The Man of Allah
|The Man of Allah
written by Qassim Ali Jairazbhoy
- Al Quran II, 263.
The Call Divine
The Man of Allah
- Al-Quran : XLV, 13.
People are born in the world every day, but it is out of hundreds and thousands that one is destined to be great. That one is called the " Lucky," but it is far more improbable for a "Favoured one " to be born even amidst a million. After Jesus Christ, over 5½ centuries passed, before another "favoured one" was born. In Mecca, about 1350 years ago, was born to Amina and Abdulla a child, a child destined to achieve success unsurpassed in the field of bringing the created close to the Creator. The simple faith, taught by the Prophet of Nazareth on the shores of the Galilelee, had become a mixture of confusion and schisms. God looked askance at the world, and in order to show for the last time the true
path of life, He caused this child to be born in humble lodgings. Almost at his birth he lost his father.
The Banu Hashim were the powerful and most aristocratic tribe of Arabia under Abdul Muttalib at the time of the birth of this child. The usual signs that appear at the birth of a "favoured one," presented themselves at the birth of this child, to let those the far-sighted know that there was born somewhere a child who was to proclaim the truth of God.
It was an Arab custom to give away the child for nursing to women from the country, and likewise this child, who was named Muhammad, was given away to one named Halima. She took the child with mingled joy and sorrow, joyous because she too succeeded in getting a child as the rest of them who came for children, and sorrowful because she would not get much in return for the rearing, as the child was an orphan. Nevertheless she undertook the task, and at the end of the period of two years, brought him back to the mother. As an epidemic was raging in the town, Halima was asked to take the child back, which she did. Thus we see that unlike the customary period the Holy Prophet, Mohammad, spent six years of his life in the rural surroundings. Perhaps it was because God wanted it to be so, for these early years were responsible for many traits of the character of the man when he was ready to preach his Gospel. He behaved entirely different from other children. From the very beginning, he was observant and sensitive like a wire to all the vibrations.
After six years thus spent with his foster mother, he returned to his own mother, but it was destined that he should not have that long-loving care of a mother that is like sunshine to a plant. Soon after his return, she took a journey to the grave of her husband, and died on the way. Thus the care of the child devolved on the aged shoulders of the grand-father, but he too died, and the child was then brought up by his uncle, Abu Talib. The uncle and nephew were so attached to each other, that Abu Talib had to take him on all commercial tours that he undertook. In the meantime, the child showed all signs of an unimpeachable character.
Thus a child of lovely birth, brought up in such circumstances, and in a country like Arabia should have been like the rest; but he was unlike of them all, and achieved in his life-time a success that no mortal has ever done. Soon, from the shores of the Atlantic to the banks of the Ganges, name of Allah as well as that of this child was called out five times a day from thousands of [wikt:minaret|minaret]]s. Dr. Zwemer asks in wonder, "Who was this Hero-Prophet? What was his environment and what the secret of his genius? What is the explanation of this marvel of history ?" I will let Carlyle answer him, for only a great soul can look into others' greatness. So says Carlyle: "A silent great soul; he was one of those who cannot but be in earnest; whom Nature herself appointed to be sincere. While others walk in formulas and hearsays; contented enough to dwell there, this man could not screen himself in formulas; he was alone with his own soul and the reality of things. The great Mystery of Existence, as I said, glared in upon him with its terrors, with its splendours; no hearsays could hide that unspeakable fact. Here am I, such sincerity as we name it, has in very truth something of Divine. The word of such a man is a Voice direct from Nature's own Heart A Hero, as I repeat, has this first distinction, which indeed we may call the first and last, the Alpha and Omega of his whole Heroism, that he looks through the shows of things into things."
Unlike all the youngmen of Arabia, he was most reserved. The freedom and licence that the young then had, had no attractions for him. Like them he did not turn to wine to quench his thirst, but to nature and God. He had no time for frivolities, for he was too much impressed by the oppression which he saw going around him. Instead of becoming a reflection of the then Arab morals, he became an active worker of the society for the prevention of oppression. His truthfulness and honesty soon won him the title of 'Al-Amin' the 'Truthful,' the 'Trustworthy.'
Every one that came in contact with him fell a loving victim to his charms. One Khadija, a rich widow of 40 years of age, engaged him as her commercial traveller and sent him out. He returned with such success, and impressed the lady so much with his honesty that she asked to be taken as his wife, and was accepted as such. After the marriage she handed over all her wealth to him, including the host of her slaves. His first act was to liberate the slaves, which in itself was a thing that the aged leaders were unable to accomplish owing to the shackles of the society.
He was ever sad, and moody. The ills of his land were eating his heart off. At every possible opportunity, he started retiring into solitude to get an answer to this puzzle of life. There he used to ponder over the questions: What am I ? What is this unfathomable thing I live in, which is named Universe? What is life? What is death ? What am I to believe ? What am I to do ? But the grim rocks of Mount Hira, of Mount Sinai, gave him no answer.
Till at last one day during the month of Ramadhan the voice of God answered the riddle for him. There was no doubt after that; everything was clear like crystal He saw through -the sham of things, and found that idols were nothing but miserable bits of wood; that there is one God, Who is great, and that there is nothing else great.
The answer was so sudden and astounding that he felt staggered, and shivering literally went home to his wife, and told her of the incident.
Carlyle describing this says: "Muhammad had been wont to retire yearly during the month of Ramadhan, into solitude and silence. Muhommad was in his fortieth year, when having withdrawn to a cavern in Mount Hira, near Mecca, during his Ramadhan, to pass the month in prayer and meditation he one day told his wife Khadija that by the unspeakable special favour of Heaven he had now found it all out; was in doubt and darkness no longer, but saw it all."
When Khadija heard of this event, she comforted him and said that God would not try him, for he was kind, loving and generous to all. These consoling words of his wife, the person privileged by her position to know about the man and his character in fullest details should clearly be regarded as a true index to the character and personality of the man. Not content with this, she took him to her cousin, Warka a scholar, well-versed in the Bible, for further consolation and confirmation. He consoled the Prophet in the following words : "Be not troubled. Thou hast received revelation from God in the same manner as Moses used to receive.", and the Holy Prophet was satisfied. Warka moaned to him of his old age, and of the consequent inability to support him actively.
Soon after the first revelation he received another in which he was ordered to call upon mankind to the way of God. He was enjoined to abolish polytheism, idolatry, aggression, and to establish unity, peace and love.
Thus after receiving this revelation he went home again troubled, and told his wife of the orders of God. She at once believed in him, and embraced Islam. Ali, the 10 year old child of his uncle and guardian, Abu Talib, who was brought up under the care of the Prophet, joined him without question. The other two, who were closely related to him, also believed in him, and they were Abu Bakr, his friend, and Zaid, his liberated slave.
The readiness on the part of these four, who knew all the phases of his life and character, should be an eye opener to the bigoted critics. The story of Abu Bakr's conversion should be told to the world from every house top, so that the ignorant and the misled may know the truth. One day, when Abu Bakr and many other distinguished guest were being entertained by a rich and noble person of Mecca, there came a maid in the midst of their party. She told them that the husband of Khadija proclaims himself to be a Prophet like Moses. All those present burst out laughing, putting it to madness on the part of the man to put forth such a claim. But Abu Bakr at once left the place, and went over to that of his friend, and inquired if what he had heard, was true. The Prophet told him of the revelation. This was enough for Abu Bakr, for he had implicit faith in the integrity and truthfulness of his friend, and without further questioning he exclaimed: " I swear by my father, and my mother that thou hast never uttered a falsehood, and I cannot believe that thou wouldst say concerning God which is not true. I bear witness therefore, that there is no God beside Allah, and that thou art the Messenger of Allah." Had he been a madman, or a liar, or an imposter, Abu Bakr and others would not have embraced Islam, but because they knew intimately that he was the ' most truthful ' that they readily embraced his faith, and accepted him as an Apostle of God.
It was not so easy in the case of others, for in the beginning every one of them was most reluctant to accept the new faith. It is in Nature of things for men to put up a desperate fight if all that is dear to them as well as of high material value, is threatened. The Arab of those days, was a highly demoralised specimen of manhood, eager to snatch, with foul means or fair, whatever came in his way, and as such it was impossible for him to accept a faith which meant goodbye to his cherished pass-time. He was a born drunkard, and it was difficult for him to cease gambling. He was a debauchee, and it was difficult for him to cease dessipating. In fact Islam presented to him the negation of all his out-looks on morality, action, righteousness. Under these circumstances, it was but natural that he should put up a fight, a fight to finish. And in this fight of his, the wound he inflicted, the persecutions he executed, stand out in the History of religion as most cruel and hard. Those who accepted Islam because they found the truth, be they freemen or salves, were put to all conceivable and inconceivable tortures. Any other man in those surroundings, and in the face of such stubborn and dogged opposition would have long given up the task, but the Holy Prophet remained adamant, and went on with his task with a calm and resolve that at once makes him the greatest of mankind.
The Meccans were addicted to idol worship as they were to all other vices. Their temple contained hundreds of idols which they worshipped daily. They believed that each different idol is the supreme deity in its sphere, that the Universe is governed by many Gods, each functioning a seperate purpose. To them to think even that there is only one God and that He needs no help of other God-heads to help His function, was fantastic. Therefore, when the Holy Prophet spoke to them of one and only One God, they laughed at him, and called him a madman.
That they all believed him to be the truthful, is borne out by the historical event at Mount Safa. He climbed up the mountain and called on them to hear him. They all gathered there when he asked them: " Ye people of Mecca, if I were to tell you that a great army is advancing on Mecca and has arrived close, and is about to attack, would ye believe me ? " In one voice they all answered: "We would believe thee, for thou hast never been guilty of a falsehood. Having thus made them testify to his truthfulness, he called upon them therefore to believe in all that he taught about God, but they refused to do so, because they said that they simply could not give up the religion of their forefathers.
This affair led them to believe that things had reached a pass when concerted and systematic action was needed to fight the new faith, and accordingly, after councils and consultations, they launched upon Islam, its founder and followers, a compaign of ruthless persecution.
The atmosphere became so perilious for the Muslims that the Prophet was obliged to ask his followers to migrate.
The country therefore chosen for migration was Abyssinia and a big caravan of Muslim men, women and children, left for a strange land. The Meccans learnt of this move and hastened to check it, but by the time they reached the shores, the refugees had embarked and sailed for all they were worth. The Meccans might have let the matters as they were, but their fury at their failure leaped up into flames, and they decided to send a delegation to Negs, the Christian King of Abyssinia, to demand their refugees. The deputation reached Abyssinia loaded with costly presents both for the king and the courtiers. They obtained audience and after giving the presents demanded the refugees. Negs, perhaps Providence meant that way, said that he would hear the case of the refugees before allowing them to be taken back. Fortunately again the spokesman of the Muslims put their grievances with such tact that the king refused to hand over the refugees.
After the despatch of the delegation they set about to work at home seriously. In the beginning they offered all temptations to the Prophet to give up the teachings of the New Faith. Carlyle again spoke of this in an admirable way, thus: " It was not of the Faith he wanted to hear tell; it was of the Heaven above and Hell beneath. All Crowns and Sovereignties whatsoever, where would they in a few years be ? To be Sheik of Mecca or Arabia, and have a bit of gilt wood put into your hand, will that be one's salvation? I decidedly think not. They offered him all the riches; they offered him the most beautiful of their maidens, but he refused to even think of such things, and boldly carried on his mission.
Thus frustrated at their attempts, and roused to fury by the unsuccessful return of the delegation, they decided, as the last resort, to end the life of the Prophet. When the family of the Prophet learnt of this foul machination, it withdrew with its all members into a neighbouring valley. Foiled and baffled, the Meccans decided to boycott the entire family, and set about to check the supply of stores and provisions. All this they put into writing and hung it in Kaaba. The trials and hardships of this period are too painful to be written. Things reached such a climax that slow but sure death was certain for them all. At this, some of the hearts were softened and they tried to dissuade the Maccans from carrying on the boycott and the blockade further. And when they found them adamant, they tore the covenant into bits, and brought the family back into town again.
This did not mean the cessation of the hostility; but a further continuance of it. The Holy Prophet was obliged to leave Macca for Taif. His reception at Taif, and amount of injuries inflicted on his body in the streets, are well known historical facts.
Truth cannot be suppressed. In spite of all precautions on the part of the Meccans not to allow the news of the teachings of the new faith to come out, it did come out. People coming from outside every year on the occasion of pilgrimage to Kaaba, did hear, and went back with the stories of the man, and his teachings. The Prophet himself used to meet these outsiders on all opportunities to expound his theories. The Medinites were the only people who first lent ears to his teachings, and this could be, because of the Jewish population in Medina, which was, according to its scriptures, waiting for the "Promised Prophet."
At one time as many as half-a-dozen embraced Islam and went back with a promise to preach the new faith in Medina. The Prophet spent that year in great anxiety, for he wanted to learn how his teachings met the people in Medina. The next year therefore, he was eager to find out these People, and was glad when he found more than a dozen waiting for him. On this occasion they asked the Prophet to accompany them to Medina, and a covenant between them, and Abbas the Uncle of the Prophet was signed, by which the Medinite promised to protect the life of the Holy Prophet.
But as every action of the Prophet was according to the commands of God he had to wait for them before proceeding to Medina. He however allowed all other Muslims to migrate quietly, which in batches they did, till at last the Holy Prophet, Abu Bakr, Ali, and few ladies were left in Mecca. Abu Bakr, and Ali refused to leave the side of the Prophet and go.
This gave the unique opportunity to the Meccans to put an end to the life of the Prophet, and accordingly they decided to do so. So one night they besieged the house of the Prophet, with a view to kill him in the morning when he would go out to say his prayers. By the will of God the Prophet was informed of this, and was ordered to proceed to Medina. The Prophet at once sent for Ali and informed him of the critical situation upon which Ali, the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law, felt vexed Ali asked: "But will your life be saved, O Apostle of Allah, by leaving me in your stead." The Prophet replied in the affirmative. He further arranged with Ali to take his place in bed, and left the house at about midnight, and meeting Abu Bakr on the way, first, hid in a cave for three days and then journeyed to Medina. In the morning, getting desperate, the youths surrounding the house of the Prophet, broke in the door, and rushed in, and to their dismay found Ali, whom they mercilessly belaboured. They set out at once to chase and capture, but they failed and returned utterly foiled with the resolve to wreak vengeance.
What a contrast Medina presented to the hunted life of Medina. Here he found peace, till the machinations of the Meccans set up the Jews against Islam. The Meclinities who became known as helpers received the Muslims as their brothers, and divided their possessions and means equally with them. The Prophet himself found time to preach, and people began to embrace Islam by hundreds, till at last the whole population of the city became Muslim with the exception of some Jews, and the Prophet became Head of the Muslim State thus formed.
This entailed political responsibilities beside the spiritual ones he had. Laws had to be devised for the working of the society with regard to internal and external relations and harmony and with regard to the social and moral conduct of the Muslims.
There are very many critics among the Christians who say that Islam became militant after its advent in Medina. How superfluous this charge is, the history is sufficient to show. The use of arms by the Muslims was not for aggression, but for protection. And it is obvious that self-defence is the very law of life. Had the Meccans accepted the obvious and remained quiet, and had the Jews observed the terms of the covenant of mutual relations, perhaps Islam would never have had the opportunity to resort to arms at least during the life time of the Prophet. When every state provides for security from external aggression and if Islam did likewise, it should not be made out as a charge. It is a common mistake, for the critics seem to forget that Islam has two aspects, viz. Spiritual and Civic. As the former it has its rules, beliefs etc., and as the latter too it has its laws and observances. To separate Islam from political Islam, pure as a religion, would not be possible.
The Jews were alarmed at the success of the Muslims, for they felt their power waning; the Meccans got offended at the success Islam achieved. These two combined together to end Islam by force, and it was to combat this that Islam had to resort to sword. The wars that soon followed illustrate this idea amply, and show that the Muslims did not take part in them for the sake of power, self-aggrandizement, or booty, but only for the sake of preserving their body politic, as well as religion, intact. How the enemy set to work the ruin of Islam by hypocrisy is also a well known historical fact. It was nothing but the undaunted courage of the Prophet that made the Muslims successful in ousting the enemy in almost every battle-field. Thus within his life time, the whole of Arabia became a Muslim State, and it was all due to the character and personality of the Holy Prophet. Those who criticise should find in the wars he waged a disclosure of the important features of his morals, and a demonstration of his love for peace, tranquility, forgiveness and mercy. He forgave his enemies at a time when he could give them their full measure of due for all they did for him. He showed his magnanimity by every deed and action, and proved that his purpose was the accomplishment of the will of God. He spent therefore every moment of his life in suffering, in the furtherance of this task which was imposed by God. The laws of war that he promulgated and laid emphasis on, amply show that he was intensely human. There is hardly any need here to expound the beautiful traits of his character, for they are well known to the whole world and to those who want to study it in detail to find the secret of his success, I could recommend no better book than Carlyle's "Heroes and Hero Worship."
We would be incomplete in our discourse on this great personality if we fail to say something of the teachings of this great man, and the consequent successes followers attained in the field of literary pursuit.
The first and foremost, nay the basic point of his teachings, in his theory is that God is one. Speaking of his conception of God, Major Leonard said that if ever a man found God, it was this Prophet of Arabia. Carlyle speaking of the same, says: "That God is great. He is the Reality" ...He made it clear that idols are nothing but the creation of mud, and that to imagine even that He is begotten, or begets is sacrilegious. His God, as he percieved Him, is the Omnipresent, the sustainer, the giver and the forgiver The Quran is full of illustrations of the attributes of God.
Having convinced the world of the Oneness of God, he went on to establish the purpose of creation, so as to bring it into harmony with the laws of Nature. He said that man is created for the highest social, moral, intellectual and spiritual advancement, and that the life on this earth is not the end, but the beginning of that end, when one day man will join God. Therefore to prepare man to this goal, and to guide him thereto, He raised Prophets from time fo time amidst all nations of the world. Thus proving that, he said that God is not tribal or local, but God of all the Universe and of the day of judgement. He therefore enjoined on his followers to believe in all the Prophets raised before. Ke next told them of the nature and essence of revelation, and equally enjoined on all to have the same belief in the revelations also.
Having established these basic points of belief, he enunciated the cardinal rules of observance; to pray, to fast, to give to the poor, and to go for pilgrimage. He laid great emphasis on one's relations with one's kins, friends and neighbors. He taught men to be kind and loving to each other. He taught that inspite of differences one should live in peace with others. In short he wished man to show by his actions, deeds and thoughts, to reflect on the attributes of God, with submissiveness that Allah demands. Carlyle writes: "Allah-O-Akbar-Allah is great; and then also 'Islam' that we must submit to God. That our whole strength lies in resigned submission to Him, whatsoever He do to us, for this world and the other. The things He send to us, were it death or worse than, death, shall be good, shall be best." Speaking of this submission to God, Goethe observes : " If this be Islam, do we not all live in Islam ? "
It was for the first time in the history all religions that he taught of the interdependence of the spiritual and the physical. Before that, it was the accepted theory that for the purification of the spiritual, the physical should be starved, suppressed and killed. The ruling idea ot renouncing the world was the criterion for a good spiritual life. Nirwana of the Bhddhists, and the Kingdom of Heaven of the Christians, were thrown open to those only who could mortify and kill the physical self. But Islam showed that such theory could not be consistent with nature, for the very obvious reason that if God meant people to renounce the world, He need not have taken the trouble to create the world and million and one things for the use of man. The very fact that world was created, and man was set in there to live, shows that he was born to participate of all the various things that Nature has made for him. Therefore to reject them, believing that by doing so one is pleasing Allah, is most erroneous and tantamount to insulting God. Islam improved upon this view of the world, and showed that man should participate of all that and yet adopt a life that should entitle to him to the high place after death. It taught them to achieve this end by submitting to, and obeying the rules laid down by religion. To be in the world and to deny or bluntly refuse, so to say, things God made for man, is not very loyal. Those who think that the two sides, meaning the spiritual and physical, are incompatible, and therefore the things created for the physical comforts are a bait to lead people astray, are wrong. They are not bait, but are only made for his use, so that a healthy human being could function correctly. There is certainly no need for God to do all this illogical play. To bait a man to commit sin, and then to punish him when he has succumbed to it is not Godly. Allah would never do any such thing, for in that case the fault would not be of man, but that of the Creator.
Islam clearly dispelled all such notions on life. It taught its followers to regard all the material things created for him as blessings, and to thank God for them, but also taught that side by side with that, man should also improve his spiritual self, and for this purpose it laid down certain rules, and observances. Speaking of this, an Englishman removing his doubts before conversion writes; "More than any other religion it seems to have remembered earth whilst never forgetting heaven, A man can live honourable, useful life on earth, and yet be a saintly Muslim. Islam does not require its followers to withdraw from life and follow a code of exaggerated asceticism. It recognises that a man has a body as well as a soul, and whereas Christianity tried to castrate the human race, Islam recognises the power of sexual impulse, and realizes its inherent nobility, if restrained and disciplined." (The latter is now a recognised scientific medical opinion). It should not be taken as the opinion of one person only; for it is an opinion every right thinking person would come to, if he goes about correctly.
Yet there are people who say that Islam is for Eastern Countries, and Christianity for Western, but there could not be a more incorrect conception than this. Those who think this perhaps forget that Jesus was an Easterner, and that as such his religion should have also been confined to East. The Quran calls its God, "The Lord of East, as well as of the West," and as every body acknowledges that there is one and the same God who rules the entire world, does it not then behave for the same God to have one religion for the whole world. The fact is that He meant the whole world to be professing the one true religion, to teach which He raised Prophets from time to time among different peoples. All the Prophets taught the same religion, and there is essentially no difference in the religions that go by different names to-day, as when they were preached. So there is no such thing as the religion of the East, and the religion of the West. If Christianity be a Western religion as some would have us believe, then how would they account for the spread of Christianity in Eastern Countries. We are not writing this to speak of the merits and demerits of different religions even otherwise, we can prove that there is no religion as Christianity.
Speaking of the great services rendered by Islam to the rest of the world in the field of literary and scientific achievement, Dr. Alfred W. Martin, the author of "The World's Great Religion", says : "Incalculably great is the debt of the world to the early representatives of Mohammedanism, for it was they who transmitted the treasures of Greak literature from the Middle Age to the Renaissance; they who originated the graceful art forms of which the Taj Mahal, Alhambra are the most famous examples. It was they who contributed to the services of Algebra and Chemistry, Astronomy and Medicine ; they who dotted the Saracen Empire with Universities and built at Baghdad and at Cairo, the most renowned libraries in the world. When London was a city of hovels, and the stench in its streets was such that no one could breathe its air with impurity, Cordova was noted for the cleanliness, and beauty of its streets and squares. Arabic is the most widely spoken language, and though Chinese characters are used by more people, Arabic will carry one further round the world To-day we decorate our walls and floors with fabrics that Mohammedans taught us to weave, we regale our senses with perfumes that taught us to make; we teach our children the higher Mathematics from text books of which they were the original creaters". Speaking of the moral and human acts of the Muslims in general, as late as the end of the last century, General Low Wallace, for twenty years a resident in Constantinople, declared that while Christian drunkards were to be seen every day, he never once saw an intoxicated Muslim ; and that a "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is unknown in Muslim countries except in cities over-run by Christians. Speaking of the intensely human side of the Muslims, another writer says; "In Turkish cemetries the four corners of the slabs that cover graves are grooved to catch the rainfall so that the birds may drink and sing over the places where their human brethren sleep". The Master taught all this many centuries ago, and for the effects to be so lasting could be nothing but the miracle of the Great personality.
Islam, the very essence of it, could be summed up by the Quranic Verse; "It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteousness is that one should believe in Allah, and the last day, and the angels, and the book, and the Prophets, and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of Kin, and the Orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and the beggars, and for (the emancipation) of Captives, and keep up prayer, and pay the poor-rates; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction, and in time of conflict — these are they who are true " (II — 1/7).
There can be no better religion than that, and the rules, methods, and observances laid down for the fulfilment of these, are intensely human in themselves, for they are by a Master who having passed through all phases of life accomplished them by his own example.
An able editor in his editorial commenting on Islam writes; 'The religion of Islam is Dependence, and Reliance upon Allah, the One God. The sense of the nearness of God is the most pervading spirit of the Mohammedan religion. The Muezzin's call for prayers, the quick and faithful response, the common greetings, and events of every day life, are well mingled with this unforgetfulness of the Divine". There are ninety-nine attributes of God, all beautiful, caressing, and Loving, and speaking of them the same editor comments: "It is impossible to mingle with them in daily association without realizing the simplicity and all-pervading sense of the qualities, and over-shadowing of The Almighty, and Infinite Being..." "Next to this pervading recognition of dependence upon, and submission to God", continues the editor, "comes their pure naturalness and simplicity of life. No people in all our world are so healthy and natural".
Reverend Canon Isaac Taylor in his masterly speech at the Church Congress of England, said:
" When Mohammadanism is embraced by a Negro tribe, paganism, devil worship, fetishism, cannibalism, human sacrifice, infanticide, witchcraft at once disappear. The natives begin to dress, filth is replaced by cleanliness and they acquire personal dignity, and self retpect. Hospitality becomes a religious duty, drunkenness becomes rare, gambling is forbidden, immodest dances and promiscuous intercourse of the sexes cease, female chastity is regarded as a virtue, industry replaces idleness, license gives place to law, order and sobriety prevail, blood feuds, cruelty to animals and slaves are forbidden. A feeling of humanity, benevolence and brotherhood is inculcated. Polygamy and slavery are regulated and all their evils are restrained...ISLAM ABOVE ALL, IS THE MOST POWERFUL TOTAL ABSTINENCE ASSOCIATION IN THE WORLD...Islam is not anti-Christian....Islam is cosmopolitan, not like Judaism confined to one race, but extended to the world...They (Judaism and Christianity) tried to combat licentiousness by celebacy and virginity. Seclusion from the world was the road to holiness and dirt was the characteristic of monkish sanctity. The people were practically polytheits, worshipping a crowd of martyrs, saints and angels. Islam swept away the mass of corruption and superstitions. It was a revolt against empty theological polemics; it was a masculine protest against the exaltation of celebacy as crown of piety. It brought out the fundamental dogma of religion — the unity and greatness of God. IT REPLACED MONKLINESS BY MANLINESS. It gave hope to the slave, brotherhood to mankind and recognition to the fundamental facts of human nature...The virtues which Islam inculcates are what the lower races can be brought to understand - temperance, cleanliness, chastity, justice, fortitude, courge, benevolence, hospitality, veracity and resignation...The Christian ideal of brotherhood of man is the highest, but Islam preaches a PRACTICAL brotherhood — the social equality of all Muslims...A Christian convert is not regarded as a social equal, but the Moslem brotherhood is a reality...Slavery is not part of the creed of Islam. It was tolerated as a necessary evil by Muhammad as it was by Moses and St. Paul. In the hands of the Moslem it is a very mild institution, far milder than Negro salvery in the United States. Polygamy is a more difficult question. Moses did not prohibit it. It was practised by David and is not directly forbidden in the New Testament. Muhammad limited the unbounded license of polygamy ; IT IS THE EXCEPTION RATHER THAN THE RULE. Polygamy with all its evils has its counter-balancing advantages. It had abolished female infanticide and gives every woman a legal protector. Owing to polygamy the Moslem countries are free from professional outcastes, a greater reproach to Christendom than polygamy to Islam. The STRICTLY REGULATED polygamy of all Moslem lands is INFINITELY less degarding to woman and less injurious to men than the promiscuous polyandry which is the curse of Christian cities and which is absolutely unknown in Islam. The polyandrous English are not entitled to cast stones at polygamous Moslems. Let us first pluck out the beam from our own eye before we meddle with the mote in our brother's eyes...In resignation to God's will, in temperence, charity, veracity, and in brotherhood of believers, they ( Moslems ) set us a pattern we should do well to follow. Islam has abolished drunkenness, gambling and prostitution, the three curses of Christian lands...Islam has done more for civilization than Christianity.
The opinions given above of those who profess Christianity, a religion highly antagonistic to Islam, amply show that in spite of all their prejudices, there are many who could not but proclaim the truth — the greatness, and reality of Islam. If this be Islam, and if this be its achievement, then all praise is due to Allah, and the Holy Prophet through whose greatness the task was achieved. All Prophets were raised to achieve the same, all failed to achieve it to full, but the Holy Prophet Muhammed achieved it fully and above all, in his own lifetime. The degeneration of the Jewish faith into formality, and that of Christianity into paganism, all, and such other facts show that these teachers, though great, were misunderstood by their followers, and this misunderstanding led to conflict, and disruption in their teachings, among the rank and file of their followers. The introduction of image worship in Christianity and the worship of saints, have reduced that religion to paganism pure and simple, for in the words of an able writer, an Englishman of Christian faith, the isolated splendour of God is dimmed, and we are never granted a vision of Him in all His solitary grandeur. The Virgin Mary, and an innumerable host of Saints cluster round Him, standing between us and His Glory."
It is only through study, and that too with unbiased, and unprejudiced mind, that the greatness of Islam, and its Prophet will dawn upon the whole of the Christiandom, and when it does the world will be a peaceful place to live in. Then would disappear all the differences of caste, race, colour, etc.
"By lifting to a higher moral and religious plane the communities oi his day and splace; by welding into a harmonious religions unity the conflicting creeds of Arabia, Muhommed achieved that which neither the Judaism, nor the Christianty could accomplish. Nay, more, in the successful fulfilment of his civilizing work, and in the realization of his supreme religious aim, Muhommed rendered invaluable service, not only to Arabia, but to all the world". ( May Peace be on him, and may Allah grant that more men follow his footsteps and teachings. Amen.
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