Divine Origin of Islam

Divine Origin of Islam (Bashir Ahmad Orchard) The Holy Quran emphatically and repeatedly claims to be the revealed Word of God. It is not the composition of any particular person or persons. It was revealed in small portions from time to time to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) during the period of his twenty-two year ministry from 610-632 A.D. We read in the Quran: “This is a Book revealed unto thee—so let there be no straightness in thy bosom concerning it — that thou mayest warn thereby and that it may be an exhortation to the believers.” (7:3). “We have revealed it—the Quran in Arabic—that you may understand. We narrate unto thee the best of narrative in that We have revealed to thee this Quran, though thou wast, before this, among those unaware of the truth.” (12:3, 4). “Surely it is We Who have revealed the Book to thee with truth.” (39:3). Similarly the Quran declares the Holy Prophet to be the appointed Messenger of God. He is commanded to announce: “Say, ‘O mankind! truly I am a Messenger to you all from Allah to Whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth’.” (7:159). Again we read: “O mankind, the Messenger has indeed come to you with truth from your Lord; believe therefore, it will be better for you.” (4:171). There are many verses in the Quran stating it to be the revealed Word of God and the Holy Prophet to be His Messenger. It is a necessary that a Divinely inspired Book should claim to be so and that a Messenger of God should claim — on the basis of revelation — to have been Divinely appointed. DIVINE ORIGIN OF ISLAM 33 Divine Messengers are Prophets of God through whom He sends down His guidance where and when there is a need. They appear at a time when corruption prevails. It was for this reason that God raised Moses for the Israelites and revealed to him the Mosaic law. At that time Egypt was enveloped in spiritual darkness. The Israelites were subjected to barbaric slavery under the Godless and tyrannical regime of Pharaoh. Moses was a Prophet only for the Israelites. His mission was to deliver them from bondage and to educate them in the laws of God revealed to him for the needs of the time. Likewise the missions of all other Prophets from the time of Adam to the Prophet of Islam were restricted to particular tribes and nations. Jesus was no exception: “And will send him as a Messenger to the Children of Israel.” (3:50). This fact was confirmed by Jesus in the New Testament: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). The mission of Muhammad (peace be on him) was different. His mission was not confined to the Arabs. God appointed him with a Divine law for all the nations of the world and commanded him to declare: “Say, ‘O mankind, truly I am a Messenger to you all from Allah to Whom belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth’.” (7:159). The Quran describes the spiritual state of mankind at the time of the Prophet of Islam: “Corruption has spread on land and sea because of what men’s hands have wrought.” (30:42). Historians tell us: “In the fifth and sixth centuries, the civilised world stood on the verge of chaos. The old emotional cultures that had made civilisation possible, since they had given to man a sense of unity and of reverence for their rulers, had broken down, and nothing had been found adequate to take their place . . . it seemed then that the great civilisation which had taken four thousand years to construct was on the verge of disintegration, and that mankind was likely to return to that condition of barbarism where every tribe and sect was against the next, and law and order was unknown . . .” (Emotions as the Basis of Civilisation by S. P. Scott). 34 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS “Muhammad appeared on the scene at one of the darkest periods in all history, when all the civilisations, from Merovingian Gaul to India were falling to ruin or were in a state of troubled gestation.” (Life of Mahomet by L. Dermenghem) Such was the demoralising condition of the world when God raised the Prophet Muhammad for the guidance and generation of mankind. He found the Arabs at their lowest ebb. Idolatory was the “religion” of the day. Drunkenness, gambling, adultery, murder, infanticide and every kind of vice was rampant among them. Women were treated with contempt and possessed no rights. The time was certainly ripe for the advent of a Messenger of God and in accordance with the needs of the time God chose His blessed servant Muhammad (peace be on him) to fulfil the task. Miracles of multifarious kinds were now about to unfold and manifest the Divine source of the Holy Quran and the Spirit of God which worked through the Holy Prophet. One of the numerous features of the Quran is the matchless elegance, style and diction of its Arabic text acknowledged by all to be unique. What makes it more miraculous is the fact that the Holy Prophet was illiterate; and yet no Arabic linguist has been able to produce the like of even a small portion of it. The Quran challenges: “Say, ‘If men and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this • Quran, they could not bring the like of it.'” (17:89). “And this Quran is not such as could have been produced by anyone other than Allah. On the contrary, it fulfils that revelation which is before it and is an exposition of the perfect law. There is no doubt about it that it is from the Lord of all the worlds. Do they say ‘he has forged it’? Say, ‘Bring then a chapter like unto it, and call for help on all you can, apart from Allah, and if you are truthful’.” (10:38, 39). Similar challenges also appear elsewhere in the Quran. To this day the challenge has not been met. It’s eloquent standard and style of language is incomparable. It is a literary gem recognised by all scholars of Arabic as a masterpiece of unparalleled excellence in the world of Arabic literature. This is not the only miraculous characteristic of the Quran. There are many others of various kinds. One of the greatest miracles brought about by the Quran and through the Holy Prophet was the spiritual metamorphosis which transformed a debased and idolatrous people into holy and righteous servants of God. This fact has been confirmed by Sir William Muir who was a staunch Christian: DIVINE ORIGIN OF ISLAM 35 “Never since the days when primitive Christianity startled the world from its sleep and waged mortal combat with Heathenism, had men seen the like arousing of spiritual life, the like faith that suffered sacrifices and took joyfully the spoiling of goods for conscience’ sake. “The people were sunk in superstition, cruelty and vice. It was a common practice for the eldest son to take to wife his father’s widows, inherited as property with the rest of the estate. Pride and poverty had introduced among them (as they have among the Hindus) the crime of female infanticide. Their religion was a gross idolatry, and their faith rather the dark superstitious dread of unseen things, whose good will they sought to propitiate and whose displeasure to avert, than the belief in an over-ruling Providence. The life to come and retribution for good and evil were, as motives of actions, practically unknown. Thirteen years before the Hijra (July 2, A.D. 622), Mecca lay lifeless in this debased state. What a change had those thirteen years produced! A band of several hundred persons had rejected idolatry, adopted the worship of One God and surrendered themselves implicity to the guidance of what they believed to be a revelation from Him, praying to the Almighty with frequency and fervour, looking for parden to His Mercy and striving to follow after good works, almsgiving, chastity and justice. They now lived under a constant sense of the Omnipotent of God and of His Providential care over the minutest of their concerns. In all the gifts of Nature, in every relation of life, at each turn of their affairs, individual or public, they saw His hand.” (Life of Mohemet). The Divine magnetism of the Holy Prophet was irresistible and only the most hard-hearted were unaffected; but even some of his bitterest opponents later became his staunchest followers. Ikramah, an army leader, fought many battles against the Holy Prophet in an effort to exterminate Islam. When eventually the Holy Prophet accompanied by ten thousand followers captured Mecca without bloodshed, Ikramah took flight to Abyssinia but on learning that he had been forgiven he returned. He was so impressed by the magnanimity of the Holy Prophet that he accepted Islam and became a staunch and devoted Muslim. Likewise many other antagonists were eventually won to Islam by the holy influence of the Prophet. During the earlier years of cruel persecution a number of Muslims sought refuge in Abyssinia. One of them, Jafar-al-Tayyar, spoke to the king about the miraculous transformation which Muhammad (peace be on him) had effected among his followers: “We were an ignorant and misled people; we worshipped images, ate dead bodies, were lewd, ill-treated our neighbours, and the strong despoiled the weak of their property. We had long been in this condition when God sent a Prophet to us from amongst our own people, whose 36 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS noble birth, truthfulness, honesty and righteousness were well known to us. He called us to God, to Worship Him, and Him only, and to leave off adoring the idols and stones before which our fathers and forefathers had knelt. He ordered us to obey God alone, and not to make anyone His equal. He made it incumbent upon us to offer up prayer, to give alms, to fast, when not sick or travelling. He commanded us to speak the truth, to give back safe and whole what is entrusted to us by others, to be affectionate to our relations and kind to our neighbours, to shun wicked acts, licentiousness and bloody quarrels. He told us not to bear false witness, not to deprive orphans of their property, not to impute bad motives to, nor be suspicious of women. We have taken his advice and admonition to heart; we have believed in his truthfulness; have followed all the orders which God has made known to us; and have believed in the Unity of God. We abstain from what is forbidden, and confine ourselves to what is permitted. Our people are infuriated at this change in our belief, thoughts and actions. They have persecuted us, and done their best to force us back to the idols, images and wicked acts which we have left. When it became impossible to live among them, and when persecution and torture became unbearable, we left our country, and, believing you to be a tolerant king, have taken refuge in your dominions.” Beauty attracts! The Holy Prophet reflected the beauty of the Quran and those who associated with him were inwardly moved by the the beauty of his character. Good Relations You should shake hands and it will remove your rancour. You should exchange presents for It will add to mutual love, and feelings of enmity which may exist will be removed. The best companion in the sight of God is he who is good to his companions and the best neighbour is he who is good to his neighbour. (Holy Prophet of Islam)