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Friday 14th of June 2024
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MAKKAH: THE STARTING PLACE FOR THE PROPHET'S PROPAGATION OF ISLAM

MAKKAH: THE STARTING PLACE FOR THE PROPHET'S PROPAGATION OF ISLAM

It is crystal clear that when the Holy Prophet of Islam illuminated the dark atmosphere of Makkah with the call of monotheism, he did not mean to lead just the people of the Hijaz or the Arabs, but his divine mission was to communicate God's message to the whole world and to start this momentous task from Arabia.

One proof of this true belief is that at the beginning of his mission, he said to his Qwn relatives, `Truly, I am God's Messenger to you, in particular, and to all people, in general...'.

There are also some verses in the Qur'an that confirm this claim. Consider the following three verses: `Say, O people, "Surely I am God's Messenger to you all"' (7:158). `And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds' (21:107). `And this Qur'an has been revealed to me that with it I may warn you and whomsoever it reaches' (6:19).

Such verses reveal the fact that the divine mission of the Prophet was not revised to become universal after his migration to Medina and the prevalence of Islam. From the very beginning, his holy mission was meant for all people, for all parts of the world, and for all times.

In answer to the question asked of Imam Sadiq, `Why is the Qur'an always new and fascinating no matter how many times it is read or taught?', he said, `God has not sent the Qur'an for a special time or for a particular group. The Qur'an is for all and forever, so till doomsday it will be new and enchanting at all times and to all groups of people'."

ANOTHER TESTIMONY TO ISLAM'S UNIVERSALITY

In 6 A.H., the Holy Prophet of Islam dispatched several representatives to rulers and kings of different parts of the world, each with a letter in which he invited them to become Muslims and submit to God's faith. All these letters had the same purport, that is, the invitation to monotheism and Islamic fraternity.

Since the Holy Prophet's mission was divine, in obedience to God's command, consistent with human nature, and meant to lead people to God's path, it highly impressed such just, truth‌seeking people as Najashi, Muquqs, and others, so they submitted to Islam.

Research made on the collection of the Prophet's letters indicates that he sent 62 letters to kings, chiefs of tribes and clans, and heads of convents. The texts of 29 of these letters are available.

Now we will take a glance at parts of the letters of the Holy Prophet of Islam.

A LETTER TO KHUSROW, THE KING OF IRAN

In the Name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate From Muhammad, God's Messenger, to Khusrow, the King of Persia. Greetings to the followers of the right path, to those obedient to God and His Prophet, to those who bear witness to God's Oneness, who worship the One God, and who bear witness to the prophecy of God's servant, Muhammad.

Truly I call upon you to obey God's command and convert to Islam. I am God's Messenger to all the people so that living hearts will be awakened and illuminated and so that infidels will have no excuses. Submit to Islam so you will be safe and immune, and if you disobey me and turn down my invitation, you will be blamed for the sins of the magi.'

A LETTER TO HARQAL, THE KING OF ROME

In the Name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate ...I call upon you to submit to Islam. If you become a Muslim, you will share the Muslims' gains and their losses, and if you do not want to become a Muslim yourself, then let your people freely convert to Islam or pay the poll tax, paid in lieu of conversion to Islam, and do not restrict them in choosing their faith."

The letters of the Holy Prophet of Islam were not exclusively written to kings. Rather, he sent letters to various nations and to the followers of other faiths so all would be informed of the rising of the sun of Islam.

A LETTER TO THE RULER OF YAMAMAH

In the Name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate This is a letter from God's Messenger, Muhammad to Hawzah. Greetings to the one who follows the path of salvation and the instructions of the divine. guides.

You, the ruler of Yamamah, note that my faith will advance to the farthest place where man can go, so submit to Islam to be immune."

A LETTER TO THE JEWS

In the Name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate This is a letter from Muhammad, God's Messenger, Musa ibn `Imran's brother and co-missionary. God has assigned to Muhammad the same mission He had assigned to Moses. I swear to you by God and by the sacred commands descended upon Moses on Mount Sinai that: Have you found in your Holy Book predictions of my prophetic mission to the Jewish community as well as to all other peoples? If you have found this, then fear God and convert to Islam, and if you have not found such a divine prediction, then you will be excused.'"

A LETTER TO BISHOP NAJRAN

In the Name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate This is a letter from God's prophet Muhammad to Bishop Najran: Truly I call on you to worship the real adored God instead of worshipping God's creatures.

OUR DUTY IS TO CONVEY THE MESSAGE OF ISLAM

The speedy advance and promulgation of Islam were due to the sincere, indefatigable endeavours of our Holy Prophet more than anything else.

In the propagation of Islam, the Holy Prophet utilized two powerful, effective forces: one, proficient speakers who had realized the truth and righteousness of Islam and who deeply loved and admired the Holy Prophet of Islam, and, two, the amazingly impressive letters, which revealed the vivifying precepts of Islam and which, in reality, were crystal clear reflections of Islam. He sent his messengers to different parts of the world although there were many hardships in their way and the needed means and facilities were scarce or unavailable.

Now the holy soul of our Prophet is worried about Muslim societies, and no doubt he watches them to see how they attempt to promote Islam, to communicate the precepts of Islam to people all over the world, and also to see if they make use of modern technologies and media to propagate the holy teachings of Islam.

So it is incumbent upon us to mobilize all our forces and powers to promote the cause of Islam and to spare no effort or self sacrifice in the propagation of this holy faith, so our eastern and western brothers and sisters in Islam may be led to this vivifying fountain of truth. It will be a great achievement for us to have the honour of such an invaluable service to Islam and to humanity in general. Just as our Holy Prophet said to 'Ali, 'I swear by God that if God leads a person towards salvation through you, it will be more valuable and beneficial to you than the value of all the beings in the whole world upon which the sun casts its rays'."

 Muhammad, the Last Prophet

All Muslims of the world, no matter what their sects are, hold in common that the Holy Prophet of Islam was the last prophet, and in fact, Muslims believe in divine prophecy having ended with him, just as they believe in the Unity of God.

Islam is always fresh, wonderful, and comprehensive, and the more extensive is one's insight, the more one comprehends the comprehensiveness of Islam. As a matter of fact, there is no end to Islam's wonders and,miracles.

Now let us survey the truth of this belief. First we will explain the most effective reasons for a faith being eternal, and then we will consider Islam.

The most important factor causing a faith to persist and enjoy perpetuity is its being consistent with and based on human nature. A religion of which the instructions are in accordance with natural and innate human characteristics will continue to prevail forever, will never suffer annihilation as a result of the passing of time, nor will such a faith become out of date and useless.

Instructions and precepts that are not restricted to a certain place or period of time are compatible with any kind of progress and will stay as valid and powerful as they have always been no matter how many changes take place in the material aspects of human life and how much advance is made in technology and natural sciences.

On the contrary, instructions and rules that are limited to a particular period or a special group fail to fulfill all aspects of human needs at all times and under all circumstances. For example, if a rule is made that commands people are only allowed to use natural vehicles such as horses and camels for traveling and transportation, such a rule will obviously be discarded and outdated because new necessities make people utilize new means and equipment. One of the reasons why past faiths are not durable is that they have been meant for a certain group or a special period of time.

Comprehensiveness: An eternal faith must be all-embracing, comprehensive, and able to meet all human needs and wants. It is an already experienced fact that man's thirsty, stormy soul does not find peace and satisfaction with a series of empty ceremonies but is in great need of comprehensive precepts and rules that are capable of guiding him all through his life, of providing solutions to his various problems both in personal and social life, and of satisfying his spiritual demands and wants.

Giving guidance in deadlocks: There are certain occasions in human life when either due to the conflict of general rules or due to an unexpected emergency, man finds himself in a deadlock and starts wondering what to do and how to proceed.

Thus an eternal faith must, in addition to overall rules and instructions, provide man with other sets of rules and guidelines that explain the solutions to exceptional problems and emergency situations that general rules are incapable of handling.

And it is such a comprehensive faith that is in accord with all times and all conditions of life and can benefit all. In fact, it is only a perfect faith that serves the supreme purpose of leading human beings onto God's path. The foregoing factors are the most significant causes of the duration and perpetuity of a faith all of which are in Islam. Now let us find some explanations for these factors.

ISLAM: THE IMMORTAL FAITH

It is a reality that, in the legislative system of Islam, human nature, which is the same at all times and in all places, has been taken into consideration and positive answers have been given to natural human wants and needs. A careful study of Islamic precepts and programs reveals the fact that they have been so designed as to regulate all human instincts. For example, for the proper satisfaction of human sexual instincts, various simple plans and rules have been offered that properly satisfy and regulate this natural instinct at the same time that they prevent unrestrained sexual relations, so human societies may be immune from the corruption and decline that sexual freedom causes.

The fundamental rules anti laws in Islam are meant not just for a particular time or a particular place needing modification and change as conditions change, they are compatible with all environments and all times and are capable of providing human beings with all the guidelines they need to live happily and prosperously and to find eternal salvation as well.

In the Islamic programs and teachings concerning jihad, for instance, no emphasis is placed upon weaponry and tactics of the time of the Prophet, such as fighting with swords. Rather, Islam has given this general command concerning jihad: Strengthen your fighting abilities, mobilize your forces, and-‌acquire good arms and ammunition so you will be able to defend your vital rights against your enemies and overcome them. This is a general all-embracing rule that is in accordance with all conditions of life and all sorts of progress made in technology. And thus this comprehensive rule can invariably give guidance on the questions concerning war in Islam, and the same is the case with other Islamic rules and instructions.

To the deadlocks and emergencies that occur in human life, either individual or social, the faith of Islam has offered laws such as `the law of emergency', `the law of not guilty', `the law of no loss',  and the like, which present suitable solutions to all problems, however complicated they might be. Moreover, the Imams, the successors of the Holy Prophet of Islam, and religious leaders whom Muslims follow can offer decisive solutions to social deadlocks and problems.

The programs and rules designed by Islam are far more extensive and elaborate than those presented by other schools of thought. In Islam, all legal, economic, military, moral, and other issues and points have been presented and surveyed in the most elaborate and perfect manner. The Islamic theologians have so far compiled thousands of books on the fore-going subject for which the sources are the Holy Qur'an, the sayings of the Holy Prophet of Islam, and the teachings of the offspring of Prophet.

Thus, taking into consideration these facts and proven realities, any knowledgeable person will admit that Islam is a perfect faith, capable of fulfilling human needs and of presenting solutions to all problems, and so there is no need for any other faith or any new school of thought.

 

THE END OF PROPHECY WITH THE PROPHET

The comprehensiveness of the rules and precepts of Islam and the end of prophecy with the Holy Prophet of Islam have been clearly expressed in the Qur'an: `And the word of your Lord has been accomplished truly. and justly; there is none who can change His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing' (6:115).

'Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of God and the Last of all Prophets, and God is cognizant of all things' (33:40).

In the Arabic language, wherever the word `khatam' is attached to a word, it conveys the meaning of `the last' and in this verse it refers to `the last of the prophets'. Nabi means any type of divine messenger.  

Obviously, the word messenger can be applied to all prophets so by saying that Muhammad is the last of all prophets, God means that he is the last of all messengers and that after him there will come no prophet, nor any messenger from God, nor any person with a new holy book.

`Surely this Qur'an guides to that which is most upright and gives the good news to the believers who do good that they shall have a great reward (17:9).

Therefore, human beings have no need for any other prophet, any other rules and regulations, or any other school of thought because all they need is to be found in the Qur'an.

There are so many documents and testimonies to the fact that the Prophet was the last of all prophets that in Islam this reality is considered one of the clearest points.

Now your attention is drawl to some narrations:

The Prophet has himself said, `You must know that there will come no Prophet after me and no faith after my faith of Islam...'.  

Imam Baqir (peace be upon him) has said, `God has ended Holy Books with your Book, the Qur'an, and prophets with your Prophet...'.

Hazrat 'Ali (peace be upon him) has said, `God assigned Muhammad, peace and the mercy of God be upon him and his descendants, to be a prophet after all other prophets and has ended revelation with him'.

The Prophet said to Hazrat 'Ali, `Your relation to me is like that of Aaron to Moses, peace be upon him, with the difference that there will come no prophet after me'."

Imam Riza (peace be upon him) has said, `The faith of Muhammad (peace and the mercy of God be upon him and his descendants) will not be abolished until the Day of Resurrection, and no prophet will come after him until that day'.

These and many other traditions and narrations are perpetual proclamations of the Prophet as the last of all prophets and Islam as the only comprehensive faith.

The splendour of the purport of this faith as well as its profound precepts and comprehensive rules ensure its perpetuity till the Day of Judgment.

Now that God has endowed us with such a matchless magnificent faith, surely it is our duty to communicate it to all other people so all will benefit from this holy faith.

 Ghadir and the Prophet's Successor

It was in 10 A.H. and the time for Hajj. The Hijazi deserts witnessed large crowds of Muslims who unitedly chanted the same slogans and proceeded towards the same holy end.

That year the sight of tie Hajj pilgrimage was much more exciting and moving than ever before. Muslims most hurriedly and eagerly traversed the way and went to Makkah - this holy city.

The celestial melody of `Labayka', `Yes, I have come', resounded through Makkah. Caravans reached the city one after the other. The hajjis unitedly and harmoniously in pilgrim's garb, while shedding tears of joy and love for God, hurried to the sacred threshold of God and circumambulated the Ka'aba - the Holy House built by the champion of monotheism - Abraham, the Friend of God.

Farid Vajdi has calculated the number of hajjis to have been 90,000  in the year 10 A.H., but there are some who hold that the number was 124,000."

The Holy Prophet of Islam watched that splendid scene with the utmost affection and eagerness. He was pleased to observe that the Masjid al-Haram was overflowing with Muslims who had gathered together in conformity with the holy precept, `Truly the faithful are brothers', and were worshipping God like brothers and angels.

The Holy Prophet was clearly happy with his great achievement - with having fulfilled his divine mission in the best manner possible.

Nevertheless, his resplendent face was sometimes covered with a halo of sorrow and anxiety, and his pure heart filled with sadness and worry.

He was in fact worried about the fate of the Muslims after his leaving this world for heaven. He feared lest after him the society of Muslims should break apart; Muslims should disperse, the spirit of unity and fraternity should vanish among them, and consequently they regress.

Obviously, the Holy Prophet of Islam was well aware of the fact that the Ummah of Islam was in great need of honest, knowledgeable leaders, or otherwise the fruits of his years of efforts would all be wasted.

For this reason, whenever he was going to leave Medina either for war or for other purposes, even if his trip was short, he would assign a competent, trustworthy person to supervise their affairs and would never leave the people of Medina without any guardian and supervisor.

Thus, how is it possible to imagine that such a compassionate, sympathetic prophet might have left the momentous affairs of his beloved Ummah of Islam to chance and not have designated any reliable administrator for them.

And no doubt he knew very well who deserved the position of the caliphate of the Muslims and for whose mature stature the garb of the caliphate had been sewn.

That celebrated man was the same who, in the presence of the chiefs of the Quraysh and the relatives of the Prophet who had been invited to the House of the Prophet of Islam at the beginning of his prophetic mission, had been acknowledged as the successor of the Holy Prophet of Islam by the Prophet himself.

He was a pious, God-fearing man who did not associate anything with God and did not prostrate before idols even for a single moment.

He was a sacrificial soldier of Islam. His knowledge originated in the knowledge of the Prophet of God and his judgment was the best.

He was well-known. He was 'Ali, son of Abu Talib.

The Hajj ceremonies were over, and the Muslims were preparing to move towards their own towns when suddenly the call of the herald of the Holy Prophet of Islam resounded in the Hijaz desert and made the Muslims stop. His heralds called on the people to gather together again.

The Muslims, of course, did not know why they had been given this command, but the fact was that the Angel of Revelation had descended and conveyed this verse to the Prophet, `O Prophet! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and God will protect you- from the people; surely God will not guide the unbelieving people' (5:67).

The issue about which God spoke to His Prophet in such a serious tone was nothing other than the formal announcement of the caliphate of 'Ali, the significant subject that the Prophet hesitated to declare, for he feared lest this announcement should cause dissension and discord among the Muslims and was thus waiting for a favourable occasion to make clear the matter to them.

Upon receiving this revelation, he knew that the time had come for the crucial purpose. So he, immediately assembled the Muslims at Ghadir Khum, which was a hot, arid desert, to clarify the vital issue in Islam - the issue of the caliphate.

The people started wondering why that command had been issued, but before long the congregational ritual prayers was announced and after saying the noon ritual prayers, the crowd of Muslims witnessed the celestial, enchanting countenance of the Prophet over a pulpit made of saddles of camels.

A profound silence prevailed. Then the divine, meaningful words of the Prophet broke the silence of the Hijaz desert. After praising Almighty God, he announced the heart-rending news of his oncoming death and then asked the Muslims, `O people! What kind of a prophet have I been for you?'

All exclaimed unitedly, `O Prophet of God! You did your best to admonish and rectify us and never neglected to train us and led us onto the path of piety. May God reward you best'.

The Holy Prophet of Islam said, `After me, God's Book and the sinless leaders are side by side your leader and guide. You should perfectly follow them, so you will not go astray'.

Then he took 'Ali by the hand, lifted him so that all would see him and exclaimed, `O people! Who is the guardian and supervisor of the faithful?'

The Muslims answered, `God and His Prophet know best'.

The Holy Prophet of Islam said, `God is my Master and I am the Master of the faithful'. Then he added without any pause, "Ali is the Master of those whose Master I am. Almighty God be the friend of his friend and be the foe of his foe. Help those who help him and frustrate the hope of those who betray him...'.

The Prophet repeated the sentence, "Ali is the Master of those whose Master I am', three times. At the end of the speech he said, `Those present should convey this truth to those who are absent'.

The crowd of Muslims had hardly dispersed when this verse was revealed to the Prophet, `This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favour on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion' (5:3).

After the magnificent ceremonies of designating the successor of the Holy Prophet of Islam were over, the Muslims hurried to congratulate 'Ali for being appointed as the Prophet's successor and Caliph.

Abu Bakr was the first to congratulate 'Ali and `Umar was the second. They parted with 'Ali while saying the following words, `Blessed are you, son of Abu Talib, who have become my Master and every believer's Master'.

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