This is the third part of the tribute to the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW by the late Pakistani Islamic Scholar, Shaikh Abdul A’la Mawdudi  entitled “The Message of the Prophet’s Seerat”, which was delivered in a lecture to the Muslim Students Association of the Punjab  University on October 22, 1975). 

 

All Aspects of the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) Life Are Open and Fully Known

The authenticity of the sources for a reconstruction of this life and character is by no means the only distinction of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Another factor which distinguishes him from all others is that we have access to far more details about each and every aspect of his life than we have with respect to other historical personages: His family background; the kind of life he led before the announcement of his Apostolic Mission; how he was invested with Prophet hood; how the Divine Messages were transmitted to him; how he preached Islam; in what manner he faced opposition and resistance; how he prepared and trained his Companions; his domestic life; his conduct as a husband and father; his dealing with friends and foes; his precepts and practises, commands and warnings; the practises to which he did not object as well as the practises which he curbed- all these in their minute details may be read in the Books of Traditions and in the works on his pious life and character.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was an ideal military general and we possess detailed accounts of all the battles fought under his command. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) was the head of state, and a complete history of his reign is available to us. He (PBUH) was a judge, and full proceedings of all the cases tried by him, along with the judgements awarded by him in those cases, are extant. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) visited the markets and watched how the people conducted their business. He (PBUH) forbade all he found to be unfair and fraudulent, while approving of all that was found to be just and equitable. In short, there is no sphere of life regarding which he did not lay down comprehensive guidelines. It is on this basis that we assert with full knowledge and conviction and without any prejudice that of all the Prophets and religious leaders, it is the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) alone to whom humanity can turn for advice and guidance, because the Book as presented by him has been preserved in its original text in its pristine form and his character, with all such details as are needed for guidance, has been reported to us through the most authentic and reliable sources. We shall now see what message and instruction his pious character bears for us.

The Message of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) Is for All Mankind

The foremost feature we observe in his apostolic mission is that he addresses man in his capacity as a human being, setting aside all distinctions of colour, race, language or country. He propounds tenets for the welfare of all mankind. Whoever has faith in these tenets is a Muslim and enters the fold of the universal brotherhood of Islam. Black or white, belonging to the East or the West, the Arab or the non-Arab, wherever a human being may be living, whatever the country, nation or race in which he is born; irrespective of the tongue he speaks or the colour of his skin, the call of the Prophet (PBUH) is addressed to everyone. Taboos, inequality, racial or class distinctions, linguistic, territorial or geographic bias-nothing that divides man from man has any place in the society of Islam.

The Best remedy for Racial Prejudice or Color Bar

On reflection, one comes to appreciate that this is a great blessing vouchsafed to mankind through the Arabian Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH). It has been this differentiation between man and man that has, more than anything else, ruined mankind. In some places, man was declared to be polluted and it was argued that since he was an untouchable he could not enjoy the same rights as the Brahmans. Then, according to some, man was considered to be good only for destruction, for he had the misfortune to be born in America, Australia, or Palestine in an age when the foreign immigrants badly wanted his eviction from the land. In places, man was hunted, enslaved and forced to work like an animal merely for the offense of being born in Africa and the colour of his skin, black.

In other words, these distinctions of nationality, country, race, colour and language have, from time immemorial, been highly detrimental to mankind. These differentiations have caused wars. They have served as the basis of aggression by one country against the other. They have provoked a people to plunder another people. Generations of human beings have been subjected to ruthless genocide for the satisfaction of these prejudices. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) treated this malady so effectually that the enemies of Islam now admit that never were the problems of colour distinction, racial prejudice and national bias so successfully solved as in the religion of Islam. When the famous leader of the African- born nationals of America, Malcolm X, who at one time led an extremist Black Nationalist Movement against the Whites, undertook Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) after embracing Islam, he saw people of all races, colours and nationalities speaking different languages and converging at one central place from the East and the West and from the North and the South. They all wore the same garment, the Ihram, all chanted Labbaik, in the same language; all mingled to perform circumambulation, and they all formed one compact congregation under the of one leader to offer worship. Malcolm X observed this and exclaimed that it was the only correct answer to the questions of race and colour and that the measures hitherto adopted by his compatriots were wrong. Malcolm X was murdered, but his autobiography survives to bear witness to the profound impact Hajj had made on him.

Hajj is but one of the articles of worship in the Islamic faith. Whoever surveys the Islamic religion as a whole with open eyes will not find even the smallest point to which he can refer and say that here Islam has tilted the balance in favour of a particular nation, tribe, race or class. The entire code of Islam testifies to the fact that it is applicable to the whole of humanity. It affirms that all human beings who acknowledge the principles of Islam and enter the fold of the universal brotherhood of Islam are equal. Nay, the conduct of Islam towards the non- Muslim presents a happy contrast to the treatment of the Blacks by the Whites, and highlights, by contrast, the conduct of the imperialists toward the slave peoples as well as the behaviour of the Communists governments towards their non-Communist subjects or toward their own dissident party members.

Let us now turn to the rules for human welfare which the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) propagated through the teachings of Islam and the seizure of power to enable him not only to guarantee human well-being but to unite all human beings in one Ummah.

Widest Conception of the Oneness of God  

The foremost of these principles is the belief in the Oneness of God, not just in the sense that God exists, nor merely that there is only One God, but in the sense that the Creator, Master, and All-Wise Sovereign of this universe is Allah alone. There is no comparable authority in the whole universe which is sovereign and has the right to command or forbid; or has the power to make certain things lawful and others unlawful by decree. These powers are vested in no one, save Allah.

It is the sole prerogative of the Creator and master to allow certain things in this world at Will and to prohibit certain things at Will. Islam preaches that the belief in Allah signifies the acknowledgement of all these Powers of God. The belief in Allah is tantamount to the affirmation that we show allegiance to no one except Him and that no power on earth has the right to enact a law that is inimical to His Commandments. The belief in Allah implies that man’s head is made to bow to God alone and is consequently rendered incapable of bending down before anyone else.

The belief in God carries the meaning that only Allah has the power to make or unmake our destiny; that He has absolute power in regard to life or death. He can take away our life whenever He pleases and He can keep us alive as long as it pleases Him. When he chooses to end our life, no power on earth can save us from death; when He chooses to give us life, no power on earth can put us to death. This, then, is the Islamic concept of God. According to this concept, the whole universe which stretches from the earth to the heavens operates under orders from Allah. It, therefore, behoves man, who subsists in this universe, to devote his life to carrying out the Will of God.

Should man obtain a license to do what he likes or own obedience to some other power, his pattern of life would run counter to the entire system of the universe. This may be expressed in other words better to grasp the point. That the whole universe functions under orders from God is an established fact which is unalterable by any power. Hence, if we carry out the behest of some authority other than Allah or follow an independent course of our own choice, our life would move in the direction opposite to the one the entire universe is taking. In this way, we shall be in a state of constant collision with the system of the universe.

Let us view this from another angle as well. The Islamic concept of God Affirms that the only valid way of life for man is to abide by the Will of Allah, for man is the creature and Allah is his Creator. As a creature, it is wrong on the part of the man to be independent of his Creator. It is also betrayal for him to offer worship to any other than the Creator. Either of these acts is opposed to reality. Whoever defies reality comes to grief. The reality stands inviolate. (to be continued next week)