Notes and Comments2 Comments | August 2012
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Islam is a universal religion, meant for all mankind. It is a unique phenomenon of history. Yet since the dawn of the new era heralded by Islam, orientalists have tried to prove it as a localised phenomenon meant only for Arabs. There are many verses of the Holy Qur’an that throw ample light on the universality of the message of Islam and that the Holy Prophet(saw) was a Prophet sent for all mankind, as God states: ‘And We have sent thee not but as a mercy for all peoples.’ Thus, once Kaab, a poet, recited a Qaseeda before the Holy Prophet(saw) and he came to the line: “The Prophet is the torch which lighted up the world.” The Prophet(saw) bestowed on the poet his own mantle. Islam came at a critical stage when all the prevailing religious forces and their protagonists had moved far away from their original teachings. The Jews had rejected the Messiah from God. The Christians had taken a human being as their Lord. Zoroastrians were worshipping fire. The Hindus had taken many gods and practised vicious rituals, and so on. In history, spiritual confusion has always been followed by political chaos and thus, wars broke out between empires and nations had lined up against each other. The empires of Persia and Rome were warring against each other, and humanity in general was suffering as a result of these political clashes. These incessant wars put world peace in danger. Religious clergy and those people at the helm of international affairs seemed to have lost their direction entirely and the people of the world were passing through a most difficult ordeal. The Qur’an states: ‘Corruption has appeared on land and sea.’
According to Islam, humans cannot address their secular problems unless they drink deep from the cup of spirituality. Every culture is based on some supernatural aspects. Without these foundations any culture cannot attain material prosperity. Even to attain the material progress, true spirituality is a pre-requisite. That is why after the advent of Islam, humanity had made amazing strides in the field of secular knowledge, because Islam wrought a new and unprecedented spiritual revolution. Because a vacuum cannot exist in the spiritual as well as physical world, in such a precarious situation, Islam came forth to fill this spiritual vacuum. It was against this backdrop that the Holy Prophet(saw) despatched envoys to the superpowers of the time; to Khosrau Parvaiz—the Ruler of Iran, Heraclius—the Roman Emperor, Ghassani—Chieftain of Syria, Muqawqis—the Egyptian King and several other chieftain and tributary kings. The envoys conveyed letters from the Prophet(saw), written and presented in the most appropriate and best-suited manner. So the addressee’s background and denomination was given due consideration. However, the letters followed a common theme which stated: “I invite you to the fold of Islam, if you desire security, accept Islam. Allah shall reward you double, and if you refuse to do so, the responsibility for the transgression of the entire nation, shall be yours.”
Some explanation is necessary here. In those days, religion was not a private matter but was considered to be under the ambit of state authority. The population would follow the religion of the King, and the state would closely monitor individual’s lives, including their religious practices. Thus we witnessed the impulsive reaction of Khosrau Parvaiz, who ripped the Prophet(saw)’s letter into pieces—he must have felt it was an intrusion into his rule and authority. However, as the message of Islam was meant for the entire mankind, God enabled the Muslims to eliminate these obstacles and bestowed on them the ability to carry the message of Islam directly to the people. Today, the nature of the state has changed. Instead of state coercion, we find the barriers of false logic and arguments erected in the way of people, depriving them of true realisation of spiritual truths. Muslims do not seem to have realised this subtle shift and they have let themselves become embroiled in false notions of an armed Jihad. Having embarked on this path they are not only damaging the image of Islam, but are also piling up miseries for themselves. The sorry state of the Muslim world today is testimony to this. Through the Grace of God, the Promised Messiah(as) shattered the barrier of false logic and proved the truthfulness of Islam over all religions, through Divinely revealed wisdom, pertinent arguments and true spirituality. He thus proved that the golden principles of Islam were as valid today as they were in the past, to remove human sufferings. Following in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet(saw), Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba), Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and 5th Successor the Promised Messiah(as), has also despatched letters to different heads of states to make it clear to them in unequivocal terms that if they want peace and stability, they have to tread the path of absolute justice. If the leaders of the world lend their ear to this heavenly call it would be better for them but if they miss this golden opportunity, then they may have to pay the penalty and are bound to meet the same fate as their counterparts in the past.
Naseer Habib has been a Lecturer in History in Punjab, Pakistan and was a regular panellist on the discussion programme Tareekhi Haqaiq (Historical Facts) on Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International (www.mta.tv).
- Spirit of Islam, Syed Ameer Ali, Kessinger (2003)
- Civilisation on Trial, Arnold J Toynbee, Oxford University Press (1948)