Which Shariah the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) Followed Before Bethat?
By: Allamah Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi (R.A.)
What the Holy Prophet (s) practiced, before being given the Nubuwwah, by way of meditation or other Islamic practices? For example, did he fast during Ramadan, give alms etc.?
We believe that Islam is a progression from Judaism and Christianity. Was the Prophet (s) obliged to follow their scriptures (undistorted. of course) until he received the divine revelation? Perhaps you could enlighten me on this.
Answer: The Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) had two prophet sons; Isma'il and Ishaq. From Ishaq came Ya'qub (called Israel = Slave of God = 'Abdullah). There came hundreds of prophets among the children of Israel (Bani Israel) - At least 12 of them are mentioned by name in the Qur'an, including Musa and 'Isa.
The simple shari'ah brought by Ibrahim (a.s.) was followed by both branches of his progeny, until the Prophet Musa (a.s.) was given the Torah, which remained in force for Israelis until the Prophet 'Isa (a.s.) made some minor changes in it. That amended shari’ah remained valid until the advent of Islam.
This concerned the Bani Israel. As for Bani Isma'il the same Ibrahimi shari'ah remained in force among them till the be’thah of our beloved Prophet (s.a.w.). The progeny of Isma'il (a.s.) was never devoid of one or the other wasii (successor) of Isma’il either openly or in taqiyah. According to our accepted traditions, Abdul-Muttalib was a hujjat of Allah who was succeeded in that office by Abu Talib. Abu Talib delivered the divine trust to our Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Now you will understand that our Prophet (s.a.w.) was never expected or requited to follow any law or rule of the Judaism or the Christianity. Up to 40 years, i.e. before he was ordered to declare his prophethood, he faithfully followed the Ibrahimi shari'ah, which was extremely simple. On his own, he began yearly meditation (3 months continuously) which was initiated by Abdu1-Muttalib and the fast of the month of Ramadan. This continued until he got the call to announce his prophetic mission.
Islam is not a progression of Judaism and Christianity — if the word, "progression" creates before your eyes the image of a branch sprouting from a trunk. The actuality is as follows:
Allah had been sending prophets and messengers with progressively developed systems of law, keeping in view the intellectual, moral and social developments of humanity at the relevant time. In addition, in this way every subsequent shari'ah was a 'progression" of the preceding one. That is all.