This book is a compilation of the letters, treaties, agreements and injunctions of the most praised of all human beings. He was the foremost law-giver of the world. He gave real dignity, equality and justice to mankind. He showed the right and straight path to his fellow beings.
He is most praised, as there has been none on whom praise was showered continuously day and night, is being showered and shall continue to be showered forever. There have been hundreds of thousands of prophets, heroes, leaders, conquerors, warriors and benefactors. Even the names of most of them are not known to us today, some live only in pages of history. Hundreds of books have been written about some of them. It is, however, an incontrovertible fact that the number of books written on the life of Holy Prophet Muhammad, Sal lal-laho Alaihe Wasallam (may peace be on him), far exceed the number of books written on the life of any other men taken together. Ofa11 men, only one personality stands out, unique and alone on whom, not a second passes, in which thousands and thousands of people around the world. do not invoke the blessings of Allah. Whenever a Muslim hears the name of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), he recites Salat (peace and blessings of Allah) on him. When the words "Rafa'na Laka Zikrak" (We have elevated your account. (Al-Quran, 94:4» was revealed to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), the Quraish were subjecting the Muslims to most abject humiliation, oppression utmost tyranny and inhuman cruelty, in the hope that the Muslims would succumb to their barbaric pressure; none except the Muslims could believe that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) would be the most highly praised man in very near future. But only a few years later the Quraish themselves began to praise him most of all. This is not the view of the Muslims alone, but has been attested by a profound non-Muslim researcher of America, Ripley who in volume II of his famous book "Believe it or Not" has statistically disclosed that the voice which is heard throughout the world, with complete uniformity; is 'one sound and it is the voice of' AZAN' (Call to Prayer). This, no doubt, is a unique and unparalleled phenomenon. In the Azan, the name of the Holpy Prophet (S.A. W.) is recited twice, five times daily in Takbeer (call to set up and start Prayers) and in the Prayers.
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) is admittedly the foremost law- giver of the world, as he gave it, its first written constitution. Before this, written laws and regulations were available, but written constitution as distinct from common laws, was not traceable anywhere. This was given in the shape of the Treaty of Madina, comprising 52 Clauses. It established a system entirely based on justice, equality and piety and not on racialism, colour or language. This is again borne out by the plaque at Lincoln's Inn, in which the name of the Holy Prophet (S.A. W.) appears at the top.
As regards, the right and straight course to be followed by the humanity at large, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), unequivocally pointed out that Serate Mustaqeem (Straight path) leading to Allah is obeying Allah: doing Ma 'roof (what Allah Commands us to do) and abstaining from Munkar (what Allah wants us to avoid) .. He (S.A. W.) also admonished the Muslims always to tread the "middle course" and not to follow an extreme course of action. He, in clear and definite terms, indicated that the right path is one and only one and th •• t is the path of Islam, to which the mankind was guided by all the Prophets (A.S.)
Before a brief idea of the teachings of Islam and lifework of the Holy Prophet (S.A. W.) is given, it seems appropriate, to present a concise survey of the conditions and atmosphere existing in Arabia in particular and in the world in general, at that time.
The Arabian Peninsula is situated at the junction of the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe. To its east is the Arabian Gulf and to the West Red Sea. In the north of Arabia are Jordan, Iraq and Syria, and in the South Indian Ocean. The area is about 20,72,000 Square Kilometers. The major part of the country is desert Mountain ranges are strewn throughout the country - the longest range is Jabal-us-Serat, which runs from Yemen in the South to Syria in the north. Some parts of Arabia are very fertile and verdant, such as the valley of Yemen and the hills of Taif. The surface of Al-Hijr is rugged and rocky and the Central Arabia is desert and devoid of grass or water. There are Oasis around which date-palm gardens grow.
Arabia is rich in mineral oil, gold and silver mines. At present it is the biggest supplier of Oil.
When Islam came to Arabia there were mainly two tribes, who were the real dwellers of the land. One was Banu Ismail, the descendants of the Prophet Ismail (A.S.) and the other Abu Qahtan. The former is also called Adnani tribe. There were also small colonies of Jews, in different parts of the country. Thus the population of the Arabia at that time comprised these three elements. Small innumerable branches and sub-branches of these tribes were scattered throughout the country. In this book names of different tribes and subtribes, to whom the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) sent letters and injunctions, will frequently appear. It would therefore, be helpful to refer to the brief genealogical chart given on the next page.
Although some parts of Arabia had attained quite a high degree of culture, it was mostly due to the influence of the neighbouring countries. However, conditions in the remote parts and places of the country remained primitive. The people in general, did not have even small conveniences. Similarly the creeds and beliefs of the people differed. Some believed in Allah, but the others did not. Mostly the people were idol worshippers. Although they did not consider idols as their gods, but they believed that the idols were means of approaching Allah. They, therefore, had a faith in the overlordship of Allah. Judaism, Christianity and some other religions also had followers. With the passage of time many fouled practices had mingled up with Islam, the religion of Ibraheem (A.S.). The result was that the religion taught by Ibraheem - the idol breaker, - was gradually turned into idol worship. This practice had gone to such an extreme that idols began to be worshipped in K'aba, the House of Allah. The belief in the life to come, punishment for sins and recompense for virtues was un- known to them, instead they developed an inflated sense of arrogance and false pride. Due to this, many people in Arabia buried their daughters alive as they considered that the girls would be a source of humiliation to them and would bring to them shame. Sacrifice of human beings was offered at the altars of idols. They did not know what incest was. It was permissible for a brother to marry his sister. Similarly two or more sisters could be married by a man at a time. Unlimited polygamy was common amongst the Arabs. Gambling and betting were their pastimes. Drinking, adultery and lechery were the order of the day. Lack of modesty and absence of shame had gone to such an extent that narratives of debauchery and rape were recited in public.
In wars, it was considered right to bum people alive, rip open the bellies of women and put to sword babies. The Arabs were well- known for their barbarity and perversity throughout the world. Small incidents were sufficient to provoke bloody feuds which lasted for years. Thus the Arabs, as a nation, had gone down to the lowest and meanest level of depravity and degeneration. The different tribes were constantly at logger-head with one another and fought amongst themselves. There was no unifying force which could keep them united together as a nation. Southern parts of Arabia were taken over by Ethiopia and the eastern portion was under the control of Fars of Iran, while northern areas were captured by Byzantine branch of the Roman Empire. Although the interior was nominally free, but the powerful neighbouring countries wanted to capture it,
Independence within the country had a very derogatory effect on the people and created in them a sense of vanity and self- conceit. They wanted to excel one another by suppressing their own countrymen. They employed their rich language for self-praise, to humiliate others or to publicise their own lewdness.
The moral atmosphere of the world, in general, was no better than that prevailing in Arabia, during the 5th and 6th Century. The old civilization and culture was gradually crumbling down and in its place decay, disorder and chaos was setting in. The codes of ethics, rules and regulations evolved after centuries of hard labour and trials, were being disregarded and ignored, and in their place dissipation and disintegration was creeping in. It was evident that a reign of disorder, disruption and brutality was seizing the entire universe. Jewish and Christian faiths had proved quite helpless to bring the people back to the path of justice peace, human dignity and morality. Erosion and corrosion of original religious practices, tenets and faith, brought about by the passage of time, factional fights, apathy, self-interest and loss of the original texts of the holy scriptures, deflected the people from the straight course. Extraneous matter was introduced into the text of the Scriptures. It was the result of this divergence that the Jews claimed that the Prophet Ozair (A.S.) was the son of God, as he wrote the entire Torait (Torah) out of his memory. So did the Christians, who split God into three; God Himself as Father, Isa (A.S.) son of God and the Holy Ghost, although the teaching of Islam has throughout been that Allah, the Almighty has no need of a son or an associate, as He is above these limitations. He Is All Powerful and All Knowing. The Christians preached Christianity to the Arabs for about five centuries. The result, however, was that the number of converts was almost negligible. Similarly very few people accepted Jewish faith, although the Jewish Rabbis did their best to convert the Arabs to their points of view. These efforts were ineffective in stemming the tide of idolatry, sin, immorality, tyranny and perversity in the Arabian Peninsula.
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