The Holy Prophet’s (S) Blessings
By: Ayatollah al-Uzma Sayyid Ali Khamenei
As far as human beings are concerned, the standard for blessedness of a birth is the effects that it produces, both directly and indirectly. If this standard is correct and I believe it should be said that the most blessed birth that has ever happened in history is the birth of the Holy Prophet of Islam (S).
The blessings started from the moment he was born and this is not surprising. When he was a newborn baby, Prophet Isa (peace and greetings be upon him) said: “And He has made me blessed wherever I may be.” 1
He announced his blessedness a few hours or a few days after he had been born. The same is true of our Holy Prophet (S).
It has been recorded in different history books that the battlements of the Persian king’s castle collapsed or that the fire in an ancient fire temple went out. Other such signs have also been reported in history books. All of these things were harbingers of the blessings of the Holy Prophet (S). Whatever has existed in this world as a result of the rule and domination of polytheism, Kufr, autocracy, injustice and discord among human beings, should gradually be eliminated due to the existence of that noble, chosen and unique human being. The responsibility that the Holy Prophet (S) took on in the arena of action and struggle was the most important portion of the work. Starting this path and this call to Islam was the most important part of his work.
The problem with that era was that people from various social backgrounds and in different parts of the world had become used to the rule of Taghuts, to the domination of injustice and to class distinctions. Who should stand up against such things? Naturally, those who have been oppressed. When even oppressed people believe that injustice should be established, there is no hope for improvement. Awakening the people, the world and humanity was the great responsibility of the Holy Prophet (S) and the purpose of his prophetic call.
“It is nothing but a reminder to the nations.” 2
His call was a reminder and a warning to all humanity. Wherever the Holy Prophet (S) became responsible for this awakening, everything became extremely difficult for him. Prejudices, tribal attitudes and personal matters would make it difficult for him to do his responsibility. The Holy Prophet (S) made strenuous efforts to break this deadlock and open a path for humanity. Since that time up until today, anybody who has started a movement has followed the path of the Holy Prophet (S) and has benefitted from his efforts.
Collective human knowledge and civilization have benefitted from the personality and teachings of the Holy Prophet (S)
It is not just Muslims who have benefitted from the teachings of the Holy Prophet (S). The knowledge and civilizations that exist in the world and the progress that human beings have made are the result of the Holy Prophet’s (S) existence. This is not just a claim that we Muslims make. All historians and just individuals admit that the emergence of scientific awakening in the world of Islam and the spread of this awakening to other parts of the world, were the result of the interactions that existed and even the efforts that were made to expand Muslim territories through war.
Collective human knowledge and the things that are important to human beings such as human rights, freedom, equality and sense of brotherhood are the gifts that the Holy Prophet (S) gave to humanity. This great Islamic movement finally led to the establishment of an Islamic system. The purpose of Islamic teachings was not simply to give advice to people, rather the purpose was to create a system that would facilitate the movement towards these goals and to remove the obstacles. And this system is Islamic government.
Thankfully, today Islamic communities have become aware of the importance of establishing an Islamic system. Over the course of many years, great writers and speakers and numerous hearts have become aware of this issue. Islamic Awakening has already started and Muslim communities have become aware of the importance of the asset that belongs to them. Of course, the enmities of the enemies of Islam have increased proportionally. They are making constant efforts to foment discord among Muslim nations so that through provoking prejudices and ethnic and nationalistic sentiments, they can encourage every Muslim group to move ahead in a different direction.
This shows that the enemy has found out that Islamic awareness and Islamic Awakening will prove effective in the regions that are populated by Muslims. And this is a fact. Definitely, this awareness will encourage Muslim nations to establish an Islamic system and form a unified Islamic Ummah. This is something that will definitely happen, and the enmities will prove futile.
The power of Islam is beyond these things. For example, it was the great power of Islam that united the people in Islamic Iran, a place where nobody would have believed such a Revolution would take place. The power of Islam brought hearts closer to one another. It drew upon religious faith of the people to start a movement and established an Islamic system in our country. This has already happened. 3
Conditions of the world at the time of the Holy Prophet’s (S) Be’that
Over the past years, our people have always considered their historic revolutionary movement as the continuation of the Holy Prophet’s (S) great Be’that. Similarly, at least our outstanding personalities and intellectuals have wondered how Islam managed to spread in the era of Jahiliyya, when the world was filled with ignorance. Jahiliyya was not just limited to the Arabian Peninsula. It existed in the two great empires of that time as well, namely the Sassanid Empire in Iran and the Roman Empire. Justice was missing in those two empires as well. There was discrimination in those two empires as well. For example, in Iran formal instruction was the privilege of certain social classes and the majority of the people did not have the right to receive formal education. There was the worst form of slavery. Weak people used to be treated in the worst possible way. Women used to be treated in the most humiliating way. Jahiliyya was everywhere and the light of knowledge was missing.
The Important factors behind the spread of Islam
The emergence of Islam enlightened hearts and minds with the light of Islamic knowledge. Despite widespread Jahiliyya in the world and despite the bad conditions that existed at that time, the caravan of growth and progress was moving ahead with speed. In less than half a century after Be’that, more than half of the developed territories were under the rule of Islam. This is not an insignificant point. Wherever Islam went, ordinary citizens welcomed it and the seemingly powerful governments that were standing in the way were easily pushed aside. What was the force that pushed Islam forward like that and helped establish an Islamic civilization, a civilization that remained at the peak of brilliance and power even when the political power of Islam was declining, a civilization that affected the cultures of the world, a civilization that helped spread knowledge and promote Islamic culture.
These are amazing experiences in the history of mankind. What was the force that gave rise to all those things? This requires a long discussion. Researchers and writers have worked on this issue and there is still a lot of work to be done in this regard. What I would like to discuss in a few sentences today is only part of the issue.
Undoubtedly, one of the factors behind the spread of Islam was reliance on God and divine rules.
“The messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. They all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers.” 4
The Holy Prophet (S) and believers of the early Islamic era, believed in the message of Islam from the bottom of their hearts. They truly believed in Islamic slogans and truths. They truly believed that Islam was enough to save humanity. This faith is a very important factor. Another factor was that people did not act out of self-interest and they truly disregarded anything that was related to their personal interests. This is a very important factor. There are many recommendations in Nahjul Balaghah and many narrations from the Holy Prophet (S), the infallible Imams (a.s) and Islamic luminaries about the necessity of disregarding worldly wealth.
The reason is that this factor is extremely important. Of course, the enemies of Islam and those who do not understand Muslims think or pretend that when Islam promotes simple lifestyles, what it means is that people should not go after the manifestations of life and the material world. This is while what is meant is that we should not go after our personal interests in the world. And acting out of self-interest is destructive and is the root of all afflictions and problems.
God’s saints those who firmly held that flag in their hands and followed this difficult path with ease and tireless efforts were the same people who cleared these twists and turns. In the beginning of Dua Nudba, gratitude is expressed to Allah the Exalted for what He ordained for His saints. The first few sentences of Dua Nudba contain one of the most beautiful and significant concepts. In this dua, it is said: “After You had already stipulated on them to renounce all the ranks of this lowly world along with all of its embellishments and ornaments, and they accepted this stipulation.” It is said in this dua that Allah the Exalted helped them achieve the highest positions and the highest degrees of perfection and spiritual transcendence. He helped them achieve blessings “that neither vanish nor diminish.” 5
Allah the Exalted bestowed these blessings on them and chose them, but He also specified a condition for them. The Holy Prophet (S) achieved the highest degree of transcendence. This is not possible without help from Allah the Exalted, without Allah the Exalted preparing the way. However, Allah the Exalted bestowed this privilege on them on the condition that they “renounce all the ranks of this lowly world along with all of its embellishments and ornaments.” This condition was accepted and acted upon and for this reason, people like the Holy Prophet (S) and the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) were built: solid like steel and untiring, an inexhaustible source. They carried a burden that was not particular to their own era. They started a movement that did not end after their lives ended.
The Effects that Islam has had in the past and in the contemporary world
This movement has continued to this day. Notice that after the passage of fourteen centuries, Islam is still shining brightly. All these things are pivoted on the Holy Prophet (S) and his selfless struggle.
It is the selfless efforts of the Holy Prophet (S) that help this movement continue. Of course, what has been done by Muslims, faithful people and luminaries has also been helpful.
What we expect is that luminaries of the world of Islam – both political and religious luminaries – should not prioritize their personal interests over other things. The expectation that we have of the people and luminaries of our time is not one that was shaped in our minds as a result of the Holy Prophet’s (S) behavior. No, such an expectation would have been far greater. We have the same expectation of ourselves and of others throughout the world of Islam. We expect that personal interests should not be prioritized over other goals. Personal interests should not take precedence over other things. Rather, people should prioritize Islam and achieving Islamic power, transcendence and perfection over their personal interests. If this happens, there is no doubt that a major portion of the forces that belong to Islam will rejoin the Islamic Ummah.
The person who managed to carry the great burden of people’s attention, affection and movement and help it reach this point, was our magnanimous Imam (r.a). The most important point about him is that he disregarded himself and his personal interests. He made his responsibility the pivot of his work and movement. It was for this reason that he succeeded. Of course, he enjoyed many other advantages as well. This is the basis. Over the past twenty years, wherever we have given precedence to our responsibilities and goals in the Islamic Republic and wherever we have disregarded ourselves and our human passions and personal interests, we have managed to make progress.
But whenever we have done the opposite, we have been harmed. Those who are aware of the details know that during the eight-year imposed war, wherever sense of responsibility was dominant and wherever our officials pushed aside their personal interests, we managed to make progress. But wherever personal interests and egos entered the picture, we became vulnerable. And today this is still the case. 6
· 1. Sura Maryam, Ayah 31
· 2. Sura Saad, Ayah 87
· 3. Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on July 1, 1999 in a meeting with government officials on the occasion of birthday anniversaries of the Holy Prophet (S) and Imam Sadiq (a.s.)
· 4. Sura al-Baqara, Ayah 285
· 5. Iqbal al-A’mal, Vol. 1, P. 295
· 6. Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on November 6, 1999 in a meeting with government officials of the Islamic Republic on the occasion of the Holy Prophet’s (S) Be’that