The Dimensions and goals of the Holy Prophet’s (S) Be’that
By: Ayatollah al-Uzma Sayyid Ali Khamenei
In fact, Mab’ath was the day when the flag of a mission was raised, a mission whose characteristics are outstanding and unique for humanity. Mab’ath raised the flag of knowledge and understanding in the world. Be’that started with the divine order, “Read”: “Read in the name of your Lord Who created.” 1
And it continued with the following order: “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation.” 2
That is to say, the call was accompanied by wisdom. The Islamic call is in fact an effort to promote and spread wisdom to different parts of the world and to different historical eras. Be’that was an effort to raise the flag of justice and to establish justice among believers, God’s servants and all human beings. And the mission is to raise the flag of noble human values. “I was appointed to complete moral virtues.” 3 Addressing the Holy Prophet (S), Allah the Exalted says: “And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.” 4
That is to say, all the things that human beings need at all times, in all conditions, in any part of the world have been included in Be’that, namely knowledge and understanding, wisdom and mercy, justice and brotherhood, and equality, which are the essential things that the healthy course of life depends on.
Even though Islam has required its followers to engage in Jihad, it has also announced: “If they incline to peace, then incline to it and trust in Allah.”5
That is to say, Islam prefers peace to war when the conditions are appropriate. Of course, Jihad means standing up against bullying and transgression, but some people maliciously announce that Islam is the religion of war because it has required its followers to engage in Jihad.
Today humanity is in need of these teachings. We Muslims are responsible for certain shortcomings and we should admit this. First of all, we have neglected our responsibility to promote genuine Islamic teachings throughout the world. Second, we have failed to present appropriate Islamic role models in the world. If Muslims regulated their actions, their social and personal behavior and their political models on the basis of these teachings, they would be promoting Islam in the best possible way. Of course, there is no doubt that today complicated waves of global propaganda campaigns have focused on Islam. 6
The Signs that signified the Holy Prophet’s (S) birth
On a day like this, Allah the Exalted bestowed the greatest blessing on creation, namely the Holy Prophet (S). This was the beginning of a decisive stage in the destiny of mankind. Regarding the birth of the Holy Prophet (S), it has been said that when he was born, the battlements of the Persian king’s castle collapsed, the fire of the Temple of Azargoshnasb which had been burning for centuries, went out, that Saveh Lake which was considered sacred by some people at that time, dried out and the idols which were hanging from the walls of Ka’bah, collapsed.
These signs which are divine codes show that the Holy Prophet (S) was about to be born. The meaning of these significant events was that the birth of the Holy Prophet (S) would put an end to the humiliation which had been imposed on mankind as a result of the actions of autocratic and oppressive rulers such as those in Iran and Rome of that time and as a result of worshipping things or people instead of God.
Human beings will be saved by the Holy Prophet (S). They will be saved from the injustice that has been imposed by tyrannical rulers on oppressed people over the course of history, and from humiliating superstitions and wrong beliefs that forced human beings to bow to and worship lowly creatures or other human beings. For this reason, there is an Ayah regarding Be’that of the Holy Prophet (S) which says: “He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions, and Allah is enough for a witness.” 7
No time has been specified for “that He may make it prevail over all the religions” and it only shows the direction. This event should cause human beings to move towards spiritual, social, genuine and intellectual freedom. This movement was started and we human beings are responsible for continuing it. This is another law of creation.
If human beings make more determined efforts, they will achieve divine goals faster, the goals that Allah the Exalted has specified for them. But if they fail to do so and show that they are weak, they will waste years on this path, just like the Children of Israel: “For forty years, they shall wander about in the land.” 8
The Children of Israel caused such conditions that they were forced to wander in the desert. They could have prevented that hardship and bitterness. They could have made their journey shorter. The same is true of our destiny as well.
The reason behind creation of man and the philosophy behind the sending of divine prophets and scriptures have been announced to Muslims as well. It is human beings themselves who can make this journey longer or shorter. The time that it will take to reach the final destination depends on human beings. 9
Be’that of the Holy Prophet of Islam (S) was the beginning of a new path for humanity. The atmosphere in which that prophetic message was revealed was very bad and intolerable. That message was revealed in a world of materialistic tendencies, a world of subhuman characteristics, a world in which powerful and domineering people were not restricted, a world of discrimination, corruption, oppression and immorality. These conditions were not particular to the Hijaz region. The two powerful governments around the Arabian Peninsula namely, the Sassanid dynasty in Iran and the Roman Empire – were suffering from the same problems.
A Comparison between pre-Islam Jahiliyya and modern Jahiliyya
Comprehensive Jahiliyya had engulfed the lives of the people at the time of the emergence of Islam. At that time, there were unbearable Fitnas in all the regions around the Arabian Peninsula. Of course, there was knowledge as well. There was some form of civilization as well. There was law and order as well. There was discipline as well, which was the result of the rule of absolute monarchies in those countries. However, what was missing was the light of moral virtues and human values.
What was missing was exactly what humanity needs most, namely an environment in which there are human values, an environment in which there is mercy and forgiveness, an environment in which there is justice. Justice was what the people of that time lacked, so powerful people could be not prevented from trampling upon the rights of the weak and it was not possible to prevent the advantages from concentrating in the hands of a few powerful people. These were the great afflictions that humanity was suffering from. The same was true of the areas that were under the rule of the Sassanid dynasty as well as the areas that were under the rule of the Roman Empire – only the form of injustice was different.
Injustice also existed in another form in the Hijaz region, where people were living in primitive communities. Be’that of the Holy Prophet (S) started a movement in all those areas. The message of Be’that was not particular to the Arabs. It belongs to all human beings.
“It is naught but a reminder for the nations.” 10
The Holy Prophet (S) managed to stand up against those bitter realities and transform the conditions. He managed to pull down or undermine the walls of injustice and discrimination that existed among human beings. The Holy Prophet (S) was faced with the most difficult conditions. When evil, chaos and corruption are coupled with power, swords, determination and political power, they turn into great dangers for humanity.
Today in the 21st century, despite all their claims and as a result of the weaknesses they have shown, human beings are moving towards such conditions that centers of power stand up and create rights for themselves by relying on their power and their iron fists and weapons. These are the same conditions that existed at the time of Be’that. The Holy Prophet (S) resisted. He did not say that those conditions were reality and that he could not change them. There are some people who justify their weaknesses and lack of determination by simply saying: “This is reality. What can we do?”
This is not the kind of reality that one should surrender to. Natural realities, realities that cannot be changed, realities that have not been imposed on human beings these are the kind of realities that human beings should try to live with. But it is necessary to stand up against realities that have been imposed on people through the use of weapons and coercion. It is not rational to say that the power of the arrogant powers is reality and that we cannot do anything about it. This reality has been imposed on us. Great human beings, divine religions and great intellectuals stand up against such reality and try to change it. And it is possible to change such realities. This was the essence of Be’that.
The day when this message entered the atmosphere of Mecca, the Holy Prophet (S) said: “Say: there is no god but Allah to achieve salvation.” 11 Even those who were just did not think that it was likely for this to come true one day because there was no ground. All those impressive idols were hanging from the walls of Ka’bah and deep prejudices of the Jahiliyya era were the support of those idols. The position of the aristocrats and powerful families of Mecca were threatened by “there is no god but Allah”.
There were also powerful governments such as the Sassanid dynasty and the Roman Empire. In those conditions, who would have accepted that this message could even be put forward and followed up? This is where weak individuals back down. However, the Holy Prophet’s (S) mission and responsibility helped him move forward. In twenty-something years, Be’that in the sense of inspiration changed that atmosphere first in the Hijaz region and then in the entire civilized world of that time.
Barely half a century had passed since the Holy Prophet’s (S) Be’that and the emergence of Islam that more than half of the civilized world of that time was under the influence of Islam. It is wrong to think that powerful empires did not have knowledge, wisdom, organized military forces and pride. However, when insightful religious faith that is founded on a powerful rational basis is placed into the hearts of determined, pure-hearted and selfless individuals, removing such obstacles becomes possible. The same is true of today’s world. Islamic faith is the kind of faith that is based on rationality and reasoning and it guarantees happiness for humanity. 12 The birth of the Holy Prophet (S) was a divine blessing for mankind. In the Holy Quran, the Holy Prophet (S) has been described as “a mercy to the worlds.” 13
This mercy is not limited. It includes education, purification, guidance of human beings onto the right path and progress in both worldly and spiritual aspects of life. This mercy is not limited to the people of a particular era either. It belongs to all human beings throughout history: “And others from among them who have not yet joined them.” 14
Implementing the rules of Islam is the path to achieve that goal, and this path has been specified for humanity.
Islamic Awakening: Muslim’s return to the teachings of the Holy Prophet (S)
The great Islamic Ummah has been faced with certain challenges and deviations over the course of many centuries. We distanced ourselves from Islam and became busy with the things that Islam has warned us against.
Over these centuries, we became busy with civil wars. We were kept busy by Taghuti powers. As a result, after the first few centuries, the great Islamic Ummah failed to reach the goals that the Holy Prophet (S) and dear Islam had specified for it, even after the passage of many centuries. Allah the Exalted has bestowed many sources of wealth on Islamic countries and they could have used them to achieve progress. However, as far as science, industry and many other standards of progress are concerned, Muslim countries are among the backward parts of the world. This was not what Islam had planned for us. This situation was caused by our inappropriate actions and our negligence: “Whatever misfortune befalls you, it is from yourself.” 15
It was we ourselves who caused these conditions over time as a result of our negligence. Today the conditions have changed in the world of Islam. Islamic Awakening is visible throughout the world of Islam. In different parts of the Muslim world, one can witness a great movement which is at different stages. There is a tendency to return to Islamic principles, which are a source of dignity and progress. Intellectuals, religious scholars and politicians of the world of Islam should strengthen this movement.
It is wrong to think that the Islamic movement of Muslim youth will harm Islamic governments. No, thanks to Islamic Awakening, Muslim governments can restore the dignity that the arrogant powers have taken away from them. One example is our country, our Revolution and our Imam (r.a.). After we had suffered from many centuries of autocracy and two centuries of foreign hegemony, we got awakened and our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) managed to restore dignity to our people.
The English, the Russians and the Americans ruled our country, respectively. On the surface of it, they were not in charge of government, but all our national affairs were in their hands and they had full control over everything in the country. Our people had been deprived of their rights, their resources, their dignity and the true taste of religious faith.
Our magnanimous Imam (r.a) managed to liberate our country from the long-standing hegemony of autocratic and colonial powers by encouraging the people to return and adhere to Islam. He managed to restore our dignity. We managed to give our people a sense of Islamic identity and made them feel that they were capable of standing on their own feet, that they were capable of making independent decisions, that they could say “yes” and “no” in the case of historic issues.
Our people had not experienced this for many centuries. It was Islam that gave this to them. In any part of the world where the wave of Islamic Awakening is strengthened and the people and youth are made to feel that they are moving closer to Islam, their identity and dignity will be revived and restored. 16
The Purpose of commemorating Mab’ath: Reviewing the great lessons of Be’that
Commemorating Mab’ath is an effort to highlight the great lessons that the Holy Prophet’s (S) Be’that contains, lessons that are needed by all human beings, particularly by Muslim communities. It is not just an effort to commemorate an event that is held in high regard. Today humanity is suffering from the domination of Taghuti powers, from oppression, from discrimination, from corruption and from the domination of the passions of certain groups over the lives of people.
Today the lives of human beings are at the mercy of the passions of individuals who have not even heard of spirituality, individuals who are driven by their human passions. Today humanity needs the message of Be’that more than ever before.
Be’that of the Holy Prophet (S): Calling human beings to adopt monotheism as their lifestyle
Be’that of the Holy Prophet (S) was primarily a call to monotheism. Monotheism is not just a philosophical and theoretical view, rather it is a lifestyle. Monotheism is the establishment of the rule of God over one’s life as well as elimination of different factors that control one’s life. “There is no god but Allah” which is the main message of our Prophet (S) and all other divine prophets – means that Taghuti powers and Satans should not interfere in the lives of human beings or in the choice of path and lifestyle and that they should not try to take control of the lives of human beings.
If monotheism in the Islamic sense and in the sense that was promoted by all divine prophets is implemented in the social life of Muslims as well as all human beings, it will be possible for human beings to achieve genuine happiness and salvation in this world and in the next. Human beings will be able to build their worldly life and put it at the service of their perfection and transcendence. From an Islamic point of view, this world is a prelude and a path to the next world. Islam does not reject material life.
It does not condemn worldly joys. It asks human beings to be active in the arena of worldly life with all their capacities. However, all of these things should be at the service of spiritual transcendence and happiness, so that worldly life becomes pleasant as well. In such a world, there is no oppression, no ignorance and no brutality. It is very difficult to build such a world and it requires selfless efforts. The Holy Prophet (S) started these selfless efforts from the first day.
Be’that: The call to all the virtues that are needed by humanity
What the Holy Prophet (S) promoted are the same things that humanity has needed in all historical eras. The Holy Prophet (S) called human beings to knowledge. Knowledge has been praised in the Ayahs that were revealed first.
“Read in the name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot. Read and your Lord is most honorable, Who taught (to write) with the pen.” 17
The first thing that was put forward was educating mankind. Knowledge is an instrument to help mankind achieve salvation. Knowledge is not particular to a specific era or place. It is related to all eras. The Holy Prophet (S) called on human beings to start a movement. In the first Ayahs that were revealed to the Holy Prophet (S), Allah the Exalted said, “Arise and warn”. 18
This shows the importance of starting a movement, taking action and taking on responsibilities.
“Say: I exhort you only to one thing, that you rise up for Allah's sake.” 19
Rising up for the sake of God is effective in all conditions and it is not possible to start a movement and reach any noble goals without rising up. The Holy Prophet (S) called human beings to spiritual purification and self-education.
“He it is Who raised among the inhabitants of Mecca an Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His communications and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom.”20
Spiritual purification is the first condition. In the absence of spiritual purification, knowledge will be used as an instrument to drag human beings into corruption, degeneration, deviation and decline, just as in today’s world, knowledge has become an instrument to drag human beings into decline and it is being used as a tool to shackle nations, distort realities and impose hunger on human beings.
Because of the hegemony of colonial powers that continued invading nations of the world and spreading their domination through the use of knowledge, there are many people around the world who have been deprived of their natural resources and they are living in poverty, privation and destitution.
The same is true of today’s world. Today global arrogance a new form of colonialism is making human beings powerless through the use of knowledge. They shackle people and give rise to death and destruction. These are the consequences of knowledge that is not accompanied by spiritual purification.
Piety: The Islamic standard for superiority
Islam calls human beings to brotherhood and equality. It calls on human beings to avoid discrimination, to avoid using racial differences to discriminate among people, to avoid considering some nations as inherently superior to other nations. Islam says that it is pious people who are honorable. From an Islamic point of view, the standard for superiority is piety. Piety means watching one’s behavior and actions. It means watching one’s step and making plans for one’s life on the basis of divine limits and principles.
These things are not limited to a particular era. Even today human beings are in need of these things. Human beings will always need these things to achieve happiness, regardless of the progress of science and civilization. The Islamic Ummah should pay attention to these things and make efforts to achieve them. This requires firm determination among Muslim nations and among leaders and government officials of different countries. According to the Dua that was recited in today’s meeting: “I know well that the best provision for the followers of Your path is a firm determination to choose You” 21
The best thing is to be determined to choose the path of God and to follow it. Of course, this path is difficult, but following it will become easy if there is determination. These are the lessons that Islam has taught us and we have found them practical in our lives. That is to say, our experiences show that these lessons can be implemented in our lives.
During the early years after the introduction of Islam, thanks to these principles and firm pillars, a small group of people who had been distanced from civilization and knowledge and had been deprived of all the blessings of life managed to build the biggest civilization in the world over the course of a few centuries, and the world benefitted from their civilization, knowledge and advances.
This is what we have experienced in the past. And in the Islamic Republic, whenever we have relied on our willpower and on Allah the Exalted, whenever we have deployed our forces, whenever we have disregarded our human passions and given precedence to our goals, we have managed to take successful steps.
It is obvious that it is not possible to build a society or a civilization which is one of the biggest goals of Islam without being faced with enmities in the process. During the early years after the introduction of Islam, the efforts to establish an Islamic government and society met with hostilities. The same is true today. Today in the world of Islam, Muslim nations feel proud because of Islam. Islamic Awakening is a truth that exists today, whether the enemies of the Islamic Ummah like it or not. Following this path requires a firm determination among government officials of different countries.
We ourselves are the primary audience of this message and we have to shoulder heavy responsibilities. The Holy Prophet (S) said, “This Ummah will not be reformed except through its outstanding personalities.” 22Reforming ordinary people in a society depends on reforming outstanding personalities of that society. The Holy Prophet (S) was asked, “Who are outstanding personalities of your Ummah?” He answered, “Outstanding personalities of my Ummah are religious scholars and leaders.” He said outstanding personalities are scholars, intellectuals, aware people, rulers and leaders.23
The life of the Holy Prophet (S) which was spent for God, in the way of God and on promoting divine teachings and his unique personality are a lesson and a permanent role model for the entire history of Islam.
“Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example.” 24
Thanks to the selfless efforts of the Holy Prophet (S), Islamic teachings spread to all times. These teachings are not for Muslims alone. All human beings in all historical eras will benefit from the teachings of Islam. If we Muslims appreciate the value of Islamic teachings and pay attention to their depth, we will manage to build a new world that is consistent with the genuine inner wishes of humanity. Through adhering to Islam, the Islamic Ummah can save the world which is immersed in lust, rage, ignorance, selfishness and narcissism.
The spirit of all Islamic teachings is that lust and rage should not take control of one’s behavior in life, that human beings and human communities should be driven by wisdom and piety rather than by self-interest. Take a look at the afflictions that have plagued human life. What are the causes of different kinds of poverty, privation, discrimination, corruption, ignorance and prejudice? What causes killings, wars, oppression, injustice and brutality in human communities?
The root of all these afflictions is that there are human beings who do not have control over their passions and are being controlled by lust, rage, self-interest, ambitions and greed for wealth. And whenever such individuals have taken control of the destiny of human beings in a corner of the world, they have dragged humanity into poverty, war, ignorance, discrimination, corruption and Fitna.
Islam wants to remedy these afflictions. Islam says that ignorance, brutality, materialistic tendencies, self-interest and narcissism must not take control of one’s free will, which is one of the greatest blessings that Allah the Exalted has bestowed on humanity. Islam says that one’s decisions should be driven by wisdom and piety.25
First, I would like to congratulate the great Islamic Ummah, the honorable Iranian nation and the esteemed people who have attended this meeting particularly, the foreign guests and brothers on this auspicious occasion. Second, as far as showing respect to the personality of the Holy Prophet (S) is concerned, we Muslims have many things to say and discuss among ourselves. This is because the Holy Prophet of Islam (S) was the one who taught goodness, justice, human values, knowledge, brotherhood, growth, perfection and everlasting progress to human beings. Can human beings imagine a time when they will no longer need these precious lessons? Today just like always humanity is in need of the Holy Prophet’s (S) lessons and teachings.
• 1. Sura al-Alaq, Ayah 1
• 2. Sura an-Nahl, Ayah 125
• 3. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 67, P. 372
• 4. Sura al-Anbiya, Ayah 107
• 5. Sura al-Anfal, Ayah 6
• 6. Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on October 15, 2001 in a meeting with government officials of the Islamic Republic on the occasion of the Holy Prophet’s (S) Be’that
• 7. Sura al-Fath, Ayah 28
• 8. Sura al-Maeda, Ayah 26
• 9. Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on May 30, 2002 in a meeting with government officials and participants of the Islamic Unity Conference on the occasion of birthday anniversaries of the Holy Prophet (S) and Imam Sadiq (a.s.)
• 10. Sura at-Takwir, Ayah 27
• 11. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 18, P. 202
• 12. Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on October 5, 2002 in a meeting with government officials of the Islamic Republic on the occasion of the Holy Prophet’s (S) Be’that
• 13. Sura al-Anbiya, Ayah 107
• 14. Sura al-Jumua, Ayah
• 15. Sura an-Nisa, Ayah 79
• 16. Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on May 19, 2003 in a meeting with government officials on the occasion of the 17th of Rabi’ al-Awwal
• 17. Sura al-Alaq, Ayahs 1-4
• 18. Sura al-Muddaththir, Ayah 2
• 19. Sura as-Saba, Ayah 46
• 20. Sura al-Jumua, Ayah 2
• 21. Iqbal al-A’mal, Vol. 2, P. 678
• 22. Mawaidh al-Adadiyya, P. 124
• 23. Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on September 24, 2003 in a meeting with government officials of the Islamic Republic on the occasion of the Holy Prophet’s (S) Be’that
• 24. 3.Sura al-Ahzab, Ayah 21
• 25. Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on April 14, 2004 in a meeting with ordinary citizens