Featured The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa)

Mission of the Holy Prophet

Mission of the Holy Prophet (Mostafa Sabet) The mission ofthe Holy Prophet (peace be on him), was to establish Islam. Islam is the religion which he spent twenty-three years of his life planting firmly in this world. It is the reli~ion which is believed by its followers to be the perfect universal and everlasting religion which God has chosen for all of mankind since the day it was revealed till the Day of Judgment. Thus, when I speak about the mission of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him), I would in fact be speaking about Islam. I shall endeavour to give a bird’s eye view of what Islam means. The real-meaning of the word Islam is to be in peace or to enter into peace. A Muslim is one who makes his peace with God and man. Thus Islam is the religion of peace and its purpose is to establish peace between man and God, between man and his fellow-beings and between man and himself. Islam establishes peace between man and himself because it respects, promotes and emphasises freedom of conscience. A person may be forced or coerced in saying he believes or disbelieves but he cannot be forced to believe or disbelieve. The Holy Quran affirms: “There shall be no compulsion in religion.” (2:257). Again it says: “Proclaim: This is the truth from your Lord; then let him who will, believe, and let him who will, disbelieve.” (18:30). Islam brings peace to one’s mind by acknowledging the fact that God has created man and bestowed upon him a mind and reasoning faculties. Accordingly, Islam does not demand that man should accept any doctrines which may be in direct conflict with reason. There are no mysteries or mysterious dogmas that man should accept but cannot understand. Islam brings peace to man because its laws and teachings do not contradict the established laws of nature. The laws which regulate everything in nature 26 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS around us are the work of God. The Holy Quran which regulates every aspect in our lives is the word of God; and in Islam, the word of God goes hand in hand with the work of God without any contradiction or conflict. Islam does not demand that man should follow and obey God’s commandments blindly but the reason and the wisdom behind every commandment is also given. This also contributes to the peace in man’s mind. Islam emphasises that God does not burden anyone beyond his capacity. Thus it does not obligate man to follow any commandments which are beyond the capacity of human beings. It does not teach that man should pluck out his eye if it offends him but it teaches women not to expose their beauty and enjoins both men and women to cast down their looks. Therefore, the law in Islam can never become a curse or a stumbling block which may lead to a curse. It rather adds to the peace of mind by emphasising that God does not burden anyone beyond his capacity. In addition, Islam does not ignore the physical needs of man. It does not teach that one should castrate himself or abandon the world or live in solitude or refrain from marriage in order to maintain chastity. Islam, on the contrary, encourages one to marry and raise a family, thus it channels and directs man’s desires in the proper direction which brings peace to man’s mind. Islam also provides means for establishing peace between man and his fellow-beings. In order to establish peace between various religions, Islam recognises that God is not only the God of the Arabs or the God of the Jews or the God of the Gentiles but He is the God of all people and accordingly He sent prophets and messengers to all the people. It is an article of faith in Islam to believe in all the prophets. Further, a Muslim must respect the religions of other people and refrain from reviling what they worship other than Allah. The Holy Quran says: “Revile not those whom they call upon beside Allah.” (6:109). In order to bring peace in the family Islam enjoins: “Thy Lord has commanded that ye worship none but Him, and has enjoined benevolence towards parents. Should either or both of them attain old age in thy lifetime, never say U gh! to them, nor chide them, but always speak gently to them. Be always tender towards them and pray: Lord, have mercy on them, even as they nurtured me when I was little.” (17:24). To bring peace between relatives and neighbours: “Render to the kinsman his due.” (17:27). MISSION OF THE HOLY PROPHET Again: “Show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour that is a kinsman and the neighbour that is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer.” 27 (4:37). To bring peace between buyer and vendor: “Give full measure and full weight, and diminish not unto people their things.” Generally, Islam enjoins: “Do not destroy your offspring for fear of poverty.” “Do not destroy the life that Allah has made sacred save for a just cause.” “Do not approach the property of the orphan during his minority except for the most beneficent purpose.” “Do not tread haughtily upon the earth.” “Fight in the cause of Allah against those who fight against you but do not transgress. Surely Allah loves not the transgressors.” (2:191). There are about seven hundred commandments in the Holy Quran which relate to all aspects of human life and provide the best course for man to deal and to live in peace with his fellow-beings. As Davenport sums it up: “The Quran is the general code of conduct for the Muslim world; a social, civil, commercial, military, judicial, criminal, penal and yet a religious code: by it everything is regulated; from the ceremonies of religion to those of daily life; from the salvation of the soul to the health of the body; from the rights of the general community to those of the society; from morality to crime; from punishment here to that in the hereafter.” Lastly, Islam means peace between man and God. In order to establish peace between man and God it is necessary to know God. True knowledge of God cannot be the product of man’s mind. True knowledge of God can only be obtained from God Himself. Therefore, there must be a relationship between man and God whereby God may reveal Himself to man. To have such a relationship, man must recognise the True Living God. This was the prime objective of Islam: to establish the worship of the One and only One True Living God. Thus the Holy Prophet echoed the cry of Moses which he raised addressing the Israelites in the wilderness when he said: “Hear 0 Israel, the Lord your God is One God.” The same concept was explained by 28 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Jesus, peace be on him, when he said: “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent.” (John 17:3). In Islam, this principle of recognising the True God and the prophet of the time was entrenched in the first article of faith known as the Kalima of Islam which states: “I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. ” This is the first creed a person would profess in order to become a Muslim. In other words, a person affirms that I have recognised and accepted the Only True God, whose name in the Arabic language is Allah, and through the message revealed to His chosen messenger Muhammad (peace be on him), I am now ready to establish a relationship with Him. The essence of worship in Islam is to have a living relationship with God. It is not just mere dogmas that one must believe in or offer certain words of prayers that one must perform certain rituals. It is a living relationship in which doctrines, words of prayers and rituals are only means to help one in establishing such a relationship. It is in this sense that Islam emphasises that the purpose of creation of man is to worship God, i.e. to have a relationship with Him. The Holy Quran says: “I have created men, high and low, that they may worship Me.” (51:58). Misunderstanding of the true meaning of worshipping God, and misunderstanding the true purpose of worship, led some people to question the usefulness of such worship and hence many have abandoned worship completely. Usually one would ask; why should I worship God? Why should I give thanks to Him? What benefits God may derive out of my worship that He rewards me when I worship Him, and what harm do I cause Him that He punishes me if I do not worship Him? And what kind of god is that who needs to be worshipped and flares up in anger if man does not obey his commandments? Islam provides the answer to all these questions by emphasising the fact that worship in the form of rituals is not the end in itself but rather is a means by which man may be able to reach the real end, that is to have a relationship with God. This relationship is expressed in the Holy Quran by the term “Mulaqat” or meeting with God. The Holy Quran says: “0 man! Thou art verily striving hard towards thy Lord until thou meet Him.” (84:7). This meeting between man and God does not take place only in the hereafter but it takes place here also in this life. This meeting is the fruit and also a sign of establishing a living relationship with God. When man is graced MISSION OF THE HOLY PROPHET 29 by meeting with God, he starts to experience true happiness and attain to real peace. The Holy Quran says: “0 ye who believe! remember Allah much and glorify Him morn and eve. He it is Who sends His blessings on you, and His angels call down blessings on you, that He may bring you forth from all kinds of darkness into light. He is ever Merciful to the believers. ON THE DA Y WHEN THEY MEET HIM, they will be greeted with: PEACE; and He has prepared for them a noble recompense.” (33:42-45). This state of peace between man and God is called Islam, and this was the most important objective for the Holy Prophet to establish in his mission. This, in a few words, is a bird’s eye view of the message ofIslam. This is the message which the Holy Prophet spent twenty-three years of his life planting firmly on earth. It is a message of peace; peace between man and himself, peace between man and his fellow-beings and peace between man and God. Yet, when we cast a glance at the world today we find no peace. When we look at the so-called Muslim World of today, we are horrified and terrified of the prospects. There is not a single Muslim country today which is not in conflict with another Muslim country. Most of the Muslim countries are ruled by totalitarian regimes or by military regimes. Democracy does not exist except in formalities. Freedom of conscience and basic human rights seem to have been obliterated from today’s Muslim dictionary. One may sadly ask: Is this the destiny of the message of peace for which the Holy Prophet spent his life to establish on earth? The answer is an emphatic NO! We should not forget that the Muslims of today are far away from the true and peaceful teachings of Islam as are the Christians of today far from the peaceful teachings of Christ. There is not much difference between the Sunnis and Shiaites killing each other in the Middle East and the Catholics and Protestants killing each other in Northern Ireland. The terrorist groups active in the Muslim world are matched and even surpassed by the terrorist groups active in the Christian world: The Red Brigade, Baader Hoffman and according to some the IRA, the Mafia and even the American Government, depending on which side of the fence you stand in Nicaragua. This is not what the God of Peace wants for the inhabitants of this earth; and because Islam is the religion of peace, God has sent in our time His prophet of the latter days, the long awaited Mahdi, the Promised Messiah who came in the spirit and power of Christ thus fulfilling the prophecies about Jesus’s second advent in the same way as John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah and thus fulfilled the prophecies about the second advent of Elijah before Jesus Christ. The Promised Messiah has come and founded this Community, the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. He came in the peaceful spirit of Jesus Christ 30 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS in order to establish peace once again in this tormented earth by bringing back the true teachings of Islam. We believe that ultimately the will of God shall prevail and peace will be established on earth, and once again all of us with the heavenly hosts shall sing together: Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will towards all people. Existence of God The religion that claims to be from God must show Signs of being from God and should bear the seal of God which should attest the fact that it is from God. Islam is such a religion. That God Who is hidden is known through this religion and manifests Himself to the true followers of this religion. A true religion is supported by the hand of God, and through such religion God manifests Himselfthat He exists. The religions that depend entirely upon stories are only a form of idol worship. Such religions do not possess the spirit of truth. If God is alive as He was, and speaks and hears as He did, there is no reason why He should continue silent as if He does not exist. If He does not speak in this age, then equally and certainly He does not hear either. In other words, He is now nothing. That religion alone is true which demonstrates that God hears and speaks in this age also. In a true religion, God attests His existence through His speaking. Search for God is a difficult matter. It is not an affair of worldly philosophers and wise men. Observation of the heavens and earth only leads to the conclusion that although orderliness indicates that the universe should have a Creator yet it is not proof that such a Creator in fact exists. There is a deal of difference between ought to be and is. The Holy Quran is the only book which sets forth His existence as a fact and not only urges the seeking of God but makes Him manifest. There is no other book which makes manifest the Hidden Being. (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad -the Promised Messiah).