Muhammad the Greatest by Ahmad Deedat

Chapter 2
FROM THE HISTORICAL PAST

It is not difficult to reproduce a further dozen or more eulogies by the admirers and critics of Muhammad (pbuh). Despite all their objectivity, jaundiced minds can always conjure up some aspersions.  Let me take my readers deep down in past history.

It was Friday the 8th of May, 1840, that is about a hundred and fifty years ago, at a time when it was a sacrilege to say anything good about Muhammad (pbuh), and the Christian West was rained to hate the man Muhammad (pbuh) and his religion, the same way as dogs were at one stage trained in my country to hate all black people. At that time in history, Thomas Carlyle, one of the greatest thinkers of the past century delivered a series of lectures under the theme – “Heroes and Hero-worship.”

DEVELOPED SICKNESS

Carlyle exposed this blind prejudice of his people at the beginning of his talk.  He made reference to one of the literary giants a Dutch scholar and statesman, by the name of Hugo Grotius,
[From page 57 of the book – “On Heroes Hero-worship and the Heroic in History” by Thomas Carlyle, London 1959.] who had written a bitter and abusive invective against the prophet of Islam.  He had falsely charged that the Holy Prophet had trained pigeons to pick out peas from his ears, so that he could by this trick bluff his people that the Holy Ghost in the shape of a dove was revealing God’s Revelation to him, which he then had them recorded in his Bible the Qur’ân.  Perhaps Grotius was inspired into this fairy-tale from his reading of his own Holy Scriptures: ‘Then, Jesus, when he had been baptized (by John the Baptist in the Jordan River), came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit  of God  Descending  Like A Dove and alighting upon him. (Emphasis added) Matthew 3:16

WHERE’S THE AUTHORITY

Pococke, another respected intellectual of the time, like “doubting Thomas” (John 20:25), wanted proof about Muhammad (pbuh), the pigeons, and the peas?  Grotius answered “THAT THERE WAS NO PROOF!” He just felt like inventing this story for his audience.  To him and his audience the “pigeons and peas” theory was more plausible than that of the Archangel dictating to Muhammad (pbuh).  These falsities wringed the heart of Carlyle.  He cried: “THE LIES, WHICH WELL-MEANING ZEAL HAS HEAPED ROUND THIS MAN, ARE DISGRACEFUL TO OURSELVES ONLY.” Thomas Carlyle

THE HERO PROPHET

Carlyle was a man of genius and God gifted him with the art of articulation.  In his own way, he wanted to put the records straight.  He planned to deliver a lecture and he chose a very provocative topic “The hero as Prophet.” and he chose this hero-prophet to be the most maligned man of his time, “MUHAMMAD (PBUH)!” Not Moses, david, Solomon, or Jesus but Muhammad!   To placate his overwhelming Anglican (belonging to the Church of England) fellow countrymen, he apologised – “AS THERE IS NO DANGER OF OUR BECOMING, ANY  OF US,  MAHOMETANS, I MEAN TO SAY ALL THE GOOD OF HIM I JUSTLY CAN.”

In other words he, as well as his elite audience were free from the fear of converting to Islam, and could take a chance in paying some compliments to Muhammad (pbuh). If he had any fears regarding the strength of their faith, he would not have taken that chance. In an era of hatred and spite towards evernhing Islamic and to an audience full of scepticism and cynicism, Carlyle unfolded many a glowing truth about his hero – Muhammad (pbuh). To the praise-worthy,” indeed be praise.  For that is what the very name Muhammad means – the Praised One – the Praiseworthy.  There are times when Carlyle uses words and expressions, which might not be too pleasing to the believing Muslim, but one has to forgive him as he was walking a cultural tightrope, and he succeeded eminently. He Paid our hero many ardent and enthusiastic tribute, and defended him from the false charges and calumnies of his enemies, exactly as the Prophet had done in the case of Jesus (pbuh) and his mother.

HIS SINCERITY

l a.  “THE GREAT MAN’S SINCERITY IS OF THE KIND HE CANNOT SPEAK OF: NAY, I SUPPOSE, HE IS CONSCIOUS RATHER OF INSINCERITY;  FOR WHAT MAN CAN WALK ACCURATELY BY THE LAW OF TRUTH FOR ONE DAY?  NO, THE GREAT MAN DOES NOT BOAST HIMSELF SINCERE, FAR FROM THAT; PERHAPS DOES NOT ASK HIMSELF IF HE IS SO: I WOULD SAY RATHER, HIS SINCERITY DOES NOT DEPEND ON HIMSELF: HE CANNOT HELP BEING SINCERE!” Heros and Hero-Worship, p.59

b. “A SILENT GREAT SOUL, HE WAS ONE OF THOSE WHO CANNOT BUT BE IN EARNEST, WHOM NATURE HERSELF HAS APPOINTED TO BE SINCERE.  WHILE OTHERS WALK IN FORMULAS AND HEARSAYS, CONTENTED ENOUGH TO DWELL THERE, THIS MAN COULD NOT SCREEN HIMSELF IN FORMULAS; HE WAS ALONE WITH HIS OWN SOUL AND THE REALITY OF THINGS . . . SUCH SINCERITY, AS WE NAMED IT, HAS IN VERY TRUTH SOMETHING OF DIVINE.  THE WORD OF SUCH A MAN IS A VOICE DIRECT FROM NATURE’S OWN HEART.  MEN DO AND MUST LISTEN TO THAT AS TO NOTHING ELSE, – – – ALL ELSE IS WIND IN COMPARISON.” Heros and Hero-Worship, p.71

In his lengthy speech, Carlyle did not have the opportunity to inform his audience about the sources of his inferences.  I may furnish just one incident from the life of the Prophet.  An incidence which reflects the highest degree of his sincerity in recording a Revelation in the Holy Qur’ân even if it seems to reprove him for some natural and human zeal.

ADMONITION AS REVEALED

It was in the early days of his mission in Makkah. Muhammad (pbuh) was deeply engrossed in trying to wean the leaders of the pagan Quraish to his teachings.  Apparently one of them was giving him an attentive hearing when a poor blind man by the name Of Abdullah lbn Umm-1- Maktum tried to barge in into the discussion and wanting to draw attention to himself.  The blessed Prophet said nothing, but a thought went through his mind (why don’t you have a little patience, can’t you see (sense) that because of your impatience I might lose these customers). I believe that lesser men, sinners and saints, will not be questioned for such lapses, but not so for Muhammad (pbuh).  Did not God choose him and honour him with that lofty status as recorded? And Most Certainly Thou (O Muhammad) Are of Most sublime And Exalted Character.

Holy Qur’ân 68:4    

HE FROWNED

Whilst in the midst of the conversation with his pagan fellow tribesmen, God Almighty sends Gabriel, the Angel of Revelation, with this admonition:

(THE PROPHET) FROWNED AND TURNED AWAY, BECAUSE THERE CAME TO HIM HE BLIND MAN (INTERRUPTING).  BUT WHAT COULD TELL THEE THAT PERCHANCE HE MIGHT GROW (IN SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING)? OR THAT HE MIGHT RECEIVE ADMONITION, AND THE TEACHING MIGHT PRORT HIM? Holy Qur’ân 80:1-4

The holy Prophet (pbuh) had naturally disliked the interruption.  Perhaps the poor man’s feelings were hurt.  But he whose gentle heart ever sympathised with the poor and the afflicted, got new Light  (Revelation) from his Lord, and without the least hesitation, he immediately published it for all eternity! Subsequently, every time he met this blind man, he received him graciously and thanked him that on his account the Lord had remembered him.  During Muhammad’s (pbuh) absences from Madinah, the blind man was made the Governor of the City twice.  Such was the sincerity and gratitude of Carlyle’s Hero Prophet.

HIS FIDELITY

2. “IT IS A BOUNDLESS FAVOUR.HE NEVER FORGOT THIS GOOD KADIJAH.  LONG AFTERWARDS, AYESHA HIS YOUNG FAVOURITE WIFE, A WOMAN WHO INDEED DISTINGUISHED HERSELF AMONG THE MOSLEMS, BY ALL MANNER OF QUALITIES, THROUGH HER WHOLE LONG LIFE; THIS YOUNG BRILLIANT AYESHA WAS, ONE DAY, QUESTIONING HIM.’NOW AM NOT I BETTER THAN KADIJAH?  SHE WAS A WIDOW; OLD, AND HAD LOST HER LOOKS: YOU LOVE ME BETTER THAN YOU DID HER?’ ‘NO, BY ALLAH!’ ANSWERED MAHOMET: ‘NO, BY ALLAH! SHE BELIEVED IN ME WHEN NONE ELSE WOULD BELIEVE.  IN THE WHOLE WORLD I HAD BUT ONE FRIEND, AND SHE WAS THAT!… Heros and Hero-Worship, p. 76   It would have been easier to repel the temptation of the devil than to succumb to the ego of a young, loving, brilliant and beautiful wife like lady Ayesha Siddiqa.  Why not let her hear the soft soothing balm of flattery-, it will not harm anyone.  Even the soul of Bibi Khadija, the mother of the Faithful, would look light-heartedly at the ruse.  There is no shamming, no innocent “white lies” with Muhammad (pbuh).  Traits of this kind show us the genuine man, brother of us all, brought visible through fourteen centuries, – – – the veritable son of our common mother.

 ‘AL AMEEN.  THE FAITHFUL

3 a. “A MAN OF TRUTH AND FIDELITY; TRUE IN WHAT HE DID, IN WHAT HE SPAKE AND THOUGHT.  THEY NOTED THAT HE ALWAYS MEANT SOMETHING.  A MAN RATHER TACITURN IN SPEECH; SILENT WHEN THERE WAS NOTHING TO BE SAID; BUT PERTINENT WISE, SINCERE, WHEN HE DID SPEAK; ALWAYS THROWING LIGHT ON THE MATTER.  THIS IS THE ONLY SORT OF SPEECH WORTH SPEAKING!” Heros and Hero-Worship, p. 69  

b. “MAHOMET NATURALLY GAVE OFFENCE TO THE KOREISH, KEEPERS OF THE KAABAH, SUPERINTENDENTS OF THE IDOLS.  ONE OR TWO MEN OF INFLUENCE HAD JOINED HIM:

1. “THE THING SPREAD SLOWLY, BUT IT WAS SPREADING, NATURALLY HE GAVE OFFENCE

TO EVERYBODY.”[The Jews hated the Prophet: the Christians hated the Prophet: the mushriks (the Polytheists) hated the Prophet, and the Munafiqeen (the hypocrites) hated the Prophet. It is the nature of Falsehood to hate the Truth. Light dismisses Darkness, but darkness does not take kindly to light. ] Heros and Hero-Worship, p. 77 c.  

“NOT A MEALYMOUTHED MAN! A CANDID FEROCITY, IF THE CASE CALLS FOR IT, IS IN HIM; HE DOES NOT MINCE MATRERS! THE WAR OF TABUC IS A THING HE OFTEN SPEAKS OF:HIS MEN REFUSED, MANY OF THEM, TO MARCH ON THAT OCCASION; PLEADED THE HEAT OF THE WEATHER, THE HARVEST, AND SO FORTH; HE CAN NEVER FORGET THAT.  YOUR HARVEST?  IT LASTS FOR A DAY.  WHAT WILL BECOME OF YOUR HARVEST THROUGH ALL ETERNITY?  HOT WEATHER?  YES, IT WAS HOT; ‘BUT HELL WILL BE HOTER!’ SOMETIMES A ROUGH SARCASM TURNS UP: HE SAYS TO THE UNBELIEVERS, YE SHALL NOT HAVE SHORT WEIGHT!” Heros and Hero-Worship, p. 95/6.  

Remember, Thomas Carlyle uttered these words, and many more to a shocked and bewildered Christian audience in England, a hundred and fifty years ago.  History did not record for us the lively arguments and debates which his lecture must naturally have caused.  He kept to his promise: “I mean to say all the good of him (his Hero Prophet)
I justly can’” and he went on in his talk to I defend Muhammad (pbuh) against the false charges, slander and calumnies of his enemies:

CHARGE OF FALSITY

4a. “A FALSE MAN FOUND A RELIGION? WHY, A FALSE MAN CANNOT BUILD A BRICK HOUSE! IF HE DOES NOT KNOW AND FOLLOW TRULY THE PROPERTIES OF MORTAR, BURNT CLAY AND WHAT ELSE HE WORKS IN, IT IS NO HOUSE THAT HE MAKES, BUT A RUBBISH HEAP. IT WILL NOT STAND FOR TWELVE CENTURIES,[Now, fourteen centuries] TO LODGE A HUNDRED-AND EIGHTY MILLIONS;
[A thousand million today.] IT WILL FALL STRAIGHTAWAY . SPECIOSITIES ARE SPECIOUS
[Specious: Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually false.]. . . IT IS LIKE A FORGED BANK NOTE; THEY GET IT PASSED OUT OF THEIR WORTHLESS HANDS: OTHERS, NOT THEY, HAVE TO SMART FOR IT. NATURE BURSTS-UP IN FIRE-FLAMES, FRENCH REVOLUTIONS AND SUCH-LIKE, PROCLAIMING WITH THE TERRIBLE VERACITY THAT FORGED NOTES ARE FORGED.” Heros and Hero-Worship ), p.58  

b.”IT GOES GREATLY AGAINST THE IMPOSTER THEORY, THE FACT THAT HE LIVED IN THIS ENTIRELY UNEXCEPTIONABLE, ENTIRELY QUIET AND COMMON PLACE WAY, TILL THE HEAT OF HIS YEARS WAS DONE. HE WAS FORTY BEFORE HE TALKED OF ANY MISSION FROM HEAVEN . . ALL HIS ‘AMBITION,’ SEEMINGLY, HAD BEEN, HITHERTO, TO LIVE AN HONEST LIFE; HIS ‘FAME,’ THE MERE GOOD OPINION OF NEIGHBOURS THAT KNEW HIM…” Heros and Hero-Worship, p. 70  

“AMBITION? WHAT COULD ALL ARABIA DO FOR THIS MAN; WITH THE CROWN OF GREEK HERACLIUS, OF PERSIAN CHOSROES, AND ALL THE CROWNS IN EARTH; – WHAT COULD THEY ALL DO FOR HIM? IT WAS NOT OF THE HEAVEN ABOVE AND OF THE HELL BENEATH. ALL CROWNS AND SOVEREIGNTIES WHAT- SOEVER, WHERE WOULD THEY IN A FEW BRIEF YEARS BE? TO BE SHEIK OF MAKKAH OR ARABIA, AND HAVE A BIT OF GILT WOOD PUT INTO YOUR HAND, – – – WILL THAT BE ONES SALVATION? I DECIDEDLY THINK, NOT, WE WILL LEAVE IT ALTOGETHER, THIS IMPOSTER HYPOTHESIS, AS NOT CREDIT- ABLE: NOT VERY TOLERABLE EVEN, WORTHY CHIEFLY OF DISMISSAL BY US.” Heros and Hero-Worship, p. 72/3    


CHARGE OF SINNING

5. “FAULTS? THE GREATEST OF FAULTS, I SHOULD SAY, IS TO BE CONSCIOUS OF NONE. READERS OF THE BIBLE ABOVE ALL, ONE WOULD THINK, MIGHT KNOW BETTER. WHO IS CALLED THERE ‘THE MAN ACCORDING TO GOD’S OWN HEART’? DAVID, THE HEBREW KING HAD FALLEN INTO SINS ENOUGH; BLACKEST CRIMES; THERE WAS NO WANT OF SINS.[This is the Jewish and Christian concept of God’s prophets. They charge their prophets with incest, adultery and even murder. They impure horrendous crimes to them on the authority of the Holy Bible.]  AND THEREUPON THE UNBELIEVERS SNEER AND ASK, IS THIS YOUR MAN ACCORDING TO GOD’S HEART? THE SNEER, I MUST SAY, SEEMS TO ME BUT A SHALLOW ONE. WHAT ARE FAULTS, WHAT ARE THE OUTWARD DETAILS OF A LIFE; IF THE INNER SECRET OF IT, THE REMORSE, TEMPTATIONS, TRUE, OFTEN-BAFFLED, NEVER ENDED STRUGGLE OF IT BE FORGOTTEN? ‘IT IS NOT IN MAN THAT WALKETH TO DIRECT HIS STEPS.’ OF ALL ACTS, IS NOT, FOR A MAN, REPENTANCE THE MOST DIVINE? THE DEADLIEST SIN, I SAY, WERE THE SAME SUPERCILIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS OF NO SIN; THAT IS DEATH; THE HEART SO CONSCIOUS IS DIVORCED FROM SINCERITY, HUMILITY, AND FACT; IS DEAD: IT IS ‘PURE’ AS DEAD DRY SAND IS PURE.” Heros and Hero-Worship. p. 61

CHARGE OF “THE SWORD”

The greatest crime, the greatest “sin” of Muhammad (pbuh} in the eyes of the Christian West is that he did not allow himself to be slaughtered, to be “crucified” by his enemies. He ably defended himself, his family and his followers; and finally vanquished his enemies. Muhammad’s (pbuh} success is the Christians’ gall of disappointment: he did not believe in any vicarious sacrifice for the sins of others. He believed and behaved naturally.IN THE STATE OF NATURE, EVERY ONE HAS A RIGHT TO DEFEND HIS PERSON AND POSSESSIONS, AND EXTEND HIS HOSTILITIES TO A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF SATISFACTION AND RETALIATION,” says Gibbon, the master historian in his “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” His struggle and victory over the forces of unbelief and evil made the editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica to exclaim, Muhammad (pbuh} to be – – – “THE MOST SUCCESSFUL OF ALL
RELIGIOUS PERSONALITIES.

How can the enemies of Islam account for Muhammad’s phenomenal achievements except to decry that he spread his religion at the point of the sword? He forced Islam down peoples’ throats!?

6a. “HISTORY MAKES IT CLEAR HOWEVER, THAT THE LEGEND OF FANATICAL MUSLIMS SWEEP- ING THROUGH THE WORLD AND FORCING ISLAM AT THE POINT OF THE SWORD UPON CONQUERED RACES IS ONE OF THE MOST FANTASTICALLY ABSURD MYTHS THAT HISTORIANS HAVE EVER REPEATED.” De Lacy O’Leary in  “Islam at the Crossroads” London, 1923, p.8   You do not have to be a historian like O’Leary to know that the Muslims ruled Spain for 736 years. The longest the Christians ever ruled over Muslims was 500 years in Mozambique, a territory captured from an Arab governor by the name of Musa-bin-baique, a name they could not properly pronounce, hence the name Mozambique. Even today, after five centuries of Christian overlordship the country is still 60 percent Muslim.

However, after eight centuries in Spain the Muslims were totally eliminated from that country so that not even one man was left to give the Azan {the Muslim call to prayer}. If the Muslims had used force, military or economic there would not have been any Christian left in Spain to have kicked the Muslims out. One can blame the Muslims for exploitation if you like but one cannot charge them with using the sword to convert Spaniards to the Islamic religion.Today, Islam is still spreading all over the world and Muslims have NO sword!! The Muslims were also the masters of India for a thousand years, but eventually when the sub-continent received independence in 1947, the Hindus obtained three quarters of the country and the Muslims the balance of the one-quarter. Why? Because the Muslims did not force Islam down the Hindus’ throats! In Spain and in India, the Muslims were no paragons of virtue, yet they obeyed the Qur’anic injunction to the letter

LET THERE BE NO COMPULSION IN RELIGION: FOR TRUTH STANDS OUT DISTINCT FROM ERROR.   Holy Quran 2:256          

The Muslim conquerors understood from this command that “compulsion” was incompatible with true religion: because

(a} Religion depends on faith and will, and these would be meaningless if induced by force. Force can conquer but cannot convert.

(b) Truth and Error have been so clearly shown up by the Mercy of God that there should be no doubt in the minds of any person of goodwill as to the fundamentals of faith.

(c) God’s protection is continuous and His Plan is always to lead us from the depths of darkness into the clearest light.[(a), (b} and (c) are Yusuf Ali’s comments on verse 256. Obtain his translation with over  6000 explanatory footnotes from the IPCI. ]Except for some eccentrics here and there, the Muslims as a whole adhered to the commandment of God in the lands over which they held sway. But what can the enemy say about countries where no single Muslim soldier had set foot?

(i) INDONESIA: It is a fact that over a hundred million Indonesians are Muslim, yet no conquering Muslim army ever landed on any of its over two thousand islands.

(ii} MALAYSIA: The overwhelming number of its people in this country are Muslims yet no Muslim soldier had landed there either.

(iii} AFRICA: The majority of the people on the East coast of Africa as far down as Mozambique, as well as the bulk of the inhabitants on the West coast of the continent are Muslims, but history does not record any invading hoards of Muslims from anywhere. What sword? Where was the sword? The Muslim trader did the job. His good conduct and moral rectitude achieved the miracle of conversion. “All what you say seems incontrovertible, Mr. Deedat,” says the Christian controversialist, “but we are talking about Islam at its very beginning, the way in which your prophet converted the pagans to his faith! How did he do it if not with the sword?”

ONE AGAINST ALL?

We can do no better than to allow Thomas Carlyle himself to defend his Hero Prophet against this false charge; – – –
 7. “THE SWORD INDEED: BUT WHERE WILL YOU GET YOUR SWORD! EVERY NEW OPINION, AT  ITS STARTING, IS PRECISELY IN A MINORITY OF ONE. IN ONE MAN’S HEAD ALONE, THERE IT DWELLS AS YET. ONE MAN ALONE OF THE WHOLE WORLD BELIEVES IT; THERE IS ONE MAN AGAINST ALL MEN. THAT HE TAKE A SWORD, AND TRY TO PROPAGATE WITH THAT, WILL DO LITTLE FOR HIM. YOU MUST FIRST GET YOUR SWORD! ON THE WHOLE, A THING WILL PROPAGATE ITSELF AS IT CAN. WE DO NOT FIND, OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION EITHER, THAT IT ALWAYS DISDAINED THE SWORD, WHEN ONCE IT HAD GOT ONE. CHARLEMAGNE’S CONVERSION OF THE SAXONS WAS NOT BY PREACHING.” Heroes and Hero-Worship. p. 80

At the age of forty when Muhammad {pbuh} declared his mission from heaven, there was no political party, or royalty, and certainly no family or tribe to back him up. His people – the Arabs, immersed in idol-worship and fetishism were not by any means a docile people, they were no easy meat. They were a very volatile people. given to internecine and fratricidal wars: subject to “all kinds of fierce sincerities – ” {Carlyle}. One man, single-handed, to wean such a people required nothing short of a miracle. A miracle did happen. God alone could have made Islam and Muhammad {pbuh} to triumph through with flimsy, gossamer support. God fulfilling His promise: And have We not raised
high the esteem in which
thou O Muhammad are
held? Holy Quran 94:4


 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s