the bitterest of his enemies was marked with noble clemency and forbearance. Stern he was almost to severity, to the enemies of the State, but mocking, affront, outrages and persecutions towards himself, were in the hour of triumph, synonymous with the hour of trial to the human heart—all buried in oblivion and forgiveness extended to the worst criminals.

Mohammad (peace be upon him) was extremely simple in his habits. His mode of life, his dress and his belongings, retained to the last character of patriarchal simplicity. Many a time Abu Huraria reports, had the prophet to go without a meal. Date and water frequently formed his only nourishment, often for months together. No fire could be lighted in his house from scantiness of means. God, say the Muslim historians, had indeed put before him the key to the treasures of this world, but he refused it.

The mind of this remarkable Teacher was, in its intellectualism and progressive ideals, essentially modern. Eternal " Striving" was in his teachings necessity of human existence. "Man cannot exist without constant effort. The efforts are from me; its fulfillment comes from God. "

The world, he thought, was a well-ordered creation, regulated and guided by a Supremes Intelligence over-shadowing the Universe. Everything is pledged to its own time. "He declared. And yet human Will was free to work for its own salvation. His sympathy was universal; it was he who invoked the mercy of the Creator on all living beings. It was he who pronounced the saving of one human life as tantamount to the saving of humanity

His social concept was constructive, not disintegrating. In his most exalted moods, he never overlooked the sanctity of family life. To him, the service of humanity was the highest act of devotion. His call to his faithful was not to forsake those to whom they owed a duty; but in the performance of that duty to earn "merit" and reward. Children were a trust from God, to be brought up in tenderness and affections, parents were to be respected and loved.

The circle of duty embraced in its fold kindred, neighbor and the humble beings. "Whose mouth was in the dust?"

Fourteen centuries have passed since he delivered his messages but time has made not difference in the devotion he inspired and today, as then , the Faithful have in their hearts and on their lips those memorable words: "May my life be they sacrifice. O Prophet of God."

 

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