Muhammad the Greatest by Ahmad Deedat

Chapter 3

FASTEST GROWING RELIGION TODAY

THE SWORD OF THE INTELECT

 
The enemy, the sceptic, the missionary and their passive camp followers will not stop bleating that “lslam was spread at the point of the sword!” but they will not venture to answer our question — “WHO BRIBED CARLYLE!?” In 1840 when Carlyle defended Muhammad (pbuh) and refuted the allegation about the sword, there was nobody around to bribe. The whole Muslim world was in the gutters. The countries of Islam were all under subjugation by the Christians, except for a few like Persia, Afghanistan and Turkey who were only nominally independent. There were no riches to flaunt and no petro-dollars to bribe with!

That was yesterday and many yesterdays ago, but what about today, in modern times? It is claimed that “Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.” The overall increase of all the sects and denominations of Christianity was a staggering 138 per cent with the incredible increase of Islam by 235 per cent in the same period of time of  half-a-century. It is further affirmed that in Britain and the United States of America, Islam is the fastest growing faith. It is said that in Britain “There are more Muslims than Methodists in the country.” You have a right to ask, “What sword?” The answer is, “THE SWORD INDEED!” {Thomas Carlyle}1 It is the sword of intellect? It is the fulfillment of yet another prophecy; IT IS HE (God Almighty) WHO HAS SENT HIS MESSENGER (Muhammad) WITH GUIDANCE AND THE RELIGION OF TRUTH (Islam) THAT HE MAY MAKE IT PREVAIL OVER ALL RELIGIONS, AND ENOUGH IS GOD FOR A WITNESS.

Holy Qur’an 48:28

The destiny of Islam is spelt out here in the clearest terms. Islam is to master, overcome and supersede every other faith – That He (God Almighty) make it (Islam) prevail over all religions … In Arabic the word is Deen
[Usually translated as Religion, which literally Islam is not.] (literally meaning “Way of Life”,), to supersede all, whether it be Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianism,
[In the time of Thomas Carlyle this was the team applied to Christianity. ] Judaism, Communism or any other “ism.” This is the destiny of Allah’s Deen. The same Qur’anic Verse is repeated in chapter 61 verse 9 which ends with this slight variation – (Never mind) Though the unbelievers might be averse to it (Islam).


    TRIUMPH OF ISLAM

Islam will prevail. It is the promise of God, and His Promise is true. But how? With the sword? Not even if we had the laser gun! Could we use it? The Holy Qur’an forbids us to use force as a means of converting! Yet the verse prophesies that Islam would be the most dominant of religions. The triumphs of its doctrines have already started and is gaining hold over the religious ideology and doctrines of the various schools of thought in the world. Though not in the name of Islam, but in the name of reformation and amendments, the doctrines of Islam are being fastly grafted into the various religious orders. Many things which are exclusively Islamic and which were formerly unknown, or which were being opposed before with tooth and nail by the other creeds, are now part of their believes. The Brotherhood of man The abolition of the Caste system and untouchability The right of women to inherit Opening the places of worship to all. Prohibition of all intoxicants The true concept of the Unity of God etc. etc.

Just one word on the last subject above, before we proceed further. Ask any theist, polytheist,
[. Polytheist: One who believes in many gods] pantheist,
[Pantheist: The one who believes that everything is god. Of course the “trinitarian,” you already know ] or trinitarian: how many Gods he believes in? He will shudder to say anything other than ONE! This is the EFFECT of the strict monotheism of Islam.

THE CREED OF MOHAMED IS FREE FROM THE SUSPICIONS OF AMBIGUITY AND THE KORAN IS A GLORIOUS TESTIMONY TO THE UNITY OF GOD.

Gibbon in his  “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.”

VERDICT OF NON-MUSLIM ORIENTALS

Almost all the defenders of Muhammad (phuh) who spoke out against the false theory that he spread his religion at the point of the sword, were Westerners. Let us now hear what some non-Muslim Easterners have to say on the subject:


8a. THE MORE I STUDY THE MORE I DISCOVER THAT THE STRENGTH OF ISLAM DOES NOT LIE IN THE SWORD.

Mahatma Gandhi – the father of modern India, in “Young India.”  

b. THEY {Muhammad’s critics} SEE FIRE INSTEAD OF LIGHT, UGLINESS INSTEAD OF GOOD. THEY DISTORT AND PRESENT EVERY GOOD QUALITY AS A GREAT VICE. IT REFLECTS THEIR OWN DEPRAVITY… THE CRITICS ARE BLIND. THEY CANNOT SEE THAT THE ONLY ‘SWORD’ MUHAMMAD WIELDED WAS THE SWORD OF MERCY, COMPASSION, FRIENDSHIP AND FORGIVENESS – THE SWORD THAT CONQUERS ENEMIES AND PURIFIES THEIR HEARTS. HIS SWORD WAS SHARPER THAN THE SWORD OF STEEL.

Pandit Gyanandra Dev Sharma Shastri, at a meeting in Gorakhpur lndia). 1928  

c. HE PREFERRED MIGRATION TO FIGHTING HIS OWN PEOPLE, BUT WHEN OPPRESSION WENT BEYOND THE PALE OF TOLERANCE HE TOOK UP HIS SWORD IN SELF-DEFENCE. THOSE WHO BELIEVE RELIGION CAN BE SPREAD BY FORCE ARE FOOLS WHO NEITHER KNOW THE WAYS OF RELIGION NOR THE WAYS OF THE WORLD. THEY ARE PROUD OF THIS BELIEF BECAUSE THEY ARE A LONG, LONG WAY AWAY FROM THE TRUTH.

A Sikh journalist in “Nawan Hindustan,” Delhi, 17 November 1947.

It was Rudyard Kipling who said, “East is East and West Is West, never the twain shall meet!” He was wrong! In the defence of Muhammad {pbuh}, all, who are not blinded by prejudice will converge.

THREE OTHER STANDARDS

Fourteen years after Thomas Carlyle had delivered his lecture on his Hero Prophet, a Frenchman by the name of Lamartine wrote the history of the Turks. Incidentally, the Turks being Muslims, Lamartine touched on some aspects of Islam and its founder. Like our Jules Wasserman (see page 10) of current times, who had conceived three objective standards for discovering greatness of leadership; Lamartine had over 2 century ago thought of three other objective standards for conferring GREATNESS. We must give credit to the Westemer for this type of insight. Lamartine opines:

9. IF GREATNESS OF PURPOSE, SMALLNESS OF MEANS AND ASTOUNDING RESULTS
[The full quotation from Lamartine’s book will be found in appendix”B” page 61. ] ARE THE THREE CRITERIA OF HUMAN GENIUS, WHO COULD DARE TO COMPARE ANY GREAT MAN IN MODERN HISTORY WITH MUHUMMED? {Lamartine ends his lengthy segment of literary masterpiece with the words): . . . PHILOSOPHER, ORATOR, APOSTLE, LEGISLATOR, WARRIOR, CONQUEROR OF IDEAS, RESTORER OF RATIONAL BELIEFS, OF A CULT WITHOUT IMAGES: THE FOUNDER OF TWENTY TERRESTRIAL EMPIRES AND OF ONE SPIRITUAL EMPIRE, THAT IS MUHUMMED. AS REGARDS ALL STANDARDS BY WHICH HUMAN GREATNESS MAY BE MEASURED, WE MAY WELL ASK, IS THERE ANY MAN GREATER THEN HE? Lamartine, “Historie de la Turquie,” Paris 1854

The answer to his question, “Is there any man greater than he?” is reposed in the question itself. By implication he is saying . . . “there is no man greater than Muhammad. Muhammad is the greatest man that ever lived!” And have We not raised high the esteem (in which) thou (O Muhammad are held)?

MOST CERTAINLY THOU HAST, O MY LORD! Holy Quran 94:4

Before we absolve Lamartine of any favouritism, partiality, or of the charge of being bribed, we will scrutinize his three standards, and whether they can be justified in the case of Muhammad {pbuh).

1. GREATNESS OF PURPOSE

History of the time will tell you that it was the darkest period in the history of mankind when Muhammad {pbuh} was commanded to declare his mission. The need was for the raising of prophets in every corner of the world, or the sending of one Master Messenger for the whole of mankind, to deliver them from falsehood, superstition, selfishness, polytheism, wrong and oppression. It was to be the reclamation of the whole of humanity. And God Almighty in His wisdom chose His prophet from the backwaters of Arabia as His universal Messenger. Thus He records in His Noble Book

AND WE SENT THEE NOT {O Mubammad}, BUT AS A MERCY UNTO {all} THE WORLDS. Holy Quran 21:107  

“There is no question now of race or nation, of a “chosen people” or the “seed of Abraham,” or the “seed of David”: or of Hindu Arya varta; of Jew or Gentile. Arab or ‘Ajam {Persian), Turk or Tajik, European or Asiatic, White or Coloured; Aryan, Semitic, Mongolian, or African: or American, Australian, or Polynesian. To all men and creatures who have any spiritual responsibility, the principles universally apply.”
Abdulbh Yusut Ali
[Get your copy now of Yusuf Ali’s English translation and cornrnentary, with over 6000 annotations. Obtain a copy for your non-Muslim friend, also.]


 JESUS {PBUH) DlSCRIMINATES

Muhammad’s (pbuh) immediate predecessor advised his disciples, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs” (meaning non-Jews}, “Neither cast ye your pearls before swine” (meaning non-Jews, Matthew 7:6). The Gospel writers are unanimous in recording that Christ lived by the precepts which he preached. In his lifetime he did not preach to a single non-Jew. In fact he spurned a gentile woman who sought his spiritual blessings {“the woman was a Greek” Mark 7:26). Then during the “Passover” season in Jerusalem when the master with his disciples had congregated for the occasion, certain Greeks hearing of his reputation sought an audience with him for spiritual enlightenment, but Jesus {pbuh} gave them the “cold shoulder” [Means a deliberately unkind or unfriendly treatment; a slight; a snub.]  as narrated by St.

John:

And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:

The same came therefore to Philip . . . and desired him saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.

Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

John 12:20-22

 

SELF GLORIFICATION

The verses that follow do not even record the courtesy of  “Yea,yea;” or “Nay, nay;” (Yes, yes or no, no of Matthew 5:37). They continue with his own praise

And Jesus answered them (Andrew and Philip), saying, The hour is come, that the son of man (referring to himself} should be glorified. John 12:23


HIGHEST STANDARDS

Muhammad (pbuh) could never afford any such latitudes. Remember, how the Almighty reminded him of the highest etiquette required from him. Even the thought of being ruffled by the untimely intrusion of a blind man, was not accepted from him {see page 22 “He frowned’]. As a universal Messenger, God set for him the most lofty standards: And Most Certainly, Thou (O Muhammad) Are of most sublime And Exalted Character. Holy Quran 68:4

And his diocese, his field of mission? The whole of mankind!

And We sent thee not (O Muhammad), but as a mercy unto (all) the worlds.   Holy Quran 21:107

UNIVERSAL MESSENGER

These are not mere platitudes; beautiful sentiments bereft of action.  Muhammad (pbuh) practised what he preached.  Among his first Sahabas (companions) and converts, beside the Arabs can be counted Bilal the Abyssinian, Salman the Persian and Abdullah Bin-Salaam the Jew.  The sceptics may say that his outreach was simply incidental but what can they say about the historical fact that before his demise, he sent out five epistles, one to each of the five surrounding countries, inviting them to accept the religion of Islam.

  1. The Emperor of Persia
  2. The King of Egypt
  3. The Negus of Abyssinia
  4. The Emperor Hiraclius at Constantinople, and
  5. The King of Yemen

Thus he set the example for the fulfilment of his impelling mission, his “greatness of purpose,”  the reclamation of the whole of humanity into the Master’s fold.  Is there another example of such universality in another religion?  Muhammad (pbuh) was not out to set or to break any records, he was simply carrying out the trust that was reposed in him by the Lord of Creation!

  1. SMALLNESS OF MEANS

Muhammad (pbuh) was born with no silver spoon in his mouth. His life begins with infinitesimal support.  His father had died before he was bom.  His mother dies by the time he was six years old.  He was doubly-orphaned at this tender age, his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib takes charge of the child, but within three years he also died.  As soon as he was able, he began to look after his uncle Abu Talib’s sheep and goats for his keep.  Contrast this poor, double-orphaned Arab child with some of the great religious personalities that preceded him, and you must marvel at what Destiny had in store for him!

Abraham (pbuh) the spiritual father of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (May the peace of God be upon them all), was the son of a very successful businessman of his time.  Moses (pbuh) was reared in the house of  Pharoah.  Jesus (pbuh) though described as “a carpenter and the son of a carpenter,” was well endowed with learning as well as material means.  Peter, Philip, Andrew, etc. all downed tools and followed him to be at his beck and call, not because he had any halo
[Halo.- An imaginary luminous ring or disc surrounding the head of saintly men and women in religious paintings.] on his head; there was no such thing, but because of his affluent attire and princely bearing.  He could command mansions in Jerusalem for himself and his disciples even during the height of the festive season; and have sumptuous suppers arranged; and you could hear him reproach the materialistic Jews –

And when they found him (Jesus) on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”

Jesus answered them and said, “most assuredly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw the signs,
[The veracity of the Messiah’s message and his mission.]  but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. John 6:25-26

NOTHING TO OFFER

 Muhammad (pbuh) had no bread nor meat to offer, no sugar-plums of any kind, in this world or the next!  The only thing he could offer his bedraggled, poor shepherd people was trial and tribulations and the strait-jacketing of their lives here on earth and the good pleasures of God in the Hereafter.  The life of the Prophet was an open book before them.  He had shown them as to what he was; the nobility of his character, his integrity of purpose, his earnestness and fiery enthusiasm for the truth he had come to preach revealed the hero; and they followed him.  Mr. Stanley Lane Poole’s estimate of our hero is so beautiful and yet so truthful that I cannot resist the temptation of quoting it here:

HE WAS AN ENTHUSIAST IN THAT NOBLEST SENSE WHEN ENTHUSIASM BECOMES THE SALT OF THE EARTH, THE ONE THING THAT KEEPS MEN FROM ROTTING WHILST THEY LIVE.

ENTHUSIASM IS OFTEN USED DESPITEFULLY, BECAUSE IT IS JOINED TO AN UNWORTHY CAUSE, OR FALLS UPON BARREN GROUND AND BEARS NO FRUIT.  SO WAS IT NOT WITH MOHAMMED.  HE WAS AN ENTHUSIAST WHEN ENTHUSIASM WAS THE ONE THING NEEDED TO SET THE WORLD AFLAME, AND HIS ENTHUSIASM WAS NOBLE FOR A NOBLE CAUSE. HE WAS ONE OF THOSE HAPPY FEW WHO HAVE ATTAINED THE SUPREME JOY OF MAKING ONE GREAT TRUTH THEIR VERY LIFE-SPRING.

HE WAS THE MESSENGER OF THE ONE GOD, AND NEVER TO HIS LIFE’S END DID HE FORGET WHO HE WAS, OR THE MESSAGE WHICH WAS THE MARROW OF HIS BEING.  HE BROUGHT HIS TIDINGS TO HIS PEOPLE WITH A GRAND DIGNITY SPRUNG FROM THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF HIS HIGH OFFICE, TOGETHER WITH A MOST SWEET HUMILITY, WHOSE ROOTS LAY IN THE KNOW-LEDGE OF HIS OWN WEAKNESS.”

It may easliy be conceded that Muhammad (pbuh) was blessed with the flimsiest of human resources.  In fact the odds were loaded against him.  But what about his fortune towards the end of his earthly sojourn?  He was the overlord of the whole of Arabia!  What about the endless means at his disposal then?  We will allow a Christian missionary to answer that –

HE WAS CAESAR AND POPE IN ONE, BUT HE WAS POPE WITHOUT THE POPE’S PRETENTIONS, AND CAESAR WITHOUT THE LEGIONS OF CAESAR: WITHOUT A STANDING ARMY, WITHOUT A BODYGUARD, WITHOUT A PALACE, WITHOUT A FIXED REVENUE; IF EVER ANY MAN HAD THE RIGHT TO SAY THAT HE RULED BY THE RIGHT DIVINE, IT WAS MOHAMMAD, FOR HE HAD ALL THE POWERS WITHOUT ITS INSTRUMENTS AND WITHOUT ITS SUPPORTS.” R. Bosworth Smith -Mohammad and Mohammadanism”, London 1874, p. 92

 HIS HANDICAPS

His “weakness” was his strength.  The very fact that he had no material means of support made him to put his entire trust in God, and God the Merciful did not forsake him.  His success was all the more staggering.  May not the Muslims justly say, the entire work was the work of God? And Muhammad (pbuh) his Instrument?

OUTSTANDING RESULTS

In the words  of  Thomas Carlyle – “One man against all men,”
[See full quotation by Thomas Carlyle on page 31.] to a hundred and twenty four thousand at the Farewell pilgrimage alone.  How many were left behind of men, women and children, believers all?

On the 12th of RABI I., in the 11 th year after the Hijra,
[Hijra literally means Migration.]  approximating to the 8th of June 632 of the Christian Era, whilst praying earnestly in whisper, the spirit of the great Prophet took flight to the “blessed companion-ship on high” (Ibn Hisham).

Hazrat Omar (May Allah be pleased with him), on receiving the sad news of the demise of the Holy Prophet, lost his bearings.  He was so shocked that he blurted out “if anyone says that Muhammad is dead, I will chop off his head!” Hazrat Abu Bakr As-Siddiq presently verified that the Master had indeed departed from this world; and coming out from the Prophet’s apartment announced to the gathering throng outside, that, “Muhammad (pbuh) had indeed passed away.  Those that worshipped Muhammad,” he said, “‘Let them know that Muhammad is dead, but those who worship Allah, let them know that Allah lives for ever!”

This brought Omar al-Farooq (R.A.) back to his senses.  Could this man who was to become the second great Khaleefah of Islam at this moment imagine that fourteen hundred years later there would be a thousand million followers of Muhammad (pbuh) at one time?  Could he have visualized that the religion of the Prophet would be the fastest growing religion in the world?1

Christianity had a 600-year start on Islam.  Numerically the Christians claim to outnumber the followers of any other faith; this is true but let us look at the picture in its true perspective –

THERE ARE MORE PROFESSING CHRISTIANS IN THE WORLD THAN PROFESSING MUSLIMS, BUT THERE ARE MORE PRACTISING MUSLIMS IN THE WORLD THAN PRACTISING CHRISTIANS.

(Emphasis added) R.V.C. Bodley (the American) in “The Messenger:  The Life of Mohammed.” U.S.A. 1969

1 understand from the above that Mr. Bodley is trying to tell us that there are people in the world who, when filling their census forms, will tick off the term Christian under “Religion.” It is not necessarily that they believe in the dogmas of Christianity.  They could actually be atheists or bush-Baptists,
[Bush-Baptist: There are forty different Baptist Churches in the United States of America.  But bush-Baptists are people with strong religious feelings yet will not go to any Church; and will not affiliate with any sect or denomination.]as opposed to being a Jew or Hindu or Muslim; coming from a Christian background they would for the purpose of convenience label themselves “Christian.” From that point of view, and from the point of view that a person who practises what he believes, there would be more Muslims in the world than Christians.      Chronologically, Islam is six hundred years behind Christianity, but amazingly it is at least a very close second, and is catching up fast – the fastest growing religion in the world today (see chart on page 34).  “One Billion!” The figure is outstanding and the sincerity and practise of the Believers astonishing!

Taking into account his own three objective standards: (a) “greatness of purpose;” (b) “smallness of means;” and (c) “outstanding results;” does Lamartine dare to produce another candidate greater than Muhammad (pbuh)?  He further awes his readers with the multifarious roles of Muhammad (pbuh) in which he excelled, ie.  Philosopher, Orator, Apostle, Legislator, Warrior, Conqueror of Ideas, the Restorer of Rational Beliefs, of a Cult without Images, the Founder of twenty Terrestrial Empires and of one Spiritual Empire, that Is Muhammad.  As regards ALL standards (I repeat “ALL”) by which Human Greatness may be measured, we may well ask, “IS THERE ANY MAN GREATER THAN HE?” (Emphasis added).

No! Muhammad (pbuh) was the greatest man that ever lived! According to Lamartine the French historian.  And God Almighty questions –

And Have We not raised high the esteem (in which) thou (O Muhammad) are held?

MOST ASSUREDLY THOU HAST, O MY LORD! Holy Quran 94:4

THE QUALITY OF MERCY

The Christian propagandists make the wild boast that there is nothing in the history of mankind to compare with the merciful and forgiving cry of Jesus (pbuh) on the cross …  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Luke 23:34

Amazing as it may sound, of the four writers of the Canonical Gospels, only St. Luke was inspired by the Holy ghost (?) to pen these words.  The other three – Matthew, Mark and John never heard these words or they felt them to be too insipid or not important enough for recording.  St. Luke was not even one of the twelve disciples selected by Jesus (pbuh).  According to the revisers of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible, these words are not in the most ancient manuscripts which by implication means that they are an interpolation.

 In “The New King James Version,” (Copyrighted by the Thomas Nelson Publishers inr 1984), we are told that these words are “not in the original text” of the Greek manuscripts of St. Luke.  In other words they have been fabricated by some pious gentleman.  Although the quotation is unauthentic, we will still entertain it because it demonstrates great piety of loving one’s enemies and of unsurpassed forgiveness as preached by the Master himself.

For forgiveness to be of any worth, the forgiver must be in a position to forgive.  If the victim of injustice is still in the clutches of his enemies; in that helpless position and he would cry out, “I FORGIVE YOU!” it would be meaningless.  But if the aggrieved party had turned the tables on his enemies and was in a position of taking revenge or exact retribution, and yet say “I forgive you!”, only then would it mean something!

MUHAMMAD’S (PBUH) CLEMENCY

Contrast the alleged forgiveness from the “cross” with the historical bloodless conquest of Makkah by Muhammad (pbuh) at the head of ten thousand “saints”
[A fulfilment of another prophecy in Muhammad (pbuh).  “…He came from mount Paran (that is in Arabia), and he came with ten thousand saints…” Deuteronomy 33:2.] (his companions).


“THE CITY WHICH HAD TREATED HIM SO CRUELLY, DRIVEN HIM AND HIS FAITHFUL BAND FOR REFUGE AMONGST STRANGERS, WHICH HAD SWORN HIS LIFE AND THE LIVES OF HIS DEVOTED DISCIPLES, LAY AT HIS FEET.  HIS OLD PERSECUTERS RELENTLESS AND RUTHLESS, WHO HAD DISGRACED HUMANITY BY INFLICTING CRUEL OUTRAGES UPON INOFFENSIVE MEN AND WOMEN, AND  EVEN UPON THE LIFELESS DEAD, WERE NOW COMPLETELY AT HIS MERCY.  BUT IN THE HOUR OF HIS TRIUMPH EVERY EVIL SUFFERED WAS FORGOTTEN, EVERY INJURY INFLICTED WAS FORGIVEN, AND A GENERAL AMNESTY WAS EXTENDED TO THE POPULATION OF MAKKAH …”    Sayed Amir Ali in “The Spirit of Islam”

Calling before him the populace of the vanquished city, he addressed them with “What do you expect at my hands today?” His people had known him too well, even from his childhood so they replied, “Mercy, 0 generous brother and nephew!” Tears came into the eyes of the Prophet, and he said, “I will speak to you as Joseph spoke unto his brethren, I will not reproach you today: go you are free!”

And now a scene was enacted of which there is really no parallel in the history of the world.  Hosts upon hosts came forward and adopted the religion of Islam.  God Almighty testifies as to the lofty and exalted behaviour of His Messenger – Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct). Holy Quran 33:21

 How well has Lamartine1  unknowingly echoed these sentiments –

“AS REGARDS ALL STANDARDS BY WHICH HUMAN GREATNESS MAY BE MEASURED, WE MAY WELL ASK, IS THERE ANY MAN GREATER THAN HE?”

In reply, we too can say once more, “No! there is no man greater than Muhammad (pbuh).  Muhammad (pbuh) was the greatest man that ever lived!”

So far, our hero has earned the unsolicited and ungrudging tributes from many non-Muslims of different religious persuasions and from varying intellectual fields of endeavour.  But all this still remains incomplete without the Master’s verdict; Muhammad’s (pbuh) predecessor – Jesus Christ, (pbuh).  We will now apply his own standard for evaluating greatness.

 JOHN THE BAPTIST

  1. John the Baptist,
    [“JOHN- not to be confused with John the disciple of Jesus (pbuh).  A very common name among the Jews and Arabs, even today, like Tarik Aziz the recent Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs. Real name Tarik Hanna Aziz; Hanna short for Yuhanna meaning John.  No one in the non-Arab Muslim world knowing that our friend is a Christian Marxist.] Known throughout the Muslim world as Hazrat Yahya Alaihis-salaam (Peace be upon him) was a contemporary prophet of the Messiah.  They were also cousins.  Here is what the Master has to say of him:
  2. Full quotation of Larmartine will be found in Appendix “B” on page 61.

Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:Matthew  11:11

Every son of man is “born of women.” By this very fact John the Baptist is greater than Moses, David, Solomon, Abraham or Isaiah; none of the Israelite prophets excluded.  What gives John this ascendancy over every other prophet?  It could not be any miracle, because the Bible records none to his credit.  It could not be his teachings, because he brought no new laws or regulations.  Then what makes him the greatest?  Simply because he was the heralder, a pre-cursor, a harbinger of the happy news of the coming of the Messiah.  This is what made John the greatest, but Jesus (pbuh) claims that he himself was even greater than the greatest (ie.  John).  Why?

But I have greater witness than that of John (the Baptist): For The Works which the Father hath given me to finish: (Emphasis added)   John 5:36

It is the “witness,” the commission which God Almighty had entrusted him with, which makes Jesus (pbuh) greater than even John.  Applying these very standards as enunciated by the Master, we find that –

1. John the Baptist was the greatest of all the Israelite prophets, because he heralded the mighty Messiah (Jesus pbuh). Similarly Jesus (pbuh) would be greater than even John because he heralded “The Spirit of Truth, the Comforter,” who was to guide mankind into all Truth (of the Gospel of St. John, chapter 16).
[ For a detalted explanation about this prophecy, obtain today your FREE copy of the  book -MUHUMMED (pbuh) the Natural Successor to CHRIST (pbuh) from the IPCI.]

2. The diocese, the mission of Jesus (pbuh), or “the works which God had given him to accomplish,” was limited to the Lost sheep of  the House of Israel (Matthew 15:24), whereas the mission of Muhammad (pbuh) was universal.  He had been told –

And we have sent thee not (O Muhammad), but as a Mercy unto (all) the worlds. Holy Quran 21:107

In keeping with his grand commission, Muhammad (pbuh) consistently delivered his Message to one and all who would hear, irrespective of race, class or creed, He welcomed them all in the religion of God, without any discrimination.  He had no thought of dividing the creatures of God into “dogs and pigs” (Matthew 7:6) or into “sheep and goats” (Matthew 25:32).  He was the Messenger of the One True God, who was sent as a Mercy unto all mankind, nay, unto the whole universe (H.Q. 21:107 above).  And, he never forgot this mission even right up to his dying day.

Towards the end of his earthly sojourn, when he could look back to a hectic and dangerous past, now crowned with success; he now feels that he could sit back and enjoy the fruits of his toil; he dreams of a life free from turmoil and full of satisfaction and relaxation.  Not for him!  There is no time to rest or relax.  There is work still to be done.  God Almighty reminds him – – WE HAVE NOT SENT THEE (O MUHAMMAD) BUT TO THE WHOLE OF MANKIND.

AS A GIVER OF GLAD TIDINGS AND AS A WARNER,

BUT MOST OF MANKIND STILL DO NOT KNOW.

Holy Quran 34:28
[This is your last chance to memorize the text and the translation of this verse.  It you are lackadaisical, we can only mourn your loss.]

How was he to respond to this new challenge in his ripening old age?  There were no electronic gadgets of modern communication methods at his disposal; there were no telex and fax machines which he could exploit.  What could he do?  Being an ummi (unlettered), he called the scribes and dictated five letters, one each to the Emperor at Constantinople, the King of Egypt, the Negus of Abyssinia, the King of Yemen and to the Emperor in Persia.  He called forth five Sahaaba (his holy companions) with five Arab steeds and set them out in five different directions inviting the nations of the world to the universal religion of God.

I had the good fortune of seeing one of those holy epistles in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul (old Constantinople) Turkey.  That letter is collecting dust!  Materially the Turks have preserved the parchment.  But the Message is collecting dust, as I have said.

The letter begins, “From Muhammad the Messenger of God, to Heraclius the Emperor at Constantinople:

Accept Islam and be benefited.” followed by this exhortation from the Book of God – –

SAY: “O PEOPLE OF THE BOOK!
[“People of the Book,” stands for the Jews and the Christians.  You will never have it so good for learning Allah’s Kalaam.  Don’t ignore this opportunity.  Memorize the verses as they occur.]

COME TO COMMON TERMS AS BETWEEN US AND YOU:

THAT WE WORSHIP NONE BUT GOD;

THAT WE ASSOCIATE NO PARTNERS WITH HIM;

THAT WE ERECT NOT, FROM AMONG OURSELVES, LORDS AND PATRONS OTHER THAN GOD.”

IF THEN THEY TURN BACK, SAY YE: “BEAR WITNESS THAT WE (AT LEAST) ARE MUSLIMS (BOWING TO GOD’S WILL) Holy Quran 3:64

After the above Quranic insertion in the letter, it is concluded with felicitation in the Prophet’s own words, ending with a seal on which is inscribed – “There is no other object of worship but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger.”

The letter in Turkey arouses our curiosity; and interest with regards to its preservation, but the preservation itself is lost upon the sightseer.  The same Quranic Message is in almost every Muslim home; being read and re-read a thousand times over without the reader being moved to deliver its Message to the addressees!

Glance once more at the above verse.  It is addressed to the “ahle-Kitaab,” – the People of the Book, the Jews and the Christians.  But, for over a thousand years we have utterly ignored that great directive at our own peril.  We are sitting on that Message like a cobra on a pile of wealth, keeping the rightful heirs at bay.  This utter neglect will continue to inflict untold suffering to the Ummah for generations to come.

After over fourteen hundred years of our reading, and chanting the Quran in every rhythmic style, we still hear this poignant cry:

But Most of mankind still do not know. Holy Quran 34:28

This is the concluding phrase of the verse revealed fourteen hundred years ago.  It was the factual situation of the then religious world.  The question which must be asked is if  it is any different today?  Not at all!  There are today more Mushriks in the world than there are believers in the One True God.

Is there any hope of changing this situation?  Allah commanded His Prophet then as He is commanding us now through the first seven verses of Sura Muddaththir (chapter 74).

1. 0 THOU WRAPPED UP  (IN A MANTLE)! “As usual, there is these wonderful early mystical verses (including the ones that follow), a triple thread of thought:

  1. A particular occasion or person is referred to

(b) a general spiritual lesson is taught, and

(c) a more profound mystical reverie is suggested.

As to (a), the Prophet was now past the stage of personal contemplation.  Wearing his mantle; he was now to go forth and boldly deliver his Message and publicly proclaim Allah The One True God.  His heart had always been purified, but now all his outward doings must be dedicated to God, and conventional respect for ancestral customs or worship must be thrown aside.  The work of his Messengership was the most generous that could flow from his personality, but no reward or appreciation was to be expected from his people, but quite the contrary, there would be much call on his patience, but his contentment would arise from the good pleasure of God.

As to (b), similar stages arise in a minor degree in the life of every good man, for which the Prophet’s life is to be a universal pattern.

As to (c), the Sufis understand, by the mantle and outward wrappings, the circumstances of our phenomenal existence, which are necessary to our physical comfort up to a certain stage; but we soon outgrow them, and our inner nature should then boldly proclaim itself, not that it brings any credit or reward with men; the very hope of expectation of such would be inconsistent with our higher nature, which should bear all checks and rejoice in the favour of God.”

2. ARISE AND DELIVER THY WARMING!

3. AND THY LORD DO THOU MAGNIFY!

4. AND THY GARMENTS KEEP FREE FROM STAIN!

5. AND ALL ABOMINATION SHUN!

“(a) Rujz or Rijz means abomination and is usually understood to mean idolatry.  It is even possible that there was an idol called RUJZ. But these days it has a wider significance as including a mental state opposed to true worship, a state of doubt or indecision.”

6.  NOR EXPECT, IN GIVING, ANY INCREASE (FOR THYSELF)!

“(b) The legal and commercial formula is that you give in order to receive what is worth to you a little more than you give, but expect nothing from the receiver.  You serve God and God’s creatures.”

7. BUT, FOR THY LORD’S (CAUSE) BE PATIENT AND CONSTANT! (c)
[Remember to memorize Allah’s Kalaam with its meaning]         

Holy Quran 74:1-7

“(c) Our zeal for God’s Cause itself requires that we should not be impatient, and that we should show constancy in our efforts for His Cause.  For we have faith, and we know that He is All-Good, All-Wise, and All-Powerful, and everything will ultimately be right.”   AbdullahYusuf Ali
[The English translation and the commentaries were by Abdullah Yusuf Ali.  Obtain your volume from the IPCI at a specially subsidised price.  Ako order a volume for your non-Muslim friends.]

To the Arabs in general and to our Holy Prophet in particular “a mantle” was the protective covering used for protection against the sun, wind and sand.  He was so to say girding himself, rolling up his sleeves, to accomplish his task.  Although most of the Muslims in the world do not cover themselves with shawls (mantles), in their day to day living, they carry a host of mantles in the way of inferiority complexes.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE GOD’S LIGHT SHINE FORTH THROUGH THE DARKNESS AROUND US?

WE MUST FIRST LET IT SHINE IN OUR OWN TRUE SELVES WITH THAT LIGHT IN THE NICHE OF OUR INMOST HEARTS WE CAN WALK WITH STEPS BOTH FIRM AND SURE: WE CAN HUMBLY VISIT THE COMFORTLESS AND GUIDE THEIR STEPS.  NOT WE, BUT THE LIGHT WILL GUIDE! BUT OH! THE JOY OF BEING FOUND WORTHY TO BEAR THE TORCH, AND TO SAY TO OUR BRETHREN- “I TOO WAS IN DARKNESS, COMFORTLESS, AND BEHOLD, I HAVE FOUND COMFORT AND JOY IN THE GRACE DIVINE!” THUS SHOULD WE PAY THE DUES OF BROTHERHOOD, – – BY WALKING HUMBLY SIDE BY SIDE, IN THE WAYS OF THE LORD, WITH MUTUAL AID AND COMFORT, AND HEARTFELT PRAYER, BACKED BY ACTION, THAT GOD’S GOOD PURPOSE MAY BE ACCOMPLISHED, IN US ALL TOGETHER!

BUT MOST OF MANKIND STILL DO NOT KNOW

Thus spake, inspired our Holy prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) on whom we invoke God’s blessings for ever and ever – AAMEEN!  

APPENDIX “A”

He attained the height of eminence by his perfection;

He dispelled the darkness (of the world) by his grace;

Excellent were all his qualities,

Pray for blessings on him and his descendants.

Shaikh Sa’di Sheeraazi (RA)

APPENDIX “B”

“If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad?

The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only.  They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes.  This man Muhammed moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples nd dynasties, but millions of men; and more than that the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and the souls. On the basis of a Book, every letter of which has become law, he created a spiritual nationality which blended together peoples of every tongue and of every race … The idea of the unity of God, proclaimed amidst the exhaustion of fabulous theologies, was in itself such a miracle that upon its utterance from his lips it destroyed all the ancient superstitions … His endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death: all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma.  This dogma was twofold, the unity of God and the Immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not …

… “PHILOSOPHER, ORATOR, APOSTLE, LEGISLATOR, WARRIOR, CONQUEROR OF IDEAS, RESTORER OF RATIONAL BELIEFS, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammed.  AS REGARDS ALL STANDARDS BY WHICH HUMAN GREATNESS MAY BE MEASURED, WE MAY WELL ASK, IS THERE ANY MAN GREATER THAN HE?”

(Lamartine, Historie de la Turquie, Paris 1854, Vol II pp.276-277).

APPENDIX “C”

JULES MASSERMAN, U.S. psychoanalyst

TIME, JULY 15, 1974

Leaders must fulfil three functions – – – provide for the well-being of the led, provide a social organization in which people feel relatively secure, and provide them with one set of beliefs.  People like Pasteur and Salk are leaders in the first sense.

People like Gandhi and Confucius, on one hand, and Alexander, Caesar and Hitler on the other, are leaders in the second and perhaps the third sense.  Jesus and Buddha belong in the third category alone.  PERHAPS THE GREATEST LEADER OF ALL TIMES WAS MOHAMMED, WHO COMBINED ALL THREE FUNCTIONS.  To a lesser degree Moses did the same.  (Emphasis added)


APPENDIX “D”

Fidelity is said to be a human attribute,

Which makes the modern gentleman distinguished from the brute,

But that supreme fidelity, inborn in every hound, Which is the mark of man’s best friend, In man, it’s rarely found!

A South African Poet.

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


 

Muhammad the Greatest by Ahmad DeedatChapter 1

“And most certainly, thou (O Muhammad) are of most sublime and exalted character.” (The Holy Qur’ân, 68:4)   

How the Topic Arose

About ten years ago, a distant cousin of mine – Mr. Mohamed Mehtar Farooki gave me a typed quotation by the French historian, Lamartine. The quotation [A detailed exposition of the quotation will be found on page 38 ] purported to prove that Muhammad (pbuh), the prophet of Islam, was the greatest man that ever lived. Mr. Mehtar was in the habit of passing information on to me, believing that I might put the same to some good use at the proper time and place. Before this he had presented me with “The Call of the Minaret,” an expensive book written by (Bishop Kenneth Cragg).  By analysing this book I discovered the masterful deceit of the Christian Orientalists.  Lamartine’s tribute to our prophet inspired me and I had a great desire to share his thoughts about our Nabee with my Muslim brethren.  The opportunity to do so was not long in coming.

I received a phone call from the Muslim community in Dannhauser, a small town in Northern Natal,, who were organising a birthday celebration of the Holy Prophet.  They invited me to give a lecture on that auspicious occasion.  So I deemed it an honour and a privilege, I readily agreed. When they inquired, in view of their advertising needs, as to the subject of my lecture, I suggested on the inspiration from Lamartine, “Muhammad (pbuh) the Greatest.”  

REPEATED LET-DOWNS

On my arrival in Dannhauser, I noticed a lot of posters advertising the meeting which in essence said that  Deedat would be lecturing on the subject “MUHAMMAD THE GREAT.” I was somewhat disheartened and, on inquiring was told that the change in the title was due to a printer’s error.

Some two months later, I got another, similar invitation. This time from the Muslim community of Pretoria the administrative capital of South Africa.  The subject I had mooted was the same – “Muhammad (pbuh) the Greatest.” To my dismay the topic was again changed to “MUHAMMAD THE GREAT.” Identical reasons and excuses were given.  Both these incidences happened in South Africa,   my own country. But, let me give you one more example of our inferiority complex – so much part of the sickness of the Ummah.

USA NO DIFFERENT

On my lecture tour of the mighty United States in 1977, 1 discovered that our soldiers in the New World also had feet of clay.  Out of the many sad experiences I have had, I think that this one will suffice to prove the point.  The Muslims of Indianapolis were advised to organise a lecture for me on the subject “What the Bible says about Muhammad (pbuh)” T’hey agreed to advertise just that, but their timidity did not permit them to do so.  They thought the topic was too provocative, so they, in their wisdom (?), toned it down to “A PROPHET IN THE BIBLE.” A lifeless, insipid title you will no doubt agree.  Which Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Jew would be intrigued to attend?  What  does “A PROPHET” mean?  To most A PROPHET means ANY PROPHET, and who would be interested in attending a meeting where just any prophet in the Bible was debated?
 Job, Joel, Jonah, Ezra, Elisha, Ezekiel are just a few of the many mentioned in the Bible.  As was to be expected the  attendance left much to be desired.

 INFERIORITY COMPLEX

What is the cause of this sickness?  This inferiority complex?  “Yes!” We are an emasculated people.  Dynamism has been wringed out of us, not only by our enemies but by our own spiritless friends.  We even dare not repeat Allah’s Own testimony regarding his beloved –
And Most Certainly, Thou (O Muhammad) Are of most sublime And Exalted Character. Holy Qur’ân 68:4 

THE MOST INFLUENTIAL

Normally, it is quite, natural for anyone to love, praise, idolize or hero-worship ones leader, be it a guru, saint or prophet: and very often we do.

However, if I were to reproduce here
what great Muslims have said or written about our illustrious prophet, it could be played down as exaggeration, fancy or idolization by the sceptics and the opponents of Islam.  Therefore, allow me to quote unbiased historians, friendly critics and even avowed enemies of that mighty Messenger of God – Muhammad (pbuh).  If the tributes of the non-Muslims do not touch your hearts, then you are in the wrong faith.  Opt out of Islam!  There is already too much deadwood on the “ship” of Islam.

 In recent times, a book has been published in America  titled “The 100,” or the Top One hundred, or the Greatest Hundred in History.  A certain Michael H. Hart, described as a historian, mathematician and astronomer has written this novel book.  He has searched history, seeking for men who had the greatest influence on mankind.  In this book he gives us The hundred most influential men, including Asoka, Aristotle, Buddha, Confucius, Hitler, Plato, and Zoroaster.  He does not give us a mere chart of the topmost “one
hundred” from the point of view of their influence on people, but he evaluates the degree of their influence and rates them in order of their excellence from No. 1, through to No. 100.  He gives us his reasons for the placing of his candidates.  We are not asked to agree with him, but we cannot help admire the man’s research and honesty.

 The most amazing thing about his selection is that he has put our Nabee-e-Kareem, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as No. 1,
the first of his “100!” Thus confirming, unknowingly, God’s Own testimony in His Final Revelation to the World:

MOST CERTAINLY, YOU HAVE IN THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH AN EXCELLENT PATTERN (OF BEHAVIOUR) Holy Qur’ân 33:21

JESUS (PBUH) No. 3!

Hart placing the Prophet of Islam as No. 1, has naturally pleased the Muslims.  But his choice as shocked the Non-Muslims, more specially the Jews and the Christians, who consider this as an affront.  What?  Jesus (pbuh) No. 3 and Moses (pbuh) No. 40! This is for them very difficult to stomach, but what says Hart?  Let us hear his arguments –

SINCE THERE ARE ROUGHLY TWICE
[The latest estimate is that there are one thousand million Muslims in the world and one thousand two hundred million Christians] AS MANY CHRISTIANS IN THE WORLD, IT MAY INITIALLY SEEM STRANGE THAT MUHAMMAD HAS BEEN RANKED HIGHER THAN JESUS. THERE ARE TWO PRINCIPAL REASONS FOR THAT DECISION.

FIRST, MUHAMMAD PLAYED A FAR MORE IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE EVELOPMENT OF ISLAM THAN JESUS DID IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHRISTIANITY. ALTHOUGH JESUS WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MAIN ETHICAL AND MORAL PRECEPTS OF CHRISTIANITY (INSOFAR AS THESE DIFFERED FROM JUDAISM), ST.  PAUL WAS THE MAIN DEVELOPER OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY, ITS PRINCIPAL

PROSELYTIZER, AND THE AUTHOR OF A LARGE PORTION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.

MUHAMMAD, HOWEVER, WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR BOTH THE THEOLOGY OF ISLAM AND ITS MAIN ETHICAL AND MORAL PRINCIPLES. IN ADDITION, HE PLAYED THE KEY ROLE IN PROSELYTIZING THE NEW FAITH, AND IN ESTABLISHING THE RELIGIOUS PRACTICES OF ISLAM.
Michael H. Hart in his book – “THE 100”-pages 38/39

PAUL THE FOUNDER OF  CHRISTIANITY

According to Hart, the honor for founding Christianity is to be shared between Jesus (pbuh) and St. Paul.  The latter he believes to be the real founder of Christianity.

I cannot help agreeing with Hart.  Out of the total of 27 Books of the New Testament, more than half is authored by Paul.  As opposed to Paul, the Master has not written a single word of the twenty-seven books.  If you can lay your hands on what is called “‘A Red Letter Bible,” you will find every word alleged to have been uttered by Jesus (pbuh) – in red ink and the rest in normal black ink.  Don’t be shocked to find that in this so called “Injeel,” the Gospel of Jesus, over ninety percent of the 27 Books of the New Testament  is printed in black ink!

 This is the candid Christian confession on what they call the “Injeel.” In actual any confrontation with Christian missionaries, you will find them quoting one hundred percent from Paul.

NO ONE FOLLOWS JESUS (PBUH) Jesus (pbuh) said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”    (John 14:15)

He said further, Whosoever therefore shall break one of
these least commandments, and shall
  teach men so, he shall be called the
least in the kingdom of heaven . . .” (Matthew 5:19)

Every Christian controversialist you question, “Do you keep the laws and the commandments?” will answer, “No!” If you ask further, “Why don’t you?” He will if he is a Bible-thumper, invariably reply, “The law is nailed to the cross!” Meaning the law is done away with.  “We are now living under grace!”

Every time you prod him with what his Lord and Master (pbuh) had said, he will confront you with something from Cornithians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, etc.  If you ask, “Who are they?” You will hear, ‘Paul, Paul, Paul!” “Who is your master?” you question, and he will say, “Jesus!” But he will ever and anon contradict his own Jesus (pbuh) by his Paul!

No learned Christian will ever dispute the fact that the real founder of Christianity is St. Paul.  Therefore, Michael H. Hart to be fair, had to place Jesus (pbuh), in slot number  three. WHY PROVOKE YOUR CUSTOMER? This placing of Christ in the number three spot by Michael H. Hart poses a very serious question for us.  Why would an American publish a book of 572 pages in America and selling in America for $15 each, go out of his way to provoke his potential readers? Who will buy his books?  Surely, not the Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis, neither the Arabs nor the Turks! Except for a few copies here and there, the overwhelming number of his customers will be from the 250 million Christians and the 6 million Jews of America.  Then why did he provoke his customers?  Did he not hear the dictum – “the customer is
always right!” Of course he did.  Then why his daring choice.  But before I close this episode of Hart, I will allow him to make his one last apology for his “temerity.”

“MY CHOICE OF MUHAMMAD TO LEAD THE LIST OF THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS MAY SURPRISE SOME READERS AND MAY BE QUESTIONED BY OTHERS, BUT HE WAS THE ONLY MAN IN HISTORY WHO WAS SUPREMELY SUCCESSFUL ON BOTH THE RELIGIOUS AND SECULAR LEVEL.” Michael H. Hart “The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in
History“, New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc., 1978, p.33.

WHO WERE HISTORY’S GREAT LEADERS  

TIME, JULY 15, 1974

The world famous “Time” carried the above rubic on its front cover.  Inside the magazine were numerous essays as to ‘What makes a great leader?‘ ‘Throughout history,
who qualifies?‘ TIME asked a variety of historians, writers, military men, businessmen and others for their selections. Each gave his candidate according to his “light” as objectively as is humanly possible, depending on one’s own awareness and prejudice.

WHO KNOWS DR.  SALAZAR?

It is my habit and pleasurable duty to take non-Muslims on a guided tour
of the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere – “The Jumma Masjid” Durban.

On one occasion I was hosting a Portuguese couple, a husband and wife team.  At some stage during the discussion the Portuguese gentleman said that “Dr.  Salazar was the
greatest man in the world!” I did not debate the point with him as I personally knew little about Dr. Salazar except that he was a one time dictator of Portugal albeit to many a great benefactor to his nation.  My poor visitor was, however, speaking according to his own knowledge, point of view and prejudice.

MUHAMMAD (PBUH) AN NOT  BE IGNORED!

Among the contributors to the “Time,” it seems that none could ignore Muhammad (pbuh).

WILLIAM McNEILL, a United States historian, of the University of Chicago, records:

“IF YOU MEASURE LEADERSHIP BY IMPACT, THEN YOU WOULD HAVE TO NAME JESUS, BUDDHA, MOHAMMED, CONFUCIUS, THE GREAT PROPHETS OF THE WORLD …”

McNeill does not go into details, nor does he give us any explanation as to why he placed Jesus (pbuh) first and Muhammad (pbuh) number three.  Perhaps it was by force of habit.  It is very likely that McNeill is a Christian.  However, we will not argue with him.  Then comes –

JAMES GAVIN, described as a United States army man, a retired lieutenant general.  He says – “AMONG LEADERS WHO HAVE MADE THE GREATEST IMPACT THROUGH AGES, I WOULD CONSIDER MOHAMMED, JESUS CHRIST, MAYBE LENIN, POSSIBLY MAO.  AS FOR A LEADER WHOSE QUALITIES WE COULD MOST USE NOW, I WOULD CHOOSE JOHN F. KENNEDY.”

The General does not say much more, yet we have to salute him.  It calls for tremendous fortitude to pen the name Muhammad before that of Christ (peace be upon them both).  It surely, was no slip of the pen.

JULES MASSERMAN, United States psychoanalyst and professor of the Chicago University, gives us, unlike the other contributors, the basis for making his selection.  He gives us his reason for choosing his greatest LEADER of all times. He wants us to find out, what we are really looking for in the man, the qualities that sets him apart.  We may be looking for any sets of qualities.  As in the case of Michael H. Hart, he was looking for a person wielding the MOST Influence.1

However, Masserman does not want us to depend on our fancies or prejudices: he wants to establish objective standards for judging, before we confer greatness upon anybody.

He says that “Leaders must fulfill three functions–”

No. 1     THE LEADER MUST PROVIDE FOR THE WELL-BEING OF THE LEAD …

The leader, whoever he is, must be interested in your welfare.  He must not be looking for milking cows for his own greed like the Rev.  Jim Jones of Jonestown, Guyana, of the “Suicide Cult” fame.  You will remember him as the man who committed suicide together with 910 of his followers, all at the same time EN MASSE!

The United States Government was on his trail and he was on the verge of being caught for certain felonies.  But before they could apprehend him, he thought it wise to eliminate himself, together with all his followers, so that no one would be left to testify against him.  He laced lemonade with cynide and inspired his devotees to drink it, and so they did and they all died in disgrace!  In the meantime, it was discovered that the Rev. Jim Jones had salted away fifteen million dollars and stacked it in his own account in banks throughout the world.  All his victims were his milking cows and he was exploiting them to satisfy his own lust and greed.  Masserman’s hero must be found to benefit his sheep, his flock, and not himself  

No. 2 THE LEADER OR WOULD BE LEADER MUST PROVIDE A SOCIAL ORGANIZATION IN WHICH PEOPLE FEEL RELATIVELY SECURE …

Unlike the Marxist, the Facist, the Nazi, the Neo-Nazi the Ashkenazi,
[The Jews from Germany, Central Europe and Eastern Europe, mostly from Russia who are in unlawful occupation of Palestine.  There is something prophetic in the name itself – the Jews are doing to the people of the occupied territories exactly what the Nazis did to them.  What an irony!]
the Zionist, and their fellow-travellers, Professor Masserman, in his brief essay in the TIME magazine, did not spell this out.  But his beliefs and feelings are abundantly clear.  He is in search of a Leader who will provide a social order free of self, and greed and racism: for all these “isms” carry within them the seeds of their own destruction.

There’s still with us much sorrow and sin, Injustice, Oppression, wrong and hate. Still does Arrogance deaden Conscience Rob struggling souls of e’en the crumbs Of  Pity, and make, of loathsome flesh And crumbling dust, fair-seeming Idols For worship.  Still does Ignorance blow A mighty Horn and try to shame True Wisdom.  Still do men drive Slaves,

– – Protesting smoothly the end of Slavery! Still does Greed devour the substance Of helpless ones within her power. Nay, more, – –

the fine Individual Voice Is smothered in the raucous din Of groups and Crowds that madly shout What they call Slogans New, – – Old Falsehoods long discredited … Abdullah Yusuf Ali

No. 3   THAT THIS LEADER MUST PROVIDE HIS PEOPLE WITH ONE SET OF BELIEFS

It is easy to talk of the Fellowship of Faith  and the Brotherhood of Man, but in South Africa today,  there are a thousand different sects and denominations among the Whites (people of European descent) and three thousand among the Blacks (of African descent). The White Churches in my country are Spawning “Black” Bishops, fast, but in the first three hundred years of European conquest, they did not produce a single Black Bishop.  Even now, the Black, the White, the Colored and the Indian cannot pray together in most of the Dutch Reformed Churches.  The hatred between the Christian sects was aptly described by the Christian Emperor Julian, who said:  “NO WILD BEASTS ARE SO HOSTILE TO MAN AS CHRISTIAN SECTS IN GENERAL ARE TO ONE ANOTHER.” Sayed Amir Ali in his “Spirit of lslam,”- page 1 ii.

With the foregoing three standards, Masserman searches history and analyses Louis Pasteur, Salk, Gandhi, Confucius, Alexander the Great, Caesar, Hitler, Buddha, Jesus and the rest;
finally coming to the conclusion that – PERHAPS THE GREATEST LEADER OF ALL TIMES WAS MUHAMMED, WHO COMBINED ALL THREE FUNCTIONS. (and) TO A LESSER DEGREE, MOSES DID THE SAME

We cannot help marveling at Masserman, that as a Jew he condescends to scrutinize even Adolf  Hitler, the arch-enemy of his people.  He considers Hitler to be a great leader.  His race, the mighty German nation of 90 million people, was ready to march to destiny or destruction at his behest. Alas, he lead them to ruin. Hitler is not the question. The question is why would Masserman, as an American Jew, a paid servant of the Government proclaim to his countrymen of over two hundred million Jews and Christians that not Jesus, not Moses but Muhummed was “The greatest Leader of all
times!” ACCOUNT FOR THAT!

 WHAT SAY THE SCEPTICS?

Michael H. Hart put Muhammad No. 1 on his list and his own Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (pbuh) No. 3. Why? -“He was bribed!“(?)  William McNeill considers Muhammad as worthy of honour in his list of the first three names of his. Why?  “He was bribed!” (?)  James Gavin puts Muhammad (pbuh) before Christ (pbuh). Why?  “He was bribed!” (?) James Masserman adjudges Muhammad (pbuh) No. 1 and his own hero Moses (pbuh) a close second. Why?  “He was bribed!” (?) “ARE WE TO SUPPOSE THAT ALL THE GLOWING ADULATION OF MUHAMMAD (PBUH) WAS A MISERABLE PIECE OF INTELLECTUAL LEGERDEMAIN, HOCUS POCUS . . . I, FOR MY PART, CANNOT FORM ANY SUCH SUPPOSITION … ONE WOULD BE ENTIRELY AT A LOSS WHAT TO THINK OF MANKIND AT ALL IF QUACKERY SO GREW AND FLOURISHED IN THE WORLD.”1

Yet the scoffers bemoan anyone who has anything good to say about Muhammad (pbuh) or Islam AS HAVING BEEN BRIBED by the Arabs! They are giving too much credit to my brethren.  I repeat: “It is possible, but it is improbable!

During the Second World War, Norway produced only one “Quisling.” He was tried for treason and executed.  It is unlikely that America and the Western world have just reached puberty to spawn a breed of Quislings nurtured by hot petrodollars from the Middle East.  Please do not demean your honest, courageous men, who without fear or favour are prepared to suffer obloquy for their convictions. We must all admire them! We can now justifiably conclude that the God of Mercy, Who forever recognises the sincere efforts of His servants, is only fulfilling His Promise to Muhammad (pbuh), His Chosen Messenger –

AND HAVE WE NOT RAISED HIGH THE ESTEEM (IN WHICH) THOU (ARE HELD)? Holy Qur’ân 94:4

Alternative renderings:

  1. Have We not exalted thy fame?
  2. And have We not raised thy name for thee?
  3. Have We not given you high renown?

Friends and foes alike, as if by some secret compulsion are made to pay unsolicited tributes to this mighty Messenger of God.  But the Almighty commanders even the devil into His service, as He had done in the time of Jesus (pbuh), (Matthew 4:1 -11).  Even the devil sometimes speaks Gospel truths. Professor K. S. Ramakrishna Rao, a Hindu philosopher in his book “MUHUMMED – The Prophet of lslam“, quotes the arch-devil himself, yes, Adolf Hitler, to prove the unique greatness of Muhammad (pbuh). The Professor, like Jules Masserman who had evaluated  the Prophet of Islam on three grounds (see appendix “C” on page 63) also saw in Hitler’s “Mein  Kamp!” a three faceted jewel, a rare commodity which he found in our hero under discussion.  Quoting Hitler, he says:

“A GREAT THEORIST IS SELDOM A GREAT LEADER. AN AGITATOR IS FAR MORE LIKELY TO POSSESS THESE QUALITIES.  HE WILL ALWAYS BE A BETTER LEADER.  FOR, LEADERSHIP MEANS THE ABILITY TO MOVE MASSES OF MEN.  THE TALENT TO PRODUCE IDEAS HAS NOTHING IN COMMON WITH THE CAPACITY FOR LEADERSHIP.” HITLER CONTINUES, “THE UNION OF THE THEORIST, ORGANISER, AND LEADER IN ONE MAN IS THE RAREST PHENOMENON ON THIS EARTH; THEREIN CONSISTS GREATNESS.” PROFESSOR RAO CONCLUDES, IN HIS OWN WORDS, “IN THE PERSON
OF THE PROPHET OF ISLAM THE WORLD HAS
SEEN THIS RAREST PHENOMENON ON EARTH,
WALKING IN FLESH AND BLOOD.”

SHARE THE ANGER

Before anyone assails the Professor of undue bias and “bribery,” let me give them a few more names of admirers of Muhammad (pbuh).  

1. “MUHUMMAD WAS THE SOUL OF KINDNESS, AND HIS INFLUENCE WAS FELT AND NEVER FORGOTTEN BY THOSE AROUND HIM.” A Hindu scholar – Diwan Chand Sharma in his “The Prophets of the East,” Calcutta 1935, p. 122.  

2. “FOUR YEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF JUSTINIAN, A.D. 569, WAS BORN AT MAKKAH, IN ARABIA THE MAN WHO, OF ALL MEN EXERCISED THE GREATEST INFLUENCE UPON THE HUMAN RACE … MOHAMMED …” John William Draper, M.D., LLD., in his “A History of the
lntellectual Development of Europe“,- London 1875.

3. “I DOUBT WHETHER ANY MAN WHOSE EXTERNAL CONDITIONS CHANGED SO MUCH EVER CHANGED HIMSELF LESS TO MEET THEM.” R. V. C. Bodley in “The Messenger,”- London 1946, p.9.

4. “I HAVE STUDIED HIM – THE WONDERFUL MAN – AND IN MY OPINION FAR FROM BEING AN ANTI-CHRIST, HE MUST BE CALLED THE SAVIOUR OF HUMANITY.” George Bernard Shaw, in “The Genuine Islam,- Vol. 1, No. 81936.

5. “BY A FORTUNE ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE IN HISTORY, MOHAMMED IS A THREEFOLD FOUNDER OF A NATION, OF AN EMPIRE, AND OF A RELIGION.” R. Bosworth-Smith in “Mohammed and Mohammedanism”.- 1946.

6. “MOHAMMED WAS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL OF ALL RELIGIOUS PERSONALITIES.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Edition

 


The Concept of Bid’ah in the Islamic Shari’ah

The following is the text of a talk given by Shaikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller at Nottingham and Trent University on Wednesday 25th January 1995.

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

There are few topics that generate as much controversy today in Islam as what is sunnah and what is bid’ah or reprehensible innovation, perhaps because of the times Muslims live in today and the challenges they face. Without a doubt, one of the greatest events in impact upon Muslims in the last thousand years is the end of the Islamic caliphate at the first of this century, an event that marked not only the passing of temporal, political authority, but in many respects the passing of the consensus of orthodox Sunni Islam as well. No one familiar with the classical literature in any of the Islamic legal sciences, whether Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir), hadith, or jurisprudence (fiqh), can fail to be struck by the fact that questions are asked today about basic fundamentals of Islamic Sacred Law (Shari’ah) and its ancillary disciplines that would not have been asked in the Islamic period not because Islamic scholars were not brilliant enough to produce the questions, but because they already knew the answers.

My talk tonight will aim to clarify some possible misunderstandings of the concept of innovation (bid’ah) in Islam, in light of the prophetic hadith, “Beware of matters newly begun, for every matter newly begun is innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in hell.”

The sources I use are traditional Islamic sources, and my discussion will centre on three points:

The first point is that scholars say that the above hadith does not refer to all new things without restriction, but only to those which nothing in Sacred Law attests to the validity of. The use of the word “every” in the hadith does not indicate an absolute generalization, for there are many examples of similar generalizations in the Koran and sunna that are not applicable without restriction, but rather are qualified by restrictions found in other primary textual evidence.

The second point is that the sunna and way of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was to accept new acts initiated in Islam that were of the good and did not conflict with established principles of Sacred Law, and to reject things that were otherwise.

And our third and last point is that new matters in Islam may not be rejected merely because they did not exist in the first century, but must be evaluated and judged according to the comprehensive methodology of Sacred Law, by virtue of which it is and remains the final and universal moral code for all peoples until the end of time.

Our first point, that the hadith does not refer to all new things without restriction, but only to those which nothing in Sacred Law attests to the validity of, may at first seem strange, in view of the wording of the hadith, which says, “every matter newly begun is innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in hell.” Now the word “bida” or “innovation” linguistically means anything new, So our first question must be about the generalizability of the word every in the hadith: does it literally mean that everything new in the world is haram or unlawful? The answer is no. Why?

In answer to this question, we may note that there are many similar generalities in the Koran and sunna, all of them admitting of some qualification, such as the word of Allah Most High in Surat al-Najm, “. . . A man can have nothing, except what he strives for” (Koran 53:39),

despite there being an overwhelming amount of evidence that a Muslim benefits from the spiritual works of others, for example, from his fellow Muslims, the prayers of angels for him, the funeral prayer over him, charity given by others in his name, and the supplications of believers for him; Or consider the words of Allah to unbelievers in Surat al-Anbiya, “Verily you and what you worship apart from Allah are the fuel of hell” (Koran 21:98),

“what you worship” being a general expression, while there is no doubt that Jesus, his mother, and the angels were all worshipped apart from Allah, but are not “the fuel of hell”, so are not what is meant by the verse; Or the word of Allah Most High in Surat al-Anam about past nations who paid no heed to the warners who were sent to them, “But when they forgot what they had been reminded of, We opened unto them the doors of everything” (Koran 6:44), though the doors of mercy were not opened unto them; And the hadith related by Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “No one who prays before sunrise and before sunset will enter hell”, which is a generalised expression that definitely does not mean what its outward generality implies, for someone who prays the dawn and midafternoon prayers and neglects all other prayers and obligatory works is certainly not meant. It is rather a generalization whose intended referent is particular, or a generalization that is qualified by other texts, for when there are fully authenticated hadiths, it is obligatory to reach an accord between them, because they are in reality as a single hadith, the statements that appear without further qualification being qualified by those that furnish the qualification, that the combined implications of all of them may be utilized.

Let us look for a moment at bida or innovation in the light of the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) concerning new matters. Sunna and innovation (bida) are two opposed terms in the language of the Lawgiver (Allah bless him and give him peace), such that neither can be defined without reference to the other, meaning that they are opposites, and things are made clear by their opposites. Many writers have sought to define innovation (bida) without defining the sunna, while it is primary, and have thus fallen into inextricable difficulties and conflicts with the primary textual evidence that contradicts their definition of innovation, whereas if they had first defined the sunna, they would have produced a criterion free of shortcomings.

Sunna, in both the language of the Arabs and the Sacred Law, means way, as is illustrated by the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace),

“He who inaugurates a good sunna in Islam [dis: Reliance of the Traveller p58.1(2)] …And he who introduces a bad sunna in Islam…”, sunna meaning way or custom. The way of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in giving guidance, accepting, and rejecting: this is the sunna. For “good sunna” and “bad sunna” mean a “good way” or “bad way”, and cannot possibly mean anything else. Thus, the meaning of “sunna” is not what most students, let alone ordinary people, understand; namely, that it is the prophetic hadith (as when sunna is contrasted with “Kitab”, i.e. Koran, in distinguishing textual sources), or the opposite of the obligatory (as when sunna, i.e. recommended, is contrasted with obligatory in legal contexts), since the former is a technical usage coined by hadith scholars, while the latter is a technical usage coined by legal scholars and specialists in fundamentals of jurisprudence. Both of these are usages of later origin that are not what is meant by sunna here. Rather, the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is his way of acting, ordering, accepting, and rejecting, and the way of his Rightly Guided Caliphs who followed his way acting, ordering, accepting, and rejecting. So practices that are newly begun must be examined in light of the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his way and path in acceptance or rejection.

Now, there are a great number of hadiths, most of them in the rigorously authenticated (sahih) collections, showing that many of the prophetic Companions initiated new acts, forms of invocation (dhikr), supplications (dua), and so on, that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) had never previously done or ordered to be done. Rather, the Companions did them because of their inference and conviction that such acts were of the good that Islam and the Prophet of Islam came with and in general terms urged the like of to be done, in accordance with the word of Allah Most High in Surat al-Hajj, “And do the good, that haply you may succeed” (Koran 22:77), and the hadith of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), “He who inaugurates a good sunna in Islam earns the reward of it and all who perform it after him without diminishing their own rewards in the slightest.”

Though the original context of the hadith was giving charity, the interpretative principle established by the scholarly consensus (def: Reliance of the Traveller b7) of specialists in fundamentals of Sacred Law is that the point of primary texts lies in the generality of their lexical significance, not the specificity of their historical context, without this implying that just anyone may make provisions in the Sacred Law, for Islam is defined by principles and criteria, such that whatever one initiates as a sunna must be subject to its rules, strictures, and primary textual evidence.

From this investigative point of departure, one may observe that many of the prophetic Companions performed various acts through their own personal reasoning, (ijtihad), and that the sunna and way of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was both to accept those that were acts of worship and good deeds conformable with what the Sacred Law had established and not in conflict with it; and to reject those which were otherwise. This was his sunna and way, upon which his caliphal successors and Companions proceeded, and from which Islamic scholars (Allah be well pleased with them) have established the rule that any new matter must be judged according to the principles and primary texts of Sacred Law: whatever is attested to by the law as being good is acknowledged as good, and whatever is attested to by the law as being a contravention and bad is rejected as a blameworthy innovation (bida). They sometimes term the former a good innovation (bida hasana) in view of it lexically being termed an innovation, but legally speaking it is not really an innovation but rather an inferable sunna as long as the primary texts of the Sacred Law attest to its being acceptable.

We now turn to the primary textual evidence previously alluded to concerning the acts of the Companions and how the Prophet, (Allah bless him and give him peace) responded to them:

(1) Bukhari and Muslim relate from Abu Hurayra (Allah be well pleased with him) that at the dawn prayer the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to Bilal, “Bilal, tell me which of your acts in Islam you are most hopeful about, for I have heard the footfall of your sandals in paradise”, and he replied, “I have done nothing I am more hopeful about than the fact that I do not perform ablution at any time of the night or day without praying with that ablution whatever has been destined for me to pray.”

Ibn Hajar Asqalani says in Fath al-Bari that the hadith shows it is permissible to use personal reasoning (ijtihad) in choosing times for acts of worship, for Bilal reached the conclusions he mentioned by his own inference, and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) confirmed him therein.

Similar to this is the hadith in Bukhari about Khubayb (who asked to pray two rakas before being executed by idolaters in Mecca) who was the first to establish the sunna of two rak’as for those who are steadfast in going to their death. These hadiths are explicit evidence that Bilal and Khubayb used their own personal reasoning (ijtihad) in choosing the times of acts of worship, without any previous command or precedent from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) other than the general demand to perform the prayer.

(2) Bukhari and Muslim relate that Rifa’a ibn Rafi said, “When we were praying behind the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and he raised his head from bowing and said , “Allah hears whoever praises Him”, a man behind him said, “Our Lord, Yours is the praise, abundantly, wholesomely, and blessedly therein.” When he rose to leave, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) asked “who said it”, and when the man replied that it was he, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I saw thirty-odd angels each striving to be the one to write it.” Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari that the hadith indicates the permissibility of initiating new expressions of dhikr in the prayer other than the ones related through hadith texts, as long as they do not contradict those conveyed by the hadith [since the above words were a mere enhancement and addendum to the known, sunna dhikr].

(3) Bukhari relates from Aisha (Allah be well pleased with her) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) dispatched a man at the head of a military expedition who recited the Koran for his companions at prayer, finishing each recital with al-Ikhlas (Koran 112). When they returned, they mentioned this to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who told them, “Ask him why he does this”, and when they asked him, the man replied, “because it describes the All-merciful, and I love to recite it.” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to them, “Tell him Allah loves him.” In spite of this, we do not know of any scholar who holds that doing the above is recommended, for the acts the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to do regularly are superior, though his confirming the like of this illustrates his sunna regarding his acceptance of various forms of obedience and acts of worship, and shows he did not consider the like of this to be a reprehensible innovation (bida), as do the bigots who vie with each other to be the first to brand acts as innovation and misguidance. Further, it will be noticed that all the preceding hadiths are about the prayer, which is the most important of bodily acts of worship, and of which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Pray as you have seen me pray”, despite which he accepted the above examples of personal reasoning because they did not depart from the form defined by the Lawgiver, for every limit must be observed, while there is latitude in everything besides, as long as it is within the general category of being called for by Sacred Law. This is the sunna of the Prophet and his way (Allah bless him and give him peace) and is as clear as can be. Islamic scholars infer from it that every act for which there is evidence in Sacred Law that it is called for and which does not oppose an unequivocal primary text or entail harmful consequences is not included in the category of reprehensible innovation (bida), but rather is of the sunna, even if there should exist something whose performance is superior to it.

(4) Bukhari relates from Abu Said al-Khudri that a band of the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) departed on one of their journeys, alighting at the encampment of some desert Arabs whom they asked to be their hosts, but who refused to have them as guests. The leader of the encampment was stung by a scorpion, and his followers tried everything to cure him, and when all had failed, one said, “If you would approach the group camped near you, one of them might have something”. So they came to them and said, “O band of men, our leader has been stung and weve tried everything. Do any of you have something for it?” and one of them replied, “Yes, by Allah, I recite healing words [ruqya, def: Reliance of the Traveller w17] over people, but by Allah, we asked you to be our hosts and you refused, so I will not recite anything unless you give us a fee”. They then agreed upon a herd of sheep, so the man went and began spitting and reciting the Fatiha over the victim until he got up and walked as if he were a camel released from its hobble, nothing the matter with him. They paid the agreed upon fee, which some of the Companions wanted to divide up, but the man who had done the reciting told them, “Do not do so until we reach the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and tell him what has happened, to see what he may order us to do”. They came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and told him what had occurred, and he said, “How did you know it was of the words which heal? You were right. Divide up the herd and give me a share.”

The hadith is explicit that the Companion had no previous knowledge that reciting the Fatiha to heal (ruqya) was countenanced by Sacred Law, but rather did so because of his own personal reasoning (ijtihad), and since it did not contravene anything that had been legislated, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) confirmed him therein because it was of his sunna and way to accept and confirm what contained good and did not entail harm, even if it did not proceed from the acts of the Prophet himself (Allah bless him and give him peace) as a definitive precedent.

(5) Bukhari relates from Abu Said al-Khudri that one man heard another reciting al-Ikhlas (Koran 112) over and over again, so when morning came he went to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and sarcastically mentioned it to him. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “By Him in whose hand is my soul, it equals one-third of the Koran.” Daraqutni recorded another version of this hadith in which the man said, “I have a neighbor who prays at night and does not recite anything but al-Ikhlas.” The hadith shows that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) confirmed the persons restricting himself to this sura while praying at night, despite its not being what the Prophet himself did (Allah bless him and give him peace), for though the Prophets practice of reciting from the whole Koran was superior, the mans act was within the general parameters of the sunna and there was nothing blameworthy about it in any case.

(6) Ahmad and Ibn Hibban relates from Abdullah ibn Burayda that his father said, I entered the mosque with the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), where a man was at prayer, supplicating: “O Allah, I ask You by the fact that I testify You are Allah, there is no god but You, the One, the Ultimate, who did not beget and was not begotten, and to whom none is equal”, and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “By Him in whose hand is my soul, he has asked Allah by His greatest name, which if He is asked by it He gives, and if supplicated He answers”. It is plain that this supplication came spontaneously from the Companion, and since it conformed to what the Sacred Law calls for, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) confirmed it with the highest degree of approbation and acceptance, while it is not known that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) had ever taught it to him (Adilla Ahl al-Sunna wa’al-Jamaa, 119-33).

We are now able to return to the hadith with which I began my talk tonight, in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “. . . Beware of matters newly begun, for every innovation is misguidance”. And understand it as expounded by a classic scholar of Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Jurdani, who said: “Beware of matters newly begun”, distance yourselves and be wary of matters newly innovated that did not previously exist”, i.e. things invented in Islam that contravene the Sacred Law, “for every innovation is misguidance” meaning that every innovation is the opposite of the truth, i.e. falsehood, a hadith that has been related elsewhere as: “for every newly begun matter is innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in hell” meaning that everyone who is misguided, whether through himself or by following another, is in hell, the hadith referring to matters that are not good innovations with a basis in Sacred Law.

It has been stated (by Izz ibn Abd al-Salam) that innovations (bida) fall under the five headings of the Sacred Law (n: i.e. the obligatory, unlawful, recommended, offensive, and permissible):

(1) The first category comprises innovations that are obligatory , such as recording the Koran and the laws of Islam in writing when it was feared that something might be lost from them; the study of the disciplines of Arabic that are necessary to understand the Koran and sunna such as grammar, word declension, and lexicography; hadith classification to distinguish between genuine and spurious prophetic traditions; and the philosophical refutations of arguments advanced by the Mu’tazilites and the like.

(2) The second category is that of unlawful innovations such as non- Islamic taxes and levies, giving positions of authority in Sacred Law to those unfit for them, and devoting ones time to learning the beliefs of heretical sects that contravene the tenets of faith of Ahl al-Sunna.

(3) The third category consists of recommended innovations such as building hostels and schools of Sacred Law, recording the research of Islamic schools of legal thought, writing books on beneficial subjects, extensive research into fundamentals and particular applications of Sacred Law, in-depth studies of Arabic linguistics, the reciting of wirds (def: Reliance of the Traveller w20) by those with a Sufi path, and commemorating the birth (mawlid), of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) and wearing ones best and rejoicing at it.

(4) The fourth category includes innovations that are offensive, such as embellishing mosques, decorating the Koran and having a backup man (muballigh) loudly repeat the spoken Allahu Akbar of the imam when the latter’s voice is already clearly audible to those who are praying behind him.

(5) the fifth category is that of innovations that are permissible, such as sifting flour, using spoons and having more enjoyable food, drink and housing. (al Jawahir al-luluiyya fi sharh al-Arbain al-nawawiyya, 220-21).

I will conclude my remarks tonight with a translation of Sheikh Abdullah al-Ghimari, who said: In his al-Qawaid al-kubra, “Izz ibn Abd al-Salam classifies innovations (bida), according to their benefit, harm, or indifference, into the five categories of rulings: the obligatory, recommended, unlawful, offensive, and permissible; giving examples of each and mentioning the principles of Sacred Law that verify his classification. His words on the subject display his keen insight and comprehensive knowledge of both the principles of jurisprudence and the human advantages and disadvantages in view of which the Lawgiver has established the rulings of Sacred Law.

Because his classification of innovation (bida) was established on a firm basis in Islamic jurisprudence and legal principles, it was confirmed by Imam Nawawi, Ibn Hajar Asqalani, and the vast majority of Islamic scholars, who received his words with acceptance and viewed it obligatory to apply them to the new events and contingencies that occur with the changing times and the peoples who live in them. One may not support the denial of his classification by clinging to the hadith “Every innovation is misguidance”, because the only form of innovation that is without exception misguidance is that concerning tenets of faith, like the innovations of the Mutazilites, Qadarites, Murjiites, and so on, that contradicted the beliefs of the early Muslims. This is the innovation of misguidance because it is harmful and devoid of benefit. As for innovation in works, meaning the occurrence of an act connected with worship or something else that did not exist in the first century of Islam, it must necessarily be judged according to the five categories mentioned by Izz ibn Abd al-Salam. To claim that such innovation is misguidance without further qualification is simply not applicable to it, for new things are among the exigencies brought into being by the passage of time and generations, and nothing that is new lacks a ruling of Allah Most High that is applicable to it, whether explicitly mentioned in primary texts, or inferable from them in some way.

The only reason that Islamic law can be valid for every time and place and be the consummate and most perfect of all divine laws is because it comprises general methodological principles and universal criteria, together with the ability its scholars have been endowed with to understand its primary texts, the knowledge of types of analogy and parallelism, and the other excellences that characterize it. Were we to rule that every new act that has come into being after the first century of Islam is an innovation of misguidance without considering whether it entails benefit or harm, it would invalidate a large share of the fundamental bases of Sacred Law as well as those rulings established by analogical reasoning, and would narrow and limit the Sacred Laws vast and comprehensive scope. (Adilla Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jamaa, 145-47).

Wa Jazakum Allahu khayran, wal-hamdu lillahi Rabbil Alamin.

__________________


The Scope of Freedom in Islam



[ ©english.islamtoday.net / 2001 ]


The Scope of Freedom in Islam (part 1 of 2)

In a previous article, I presented freedom as being the human will unconstrained by external compulsion or by other external and internal factors that curtail this will. External factors that negate freedom include political authority that dictates to people what they can do or say. They also include religious authority that monopolizes access to scripture and dictates its interpretation. Then there is cultural authority that people must submit to.

All of these factors are external because they exist outside of the individual. However, to some extent all of these factors are unavoidable. We cannot imagine a world without them. A society without a government, without religion, and without cultural norms would not be as society to speak of. Every society needs these things to give human life stability and safeguard the rights of the people. Society must strive for balance and determine the extent of such authority that is needed and when that authority transgresses against the inviolable rights of others.

Then we have the internal factors, like the natural disposition of the individual, moral values, and personal idiosyncrasies that influence a person’s perspectives and decisions.

Then there are a host of other factors like the environment, history, and vested interests to take into account. On this basis, we can say that freedom exists within the context of four factors:

1. The dictates of textual authority
2. The authority of social norms and customs
3. The authority of learned people in the religion
4. Political authority

The Dictates of Textual Authority

With respect to the textual factor, every civilization on Earth has some inviolable sacred authority to which it defers. It could be derived from values or religion, or in materialistic societies, from reason, public interests, or even pleasure. In any event, it is impossible for a civilization to be devoid of some authority of this kind.

For Muslims, the religion of Islam is the very essence of our society. Our religion is the most important first principle. It is our individual and our collective choice. It is even the choice of the minorities living within Muslim society. Many nations, like the Berbers, Egyptians, Syrians, and a number of ethnic groups in Africa, were fully absorbed into Islam and became its most ardent believers, the carriers of its Message, and strove with their lives to defend it.

In the history of Islam, we do not know of a single case where a nation or even an individual person was forced to accept Islam under compulsion. The Qur’ân explicitly states: “There is no compulsion in religion.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 256] It is a basic teaching of Islam that if anyone ever was forced to convert, then that person’s conversion would not be accepted by Allah. The reason for this is that legal accountability in Islam does not apply to a person under duress. For the same reason, a person who makes a profession of unbelief under duress will not have it counted against him. Allah says: “Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters unbelief – except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith – but such as open their breast to unbelief, on them is Allah’s wrath, and theirs will be a dreadful punishment.” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 106]

This was not the case for other religious groups in history. When Spain fell to the Christians, the Inquisition was established. People were forced out of fear to convert to Christianity and change their names, bringing about what came to be known as the Moriscan people. Many people were imprisoned, tortured, and killed at this time. Nothing like the Spanish Inquisition ever took place at any time in Muslim history. This is a testament to the greatness and justice of Islam and to how well-suited Islam is for all people.

Islam is meant for everyone, both Arab and non-Arab. Anyone can willingly become incorporated into it and assume it as his or her identity.

The basic principles and teachings of Islam are fixed. The details are open to juristic investigations, and many of them are subject to change under different circumstances. Likewise, the text of the Qur’ân is firmly established and immutable, as is the authentic Sunnah. Often, however, various interpretations are possible. This is why the interpretation of a given text does not enjoy the sacredness of the text itself, except in cases where the meaning of the text is clear and indisputable and does not lend itself to multiple interpretations.

The Law of Islam as a whole is fixed and immutable. Individual laws, however, are subject to human investigation. This is why the great jurist al-Shâfi’î often had two opinions on a given matter of law. This is also why the students of Abû Hanîfah overturned two-thirds of their mentor’s legal rulings and there are so many opinions on legal matters that have been passed down to us from Ahmad. This is no different than what the Caliph `Umar meant when he commented: “That is the ruling we used to give and this is the one we are giving now.”

The Companion Abû Mûsâ al-Ash`arî explained the matter as follows: “A verdict that you gave yesterday in a particular case should not prevent you from looking into the issue again if you are guided to the truth on the matter, for the truth is timeless.”

Once a man came to Ahmad b. Hanbal with a book that he had compiled and that he wanted to call Disagreement among the Scholars. Ahmad said to him: “Do not call it that. Rather call it the Book of Leeway.

The authority of Islam is firmly established, whether it be in its inviolable texts, its immutable principles, or its teachings that have been accepted without dispute from generation to generation.

As for the institutions that developed in Muslim society to derive solutions and programs from the texts, they are subject to opinion and juristic discretion and therefore hold no claim to sacredness. They should never cause rigidity in thinking or stifle inquiry. Their approaches and methods must never be seen as an end in itself, but merely as a means to develop and reform Muslim society.

Today, we see people talking about literary expression. Listening to them, it would seem that for something to be true literary expression, is has to be hostile to the principles of our faith since it seems that what has to be expressed are only base desires, perversions, and immoral behavior. Then,, there are those works that directly attack and belittle what Muslims hold sacred, Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses being a good example.

What is the value of literary expression that is cut off from the people; that neither benefits them, inspires them, nor helps them to realize their goals?

Moreover, the inviolable principles on which Muslim society is built are not up for debate. We cannot create a new set of principles and then inject them into the Muslim community. The underlying principles of Islam are matters known to all Muslims. No one has the right to abuse such principles or cast doubt on them. Whoever wishes to advance Muslim culture should do so by first entrenching these principles, not by instigating internal crises.

The immutable principles and teachings of Islam are what unite us as Muslims. They must form the basis on which we build our intellectual lives, our professional lives, our politics, our educational system, and the orientation of our media. These principles are what can unite our different personalities and factions.

The existence of a few people among us who do not accept the authority of Islam nor the principles of the society in which they live should not come as a surprise to us. This was the case with the hypocrites who lived in Madinah when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was alive. They were few in number and weak in their influence over society at large. The problem, however, is when doubt about society’s basic principles and values becomes widespread and commonplace.

If a man wanted to renounce work because of some personal quirk or idiosyncrasy, then that is his own problem. The same thing can be said for someone who wishes to renounce education, marriage, or even life itself. The effects of this self destructive behavior would be limited. However, if these ideas became the norm in society, hereby the vast majority of people refused to work, get and education, or marry, then this would mean the destruction of society as a whole, no less than if they all engaged in mass suicide.

The Authority of Social Norms and Customs

There can be no doubt that society wields considerable power through the customs and traditions that it upholds. We find that the Prophet (peace be upon him) recognized and upheld this authority and even deferred to it on some occasions. For instance, he did not rebuild the Ka`bah according to its original design in consideration of the sentiments of the people. He forbade the killing of the hypocrites so people would not say that Muhammad kills his Companions. He allowed some practices that were less preferred in Islam because of the overwhelming public benefit that was realized by allowing them.

However, there has to be balance. Never should custom be given precedence over considerations of Islamic Law. Society must never be the final authority for all matters. of religion. Some questions are religious in nature and not within society’s scope to address. Other matters might have dimensions that existing social norms and practices are unable to sufficiently address. Society might itself be plagued with problems and schisms or be on the verge of falling apart. Such challenges require people to make choices that may very well be what is needed to bring about reform and move society forward.

Customs and traditions are an important part of society. Custom, as a rule, should be respected. Customs are not necessarily either good or bad. Some customs should be upheld and preserved as they help bring about what is good and right. There are other customs, however, that need to be abandoned.

In Muslim societies, there are many good customs and traditions that must be upheld, like those that foster social ties, family bonds, respect for parents, respect for the elderly, compassion for children, generosity, and good morals. These qualities are part of Islam and these traditions grew out of Islamic teachings.

Other customs are suitable for certain times or circumstances but not for others. Some of them might be suitable for the poor but not the rich. Some might work in peacetime but not during war. This is a very broad topic. For example, what was deemed generosity in the past may not count as generosity at the present or in the future.

Then there are bad customs and traditions, some of which go against the religion of Islam that, however, are difficult to do away with. Abolishing certain customs is a very sensitive matter. Trying to do so without wisdom and discretion can lead to even greater problems than those posed by the custom itself. Sometimes, trying to overturn a custom just makes people more passionate in their adherence to it.

Most customs and traditions are a mix of good and bad. It is difficult for many people to separate the two or even distinguish between them. A good example is that of human kinship and lineage. Kinship is a cause for cementing ties between relatives and knowing one’s family members for purposes of inheritance and other matters of Islamic Law. At the same time, since the dawn of history, it has also been a cause of prejudice and bigotry. Even though the Prophet (peace be upon him) warned against such ills, they have remained with us on every level of society up to this very day. These problems continue to be a cause of division and disruption. Distinctions between people cease to be merely to help us get to know each other. Instead, people began using them to claim that they were better than one another. Here is a case of something that is essentially good being tied in with customs and practices that are quite bad.

The Authority of Learned People

This factor is always somewhat problematic. When we look at the state of Islamic scholarship, we see a tremendous amount of disparity among the numerous scholars, legal experts, Qur’ân authorities, educators, and specialists working in the field. They are not united within a single organization nor a single way of thinking. Most of the statements and opinions being offered are made on an individual level. Rarely are they the result of a group effort or a public investigation. In the early days of Islam, the opposite was true. When an issue arose, `Umar used to summon the Companions and consult them on it.

Even when it comes to dealing with Islamic institutions, matters are still problematic. People naturally like to be told positive things about themselves, even if those things are untrue. They are likewise turned off by criticism, no matter how valid and well intended it might be. A person usually needs to be very God-conscious and spiritually motivated not to succumb to such tendencies. Asceticism weakens the ego and allows a person to accept criticism. Someone who is accustomed to hearing praise all the time finds it very difficult to deal with criticism when it comes. This is quite natural. Even a person who hears nothing but criticism for twenty years and then experiences praise for one week out of his life will have a hard time accepting criticism when hears it again.

Sometimes, loyalty to a certain scholar or political figure becomes too strong. Some people cannot stand hearing anyone criticize the sheikhs or Islamic workers they follow. No matter how gentle the criticism might be, they become hostile and aggressive and often insulting towards the critic.

A person should be free to defend what he believes. At the same time, he must be aware that becoming preoccupied with doing so can lead to unnecessary polarization and division within Muslim society or at least within the ranks of scholars and Islamic workers. This is especially true when the motivation for doing so is partisan in nature.

The tendency to rally around personalities is a problem that can no longer be ignored. We must make a concerted effort to bring unity to the Muslim world and marginalize factors that cause division.

No doubt, establishing truth and rectifying mistakes are duties enjoined by Islamic teachings. Preserving the honor of people is equally our duty. These duties complement each other and are by no means contradictory.

People must have the freedom to criticize. They should be free to determine how deserving people are of the titles and positions that they hold. We might demand that the language of discourse be maintained at a certain level, but at the same time we cannot demand the impossible. We cannot expect proper decorum to be maintained at all times. Let the people express their opinions. Then after the air has been cleared, there will be time for direction and guidance so that the discourse will take a more polite tone in the future.

If we are to criticize governments that repress the views of others, we cannot do the same things ourselves in our own conventions, assemblies, and organizations. Criticism does not destroy people of worth; it is what builds them. It can act as a motivational force that pushes them into positive and creative action. It dispels arrogance and false pride. We must accustom our ears to criticism of those we love, as long as that criticism does not degenerate into accusations and slanders. When it does, we do not have to entertain it. Allah says: “And when they hear vain talk, they turn away from it and say: ‘To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be upon you: we seek not the ignorant’.” [Sûrah al-Qasas: 55]

Political Authority

The problems that we have in our learned community are also unfortunately evident in our politics. By contrast, many countries today see an opposition as an essential ingredient in political life, so much so that if it does not exist they set about creating one. In this we can see that criticism is not at all detrimental to government or society. It brings about transparency, exposes problems, and weeds out the corruptions and inefficiencies that are symptomatic of an autocratic, oppressive and stifling environment.

It is well known that many infectious microorganisms thrive in darkness and die when they are exposed to sunlight. When people live in a natural and open environment where they can express themselves and exchange ideas, society tends to be much healthier. It is more enduring and more capable of overcoming the challenges that it faces.

It is a mistake to think that freedom is merely a decision on the part of society. It is a way of life. Such a decision, however, can be the spark that ignites the first fires of true freedom.

Al-Jâhiz wisely observed that a nightingale will never breed in captivity. There is a lesson in this that we can learn.

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The Scope of Freedom in Islam (part 2 of 2)

Between Equality and Justice

Freedom and equality are two sides of the same coin. Islam recognizes that all human beings are created equal. Allah says:

“O humanity! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.” [Sûrah al-Hujurât: 13]

“O humanity! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 1]

“And their Lord hath accepted of them, and answered them: “Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, male or female: You are one of another.” [Sûrah Âl `Imrân: 195]

Some people prefer to talk about justice rather than equality since there are some unavoidable differences between people that can neither be overcome nor ignored; for instance, the biological and psychological differences that exist between men and women.

The differences between men and women turn out to be greater than previously assumed. Scientists have discovered that biological differences between men and women are so great that any medical research that is conducted must recognize sex as an important variable. Some of these differences go down to the cellular level. In the past it had been assumed that these differences existed only within the sex organs themselves.

Men and women differ in the stages of life that they pass through. They differ in their susceptibility to various diseases. There are differences in metabolism and in how they react to various medicines.

Research conducted by the British military revealed that injuries more than doubled during military exercises where women and men were treated identically. The Journal of the Royal Academy of Medicine reported that injuries requiring medical attention, like broken bones, chronic back pain, and tendonitis, remained at less than 1.5% among male soldiers, whereas similar injuries among women increased from 4.5% to over 11%. It was concluded that the smaller bone-size and lower muscle mass of women meant that stress to the woman’s skeletal frame during military training was from 33-35% greater than it was for men.

Therefore, it is impossible to conceive of absolute equality between men and women in all matters. This does not mean, however, that there should be a bias in favor of men to the detriment of women. This is surely not the case in Islam, though it makes certain distinctions between men and women. Some of these distinctions may be seen to favor men, but just as many certainly favor women. In many other matters, Islam calls for strict equality.

With respect to rights, Islam gives preference to the rights of the mother over the rights of the father. The Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized the mother’s rights three times and mentioned the father’s only once.

Cases of absolute equality can be found in matters of inheritance. For example, the brothers and sisters of the mother of the deceased have an equal share of the deceased’s estate. In some cases, the woman’s share is greater, depending on the type of relationship she has to the deceased.

Allah says: “And women have rights similar to the rights upon them, according to what is equitable.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 228]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Women are the full siblings of men.”

These principles are an integral part of the greater Islamic framework. They cannot be taken in isolation or without considering the other aspects of that framework. Consider the following questions:

– Who is obliged to pay the dowry?
– Who is liable for household expenses?
– What are the duties that fall exclusively upon the shoulders of men?
– What are the duties that fall exclusively upon the shoulders of women?


Islam has given men a degree above women. It has placed men, as husbands and fathers, in charge of maintaining and caring for women. Collectively, men have a distinction. This is an aspect of Islamic Law that is clear and unambiguous. We should not shy away from this fact simply because some men misuse it.

When Islam discusses the deficiencies of women, it is neither insulting them nor belittling them. Some men, unfortunately, do precisely that when they quote the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that women “have a deficiency in their intellect and their religion”. They take these words out of context as a means of oppressing women and putting them down.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) meant something quite different. He said: “I have never seen among those who have a deficiency in their intellect and their religion anyone more capable than women of swaying the intellect of the most determined of men.” He is actually asserting here the power of women to influence men and sway their opinion. This is one of the distinctions that women, in their natures, have.

He then went on to define precisely what he meant by these deficiencies. In the remainder of the hadîth, some women asked him: “O Messenger of Allah, what is this deficiency in our intelligence and religion?” He replied: “Isn’t it that a woman’s testimony as a witness is half of the testimony of man?” They said: “Yes.” He said: “This, then, is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that when she is in her menses, she leaves off prayers and fasting?” They said: “Yes.” He said: “This is the deficiency in her religion.”

These are matters of Islamic Law. A woman is neither sinful nor blameworthy because of the prayers and fasts that she misses. She, in fact, receives blessings by obeying Allah and abstaining from those acts while she is menstruating. Her testimony as a witness is half that of men only in matters wherein she is generally less versed than men. In other matters wherein women have particular knowledge, like fosterage and virginity, the testimony of a woman is accepted but not that of a man.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) attested to the perfect character of four women: Mary, Âsiyah the wife of Pharaoh, Fâtimah, and Khadîjah. He definitely did not mean that these women did not go through menstruation. He was referring to their good character, strength of intellect, and soundness of opinion.

Equality and justice are principles of Islamic Law. It is also a matter of Divine decree. Ages ago, when the descendants of Âdam were few in number, human beings were granted long lives of a thousand years or more. As the human population increased in size, the human lifespan was reduced until it reached the duration we now deem as natural. There is divine justice in this. If the earlier generations were to endure, they would do so at the expense and detriment of the later ones. By passing away, the earlier generations give the later ones the opportunities that they need.

Courtesy of http://english.islamtoday.net /

Fiqh of Jihad (Book Review XI)

Al-Qaradawi’s Fiqh of Jihad (Book Review 6/11)

Part 6: The Status of Jihad, the Danger of Its Negligence, and Preparing the Ummah for Jihad

In this section of the valuable book Fiqh of Jihad, the erudite scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi discusses three main issues: (1) The status of jihad (fighting in Allah’s cause), ribat (garrison at a frontier outlet), and the danger of neglecting them; (2) A refutation of the arguments of the Qadianiyyah sect that jihad is no longer an obligation; and (3) Preparing the Ummah (Muslim nation) for jihad.

On the Status of Jihad in Islam

The Danger of Neglecting Jihad

A Refutation of the Arguments of the Qadianiyyah Sect

Preparing the Ummah for Jihad

On the Status of Jihad in Islam

Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi stated, “There is no doubt that the status of jihad in Islam is unmatched. Jihad protects the Ummah: its religion, life, land, sanctity, independence, and sovereignty. Jihad protects the Ummah against its enemies and acts as its strong fort. Jihad makes heroes and prepares true men who sacrifice everything for the cause of Allah. Therefore, it is not surprising that jihad is the highest peak of Islam. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Jihad is the highest peak of work‘ (At-Tirmidhi). Also, Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘The head of the matter [religion] is Islam, its pillar is Salah [Prayer], and its highest peak is jihad in the cause of Allah’ ” (At-Tirmidhi).

There are many verses and hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that urge Muslims to adhere to jihad in the cause of Allah and indicate its virtue and the status of the mujahid (one striving or fighting in the cause of Allah). The mujahid is like the one who observes fasting continuously and standing for optional prayer at night diligently.

Sheikh Al-Qaradawi then reports on what Al-Kharqi said and on which Ibn Qudamah commented. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, “The best Islamic obligation after the obligatory act is jihad.” In his precious book Al-Mughni, Ibn Qudamah explained this sentence as follows, “A group of scholars narrated that from Ahmad. Al-Athram narrated that Ahmad said, ‘I do not know anything that is considered more righteous than Jihad.’ Al-Fadl ibn Ziyad narrated that when jihad was mentioned; Imam Ahmad cried and said, ‘It is the most righteous thing I know.’ He also once said, ‘fighting enemies in jihad is the best deed a Muslim can perform.’ Those who fight the enemies are the ones who defend Islam and their honor. What could be better? They face fear while others are safe, and sacrifice their pleasures while others enjoy them.'” (Fiqh of Jihad)

Sheikh Al-Qaradawi then mentioned the words of Ibn Taymiyah on the virtue of jihad, “This is a broad area, and no other area regarding rewards for actions has received more attention than jihad and its virtue.”

This is obvious; as the benefit of jihad embraces the mujahid and others regarding both religion and worldly life. Jihad includes all types of worship, both explicit and implicit. It embraces the Love of Allah, sincerity, putting one’s trust in Allah, sacrifice of soul and wealth, patience and renunciation of worldly pleasures, remembrance of Allah, and other actions. The mujahid has two options: either to attain victory, or to achieve martyrdom and then enter Paradise. (Fiqh of Jihad)

Sheikh Al-Qaradawi then discusses the virtue of jihad at sea. He mentions the hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), narrated by Umm Haram (may Allah be pleased with her), in which he says, (The seasick who vomits at sea [while in jihad] shall receive the reward of one martyr, and the one who drowns shall receive the reward of two martyrs ) (Abu Dawud). Jihad at sea is harder and more difficult because it combines the danger of the enemy with that of drowning. Escape is not feasible, and therefore it is better than other types of jihad.

In this regard, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi says that the best type of jihad at the present time is the jihad performed by fighter pilots as it is the most dangerous, and the most likely type of jihad that leads to death, and because it is the most effective type of fighting. The loss of one trained fighter pilot is equivalent to the loss of a large number of other fighters.

At the end of this section, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi gives preference to the various actions of jihad over the supererogatory Hajj. He mentions the words of Ibn An-Nahhas regarding the superiority of jihad, if it is an individual obligation, to the obligatory Hajj. Sheikh Al-Qaradawi agrees with Ibn An-Nahhas and commends that for being an immediate obligation and that jihad is related to defending the Ummah, its entity, and message. If the Ummah is destroyed, individuals would perish and Hajj and other types of worship, rituals, and pillars would be lost as they cannot be observed without the Ummah. Jihad is what protects, defends, and preserves the Ummah. (Fiqh of Jihad)

In Chapter 2, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discusses the status of ribat, which is a consequence of jihad. It means being on guard on a frontier inlet for the glory of the religion and for defending Muslims against their enemies. The “frontier inlet” here means the location beyond which Islam does not prevail.

The frontier inlet guards are the watchers of the borders of Muslim countries against the attack of disbelievers and aggressive enemies. The more dangerous the frontier inlet, the more rewarding is the garrison in that location.

Imam Malik mentions a condition for that: The frontier inlet should be outside the home country or town because guarding one’s own country or town is mandatory, and there is no additional virtue in it. However, some scholars are of the opinion that one may be guarding one’s country or town with the intention of defending it against the enemies and still receive the reward of those guarding frontier inlets. For this reason, many of the righteous predecessors chose to be stationed at frontier inlets.

Ibn Taymiyah said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions resided in Madinah and not in Makkah for many reasons; including that by doing so they were considered frontier guards. Ribat means residing at a place that is threatened by, and threatens, the enemy. The one who resides there with the intention of defending against the enemy becomes a frontier inlet guard, and deeds are but by intentions.” (Ibn Taymiyah, Majmu` Al-Fatawa)

Sheikh Al-Qaradawi adds, “Being stationed at the frontier inlets of Muslims — such as the frontier inlet in the Levant (the region covering Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine) and Egypt — is better than dwelling at the three main mosques in Islam. I do not know of any disagreement between the scholars in regard to this. More than one Imam indicated that this is because ribat is a type of jihad, while the utmost objective of dwelling at these mosques is to have the reward of Hajj. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says,

(Do you make [one who undertakes] the giving of drink to the pilgrims and the guarding of the Sacred Mosque like him who believes in Allah and the latter day and strives hard in Allah’s way? They are not equal with Allah, and Allah does not guide the unjust people.) (At-Tawbah 9:19)

Sheikh Al-Qaradawi then comments, “I believe that the Levant includes Al-Quds (Jerusalem), the land of Israa’ (Night Journey) and Mi`raj (Ascension to Heaven), and the entire land of Palestine. Dwelling there with the intention of ribat, especially nowadays, is one of the best actions that bring a Muslim nearer to Allah because these dwellers would be living in a high danger zone: they may be killed, detained, or imprisoned and their homes may be destroyed, their farms may be burnt, their trees may be plucked; sacred locations may be profaned, their properties may be expropriated, and their sanctities may be violated. The building of the Apartheid Wall is just one example of injustice. Therefore, no wonder that the frontier inlet guard there is much better than at other locations. Abu Umamah Al-Bahili (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“A group of people from my Ummah shall remain steadfast to the truth, they will continue to fight in obedience to the command of Allah and remain dominant over their enemies. Those who will oppose them shall not do them any harm — except for hardship and hunger. They will remain in this condition until victory (or that the Hour overtakes them).’ He was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), where are they?’ He replied, ‘In Al-Quds and its precincts.” (Ahmad)

There is no doubt that all of Palestine is among the precincts of Al-Quds; this also applies to the entire Levant — Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. I believe that Egypt is also included in this area.” (Fiqh of Jihad )

The Danger of Neglecting Jihad

In Chapter 3, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discusses the danger of neglecting jihad in the cause of Allah. He says, “We should alert Muslims and direct their attention to the danger of neglecting obligatory jihad and warn against the spread of such attitude among those able to perform it. It is dangerous if people become cowardly and lose the spirit and intention of jihad. Moreover, the absence of masculinity among young men, the spread of selfishness, individualism, love of worldly pleasures, and interest in one’s own affairs, and the negligence of the overall interest of the Ummah is another danger in this regard. All this endangers the Ummah, whether on the individual or the public level, as the Ummah would then cling heavily to the earth, suffer from cowardice, and depend excessively on worldly interests, and would hate death, care only about life, and be content with the life of lowness and disgrace. These are the bad deeds for which Allah dispraises the Children of Israel. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says,

(And you will most certainly find them the greediest of men for life.) (Al-Baqarah 2:96)

(They will not fight against you in a body save in fortified towns or from behind walls.) (Al-Hashr 59:14)

(They will not harm you save a trifling hurt, and if they fight against you they will turn and flee. And afterward they will not be helped. Ignominy shall be their portion wheresoever they are found.) (Aal `Imran 3:111-112)

In the Sunnah, there are many hadiths that blame the Ummah, as individuals and groups, if they neglect jihad and preparation for it on all levels: material, moral, military, economic, social, and cultural.

The first important issue that should be considered is the intention of jihad while calling for it or once its conditions are met. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, (Whoever dies without having gone on a military expedition or having exhorted himself to do so shall die in a state of hypocrisy ) (Muslim). In his book Az-Zawajir `An Iqtiraf Al-Kaba’ir, Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami, the prominent Shafi`i scholar, says that giving up jihad when it is mandatory and while having the ability to perform jihad is among the major sins.

Some people, especially those wayward Sufis, believe that jihad is not that important, based on a hadith they spread among their followers that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), after returning from one of the battles, said to his Companions, “We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad: the jihad of the self.

However, we can refute this argument on four levels:

First, this hadith is not sahih (authentic) according to the specialized scholars in this field. It is not mentioned in any of the authentic books of Sunnah or literature.

Second, jihad, meaning fighting in the cause of Allah, is not devoid of the jihad of the self. The self always prefers safety, loves life, and hates death. Therefore, the Muslim who chooses the path of jihad has to resist the urges of his or her self, the discouragements of those surrounding him or her, and the spread of wahan (love of life and hatred of death) in the Ummah as predicted by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Third, even if the previous hadith is sahih, we should start, according to the logic of the hadith itself, with the lesser jihad, and then gradually progress to the greater one as is the norm of Allah in all aspects: to start with the lesser and then go to the greater.

Fourth, the sahih hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) indicate that fighting in the cause of Allah is the highest degree of jihad. (Fiqh of Jihad )

A Refutation of the Arguments of the Qadianiyyah Sect

In Chapter 4, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discusses the continuity of jihad and refutes the arguments of the Qadianiyyah sect that abrogates the ruling on jihad and limits it to the era of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions. He says, “We should pay attention to the attempts of the enemies of our Ummah to divert it from the right path, discourage it away from jihad, and spread the spirit of defeat and surrender in different ways and methods that all aim to eradicate the spirit of jihad so that the Ummah surrenders to them and stops resisting them, stops defending its lands and freeing its destiny from their yoke. Worse still is that these calls come from within the Ummah from some who claim they are Muslims and sincere, whether they do this consciously or unconsciously.
Among the most important methods they follow is the policy of “Drying up the Sources.” This means the sources of direction, culture, and education of the Ummah through educational establishments, media, and cultural entities. They try to empty all these of all meanings of jihad and whatever relates to, leads to, or connects to it by way of beliefs, morals, ethics, rulings, and even historical events.

During the nineteenth century, the colonial Crusader powers, which were greatly opposed to Islam, started to create false sects among Muslims. They supported and backed these sects in order to divide Muslim unity, create discord among Muslims, and spread fake beliefs, especially those that rejected the obligatory act of jihad. The malicious attempts tried to force jihad under the cloak of religion itself. The claim was that jihad was legitimate in the past, but it was later abrogated with the advent of the “new sect” and its new fake prophet. The most prominent sect in this regard is Qadianiyyah and its fake prophet Ghulam Ahmad, who proposed two main issues: That people should obey the government, even if it is foreign and disbelieving, and that jihad has been abrogated and it is no longer an obligation.” (Fiqh of Jihad)

Sheikh Al-Qaradawi refutes these claims and allegations and shows that jihad is a continuous obligatory act and Sunnah until the Day of Judgment.

Preparing the Ummah for Jihad

In Chapter 5, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discusses the preparation of the Ummah for jihad in the cause of Allah in all fields of life: military, economic, cultural, moral, etc. 

He says, “For all that, it is obligatory on the Ummah to prepare itself properly to attain power in all its aspects: military, economic, material, cultural, ethical, and religious power. The Ummah should be prepared to be ready when the caller calls for obligatory jihad.

First: Military Preparation                    

It requires two things:

A. Preparation of weapons and equipment

The Noble Qur’an orders the Ummah explicitly to do that. Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says, (And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy) (Al-Anfal 8:60). This includes the preparation of all means for military power to achieve victory over the enemy. This covers the steeds of war, that is, the garrisoned horses of mujahids at the frontier inlets from where enemies could infiltrate Muslim lands. There are many sahih hadiths that indicate the importance of preparing horses for jihad and the high reward for that from Allah.

It is noteworthy that such importance of horses as a means of power in the age of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) is not obligatory in the present age, which has its own type of steeds: tanks, armored vehicles, and other land fighting vehicles. Moreover, this also includes naval equipment, such as warships, battleships, submarines, and the like and air force equipment, such as airplanes, satellites, missiles, etc. There are also the nuclear weapons used for the first time at the end of WWII by the United States of America against Japan (in Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

My initial opinion is that it is not acceptable to use such weapons of mass destruction that kill millions of people at once and cause damage and havoc to millions others over the following decades.

However, the Muslim Ummah should own these illegal weapons to serve as a deterrent to the enemies. There is a difference between owning such weapons and using them. Its ownership is a must for the Ummah, which is subject to aggression from the enemy powers of Islam. Moreover, reality has proved that owning such weapons is a guarantee for peace.

Owning the weapons is not enough if they are not properly maintained and used when required. Negligence may lead to storing the weapons under the pretext of safety and security. Then the enemy may exploit the chance and attack Muslims in a single rush that may lead to the defeat of Muslims.

B. Preparation of fighters

If the first element in the military preparation of the Ummah is the preparation of equipment and devices of all types, the second element is the preparation of trained human resources. It is well-known that weapons, however developed they may be, cannot fight by themselves, and they only function properly in the hands of trained and qualified soldiers.       

Second: Economic Preparation  

          
• Economic preparation for jihad is a must, and includes a set of essential issues: the Ummah should not focus only on agriculture and neglect the other aspects required for building a strong nation, such as various industries, especially iron, referred to in the Noble Qur’an as being one of the mainstays in the military and civil fields. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (and We sent down Iron, in which is [material for] mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind) (Al-Hadid 57:25). The expression “mighty war” refers to military industries, and the expression “many benefits for mankind” refers to civil industries. For any nation to be strong, it needs both.

• The Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) hadith warns us against being satisfied with agriculture alone. Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“If you indulge in `Iyna (a form of trade; selling by borrowing), and follow the tails of cows, and are content with being farmers, and ignore jihad, Allah will impose on you a humiliation that would not be taken away until you go back to your religion.”

• Provision of the required money for the expenses of jihad and its requirements, as jihad by spending one’s wealth is an Islamic obligation that precedes even the obligation of physical jihad. 

• Fair distribution of wealth so that each Muslim receives his or her due right. Hired labor should receive their wages before their sweat dries up. Each needy individual should be given according to his or her need of food, drink, accommodation, clothing, and any other requirements for him or her and his or her family, without excess or parsimony.  

All this would make all members of society sacrifice their souls in jihad in the cause of Allah. In the opposite case, if people suffer from social injustice, feel they are neglected by welfare, and struck by adversity; and if they do not receive their due share of their country’s wealth and feel downtrodden, they would not feel enthusiastic about participating in jihad.

Third: Cultural and Intellectual Preparation

                
Cultural and intellectual preparation for jihad is an important element in this regard. The idea of jihad should always be present and alive in the minds and consciousness of the leaders of the Ummah and its public in all regions – urban and rural.

The best way to achieve this is to invoke the verses of the Noble Qur’an and the sahih hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that urge Muslims to adhere to jihad in the cause of Allah, highlight its virtue, and warn against giving it up or neglecting its importance.

In other words, jihad and its related subjects should be taught as essential topics in the books of Islamic culture and Shari`ah (Islamic law). The verses of jihad should be taught when interpreting the Qur’an, and the related texts of hadiths while explaining the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) hadiths. It is worth mentioning that there is a dedicated section on jihad in all books of Sunnah. 

Fourth: Psychological and Ethical Preparation  

                 
This is the fruit of cultural and intellectual preparation:

• Inculcation of the belief in the tradition of checking one set of people by means of another so that the Ummah does not inactively depend on others based on good relations in times of peace and neglects to prepare itself for the possibilities of others attacking it. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says:

(And did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief: But Allah is full of bounty to all the worlds. ) (Al-Baqarah 2:251)

• Inculcation of the love of jihad inside the soul of every Muslim so that each Muslim longs to have a share in jihad. The one who does not actually fight should live by jihad in his or her intention and soul. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

•  “Whoever dies without having gone on a military expedition or having exhorted himself to do so shall die in a state of hypocrisy.” (Muslim)

• Inculcation of the belief that jihad leads to goodness and well-being. Its outcome is either victory and defeat of the attacking disbelievers, or meeting martyrdom in the cause of Allah. Allah (Exalted and Glorified), says:

(Say: Do you await for us but one of two most excellent things? And we await for you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from Himself or by our hands. So wait; we too will wait with you.) (At-Tawbah 9:52)

• Inculcation of the belief of predestination and the certainty that what happens to a person could not have missed him and vice versa. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (And Allah does not respite a soul when its appointed term has come, and Allah is Aware of what you do) (Al-Munafiqun 63:11).       

• Inculcation of certainty that victory comes from Allah and that the believers shall surely prevail. If they help in the cause of Allah, He will help them and make their foothold firm. Those supported by Allah shall not be defeated, and those let down by Allah shall never attain victory. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (and victory is only from Allah; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise) (Al-Anfal 8:10)

• Inculcation of the dignity of belief inside the soul of every Muslim because such dignity is among the morals of the believers. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says:

(But honor belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and to the Believers; but the Hypocrites know not) (Al-Munafiqun 63:8) And, (Whoever desires honor, then to Allah belongs the honor wholly) (Fatir 35:10)

• Inculcation of the meanings of strength within the soul of every Muslim. Strength here means first that of the soul. However, the strength of the body is also required, as mentioned in the hadith:

The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both. Guard over that which benefits you, seek Allah’s Assistance, and don’t lend yourself to things devoid of benefit, and if something befalls you, then don’t say ‘If I only would have done such and such,’ rather say, ‘Allah ordained [this], and He does what He wills’, for verily the phrase ‘If I would have’ makes way for the work of Satan. ” (Muslim)

Such strength expels weakness and wahan as mentioned in the above hadith.

• Making Muslims long for martyrdom in the cause of Allah. Martyrdom should be the utmost desire of the Muslim, who should supplicate to Allah (Exalted and Glorified) to make him achieve it. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, I wish I could fight in Allah’s Cause and be martyred, then come back to life again then be martyred, then come back to life again then be martyred.” (Al-Bukhari)    

Fifth: Warning Against Psychological Wahan                      

Among the things we should be aware of is the wahan (weakness and debility) that may overwhelm the soul and make it cling to this worldly life and its pleasures, and make it fear or hate death. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) warned us against this in one of his hadiths. Thawban (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

Soon all nations will join forces and attack you similar to when hungry people attack their dishes.” One asked, ‘O, Prophet of Allah, at that time, will we be small in number?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, (No, you will be huge in number, but you will be scum like foam that comes with a water stream, and Allah will withdraw fear from your enemy and will fill your hearts with wahan.) Then all asked ‘O, Prophet of Allah, what is Wahan?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said (The love of life and the hatred of death.)” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

Sixth: Warning Against Cowardice and Stinginess

Among the morals which Islam warns against for being opposed to the spirit of jihad and the life of the struggling Ummah and the individual mujahid are cowardice and stinginess. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The worst thing in a person is to be either extremely stingy or extremely cowardly ” (Ahmad).

The worst type of stinginess is the stinginess that is accompanied by fear. Such a person is described in the Noble Qur’an as (Irritable [discontented] when evil touches him; and niggardly when good touches him) (Al-Ma`arij 70:20-21) Niggardliness combines stinginess and not spending. If impatience and fear are added, it renders it among the most obnoxious types of stinginess.

Seventh: Warning Against Effeminacy                       

Among the vices Islam warns Muslims against is the lack of masculinity among men and the spread of effeminacy, because if these vices prevail, they spread quickly as fire spreads through dry stalks.

Islam is concerned that young men remain masculine and firm. Therefore, it forbids them from wearing gold and pure silk. It also orders men not to wear women’s clothes and vice versa. Islam curses those men who resemble women and vice versa and heavily criticizes the effeminate who are neither men nor women in their behavior.” (Fiqh of Jihad)

In the last chapter of this section, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discusses the necessity of the provision of required financial resources for jihad in the cause of Allah: The preparation of the Ummah for jihad shall be completed by the preparation of financial resources required for the expenses of jihad and mujahids. There is no doubt that jihad—that is, fighting—requires huge expenses. It is more demanding in our age because it requires the purchase of different types of expensive weapons.

In light of Islamic fiqh, we find several financial resources for funding the jihad army and the armed forces. The following are among these resources:

1. State resources and Bayt-ul-Mal (Muslim treasury).

2. Zakah for the cause of Allah. Muslim jurists say that this means jihad.

3. Charity waqf (endowments).

4. Contributions made by charitable people.

5. Jihad tax taken from the rich.

6. Vicious or suspicious gains. (Fiqh of Jihad)