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Rise of Islam

Rise of Islam (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad — The Promised Messiah) The primary object of the Holy Prophet was to reform the Arabs. The Arabs were then in such a degraded state that they could hardly be called men. There was no evil but was to be found in them and there was no form of shirk but prevailed among them. Thieving and dacoity formed their business and the murder of a human being was with them like the trampling under foot of an ant. They killed orphans to appropriate their property and buried their daughters alive under the ground. They took pride in adultery and openly spoke of indecent things in their poems, which were immoral in the highest degree. Drinking prevailed to such an extent that no house was free from it, and in gambling they beat every other people. In short of, they were a disgrace even to the beasts and the snakes of the desert. But when the Holy Prophet rose to regenerate these people and when he devoted his whole attention to the purifying of their hearts and cast his holy influence on them, he worked such a transformation among them in a few days that from their savage state they rose to be men and from the stage of men they advanced to the stage of civilization and thus progressing step by step they became godly men and finally they were so annihilated in the love of God that they bore every pain with the utmost resignation. They were subjected to various kinds of tortures, whips were lashed at them with great cruelty, they were made to lie on burning sand, they were put in fetters, deprived of food and drink for days until they were almost at the doors of death, but they only stepped forward at every affliction. Many had their children slaughtered before their eyes, many were hanged by the neck in the presence of their children, but a contemplation of the steadfastness with which they laid down their lives draws tears from the eyes. What was it which drew them so powerfully towards Islam and worked such a change in them that they threw themselves on the threshold of a man who once walked about in the streets of Mecca, a poor, solitary and helpless man? It was the hand of God that was controlling their hearts; it was the spiritual attraction of the Holy Prophet which raised them from the depths of degradation to the sublime heights above. 10 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS The wonder is that before they embraced Islam, most of them were the mortal enemies of the Holy Prophet and were thirsty of his blood. I cannot see there could be a greater miracle than that a poor, helpless and solitary man should have thus purged their hearts from malice and should have so drawn them towards himself that cast away their costly robes and having donned sackcloth presented themselves before him like humble servants. Some thoughtless men bring the charge of Jehad against Islam and assert that all these men were compelled to accept Islam by dint of sword. These men have passed all limits in their injustice and in concealing the truth. Alas, why is it that they intentionally turn their face from the real facts. Our Holy Prophet did not appear in Arabia as a king so that it might be supposed that as he had with him kingly majesty and power, therefore the people flocked to his standard in order to save their lives. It was as a poor, helpless and lonely man that he began to preach the Unity of God and his own Prophethood. What sword had he then, the fear of which caused a man to adopt his religion? If they did not accept his religion of their own free will, the forces of which king were summoned and whose aid was sought to compel them to adopt the religion? O seekers after truth, know it for certain that these charges are fabricated by those who are great enemies of Islam. Consult history. Our Holy Prophet was that orphan boy whose father passed away shortly after his birth and whose mother also died when he was yet a child of a few months old. Then the child, who had with him the protecting hand of God, grew up under . the care of God unsupported by man. During the days of his orphanage and helplessness, he even watched the sheep of some persons. He had no guardian except God. He was twenty-five years old, but not even any of his uncles gave his daughter in marriage to him, for apparently he had no means to support his family. He was quite illiterate and knew no trade or profession. When he attained the age of forty, his heart was at once drawn towards God. There was a cave, named Hira, at the distance of a few miles from Mecca. He went to that cave alone, hid himself there and worshipped God. He was thus one day secretly occupied in Divine contemplation, when God manifested Himself to him and said: “The world has abandoned the path of God and the earth has become corrupt with sin, so I appoint you as My Apostle that you may warn the people and invite them to God before Divine punishment should overtake them.” This message filled him with fear and he humbly said in reply that he was an illiterate person. Then God opened his heart and filled his breast with Divine wisdom and spiritual knowledge and illuminated his heart. His holy spiritual power attracted the lowly and the humble people towards him and they became his devoted servants but the great and the haughty girt up their loins to oppose him until at last they even determined to put him to death. Many of his followers, both male and female, were killed and at last the house of the Holy Prophet himself was besieged. But who can destroy a man whom God wishes to save? God sent His Word to the Holy Prophet informing him of the intentions of his enemies, bidding him to leave the city and promising him RISE OF ISLAM 11 His assistances at every step. The Holy Prophet, accordingly left the city in the company of Abu Bakr and the two hid themselves in a cave, called Thaur, where they stayed for two nights. The enemy pursued them by following their footsteps and tracked to its entrance and proclaimed that they were either in the cave or they had ascended to the heavens. But who can encompass the wonders of the Divine power? God so showed His power that in a single night the spider covered the whole mouth of the cave with its web and a pigeon made its nest at the mouth of the cavern and laid its eggs there. So when the tracker persuaded men to go into the cave, an old man among them cried: “This man is a fool. This web was at the mouth of the cave even before Muhammad was born.” Hearing this all dispersed and nobody cared to examine the interior of the cave. After this, the Holy Prophet escaped to Medina, where most men accepted him. This infuriated the Meccans still more, and they were sorry to lose their victim. Thenceforth all their efforts were concentrated on bringing about the annihilation of the Holy Prophet. The small band of Meccans who had accepted the Holy Prophet had also left their native city to seek protection in other lands and some of them had sought shelter under the king of Abyssinia. The few that remained in Mecca, being too poor to migrate, were bitterly persecuted and their cries of pain are ever referred to in the Quran. The cruelties that the Meccans perpetrated on the poor Muslims exceeded all limits. They began to murder poor women and tender orphans. Some women were killed so ruthlessly that they were tied by their legs to two camels which were made to run into opposite directions and thus the poor women • were torn in two pieces. When the barbarities of the inhuman infidels reached this limit, God, who at last takes pity on His people sent His word to the Holy Prophet saying that the cries of the oppressed had reached Him, that the faithful were now permitted to take up arms against the oppressors that those who had smitten the innocent with sword should perish by the sword, but that the faithful were not permitted to transgress for God did not like the transgressors. This is the truth about the Islamic Jehad, but it has been most cruelly misrepresented. God is indeed tolerant, but when the mischief of a people exceeds all limits, God does not leave the oppressors without punishment and Himself brings into existence the means of their destruction. I do not know who told our opponents that Islam was propagated by means of sword. God says in the Quran, “There is no compulsion in the religion of Islam.” This being the commandment of God in His Holy Book, who was it who gave orders to exercise compulsion? And what means were there to constrain men to accept the faith? Does compulsion create in the compelled that devotion and steadfastness with which the followers of the Holy Prophet fought against overwhelming odds without receiving any salary? When they numbered two 12 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS or three hundreds they fought against thousands, and when they numbered thousands they defeated millions. To protect Islam from the attacks of the enemy, they allowed their heads to be cut off like sheep. They bore testimony to the truth of Islam with their blood. They had so great a passion to spread the Unity of God in the world that they went to the deserts of Africa undergoing severe privations to preach the Unity of God there. Then suffering all sorts of trouble they went to China, not as warriors but as humble preachers, and their preaching was blessed with such good results that millions of men professed the faith. Then they came to India, clad like dervishes in sackcloth, delivered their message to the natives of Arya Varta so that many of them embraced Islam. And on the west they carried their message of the Unity of God to the farthest end of Europe. Say truly, was that the work of men who were driven into Islam at the point of the sword and who though professing to be believers were still infidels at their heart? Nay that was the work of men whose hearts were full of the light of faith and in whose hearts the love of God reigned supreme. What is the teaching of Islam? The chief object of Islam is to establish the Unity and Majesty of God on earth, to extirpate shirk (setting up equals to God) and to^weld all nations into one people by bringing about a religious union among them. All other religions and all other prophets had their attention confined only to one people and one country. If they taught any morals, their object only was that their own people alone should possess those morals. Jesus, for instance, plainly said that his mission was confined to the house of Israel, and when a woman who was not from the Israelites approached him saying “Have mercy on me, O Lord,” he repulsed-her saying, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” and when she again humbly approached him with the same request, he again rejected her with the answer, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” But our Holy Prophet never said that he was sent only to the Arabs. On the other hand, and Quran says: “I am sent to the whole world.” But it should be remembered that Jesus cannot be blamed for having thus coldly repelled the woman for the time then was not yet ripe for a universal guidance and Jesus was accordingly commanded to confine his preaching to the Israelites and to have nothing to do with others. So, as I have said above, the moral precepts of Jesus were only addressed to the Jews. The law of Moses laid emphasis on tooth for tooth and eye for eye, and the object of this teaching was to establish justice among the Jews and to check them from transgression, because they, owing to their having lived in slavery for 400 years, had become hard-hearted and mean, and injustice formed the chief trait of their character. Similarly in the time of Jesus, God’s wisdom demanded that the over-strictness with which the Jews had come to punish every offender should be remedied by enjoining upon them leniency and mercy and so Jesus laid great stress on forgiveness. Hence the moral teaching contained in the Gospel was only addressed to the Jews and Jesus had no concern with any other people. RISE OF ISLAM 13 The truth is that the moral teaching of Jesus is not only not based on universal sympathy, for while it sympathises with the offender, it does not sympathise with the offended, but it is also conspicuous by another serious defect. As the law of Moses goes to one extreme by laying too much emphasis on retaliation, the teaching of Jesus goes to the other extreme by enjoining forgiveness and pardon of the offender in all cases. These codes do not aim at the development of all branches of the human tree. The Pentateuch nourishes one branch while the Gospel confines itself to the development of the other branch, both being conspicuous by the absence of moderation in their teachings. As it is not expedient to punish the offender in every case, similarly it is inconsistent with a proper culture of all the human faculties to forgive on all occasions. It is for this reason that the Quran rejects both the extreme teachings and follows the golden mean by saying that the punishment of an evil should be proportionate to the evil done, as the law of Moses teaches, and the teaching of forgiveness as given in the Gospel should be followed only when it is productive of good results and when the offender is likely to profit by forgiveness and to reform himself. Otherwise the law to be followed is that which is given in the Pentateuch. Quran on Religious Tolerance “There Is no compulsion in religion.Thetruth has become manifest from error.” (2:256) “Say: It is the truth from thy Lord for you all. Then whosoever will, let him disbelieve.” (18:29) “Say: O people, the truth hath come unto you from your Lord. So, whosoever is guided is guided for the good of his soul, and whosoever goeth astray goeth astray only against it (his soul). And I am not a custodian over you.” (10:109) “Abuse not the idols of the idolators, for if ye do, they will abuse your God in return, as they know not your God.” (6:108)