Read the Discourse Below:
My dear disciples, and my other brothers, sisters and children of Islam, I wish you all:
Assalamoualaikum Warahmatullah Wabarakaatuhu
In the context of the Sirat-un-Nabi, I have chosen to talk to you about several aspects of the life and personality of the Holy Prophet of Islam (pbuh), including the events preceding his birth.
Events before the Birth
So, let’s picture the world and Arabia a few years before the birth of the Messenger of Allah, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). The situation in the world is unsteady and dangerous. Japan succeeds in achieving a confederation of kingdoms after long struggles between decadent conservatives and the new generation steeped in Chinese culture and Indian Buddhism.
China adopts the philosophy of Siddhartha Gautama, the Indian prophet, that is, Buddhism. Confucius steps back. China is armed with sufficient military might to control the Silk Road to the detriment of Japan and Korea. Then it sinks during four centuries of civil war.
India is ruled by the Gupta dynasty. It is of remarkable economic prosperity. Persia struggles with its internal crises with its minorities.
Yemen, taking advantage of Iranian political instability, is shedding the Persian yoke.
In Iraq, the Christian Lakhmid vessels collaborate and threaten the Persian Empire.
France is still Gaul. Two hundred and fifty years after the death of Clovis, it is ravaged by wars, murders and looting. Towns and countryside are ruined.
The traces of Roman civilizations disappear, giving way to barbarism.
England is invaded by the Anglo-Saxons. Being pagans and coming from Germany, they erased the fragile traces of Roman civilization and built temples there in worship of their gods.
In pre-Islamic Arabia, long before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the Arabs lived in ignorance (Jahiliya) and discord. At the dawn of Islam, almost all Arabs are polytheists and believe hard in idolatry. They are pagans. They are torn apart by tribal wars and live under the domination of the powerful. Immorality reigns supreme there; alcoholic beverages, gambling, dancing, usury, the practice of burying young girls alive were usual practices among them. In addition, they worshiped oddly-shaped idols and other images carved in the shape of humans or other creatures. They implored statues called: Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, Mannat, Hubal, etc., believing that they have the capacity to give [them] everything: children, healing, wealth, etc. The first three are particularly venerated.
In the tribal organisation, to have a son is a great honour. Boys are the strength of the family: they are herdsmen and warriors. The battles waged by the tribes under the slightest pretext are endless; if necessary they practice the Razzia [that is to say: religious truces, negotiations, and pacts of non-violence, among others]. Having only girls is a hateful thing in their eyes. These tough Bedouins consider girls as a heavy burden and some bury them alive when they are born lest the girls become a source of dishonour [for them] because honour is sacred among Arabs.
Arabia, being an isolated and arid land, gave birth to Islam. It looks like an inhospitable island of sand with lava and windswept dunes. Yet these desert areas and routes are taken by camel caravans led by Bedouins going and coming from Syria to Yemen. These caravans can survive thanks to the many oases which can be recognised by their palm trees and other date palms, where farmers live.
Najran, Yathrib, Fadak, Khaybar, Madyan, Tabuk are known by all Bedouins as a place of rest where they quench their thirst in the shade of those palm and date trees which are the providence of the men of the desert.
The merchants are settled in Mecca, the spiritual capital of the Muslim world, a land blessed and made noble by Allah (twa). All of them, nomadic or sedentary, are organised into more or less known clans and tribes. The famous Quraish tribe is subdivided into ten clans including that of Hashim.
Pre-Islamic Mecca, a prosperous city, attracts a crowd of merchants in its narrow streets. Every year Arabs come from all sides on pilgrimage to the temple of the Ka’aba. They worship 360 idols made of stone, bronze and wood of this cube-shaped temple.
All the people of Arabia consider certain months of the year to be sacred, such as the month of Rajab. Mecca (Makkah) is the great place of pilgrimage where sordid idolatry is practiced, without the slightest influence on the behaviour of the individual, both social and spiritual. In Ukaz, near Mecca, the biggest fair is held. The pilgrimage and the fair bring in a lot of money, making Mecca a highly developed city and state. It is directed by a council of ten hereditary chiefs with division of powers.
The Meccans are good caravanners [they know very well how to lead caravans]. They are people who are very interested in the arts and letters, such as poetry, good speaking skills, and they know how to relate night stories. Women are well treated, especially those in the higher ranks of society. They have the right to own property of their own. They can give their consent to marriage or contract the right to divorce.
The qualities and faults of the Arabs are the qualities and faults developed by their conditions of existence. Honour is sacred among Arabs, and even if they find it necessary to bury their daughters alive to maintain this honour in their society, they do so without hesitation. On the one hand, they are friendly and excellent hosts, a quality that for them reflects their humanism. But on the other hand, they don’t hesitate to kill in the name of that same honour.
The Historian, Herder described to us the [pre-Islamic] Arabs: They have preserved the patriarchal customs of their ancestors; they are in a singular bloodthirsty and obsequious contrast; superstitious and enthusiastic, greedy for beliefs and fictions; they seem endowed with eternal youth and are capable of the greatest things when a new idea dominates them. Free, generous and proud, the Arab is at the same time irascible and daring; one can see in him the type of virtues and vices of his nation; the need to provide for his own needs makes him active. He is patient with all kinds of sufferings which he is obliged to endure; he loves independence as the only good he is given to enjoy, but he is quarrelsome out of hatred of all domination. Being hard on himself, he becomes cruel and too often shows himself eager for revenge.
Nothing is dearer to the Bedouin than his freedom and his independence; and this good he has been able to keep intact through the ages: all the conquerors who have dominated the world have never been able to enslave it. Any domination of the Arabs will always be short-lived and cannot even be established in an ephemeral way unless the Arabs are fought by the Arabs!
The climates were more representative of the entire globe than any other region of the earth. Arabia was a miniature of the world in all its diversity. It is in this land, in this time and in this environment that a man would be born. This man was Muhammad (pbuh) son of Abd ‘Allah, who was himself the son of Abd al-Mutallib, who was himself the son of Hashim [Muhammad ibn Abd’Allah ibn Abd al-Mutallib ibn Hashim], the Messenger par excellence of Allah.
He was born in the year 570 of the Christian era. He lit by the grace of his Unique Creator, Allah, the torch of piety and salvation. He knew how to break the chains of this absurd ignorance and he endowed the whole world with a beneficial message.
Allah says in the Holy Quran: “We have sent you to all men only as a bringer of good news and as a Warner, but most people do not know.” (Saba 34: 29).
Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) was a man with a noble and exalted mission. He represented a combination of all the virtues of all the Israelite prophets: The courage of Moses, the sensitivity of Aaron, the patience of David, the greatness of Solomon, the simplicity of John the Baptist, the humility of Jesus, etc., all of them being the servants and prophets of God. His only mission was to unite men behind the worship of One God (Allah) and to teach them the way to a life of honesty and integrity according to the laws and commandments of God.
We have not lived through that time, but by the grace of Allah, this page in the history of mankind marked us with solid and sincere faith when Allah chose us as Muslims. Alhamdulillah.
Compared to the works of all men, those of the Messenger of Allah Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) are the greatest and the degrees of his mercy (Rahmah) are unmatched and priceless. His blessing (Rahmah) is not limited to a family, to a community but extends to all of humanity. He surpasses all men as an individual. With his coming, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) considered all stages of human life and ruled human life from cradle to death.
The Prophet's vision of Human Unity
Muhammad (pbuh) was the first man to initiate efforts to abolish slavery, discrimination and caste. He viewed all men as one body, one family, without distinction or discrimination on the basis of skin colour, race or nationality. For him, the supremacy of man is found only in the fear of Allah (Taqwa) and that all human beings are the children of Adam (as).
“Arabs are not superior to non-Arabs and non-Arabs are not superior to Arabs. There is no superiority of white over black or of black over white. Superiority is found in piety.”
With these words, our noble prophet (pbuh) broke all artificial barriers created by man.
Recognize the Rights of Children
Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) had a loving nature. He was constantly concerned with the relationship between children and their parents. He insisted that parents educate, nurture and instill respect and good manners in their children.
“The father’s greatest duty towards his children is to teach them respect above everything else.” (Tirmidhi)
To show the degree of this great responsibility, he said about it: “Every man is a shepherd to his family and he will be questioned about every member of his family.” (Bukhari).
Pay Attention to the Young
Muhammad (pbuh) the envoy of Allah paid attention to the youths. He urged young people to spend a pious life and to stay away from evil forces which can deviate them from the right path at any time.
“On the Day of Judgment, Allah will shade the seven of you who were in the following paths. And one of those seven is: the youth who was brought up in the worship of Allah.”
To protect these young people against the forces of evil which lie in wait for them, he urges them to resort to marriage, which remains the most powerful shield against satanic temptations.
“When a man gets married, half of his religion is saved. To keep the other half, it is enough to ask Allah for piety.”
He said also: “O young people! Anyone among you who can afford it, let him marry without delay, as it will help him to safeguard his chastity; those who cannot afford to do the same, let them fast because fasting is a shield against evil and it diminishes the sexual impulse.”
Respect the Rights of Parents
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) especially recommended treating parents well with love and tenderness especially when they are old.
He (pbuh) said: “The pleasure of Allah is in the pleasure of the father” while “Paradise is at the feet of the mother.”
In the Holy Quran, Allah tells us: “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.” (Bani Isra’il 17: 24)
Observe Good Neighbourliness
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) recommended good relationships with others and especially with neighbours so much so that they have nothing to blame themselves for.
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “He will not enter Heaven who by his evil deeds does not inspire security in his neighbours.”
He also said: “I am not for the one who eats his fill while his neighbour is hungry.”
Look After the Elderly People
The Prophet of Allah (pbuh) treated the elderly with great respect and tenderness. The elderly according to him, must be respected, looked after, and pampered by their families. They should not be rejected or sent to old people’s homes for the rest of their lives.
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “He who neither respects the old nor has pity for the young is not part of me.”
Care for the Orphans, Widows and the Indigent
Muhammad (pbuh) has given orphans, widows and the poor a privileged position in society and calls for special tenderness and love for them as they are deprived of this invaluable support which is the affection of parents.
He (pbuh) said, “Whoever takes care of orphans will be with me in Paradise as the index finger is next to the middle finger.”
He also said that the person who works for the widow is like the one who prays all night and fasts during the day.
On the Rights of Women
In a country where women had no human value, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) gave her high status and gave her important rights in society. He instituted laws to preserve the woman from the violence of her husband, from the tyranny of her parents-in-law and her relatives in order to maintain her dignity, honour and chastity. “The most perfect of Muslims is the one who behaves the best towards his wife.”
And the Prophet of Allah did not fail to dwell on the worth of a girl. He said: “If a person has only daughters and with joy and gratitude he has taken care of them, they will become his shield against hell.”
Ethical Care for Animals
The Prophet’s concern for justice, charity and benevolence is not limited to humans but extends also to animals. He cursed those who target a living animal. He (pbuh) said: “A person was walking on his way when he became extremely thirsty. He (suddenly) came upon a well and so went down into it so that he could drink from the water. Upon coming out, he saw a panting dog eating the dirt (searching for water). The man thought to himself: ‘This dog is as thirsty as I was,’ so the man again descended down into the well, filled up his leather sock with water, and holding it in his mouth, climbed back up and quenched the thirst of the dog. This act, Allah held in high esteem and so forgave the man.”
Then the following question was placed before the Prophet (pbuh): “O Messenger of Allah! Shall we then have a heavenly retribution for the good done to animals?” Then the Holy Prophet replied: “Yes, every good to every living being is rewarded [by Allah].”
The Perfect Model for our lives
So our beloved prophet was a remarkable and excellent man. His earthly life as a man and Messenger of Allah is a highly excellent representation of divine commandments. He was a perfect man and Messenger of God. He taught us how to achieve excellence in our faith and in our human life.
Certainly Allah tells us in the Holy Quran: “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah there is a beautiful model for you.” (Al-Ahzab 33: 22).
The Encyclopedia Britannica proclaims the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as “The most successful man of religion on this earth.”
He left this world at the age of 63 in the year 632 of the Christian era, advising us:
“I have left with you two things which, if you follow them, you will never go astray: the Book of God and the Sunna of His Prophet.”
With that, I end here. If we continue to talk, there is a lot to say about our beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). One speech is not enough to recount his excellences, whether physical, moral and spiritual. May Allah send His many blessings upon him and his family, as well as his companions, and all of us in the Ummah Muhammadiyya. May Allah open the way for us to the victory and glory of Islam, as in the days of our beloved prophet (pbuh).
Thank you for your attention.
Assalamoualaikum Warahmatullah Wabarakaatuhu.