Featured

Book Review

Prophecy Continuous

PROPHET FOR ALL MANKIND (Muzqffar Clarke) The Holy Quran bears testimony that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, was a source of mercy and blessing for all mankind: Say, ‘0 mankind, truly I am a Messenger to you all from Allah to whom belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth. There is no God but He. He gives life and He causes death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Ummi Prophet, who believes in Allah and His wor’ds; and follow him that you may be rightly guided.’ (7:159) Blessed is He Who has sent down Al-Furqan to His servant that he may be a Warner to all the worlds. (25:2) And We have not sent thee but as a mercy for all mankind (21:108) The Holy Prophet himself also said: All creatures of God form the family of man and he is the best loved of God who loves his creatures the best. 0 Lord! Lord of my life and everything in the universe, 1 affirm that all human beings are brothers. Respect God and be affectionate to the family of God. Inspite of these references many non-Muslim scholars and orientalists persist in their contention that the Holy Prophet of Islam did not see himself as a world reformer and that his vision was limited to Arab tribes living within the boundaries of Arabia. This mistaken view lies in the face of historical fact. We have only to consider the quoted verses from the Holy Quran which were r’evealed’to the Holy Prophet during the early days of his, ministry before his persecutors forced him to leave his home town, Mecca. The letters and invitations to accept Islam which he sent to the rulers of Persia, Abbysinia, Egypt, Bahrain and to many tribes of the Arabian peninsula show how perfect was the Holy Prophet’s faith in God. They also show how from the very beginning he had not been sent only to a particular people but to all the people of the world. It is true that the persons”to whom he sent the letters reacted in different ways. Nevertheless he fulfilled his duty to God and mankind by presenting Islam to them. Far from being a local or national faith, Islam is international in its outlook and does not recognise tribal, national or ethnic barriers which REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 2 3 destroy peace and harmony. True Islam is based upon the true teachings of Islam and on the practices and sayings of the Holy Prophet. Islam embodies the eternal principles of guidance given by the Lord of the Universe and has given man the freedom to apply them in every age according to the spiritual conditions of the times. One of the beauties of Islam is that it satisfies both the demands of stability and change. In all ages the basic problems of life remain the same but the ways and means of solving them change with the passage of time. The basic principles of Islam provide for these changes. George Bernard Shaw put the importance of Islam and the Holy Prophet into twentieth century context when he wrote: / have always held the religion of Muhammad in high esteem because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me. to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phases of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him – the wonderful man – and in my opinion, far from being an anti-Christ, he must he called the saviour of humanity. I believe that if a man like him was to assume dictatorship of the world he would succeed in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness. I have prophesised about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the people of Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable by the Europe of today. (The Genuine Islam) No finer tribute ot the greatness of the Holy Prophet has ever been made by a non-Muslim scholar. In the estimation of Bernard Shaw he was the wonderful man! The Saviour of humanity! He wrote that in 1936 and since then the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam has established a network of missions and mosques in European countries in addition to numerous missions, mosques, schools, hospitals and clinics throughout the world. Having considered the claim of the Holy Prophet to be the Messenger of God and reformer for the whole world we should next consider the universal features of Islam and why his claim should be accepted. It was revealed to him through the Holy Quran that God (Allah) is Rabb-ul-Alameen which means Cod of the universe Who is the Creator and Nourisher. The One Who looks after and provides for all spiritual, ethical, social, economic and other needs of His entire creation. He is not only the God of the Muslims but the God of all human beings and of all creatures in the universe. This belief in a universal God along with specific injunctions to all followers of Islam to try to cultivate the attributes of God bestows and J>4 REVIEW OH RELIGIONS creates a unity of outlook among Muslims. God has catered for the spiritual and material needs of every one irrespective of nationality. Islam requires belief in the Prophets of all revealed religions such as Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Confucius, Zoroaster, Buddha etc. The Holy Quran teaches that there is no nation to which a Warner has not been sent at one time or another with divine guidance to meet the needs of the times and in accordance with the spiritual development of the people concerned. The Holy Quran teaches that these heavenly Messengers are to be respected because they have one common origin of truth. All Prophets have taught the absolute Unity of God and that He Himself is perfect Unity. Holy Books were revealed before the Holy Quran but were limited in two respects. Each Book contained a code of conduct which was designed to meet the needs of people to whom it was sent. Each revelation contained fundamental truths through the ages but it also contained exhortations, commandments and prohibitions which were of a local or temporary nature. Moreover, as time passed portions of the revelation were lost, interpolated or forgotten. Those things which are of universal application have been restored by the Holy Quran. Local or temporary material has been omitted. Allah, however, out of His love and mercy, has added new material required for the present and future requirements of mankind. The Holy Quran is the final revealed Book for mankind and in it God says that He has perfected religion for mankind through the revelation of this revealed scripture which is the perfect revelation for all time. Man has been given a very high and exalted status in God’s universe. He has been endowed with the best and most appropriate faculties and qualities. He is, however, responsible for their proper use. He runs the risk of severe punishment if he misuses or abuses any of them. God has given man the freedom of thought and speech and everyone is responsible for his or her own thoughts, motives and faults. If human beings did not have these freedoms they could not be held responsible for their actions. There are two indispensable fundamentals of faith in Islam to which its followers must adhere. They are–;belief in the existence of God and his absolute Unity. Also belief in the accountability of conduct which includes thenagh-ts, motives and good and bad actions. This accountability is REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 25 emphasised in the next life after death. Human beings have been created so that they may develop the attributes of God. The Holy Prophet said Adorn yourselves with divine attributes. In order that they may achieve this purpose God has given them appropriate faculties and, in addition, He has put the universe at their service. He has put into operation laws for the regulation of the universe and by studying them people can put these forces of nature to their own beneficial use. If they misuse or abuse them then they can bring about their own destruction. The basis of our relationship with our fellow beings is our common relationship with our Creator. Our duty to Him balances our duty to our fellow human beings and helps to adjust all our relationships. It is a self-evident truth that God stands in no need of anything and that we are dependent upon His Grace and Mercy every moment of our lives. The service of God and striving in His path means service to our fellow beings and striving to bring about conditions where goodness may flourish. The only way to establish communication between man and his Maker is through prayer and the remembrance of God which involves contempla- tion of His attributes. God says in the Holy Quran: I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. (2:184) Repentence is another means of approaching God. Islam takes into account man’s liability to fall into error unconsciously or by design. In such a case he may retrace his steps and climb higher through sincere repentence. He not only forgives sins and errors but even wipes out their consequences. The Holy Quran teaches that one should never despair of the Mercy of God Who is Most Forgiving and Merciful. These attributes of God are not limited to any particular people. God’s Grace and Mercy may be sought and won everywhere and by everyone. Islam, the religion revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, is a practical religion. Symbolic expression has its value but we must not allow it to become a substitute for the spirit and reality of Islam. Allah says in the Holy Quran: It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or to the West, but truly righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets, and spends his money out of love for Him, on the kindred and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask for charity and for 26 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS ransoming the captives; and observes prayer and pays the Zakat; and those who fulfil their promise when they have made one, and the patient in poverty and afflictions and the steadfast in the time of war; it is these who have proved truthful and it is these who are truly God-fearing. 2:178) God says regarding the character of the Holy Prophet: Verily you have in the Prophet of Allah an excellent model, for him who hopes to meet Allah and the Last Day and who remembers Allah much. (33:22) The Holy Prophet left an enduring impression on a large section of mankind. He proved himself an Excellent Exemplar as again confirmed by God in the Holy Quran:” Allah sends down His blessings on the Prophet and His angels constantly pray for him. 0 ye who believe, you too should invoke His blessings on him and salute him with the salutation of peace. (33:57) The renowned Muslim scholar, Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, has described the debt which the world owes to the Holy Prophet of Islam: In obedience to this divine command, all through the centuries Muslims have constantly prayed for and invoked Allah’s blessings upon the Holy Prophet, peace be on him. There are today more than 800 million Muslims spread throughout the world in all the countries and their number is increasing daily. On average a Muslim invokes God’s blessings on the Holy Prophet at least forty times during the course of each day and many of them do it much more than that. Every time the Holy Prophet’s name is mentioned Allah’s blessings are in voked upon him and Allah’s peace is called down upon him. FA’ery moment of the night and day millions of devoted hearts supplicate the Almighty for His blessings on the Prophet. Has there been in the history of man any other who has been so richly blessed: And it is right that it should be so. One who devoted his life so utterly to the service of God and His creatures, as did the Holy Prophet, is deserving of the deepest gratitude on the part of the whole of mankind. By constantly invoking the blessings of God upon him, those who do so seek to pay a fraction of the debt that the world owes … . ‘ . to Mm: (Muhammad the Seal .of the Prophets) I woulddike to .closaby quoting .a tribute to”the Holy-Prophet by Hazrat • … •;. – • : / ••_’ (continued on page 36)