Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quranic Verse of the Day

How can you disbelieve in Allah? Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life. Then He will give you death, then again will bring you to life (on the Day of Resurrection) and then unto Him you will return.

Surah Al Baqarah: verse 27

Hadith of the Day

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr: The Prophet said, "Whoever has the following four (characteristics) will be a pure hypocrite and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up. 1. Whenever he is entrusted, he betrays. 2. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie. 3. Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous. 4. Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner.

The Hadith Book of Believe from Shahih Bukhari (Hadith #33)

Mohsin Khan English Translation

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Quranic Verse of the Day

Those who break Allahs Covenant after ratifying it, and sever what Allah has ordered to be joined (as regards Allah's Religion of Islamic Monotheism, and to practise its legal laws on the earth and also as regards keeping good relations with kith and kin ), and do mischief on earth, it is they who are the losers.
Surah Baqarah:27 (Chapter 2:27)

Hadith of the Day - Shahih Bukhari

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "The signs of a hypocrite are three: 1. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie. 2. Whenever he promises, he always breaks it (his promise ). 3. If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest. (If you keep something as a trust with him, he will not return it.)"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Quranic Verse of the Day

And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous good deeds, that for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise). Every time they will be provided with a fruit therefrom, they will say: "This is what we were provided with before," and they will be given things in resemblance (i.e. in the same form but different in taste) and they shall have therein Azwajun Mutahharatun (purified mates or wives), (having no menses, stools, urine, etc.) and they will abide therein forever.

Surah Al Baqarah: verse 25

Hadith of the Day

Narrated 'Ubada bin As-Samit: who took part in the battle of Badr and was a Naqib (a person heading a group of six persons), on the night of Al-'Aqaba pledge: Allah's Apostle said while a group of his companions were around him, "Swear allegiance to me for: 1. Not to join anything in worship along with Allah. 2. Not to steal. 3. Not to commit illegal sexual intercourse. 4. Not to kill your children. 5. Not to accuse an innocent person (to spread such an accusation among people). 6. Not to be disobedient (when ordered) to do good deed." The Prophet added: "Whoever among you fulfills his pledge will be rewarded by Allah. And whoever indulges in any one of them (except the ascription of partners to Allah) and gets the punishment in this world, that punishment will be an expiation for that sin. And if one indulges in any of them, and Allah conceals his sin, it is up to Him to forgive or punish him (in the Hereafter)." 'Ubada bin As-Samit added: "So we swore allegiance for these." (points to Allah's Apostle)

The Hadith Book of Believe from Shahih Bukhari

Mohsin Khan English Translation

Muslim call to adopt Mecca time

Muslim scientists and clerics have called for the adoption of Mecca time to replace GMT, arguing that the Saudi city is the true centre of the Earth.

Mecca is the direction all Muslims face when they perform their daily prayers.

The call was issued at a conference held in the Gulf state of Qatar under the title: Mecca, the Centre of the Earth, Theory and Practice.

One geologist argued that unlike other longitudes, Mecca's was in perfect alignment to magnetic north.

He said the English had imposed GMT on the rest of the world by force when Britain was a big colonial power, and it was about time that changed.

Mecca watch

A prominent cleric, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawy, said modern science had at last provided evidence that Mecca was the true centre of the Earth; proof, he said, of the greatness of the Muslim "qibla" - the Arabic word for the direction Muslims turn to when they pray.

The meeting also reviewed what has been described as a Mecca watch, the brainchild of a French Muslim.

The watch is said to rotate anti-clockwise and is supposed to help Muslims determine the direction of Mecca from any point on Earth.

The meeting in Qatar is part of a popular trend in some Muslim societies of seeking to find Koranic precedents for modern science.

It is called "Ijaz al-Koran", which roughly translates as the "miraculous nature of the holy text".

The underlying belief is that scientific truths were also revealed in the Muslim holy book, and it is the work of scholars to unearth and publicise the textual evidence.

But the movement is not without its critics, who say that the notion that modern science was revealed in the Koran confuses spiritual truth, which is constant, and empirical truth, which depends on the state of science at any given point in time.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Quranic Verse of the Day - Surah Al Baqarah: Verse 22

Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped).

Surah Al Baqarah: verse 22 (Chapter 2:22)

Mohsin Khan English Translation

Hadith of the Day - Shahih Bhukhari

Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, "None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself."

The Hadith Book of Believe from Shahih Bukhari

Mohsin Khan English Translation

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Quranic Verse of the Day - Surah Al Baqarah: Verse 21

O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)).

Surah Al Baqarah: verse 21 (Chapter 2:21)

Mohsin Khan English Translation

Hadith of the Day - Shahih Bukhari

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr: The Prophet said, "A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hands. And a Muhajir (emigrant) is the one who gives up (abandons) all what Allah has forbidden."

The Hadith Book of Believe from Shahih Bukhari

Mohsin Khan English Translation

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Quranic verse of the Day - Surah Al Baqarah: verse 2

This is the Book (the Quran), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqoon (the pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)).

Surah Al Baqarah: verse 2 (Chapter 2:2)

Mohsin Khan English Translation

Hadith of the Day - Shahih Bukhari

Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Apostle said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Apostle. 2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly. 3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity) . 4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca) 5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.

The Hadith Book of Believe from Shahih Bukhari

Mohsin Khan English Translation

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Muhammad (S) – The Prophet of Islam – Part 1

By Habib Siddiqui

It may not be an exaggeration if I were to state that in the annals of human history, there has never been a man who has been so much loved and villified as Muhammad (S) the Prophet of Islam. To the faithful Muslims, he is the best of mankind that was ever created by God (Allah).
The poem below by Hassan ibn Thabit (Radi Allahu Anh', meaning: May Allah be pleased with him) shows how Muhammad’s (S) companions felt about him:
By God, no woman has conceived and given birth To one like the Apostle, the Prophet and guide of his people;Nor has God created among his creatures One more faithful to his sojourner or his promiseThan he who was the source of light,Blessed in his deeds, just and upright.
- Sirat Rasulallah by Muhammad Ibn Ishaq
Muslims don't utter Muahmmad's (S) name without the salutation: sal-lal lahu alayhi wa sal-lam (meaning: blessings of Allah and peace be upon him; abbreviated here as (S)). The Muslim testimony of faith includes the sentence: There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. During the call of prayer (ad'han), five times daily - from pre-dawn hours to night, the same words are repeated from the minarets of masjids (mosques) urging Muslims to come and pray to Allah. A Muslim also ends his/her prayer with a supplication to Allah seeking blessing and bounties for the prophet and his family the same way He had blessed the family of Abraham (Ibrahim alayhis salam).

To the faithful Christians, Muhammad (S), on the other hand, is the blasphemer of Christ. Not surprisingly, therefore, that there was not a period in European or American history since the Middle Ages in which Islam was generally discussed or thought about outside a framework created by passion, prejudice and political interests (see “Islam Through Western Eyes” by late Professor Edward Said). Truly, anti-Islamic polemics is older than the Crusades. Since the time of John of Damascus (c.675-c.749), Islam has been depicted as a Christian heresy, and its founder a false prophet. John claimed that the Qur'an was not a revealed scripture but was created by the Prophet Muhammad (S) and that he was helped in his task by a Christian monk. (See this author's essay – "An Analysis of Anti-Islamic Polemics" for detailed discussion on this subject.)

In recent years, in the aftermath of 9/11, the attack against Islam and Muhammad (S) in non-Muslim countries has only multiplied several fold. In their new found hatred, most Christians are oblivious of the charter of privilege granted by the Prophet (S):
"This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.

Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses.

Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world)."

Such were the precious words of Prophet Muhammad (S) in the year 628 CE, when he granted this historic document, also known as the Charter of Privileges, to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. As can be seen, this Charter, more than 13 centuries before the promulgation of the (modern) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians (minorities) living under Islamic rule, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.

Sounds strange? Not so, if one cares to recall that in 622 CE, the year of Prophet's migration (Hijrah) from Makkah (Mecca) to Madinah (Medina), Muhammad (S) signed a Treaty between Muslims, non-Muslim Arabs and Jews of Medina, which was put in writing and ratified by all concerned parties. This stipulated:
“In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. This is a document from Muhammad, the Prophet, governing the relation between the Believers from among the Qurayshites (i.e., Emigrants from Mecca) and Yathribites (i.e., the residents of Medina) and those who followed them and joined them and strived with them. They form one and the same community as against the rest of men. … Whosoever among the Jews follows us shall have help and equality; they shall not be injured nor shall any enemy be aided against them.... The Jews shall maintain their own religion and the Muslims theirs. Loyalty is a protection against treachery. … The valley of Yathrib (Medina) shall be sacred and inviolable for all that join this Treaty. … Allah is the Guarantor of the piety and goodness that is embodied in this covenant. … Allah approves the truth and goodwill of this covenant. This treaty shall not protect the unjust or the criminal. Whoever goes out to fight as well as whoever stays at home shall be safe and secure in this city unless he has perpetrated an injustice or commited a crime.... Allah is the protector of the good and God-fearing people.”
Such was Muhammad (S) who never broke his promise. He was the most trustyworthy person. He was also the most generous of men. Neither a dinar (gold coin) nor a dirham (silver coin) would be left with him without being disbursed to the needy ones. He was never asked for anything but that he gave it to the one who sought it. He would prefer the seeker to himself and his family.
'Ali (RA), one of his closest Companions, said: "Of all men he was the most generous, the most open hearted, the most truthful, the most fulfilling of promise, the gentlest of temper, and the noblest towards his family. Whoever saw him unexpectedly was awed by him, and whoever was his intimate loved him." Whoever was over-awed by his presence would be comforted by him: "Be at rest. I am not a king. I am only the son of a woman of the Quraysh, who eats dried meat." He was so humble that when anyone called his name, he would answer: 'At your service.' When questioned about his humility, he would reply: "I was sent to complete the noble qualities of character." (Ihya' Ulum al-Dinby Imam al-Ghazzali (R))
Muhammad (S) was unschooled, and yet he was the most learned sage of his era. The following narrative (from this author's book – Wisdom of Mankind; Musnad-e Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal) is illustrative of his great wisdom.
A bedouin came one day to the Muhammad (S), the Messenger of Allah and said to him: "O Messenger of Allah! I have come to ask you a few questions about the affairs of this life and the Hereafter."
The Messenger of Allah (S) replied: "Ask what you wish."
- I would like to be the most learned of men.- Fear Allah, and you will be the most learned of men.
- I wish to be the richest man in the world.- Be contented, and you will be the richest man in the world.
- I would like to be most just man.- Desire for others what you desire for yourself, and you will be the most just of men.
- I want to be the best of men.- Do good to others and you will be the best of men.
- I wish to be the most favored by Allah.- Engage much in Allah's praise, and you will be favored by Him.
- I would like to complete my Iman (or faith).- If you have good manners, you will complete your Iman (faith).
- I wish to be among the Muhsin (i.e., those who do good).- Adore Allah as if you see Him. If you do not see Him, He sees you. In this way you will be among those who do good (i.e., you will be a Muhsin).
- I wish to be obedient to Allah.- If you observe Allah's commands you will be obedient.
- I would like to be free from all sins.- Bathe your body from impurities and you will be free from all sins.
- I would like to be raised on the Day of Judgment in the light.- Do not wrong yourself or any other creature, and you will be raised on the Day of Judgment in the light.
- I would like Allah to bestow His mercy on me.- If you have mercy on yourself and on others, Allah will grant you mercy on the Day of Judgment.
- I would like my sins to be very few.- If you seek the forgiveness of Allah as much as you can, your sins will be very few.
- I would like to be the most honorable man.- If you do not complain to any fellow creature, you will be the most honorable of men.
- I would like to be the strongest of men.- If you put your trust in Allah, you will be the strongest of men.
- I would like Allah to enlarge my provision.- If you keep yourself pure, Allah will enlarge your provision.
- I would like to be loved by Allah and His messenger.- If you love what Allah and His messenger love, you will be among their beloved ones.
- I wish to be safe from Allah's wrath on the Day of Judgment.- If you do not lose your temper with any of your fellow creatures, you will be safe from the wrath of Allah on the Day of Judgment.
- I would like my prayers to be responded.- If you avoid forbidden actions (Haram), your prayers will be responded.
- I would like Allah not to disgrace me on the Day of Judgment.- If you guard your chastity, Allah will not disgrace you on the Day of Judgment.
- I would like Allah to provide me with a covering protection on the Day of Judgment.
- Do not uncover your fellow creatures' faults, and Allah will provide you with a covering protection on the Day of Judgment.
- What will save me from sins?- Tears, humility and illness.
- What are the best deeds in the eyes of Allah?- Gentle manners, modesty and patience in adversity.
- What are the worst evils in the eyes of Allah?- Hot temper and miserliness.
- What assuages the wrath of Allah in this life and in the Hereafter?- Concealed charity and kindness to relatives.
- What extinguishes hell's fire on the Day of Judgment?- Patience in adversity and misfortunes.
Dr. Habib Siddiqui has authored seven books. His latest book: The Counsel – is now available in Malaysia from the Islamic Book Trust.

- To be continued –

- Asian Tribune -

Muhammad (S) – The Prophet of Islam – Part 2

By Habib Siddiqui

Islam was a new faith amongst the Arabs of the 6th century C.E. that challenged the old order - customs, traditions, rules and regulations, requiring uncompromising belief in an unseen God – Allah. It challenged the Makkan aristocracy. It required the believer to change his/her lifestyle so that he/she won't lie, deceive, gamble, intoxicate, kill, murder, steal, fornicate, commit female infanticide, etc. It required fasting (without food and water) from dawn to dusk, during the entire month of Ramadhan, a task which was very difficult in unusually hot summer days of Arabia. It required praying five times daily to remind the believer of his/her servitude to Allah and accountability of his/her deeds – good and bad, large and small. It demanded paying the poor-due (zakat) and making regular charity (sadaqah), feeding the indigent and relieving pains and sufferings of fellow creatures – acts that are against innate human attitude towards wealth and possession. It advocated freeing of slaves. It demanded fair treatment of all – especially, the women and orphans. It preached brotherhood and sisterhood of mankind, irrespective of one's upbringing, color, race, nationality and wealth. It demanded standing out for truth and justice, even if it was against one's own soul (nafs). It demanded leading a clean life away from sin and vice that is always mindful of relationship with Allah, fellow creatures and environment, and his/her own self.

And yet with the new set of do's and don'ts, there were people who embraced Islam – from Bilal the Abyssinian to Shu'aib the Byzantine to Salman the Persian to Abu Bakr the Quraysh, from a 10-year old young boy – Ali ibn Talib to a 55-year old lady – Khadija, from a freed slave by the name of Zaid bin Haritha to a rich merchant by the name of Uthman ibn Affan to a shepherd by the name of Abdullah ibn Mas'oud (RA). They were all ready to make the ultimate sacrifice – personal, family, social, cultural and economic - for their belief in the new faith – Islam. They were even willing to die in the battlefield when called for.

The following historical facts from the lives of the Companions are illustrative:

Bilal (RA) was the slave of a rich man in Makkah, Umayya bin Khalaf, who was one of the worst enemies of Islam. Because of Bilal's acceptance of Islam, he was whipped at night and with the cuts thus received, made to lie on the burning sand with a heavy stone put on his chest during the day to force him to renounce Islam or to die a lingering death from the wounds. But Bilal (RA) would not yield. One day, Abu Bakr (RA), a wealthy merchant and one of the Prophet's close friends, came by and saw how Bilal (RA) was tortured by his master. He bought his freedom.

Similar is the story of Khabbab ibn Alarat (RA) who was one of the very early converts to Islam. He was the slave of a woman who was hostile to Islam. When she came to know that he was visiting the Prophet Muhammad (S), she became furious and punished him mercilessly. She used to brand Khabbab’s head with a hot iron rod.

He was made to put on steel armor and lie in the sun to sweat and swelter. Very often he was made to lie flat on burning sand, which caused the flesh on his back to waste away. Yet this was not enough for his pagan slave-owner. She would have his body dragged by others over heaps of smoldering charcoal. This would cause his blood and fat to come out of his back.

Sumayya (RA) and her husband Yasir (RA) were slaves of a Makkan idolater who was utterly hostile to Islam. He wanted them to renounce the faith. When they did not, he tortured them mercilessly. They were tormented on scorching sands of Makkah. One day, Sumayya (RA) was standing when Abu Jahl, the worst enemy of Islam, passed that way. He flung all sorts of dirty words at her and then put his spear through the most private part of her body, causing her death. She had refused to renounce Islam in the face of terrible torture in her old age. The blessed lady was the first to meet martyrdom in the cause of Islam. Yasir (R) died after prolonged sufferings at the hands of his persecutors. [For similar stories: see the author's upcoming book – Book of Devotional Stories.]

S'ad bin Abi Waqas (RA), an early convert to Islam, related: “When my mother heard the news of my Islam, she flew into a rage. She came up to me and said: "O S'ad! What is this religion that you have embraced which has taken you away from the religion of your mother and father…? By God, either you forsake your new religion or I would not eat or drink until I die. Your heart would be broken with grief for me and remorse would consume you on account of the deed which you have done and people would censure you forever more." 'Don’t do (such a thing), my mother,’ I said, ‘for I would not give up my religion for anything.’ However, she went on with her threat… For days she neither ate nor drank. She became emaciated and weak. Hour after hour, I went to her asking whether I should bring her some food or something to drink but she persistently refused, insisting that she would neither eat nor drink until she died or I abandoned my religion. I said to her: ‘Yaa Ummaah! In spite of my strong love for you, my love for God and His Messenger is indeed stronger. By God, if you had a thousand souls and one soul after another were to depart, I would not abandon this religion for anything.’ When she saw that I was determined she relented unwillingly and ate and drank.” [Mubarakpuri]

During the battle of Uhud, the pagan Quraysh attacked the Muslims from behind. The entire Muslim army fell into chaos and fierce fighting was going on in the battlefield. The Quraysh attacked Muhammad (S), who was being protected by seven Sahaba (Companions) from the Ansar community of Madinah that had given refuge to the Prophet when he emigrated from Makkah. When the enemy advanced towards him and overwhelmed him, a man from the Ansar came forward and fought (the enemy) until he was killed. The enemy advanced and overwhelmed him again and another Ansar came forward and fought until he was killed. This state continued until all the seven Ansars were killed (one after the other). [Sahih Muslim]

Umme 'Amarah (RA), a mother, whose real name was Nusaibah binte Kab, went following the Muslim troops… When the situation turned against the Muslims, she rushed to be by the side of the Prophet…When ibn Qamiah (a pagan Quraysh) attacked the Prophet (S), she rushed forward like a flash of lightening and launched severe attacks (on him)…But his counter attack left a deep injury on her arm near the shoulder. [History of Islam by Akbar Shah Najeebabadi] As can be seen, these early Companions were willing to risk their own lives to protect the life of Muhammad (S).

It is, therefore, not difficult to understand how Allah viewed their sacrifice in the Qur'an:

"And the first to embrace Islam are the Muhajirun(those who migrated with the Prophet from Makkah to Madinah) and Ansar (Muslim hosts in Madinah who welcomed the Prophet and his small group of Companions) and all those who followed them exactly (in faith). Allah is well pleased with them and they are pleased with Him and Allah has prepared for them Gardens beneath which rivers flow to dwell therein forever and that is the great success." [Qur'an 9: 100]

Dr. Habib Siddiqui has authored seven books. His latest book: The Counsel – is now available in Malaysia from the Islamic Book Trust.]

(To be continued)

- Asian Tribune -

Muhammad (S) – The Prophet of Islam – Part 3

By Habib Siddiqui

It is said that a man's real essence is known only by those who are close to him and had interacted with him on a regular basis. Let's meet some of these individuals.


Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA), was ten years old when Muhammad (S) received revelations from Allah at the age of forty. In his childhood, he was raised by the Prophet (S) and his wife Khadija (RA). He later married their youngest daughter – Fatimah (RA). This is how Ali (RA) described Muhammad (S):

"He (Muhammad (S)) was not vulgar nor did he condone vulgarity, and he was not one to shout in the market place. He did not reward evil with evil, rather, he would forgive and overlook. He never in his life struck anything with his hand except when he was fighting in the name of Allah. He never struck a servant nor a woman, and I never saw him taking revenge for an injustice dealt him, except if the prohibitions of Allah were transgressed. For if the prohibitions of Allah were transgressed he was among the strongest of them in anger. He was never given a choice between two matters but he chose the simplest of the two. If he entered into his home he was a man like any other; cleaning his own garment, milking his own goat, and serving himself.

He would guard his tongue from that which did not concern him. He would attract them (the people) and not repel them. He would ennoble the noble of the people and charge them with their affairs. He was wary of the people and guarded himself against them but without depriving them a warm smile or fitting conduct. He would inquire after his companions and would ask the people about their affairs. He would encourage that which was good and strengthen it, and he would discourage that which was evil and undermine it. He was balanced and consistent. He would never be neglectful that they would not learn neglect and grow indifferent. He had a provision for every occasion and he never fell short of justice nor exceeded it.

The closest people to him were the best among them, and the best among them in his eyes were the most comprehensive in advice. The highest of them in stature with him was the best among them in looking after the people and assisting them. He would not rise nor sit down without praise [to Allah]. If he visited a gathering he would sit wherever the group ended (and not at their head) and he encouraged the same. He would give all those sitting with him their just due [to the extent that] they would each feel that none was more important to him than them. If someone were to sit with him or come in search of a favor he would be patient with them until they (the guest) would be the one to leave. Whoever came to him with a request was never turned away except with that which they had asked for or with a kind word. His cheerfulness and good manners encompassed them all such that he became a father to them and they all became equal in rights. His gatherings were those of knowledge, humbleness, patience, and integrity. In them there would be no raising of voices nor transgressions of prohibitions. They would not expose one-another's errors, but would be equal, encouraging each-other in the fear of Allah. In them, they would respect their elders, be merciful to their children, give preference to those in need, and protect the stranger."

Ali (RA) continued: "He was continually smiling, gentle in manners, soft in nature. He was not severe, harsh-hearted, loud, abusive, or miserly. He would disregard that which he disliked, and no one ever despaired of him. He never responded to disparagement or evil words. He forbade upon himself three things: Argument, arrogance, and that which did not concern him. And he relieved the people of three: He would not degrade any among them or abuse them, he would not search after their honor or private matters, and he would not speak except in matters which he hoped to be rewarded for. When he spoke his attendees would lower their heads as if birds had alighted upon them. Once he finished they would speak. They would not vie with one-another in his presence to speak, but when one would talk in his presence the rest would listen until he finished. Speech in his presence was that of the first among them. He would laugh with them, and wonder with them. He had patience with the strangers when they were gruff in speech and requests, to a degree that his companions would fetch them to him. He would say: 'If you see someone in need, fetch him to me.' He would not accept praise except from those who were balanced and not excessive. He would not interject into someone's speech unless they transgressed, in which case he would either rebuke them or else leave.

He was the most generous of heart, truthful of tongue, softest in disposition, and noble in relationship. He who first set eyes upon him feared him, but he who associated with him loved him. Those who described him would say: 'I have never seen before or after him anyone similar to him, peace be upon him'." [Nahjul Balagha; see also the book: "Prophet Muhammad and His Western Critics"by Zafar Ali Qureshi]

Anas bin Malik (RA) was an attendant of the Prophet in Madinah. He reported: "I served the Messenger of Allah (S) for ten years, and, by Allah, he never said to me any harsh word, and he never said to me about a thing as to why I had done that and as to why I had not done that." [Sahih Muslim]

A'isha (RA), Muhammad's (S) wife, stated that, ‘The Prophet never used foul language and never entertained people with obscene jokes. He was well behaved when he entered the market places. His habit was not to repel evil with mutual evil. He was forgiving and could grant pardon." (Tirmizi)

A'isha (RA) was once asked to describe the Prophet (S), and she replied that he was "the Qur'an walking", meaning he meticulously implemented the noble teachings of the Qur'an into his daily life. She also said, "He always joined in household work and would at times mend his clothes, repair his shoes and sweep the floor. He would milk, tether, and feed his animals and do the household shopping." [Qazi Iyaz: Shifa; Sahih Bukhari]

Not only was Muhammad (S) a devoted husband, he also encouraged his companions to follow his example: "The most perfect of the believers in faith are the best of them in morals. And the best among them are those who are best to their wives." [Tirmizi

Muhammad (S) was the most charitable man. Abu Dharr (RA) reported that one evening he was walking with the Prophet when he (S) said, "Abu Dharr, if the mountain of Uhud were turned into gold for me, I would not like three nights to pass and one dinar still be left with me, excepting what I would leave for paying my debts."

Muhammad (S) was a loving father and grandfather.

Abu Hurayrah (RA), a Companion, reported that al-Aqra' b. Habis saw Allah's Apostle (S) kissing Hassan (RA). He said: "I have ten children, but I have never kissed any one of them, whereupon Allah's Messenger (S) said: He who does not show mercy (towards his children), no mercy would be shown to him." [Sahih Muslim]

Speaking about the Prophet's love for children, Anas (RA) said, “I have never met one more merciful with children." [An-Nawawi]

Husayn (RA), the grandson of the Prophet (S), asked his father, Ali (RA), about the Prophet's conduct. Ali (RA) replied, "He was always cheerful, gentle and mild. There was no rigidity or coarseness in his conduct. He was neither a faultfinder nor a boisterous person and he steered away from any kind of futile engagement." [Tabarani]

Prophet Muhammad (S) smiled so spontaneously that each one of the Companions, as they gathered around him during their visits to his house, thought to be the favorite Companion. Jareer Ibn Abdullah (RA) said, "I have not seen the Prophet, since I embraced Islam, without a smile on his face. I saw him smiling when he could not see me and he was smiling in my presence." [Bukhari]

Abdullah Ibn Haarith (RA), a Companion, said, "I never came across a person who smiled as much as the Prophet. The Prophet regarded smiling with a brother as an act of charity." [Tirmizi]

Anas Ibn Malik (RA) said, "He would listen carefully and attentively to questions or requests. He shifted his focus only after the person in need directed it away or the person left his presence. He held on to the hand that greeted him and waited for the other person to withdraw first. He shook the hand of anybody who extended it." [Abu Nu'aim]

The people around Muhammad (S) loved him and wanted to get blessings from everything that he had used, touched or possessed. The following hadith is illustrative of this:

Anas b. Malik (RA) reported that when Allah's Messenger (S) had completed his dawn prayer, the servants of Medina came to him with utensils containing water, and no utensil was brought in which he did not dip his hand; and sometime they came in the cold dawn (and he did not feel reluctant in acceding to their request even in the cold weather) and dipped his hand in them. [Sahih Muslim]

Anas (RA) reported: "I saw when the Messenger of Allah (S) got his hair cut by the barber, his Companions came round him and they eagerly wanted that no hair should fall but in the hand of a person." [Sahih Muslim]

As has been reported by all Companions, Muhammad (S) was a very handsome man.

Al-Bara' (RA), a Companion, reported that Allah's Messenger (S) had the most handsome face amongst men and he had the best disposition and he was neither very tall nor short-statured. [Sahih Muslim]

Jurairi reported: "I said to Abu Tufail (RA): Did you see Allah's Messenger (S)? He said: Yes, he had a white handsome face." Muslim b. Hajjaj said: Abu Tufail (RA) who died in 100 Hijri (of Muslim calendar) was the last of the Companions of Allah's Messenger (S). [Sahih Muslim]

In spite of all the adoration and reverence he enjoyed from his Companions, Muhammad (S) was a very humble man. He never allowed anyone to say that he was more than a human being. Coming as it did to an Arab pagan culture, which was infatuated with idolatory, that was a big statement. He (S) said, "Don't commend me as Christians commend Jesus, the son of Mary. But say about me, the servant and the messenger of Allah." [Muslim]

In another Hadith, as narrated by Abu Hurayrah (RA), Muhammad (S) is reported as saying: "I am most close to Jesus, son of Mary, among the whole of mankind in this worldly life and the next life." His Companions asked: "Allah's Messenger how is it?" Thereupon he said: "Prophets are brothers in faith, having different mothers. Their religion is, however, one and there is no Apostle between us." [Bukhari]

Former enemies:

How about statement from his rivals? [There are many that could be cited. However, the one below probably will suffice to make the point.]

When Muhammad (S) was settled in Madinah, he sent envoys to emperors, kings and rulers inviting them to Islam. The Muslim envoy, Dihyah bin Khalifah Al-Kalbi (RA), was ordered to hand Prophet's letter over to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius. It read: "In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful. From Muhammad, the slave and Messenger of Allah, to Heraclius, the emperor of Rome. Peace be on him who follows the guidance. After this, I invite you to accept Islam. Accept Islam and you will prosper and Allah will give you double rewards. But if you refuse, the sin of your people also will fall on your shoulders. O People of the Book! Come to a word common between us and you: that we shall not worship anything save Allah, and that we shall not associate anything with Him, nor shall some of us take others for lords besides Allah. But if they turn back, then say: Bear witness that we are Muslims (believers in oneness of God)."

Heraclius wanted to know more about this religion, so he summoned some Arab merchants to Ilya (Jerusalem), who had come to (Greater) Syria (al-Sham) with a caravan. Abu Sufyan, one of the bitterest enemies of the Prophet, happened to be in that group, so he became its spokesman. The following conversation that took place between Heraclius and Abu Sufyan is preserved in the books of traditions and history:

Heraclius: Is the family of the person claiming prophethood a noble one?
Abu Sufyan: It is a noble family.
Heraclius: Has anyone else in this family claimed prophethood?
Abu Sufyan: No.
Heraclius: Has there been any king in this family?
Abu Sufyan: No.
Heraclius: Are the people who have accepted this religion weak or influential?
Abu Sufyan: They are weak people.
Heraclius: Are his followers increasing or decreasing?
Abu Sufyan: They are on the increase.
Heraclius: Have you ever known him to tell lies?
Abu Sufyan: No.
Heraclius: Does he ever commit a breach of any pact?
Abu Sufyan: He has not done it so far, but we would like to see if he keeps up a new peace treaty that we have recently negotiated with him.
Heraclius: Have you ever fought against him?
Abu Sufyan: Yes.
Heraclius: What was the result?
Abu Sufyan: Sometimes we won and sometimes he.
Heraclius: What does he teach?
Abu Sufyan: He tells us to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to worship anything along with Him, and to renounce all that our ancestors had said. He orders us to pray, to speak the truth, to be chaste and to keep good relations with our kith and kin.

Heraclius then summed up the conversation thus: "You say that this man belongs to a noble family. Prophets always come from noble families. You say that no one else in the family ever before claimed prophethood. Had it been so, I would have thought that he was influenced by family traditions. You say that none of his predecessors was a king. Had it been so, I would have thought that he was aspiring to attain kingship. You admit that he never tells lies. A person who does not tell a lie to a man cannot tell a lie about God.You say that poor people are the adherents of his creed. The first followers of prophets always come from this class. You say that his religion is expanding. This is a characteristic of a true religion. You say that he does not deceive. Prophets do not deceive anyone. You say that he bids you to offer prayers and to observe purity and chastity. If all this is true, his realm will come right up to my domain. I had thought that a prophet might be coming, but I did not think that he would be born in Arabia. If I could go there, I would have paid homage to him." [Bukhari]

[After the conquest of Makkah, Abu Sufyan became a Muslim. He used to say that he had to give true answers to the emperor, as he was afraid of being contradicted by one or more of his caravan companion if he gave any false reply.]

Dr. Habib Siddiqui has authored seven books. His latest book: The Counsel – is now available in Malaysia from the Islamic Book Trust.

(To be continued)

- Asian Tribune

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Muhammad (S) – The Prophet of Islam – Part 4

By Habib Siddiqui

It is said that a man's real essence is known in times of crisis and tragedy, and how he deals with his adversaries when the circumstances reverse.

The second year before the Prophet's (S) migration to Madinah was an unusually sad year. He was nearing 50 and his wife Khadijah (RA) was 65, when she suddenly died. They had lived together in harmony for 25 years. She had been not only his only wife but also his intimate friend, wise counselor, and mother to his entire household including Ali ibn Abi Talib and Zayd ibn Haritha (RA). Then Abi Talib, the uncle of the Prophet (S), died after a brief illness. [He had been a guardian to orphan - Muhammad (S) since the latter was only seven years old. In later years, as the chief of the Bani Hashim (the Prophet's clan), he tried to protect Muhammad (S) from ill-treatments of the pagan Arabs when Muhammad (S) preached Islam amongst them.] Thus, Muhammad (S) lost the last bit of protection he was enjoying amongst the Quraysh.
On one occasion a passer-by leaned over the Prophet's (S) gate and tossed a piece of putrefying offal into his cooking pot. Another day, when Muhammad (S) was praying in the courtyard of his house, a man threw over him a sheep's uterus filthy with blood and excrement. On another occasion, when the Prophet was coming from the Ka'bah (the House of Worship towards which Muslims pray), a man took a handful of dirt and threw it in his face and over his head. When he returned home one of his daughters washed him clean of it, weeping the while. The Prophet (S) tried to console her saying, "Weep not, little daughter. Allah will protect your father." [Muhammad – his life based on the earliest sources by Dr. Martin Lings]

It was then that he decided to seek help from Thaqif, the people of Ta'if, situated nearly 50 miles east of Makkah. On his arrival, he went straight to the house three brothers who were the leaders of the Thaqif at the time. Unfortunately, when he invited them to Islam, they got enraged and stirred up their slaves and retainers to insult him and shout at him, until a crowd of people were gathered together against him who pelted him with stones. Muhammad (S) began to bleed profusely, the blood congealing in his shoes and making it difficult for him to take his shoes off for making ablution (wadhu). [Uswai Rasool-e-Akram: The Life and the Teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad by Dr. Muhammad Abdul Hai]

A'isha (RA) said that she once asked the Prophet (S): "Did you face a day severer than the day of the battle of Uhud?' He answered: 'I have experienced from thy people and the hardest treatment I met from them was what I received from them on the day of 'Aqaba. I betook myself to Ibn Abd Yalil b. Abd Kulal with the purpose of inviting him to Islam, but he did not respond to me as I desired. So I departed with signs of (deep) distress on my face. I did not recover until I reached Qarn al-Tha'alib. Where I raised my head, lo! near me was a cloud which had cast its shadow on me. I looked and lo! there was in it the angel Jibril (Gabriel) who called out to me and said: God, the Honored and Glorious, has heard what thy people have said to thee, and how they have reacted to thy call. And He has sent to thee the angel in charge of the mountains so that thou mayest order him what thou wishest (him to do) with regard to them. The angel in charge of the mountains (then) called out to me, greeted me and said: Muhammad, God has listened to what thy people have said to thee. I am the angel in charge of the mountains. and thy Lord has sent me to thee so that thou mayest order me what thou wishest. If thou wishest that I should bring together the two mountains that stand opposite to each other at the extremities of Mecca (Makkah) to crush them in between, (I would do that). But the Messenger of Allah (S) said to him: I rather hope that God will produce from their descendants such persons as will worship Allah, the One, and will not ascribe partners to Him." [Sahih Muslim]

Not only that when Muhammad (S) felt himself to be in safety and at peace, he prayed: "O God, unto Thee do I complain of my weakness, of my helplessness, and of my lowliness before men. O Most Merciful of the merciful, Thou art Lord of the weak. And Thou art my Lord. Into whose hands wilt Thou entrust me? Unto some far off stranger who will ill-treat me? Or unto a foe whom Thou has empowered against me? I care not, so Thou be not wroth with me. But Thy favoring help – that were for me the broader way and the wider scope! I take refuge in the Light of Thy Countenance whereby all darknesses are illuminated and the things of this world and the next are rightly ordered, lest Thou make descend Thine anger upon me, or lest Thy wrath beset me. Yet is it Thine to reproach until Thou art well pleased. There is no power and no might except through Thee." (Lings)

The Makkan idolaters persecuted Muhammad (S) and his followers for 21 years – 13 in Makkah and 8 in Madinah, where he was forced to take refuge. They left no scheme and mechanism unused to harass the nascent community of Muslims. They compelled them to leave their hearth and home. They seized their properties. They even sent delegation to Abyssinia pleading to the King Negus that he deport the first group of Muslims, which had sought refuge there, to Makkah. They killed many Muslims, including the beloved uncle of the Prophet – Hamza (RA). But when Makkah was conquered by a force of 10,000 Muslim Army in 8 A.H. they were completely at the mercy of Muhammad (S). They expected vengeance for their past misdeeds. Surely, just a single nod from the Prophet (S) would have many heads rolling on the dust.

But what did Muhammad (S) do with his vanquished foes? To the mighty, but then defeated chiefs of the Quraysh who stood before him bowing their heads in fear and shame, the Prophet (S) posed a question, "Do you know how I am going to deal with you today?" They replied in suppressed tones, "O the truthful and trustworthy one! You are our noble brother and a noble brother's son. We have ever found you merciful." [There was no falsehood in their statement for the Prophet (S) was known as the most truthful and trustworthy person in entire Arabia even in the pre-Islamic days. He was called al-Amin.] The Prophet (S) said: "I tell you the same thing today as Yusuf (Prophet Joseph) had told his brothers – 'No reproach shall be on you this day. Go, I set you all free' (Qur'an ch. 12)." The Prophet (S), thus, proclaimed a general amnesty. In their relief and astonishment, the entire population of Makkah, including Abu Sufyan – the leader of the many expeditions against Muslims, hastened to swear allegiance. Among the women who embraced Islam was Hind (the daughter of Utbah and wife of Abu Sufyan) who had chewed the raw liver of Hamza (RA) after he was martyred in the battle of Uhud. The Prophet (S) said to her, "Welcome" and forgave her. He (S) forgave all his former foes, including Ikrimah, the son of Abu Jahl – one of the worst enemies of Islam. [Ibn Hisham; Lings]

[Compare this magnanimity of the Prophet of Islam against world leaders of our time, who do not mind killing hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians through their 'smart' bombs and missiles; in spite of dozens of international laws for protection of human rights and peaceful coexistence between nations.]

Such was the personality of Muhammad (S), Rahmatul lil alameen (the mercy to the universe). It is little wonder that to the faithful Muslims, Muhammad (S) is the best of mankind that was ever created by God (Allah). He is the epitome of leadership, veracity, honesty, trustworthiness, valor and courage, devotion and love, kindness and gentleness, faith and taqwa (fear of Allah), caring and giving, self-denial and forbearance, modesty and humility, patience, beauty, forgiveness and mercy. He is the perfect human being. The Qur'an says: "Indeed you (O Muhammad) are on an exalted standard of character." (Qur'an 68:4)

George Bernard Shaw said about Muhammad (S): "He must be called the Savior of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness." (THE GENUINE ISLAM, Singapore, Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936)

It is not difficult to understand why Jules Masserman said, "Head of the State as well as the Church, he (Muhammad) was Caesar and Pope in one; but, he was Pope without the Pope's pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a police force, without a fixed revenue. If ever a man ruled by a right divine, it was Muhammad, for he had all the powers without their supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life."

Dr. Habib Siddiqui has authored seven books. His latest book: The Counsel – is now available in Malaysia from the Islamic Book Trust.

(To be continued)

- Asian Tribune

Muhammad (S) – The Prophet of Islam – Part 5

Apparently, the name of muhammad spelt in arabic appeared in the clouds on
the 12th of Rabiul Awwal during a minhajul quran mawlid conference earlier 2007.

By Habib Siddiqui

It is said that true Prophets of God performed miracles that defied natural laws. Jews believe that Moses (Ar. Musa alayhis salam) performed a number of miracles (no less than 32), the most important one (probably) being the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus: 13:17-15:12). Christians believe that Jesus, son of Mary (Ar. 'Isa ibn Maryam (AS)), performed 46 miracles that included curing the leper (Mark 1:40-45), healing the blind (Mark 8:22-26, 10:46), driving out evil spirits (Mark 16:9), feeding thousands with few loaves of bread and fish (Mark 6:30-44) and raising Lazarus from death (John 11:1-44). They ask: did Muhammad (S), the Prophet of Islam, perform any such miracle? As a matter of fact, they are not alone in their probing. The pagan Arabs of Muhammad's (S) time demanded miracles from Muhammad (S) to prove to them that he was a true Prophet of Allah (see, e.g., Qur'an 21:5).

Muhammad (S) performed many miracles, numbering more than 300, which are mentioned in dozens of books of history and hadith (see, e.g., the books – Mu`jazat al-Mustapha by Khayru-d-Din Wanili; Al-Jawab as-Sahih li man Baddala Din al-Masih by Imam ibn Taymiyyah; Tarikh ibn Kathir, and Tarikh al-Islam adh-Dhahabi; Fathul-Bari by Imam ibn Hajr; "300 Miracles of Muhammad (S)" by Mawlana Ahmad Said for a compiled list of such miracles). These miracles were witnessed by many people and retained with trustworthy chain of narrators.

These include: the splitting of the moon, his night journey – isra wa miraj (from Makkah to Jerusalem and ascent to the heavens), bringing rain on a clear day when there was no cloud in the sky, stopping rain, water flowing from between his fingers, increasing the quantity of food and water and thereby feeding a multitude of his Companions, the glorification of the food, the palm tree yearning for him, stones greeting him, the talking of the poisoned leg [of roasted sheep], trees walking towards him, two trees that were far apart coming together and then parting again, the barren sheep giving milk, his curing eyesight of Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA), his fixing the eye of Qatidah bin an-Nu`man (RA) to its place, his healing the leg of `Abdullah bin `Atiq (RA) whereupon he was immediately cured. [See Imam an-Nawawi's "Prophet Muhammad's Miracles"]

Muhammad (S) also foretold about many future events, all of which came out to be true. This included informing that his grandson Hassan bin Ali (RA) would reconcile between two large warring parties of the Muslims and that Husayn (RA) will be martyred. He also announced the deaths of King Negus (an-Najashi) of Abyssinia and al-Aswad al-`Ansi in Yemen. He informed that Ruwayfi` bin Thabit (RA) would live a long life and that Ammar bin Yasir (RA) would be killed by the transgressing group [in the Battle of Siffin]. He also foretold about the martyrdom of Thabit bin Qays (RA). He told Uthman, the third Caliph of Islam that he would be afflicted by a severe fitnah (trial) that killed him. All of these came out to be true. His yet to fulfill predictions before the Doom's day include coming of the ad-Dajjal (the anti-Christ), descend of Jesus from heaven to earth to kill ad-Dajjal and coming of Imam al-Mahdi.

In what follows, only 7 relevant miracles are mentioned from the hadith collection in Saheeh Al-Bukhari.

When the unbelievers in Makkah asked the Prophet Muhammad (S) to show them a miracle, he showed them the splitting of the moon. Narrated Abdullah:
"The moon was cleft asunder while we were in the company of the Prophet, and it became two parts. The Prophet said, Witness, witness (this miracle)."

1. Food Multiplication:
Narrated Jabir:
My father had died in debt. So I came to the Prophet and said, "My father (died) leaving unpaid debts, and I have nothing except the yield of his date palms; and their yield for many years will not cover his debts. So please come with me, so that the creditors may not misbehave with me." The Prophet went round one of the heaps of dates and invoked (Allah), and then did the same with another heap and sat on it and said, "Measure (for them)." He paid them their rights and what remained was as much as had been paid to them.

2. Water Multiplication:
Narrated Al-Bara:
We were one-thousand-and-four-hundred persons on the day of Al-Hudaibiya (Treaty), and (at) Al-Hudaibiya (there) was a well. We drew out its water not leaving even a single drop. The Prophet sat at the edge of the well and asked for some water with which he rinsed his mouth and then he threw it out into the well. We stayed for a short while and then drew water from the well and quenched our thirst, and even our riding animals drank water to their satisfaction.

3. Supplication for rain:
Narrated Anas:
A man came to the Prophet on a Friday while he (the Prophet) was delivering a sermon at Medina, and said, "There is lack of rain, so please invoke your Lord to bless us with the rain." The Prophet looked at the sky when no cloud could be detected. Then he invoked Allah for rain. Clouds started gathering together and it rained till the Medina valleys started flowing with water. It continued raining till the next Friday. Then that man (or some other man) stood up while the Prophet was delivering the Friday sermon, and said, "We are drowned; Please invoke your Lord to withhold it (rain) from us" The Prophet smiled and said twice or thrice, "O Allah! Please let it rain round about us and not upon us." The clouds started dispersing over Medina to the right and to the left, and it rained round about Medina and not upon Medina. Allah showed them (the people) the miracle of His Prophet and His response to his invocation.

4. Crying of the stem of the Date-palm Tree:
Narrated Ibn Umar:
The Prophet used to deliver his sermons while standing beside a trunk of a date palm. When he had the pulpit made, he used it instead. The trunk started crying and the Prophet went to it, rubbing his hand over it (to stop its crying).

5. Glorification of Allah by the Prophet's meals
Narrated 'Abdullah:
Once we were with Allah's Apostle on a journey, and we ran short of water. He said, "Bring the water remaining with you." The people brought a utensil containing a little water. He placed his hand in it and said, "Come to the blessed water, and the Blessing is from Allah." I saw the water flowing from among the fingers of Allah's Apostle, and no doubt, we heard the meal glorifying Allah, when it was being eaten (by him).

6. The expulsion of a Christian liar's corpse by the Earth
Narrated Anas:
There was a Christian who embraced Islam and read Surat-al-Baqara and Al-Imran, and he used to write (the revelations) for the Prophet. Later on he returned to Christianity again and he used to say: "Muhammad knows nothing but what I have written for him." Then Allah caused him to die, and the people buried him, but in the morning they saw that the earth had thrown his body out. They said, "This is the act of Muhammad and his companions. They dug the grave of our companion and took his body out of it because he had run away from them." They again dug the grave deeply for him, but in the morning they again saw that the earth had thrown his body out. They said, "This is an act of Muhammad and his companions.

They dug the grave of our companion and threw his body outside it, for he had run away from them." They dug the grave for him as deep as they could, but in the morning they again saw that the earth had thrown his body out. So they believed that what had befallen him was not done by human beings and had to leave him thrown (on the ground).

The greatest miracle bestowed upon Muhammad (S), however, was the revelation of the Qur'an. The Qur'an is miraculous in a number of aspects: linguistic perfection, eloquence and inimitability, validation of veracity of its contents by recent historical, archaeological, and scientific discoveries, its prophecies and so on. Unlike the miracles of other prophets before him, the miracle of the Qur'an is eternal and remains with us unadulterated and unaltered. It incapacitated the most eloquent of people in the most eloquent of times to produce a single chapter that would be comparable to it, even if the whole of creation were to gather for that purpose. Allah challenged the pagan Arabs by saying: "Say: If the whole of mankind and the jinn gathered in order to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they assisted each other." [Al-Israa' 17: 88]

Dr. Habib Siddiqui has authored seven books. His latest book: The Counsel – is now available in Malaysia from the Islamic Book Trust.

(To be continued)

- Asian Tribune

Muhammad (S) – The Prophet of Islam – Part 6

By Habib Siddiqui

It is said that a great leader always leaves behind a great leadership cadre. Muhammad (S) was definitely very successful in generating some of the best leaders ever to emerge in human history. For our purpose here, the examples of Abu Bakr Siddiq, Umar ibn Khattab and Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA) may be sufficient.

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (RA):

When Muhammad (S) died at the age of 63 in 11 A.H. (632 C.E.), the news of his death was shocking to all Muslims. He occupied a unique place among the nascent community of believers in Islam. He had transformed them from warring pagan Arabs to an Ummah (nation) of God-fearing, trustworthy, truth-seeking, honest people. Some people did not want to believe that he had died. Realizing the somber grief-stricken mood of Muslims, Abu Bakr (RA) – a very close Companion of the Prophet (S) – gave a speech at the Mosque of the Prophet (Masjid an-Nabi) in Madinah, where he said:
"O people! If anyone among you worshipped Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead. But those who worship Allah, let him know that He lives and will never die. Let all of us recall the words of the Qur'an. It says, `Muhammad is only a Messenger of Allah There have been Messengers before him. What then, will you turn back from Islam, if he dies or is killed (Qur'an 3:146)?"
This was a very short but a very powerful speech that brought the people back to their senses.
The day after he was elected as the first Caliph, Abu Bakr (RA) went to the Prophet's mosque where people took the general oath of loyalty. When this was over, Abu Bakr (RA) mounted the pulpit. Then he spoke to the gathering as follows:
"O people, I have been elected your leader, although I am not better than anyone from among you. If I do any good, give me your support. If I go wrong, set me right. Listen, truth is honesty and untruth is dishonesty. The weak among you are powerful in my eyes, as long as I do not get them their due, Allah willing. The powerful among you are weak in my eyes, as long as I do not take away from them what is due to others, Allah willing.
"Listen, if people give up striving for the cause of Allah, Allah sends down disgrace on them. If a people become evil doers, Allah sends down calamities on them.
"Listen, you must obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Messenger. If I disobey Allah and His Messenger, you are free to disobey me."
Such was the Magna Carta granted by the first Caliph of Islam to his people on the very first day of his rule without their solicitation. What is also amazing about this speech is that he laid down the foundation of a government where people (demos) matter – some 1240 years before such words stoked up popular imagination in the West.
Abu Bakr's (RA) Caliphate had to tackle many problems, including rebellion, civil war and hostility from the Byzantine Empire in the Syrian front. He sent Usama bin Zayd (RA), a very young Companion, as the General of the Muslim army with clear instructions on rules of war:
"Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child nor a woman or an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy's flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone."
Abu Bakr's (RA) instructions were in keeping with those of the Prophet (S), who had prohibited the killing of non-combatants and prisoners of war. (Abu Dawud and Musnad-e Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal)

Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA):

Umar (RA) became the second Caliph after the death of Abu Bakr (RA). He was born in 40 BH. He embraced Islam in the sixth year of Prophethood and became a close companion of the Prophet. During his reign, Jerusalem, Egypt, Iraq and Persia were brought under the Islamic rule. He was the first who was given the title of Amir-ul-Mu’meneen (Prince of the Faithful).
In 636 CE, at the battle of Yarmuk, the Byzantines were defeated by the Muslim Army. Christian Patriarch Sophoronius offered to surrender the city if Caliph Umar (RA) himself would come in person to ratify the terms of surrender. Umar (RA) agreed to the suggestion. The encounter between these two men was very dramatic.

Umar (RA) took to the road immediately, accompanied by a guard, and leaving Ali ibn Talib (RA) as his deputy in Madinah. Traveling by camel is a slow process. Umar (RA) and his guard would alternate mounting on the camel. So, it took few weeks before Umar (RA) arrived in Jerusalem. The crowd had gathered, and the eyes were wide open with curiosity. The Patriarch had prepared himself to meet with the most powerful ruler of his time, Caliph Umar, who had just defeated the Byzantines. From where he was standing, he saw a tall man walking, dressed in ordinary clothes, while holding the rope of a camel, and surrounded by Muslim generals; another person was riding on the camel. For a moment, the high priest, used to the pompous way Heraclius had carried his affairs, was confused as to who the Caliph was. Was the Caliph the man riding on the camel or the one pulling the camel? Eventually, recognizing the Caliph, he surrendered the key of the city. In the words of a Christian historian, Anthony Nutting, "Umar taught the caparisoned throng of Christian commanders and bishops a lesson in humility by accepting their surrender in a patched and ragged robe and seated on a donkey." [The Arabs,New American Library, N.Y. (1964)]

Umar (RA) used to walk out of his house covertly at night to look at conditions of his people. One night Talha, a Companion of the Prophet (S), followed him. Talha (RA) saw Umar going to one house, and spending some time there before coming out, and then to proceed to another house before returning to his own house. In the morning, Talha went to one of the houses he saw Umar entering at night. He knocked on the door. A blind old woman opened the door for him. Talha inquired, “Who is the man that visited you last night?”
She replied, “He has been taking care of me for a long time. He brings me whatever I need, and removes my difficulties.”
Talha (RA) excused himself and left, adding: “I blamed myself for spying on Umar and said to myself, ‘May your mother mourn you and be bereaved of you, O Talha, are you spying on Umar and questioning his deeds?’” (Hilyat ul-Auliya wa Tabaqat ul-Asfiya by Imam Abu Na’im al-Asfahani)

Umar (RA) was so concerned about safety and security of his subjects and their possessions that he used to say, “Should a lost goat die in the Shat al-‘Arab I tend to think that Allah, the Most Exalted, will question me about it on the Day of Judgment.” [Hilyat’ul Awliya wa Tabaqatul Asfiya: Abu Na’im al-Asfahani] No wonder that in Islamic history, Umar (RA) occupies a very respectable position as one of the best administrators.

Umar (RA) was murdered by a Persian Christian by the name of Firoz (Abu Lulu). The latter was very unhappy about a judgment that Umar (RA) had given in a matter of tax levied on him as a painter, carpenter and ironsmith. One day, Umar (RA) told Firoz, "I understand that you make windmills; make one for me as well." In a sullen mood, Firoz threatened him by saying, "Verily I will make such a mill for you that the world would talk about it."

Firoz would tell other Persians living in Madinah that he would take Umar's heart out. He made for himself a dagger with a very sharp edge and smeared it with poison.

Interestingly, Umar (RA) was told by Ka'b al-Ahbar, a Jewish convert to Islam, that he had read in the Torah that Umar would die as a martyr. Umar (RA) also dreamt of his martyrdom. In spite of his knowledge that Firoz would assassinate him, Umar (RA) did not arrest or punish the would-be assassin since no crime was yet committed.

On the 1st of November 644 C.E. (23 A.H.) at the time of the morning prayer, Firoz went with his dagger to the Prophet's mosque and struck Umar six consecutive blows with his dagger as Umar (RA) was taking the position of leading the prayer. Umar fell on the floor profusely bleeding and later died of the fatal injury.

Simplicity and devotion to Islam were the main characters of Umar (RA). He used to wear clothes that had many patches. He used to visit the old people and sick and even do their house work. He used to visit the houses of the soldiers and inquire about their families. In his last moments, he asked his son Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) to prepare a statement of his debt, almost all of it borrowed as allowances from the State Treasury (Bait al-Maal) to have a simple meal and wear simple clothes. He ordered that the debt be paid off by his family.

Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA):

Ali (RA) was reared by the Prophet (S) and embraced Islam when he was only 10 years old. He was called the Lion of God, for he was manlier than most Muslims in two ways: externally in society and on the battlefield where he could overpower or defeat his strongest opponents; and more importantly, internally he was in perfect control of himself or his ego (nafs).

Ali's (RA) humility, austerity, piety, deep knowledge of the Qur'an and his sagacity gave him great distinction among the Prophet's Companions. Abu Bakr, 'Umar and Uthman (RA) consulted him frequently during their caliphates. Many times 'Umar (RA) had made him his vice-regent at Medina when he was away. Ali (RA) was also a great scholar of Arabic literature and pioneered in the field of grammar and rhetoric. His speeches, sermons and letters served for generations afterward as models of literary expression. Many of his wise and epigrammatic sayings have been preserved. Ali (RA) thus had a rich and versatile personality. In spite of these attainments, he remained a modest and humble man.
Once during his caliphate when Ali (RA) was going about the marketplace, a man stood up in respect and followed him. "Do not do it," said Ali (RA). "Such manners are a temptation for a ruler and a disgrace for the ruled."

In one of the battles for defense of Islam, Ali (RA), as a young man in mid-twenties, overpowered his adversary and sat down on his chest, about to kill him. At that moment, the man spat on his face. Annoyed, Ali (RA) left the man bewildered. The man was surprised by Ali’s instant reaction and asked why he had left him. Ali (RA) replied, “When I put you down, I was about to kill you for the sake of Allah. But when you spat on my face, I was annoyed. So, I left you. If I had killed you then, it would have been due to my anger and not for the sake of Allah.” (Mathnavi: Rumi)

When Ali (RA) had become the Caliph, he often went through the city in disguise in order to see that everything went well and the people could live in justice and peace. One day he met a woman who was carrying a heavy water skin. He took it on his own shoulders and carried it for her until they came to a miserable little cottage where several young children were waiting for their mother. They were crying from hunger, but the woman said, "I have nothing to give you, only a drink of water." Ali (RA) who had put down the water skin in the meantime asked, "Isn't there anyone to look after you?" "No," the woman said, "My husband died some time ago, and now I am all alone with my children."

Ali (RA) felt ashamed and went away, his head hanging down. In the next day, he came back and brought a basket with grain, fruits and meat. He looked after the children, while the mother prepared a meal, and then he gave them to eat with his own hands. The woman thanked him warmly and said, "The Caliph should follow your example. He lives in his house quietly, forgetting the widows and orphans who have worked for him." Ali (RA) kept quiet.

The next day he came back again, brought food and helped the woman with her work. While he was doing that, a neighbor came in. She saw the strange man, recognized him and said, "Alas, Sister! You are letting the Caliph Ali (RA) work for you!?"

At this the woman was deeply scared and wanted to apologize, but Ali (RA) said, "No, but I have to apologize because it is my duty as a Caliph to care for your welfare." (See this author's – Book of Devotional Stories)

Like his predecessors, Ali (RA) also set out strict rules of engagement in war. These are:
1. Never begin a war yourself, God does not like blood-shed; fight only in defense.
2. Never be the first to attack your enemy, repulse his attacks boldly, bravely and courageously.
3. Never follow and kill those who run away from the battlefield.
4. Never kill wounded persons who cannot defend themselves.
5. Never strip naked a dead soldier for his coat of arms or dress.
6. Never cut nose or ears of dead men to humiliate them.
7. Never take to looting and arson.
8. Never molest or outrage the modesty of a woman.
9. Never hurt a woman even if she swears at you or hurts you.
10. Never hurt a child.
11. Never hurt an old or an enfeeble person.

Ali's (RA) regime was marked by internal dispute and terrorist activities of the Khawarij (a dissident group that left his camp after the battle of Siffin). One of those Khawarij dissidents by the name of Ibn-e-Muljim volunteered to assassinate Ali (RA) and came to the city of Kufa where Ali (RA) was living.

Muhammad (S) foretold about Ali's martyrdom. [Tabaqat: Ibn Sa'd] Ali (RA) also saw in dreams of his martyrdom. One day Ali (RA) came across ibn Muljim in the streets of Kufa and told him, "I know for what purpose you have come to Kufa."

As soon as Ibn-e-Muljim heard these words, he trembled and said to Ali (RA): "Oh Ali, when it is so (that you know) release the orders of my being killed or put me in the prison or banish me off." Ali (RA) replied, "Although I can put into practice each one of your suggestions, but Islam does not deem pre-crime punishment as fair. So I am obliged to let you go free. Perhaps you may repent upon your decision."

Some of Ali's (RA) companions also heard of the conspiracy of the Khawarij. They requested him to name the would-be assassin. He observed: "How could I condemn a person who had not yet committed the murder." When Ash'ath, a close companion of Ali (RA), met ibn Muljim and found out that he was preparing to murder Ali with a sword, he hastened to apprise Ali of the matter. Ali (RA), however, replied that he couldn't do anything against ibn Muljim since the latter had not committed the crime by then.

At last, on the 19th of Ramadan of 40 A.H., ibn Muljim's sword struck Ali's (RA) forehead when he was entering the Masjid for the dawn (Fajr) prayer. The assassin was captured and Ali (RA) was carried to his home. When Ali (RA) was informed by his son Hassan (RA) about the capture of ibn Muljim, he told his son, "Oh Son! He is a prisoner. Treat him well and look after his comforts. If I survive I myself shall bring him to justice and if I die dispatch him after me. I shall question him before the Divine Court." He also instructed his family not to take revenge on anyone for his death except the murderer. [Tabaqat: Ibn Sa'd]

Ali (RA) did not survive the injury and died on the 21st of Ramadan, 40 A.H. at the age of 63 years. He was buried in Najaf, Iraq. [Note: As can be seen from the above historical facts, there was no pre-emptive strike against known enemies, much in contrast to criminal actions of the so-called civilized nations of our time against their perceived foes!]

Ali (RA) lived a very simple austere life. When he died he left behind no gold no silver, but only 700 dirham out of his allowances apportioned for his family. He was a vast ocean of knowledge. The Prophet (S) said, “I am the city of knowledge, and Ali is its gate.” (Ar. “Ana madinatul ‘ilm wa ‘Ali ba’buha.”) His maxims are well-known in the Arabic language. [See this author's "Wisdom of Mankind" for a collection of his maxims.]

Writing about Ali (RA), Justice Amir Ali observed: "Seven centuries before this wonderful man would have been apotheosized, and thirteen centuries later his genius and talents, his virtues and his valor, would have extorted the admiration of the civilized world. Chivalrous, humane and forbearing to the verge of weakness, as a ruler he came before his time." [The Spirit of Islam]

Dr. Habib Siddiqui has authored seven books. His latest book: The Counsel – is now available in Malaysia from the Islamic Book Trust.

(To be continued)

- Asian Tribune

Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur :
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Muhammad (S) – The Prophet of Islam – Part 7

His Life:

Muhammad (S) holds a unique position among the founders of world's major religions. Unlike Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Rama and Krishna, his life is not shrouded in myths and legends, conjectures or hearsays. He lived in the limelight of history. From his birth to death, everything was documented and preserved with a trustworthy chain of narrations that trace such information back to the original sources.

Muhammad (S) was born 53 years before the Hijri (BH) of the Islamic calendar (570 CE) in the illustrious family of the Quraysh that claimed as its ancestors several apostles and prophets of God. He was a descendant of the Prophet Isma'il (Ishmael) alayhis salam (AS), the son of the Babylonian Abraham (Ibrahim (AS)) and the Egyptian Hagar.

He was born in the Holy City of Makkah that housed the Ka'bah, the oldest House of Worship of God on earth. His family was the custodian of the Ka'bah.

He came in an age of truth-defying Ignorance (Jahiliya) when the worship of one True God (Allah) in what is now called the Middle East - the very land that had produced a multitude of Prophets from Abraham to Moses to David to Jesus - was replaced by idolatry – the worship of myriads of demigods. There was a dim flash of light here and there, but overall mankind was bereft of spiritual light. Irrational ambitions and inordinate desires had fascinated them. Arrogance and pride had kept them away from truth and justice. Overall, the period was ripe with expectations of a Messiah-like personality through whom all the tribes of the world could attain salvation.

Historically, Muhammad (S) came after the fall of the Roman Empire and the collapse of what is commonly called the ‘dark ages.’ In the nearby Persian Empire, there was a lot of political bickering for power and in far-away Roman Empire, there were signs of decadence everywhere, and in Arabia, the land that was supposed to reshape the destiny of mankind, its people were devoid of compassion and moral values.

Faith in One God:

In the 6th century (C.E.) Middle East, people were divided into four major categories: some people compared God to His creatures and thus tried to personify Him; some people tried to impart His attributes to others and thus gave away to infidelity; some people considered that God's message and mercy is exclusively locked up among their tribes; some people had no faith in either God's attributes or His person. Coming into this world of confusion about the attributes of God, Muhammad (S) preached faith in one God (Allah) without partners or associates – the same God that was worshipped by all other Prophets that came before him from Adam to Jesus.
Muhammad (S) proclaimed:
O my people! worship Allah! you have no other god but Him. (Qur'an 7:59)
He preached that Allah has the aspect of YHWH, the God of the Children of Israel, who interests Himself in human society, in the affairs of this world, who is stern and severe in punishment, and also the aspect of the God of Jesus, who is compassionate, merciful and forgiving. To clear any confusion about God, the Qur'an proclaims:
“The Forgiver of sin, the Accepter of repentance, the Stern in punishment, the Bountiful. There is no Allah save Him. Unto Him is the journeying.” (40:3)
"He is Allah; there is no god but He, He is the Knower of the unseen and the visible; He is the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate. He is God, there is no God but He. He is the King, the All-Holy, the All-Peace, the Guardian of Faith, the All-Preserver, the All-Mighty, the All-Compeller, the All-Sublime. Glory be to God, above that they associate! He is God the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. To Him belong the Names Most Beautiful. All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him; He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise." (59:22-24)
"God is the Creator of everything. He is the guardian over everything. Unto Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth." (39:62, 63)
"No creature is there crawling on the earth, but its provision rests on God. He knows its lodging place and it repository." (11:6)
The Christian notion of Godhood was challenged in the Qur'an:
“Say: He is Allah, the One. Allah, the eternally besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him.” (112:1-4)

No Distinction Between Prophetic Messages:

Muhammad (S) proclaimed that there was no monopoly in God's message. The Qur'an says: “And for every nation there is a messenger” (10:47);“And there is not a nation but a warner has passed among them” (35:24). That is, Allah, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, had sent a multitude of prophets from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Jacob to Moses to David to Jesus (AS) to Muhammad (S) for guidance of mankind. The Qur’an says:
"Mankind were one community; and Allah sent (unto them) Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, and revealed therewith the Scripture with truth that it might judge between mankind concerning that wherein they differed." (2:213) [See also Qur’an 10:37]

Muhammad (S) preached that as carriers of the Divine message the Prophets formed one brotherhood. They were men of such strength of character and courage that though they were often in minority and those who opposed them always had the majority support, yet those Apostles never forsook their mission. The Qur’an commands Muslims to say:
"Say (O Muslims): we believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and their children, and that which Moses and Jesus received and that the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and unto Him we have surrendered.” (2:136)

The call of the Qur’an is a call to unity of belief, i.e., what Muhammad (S) preached was similar to those of other Apostles of God: “He (Allah) has laid down for you the religion which He enjoined upon Noah, and which We revealed to you, and which We enjoined upon Abraham, Moses and Jesus: Establish the religion, and be not divided therein.” (Qur’an, 42:13) Further: “Lo! This, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me. And they have broken their religion among them, (yet) all are returning unto Us.” (21:92-93)
The Qur’an also clarified the role of Muhammad (S), the conveyor of God's message to humanity:
Muhammad is but a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. (3:148)

Allah commanded Muhammad (S) to proclaim his humanity (and not divinity):

"Say (O Muhammad, to the disbelievers): I say not unto you (that) I possess the treasures of Allah, nor that I have knowledge of the Unseen; and I say not unto you: Lo! I am an angel. I follow only that which is inspired in me." (Qur'an 6:50)

Say: "I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah willeth. If I had knowledge of the unseen, I should have multiplied all good, and no evil should have touched me: I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings to those who have faith." (Qur'an 7:188)

No Place for Coercion and Intolerance:

Muhammad (S) preached against coercion and intolerance in matters of faith. This is clear from the Qur’anic verse:
“There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower." (2:256)

In the Qur’anic commentaries it is written that an Ansar Companion came to the Prophet (S). Before accepting Islam, he was a polytheist. He had two sons who had become Christians. He asked: “O Messenger of Allah! What can I do to these two sons of mine that have become Christians? Do you give me permission to force them to leave their religion and become Muslims?” The Prophet (S) said: “No! There is no compulsion in religion.” [Jihad by Morteza Mutahhari, translated by Mohammad Salman Tawheedi]

Belief or faith is a thing that people must choose for themselves. That is why Allah has not forced anyone to be a true believer and has given him the free will to choose between various options. The Qur’an says: “Say: ‘The truth is from your Lord’: Let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject (it).” [18:29] Muhammad's (S) duty was only to convey the message: “If then they turn away, We have not sent you (Muhammad) as a guard over them. Your duty is only to convey (the message)…”(Qur’an 42:48)

Muhammad (S) Preached Pluralism. This attitude comes from the Qur’an, which says:
“To each of you God has prescribed a Law and a Way. If God would have willed, He would have made you a single people. But God’s purpose is to test you in what He has given each of you, so strive in the pursuit of virtue, and know that you will all return to God, and He will resolve all the matters in which you disagree.” (5:48)

It is because of such lofty notions of diversity and tolerance preached by Muhammad (S) that the Islamic civilization was pluralistic and unusually tolerant of various social and religious denominations, something that was simply unthinkable elsewhere in the Middle Ages.

Refinement of Soul:

Muhammad (S) came to a nation that boasted of its depth of corruption and debauchery in social and moral issues. He called for a socio-economic-political program to uplift the status of the downtrodden, the disadvantaged ones within the society; but above all for a continuous reform of the self and society at large. And this he did by calling people to the revealed Book of Islam - the Qur’an.

The Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad (S) by the Angel Gabriel (Jibril) in piecemeal over a period of 23 years of his prophetic life. It contains commands and prohibitions so that minds may be cleared of heathenish taboos and traditions, so that confusions about truth and justice may be cleared, so that intellects may be trained to accept reasoning and logical proofs of Islam. It is a blessed Scripture that like the Torah contains social, political and military provision, even the instructions for the conduct of warfare, the taking and setting free of prisoners, that is interested in life, in building, in prosperity, in struggling against enemies and destructive elements; but it is also a book that concerns itself with refinement of the soul, the piety of the spirit, and the ethical improvement of the individual. (Quran 6:92, 17:9-10, 17:82, 17:89, 31:3) Its message is universal for all creation. (Qur'an 81:27)

For instance, the Qur’an instructs: “Take not with Allah another object of worship; or thou (O man!) wilt sit in disgrace and destitution. Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: "My Lord! bestow on them thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood." Your Lord knoweth best what is in your hearts: If ye do deeds of righteousness, verily He is Most Forgiving to those who turn to Him again and again (in true penitence). And render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to those in want, and to the wayfarer: But squander not (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the Evil Ones; and the Evil One is to his Lord (himself) ungrateful. And even if thou hast to turn away from them in pursuit of the Mercy from thy Lord which thou dost expect, yet speak to them a word of easy kindness. Make not thy hand tied (like a niggard's) to thy neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach, so that thou become blameworthy and destitute. Verily thy Lord doth provide sustenance in abundance for whom He pleaseth, and He provideth in a just measure. For He doth know and regard all His servants. Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin. Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils). Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him nor exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law). Come not nigh to the orphan's property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength; and fulfill (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning). Give full measure when ye measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight: that is the most fitting and the most advantageous in the final determination. And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning). Nor walk on the earth with insolence: for thou canst not rend the earth asunder, nor reach the mountains in height. Of all such things the evil is hateful in the sight of thy Lord. These are among the (precepts of) wisdom, which thy Lord has revealed to thee. Take not, with Allah, another object of worship, lest thou shouldst be thrown into Hell, blameworthy and rejected.” [17: 22-39]

In another verse, the Qur'an proclaimed:
The (faithful) slaves of the Beneficent are they who walk upon the earth modestly, and when the ignorant address them, they say: “Peace”; And who spend the night before their Lord, prostrate and standing, And who say: Our Lord! Avert from us the doom of hell; lo! the doom thereof is anguish; Lo! it is wretched as abode and station; And those who, when they spend, are neither prodigal nor grudging; and there is ever a firm station between the two; And those who cry not unto any other god along with Allah, nor take the life which Allah hath forbidden save in (course of) justice, nor commit adultery - and whoso doeth this shall pay the penalty; The doom will be doubled for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein disdained for ever; Save him who repenteth and believeth and doth righteous work; as for such, Allah will change their evil deeds to good deeds. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. And whosoever repenteth and doeth good, he verily repenteth toward Allah with true repentance - And those who will not witness vanity, but when they pass near senseless play, pass by with dignity. And those who, when they are reminded of the revelations of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind thereat. And who say: Our Lord! Vouchsafe us comfort of our wives and of our offspring, and make us patterns for (all) those who ward off (evil). They will be awarded the high place forasmuch as they were steadfast, and they will meet therein with welcome and the word of peace, abiding there forever. Happy is it as abode and station! Say (O Muhammad, unto the disbelievers): My Lord would not concern Himself with you but for your prayer. But now ye have denied (the Truth), therefore there will be judgment." (25:63-77)

Muhammad's (S) ruling spirit was justice and equity. This is beautifully said in the Qur’an: "O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Informed of what ye do." (5:8)

Muhammad (S) rejected the notion of vicarious atonement that's responsible for breeding a sinful and criminal society devoid of the notion of justice, and instead preached individual accountability: "No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another." (Qur’an 6:164) [See also Qur’an 2:286, 17:36, 24:24, and 45:15]

He enjoined right conduct and forbade indecency (Qur'an 3:110) and to repel evil with good. (Qur'an 23: 96, 41:34) He preached that reconciliation and forgiveness is better even when one has suffered injury. (Qur'an 42:37-43, 45:14) He fought against all forms of individual and social maladies. He set golden rules of mu'amalat (dealings). [For details, see this author's book: Islamic Wisdom.]

To have faith and to be a faithful is to believe and put one's beliefs into action. Muhammad (S) preached: “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, righteousness is rather one who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book, the apostles, and gives his wealth out of love for Him to the kindred and the orphans and the poor and tire wayfarer and the needy and for those in bondage, and established prayer and pays zakat and those who fulfill their promise when they make a promise and the patient ones in distress and affliction and in the time of war. These are they who are the Truthful and these are they who are the pious.” (Qur’an, 2:177)

As has been testified by A'isha (RA), Muhammad (S) was the "walking" Qur'an, who had embodied its noble teachings. It is, therefore, quite logical to conclude that like the Qur'an, he possessed two contrasting aspects - aspects that would be contradictory in other men, but in him have been joined in a single spirit. For he was a man constantly engaged in political struggle against his enemies and the disruptive forces in society, concerned with building a new society and a new civilization in this world; and also a guide leading men to a particular goal; that is, also a man of prayer, piety, love, mercy and devotion. In him were the characteristics of Moses and Jesus (AS) combined together, thus providing a balanced perspective on all matters. Moderation in life was his disposition and character. His sermons and discourses were always so explicit as to make the difference between right and wrong crystal clear. People did not have to guess what they heard. They knew what he meant. His decisions were always based upon justice and equity.

Status of Women:

Before the advent of Islam, women were mistreated. Female infanticide was very common. Divorced women did not get any financial support. They were routinely ignored from family inheritance. Nearly twelve centuries before the dawning of western Enlightenment, the Prophet (S) of Islam changed that paradigm by guaranteeing that women gets their due share in inheritance and are also treated well. He proclaimed that women have the right to earn money, the right to own property, to enter into legal contracts and to manage all of her assets in any way she pleases; she can run her own business and no one has any claim on her earnings including her husband. [Surah an-Nisa, ch. 4: Qur'an]

Muhammad (S) said, "The best among you are those who treat women well." The Prophet (S) also said: "The most perfect believers are the best in conduct. And the best of you are those who are best to their wives." He also said, “No one of my Ummah (community) supports three daughters or three sisters and treats well, except that they will be a shield for him from the Fire (of Hell).”

One day a man came to Muhammad (S) and asked: “O Messenger of Allah, which person of all people is best entitled to kind treatment and the good companionship from me?” He answered: “Your mother.” The man asked again: “And then?” He said: “Your mother.” The man asked for the third time: “And after her?” He said: “Your mother.” The man asked for the fourth time: “And after that?” He said: “Your father.”
A celebrated hadith says: "Paradise lies under the feet of mother."

Unity of Mankind: No Place for Racism but only Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood

During Muhammad's (S) time, as it is sadly true today in some societies, there were false notions about the origin of mankind. Some people were considered to be inherently superior to others. They behaved and were treated as demigods within the society. Muhammad (S) broke those taboos and emphasized instead - common ancestry (they come from the same parents), i.e., the unity of mankind. The Qur'an says: "O mankind! Lo! We have created you from a single pair of a male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another … (49:13)"; “Mankind were but one community; then they differed…” (10:19).

Muhammad (S) shunned the very idea of chosen people or superiority based on tribe, race, ethnicity, color, language, geography, etc., or that God is biased or partial to a particular race or tribe, and that His Mercy is locked up to a certain group. The Qur'an offered a different yardstick for genuine nobility: "Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware." (49:13) Further, the Qur’an declared: “Nay, but whosoever submits himself to Allah and he is a doer of good, for him there shall be his reward with his Lord, on such shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.” (2:112)

In his farewell Hajj sermon delivered on the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah, 10 A.H. in the 'Uranah valley of Mount Arafat in Makkah, Prophet Muhammad (S) proclaimed, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”

With such profound statements Muhammad (S) was not only able to shatter age-old ethnocentric notions of superficial superiority and exclusive nobility but also fortify the bonding of brotherhood and sisterhood of mankind. His credit lies in putting this manifesto of survival of mankind into actual practice by transforming the lives of tens of thousands of individuals, who had hitherto a history of fighting wars for generations. Following his teachings people buried their jealousies and discarded their vendetta and blood feuds. He made humanity realize and achieve the principle and practice of brotherhood of man, and to give up intrigues and conspiracies against truth and justice. [For details, see this author's article: Brotherhood in Islam.]

Nearly a hundred years ago, Mahatma Gandhi said: "Someone has said that Europeans in South Africa dread the advent of Islam - Islam, that civilized Spain; preached to the world the Gospel of Brotherhood. The Europeans of South Africa dread the advent of Islam, as they claim equality with the white races. They may well dread it. If brotherhood is a sin, if it is equality of the colored races that they dread, then their dread is well-founded."

In his book - Muhammad the Prophet of Islam - Prof. Ramakrishna Rao comments: "The principle of universal brotherhood and the doctrine of equality of mankind which he proclaimed represent very great contribution of Muhammad to the social upliftment of humanity."

Truly, the Prophet of Islam epitomized the very idea of universal brothe¬rhood. It was there that we find Muhammad (S) being in the midst of Arabs and non-Arabs alike, e.g., Salman - the Persian, Bilal - the Abyssinian, Shuaib - the Byzantine, and many others. Other peoples asked: why the non-Arabs were in his company? The Prophet (S) replied, “O my people, our father is one, our Lord is one, and our faith is one.” He also said, “Salman (the Persian) belongs to my family.”

At what time or place and in relation to what other social, economic, political, religious system, philosophy or ideology - did the world ever witness such a perfectly amazing phenomenon? Even after some fourteen centuries later, Malcolm X [Alhaj Malik El-Shabazz] was amazed at his first contact with mainstream Islam when he visited the Muslim world in 1964: "America needs to understand Islam, because this is one religion that erases from its society the race problem. .. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all together, irrespective of their color." [Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley: Letter from Mecca, 1964]

Arabia nearly 14 centuries ago. He virtually changed the world by changing the personality of the very people that gathered around him. Pringle Kennedy rightly observed, "How, in a few years, all this was changed, how, by 650 AD a great part of this world became a different world from what it had been before, is one of the most remarkable chapters in human history. This wonderful change followed, if it was not mainly caused by, the life of one man, the Prophet of Mecca." [Arabian Society at the Time of Muhammad]

Dr. Habib Siddiqui has authored seven books. His latest book: The Counsel – is now available in Malaysia from the Islamic Book Trust.
(To be continued)

- Asian Tribune

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