Holy Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), “The Mercy unto the Creation"
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 28th of the month of Safar on a day when the Earth was deprived of the blessed presence of the best of creation that ever strode upon it. The 28th of the month of Safar is the anniversary of the passing away of God's Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) needs no introduction to anyone. He is the Messenger of Mercy whose followers are called Muslims or those who submit wholeheartedly to the will of God with the conviction to lead a peaceful and healthy way of life. Day by day the number of Muslims is increasing all over the globe and according to latest estimates there are more than 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide.
Even many non Muslims are well aware and profoundly impressed by the impeccable characteristics of the Prophet of Islam, who during his 23-year mission, reformed humanity and made the laws of God prevail over a greater part of the world. So let us cast a glance at this finest exemplar to mankind, who did not leave the ummah in darkness, but before his departure from the world at the age of 63, left behind, by the commandment of God Almighty, the Thaqalayn or the Two Precious Things for the guidance of mankind.
The first is the Revealed Word of God, that is the holy Qur'an, while the second is his progeny, the Ahl al-Bayt, whose first member is his cousin and son-in-law, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), who was proclaimed by him as his vicegerent at the historical gathering of Ghadir-Khom, two months and ten days before death overtook him. The Prophet made it quite clear to his companions that if they want to stay on the right path, to hold fast to the Thaqalayn, because the Qur'an and the Ahl al-Bayt are inseparable from each other.
"We have not sent you but as Mercy unto the Creation."
This is how God introduces Prophet Mohammad to mankind in the holy Qur'an, and the Messenger did spread the mercy of God all over the world, ever since he was formally ordained and entrusted with the universal message of Islam at the age of 40 years. The achievements of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), in a short period of 23 years, are too numerous and far-reaching in their impact to be described in this brief radio programme. To give a glimpse of some of the aspects of Islam, he we would like to mention that it was Islam that re-established the belief in the One and Universal God. It was Islam that recognized the prophets, who had appeared in other nations before Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), as true Prophets. It was Islam which freed mankind from the supposed stigma of inherent evil and sin, and thus bestowed an everlasting dignity to humanity. It was Islam that said that “no bearer of burdens bears the burden of another” – that is the children of Adam cannot be condemned for Adam’s supposed sin.
It was Islam that laid no special rituals to accept a man in its fold, declaring that “every child is born a Muslim; it is his parents who take him away from Islam and convert him Judaism, Christianity or other religion” – that is, he does not need any permit to come back to his original home, Islam. It was Islam that created a direct relationship between God and individual man. If he abstains from sins, or if, after committing a sin, repents sincerely, there would be no need of any intercessor. God Himself will forgive him. Muslim preachers have no privilege of forgiving sin on behalf of God, or of granting paradise quarters to their followers. Thus Islam has made each and every person responsible for his own actions.
Islam treated man as man, not as God; it recognized the shortcoming of human beings; and gave them a code of conduct which combines the lofty ideals of Love with the practical aspects of Justice. It has laid down clear rules for every aspect of life, which are based on justice and cannot be violated and after a man has achieved that minimum degree of piety, he is exhorted and encouraged to reach the higher and higher goal of moral and spiritual perfection. This combination of minimum requirements of justice with maximum aspiration of lofty morals is the most unique aspect of the religion of God which is Islam. Islam, in its infancy, was a secret mission. After 3 years the Holy Prophet announced openly his message to the people of Mecca.
The news of new religion traveled far and wide, and the hurling of open denunciation at the ancestral idols of Arabs by the Holy Prophet set all Arabia ablaze. The resentment, at first, led them to approach his uncle and guardian, Abu Talib, to persuade him to silence his nephew. Abu Talib conveyed their message and the Prophet replied; “Uncle dear, even if they place the Sun in my right hand and the Moon in my left hand in order to turn me away from the work which I have been entrusted by Allah to do, I will not listen to them”. Saying this he burst into tears. Abu Talib said “Go in peace, my son! And do what thou wilt, for, by God! I will not abandon you”. This decision of Abu-Talib infuriated the Meccans.
As a last attempt they approached the Prophet himself. They told him: “If your ambition is to acquire wealth, we will amass wealth for you as much as you may ever desire, and if you are aspiring for power and honor, we are prepared to accept you as our kind and overlord; and if you have any fancy for beauty, you shall have the hand of the fairest maiden in the land”. Muhammad’s reply was short and clear: “Neither I want wealth nor do I want power or beauty. I have been commissioned by Allah as a warner to the mankind, I am communicating His message to you. If you accept it, you shall have facility in this life and the life hereafter, and should you reject it, verily, God will decide between you and me”. And God decided in favour of His own religion. In spite of the bitterest persecution suffered by the Muslims at the hand of the Meccans, Islam made steady progress.
And, in the end, even its erstwhile enemies were attracted to its fold. Look at the major religions of the world minutely and we will find that it is only Islam which claimed from the beginning to be the religion for the whole mankind. God sent, before Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), thousands of prophets and apostles to different places and nations to guide their people to the right path. It should be mentioned here that the word ‘Prophet’, when used by a Muslim, does not mean ‘one who foretells the events’. Foretelling the events is not a very important function of a ‘Prophet’. A prophet, according to Islam, is sent by God to call people to His path. He is the link between Allah and His creatures, and by following his foot-prints the followers can be sure of receiving the glory of God.
Thus, when as a result of the efforts of those Prophets mankind reached the stage of maturity, the Prophet of Islam was sent by God for the whole mankind. He re-affirmed, revived, consolidated and perfected the teachings of the earlier prophets (which by passage of time had become distorted and disfigured). Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) came in the world, announcing that, “I have been sent to all people-red and black and yellow”. Among his early followers were people from Ethiopia, Iran, Rome and India. According to the Qur’an, Allah is not a tribal god but the ‘Lord of Universe’; and the Holy Prophet is ‘The Mercy for the universe’. By sending his messengers to Asia Minor, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman and many other places, calling those people to ‘come within the fold of Islam, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) left an undeniable proof that his was the universal religion, unfettered with the shackles of tribe, religion, color or race.
Thus, when this great person left the world he made it sure that Islam will continue by specifying, by the command of God, adherence to the Thaqalayn. But alas, some did not heed his words and caused the great discord in Islam. For instance in Sahih Muslim, which is a compilation of hadith by our Sunni brethren we read a famous narration by Abdullah Ibn Abbas, which says: Three days before the Prophet's death, Omar ibn Khattab and other companions were present by his side. The Prophet said, "Now let me write something for you whereby you shall not go astray after me." Omar said, "The Prophet is overcome by illness; you have the Qur'an, the Book of Allah, which is sufficient for us." Omar's statement caused a furor among those present. Some were saying that the Prophet's command should be obeyed so that he might write whatever he desired to write for their guidance. Others sided with Omar. When the tension and uproar intensified, the Prophet said, "Get away from me!" Therefore, Ibn Abbas used to say, "It was a miserable, absolutely miserable, occurrence that the conflict of opinion and noise made by the people came in the way of the Prophet's writing a will and, because of it, the Prophet could not leave behind what he wanted to put on paper."
It is stated in the book Rawzat ul-Ahbab that the Prophet during his last moments said to his daughter Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon her), "Bring your sons to me." She brought Imam Hasan and Imam Husain to the Prophet. Both of them greeted the Prophet, sat by his side and wept at witnessing the agony of the Prophet in such a manner that the people who saw them weeping could not hold their tears. Imam Hasan rested his face upon the Prophet's face and Husain rested his head upon the Prophet's chest. The Prophet opened his eyes and kissed his grandsons lovingly, enjoining the people to love and respect them.
In another narration, it is stated that the companions who were present there, having seen Hasan and Husain weep, wept so loudly that the Prophet himself could not hold his tears at their grief. Then he said, "Call my beloved brother 'Ali to me." 'Ali came in and sat near the head of the Prophet. When the Prophet lifted his head, 'Ali moved to the side and, holding the Prophet's head, he rested it, on his own lap. The Prophet then said: "O 'Ali! I have taken a certain amount from so and so Jew for the expenditure on Osamah's army. See that you repay it. And, O Ali! You will be the first person to reach me at the heavenly reservoir of al-Kawthar. You will also be given a lot of trouble after my death. You should bear it patiently and when you see that the people prefer the lust of this world, you should prefer the hereafter."
Here we quote a narration from the book Khasa'es of Nasa'i from Umm Salamah, one of the wives of the Prophet: "By Allah, the closest person [to the Prophet] at the time of the Prophet's death was Imam Ali (AS). Early on the morning of the day when he was going to die, the Prophet called Ali who had been sent out on some errand. He asked for Ali three times before his return. However, Ali came before sunrise. So, thinking that the Prophet needed some privacy with Ali, we came out. I was the last to be out; therefore, I sat closer to the door than the other women. I saw that Ali lowered his head towards the Prophet and the Prophet kept whispering into his ears (for sometime). Therefore, Imam Ali (AS) is the only person who was near the Prophet till the last." In the book al-Mustadrak al-Wasa'el we read: The Prophet kept confiding in Imam Ali (AS) till the time of his death. Then he breathed his last." Before departure the Prophet told his daughter, Hazrat Fatema (SA) that she would be the first person to meet him in afterlife.
Let us hold fast to the Holy Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt for unity of the Islamic ummah and for salvation in afterlife.