Ameer Hamzah :
Man is the viceroy of Allah on earth. Allah created man and Jinn to worship Him only. He sent prophets with guidelines from time to time for every nation (16/36). Among them, Hazrat Adam (AS) is the first while Hazrat Muhammad (SM) is the last. The four prime books of guidelines are Zabur to Hazrat Daud (AS), Torah to Hazrat Moses (AS), Injil to Hazrat lsa (AS) and Al-Quran to Hazrat Muhammad (SM).
Besides, He sent booklets to other prophets whom He pleased In this connection it is necessary to say that Prophet Muhammad is the Seal of the prophets (33/40) and AI-Quran revealed unto him is the guidelines for mankind (2/185).
Hazrat Muhammad (SM), son of Abdullah, son of Abdul Muttalib, was born in a noble family in Mecca in 570 AD. The people of the city loved him very much for his unique image. truthfulness and honesty. The people of Mecca were proud of him and called him Al-Amin (truthful). His love and feeling for people were exposed even during his boyhood. When he was just 14 years old, he in association with the like minded established a social organization named Hilful-Fuzl. The prime aims and objectives of the organization were :-
1. To help establish peace, discipline and security in the country
2. To help the weak, the orphan, the pauper and the destitute,
3. To fight against the oppressors and to stand by the oppressed,
4. To help establish friendship and fraternity among the people, and
5. To protect the lives and properties of the foreigners .
Allah granted prophet hood to Hazrat Muhammad (SM) in the year 610 A.D when he was 40 years old. He was asleep or in a trance when he heard a voice, which said: Read! He said: I cannot read! The voice again said: Read! He said: I cannot read! A third time, the voice more terrible, commanded: Read! He said: What can I read? The voice said
Read: In the name of thy Lord Who creates.
Creates man from a clot
Read: And it is thy Lord the most Bountiful
Who teaches by the pen,
Teaches man what he knew not.
(These five verses are in Surah Alaq)
When the Prophet awoke, the words remained 'as if inscribed in his heart'. He went out of the cave on to the hillside and heard the same awe-inspiring voice, which said: O Muhammad! Thou art the Messenger of Allah, and I am Jibreel. Then he raised his eyes and saw the archangel in the likeness of man, standing in the sky above the horizon. And again the dreadful voice said O Muhammad! Thou art the Messenger of Allah, and I am Jibreel. Muhammad stood quite still, turning away his face from the brightness of the vision, but whithersoever he looked, he saw the archangel confronting him.
The Prophet remained thus a long time till at length Jibreel vanished. He returned home and narrated to Khadiza everything of what happened in the cave of the Mt. Hera.
The Prophet said, I understand that Allah has conferred upon me a great responsibility. I know not whether shall I be able to accomplish such great responsibility.
Khadiza said, Fear not. Allah will surely make you successful because you have some extraordinary qualities which every man should have. These are: 1. You show maximum kindness to your relatives. 2. Truthfulness 3. Faithful custodian of all trusts, 4. To feed, clothe and shelter the orphan, the widow, the blind, the crippled and the disable, 5. To help the unemployed to get jobs, 6. Hospitality, and 7. To stand by the natural calamity affected people.
In the life of the Prophet Muhammad (SM), a very significant event is Miraj or Ascension to the Lote-tree in the highest heaven beyond which no man nor angel can pass.
In the case of Hazrat Moses (AS), who stood by to the Burning Bush in the Valley of Tuwa was the light of the angels on this earth; but in the case of the Prophet Muhammad, it was the divine glory in heaven itself and it was 'shrouded in mystery unspeakable'. This was indeed the "Greatest of the Signs of the Lord".
Some commentators say when he Prophet was standing beside the Lote-tree, he was no more a man but transformed into an angel, and he saw a mysterious light covering the Lote-tree, description whereof is not possible.
One day the Prophet Muhammad (SM) was sitting by some of his companions in the mosque. Just then, entered a stranger, walked straight to the Prophet, sat very close to him, touching his knees with the knees of the prophet, which no other does. Everyone, present there, became bemused.
The stranger asked the Prophet, what is Faith? The Prophet said: Faith is that everyone will believe in the Unity of Allah, His angels, His Scriptures, His prophets, and that everyone will be restored to life after death and be produced in the Court of Allah to award him/her according to what he/she has done, and that what is happening in the world, what happened from time immemorial and what will happen in future are recorded with Him.
The stranger said, "Right ye are." Then he put his second question, "What is Islam?" The Prophet said: To believe from the core of the heart and to declare in public that Allah is One and to do what He commands and to refrain from what He forbids, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. In other words, there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to perform Salat five times a day, to pay the Zakat (poor-tax), to keep fasting in the month of Ramadan and to travel to Mecca to perform Hajj.
Then the stranger asked the third question, What is Ehsan? The Prophet said, Ehsan is that you will worship Allah till your death so devotedly and attentively as if you are seeing Allah. Though you see Him not, He sees you.
The stranger asked his 4th and last question, when the Day of Resurrection will take place? To this question, the Prophet said, the questioner knows better than him who has been questioned. After this, the stranger went away. A little while after, the Prophet Muhammad (SM) told his Sahabies, "Do ye know who was he?" They said, "We know not." The Prophet said, he was Jibreel, the Archangel. He came here to teach you all about Islam and Faith.
Narrates Abdullah bin Omar (RA): The Prophet has said: A woman was punished by Allah for death of a cat. She imprisoned the cat, gave no food and water. After death of the woman, Allah decreed hell-fire for her. When she was thrown thereinto, it was said: You gave the cat neither food nor drink, nor set it free so that it earned its own livelihood.
His farewell speech in the year 632 is recognized as the Magna Carta of human rights There he said that Islam does not discriminate between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, between a black and a white, between a master of a family and his servant. The Prophet said
What you eat and what you wear share with your servant(s).
Allah will never spare the oppressor(s),
Paradise lies at the feet of mother.
No marriage is valid without the consent of the bride
A good man does not abuse his wife. Physical punishment to wife is hereby banned.
He further said:
Pay wages to the workers before their sweat is dried up, Appoint not anyone in a job before wage/salary is fixed,
As the workers are part of production, they are part of profit,
He is not my disciple, who eats to his fill, but his neighbours starve,
No murderer will escape his due punishment,
He is not a Muslim whose hand and tongue afflicts other people,
Feed the poor, attend the sick and release the (innocent) prisoners,
Work for the well being of the community as a whole,
It is incumbent upon every Muslim, man and woman, to acquire knowledge,
Whoso takes varieties of food, wears varieties of dresses, and loves discourse, he is unfortunate, really unfortunate.
Islam is not the sum-total of few-worships. It has got its own philosophy, socio-economic and political structure. It works for economic emancipation of the people and spiritual salvation in the Hereafter. It touches every faculty of human being. Islam does not approve killing of an innocent, or persecution. It does not recommend for aggression against the dissidents, it rather commands to work for people's welfare. Islam, however, sanctions right to self-defence.
Upon his arrival in Yathrib (Medina) in June 622 AD., the Prophet's first concern as ruler was to lay down a Constitution for the newly established Republic of Medina. Accordingly, he in consultation with the representatives of the Jews and the Christians drafted a Constitution, history calling it 'The Charter of Medina'. It contains 47 articles and is recognized as the first written Constitution in the world.
The leaders of all the religious communities including the Christians and the Jews living in Medina accepted the Prophet as the Chief Executive and Chief Judiciary of the newly established Republic. It was agreed that all the communities who put signatures in the Constitution and other who did not sign till that time would live in peace and harmony and would resist the aggressors with joint forces and shall not enter into secret deal with the common enemy.
The Prophet had to fight the enemies either leading the war by himself or sending the troops under the trusted commanders. In 625 AD, Abu Sufian led a huge army of 10,000 men to destroy Islam. Hearing it, the Prophet decided to face the enemy outside the city. But one of his associates, Salman, a Persian by birth, advised him to dig a trench on three sides of Medina, posting strong guards in the rear against infiltration. History recognises it as the 'Battle of Trench'. From that time, 'trench' in the battlefield has become a significant strategy. The Prophet accepted the counsel of Salman by which he made it clear that good decision is always welcome.
Islam values good quality and merit, and not superiority of race, blood and kinship, in the field of the appointment of the State officials. He sent a small contingent of 3,000 troops to defend the Syrian border against a large Roman Army. He delegated power to his troops to select their own commander in the event of death of his panel commanders namely Zaid bin Harith, a freedman, Abdullah Rahi and Jafar bin Abu Taleb. Prophet Muhammad (SM), thus, established democracy, even in the battlefield. The troops chose Khalid-bin-Walid as their commander after death of his panel commanders.
The Prophet divided the Republic of Madinah into 10 regions namely Madinah, Mecca, Khayber, Taif, Sana, Yemen, Hazramaut, Oman, Bahrain and a Sub-tribe area. The Prophet effected administrative and socio-economic reforms in order to improve the economic condition of the people, to alleviate poverty adopting rehabilitation scheme with fund collected from the rich. The chief executive of a region was called 'Walie' (governor) whose prime responsibility was to collect taxes and to administer justice in all spheres of life. Among the governors, Hazrat Ali (RA) bin Abu Talib and Hazrat Muaz bin Jabal (RA) were the most prominent. The two most wanted qualifications of a ruler are physique and wisdom (Ref: Al Ouran, Chapter 2, Verse No. 247).
The heads of revenues were Zakat (Poor-tax), Kharaj (crop-tax), Zizia (Security-tax), war booties and AI-Fe (land-tax payable by the feudal lords of the conquered countries). The difference between Zakat and Zizia is that the former is to be paid by the rich Muslims having an amount equal to 52 tolas of silver any time of a year, but the Zizia is payable by the rich non-Muslims)
The Prophet had no regular Army. But he was able to muster a big Army within a short notice in the event of invasion by the enemies. He also formed State Intelligence Branch The Prophet stressed on learning. At the end of the battle of Badr, he set the conditions for the prisoners that they would be released subject to giving the Muslim men and women lettered knowledge.
At the time of departure for Yemen, Hazrat Muhammad (SM) asked his newly appointed governor Muaz bin Jabal (RA) as to how would he govern the province? Muaz replied, in case of any problem arising, he would first seek solution in the Quran. If he did not find clarification therein, he would search for it in the Prophet's traditions. If that too had no answer, he would use his wisdom." The Prophet patted on his back and said, "Let it be the model of administration for the rulers of the world."
Many non-Muslim historians praised his administrative and economic reforms, paid rich tributes. Historian Josephine Hale said, "Muhammad was such a personality in absence of whom the world would have remained incomplete. He is comparable only with himself". Historian Leonardo said, "If anyone in this world has seen God, and if anyone in this world has done good to mankind, it is Muhammad." The economic and the political reforms affected by him were so brilliant that George Barnard Shaw, an English poet, said in his book 'The Genuine Islam,' 'I have studied him (Muhammad)--the wonderful man--and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Saviour of Humanity'
Finally Islam is the religion of reason. It does not support anarchy, social disorder, murder, rape, exploitation of a man by another, sodomy, cheating and torturing a man by another, emotions and superstitious. The Quran says, "Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and reason, and debate with them in the best manner." -16/125. A renowned philosopher said, "It require wisdom to understand wisdom.
Allah has called him the light giving torch.