Articles Library 2
Articles Library 1
Audio Library 3
Audio Library 2
Audio Library 1
Books Library 3
Books Library 2
Way of the Companions of the Prophet
Angels & Jinn
Why God Created Man
Created Man Part 2
Why We Fast
How to be a Better Muslim
Muslim Part 2
One’s Character Part 1
Pursuit of Happiness
the Muslims at the End of 20th Century Part 1
the Muslims at the End of 20th Century Part 2
Illusions of the Dunya: What Are Your Goals
Islamic Education & the West
Culture Part 1
Culture Part 2
Establishing Islam in the West Part 1
Establishing Islam in the West Part 2
Institutions Part 1
Institutions Part 2
Issues Part 3 (Euthansia)
(Halal Animal Slaughter)
Issues Part 5 (Hijab)
(Interest & Islamic Banking)
(Islam & Terrorism)
(Marriage to non-Muslims)
(Test Tube Babies, Sex Change Operations, Organ Donation)
(Music, Art, Photography)
(Theft, Murder, Adultery)
Purification of the Heart
A Guide for New Muslims
The new collection A Guide for New Muslims is one of his best introductions to Islam yet. The collection is also of benefit to those who are looking to revert to Islam, as well as those who are looking for valuable Dawah materials. Br. Jamaal Zarabozo offers his insight and practical guidance to those entering Islam, and answers many frequently asked questions from those new to the religion. These highly recommended CDs will be a good reference material and source of education for you, your family, friends and Dawah practice for time to come and a good addition to your CD/lecture library.
Overview of the series:
CD 1- The Purpose and Goals of the Series
CD 2- The Basic sources of Islam: Quran, Sunnah & Hadith
CD 3- The Universality of Islam and Its Timelessness
CD 4- Testimony of Faith; Islamic Law and Fiqh
CD 5- Special Rewards for the Convert / Issue of Faith and Marriage from Pre-Muslim Days
CD 6- Islamic Creed and The Article of Faith
CD 7- The Ritual Acts & The Five Pillars of Islam
CD 8- The Character, Morals & Relations of The Muslim
CD 9- A Muslims Social Interaction Towards a Spouse
CD 10-A Muslims Social Behavior with Neighbors and Non-Muslims
CD 11-The Social Behavior with the Society as a Muslim
CD 12-Motivating and Increasing Ones Faith
About the Speaker:
SH. Jamaal Zarabozo is a well known Scholar and long time convert to Islam. He is internationally renowned as aspeaker and author of a number of books, including the three-volume Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi, How to Approach and Understand the Quran, Purification of the Soul and others. His other available lecture series include the 28-lecture series A Study of Surah al-Faatihah and 7-Audio Cds of Al-Hasad ( Envy ).
- A Guide for the New Muslim
Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo
Secrets of the Quran’s Miracles
Sh Anwar speaks about the necessity of understanding and performing Hijra for the sake of Allah.
Surah/Chapter 008 – Al-Anf?l. Verse 72.
English Translation of the Meaning (The Noble Qur’an)
Lo! those who believed and left their homes and strove with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah, and those who took them in and helped them; these are protecting friends one of another. And those who believed but did not leave their homes, ye have no duty to protect them till they leave their homes; but if they seek help from you in the matter of religion then it is your duty to help (them) except against a folk between whom and you there is a treaty. Allah is Seer of what ye do.
Stories from Hadith
Compelling tales of past nations relived in the words of a superb narrator renowned for his story telling skills. Listen to this audio chronicle of legends from past nations and the lessons held within them. These stories were narrated by the Prophet (pbuh) to his Companions and have since found their way into the books of Sahih Hadith.
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25 Promises from Allah to the Believers
This lively two CD Lecture presents many lessons and benefits for the Muslim Ummah in their time of need. This lecture will instill trust, reliance and hope in Allah, whilst strengthening a Muslim’s conviction knowing that Allah never fails in His promises.
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Lessons From The Life Of Musa
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Ummar Ibn Alkhataab – His Life and Times
Ummer Ibn Alkhataab (R.A.), His Life and Times , by Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki. This series of lectures covers the different aspects of the life of Ummer Ibn Alkhataab(R.A.)
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Abu Bakr al Siddiq : His Life and Times
This series of lectures covers the different aspects of the life of Abu Bakr (R.A.), including his life before Islam, during the life of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.), and finally during his Khalifah.
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The Life of Muhammed – Madinah Part 2
This set of lectures is the third and last part of “The Life of Muhammad (saaws)”. This set covers the last five years of the life of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (saaws) from the fifth year of Hijra to the tenth. It includes the important events of the truce of Hudaybiyyah, the battle of Khaibar, the battle of Mu’tah, the conquest of Makkah, the battle of Hunain, the battle of Tabuk and finally the passing away of the seal of the Prophets.
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The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Medina Period)
The Life of Muhammad (S): Medina Period 1 of 2 is the second part of a three part series on the Sirah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (S). The first part covered the Makkan era. This part focuses on the Medina era starting from the Hijrah up until the battle of the Trench. Here, Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki covers the first five years of the Medina era which include the all important events of the Hijrah, the establishment of the first Islamic State, the battle of Badr, the Battle of Uhud, and finally the battle of the Trench.
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The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Makkan Period)
This 16 CD set is an outstanding collection of inspirational talks that introduces the life of Prophet Muhammad, the greatest human being to walk the face of the earth. In these talks, Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, author of the best selling series, The Lives of the Prophets, eloquently presents the Makkan period of the Prophet’s life in a detailed manner, deriving valuable lessons from it and thus making it relevant to our modern times. The series is primarily based on Ibn Kathir’s book on the Sirah. Some of the topics discussed include: The History of the Kabah, Muhammad in the Bible, The Call to Near Kin, The Islam of Hamzah, The Year of Grief, Lessons from the Trip to al-Taif and much more.
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Quran Magnificent Status
Quran and modern science
Origins of the Quran
It is the last testament in a series of divine revelations from God. It comprises the unaltered and direct words of God, revealed through the Angel Gabriel, to the final Prophet, Muhammad (pbuh)1 some 1400 years ago. Islam is a continuation of the teachings of previous Prophets, such as Noah, Abraham, David, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all), some of whom were also given divine books. Muslims believe that the key message brought by all Prophets was the same; to believe in One God and not to associate partners with Him, to stay away from sins and to lead a life devoted to earning God’s pleasure. All Prophets taught about life after death and gave glad tidings of paradise for those who obey God, but warned of punishment in hell for those who choose to disobey Him.
The Quran is unique because it is the only revealed book that exists today in the precise form and content in which it was originally revealed. Furthermore, it was actively recorded during the time the religion was being established. The distinctive approach of the Quran is that its spiritual message includes practical injunctions aimed at the general welfare of human beings, society and the environment in which we live. The Quran’s message is eternal and universal, transcending our differences in race, color, ethnicity and nationality. It provides guidance on every aspect of human life – from economics and the ethics of trade to marriage, divorce, gender issues, inheritance and parenting. It neither condemns nor tortures the flesh nor does it neglect the soul. It does not humanize God, nor does it deify man. The Quran describes signs of God’s existence in the universe and how everything is carefully placed in the total scheme of creation.
“Everything made so much sense. This is the beauty of the Quran; it asks you to reflect and reason….When I read the Quran further, it talked about prayer, kindness and charity. I was not a Muslim yet, but I felt the only answer for me was the Qur’an and God had sent it to me.”
Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), former British pop star.
This brochure examines two common questions asked by those seeking to understand the origin and authorship of the Quran. 1) What evidence supports the Quran’s claim of authenticity – i.e., that it has not been interfered with? 2) Even if the Quran has been preserved, what evidence supports that it is the Word of God and not simply Muhammad’s (pbuh)own writings?
The Quran has been preserved for over 1400 years through parallel memorization and writings.
“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly Guard it (from corruption).”
The Quran is the only book that has been memorized in its entirety by millions. The process of memorization began during the Prophet’s (pbuh) life and continues to be emphasized by Muslims, even to this day. The use of memorization in oral transmission through the generations “had mitigated somewhat from the beginning the worst perils of relying solely on written records,” related John Burton. [John Burton, An Introduction to the Hadith, Edinburgh University Press; 1994, p27].
Muhammad (pbuh) was very vigilant in preserving the entire Quran in written form as well. The Prophet (pbuh) could not read or write, so as soon as a portion of the Quran was revealed, he called upon his scribes to record the revealed text. The Prophet (pbuh) specified the part of the Quran the revelation belonged to and had the companions read back what was written to ensure that it corresponded exactly with what was revealed. Thus, the complete Quran was not only memorized by the Prophet (pbuh) and many of his companions, but also existed in written form during his lifetime. Within a year after the Prophet’s (pbuh) death, a manuscript of the entire Quran was assembled by a committee led by the chief scribe of the Prophet (pbuh), who followed stringent criteria to safeguard against any errors. The manuscript was unanimously approved by the companions of the Prophet (pbuh), including the hundreds that had memorized the entire Quran. Several replicates of the manuscript were prepared under the leadership of the third caliph and were distributed to the main Muslim centers. One such copy is currently at the museum in Tashkent in erstwhile (Soviet Union) and a facsimile of it, produced in 1905, is available in the Columbia University Library (USA).
Muslims believe that the Quran is the Speech of God and not a book written by Muhammad (pbuh) himself.
The information above provides evidence for the preservation of the Qur’an, but what suggests that it was actually the word of God?
1) Historical accounts document, and the Quran openly declares, that Muhammad (pbuh) was unlettered.
“You (O Muhammad) were not a reader of any Scripture before it, nor did you write (such a Scripture) with your right hand, for then those who follow falsehood might (have a right) to doubt it.”
2) The Quran was revealed at a time when the Arabs excelled in oral poetry. Poetry competitions like today’s rap competitions, were held in the marketplace. Muhammad’s (pbuh) recitation stunned its listeners for its beauty in Arabic. Many converted simply by listening to the deep acoustic rhythms, literary merit and wisdom of the Quranic verses. In contrast, the Arabic of 1400 years ago was restricted to words and expressions relevant to the simple life of desert men and it was impossible to express metaphysical ideas or scientific, religious and philosophical concepts. In fact the science of Arabic grammar was developed after the revelation of the Quran, using the Quran as a basis for devising its rules. It is difficult to find an explanation (other than revelation) that explains how a book existed that superseded, and also differed so greatly from any other Arabic literature. The challenge of the Quran to produce a chapter like its own has not been met to this day:-
“And if you are in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto Our slave (Muhammad) then produce a Surah (chapter) of the like thereof, and call your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful.”
3) The Quran is a highly comprehensive book containing Divine truths, metaphysics, religious beliefs and worship, prayer, law and morality. It is a book fully describing the other life, a book of psychology, sociology, epistemology, and history, and a book containing scientific facts and the principles of a utopian life. A testament to the Divine authenticity of the Quran is that such a comprehensive book, one that was revealed over a period of 23 years, does not have any contradictory points.
“Will they not then ponder on the Quran? If it had been from other than God they would have found therein much contradiction and incongruity.”
4) Could Muhammad (pbuh) have been a liar or had motives for inventing the Quran? The early years of Muhammad’s (pbuh) mission were punctuated by persecutions and sorrow. His followers were brutally tortured, killed and forced to migrate. His clan was boycotted and he was stoned. His enemies even offered him wealth and kingship if he abandoned his call to the belief in One God. Instead, the Prophet (pbuh) lived a very austere life and never pursued any worldly gains like fame, power or wealth. Furthermore, the life of Muhammad (pbuh) was a practical embodiment of the Divine message and a study of his life (through the Hadith2) provides an appreciation of this fact. Even before he received the Prophethood, he was known in his society as Al-Ameen (The Trustworthy) and As-Sadiq (The Truthful). Both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars attest to his honesty and integrity3.
5) The Quran mentions things that were not known at the time. How can the existence of these verses be explained? The Quran has scientific descriptions only recently discovered by modern science and that could not have been known 1400 years ago.
“Man We did create from a quintessence (of clay); then we placed him (as a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed; then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of than clot We made a (foetus) lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, The Best to Create”
Professor Keith Moore, a prominent scientist of anatomy and embryology (University of Toronto, Canada) commented: “It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Quran about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad (pbuh) from God, or ‘Allah’, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad (pbuh) must have been a Messenger of Allah.”
The Quran describes the expansion of the universe:
“And it is we who have built the universe with (Our creative) power; and verily, it is We who are steadily expanding it.”
It was not until 1925, when Edwin Hubble provided evidence of receding galaxies, that the expanding universe came to be accepted as a scientific fact.
Professor Alfred Kroner, a world-famous geologist, explained: “ Thinking about many of these questions and thinking where Muhammad (pbuh) came from, he was after all a bedouin. I think it is almost impossible that he could have known about things like the common origin of the universe, because scientists have only found out within the last few years with very complicated and advanced technological methods that this is the case.”
The Quran describes geographical concepts that were proven after its revelation. For example, it was the common dogma 1400 years ago that the earth was flat, but the Quran described it as a sphere, compressed at each end (like an ostrich egg):
“And the earth moreover, He has made egg shaped”4
In 1597, when Sir Francis Drake sailed around the world, the earth became known to be a sphere.
What can explain the origin of the Quran?
The life and character of the Prophet (pbuh) , the depth of the Quranic message, its appeal and relevance to both the spiritual and the mundane, all testify to the Divine origin of the Quran. These points compel us to admit our inability to provide an explanation that relies solely upon material causes. In a world starved of love and compassion, the Quran’s universal message is the perfect antidote to the collective despair of the human condition.
1. pbuh stands for ‘peace be upon him’ an invocation of respect
2. Hadith, the collection of recorded saying and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
3. see 877-Why Islam brochure titled “What they say about Muhammad (pbuh).”
4. the Arabic word for egg here is dahaahaa, meaning ostrich egg
Lectures For Sisters
Virtues of Hijaab (Saleh Es-Saleh)
Women with legacies -I (Ahmad Jibril)
Women with legacies -II (Ahmad Jibril)
Women with legacies -III (Ahmad Jibril)
Women with legacies -IV (Ahmad Jibril )
Women in Islam -I (Yusuf Estes)
Women in Islam -II (Yusuf Estes)
Women in Islam -III (Yusuf Estes)
Women in Islam -IV (Yusuf Estes)
O believing women, hold fast to your religion -I (Yahya Ibrahim)
How to be a better wife -II (Abu Usamah)
The importance of women in Islam (Ahmad Jibril)
The Hijaab (Yahya Ibrahim)
Beauty of a Muslim woman (Sulaiman Mulla)
6 Sinful Women (Sulaiman Mulla)
Duties Of A Muslim Towards His Wife – 1 (Bilal Philips)
Advice to Women (Muhammad Adly)
Hind Bint Utbah (Dakkan)
Concept of God in Islam
Every language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with the word ‘Allah’. Allah is the personal name of the One True God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its exclusivity when compared to the word ‘god’ which can be made plural, i.e. ‘gods’ or feminine, i.e. ‘goddess’. It is interesting to note that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus (p). The word Allah is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with God. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, who is similar to none and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad (p) was asked by his contemporaries about Allah. The answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Qur’an that is considered the essence of the Unity of God or the motto of monotheism. “Say: He is Allah, the One; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like unto Him.” [Al-Qur’an 112:1-4]
Some non-Muslims allege that the concept of God in Islam is that of a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully. He is not loving and kind. Nothing can be farther from the truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an begins with the verse: “In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful” In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (p) we are told: “God is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child.”
Besides being Merciful, God is Just too. Hence evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment and the virtuous their rightful reward. Actually, God’s attribute of Mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of Justice. People suffering throughout their lives for His sake and people oppressing and exploiting other people all their lives should not receive similar treatment from their Lord. Expecting similar treatment for them will amount to negating the very belief in the accountability in the Hereafter and thereby negating all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world.
The following verses from the Qur’an are very clear and straightforward:
“Verily, for the righteous are Gardens of delight in the Presence of their Lord. Shall we then treat the people of Faith like the people of Sin? What is the matter with you? How judge you?” [Al-Qur’an 68:34-36]
Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created the human beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and earn His favor through virtue and piety alone.
The concept that God rested on the seventh day of creation, that God wrestled with one of His soldiers, that God is an envious plotter against mankind, or that God is incarnate in any human being are considered blasphemy from the Islamic point of view.
The unique usage of Allah as the personal name of God is a reflection of Islam’s emphasis on the purity of the belief in God. This belief in the Unity of God, is the essence of the message of all the Prophets of God. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with God as a grave sin that God will never forgive if the person dies without repenting.
The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because if He is of the same nature as they are, He will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the maker is not temporal, then He must be eternal. But if he is eternal, He cannot be caused, and if nothing caused Him to come into existence, nothing outside Him causes Him to continue to exist, which means that He must be self-sufficient. And if He does not depend on anything for the continuance of His own existence, then this existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore eternal:
“He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent: and He has full knowledge of all things.” [Al-Qur’an 57:3]
He is self-sufficient or self-subsistent or, to use a Qur’anic term, He is Al-Qayyum. The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into existence. He also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.
“Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the Guardian and Disposer of all affairs. To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth: and those who reject the Signs of Allah,- it is they who will be in loss.” [Al-Qur’an 39:62-63]
“There is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance dependeth on Allah: He knoweth the time and place of its definite abode and its temporary deposit: All is in a clear Record.” [Al-Qur’an 11:6]
If the Creator is Eternal and Everlasting, then His attributes must also be Eternal and Everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then His attributes are absolute. Can there be more than one Creator with such absolute attributes? Can there be for example, two absolutely powerful Creators? A moment’s thought shows that this is not feasible.
The Qur’an summarizes this argument in the following verses:
“No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him!”
The Oneness Of God
The Qur’an reminds us of the falsity of all alleged gods. To the worshippers of man-made objects it asks: “Worship ye that which ye have (yourselves) carved? But Allah has created you and your handwork.”[Al-Qur’an 37:95-96]
“Say: ‘Do ye then take (for worship) protectors other than Him, such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves?” [Al-Qur’an 13:16]
To the worshippers of heavenly bodies it cites the story of Abraham: “When the night covered him over, He saw a star: He said: ‘This is my Lord.’ But when it set, He said: ‘I love not those that set.’ When he saw the moon rising in splendor, he said: ‘This is my Lord.’ But when the moon set, He said: ‘unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray.’ When he saw the sun rising in splendor, he said: ‘This is my Lord; this is the greatest (of all).’ But when the sun set, he said: ‘O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to Allah. For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah.” [Al-Qur’an 6:76-79]
The Believer’s Attitude
In order to be a Muslim (i.e., to submit oneself to God), it is necessary to believe in the Oneness of God, in the sense of His being the only Creator, Preserver, Nourisher, etc. But this belief, later on called Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah, is not enough. Many of the idolators knew and believed that only the Supreme God could do all this. To acquire Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah one must add Tawhid Al-Uluhiyyah, i.e. one acknowledges the fact that it is God alone who deserves to be worshipped, and thus abstains from worshipping any other thing or being.
Having achieved this knowledge of the One True God, man should constantly have faith in Him, and should allow nothing to induce him to deny the truth. When true faith enters a person’s heart, it impacts the person’s outlook and behavior. The Prophet said, “Faith is that which resides firmly in the heart and which is proved by deeds”. One of the striking results of faith is the feeling of gratitude towards God, which could be said to be the essence of Ibada (worship). The feeling of gratitude is so important that anyone denying the Truth is called kafir, ‘one who is ungrateful.’ A believer loves, and is grateful to God for the bounties He bestowed upon him. He is aware of the fact that his good deeds are far from being commensurate with Divine favors, and therefore he is always anxious to please God. He remembers God often. The Qur’an promotes this feeling of gratitude by repeating the attributes of God very frequently.
“Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god; Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god; the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colors). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His Praises and Glory: and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” [Al-Qur’an 59:22-24]
“Allah! There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).” [Al-Qur’an 2:255]
“O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.” [Al-Qur’an 4:171]
[Source : WAMY2 Series on Islam]
1 (p) here stands for “peace be upon him”
2 World Assembly of Muslim Youth
Concept of God
Monotheism, belief in one God, is the most important and foundational concept in Islam. Muslims believe in one God who created the universe and has power over everything within it. He is unique and exalted above everything He creates, and His greatness cannot be compared to His creation. Furthermore, He is the only one deserving of any worship and the ultimate purpose of all creation is to submit to Him. The Islamic understanding of God is distinct from all other religions and beliefs in various respects since it is based on a pure and clear understanding of monotheism. This essentially captures the concept of God in Islam, which will be further elaborated in this pamphlet.
Muslims often refer to God as Allah. This is a universal name for God and does not refer to an exclusively ‘Islamic’ God. Interestingly, this name is related to the Aramaic and Hebrew names for God, Allaha and Elohim. Therefore, Allah is simply the Arabic name for God which affirms that He is One singular God with no partners or equals. The name Allah cannot be pluralized or limited to a specific gender, which establishes that God is One and that He is unique from everything He creates. Muslims continue to use this original Arabic name for God (Allah) since it perfectly expresses His unique qualities.
God is the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe who created everything for a reason. Muslims believe that He created humankind with a simple purpose – to worship Him. He sent messengers to guide people in fulfilling this purpose. Some of these messengers include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace be upon all of them. They all taught a consistent message about God by affirming His greatness as the Creator and guiding people to worship Him alone. This basic concept has always resonated with people’s natural understanding of God.
When the final prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him (pbuh), was asked about God, the answer came directly from God in the holy book of Muslims, the Quran (also spelled ‘Koran’): “Say, ‘He is God the One, God the eternal. He begot no one nor was He begotten. No one is comparable to Him.’” [112:1-4] This is a clear statement by God describing Himself to humanity without any room for confusion. God is One and is exalted above everything He creates and He is capable over all things.
Fully accepting the oneness of God is to accept that He is distinct from everything else. It would not suit God’s majesty and glory to associate the limited attributes of His creation to Him because He is not restricted in any way, while His creation is. He is the First with no beginning and the Last with no end. Everything in the universe was created by His will. He is not confined by space or time and He is the only One who is in control and provides for His creation.
“He is God: there is no god other than Him. It is He who knows what is hidden as well as what is in the open, He is the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy. He is God: there is no god other than Him, the Controller, the Holy One, Source of Peace, Granter of Security, Guardian over all, the Almighty, the Compeller, the Truly Great; God is far above anything they consider to be His partner. He is God: the Creator, the Originator, the Shaper. The best names belong to Him. Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies Him: He is the Almighty, the Wise.” [Quran, 59:22-24]
“God: there is no god but Him, the Ever Living, the Ever Watchful. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. All that is in the heavens and in the earth belongs to Him. Who is there that can intercede with Him except by His leave? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, but they do not comprehend any of His knowledge except what He wills. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth; it does not weary Him to preserve them both. He is the Most High, the Tremendous.” [Quran, 2:255]
The primary pillar of Islamic belief clearly states that there is nothing worthy of worship except God. Associating partners with God or attributing qualities of lesser beings to Him is considered to be the greatest sin in Islam.
In the past, this often took the form of idol worship or praying to multiple lesser gods. Although this is less common now, the current era has replaced many of the physical ‘idols’ of the past with other contemporary ‘gods.’ Many people today allow passions like entertainment, drugs, relationships or material objects to become the center of their lives. They become so consumed with these things that they submit to whatever will allow them to fulfill their desires. For example, if a drug addict allows their addiction to control their actions, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors, causing them to risk their personal safety and the safety of others, that drug has essentially become their god. Likewise, if another person puts a loved one before God by obeying that person even if that causes them to transgress against God’s commands, their loved one has taken precedence over God.
Islam teaches that people should completely submit only to God as He is the only One worthy of their worship. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and everything in it belongs to Him. The Quran points out the faulty thinking of those who worship other than God:
“‘How can you worship things you carve with your own hands, when it is God who has created you and all your handiwork?’” [37:95-96]
The Believer’s Surrender
In order to be a true believer, one must believe in the absolute oneness of God, as the only Creator, Preserver and Nourisher of everything. However, this belief in the true characteristics of God is not the sole condition of true faith; one must also acknowledge that God is the only one who deserves to be worshipped. His commands and guidelines for how to live one’s life should always take precedence over the commands of anything He created. Indeed, He guides humanity to what is best for them in this life and the hereafter and He is All-Knowing and All-Wise.
Having embraced this understanding of God, one should constantly have faith in Him, and should remain steadfast on the truth. When true faith enters a person’s heart, it positively impacts their outlook and behavior. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Faith is that which resides firmly in the heart and which is proved by actions.”
One of the striking effects of faith is a feeling of gratitude towards God. Believers love God and are grateful to Him for the blessings He gives them. They are aware of the fact that their good deeds will never be equal to His divine favors upon them so they are always striving to please Him. Furthermore, sincere believers in God accept that any hardships they face are part of the greater ‘test of life.’ They are patient through times of difficulty and turn to God for assistance. A beautiful characteristic of the believers is that they accept everything God wills and continuously remember Him in all aspects of life.
Anyone who denies the basic truth of the existence of God is considered ungrateful and a disbeliever. On many occasions in the Quran, God reminds humanity of the disbelievers’ clear misguidance and His complete power over everything:
“Behold! Verily to Allah belong all creatures, in the heavens and on earth. What do they follow who worship as His “partners” other than Allah? They follow nothing but fancy, and they do nothing but lie.” [10:66]
“It is God who has given you the night in which to rest and the day in which to see. God is truly bountiful to people, but most people do not give thanks. Such is God your Lord, the Creator of all things: there is no god but Him. How can you be so deluded? [40:61-62]
In the end, we must understand that our belief or disbelief in God does not affect Him in any way. Believing in Him, worshipping Him, and following His commands will only benefit us because we are in need of His blessings, favors and mercy. On the other hand, He does not need us because He is the Self-Sufficient Creator. However, it is never too late for a person to turn back to God, seeking His guidance and forgiveness by submitting to Him.
“Say: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Turn ye to our Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (Will), before the Penalty comes on you: after that ye shall not be helped. And follow the best of (the courses) revealed to you from your Lord, before the Penalty comes on you – of a sudden while ye perceive not!” [Quran, 39:53-55]
If you agree with the basic concepts in this pamphlet, you may still ask why Islam stands out from other religions. The reason is simply that Islam is the final and complete way of life that God revealed to guide humanity. Previous divine messages (such as the ones taught by Abraham, Moses and Jesus) have been lost or altered throughout time. God chose to send Muhammad (pbuh) to deliver His final message, which maintains the core teachings of all the previous revelations. The book sent to Muhammad (pbuh) was the Quran, which was revealed as guidance for all of humanity. Just like the Torah sent to Moses and the Gospel sent to Jesus, the Quran is a guidebook teaching us how to worship God in the purest manner and thereby achieve our purpose in life. The Quran is unique because it has remained preserved in its exact and original form for more than 1,400 years.
Islam is not a new way of life; rather, it is the final message, which upholds the same essential beliefs that God sent to humanity through all of His messengers. Through this message, God calls on each individual to lead a conscientious life by drawing close to Him and to remain cognizant of their final accountability in front of the one and only God.
“Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth?” [Quran, 57:16]
Biography of Muhammad (PBUH)
[Taken from Introduction to Islam by Muhammad Hamidullah (Centre Culturel Islamique, Paris, 1969), with some changes to make it more readable. The changes are marked by pairs of brackets like around this paragraph. Dr. Hamidullah’s present address is: 9 Beaver Court, Wilkes Barre PA, 18702, USA.]
IN the annals of men, individuals have not been lacking who conspicuously devoted their lives to the socio-religious reform of their connected peoples. We find them in every epoch and in all lands. In India, there lived those who transmitted to the world the Vedas, and there was also the great Gautama Buddha; China had its Confucius; the Avesta was produced in Iran. Babylonia gave to the world one of the greatest reformers, the Prophet Abraham (not to speak of such of his ancestors as Enoch and Noah about whom we have very scanty information). The Jewish people may rightly be proud of a long series of reformers: Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, and Jesus among others.
2. Two points are to note: Firstly these reformers claimed in general to be the bearers each of a Divine mission, and they left behind them sacred books incorporating codes of life for the guidance of their peoples. Secondly there followed fratricidal wars, and massacres and genocides became the order of the day, causing more or less a complete loss of these Divine messages. As to the books of Abraham, we know them only by the name; and as for the books of Moses, records tell us how they were repeatedly destroyed and only partly restored.
Concept of God
3. If one should judge from the relics of the past already brought to light of the homo sapiens, one finds that man has always been conscious of the existence of a Supreme Being, the Master and Creator of all. Methods and approaches may have differed, but the people of every epoch have left proofs of their attempts to obey God. Communication with the Omnipresent yet invisible God has also been recognised as possible in connection with a small fraction of men with noble and exalted spirits. Whether this communication assumed the nature of an incarnation of the Divinity or simply resolved itself into a medium of reception of Divine messages (through inspiration or revelation), the purpose in each case was the guidance of the people. It was but natural that the interpretations and explanations of certain systems should have proved more vital and convincing than others.
3/a. Every system of metaphysical thought develops its own terminology. In the course of time terms acquire a significance hardly contained in the word and translations fall short of their purpose. Yet there is no other method to make people of one group understand the thoughts of another. Non-Muslim readers in particular are requested to bear in mind this aspect which is a real yet unavoidable handicap.
4. By the end of the 6th century, after the birth of Jesus Christ, men had already made great progress in diverse walks of life. At that time there were some religions which openly proclaimed that they were reserved for definite races and groups of men only, of course they bore no remedy for the ills of humanity at large. There were also a few which claimed universality, but declared that the salvation of man lay in the renunciation of the world. These were the religions for the elite, and catered for an extremely limited number of men. We need not speak of regions where there existed no religion at all, where atheism and materialism reigned supreme, where the thought was solely of occupying one self with one’s own pleasures, without any regard or consideration for the rights of others.
5. A perusal of the map of the major hemisphere (from the point of view of the proportion of land to sea), shows the Arabian Peninsula lying at the confluence of the three great continents of Asia, Africa and Europe. At the time in question. this extensive Arabian subcontinent composed mostly of desert areas was inhabited by people of settled habitations as well as nomads. Often it was found that members of the same tribe were divided into these two groups, and that they preserved a relationship although following different modes of life. The means of subsistence in Arabia were meagre. The desert had its handicaps, and trade caravans were features of greater importance than either agriculture or industry. This entailed much travel, and men had to proceed beyond the peninsula to Syria, Egypt, Abyssinia, Iraq, Sind, India and other lands.
6. We do not know much about the Libyanites of Central Arabia, but Yemen was rightly called Arabia Felix. Having once been the seat of the flourishing civilizations of Sheba and Ma’in even before the foundation of the city of Rome had been laid, and having later snatched from the Byzantians and Persians several provinces, greater Yemen which had passed through the hey-day of its existence, was however at this time broken up into innumerable principalities, and even occupied in part by foreign invaders. The Sassanians of Iran, who had penetrated into Yemen had already obtained possession of Eastern Arabia. There was politico-social chaos at the capital (Mada’in = Ctesiphon), and this found reflection in all her territories. Northern Arabia had succumbed to Byzantine influences, and was faced with its own particular problems. Only Central Arabia remained immune from the demoralising effects of foreign occupation.
7. In this limited area of Central Arabia, the existence of the triangle of Mecca-Ta’if-Madinah seemed something providential. Mecca, desertic, deprived of water and the amenities of agriculture in physical features represented Africa and the burning Sahara. Scarcely fifty miles from there, Ta’if presented a picture of Europe and its frost. Madinah in the North was not less fertile than even the most temperate of Asiatic countries like Syria. If climate has any influence on human character, this triangle standing in the middle of the major hemisphere was, more than any other region of the earth, a miniature reproduction of the entire world. And here was born a descendant of the Babylonian Abraham, and the Egyptian Hagar, Muhammad the Prophet of Islam, a Meccan by origin and yet with stock related, both to Madinah and Ta’if.
8. From the point of view of religion, Arabia was idolatrous; only a few individuals had embraced religions like Christianity, Mazdaism, etc. The Meccans did possess the notion of the One God, but they believed also that idols had the power to intercede with Him. Curiously enough, they did not believe in the Resurrection and Afterlife. They had preserved the rite of the pilgrimage to the House of the One God, the Ka’bah, an institution set up under divine inspiration by their ancestor Abraham, yet the two thousand years that separated them from Abraham had caused to degenerate this pilgrimage into the spectacle of a commercial fair and an occasion of senseless idolatry which far from producing any good, only served to ruin their individual behaviour, both social and spiritual.
9. In spite of the comparative poverty in natural resources, Mecca was the most developed of the three points of the triangle. Of the three, Mecca alone had a city-state, governed by a council of ten hereditary chiefs who enjoyed a clear division of power. (There was a minister of foreign relations, a minister guardian of the temple, a minister of oracles, a minister guardian of offerings to the temple, one to determine the torts and the damages payable, another in charge of the municipal council or parliament to enforce the decisions of the ministries. There were also ministers in charge of military affairs like custodianship of the flag, leadership of the cavalry etc.). As well reputed caravan-leaders, the Meccans were able to obtain permission from neighbouring empires like Iran, Byzantium and Abyssinia – and to enter into agreements with the tribes that lined the routes traversed by the caravans – to visit their countries and transact import and export business. They also provided escorts to foreigners when they passed through their country as well as the territory of allied tribes, in Arabia (cf. Ibn Habib, Muhabbar). Although not interested much in the preservation of ideas and records in writing, they passionately cultivated arts and letters like poetry, oratory discourses and folk tales. Women were generally well treated, they enjoyed the privilege of possessing property in their own right, they gave their consent to marriage contracts, in which they could even add the condition of reserving their right to divorce their husbands. They could remarry when widowed or divorced. Burying girls alive did exist in certain classes, but that was rare.
Birth of the Prophet
10. It was in the midst of such conditions and environments that Muhammad was born in 569 after Christ. His father, ‘Abdullah had died some weeks earlier, and it was his grandfather who took him in charge. According to the prevailing custom, the child was entrusted to a Bedouin foster-mother, with whom he passed several years in the desert. All biographers state that the infant prophet sucked only one breast of his foster-mother, leaving the other for the sustenance of his foster-brother. When the child was brought back home, his mother, Aminah, took him to his maternal uncles at Madinah to visit the tomb of ‘Abdullah. During the return journey, he lost his mother who died a sudden death. At Mecca, another bereavement awaited him, in the death of his affectionate grandfather. Subjected to such privations, he was at the age of eight, consigned at last to the care of his uncle, Abu-Talib, a man who was generous of nature but always short of resources and hardly able to provide for his family.
11. Young Muhammad had therefore to start immediately to earn his livelihood; he served as a shepherd boy to some neighbours. At the age of ten he accompanied his uncle to Syria when he was leading a caravan there. No other travels of Abu-Talib are mentioned, but there are references to his having set up a shop in Mecca. (Ibn Qutaibah, Ma’arif). It is possible that Muhammad helped him in this enterprise also.
12. By the time he was twenty-five, Muhammad had become well known in the city for the integrity of his disposition and the honesty of his character. A rich widow, Khadijah, took him in her employ and consigned to him her goods to be taken for sale to Syria. Delighted with the unusual profits she obtained as also by the personal charms of her agent, she offered him her hand. According to divergent reports, she was either 28 or 40 years of age at that time, (medical reasons prefer the age of 28 since she gave birth to five more children). The union proved happy. Later, we see him sometimes in the fair of Hubashah (Yemen), and at least once in the country of the ‘Abd al-Qais (Bahrain-Oman), as mentioned by Ibn Hanbal. There is every reason to believe that this refers to the great fair of Daba (Oman), where, according to Ibn al-Kalbi (cf. Ibn Habib, Muhabbar), the traders of China, of Hind and Sind (India, Pakistan), of Persia, of the East and the West assembled every year, travelling both by land and sea. There is also mention of a commercial partner of Muhammad at Mecca. This person, Sa’ib by name reports: “We relayed each other; if Muhammad led the caravan, he did not enter his house on his return to Mecca without clearing accounts with me; and if I led the caravan, he would on my return enquire about my welfare and speak nothing about his own capital entrusted to me.”
An Order of Chivalry
13. Foreign traders often brought their goods to Mecca for sale. One day a certain Yemenite (of the tribe of Zubaid) improvised a satirical poem against some Meccans who had refused to pay him the price of what he had sold, and others who had not supported his claim or had failed to come to his help when he was victimised. Zuhair, uncle and chief of the tribe of the Prophet, felt great remorse on hearing this just satire. He called for a meeting of certain chieftains in the city, and organized an order of chivalry, called Hilf al-fudul, with the aim and object of aiding the oppressed in Mecca, irrespective of their being dwellers of the city or aliens. Young Muhammad became an enthusiastic member of the organisation. Later in life he used to say: “I have participated in it, and I am not prepared to give up that privilege even against a herd of camels; if somebody should appeal to me even today, by virtue of that pledge, I shall hurry to his help.”
Beginning of Religious Consciousness
14. Not much is known about the religious practices of Muhammad until he was thirty-five years old, except that he had never worshipped idols. This is substantiated by all his biographers. It may be stated that there were a few others in Mecca, who had likewise revolted against the senseless practice of paganism, although conserving their fidelity to the Ka’bah as the house dedicated to the One God by its builder Abraham.
15. About the year 605 of the Christian era, the draperies on the outer wall of the Ka’bah took fire. The building was affected and could not bear the brunt of the torrential rains that followed. The reconstruction of the Ka’bah was thereupon undertaken. Each citizen contributed according to his means; and only the gifts of honest gains were accepted. Everybody participated in the work of construction, and Muhammad’s shoulders were injured in the course of transporting stones. To identify the place whence the ritual of circumambulation began, there had been set a black stone in the wall of the Ka’bah. dating probably from the time of Abraham himself. There was rivalry among the citizens for obtaining the honour of transposing this stone in its place. When there was danger of blood being shed, somebody suggested leaving the matter to Providence, and accepting the arbitration of him who should happen to arrive there first. It chanced that Muhammad just then turned up there for work as usual. He was popularly known by the appellation of al-Amin (the honest), and everyone accepted his arbitration without hesitation. Muhammad placed a sheet of cloth on the ground, put the stone on it and asked the chiefs of all the tribes in the city to lift together the cloth. Then he himself placed the stone in its proper place, in one of the angles of the building, and everybody was satisfied.
16. It is from this moment that we find Muhammad becoming more and more absorbed in spiritual meditations. Like his grandfather, he used to retire during the whole month of Ramadan to a cave in Jabal-an-Nur (mountain of light). The cave is called `Ghar-i-Hira’ or the cave of research. There he prayed, meditated, and shared his meagre provisions with the travellers who happened to pass by.
17. He was forty years old, and it was the fifth consecutive year since his annual retreats, when one night towards the end of the month of Ramadan, an angel came to visit him, and announced that God had chosen him as His messenger to all mankind. The angel taught him the mode of ablutions, the way of worshipping God and the conduct of prayer. He communicated to him the following Divine message:
With the name of God, the Most Merciful, the All-Merciful.
Read: with the name of thy Lord Who created,
Created man from what clings,
Read: and thy Lord is the Most Bounteous,
Who taught by the pen,
Taught man what he knew not. (Quran 96:1-5)
18. Deeply affected, he returned home and related to his wife what had happened, expressing his fears that it might have been something diabolic or the action of evil spirits. She consoled him, saying that he had always been a man of charity and generosity, helping the poor, the orphans, the widows and the needy, and assured him that God would protect him against all evil.
19. Then came a pause in revelation, extending over three years. The Prophet must have felt at first a shock, then a calm, an ardent desire, and after a period of waiting, a growing impatience or nostalgia. The news of the first vision had spread and at the pause the sceptics in the city had begun to mock at him and cut bitter jokes. They went so far as to say that God had forsaken him.
20. During the three years of waiting. the Prophet had given himself up more and more to prayers and to spiritual practices. The revelations were then resumed and God assured him that He had not at all forsaken him: on the contrary it was He Who had guided him to the right path: therefore he should take care of the orphans and the destitute, and proclaim the bounty of God on him (cf. Q. 93:3-11). This was in reality an order to preach. Another revelation directed him to warn people against evil practices, to exhort them to worship none but the One God, and to abandon everything that would displease God (Q. 74:2-7). Yet another revelation commanded him to warn his own near relatives (Q. 26:214); and: “Proclaim openly that which thou art commanded, and withdraw from the Associators (idolaters). Lo! we defend thee from the scoffers” (15:94-5). According to Ibn Ishaq, the first revelation (n. 17) had come to the Prophet during his sleep, evidently to reduce the shock. Later revelations came in full wakefulness.
21. The Prophet began by preaching his mission secretly first among his intimate friends, then among the members of his own tribe and thereafter publicly in the city and suburbs. He insisted on the belief in One Transcendent God, in Resurrection and the Last Judgement. He invited men to charity and beneficence. He took necessary steps to preserve through writing the revelations he was receiving, and ordered his adherents also to learn them by heart. This continued all through his life, since the Quran was not revealed all at once, but in fragments as occasions arose.
22. The number of his adherents increased gradually, but with the denunciation of paganism, the opposition also grew intenser on the part of those who were firmly attached to their ancestral beliefs. This opposition degenerated in the course of time into physical torture of the Prophet and of those who had embraced his religion. These were stretched on burning sands, cauterized with red hot iron and imprisoned with chains on their feet. Some of them died of the effects of torture, but none would renounce his religion. In despair, the Prophet Muhammad advised his companions to quit their native town and take refuge abroad, in Abyssinia, “where governs a just ruler, in whose realm nobody is oppressed” (Ibn Hisham). Dozens of Muslims profited by his advice, though not all. These secret flights led to further persecution of those who remained behind.
23. The Prophet Muhammad [was instructed to call this] religion “Islam,” i.e. submission to the will of God. Its distinctive features are two:
A harmonius equilibrium between the temporal and the spiritual (the body and the soul), permitting a full enjoyment of all the good that God has created, (Quran 7:32), enjoining at the same time on everybody duties towards God, such as worship, fasting, charity, etc. Islam was to be the religion of the masses and not merely of the elect.
A universality of the call – all the believers becoming brothers and equals without any distinction of class or race or tongue. The only superiority which it recognizes is a personal one, based on the greater fear of God and greater piety (Quran 49:13).
24. When a large number of the Meccan Muslims migrated to Abyssinia, the leaders of paganism sent an ultimatum to the tribe of the Prophet, demanding that he should be excommunicated and outlawed and delivered to the pagans for being put to death. Every member of the tribe, Muslim and non-Muslim rejected the demand. (cf. Ibn Hisham). Thereupon the city decided on a complete boycott of the tribe: Nobody was to talk to them or have commercial or matrimonial relations with them. The group of Arab tribes called Ahabish, inhabiting the suburbs, who were allies of the Meccans, also joined in the boycott, causing stark misery among the innocent victims consisting of children, men and women, the old and the sick and the feeble. Some of them succumbed yet nobody would hand over the Prophet to his persecutors. An uncle of the Prophet, Abu Lahab, however left his tribesmen and participated in the boycott along with the pagans. After three dire years, during which the victims were obliged to devour even crushed hides, four or five non-Muslims, more humane than the rest and belonging to different clans proclaimed publicly their denunciation of the unjust boycott. At the same time, the document promulgating the pact of boycott which had been hung in the temple, was found, as Muhammad had predicted, eaten by white ants, that spared nothing but the words God and Muhammad. The boycott was lifted, yet owing to the privations that were undergone the wife and Abu Talib, the chief of the tribe and uncle of the Prophet died soon after. Another uncle of the Prophet, Abu-Lahab, who was an inveterate enemy of Islam, now succeeded to the headship of the tribe. (cf. lbn Hisham, Sirah).
25. It was at thIs time that the Prophet Muhammad was granted the mi’raj (ascension): He saw in a vision that he was received on heaven by God, and was witness of the marvels of the celestial regions. Returning, he brought for his community, as a Divine gift, the [ritual prayer of Islam, the salaat], which constitutes a sort of communion between man and God. It may be recalled that in the last part of Muslim service of worship, the faithful employ as a symbol of their being in the very presence of God, not concrete objects as others do at the time of communion, but the very words of greeting exchanged between the Prophet Muhammad and God on the occasion of the former’s mi’raj: “The blessed and pure greetings for God! – Peace be with thee, O Prophet, as well as the mercy and blessing of God! – Peace be with us and with all the [righteous] servants of God!” The Christian term “communion” implies participation in the Divinity. Finding it pretentious, Muslims use the term “ascension” towards God and reception in His presence, God remaining God and man remaining man and no confusion between the twain.
26. The news of this celestial meeting led to an increase in the hostility of the pagans of Mecca; and the Prophet was obliged to quit his native town in search of an asylum elsewhere. He went to his maternal uncles in Ta’if, but returned immediately to Mecca, as the wicked people of that town chased the Prophet out of their city by pelting stones on him and wounding him.
Migration to Madinah
27. The annual pilgrimage of the Ka’bah brought to Mecca people from all parts of Arabia. The Prophet Muhammad tried to persuade one tribe after another to afford him shelter and allow him to carry on his mission of reform. The contingents of fifteen tribes, whom he approached in succession, refused to do so more or less brutally, but he did not despair. Finally he met half a dozen inhabitants of Madinah who being neighbour of the Jews and the Christians, had some notion of prophets and Divine messages. They knew also that these “people of the Books” were awaiting the arrival of a prophet – a last comforter. So these Madinans decided not to lose the opportunity of obtaining an advance over others, and forthwith embraced Islam, promising further to provide additional adherents and necessary help from Madinah. The following year a dozen new Madinans took the oath of allegiance to him and requested him to provide with a missionary teacher. The work of the missionary, Mus’ab, proved very successful and he led a contingent of seventy-three new converts to Mecca, at the time of the pilgrimage. These invited the Prophet and his Meccan companions to migrate to their town, and promised to shelter the Prophet and to treat him and his companions as their own kith and kin. Secretly and in small groups, the greater part of the Muslims emigrated to Madinah. Upon this the pagans of Mecca not only confiscated the property of the evacuees, but devised a plot to assassinate the Prophet. It became now impossible for him to remain at home. It is worthy of mention, that in spite of their hostility to his mission, the pagans had unbounded confidence in his probity, so much so that many of them used to deposit their savings with him. The Prophet Muhammad now entrusted all these deposits to ‘Ali, a cousin of his, with instructions to return in due course to the rightful owners. He then left the town secretly in the company of his faithful friend, Abu-Bakr. After several adventures, they succeeded in reaching Madinah in safety. This happened in 622, whence starts the Hijrah calendar.
Reorganization of the Community
28. For the better rehabilitation of the displaced immigrants, the Prophet created a fraternization between them and an equal number of well-to-do Madinans. The families of each pair of the contractual brothers worked together to earn their livelihood, and aided one another in the business of life.
29. Further he thought that the development of the man as a whole would be better achieved if he co-ordinated religion and politics as two constituent parts of one whole. To this end he invited the representatives of the Muslims as well as the non-Muslim inhabitants of the region: Arabs, Jews, Christians and others, and suggested the establishment of a City-State in Madinah. With their assent, he endowed the city with a written constitution – the first of its kind in the world – in which he defined the duties and rights both of the citizens and the head of the State – the Prophet Muhammad was unanimously hailed as such – and abolished the customary private justice. The administration of justice became henceforward the concern of the central organisation of the community of the citizens. The document laid down principles of defence and foreign policy: it organized a system of social insurance, called ma’aqil, in cases of too heavy obligations. It recognized that the Prophet Muhammad would have the final word in all differences, and that there was no limit to his power of legislation. It recognized also explicitly liberty of religion, particularly for the Jews, to whom the constitutional act afforded equality with Muslims in all that concerned life in this world (cf. infra n. 303).
30. Muhammad journeyed several times with a view to win the neighbouring tribes and to conclude with them treaties of alliance and mutual help. With their help, he decided to bring to bear economic pressure on the Meccan pagans, who had confiscated the property of the Muslim evacuees and also caused innumerable damage. Obstruction in the way of the Meccan caravans and their passage through the Madinan region exasperated the pagans, and a bloody struggle ensued.
31. In the concern for the material interests of the community, the spiritual aspect was never neglected. Hardly a year had passed after the migration to Madinah, when the most rigorous of spiritual disciplines, the fasting for the whole month of Ramadan every year, was imposed on every adult Muslim, man and woman.
Struggle Against Intolerance and Unbelief
32. Not content with the expulsion of the Muslim compatriots, the Meccans sent an ultimatum to the Madinans, demanding the surrender or at least the expulsion of Muhammad and his companions but evidently all such efforts proved in vain. A few months later, in the year 2 H., they sent a powerful army against the Prophet, who opposed them at Badr; and the pagans thrice as numerous as the Muslims, were routed. After a year of preparation, the Meccans again invaded Madinah to avenge the defeat of Badr. They were now four times as numerous as the Muslims. After a bloody encounter at Uhud, the enemy retired, the issue being indecisive. The mercenaries in the Meccan army did not want to take too much risk, or endanger their safety.
33. In thc meanwhile the Jewish citizens of Madinah began to foment trouble. About the time of the victory of Badr, one of their leaders, Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf, proceeded to Mecca to give assurance of his alliance with the pagans, and to incite them to a war of revenge. After the battle of Uhud, the tribe of the same chieftain plotted to assassinate the Prophet by throwing on him a mill-stone from above a tower, when he had gone to visit their locality. In spite of all this, the only demand the Prophet made of the men of this tribe was to quit the Madinan region, taking with them all their properties, after selling their immovables and recovering their debts from the Muslims. The clemency thus extended had an effect contrary to what was hoped. The exiled not only contacted the Meccans, but also the tribes of the North, South and East of Madinah, mobilized military aid, and planned from Khaibar an invasion of Madinah, with forces four times more numerous than those employed at Uhud. The Muslims prepared for a siege, and dug a ditch to defend themselves against this hardest of all trials. Although the defection of the Jews still remaining inside Madinah at a later stage upset all strategy, yet with a sagacious diplomacy, the Prophet succeeded in breaking up the alliance, and the different enemy groups retired one after the other.
34. Alcoholic drinks, gambling and games of chance were at this time declared forbidden for the Muslims.
35. The Prophet tried once more to reconcile the Meccans and proceeded to Mecca. The barring of the route of their Northern caravans had ruined their economy. The Prophet promised them transit security, extradition of their fugitives and the fulfillment of every condition they desired, agreeing even to return to Madinah without accomplishing the pilgrimage of the Ka’bah. Thereupon the two contracting parties promised at Hudaibiyah in the suburbs of Mecca, not only the maintenance of peace, but also the observance of neutrality in their conflicts with third parties.
36. Profiting by the peace, the Prophet launched an intensive programme for the propagation of his religion. He addressed missionary letters to the foreign rulers of Byzantium, Iran, Abyssinia and other lands. The Byzantine autocrat priest – Dughatur of the Arabs – embraced Islam, but for this, was lynched by the Christian mob; the prefect of Ma’an (Palestine) suffered the same fate, and was decapitated and crucified by order of the emperor. A Muslim ambassador was assassinated in Syria-Palestine; and instead of punishing the culprit, the emperor Heraclius rushed with his armies to protect him against the punitive expedition sent by the Prophet (battle of Mu’tah).
37. The pagans of Mecca hoping to profit by the Muslim difficulties, violated the terms of their treaty. Upon this, the Prophet himself led an army, ten thousand strong, and surprised Mecca which he occupied in a bloodless manner. As a benevolent conqueror, he caused the vanquished people to assemble, reminded them of their ill deeds, their religious persecution, unjust confiscation of the evacuee property, ceaseless invasions and senseless hostilities for twenty years continuously. He asked them: “Now what do you expect of me?” When everybody lowered his head with shame, the Prophet proclaimed: “May God pardon you; go in peace; there shall be no responsibility on you today; you are free!” He even renounced the claim for the Muslim property confiscated by the pagans. This produced a great psychological change of hearts instantaneously. When a Meccan chief advanced with a fulsome heart towards the Prophet, after hearing this general amnesty, in order to declare his acceptance of Islam, the Prophet told him: “And in my turn, I appoint you the governor of Mecca!” Without leaving a single soldier in the conquered city, the Prophet retired to Madinah. The Islamization of Mecca, which was accomplished in a few hours, was complete.
38. Immediately after the occupation of Mecca, the city of Ta’if mobilized to fight against the Prophet. With some difficulty the enemy was dispersed in the valley of Hunain, but the Muslims preferred to raise the siege of nearby Ta’if and use pacific means to break the resistance of this region. Less than a year later, a delegation from Ta’if came to Madinah offering submission. But it requested exemption from prayer, taxes and military service, and the continuance of the liberty to adultery and fornication and alcoholic drinks. It demanded even the conservation of the temple of the idol al-Lat at Ta’if. But Islam was not a materialist immoral movement; and soon the delegation itself felt ashamed of its demands regarding prayer, adultery and wine. The Prophet consented to concede exemption from payment of taxes and rendering of military service; and added: You need not demolish the temple with your own hands: we shall send agents from here to do the job, and if there should be any consequences, which you are afraid of on account of your superstitions, it will be they who would suffer. This act of the Prophet shows what concessions could be given to new converts. The conversion of the Ta’ifites was so whole hearted that in a short while, they themselves renounced the contracted exemptions, and we find the Prophet nominating a tax collector in their locality as in other Islamic regions.
39. In all these “wars,” extending over a period of ten years, the non-Muslims lost on the battlefield only about 250 persons killed, and the Muslim losses were even less. With these few incisions, the whole continent of Arabia. with its million and more of square miles, was cured of the abscess of anarchy and immorality. During these ten years of disinterested struggle, all thc peoples of the Arabian Peninsula and the southern regions of Iraq and Palestine had voluntarily embraced Islam. Some Christian, Jewish and Parsi groups remained attached to their creeds, and they were granted liberty of conscience as well as judicial and juridical autonomy.
40. In the year 10 H., when the Prophet went to Mecca for Hajj (pilgrimage), he met 140,000 Muslims there, who had come from different parts of Arabia to fulfil their religious obligation. He addressed to them his celebrated sermon, in which he gave a resume of his teachings: “Belief in One God without images or symbols, equality of all the Believers without distinction of race or class, the superiority of individuals being based solely on piety; sanctity of life, property and honour; abolition of interest, and of vendettas and private justice; better treatment of women; obligatory inheritance and distribution of the property of deceased persons among near relatives of both sexes, and removal of the possibility of the cumulation of wealth in the hands of the few.” The Quran and the conduct of the Prophet were to serve as the bases of law and a healthy criterion in every aspect of human life.
41. On his return to Madinah, he fell ill; and a few weeks later, when he breathed his last, he had the satisfaction that he had well accomplished the task which he had undertaken – to preach to the world the Divine message.
42. He bequeathed to posterity, a religion of pure monotheism; he created a well-disciplined State out of the existent chaos and gave peace in place of the war of everybody against everybody else; he established a harmonious equilibrium between the spiritual and the temporal, between the mosque and the citadel; he left a new system of law, which dispensed impartial justice, in which even the head of the State was as much a subject to it as any commoner, and in which religious tolerance was so great that non-Muslim inhabitants of Muslim countries equally enjoyed complete juridical, judicial and cultural autonomy. In the matter of the revenues of the State, the Quran fixed the principles of budgeting, and paid more thought to the poor than to anybody else. The revenues were declared to be in no wise the private property of the head of the State. Above all, the Prophet Muhammad set a noble example and fully practised all that he taught to others.