Prophets

Steadfastness of the the Holy Prophet (saw) part 7

7The Review of Religions – May 2006 That Prophet is superior to allother Prophets who is the great Instructor of the world, that is to say, he at whose hands the great corruption of the world was reformed and who re-established on the earth the Unity of God which had been lost and had disappeared. He overcame all false religions by proof and argument and removed the doubts of every misguided one. He provided the true means of salvation by teaching the right principles for which it was not necessary to crucify an innocent person, or to remove God from His true and eternal station and to put Him in the womb of a woman. Thus, his beneficence and his grace exceed those of everyone else and his rank is higher than all. History points out, and the heavenly Book is a witness, and those who have eyes are able to observe, that the Prophet who is thus established as superior to all other Prophets is Muhammad, the chosen one(saw). (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.1, p.97, footnote 6) It is worthy of note how stead- This series sets out, in the words of the Promised Messiah(as), Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a summary of his exposition of four outstanding topics: ISLAM; ALLAH, THE EXALTED; THE HOLY PROPHET(saw) and THE HOLY QUR’AN. The original compilation, in Urdu, from which these extracts have been translated into English, was collated with great care and diligence by Syed Daud Ahmad Sahib, Allah have mercy on him and reward him graciously for his great labour of love. Amin. The English rendering is by the late Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, may Allah be pleased with him, and is quoted from The Essence of Islam, Volume 1. All references throughout, unless otherwise specifically mentioned, are from the Holy Qur’an. Steadfasteness of the Holy Prophet(saw) – Part 8 8 The Review of Religions – May 2006 fastly the Holy Prophet(saw) adhered to his claim of Prophethood right till the end, despite thousands of dangers and hundreds of thousands of opponents and obstructers and threateners. For years, he endured misfortunes and hard- ships which increased daily and rendered success apparently hopeless, and by enduring which patiently he had not in mind the achievement of any worldly purpose. On the contrary, by putting forward his claim of Prophethood, he lost what he had and purchased a hundred thou- sand contentions and invited a thousand calamities to overtake him. He was expelled from his home, was pursued by slayers, lost his home and all it contained and was poisoned several times. Those who were his well- wishers began to wish him ill and those who were his friends turned into enemies. For a long period, he had to bear hardships, to be steadfast under which was not possible for a cunning impostor. When after a long time Islam became supreme, the Holy Prophet(saw) collected no wealth for himself, nor did he raise any structure, nor did he seek any means of comfort or luxury, nor did he derive any personal benefit from anything. Whatever came to hand was spent in taking care of the poor, the orphans, the widows and those burdened with debt. He never ate his fill. He was so straightforward that by his plain speaking and his preaching of the Unity of God, he made enemies of all the peoples of the world who were sunk in paganism. He converted his own people into enemies first of all, by forbidding them idol worship. He upset the Jews for he stopped them from indulging in diverse types of creature worship and exaltation of their divines and from misconduct. He stopped them from denying and insulting Jesus(as) which caused them great heart burning, and they became his bitter enemies, and began to cast about for means of destroying him. In the same way, he annoyed the Christians for he denied the godhead of Jesus(as) and his being STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) 9The Review of Religions – May 2006 the son of God, and denied his being the crucified saviour. The fire worshippers and the star worshippers were also annoyed with him for they were also forbidden to worship their deities. The Unity of God was proclaimed as the sole means of attaining salvation. Were these the ways of winning the world? (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1 pp. 108-109) The Holy Prophet(saw) was straightforward and was ready to lay down his life for God, and turned wholly away from any hope or fear of people, and put his trust wholly in God, and being devoted to the will and pleasure of God, he cared not what calamities he would have to endure through preaching the Unity of God and what hardships might be inflicted upon him by the pagans. He endured every hardship and carried out the commandments of his Lord, and fulfilled all the conditions called for by his preaching and admonition, and attached no importance to any threat that was held out to him. I say truly that of all the Prophets there was none who put his full trust in God on all occasions of danger and went on preaching against paganism and creature worship despite all his enemies and was so steadfast and persevering as the Holy STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. 10 The Review of Religions – May 2006 Prophet(saw). (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1 pp. 111-112) The calamities and hardships that the Holy Prophet(saw) had to endure during the thirteen years of his Makkan life cannot be imagined. My heart trembles when I think of them. They demonstrate his high resolve, his generosity, his perseverance and his steadfastness. What a mountain of steadfastness he was that no difficulty could shake him in the least. He did not slacken for a moment in the discharge of his duty, nor was he sorrowful. No difficulty could weaken his resolve. Some people out of misunderstanding enquire: why did he have to encounter all these misfortunes and difficulties when he was the loved one of God and His chosen one? I would say to them that water is not discovered till one digs in the earth and splits it through several feet. It is only then that agreeable water is found which is the basis of life. In the same way, delight in the cause of God Almighty can be procured only by stead- fastness and firmness under difficulties and misfortunes. How can those who are unaware of this spiritual experience ever taste and feel the delight of facing hardship? How on earth can they imagine that whenever the Holy Prophet(saw) faced trouble, a spring of felicity and delight welled up in his heart, reinforcing his faith in God and in His love and succour. [Malfuzat, Vol. II, p. 307-308] Divine Support for the Holy Prophet(saw) Is it not a matter for wonder that a poor, powerless, helpless, and unlearned orphan who was alone at a time when every people possessed a plenitude of finan- cial, military and intellectual means, brought such a bright teaching that he silenced everyone with his conclusive arguments and clear proofs? He pointed out the mistakes of those who were claimed as great philosophers. He exhibited such power that he pulled down rulers from their thrones and put poor people on them in their place. If this was not Divine support, then STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) 11The Review of Religions – May 2006 what was it? Can anyone over- come the whole world in reason, knowledge, strength and force without Divine support? Who was with the Holy Prophet(saw) when he first announced to the people that he was a Prophet? Did he possess the treasury of any king relying on which he took on the whole world as his opponents, or had he at his disposal a force relying on which he had become secure against the attacks of kings? Our opponents know that the Holy Prophet(saw) was at that time alone and helpless and without any means. It was only God, Who had created him for a great purpose, Who was with him and was his sure support. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1 pp. 119-120) On five occasions, the life of the Holy Prophet(saw) was in serious danger and had he not been a true Prophet of God, he would certainly have been destroyed. One was the occasion when the disbelieving Quraish had sur- rounded his house and had sworn that they would kill him that night. The second occasion was when pursuers had arrived with a large body of men at the entrance to the cave in which he had taken shelter along with Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra). The third occasion was when he had been left alone in the battle of Uhud and the Quraish had surrounded him and attacked him in a body but were foiled in their purpose. The fourth occasion was when a Jewish woman gave him meat to eat which had been saturated with a fatal poison. The fifth occasion was when Khusro Pervaiz, Emperor of Persia, had made up his mind to destroy him STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) He exhibited such power that he pulled down rulers from their thrones and put poor people on them in their place. If this was not Divine support, then what was it? ‘ ’ 12 The Review of Religions – May 2006 and had sent his emissaries to arrest him. His delivery on all these dangerous occasions and his ultimate triumph over all his enemies is conclusive proof that he was righteous and God was with him. (Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 23, pp. 263-264, footnote) Perfect Morals of the Holy Prophet(saw) in Adversity and Victory Prophets and saints are raised so that people should follow them in all their moral qualities and that all seekers after truth should tread the path along which God has made them steadfast. It is obvious that high moral qualities are proved by their exercise on the proper occasion and it is only then that they are most effective. For instance, forgiveness is praiseworthy when the wronged one has the power to take revenge, and piety is trustworthy when it is exercised at a time when means of self-indulgence are at hand. God’s design with regard to Prophets and saints is that every type of high moral quality should be manifested by them and should be clearly established. To fulfil this design God Almighty divides their lives into two parts. One part is passed in hardships and under calamities, in which they are tormented and persecuted so that those of their high moral qualities might be manifested which can only be manifested during great hardship. If they are not subjected to great hardship, it cannot be affirmed that they were faithful to their Lord in the face of all calamities and pressed further forward in the face of hardships. They are grateful to God Almighty that He chose them for His favours and considered them worthy that they should be persecuted in His cause. God Almighty afflicts them with misfortunes so that their endurance and steadfastness and fidelity might be manifested and they might illustrate the proverb that: ‘Steadfastness is higher than a miracle.’ STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) 13The Review of Religions – May 2006 Perfect steadfastness is not manifested in the absence of great hardships, and is appreciated when a person is greatly shaken. These calamities are spiritual bounties in the case of Prophets and saints, through which their high qualities, in which they are matchless and peerless, are manifested and their ranks are promoted in the hereafter. If they were not subjected to severe trials, they would not be awarded these bounties, nor would their sterling qualities be demonstrated to the common people. Their high resolve, fidelity and bravery would not be universally acknowledged. They became matchless, peerless, unique, unreachable, and so perfect and brave as if each of them were a thousand lions in one body and a thousand leopards in one frame. Thus, their power and strength held high in everyone’s estimation and they arrived at high ranks of nearness to God. The second part of the lives of Prophets and saints is perfected in victory, prestige and riches, so that such of their high qualities might be demonstrated for which it is necessary to be victorious, to possess prestige, riches, author- ity and power. To forgive one’s tormentors, and to forbear from one’s persecutors, and to love one’s enemies, and to wish well to one’s ill-wishers, not to love riches nor to be proud of them, and not to be miserly and to open wide the gates of beneficence and generosity, and not to make riches the means of self- indulgence, and not to make power an instrument of tyranny and transgression, are all qualities for the demonstration of which it is necessary to possess riches and power. These qualities are demonstrated when a person possesses both wealth and authority. As without passing through a time of trial and misfortune, and also a time of prosperity and authority, these two types of high qualities cannot be manifested, the Perfect Wisdom of the Divine demanded that Prophets and saints should be provided with both these types of opportunities STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) 14 The Review of Religions – May 2006 which comprise thousands of bounties. But the sequence of both these conditions is not the same for everyone. Divine Wisdom ordains in the case of some that the period of peace and comfort should precede the time of troubles, and in the case of others, troubles precede Divine help. In some these conditions are not apparent and in others they are manifested to a perfect degree. In this respect the foremost was the Holy Prophet(saw) for both these conditions were imposed upon him in their perfection in such order that his high qualities were illumined like the sun and thus was fulfilled the verse: Thou dost surely possess high moral excellences. (Ch.68:V.5) The Holy Prophet(saw), having been proved to be perfect in both types of high qualities, thus proved the high qualities of all the Prophets, inasmuch as he confirmed their Prophethood and their Books and manifested their being the favourites of God. This repels the objection that the moral qualities of Jesus(as) in respect of both these types were not established to a perfect degree, and indeed they were not established even with regard to one type. It is true that Jesus(as) showed steadfastness under distress, but the perfection of this quality would only have been demonstrated had Jesus(as) obtained authority and superiority over his persecutors, had forgiven them from the bottom of his heart as the Holy Prophet(saw), having obtained complete victory over the STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) God Almighty bestowed great treasuries upon the Holy Prophet(saw) and he spent them all in the cause of God and did not spend a penny on self-indulgence. He raised no structures and built no mansions, but spent the whole of his life in a mud hut, which was no different from the dwelling of the poorest person. ‘ ’ 15The Review of Religions – May 2006 Makkans and others and having them at his mercy, forgave them, with the exception of a few who had been condemned by God to undergo punishment for their specific crimes. Having achieved victory, he announced to them: ‘No blame shall lie on you on this day.’ On account of this forgiveness which had appeared impossible in the estimation of his opponents, who, considering their own misdeeds, deemed themselves already condemned to death, thousands of people accepted Islam within an hour. The steadfastness of the Holy Prophet(saw) which he had demonstrated for a long period under their severe persecution became illumined in their eyes like the sun. It is part of man’s nature that the greatness of a person’s steadfastness is illustrated perfectly when he forgives his persecutors after obtaining power over them. That is why the high qualities of Jesus(as) in the matter of steadfastness and meekness and endurance were not fully demonstrated and it did not become clear whether his steadfastness was by his choice or was under compulsion. Jesus(as) did not acquire power and authority over his persecutors so that it cannot be determined whether he forgave his enemies, or would have avenged himself upon them. As a contrast, the high qualities of the Holy Prophet(saw) were demonstrated on hundreds of occasions and their reality shone forth like the sun. The qualities of generosity, beneficence, sacrifice, bravery, piety, contentment and withdrawal from the world were demonstrat- ed more clearly and brilliantly in the case of the Holy Prophet(saw) than in the case of any other Prophet. God Almighty bestowed great treasuries upon the Holy Prophet(saw) and he spent them all in the cause of God and did not spend a penny on self- indulgence. He raised no structures and built no mansions, but spent the whole of his life in a mud hut, which was no STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) 16 The Review of Religions – May 2006 different from the dwelling of the poorest person. He behaved benevolently towards those who had persecuted him and helped them in their distress out of his own resources. He lived in a small adobe hut and slept on the ground and ate of barley bread or went without food. He was granted abundant wealth of the world, but he did not soil his holy hands with it and always preferred poverty to wealth and meekness to power. From the day of his advent to the day when he returned to his Companion on High, he attached no importance to anything except to his Lord. He gave proof of his bravery, fidelity and steadfastness in battle against thousands of enemies, solely for the sake of God, when death appeared a certainty. In short, God Almighty mani- fested such high qualities as benevolence, piety, contentment, bravery and all that pertained to the love of the Divine in the Holy Prophet(saw) the like of which had not appeared in the world before him, nor will appear after him. In the case of Jesus(as), these high qualities were not clearly established for they can only be proved in a period of power and riches and these were not granted to Jesus(as). Thus in his case, both types of qualities remained hidden as conditions for their demonstration were not present, but this objection which can be raised against the deficiency in the case of Jesus has been re- pelled by the perfect example of the Holy Prophet(saw) inasmuch as his beneficent example perfects and completes the case of every Prophet, and through him whatever had remained hidden or doubtful in the case of Jesus(as) and other Prophets shone forth brightly. Revelation and Prophethood came to an end in that holy person in the sense that all excellences reached their climax in him. This is the grace of Allah. He bestows it upon whom He wills. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1 pp. 276-292, footnote 11) God Almighty divided the life of our Holy Prophet(saw) into two STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) 17The Review of Religions – May 2006 STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) parts, one of pain and troubles and suffering and the other of victory, so that during the period of suffering those qualities might be manifested which belong to the period of suffering, and in the period of victory and power, those qualities might be demonstrated that cannot be established without power. Thus, both types of qualities were clearly established in his case by his passing through both these periods. By reading the history of his period of distress, which extended over thirteen years in Makkah, it becomes clear that he demonstrated those qualities which the perfectly righteous demonstrate in the period of distress, that is to say, trusting in God and abstaining from complaining and not slackening in his work and not standing in awe of anyone, in such manner that the disbelievers believed on witnessing such steadfastness and bore witness that unless a person had full trust in God, he could not endure suffering with such steadfastness. When the stage of victory, power and prosperity arrived the high qualities of the Holy Prophet(saw) – his forgiveness, generosity, bravery – were demonstrated so perfectly that a large number of disbelievers observing those qualities believed in him. He forgave his persecutors and gave security to those who had expelled him from Makkah and enriched their needy ones. Having obtained authority over his principal enemies, he forgave them. Many people, observing his high qualities, testified that unless a person came from God and was truly righteous, he could not possess such qualities. That is why the old rancour of his enemies was immediately removed. The Holy Qur’an testifies to his exemplary morals in this verse: Say, ‘My Prayer and my sacrifice and my life and death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.’ (Ch.6:V.163) This means that: Tell them that my worship and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for 18 The Review of Religions – May 2006 STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) God alone, that is my whole life is devoted to manifesting the glory of God and providing comfort for His creatures so that with my death they might regain spiritual life. [Islami Usul ki Philosophy, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 10, pp. 447-448] Greater than all honours is the honour of the Holy Prophet(saw) which has affected the whole Islamic world. His honour revived the world. In Arabia, adultery, drinking and fighting were rife. Human rights were completely disregarded. There was no sympathy for mankind. Even the rights of God were repudiated altogether. Stones and plants and stars were invested with Divine attributes. Diverse types of shirk were widespread. Not only man but even human genitals were worshipped. If a person possessing a sane nature were to observe those conditions even for a short while he would behold a terrible scene of darkness, wrongdoing and tyranny. Paralysis strikes on one side, but this was a paralysis which had struck both sides. The world had been completely corrupted. There was security neither on water nor on land. The Holy Prophet(saw) appeared in this age of darkness and destruction, and reformed perfectly both sides of the balance and re-established the rights of God and the rights of man on their true centre. The moral power of the Holy Prophet(saw) can be estimated by considering the condition of the age. The persecutions to which he and his followers were sub- jected and the treatment that he accorded to his enemies, when he obtained power over them, demonstrate the height of his rank. There was no torment that Abu Jahl and his companions did not inflict upon the Holy Prophet(saw) and his devoted companions. Poor Muslim women were tied to the legs of camels which were then driven in opposite directions and their bodies were thus torn asunder; their only offence being that they believed: 19The Review of Religions – May 2006 STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) There is none worthy of worship except Allah.’ He endured everything with steadfastness and when Makkah fell, he forgave his enemies, reassuring them: No blame shall lie on you this day. This was the perfection of high moral qualities which is not found in any other Prophet. Send down Thy blessings O Allah on Muhammad(saw) and his people. (Malfuzat, Vol. II, pp. 79-80) True Victory of the Holy Prophet(saw) The community of the Holy Prophet(saw) had developed such unity and spiritual oneness that through the spirit of Islamic brotherhood, they had all become like the limbs of one body. The rays of the light of Prophethood had so coloured their daily lives and their overt and covert conduct, that they had become the reflections of the Holy Prophet(saw). This great miracle of inner change, through which rank idol worshippers became sincere worshippers of God and those who were sunk in the world every moment established such strong relationship with God that they shed their blood like water in His cause, was the result of their spending their lives in full sincerity in the company of the true and perfect Prophet(saw). (Fath-e-Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 3, pp. 21-22) The life of the Holy Prophet(saw) was a life of grand success. In his high moral qualities, his spiritual power, his high resolve, the excellence and perfection of his This great miracle of inner change, through which rank idol worshippers became sincere worshippers of God and those who were sunk in the world every moment established such strong relationship with God that they shed their blood like water in His cause, was the result of their spending their lives in full sincerity in the company of the true and perfect Prophet(saw) ‘ ’ 20 The Review of Religions – May 2006 STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) teaching, his perfect example and the acceptance of his prayers, in short, in every aspect of his life, he exhibited such bright signs that even a person of low intelligence, provided he is not inspired by unreasonable rancour and enmity, is forced to confess that he was the perfect example of reflecting Divine qualities and was indeed the perfect man. [Al-Hakam, 10 April 1902, p. 5] Have you any notion what was the strange event that occurred in the desert country of Arabia when hundreds of thousands of the dead were revived within a brief period and those who had been misguided through generations put on Divine colour, and those who were blind obtained sight, and those who had been dumb began to speak of the understanding of the Divine, and the world underwent a revolution which had never been seen or heard of before? It was the supplications during dark nights of one who had lost himself in God which raised a clamour in the world, and manifested such wonders as appeared impossible in the case of that unlearned helpless one. Send down Thy blessings and peace, O Allah, on him and his people according to the amount of pain and anguish he felt for his Ummah, and pour down upon him the lights of Thy mercy forever. [Barakat-ud-Du’a, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 6, pp. 10-11] Whatever happened in the beginning of Islam was the result of the supplications of the Holy Prophet(saw) which he had submitted to God Almighty with his tears in the streets of Makkah. All the grand victories which changed the entire aspect of the world were the result of his prayers. The weakness of his companions may be judged from the fact that in the battle of Badr, between them they possessed only three wooden swords. [Al-Hakam, 17 September 1906, p. 4] The reform that was carried out by our lord and master, the Holy Prophet(saw) was very sweeping and general, and was acknow- ledged on all hands. This degree of reform had not been achieved by any previous Prophet. If anyone studies the history of Arabia, he would come to know how bigoted the idol worshippers, Jews, and Christians of the time were, and how much their reform had been despaired of for centuries. Then the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, which were wholly opposed to them, proved so effective that they swept aside every false doctrine and every vice. Drinking was abolished, gam- bling was discarded, infanticide was put down and everything that was opposed to compassion and justice and purity was suppressed. It is true also that offenders were suitably punished for their offences. No one can, however, deny the greatness of the reform that was carried out. (Nur-ul-Qur’an No. 1, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 9, p. 366 footnote) 21 STEADFASTNESS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) The Review of Religions – May 2006 References to the Holy Qur’an item count ‘Bismillah…’ (In the Name of Allah…) as the first verse of each Chapter. In some non-standard texts, this is not counted and should the reader refer to such texts, the verse quoted in The Review of Religions will be found one verse less than the number quoted. In this journal, for the ease of non-Muslim readers, ‘(saw)’ or ‘saw’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used. They stand for ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ meaning ‘Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters ‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of all other prophets is an abbreviation meaning ‘Peace be upon him’ derived from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ which are words that a Muslim utters out of respect whenever he or she comes across that name. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra) stands for ‘Radhiallahu Ta’ala anhu and is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘ru’ or (ru) for Rahemahullahu Ta’ala means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him. In keeping with current universal practice, local transliterations are preferred to their anglicised versions, e.g. Makkah instead of Mecca, etc.