Islam & Christianty

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  • Islam & Christianty

  • The Ideal Character

    The Prophet of Islam lived a life which can only be described as godly. He was the model par excellence for men in various situations and walks of life, as the Glorious Qur'an says:


    (Verily in the Messenger of God ye have a perfect example for him who looketh unto God and the Last Day and remembreth God much.)



    (0 Prophet! Lo! We have sent thee as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner, and as a summoner unto God by His Permission, and as a lamp that giveth light.?



    He lived up to the highest ideals of the Glorious Qur'an and exemplified in his life the virtues mentioned in the Book of God. When his wife, 'Aishah, was questioned about his morals, her

    reply was, "His morals are the Qur'an." Conversely, when she asked to explain certain ethical injunctions in the Qur'an she did so by illustrating them from the Prophet's life and behavior.


    To say that he was sinless would be only a negative description of the Man of God who had conquered all temptations and passions and lived only for the Sake of God and in complete accord with the Will of God:


    )Say: Lo! my worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for God, Lord of the worlds.)

    (Qur'an 6: 162)


    He was, as the Qur'an describes him, a "mercy to all nations". His compassion extended to friends and foes alike. "Do you love your Creator? Love your fellow creatures first", was his advice to his followers. He felt extremely concerned at the depraved and corrupt state of the people around him. It grieved his heart very much when as the head of the state, he had to pass an order of punishment on any one for the sake of justice or for the security of the young republic. But for his own sake he never even lifted his finger against any one. When at a critical moment someone asked him to curse his enemies and perse-cutors, he replied:


    "I have nor been sent to curse but as a mercy to mankind. O Lord, guide my people for they know not."[1]


    At the conquest of Mecca (to give just one instance out 0f many) he freely forgave all his enemies, who had spared no effort to annihilate him, his Religion and his followers, and were

    guilty of murder and persecution. He told them. "This day there is no reproof against you." Here is a practical example of the maxim "Love your enemies." He had come to reclaim and reform the fallen humanity and he won the hearts of the anti-social elements of his time by love and kindness. His charity and readiness to help the people in all possible ways were proverbial. He was the greatest friend of the poor and the downtrodden.


    He strove all his life to lead mankind to the One True God, to make them godly, to rescue them from error, superstitious and sins, but in inviting them to the truth he faithfully observed the

    Qur'anic injunction,


    © There is no compulsion in religions



    He had imbued himself with Divine qualities and caused his fellow-men to take the greatest step towards the Divine . Yet he remained humble and modest, conscious always of his nothingness before God, and from the highest peak of moral and spiritual perfection to which he had attained, he cried out to the people,


    (I am only a mortal like yon.)

    (Qur'an 41 :6)


    Non Mus1ims' Tributes to the Prophet With the passing of Oriental Studies from the hands of

    Christian missionaries and divines into those of independent scholars the appreciation of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his message is growing in the West.


    Here are two extracts about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from a recent book by a learned American professor:


    "Pure-hearted and beloved in his circle, he was, it is said, of sweet and gentle disposition. His bereavements having made him sensitive to human suffering in every form, he was always ready to help others, especially the poor and the weak. His sense of honour, duty and fidelity won him as he grew older the high and enviable title of "The True', 'The Upright', 'The Trustworthy One'. Yet despite his concern for others he remained removed from them in outlook and ways, isolated in the midst of an effetic and chaotic society. As he grew from childhood to youth and from youth to manhood the lawless strife of his contemporaries, the repeated outbursts of pointless quarrels among the tribes frequenting the Meccan fairs, and the general immorality and cynicism of the day combined to produce in the prophet-to-be sustained reaction of horror and disgust. Silently, brooding, his thoughts turned inward"[2].


    ( "In an age charged with a supernaturalism, when miracles were accepted as the stock-in-trade of the most ordinary saint, Muhammad refused to traffic with human weakness and credulity. To miracle-hungry idolators seeking signs and portents he out the issue clean: 'God has not sent me to work wonders; He has sent me to preach to you. My Lord be praised! Am I more than a man sent as an apostle?' From first to last he resisted every impulse to glamorize his own person. 'I never said that Allah's treasures are in my hand, that I knew the hidden things, or that I was an angel   I am only a preacher of God's words, the bringer of God's message to mankind'. If signs be sought, let them be not of Muhamrnad's greatness, but of God's, and for these one need only open one's eyes. The heavenly bodies holding their swift silent course in the vault of heaven, the incredible order of the universe, the rain that falls to relieve the parched earth, palms bending with golden h fruit, ships that glide across the seas laden with goodness for man - can these be the handiwork of gods of stone? What fools to cry for signs when creation harbours nothing else! In an age of credulity, Muhammad taught respect for the world's incontrovertible order which was to awaken Muslim science before Christian."[3]


    And this is how the well-known historian, Lane-Poole, sums up the character of Prophet Muhammad:


    "He who, standing alone, braved for years the hatred of his people, is the same who was never the first to withdraw his hand from another's clasp; the beloved of children, who never passed a group of little ones without a smile from his wonderful eyes and kind word for them, sounding all the kinder in that sweet-toned voice... He was one of those happy few who have attained the

    supreme joy of making one great truth their very life-spring. He was the messenger of the One God; and never to his life's end did he forget who he was, or the message which was the marrow of his being. He brought his tiding to his people with a grand dignity sprung from the consciousness of his high office together with a most sweet humility whose roots lay in the knowledge of his own weakness.'[4]


    Major A.G. Leonard refers to the sincerity of the Prophet and the truth of his message in these words in his book Islam, Her Moral and Spiritual Value.


    "He must at the outset recognise that Mohammed was no mere spiritual pedlar, no vulgar time-serving vagrant, but one of the most profoundly sincere and earnest spirits of any age or epoch. A man not only great but one of the greatest - i.e., truest-men that humanity has ever

    produced. Great i.e., not simply as a prophet but as a patriot and a statesman: a material as well as a spiritual builder who constructed a great nation, a great empire, and more even than all these, a still greater Faith. True, moreover, because he was true to himself, to his people, and above all to his God. Recognising this, he will thus acknowledge that Islam is a profound and true cult, which strives to uplift its votaries from the depths of human darkness into the higher realms of Light and Truth."[5]


    Finally, this is what Lamartine, one of the greatest poets of France, writes about the greatness of Muhammad (pbuh`):


    "Never has a man set himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a more sublime aim, since this aim was superhuman: to subvert superstitions which had been interposed between man and his Creator, to render God unto man and man unto God; to restore the rational and sacred idea of divinity amidst the chaos for the material and disfigured gods of idolatry then existing. Never has a man undertaken a work so far beyond human power with so feeble means, for he had in the conception as well as in the execution of such a great design no other instrument than himself, and no other aid, except a handful of men living in a corner of the desert. Finally, never has a man accomplished such a huge and lasting revolution in the world, because in less than two centuries after its appearance, Islam, in faith and arms, reigned over the whole of Arabia, and conquered in God's name Persia, Khorasan, Transoxania, Western India, Syria, Abyssinia, all the known continent of Northern Africa, numerous Islands of the Mediterranean, Spain, and a part of Gaul."


    "If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great men in modern history to Muhammad? The most famous men created arm, laws, and empires only. They founded, if anything, at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislation, empires, peoples, and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and the souls. On the basis of a Book, every letter of which has become law, he

    created a spiritual nationality which has blended together peoples of every tongue and of every race. He has left to us as the indelible characteristic of this Muslim nationality, the hatred of false gods and the passion for the One and Immaterial God. This avenging patriotism against the profanation of Heaven formed the virtue of the followers of Muhammad: the conquest of one-third of the earth to his dogma was his miracle; or rather it was not the miracle of a man but that of reason. The idea of the unity of God proclaimed amidst the exhaustion of fabulous theogenies, was in itself such a miracle that upon its utterance from his lips it destroyed all the

    ancient temples of idols and set on fire one-third of the world. His life, his meditations, his heroic revilings against the superstitions, of his country, and his boldness in defying the furies of idolatry; his firmness in enduring them for fifteen years at Mecca, his acceptance of the role of public scorn and almost of being a victim of his fellow countrymen: all these and, finally his incessant preaching, his wars against odds, his faith in his success and his superhuman security in misfortune, his forbearance in victory, his ambition which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayer, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death; all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction. It was his conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was two-fold, the unity of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is; the latter telling what God is not. 'Philosopher, orator, apostle, legirslator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad'. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask: is there any man greater than he?"[6]


    [1] As-Suyuti, Aj-Jarni` As-Saghir.


    [2] Huston Smith, The Religions 0f Man, Mentor Books, p.203.


    [3] Huston Smith, The Religions of Mon, Mentor Books. pp. 205, 206.


    [4] Stanley Lane-Poole, The Speeches and Table Talk of the Prophet Muhammad, Introduction, p. 29.


    [5] Maj A.G. Leonard, Islam, Her Moral and Spiritual Value, pp. 20-21.


    [6] Lamartine, Historic do la Turquie, Vol. II, pp. 276, 277; Quoted by Dr. Zaki Ali in his book Islam in the World.



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