Sunday, September 23, 2012

Prophethood: A Divine Favour

Islam, as taught by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa), validates the universality of spiritual experience and recognizes the fact that all communities in the past were recipients of Divine favour through the raising of spiritually awakened souls among them. Reflecting upon the profound impact of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) on the history of spirituality, the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius, in his Friday Sermon of 21 September 2012, spoke about the extraordinary spiritual revolution brought about by the arrival of Islam in a world of pagan rituals and animistic practices. The Khalifatullah describes the raising of prophets as a special Divine blessing for the human kind, for such spiritually-aware souls provide a living, practical example for the common folks to emulate in their own individual, spiritual lives.  

Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:

“Certainly Allah has conferred a favour upon the believers by raising among them a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His revelations and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.” (3: 165).

The expression, by “by raising among them a Messenger from among themselves”, is intended to awaken in the hearts of Muslims a desire to follow the example of the Holy Prophet (sa) who was like them and one of them. The prophet was not only a man like them but was actually one of them. If he could rise to such spiritual heights, why could they not?

All messengers of God are raised from among human beings and they possess the same desires and aspirations as other human beings. But a so-called “son of God” does not possess the same desires and the same faculties as we have, and cannot therefore be a model for us. Our model should be from our own kind. He who is not our kind, being a divine being, free from human passions and humans weakness, cannot be held out to us as a model for imitation.

The verse also points to the fulfilment of the prayer of Abraham, contained in Verse 130 of Chapter 2 in which the different functions of the promised prophet have been mentioned just as they are mentioned here. Our Holy Prophet (sa), was a great reformer for the proclamation of truth, and restored to the world the truth that had been lost.

No prophet shares with him the pride that he found the whole world in darkness and by his appearance that darkness was converted into light. He did not die till the people among whom he had appeared had casted aside the garment of paganism and had put on the robe of the unity of God. Not only this, but they achieved high grades of faith and performed such works of righteousness and fidelity and certainty which are not matched in any part of the world. Such success was not achieved by any prophet other than the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa). It is a strong argument in support of the truth of the Holy Prophet (sa), that he was raised in an age when the world had fallen into deep darkness and called for a Great Reformer.

He left the world at a time when hundreds of thousands of people had abandoned paganism and idol worship and had adopted the unity of God and the straight path. Such perfect reform was particular to him that he taught a people, who were at the level of animals, the ways of humanity, in other words, he converted wild beasts into men, and then turned them into educated people, and then made them men of God, and breathed spirituality into them and created a relationship between them and the true God. They were slaughtered like sheep in the cause of God and were trampled under the feet of the enemies like ants, but they did not abandon their faith, and marched forward in the face of every calamity. Doubtless, the Holy Prophet (sa) was a second Adam and indeed was a true Adam for the establishment of spirituality through whom all human excellences arrived at their perfection, and all good faculties were devoted to their proper task and no branch of human nature was left barren.

Law-bearing prophethood ended with him not only because he was the last prophet in point of time, but also because all the excellences of prophethood reached their climax in him. As he was a perfect manifestation of divine attributes, his law had the qualities both of majesty and beauty. That is why he was named both Mohammad and Ahmad; and there was no miserliness in his prophethood; it was for the benefit of the whole world from the beginning.

The name Islam is the attainment of a life of perfect peace and eternal happiness through complete surrender to the will of God. Absolute and uncompromising belief in one God is the central doctrine of Islam. There is none worthy of worship but the one and only God who possesses all excellences and Muhammad (sa) is His messenger. This is the most important doctrine of Islam. Islam helps us to establish a permanent relationship with God, to realize Him during our earthly life as our Helper and Guide in all our affairs.

Islam requires belief in all the prophets and spiritual guides including, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius and Zoroaster. Islam represents the completion of the mission of all the prophets from the dawn of history. It teaches that all the prophets of God came with one and the same mission. Thus Islam establishes peace and unity between all religions.

The Holy Quran – Our scripture (the Muslim’s Holy Book) – was revealed to our beloved master and prophet Hazrat Muhammad (sa) more than 1400 years ago and has been preserved intact without the slightest change. A large number of Muslims know the whole book by heart; it is an inexhaustible treasure of spiritual truths capable of satisfying the needs of all people in all countries and all stations of life.

The establishment of true democracy and universal brotherhood without any discrimination of caste, creed, colour or country is the unique and unrivalled distinction of Islam. Islam has fulfilled and realized the splendid principles of democracy in the actual life and action of human society.

According to Islam, life after death is a continuation of life on earth. Heaven and hell begin right in this life. Heaven is eternal and everlasting, while hell is temporary for some categories of people. Hell is a hospital for the treatment of the human soul. As a soul (who has committed minor sins) is cured, it goes to heaven. Heaven is the attainment of a life of everlasting progress and complete joy and happiness through union with God and by the development of the fine spiritual qualities and the unlimited capacities which have been implanted in human beings.

I pray to my Rab, may Allah the Almighty make all of you understand this sermon very well and put it into practice and may Allah enable you to give this message to all ours brothers and sisters who are absent today. Insha-Allah, Ameen.