Category Archives: Muhammad(PBUH)
A theoretical dialogue between a Muslim and a Christian (part 1 & 2)
Description: Discussion about Allah, His prophets, and His Holy books.
Category: Articles > Comparative Religion > Christianity
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Abdullah: Hello there! How are you man?
Derek: Hello! Well, how are you?
Abdullah: I’m fine and you?
Derek: I’m fine, thanks.
Abdullah: Where are you from?
Derek: I’m from L.A. (Los Angeles).
Abdullah: The land of Hollywood!
Derek: Well, that’s right. Have you ever been to L.A?
Abdullah: No, never. Why are you calling yourself ‘Black Magic’?
Derek: It’s just a nickname, man!
Abdullah: I see.
Derek: Where are you from? Are you an Arab?
Abdullah: Yes, I am from Saudi Arabia but I’m in Qatar now. What is your name?
Derek: My name is Derek. What’s your name?
Abdullah: My name is Abdullah.
Derek: What does Abdullah mean?
Abdullah: Abdullah means the servant of Allah and it is the function of each individual on the face of the earth to serve God according to what God wants from us. By the way, Allah is the proper name of God.
Derek: How do we know what God or Allah wants from us?
Abdullah: All of this is outlined in the Quran and the Sunnah (traditions and approved actions of Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him). These are the two major sources of guidance in Islam. Could you please tell me more about yourself? How old are you?
Derek: I am 19 years old, black and very much interested in knowing more about Islam. First of all, what should a person do or believe in, to become a Muslim?
Abdullah: Very easy brother, you just say that there is no one worthy of worship but God and Muhammad is His Messenger, and you become Muslim.
Derek: You mean Muhammad is his apostle? But as a Christian or non-Muslim, this sentence is not enough to make it clear to me.
Abdullah: O.K. God sent Muhammad, as His last Prophet and Messenger and revealed the Quran to him as the final revelation to mankind. God said that He perfected His religion and called it Islam (see Quran 5:3). Islam means peaceful submission to the Will of God.
Derek: I see.
Abdullah: Yes, and unfortunately, most Christians don’t know or they deny that the coming of Prophet Muhammad, is foretold in their scriptures (See Deuteronomy 18:18; 21:21; Psalms 118: 22-23; Isaiah 42:1-13; Habakuk 3:3-4; Matthew 21:42-43; John 14:12-17, 15:26,27; 16:5-16). Muslim theologians have stated that the person who is described by Jesus to come after him (in the above verses) is Muhammad.
Derek: O.K. Fine, but why was there a need for another Prophet after Jesus and another revelation after the Bible?
Abdullah: All of the Prophets came to teach their peoples the Oneness of God. In the case of Jesus he was only sent as Messenger to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (see Matt. 15:24). What happened was that all of these Prophets were not well received by the majority of the people. For instance, they started tampering with the teachings of Moses and Jesus, may God exalt their mention (see Quran 2:79). That is why God sent Muhammad, with the last Message, (i.e., the Quran), to bring all of mankind back to the belief in and worship of One God, without partners or intermediaries.
Derek: Is the Quran similar to the Bible? I mean, what is it composed of?
Abdullah: The Quran came as the last code emphasizing the same pure monotheistic teachings of Jesus defending all the previous pure teachings of monotheistic beliefs and clarifying who Jesus was and who his mother was, showing that they were no more than great people.
Derek: O.K then, how can we be sure that the Quran has remained the same since the time of Prophet Muhammad, ?
Abdullah: God Himself has guaranteed that He would guard the Quran and keep it free from corruption (see Quran 15:9). Hence, the real and pure words of God are found in the Quran which was revealed in Arabic, the language of the people of Muhammad. Since then, not an iota has changed. This is unlike what has happened in the other religions. For example, if you look at the Bible you find a lot of versions; the name Bible itself is indicative of those changes because Bible means a collection of books from different writers.
Derek: But didn’t God call it the Bible?
Abdullah: God calls the Scripture revealed to Jesus “Injeel” in the Quran, for which the closest name in the Bible would be the word Gospel. The Bible was written many years after the time of Jesus in a language that was alien to Jesus — it was Latin Vulgate, a language that he never spoke. Isn’t this strange? Interestingly, most of what was written in the New Testament was authored by Paul, who, according to James, the brother of Jesus in the Bible, had a polluted mind because he changed and contradicted most of the teachings of Jesus .
Derek: I think you know more about Christianity than the Pope does!
Abdullah: You are wrong by saying that I know more than the Pope. I have simply investigated the Bible with an inquiring mind, which is something that all Christians should do.
Derek: Is there any English version of the Holy Quran?
Abdullah: There are many translations of the meanings of the Quran. The Quran was revealed in Arabic, which means that the words of Allah are in Arabic. The translations are the words of human beings relating to the meanings of the Quran to the non-Arabic speaking masses.
Derek: How does the Quran define God to mankind or how does the Muslim perceive God?
Abdullah: God is the One and Only True God, and the Creator of all. He does not beget nor is He begotten. He is unlike His creation in every respect. He is the All-Knowing, The Powerful, The Merciful, The Irresistible, and The King of kings.
Derek: But it is somehow difficult for me to perceive God as being the same as His creatures.
Abdullah: You are absolutely right to have difficulty perceiving this, because human beings have a limited capacity. This is why God sent revelations to His Prophets and Messengers to tell us who He is. So if you want to know who God is, just read the Quran.
Derek: Christians believe that Jesus was sent for the salvation of all mankind. If this is not true, then the foundation of Christianity is faulty. Right? What do you think?
Abdullah: That’s correct. The Christians of today are following what Paul taught and also tend to follow what the priests tell them to do instead of following what Jesus said.
Derek: Kindly explain the concept of salvation through the crucifixion of Jesus.
Abdullah: In Christianity, the Doctrine of Original Sin is the reason that there is a need for salvation through Jesus’ crucifixion. However, this doctrine was invented by Paul and it is strongly negated in the Old Testament (see Ezekiel 18:20, Jeremiah 31:30, Deut. 24:16). This doctrine is an attempt to escape the responsibility of righteousness with the belief that punishment is given to someone else to release us from our burden of sins (see Ephesians 1:7, Romans 4:25, 10:9,Corinthians 15:21). In the Quran, every soul is responsible for its own deeds, good or bad (see Quran 74:38, 41:46, 3:25, 6:154).
Derek: What about the crucifixion itself?
Abdullah: The Bible says Jesus cried out in a loud voice beseeching God for help on the cross: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) Does that sound like Jesus to you?
Derek: No, then what about Jesus’ appearance to his disciples after the crucifixion?
Abdullah: Jesus didn’t die on the cross nor was he resurrected. If he were resurrected, then he would have come to his disciples in a spiritual body. As shown in Luke 24:36-43, he met them with his physical body after the event of his alleged crucifixion. In the Quran, it says that Jesus was not crucified, but it was someone else who was made to look like him (see Quran 4:156-158).
Derek: How did the story of the crucifixion of Jesus get into the Bible then?
Abdullah: Once again, Paul was responsible (see Timothy 2:8 and Romans 5:10).
Derek: Well, I very deep in my heart, believe that God can never look like His creation nor does He do what they do. What I believe is that God is the Perfect One who is very much different from everything we see or touch. In other words, I think the writer can never look like his book.
Abdullah: You are right. There is nothing comparable to God (see Quran 112:4). The Prophets came with a very clear message to worship God alone, without any partners or intercessors. However, Paul took pagan beliefs and practices from the Romans and mixed them with the teachings of Jesus . Consequently, Paul was mostly responsible for elevating Jesus to the status of Son of God (see Acts. 9:20) and god.
Derek: Yes. Now I remember. The first Commandments is: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord.”
Abdullah: You’re right. That’s in Mark 12:29. Moreover, the Quran confirms that God is One (which means): “Say He is Allah, the One and Only (God).” (Quran 112:1)
Derek: What you are saying makes perfect sense. This is just incredible! You mean that for almost 2000 years what the Christians have been following is wrong?
Abdullah: Yes, especially their misunderstanding of who Jesus was.
Derek: Oh my God! I’ve been deceived! Really, I feel religiously raped. I have been fooled simply because I followed blindly the religion that I was born with and didn’t take care to investigate it thoroughly. But still inside me there is something holding me back from accepting Islam, even though Islam is clearly the True Religion.
Abdullah: Your last comment shows that you are a Muslim not a Christian and if you really love God and His Messenger Jesus you will follow Islam and Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him. Break this barrier inside you and come back to the way of your ancestors. You are now free because you are looking for the Truth and our great Prophet Jesus, told us that we should look for the Truth and the Truth will set us free. So you will be a free man as soon as you accept it. Be strong enough to accept Islam as the Truth, without any hesitation on your part and you will taste real freedom and real happiness that you have never tasted before.
Derek: Frankly, I am concerned about the negative way Islam and Muslims are shown in the media. In the West, there is a stigma attached to being a Muslim and I’m not sure I’m ready to live with that stigma.
Abdullah: This is why I have chosen to tell people about the right
picture of Islam.
Derek: Then, what is the right picture of Islam?
Abdullah: The right picture of Islam is conveyed in the Quran which is exemplified by Prophet Muhammad. The reality is that it is not fair to judge a religion by the actions of its followers alone, because there are good and bad followers in every religion. The correct thing to do is to judge a religion by its documented revelation from God and the Prophet who brought that revelation.
Derek: I see. I agree with you, but I’m still concerned about the reaction of my family and friends if they know that I am a Muslim.
Abdullah: Brother, on Judgment Day, no one will be able to help you, not even your father, mother or any of your friends (see Quran 31:33). So if you believe that Islam is the true religion, you should embrace it and live your life to please the One Who created you. Be an illuminating torch for them. Do not delay your coming to Islam. If you die before becoming a Muslim, then it’s too late (see Quran 2:132, 3:102, 3:85). So grab this opportunity now. You can only remedy this pain inside you by becoming a Muslim and being able in the future, God willing, to come and perform pilgrimage (Hajj).
Derek: You are very wise man. I want to say that when I sometimes see on the satellite, especially in the season of Hajj, people of different colors and different races sitting side by side and praying to God, I feel a pain deep inside my heart and I feel something urging me to talk with someone to know more about that great religion that can gather all the races in the same place. Thanks to you, I have found that person. So please help me become a Muslim!
Abdullah: Brother, let us take it step by step. First, enter Islam by saying: I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except God (Allah), and I bear witness that Muhammad is his servant and Messenger. I bear witness that Jesus is His Prophet and Messenger. Let us say this again: I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except God (Allah), and I bear witness that Muhammad is his servant and Messenger. I bear witness that Jesus is His Prophet and Messenger.
Derek: I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except God (Allah), and I bear witness that Muhammad is his servant and Messenger. I bear witness that Jesus is His Prophet and Messenger
Abdullah: By the way, Jesus’ name is not Jesus. It is a Latinized name. His real name is ‘Eesaa. Now you will say the same thing in Arabic, the language of the Quran. I will transliterate for you: Ash’hadu an laa ilaahaa illAllah, wa ash’hadu anna Muhammadun rasoolullaah, wa ash’hadu anna ‘Eesaa ‘abdullaahi wa rasooluhu.
Derek: Ash’hadu an laa ilaahaa illAllah, wa ash’hadu anna muhammadun rasoolullaah, wa ash’hadu anna ‘Eesaa ‘abdullaahi wa rasooluhu.
Abdullah: Brother, say God is the greatest because you are a Muslim now. You are not a Christian anymore. You are in the House of Islam. If I were with you, I would hug you as my brother in Islam. How do you feel now? A burden has been removed from you and you feel like you are so light. Isn’t this right?
Derek: If you were with me now, you would have seen my tears reaching my neck. You are a great brother. I feel that I have just come to life. This is exactly how I feel from now. I don’t have to listen to the words of the priests in the church, who knowingly or unknowingly lead people astray. I hope to be a good servant of God.
Abdullah: You know what came out of you was disbelief and it was replaced by belief. You are so clean now, because when someone embraces Islam sincerely, God forgives all of his past sins. So, go to an Islamic center that has Muslims from all over the world and announce your Islam there and continue to learn more about Islam from them. In addition, find a book on prayer in Islam and practice it. This is essential. Now after you are through with me, you must take a shower to purify yourself from previous wrong beliefs. Remember to stay away from bad company and be with righteous Muslim people. Also, beware of those so-called Muslims who call to nationalistic ideas or racial thoughts, which are rejected in Islam. I love you as a brother in Islam and I hope one day I will see you and hear your voice.
Derek: I will for sure do what you have asked. And tomorrow I will go to the Islamic center. Thank you for showing me the Truth. I will do my best to meet people who know about Islam for sure. May God help you guide more and more people to the true word of God. There is no god but God (Allah) and Muhammad is his Messenger. Well it is as difficult for me as it is for you to leave you.
Abdullah: Well brother, you will not leave me for a long time. I will soon be with you through my supplications, God willing. Pray for me, brother.
Derek: Well, I thank you, I love you although I do not know you yet. But it is enough for me to remember that one day, a very dear man has picked me up from the mud of life. Please teach me another Islamic word in Arabic so as to make use of it in the Islamic center.
Abdullah: As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum Warahmatullaahi Wabarakaatuh
Derek: What do they mean?
Abdullah: May the Peace, Mercy and Blessing of God be upon you. This is used as a greeting to all Muslims. The last word means, God forgive me. Well, I have to leave you now but be sure it will not be for long.
Derek: Assalaamu ‘Alaykum Warahmatullaahi Wabarakaatuh and Astaghfirullaah for being astray from the Truth all those years. May God bless you. You have occupied a great place in my heart and I will never forget you. Bye and talk to you later. Your brother in Islam, Derek, but I will call myself ‘Eesaa from now on.
Abdullah: O.K. ‘Eesaa. I will leave you some final words of inspiration. Certainly, the ultimate goal of every individual is to be in Paradise forever. This reward of Paradise is too great to not have a price. That price is true faith, which is proven obedience to God and following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. This is the road to Paradise. Let’s stay in touch! Assalamu Alaykum!
Derek: O.K. Assalaamu Alaykum Warahmatullaahi Wabarakaatuh
ALLAHU AKBAR !!
[ Learn | Implement | Spread ]
Assalamu Alykum all..
Many Muslims are also joining the mass…
Indeed we have a visionary man..I have no doubt..
But..Remember that He was titled as a Visionary only for Technology aspect..
He may be the best in his field…We must not discuss the negative aspects of a dead person until it’s seriously required…
We muslims should never forget that…Alhamdulillah…Thumma Alhamdulillah…We have our own Inspirational Icon…
He is the BEST MAN ever on the face of this Earth..
No Human can ever compete his Gracefulness…
How much are we concerned about Him???
He was best in many aspects..
Most above of all..His Hiqmah [Wisdom] was far more advanced than combining all our wisdom together..I am not exaggerating His status..But notifing His glory which Allah has mentioned..
If we can respect Steve Jobs for his worldly achievements…Which can pay no benefits to our Aakhirah [Hereafter Life]
Then indeed…We are answerable for disrespecting our Beloved Prophet Muhammad [Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam]..The Greatest man ever on this earth…Whose achievements are legendary..Whose words can lead us to Jannah [Paradise]
Just saying we Love Him does not fulfill your responsibilities…But following and molding our lives according to his words [Insha Allah] will definitely lead us to real success..
Our Icon..Inspiration…Leader..Teacher…is Indeed our Beloved Prophet Muhammad [Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam]..
Indeed, ” The Knowledge of a Hypocrite is in Speech, While The Knowledge of Believer is in His Actions ”
You judge your own life…Where you want to be??
Hell or Paradise????
Know Islam And Muslim
Who was Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)?
Muhammad was born in 570 in Mecca, modern day Saudi Arabia, to a single mother whose husband died before she gave birth. Muhammad was of noble blood, and it was the custom for those children of higher social standing to have a wet nurse. A Bedouin woman named Halima cared for him, and took him into the harsh desert to live with her people. For such a young child it was a challenging environment. But it was here that Muhammad would develop his first close connection with nature, and spend most of his time in solitude contemplating the world around him.
He returned to his mother, Amina, who took him to visit his father’s grave, but on the return journey she fell dangerously ill. Muhammad was barely six years old when he faced the loss of another parent. Later his own experience would help him to encourage compassion for orphans, telling his companions that kindness shown to parentless children would grant them Paradise.
The shepherd and the businessman
Muhammad went to live with his grandfather Abdul Muttalib, and spent two happy years with him, until he died when Muhammad was eight years old. Again he had to face emotional and physical upheaval, moving to live with his uncle Abu Talib. As a young boy, Muhammad earned his living as a shepherd, a role he was later to speak about with fondness: “All the prophets of God were shepherds”. Later he would become renowned for his honest dealing with people in business and trade.
A wealthy businesswoman named Khadijah requested Muhammad’s expertise in negotiating a business venture for her. When she heard of how he secured more than she expected, she was impressed and made enquiries about his character. On hearing the accounts of his generous and noble nature, she sent a proposal to the 25 year old man. Khadijah was a widow some fifteen years older than Muhammad, and had children from two previous marriages; she was intelligent, independent and kind. Muhammad accepted her offer. Khadijah and Muhammad’s marriage was a happy and harmonious one: they consulted, supported and cared for each other in equal measure. She was his first love, the first he turned to for support, and the first to acknowledge his prophethood. They had four daughters together who they cherished, and two sons, but they tragically both died in infancy.
Muhammad had always treated those around him with honour, kindness and respect. Yet he was troubled. Troubled by the injustices he saw around him of backward tribal practices – of female infanticide, of oppression of the vulnerable and of inequality. He had distanced himself from ignorance, superstition and the practice of idol worship. He often retreated to a cave on the mountain of Hira to reflect, wondering what he could do to change such deep-rooted customs.
It was now 610, Muhammad was only aged forty but at a point in his life where he had already faced great sorrows: losing both his parents at an early age, his grandfather and two young sons. One night, when he again went to the secluded cave to be alone with his thoughts, he encountered an experience that would dramatically change his life, his society and the wider world.
“Read!” a voice called out him. It was the angel Gabriel. Muhammad was frightened but responded he could not read – he was indeed illiterate. Again Gabriel commanded him to read, and a third time said “Read! In the name of your Sustainer. He who taught man by the pen that which he did not know.” Following this divine visitation, Muhammad went immediately to the only person he could relate what had happened and find solace in, his wife. Shaking, and fearing he had been possessed, Khadijah wrapped him in a covering and comforted him. This was the first of many revelations that would come to him over a period of twenty three years.
God had chosen Muhammad as his final messenger, the last in a line of many prophets before him, like Abraham, Moses, Joseph, and Jesus. All had brought the message of worshipping One God, of enjoining good and forbidding bad. But this message had become corrupted by men, and the moment had come once more to bring people back towards the truth. The Quran emphasised the belief in the Oneness of God, related the creation of the heavens and the earth, stories of past prophets, the equality and sanctity of humanity, and the etiquettes of human behaviour.
Muhammad had a great task ahead of him. In preaching God’s word, he would come face to face with rejection, abuse, humiliation and even banishment from his own people. He had to overturn his society’s backward practices, instructing them to embrace a set of universal principles that would unite all the tribes, provide a benchmark for justice, would eradicate racism, encourage them in acts of charity, protect those the vulnerable, abolish the rigid class system, raise the status of women to an honoured position, and bring everyone back to the belief in one God.
But the leading tribe of the Meccans, the Quraysh, were staunch in their opposition. Muhammad had a small group of companions who believed in his message, and these supporters would be targeted by the Quraysh who embarked on a campaign of torture. The first to die for Islam was a woman named Sumayyah, who after enduring the cruelty inflicted on her, was finally stabbed to death. She is a woman held in high esteem by Muslims for her steadfastness and strength of character, and one of the few guaranteed Paradise.
It was now 615 and the situation for the Muslims had not improved. Muhammad heard of a just and compassionate ruler in Abyssinia, a Christian king who might offer refuge for the Muslims and sent 100 Muslim men and women to be placed under the king’s protection. Muhammad did not hesitate to turn to those of other faiths for their protection, he trusted and worked with others who had moral standing and dealt with justice no matter what their faith or background. His own uncle, Abu Talib, who he loved and respected greatly was not a Muslim, but he offered invaluable support to his nephew.
The Quraysh, unable to break this small but growing band of Muslims, who were growing in number by the day, resorted to banishing them, forbidding any tribes to help them. Tribes depended on each other for sustenance, trade and protection in the harsh desert environment, so this embargo would mean starvation, deprivation and vulnerability. The embargo went on for three years, during which Muhammad and his companions retreated to the valleys surrounding Mecca to live a very difficult life. The ban was finally lifted, but it had taken its toll on the Prophet’s beloved wife, Khadijah. She died soon afterwards in a year known as The Year of Sorrow.
Muhammad’s grief was deep. He had lost his strongest supporter and confidante, the mother of his children. The same year, his uncle, who had been his protector, died in 620. Yet his mission was far from over, and he had the duty to continue his message and to protect those who had gathered around him. He thought of moving the Muslims far away from the relentless oppression of the Quraysh.
Every prophet has his miracle, and it is said that the Quran was Muhammad’s miracle. Yet the Night Journey joins the many miraculous stories about prophets before him – of Jesus’ birth, of Jonah and the Whale, of Moses’ parting of the Red Sea.
Two years after the death of Khadijah, one evening Muhammad fell asleep by the Kabah and was awoken by the angel Gabriel who showed him a white, winged horse. They both mounted and began the journey to Jerusalem where he met a group of prophets; amongst them were Abraham and Moses. Muhammad led them in prayer at the Temple Mount. Then Muhammad again mounted the winged creature with Gabriel and went on a journey that transcended time and space through the seven heavens. It was at the highest level that he received instructions for the five daily prayers.
Muhammad had been was profoundly affected by this spiritual and physical journey, seeing the wonders of the heavens, and meeting the brotherhood of prophets. Yet it was also a trial – when Muhammad recounted his experience, it left him open to more insults and jeers. Yet the lesson remained that true faith meant belief in the unseen and in the miracles of God.
It was the norm in Arabia for men to take many wives, but Muhammad remained monogamous to his first wife Khadijah throughout their marriage. A year after her death, he was encouraged to marry again. His subsequent marriages were formed for various reasons: to form alliances with other tribes in order to secure the for survival of the Muslim community, to protect those who were threatened because of their faith, and to cement friendships. Many of his wives were widows with children, or divorcees. Aishah was the daughter of his closest friend Abu Bakr. Her marriage to Muhammad was arranged when she was very young, but their marriage was not consummated until she entered puberty. Aishah had an incredible intellect, and she became a respected scholar and was skilled in medical knowledge. She spoke of Muhammad’s kindness and generosity to all his wives, a quality that he insisted upon from every husband to their spouse.
The number of Muslims was growing, and along with it grew the need to live free of tyranny. Many people had embraced Islam in the city of Medina, some 200 miles from Mecca. Muhammad decided his companions should relocate to where they would enjoy the freedom of religious expression and the confidence of a being a real community. Agreements were made with the Jews of Medina, and all lived in protection, liberty and coexistence.
The move was a blow to the pride of the Quraysh who still tormented the few Muslims who remained in Mecca. In addition to their persecution, they confiscated all their property and belongings to show Muhammad that he had not won. Incensed by news of this, Muhammad organised expeditions on Meccan caravans in order to take compensation. He also sent missions to find out information of the Quraysh’s plots – he knew that an attack was likely. Yet one mission resulted in the death of a Quraysh leader despite Muhammad’s clear instruction that no conflict was to take place. A clash was imminent.
For the past thirteen years until this point, the Muslims were instructed in passive resistance, but a revelation now gave permission to fight those who oppressed them and had driven them from their homes.
Muhammad had set off with over three hundred Muslims to intercept a caravan in order to take more goods in compensation, but the Quraysh found out about his plans and sent a thousand-strong army. The Muslims were not prepared for war, but they were determined to face their enemies. They won an incredible victory in what came to be known as the Battle of Badr.
The conflict was not at an end however, and more wars took place between the Quraysh, their allies and the Muslims, the latter suffering many losses. Muhammad now had military and political power, sending a strong message that he and his people would not be trampled upon any further. As his influence increased, so too did attempts to assassinate him.
After years of hostility, power shifted towards Muhammad and the Muslims, and a treaty was finally agreed between the Quraysh and Muhammad, but this was violated by the former and Muhammad marched on Mecca in 630. But he took Mecca without bloodshed, peaceably and with dignity. Muhammad was in a position of power to seek revenge on those who had tortured and persecuted the Muslims, but he did not abuse his power, choosing instead to conquer Mecca with profound humility. His great mercy and compassion deeply impressed the tribes of Mecca, and a great number embraced Islam.
The Farewell Pilgrimage
Muhammad, accompanied by one hundred thousand of his companions, performed the final pilgrimage of his life to the Kabah in Mecca. Standing on what is known as the Mount of Mercy, he delivered his last speech with messages that would resound through time. He spoke of the equality of humankind, of women’s rights, of fraternity, of doing good, of never oppressing anyone, of human rights and justice.
Soon after the farewell sermon, Muhammad fell very ill with a fever which weakened him greatly. Though frail, he led his last prayer in the mosque in Medina, and repeated again and again that the poor and the vulnerable must be treated well. His final moments were with his wife Aishah. He rested his head in her lap while she stroked his head. Suddenly she felt his head become heavier. He had breathed his last breath.
He died in 632 aged sixty three.
Muhammad caused a revolution in the space of twenty three years, shaping the course of history the effects of which we still see today. His commitment to the enduring values of justice, freedom, fraternity, charity and equality carried a universal message. What began as a small band of followers in seventh century Arabia has now grown to a global community of 1.5 billion, a fifth of the world’s population.
Muslims everywhere model their own lives on his behaviour, from prayer to politics, personal hygiene to community involvement. This one man continues to inspire millions of lives fourteen centuries after he lived.
Know Islam And Muslim
What is Islam?
What is Allah?
Allah is the name for God in Arabic. Allah is also known by his attributes, like The Compassionate, the Merciful, the Loving. Although we use the English pronoun ‘He’ to refer to God, in Islam and in the Arabic language, Allah is a neutral term.
In seventh century Arabia, when society was gripped by idolatry, the divide between rich and poor was growing, and the Arab tribal system was thriving, Muhammad received a revelation that would transform society both within the Arabian peninsula and significantly in other parts of the world. Christianity and Judaism also originated in the Middle East, and the Prophet made clear that far from bringing a new message, he was in fact calling people back to the one true God and to the way of life people had left. The revelations he received corrected distortions that had crept into earlier revelation and called all to return to the ‘Straight Path’ of Islam.
Belief in one God, Prayer, Alms, Fasting, and Pilgrimage. These form the foundation of faith for every Muslim.
- The basic declaration of belief, or Shahada is, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.” Declaring this is all that is required of a person who wishes to embrace Islam.
- Prayer, or Salah is the performing of the five daily prayers, at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sundown, and nightfall.
- Alms, or Zakah, is obligatory on every Muslim as a tax to benefit the poor and needy. Every adult Muslim must contribute a 2.5% of his or her wealth (not income) each year.
- Fasting, or Sawm which takes place in the month of Ramadan, involves self discipline and humility through abstention from food, drink and sex from dawn to sunset. It encourages a sense of empathy with those who go hungry around the world and to give charity. It is a time to focus on spiritual nourishment and refinement of character. It ends with the celebration of Eid-ul Fitr.
- Pilgrimage, or Hajj, is to be performed once in a Muslim’s lifetime to the first House of God, the Kabah in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Pilgrims dress simply in white garments to symbolise the equality of humankind. At least two million Muslims go to perform Hajj in the final month of the Islamic calendar each year. The end of Hajj is marked by the second of two major Muslim festivals, Eid-ul Adha.
The Quran, Arabic for ‘recitation’ or ‘reading’, is the scripture of Muslims. They believe that the word of God was revealed through the Angel Gabriel over a period of twenty three years to Muhammad, who died illiterate. He neither authored nor edited the Quran, Muslims believe it is the eternal, literal word of God, preserved and collated in a divinely commanded order.
The Quran was written down during the Prophet’s lifetime in the seventh century by twenty nine scribes who would record the revelations on palm rasps and animal skin. Many of the Prophet’s companions would memorise the entire Quran with the Prophet.The 114 chapters of the Quran speak of the majesty of God, His creation of mankind and life, of the Life Hereafter and the stories of Prophets. The Quran calls for social and religious reform, and places great emphasis on social justice – the rights of women, orphans, the equality of humankind, and moral and ethical principles to govern all aspects of life.
What are Hadith?
Hadiths are a collection of sayings and actions by the Prophet Muhammad, which were well documented verbal reports by his companions. There are thousands of hadiths from which have been derived the Sunnah, or the Prophet’s way of life. They cover all aspects of living: how to be a good neighbour, how to refrain from slander, how to mourn and even how to maintain personal hygiene. Muslims seek to emulate the Prophetic example in their daily lives as much as possible.
What is the Kabah?
This building is the most sacred space in the Muslim world. It sits in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and is considered the first house built for the worship of the one God. First built by Adam, the first man and prophet, it was destroyed by floods, but later rebuilt by Abraham and his son Ishmael. By the time of the Prophet Muhammad, it has fallen under pagan Arab rule and used as a shrine for their 360 idols. Muhammad restored the Kabah to its original worship of one God.
How is Islam similar to Christianity and Judaism?
Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all monotheistic faiths worshipping one God. All share common beliefs in prophets and divine revelation. All stress moral rights and responsibilities, and accountability on the Day of Judgment leading to reward or punishment in the afterlife. Each faith emphasises its covenant with God, through Moses for Judaism, Jesus for Christianity and Muhammad for Islam. Islam recognises the validity of Judaism and Christianity and expresses respect for the prophets mentioned in their Scriptures as they are also mentioned in the Quran. Muslims believe in Moses, and Jesus, but they do not believe Jesus as the son of God, rather he was a Prophet born in a miracle birth to Mary. The Quran even mentions the Virgin Mary more often than the Bible, demonstrating the high-regard that Judeo-Christian figures have in Islam.Muslims see the message of Islam as superseding all earlier revelations. They believe the Quran is the complete word of God and that Muhammad is the final Messenger and seal of the prophets. While Muslims respect much of the Torah, the Gospel and the Psalms, they believe that they have been changed by man over the centuries.
What does Islam say about violence?
The value of life is sacred in Islam, to violate it goes categorically against its principles. The Quran states “If anyone murders an (innocent) person, it will be as if he has murdered the whole of humanity. And if anyone saves a person it will be as if he has saved the whole of humanity” [5:32]. It is not permitted for Muslims to kill or oppress another. The Quran says, ‘Help one another in benevolence and piety, and help not one another in sin and transgression’ [5:2] “Allah loves not the aggressors” [2:190].
Often mistranslated as ‘holy war’ jihad is an all encompassing terms that literally means ‘to strive, or struggle’. Within Islam, its context is to strive in the path of God as exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad and his companions. Jihad pertains to the difficulty and complexity of leading a good life, struggling against the evil in oneself and to become virtuous and moral, to perform good actions and to contribute to the betterment of society. It is distressing that today a violent minority have abused the word jihad and have thus distorted its true meaning.
Life is a sacred trust from God and a human is a trustee who should handle the trust with honesty and skill, and with mindfulness of God. When God gives life He endows the human being with unique qualities and abilities, and charges the human with certain obligations. God means to help humankind fulfil the purpose of life and realise the goal of existence: to seek the pleasure of God in order to have eternal pleasure in the afterlife.
“Live in this world as if you are a traveller or a wayfarer” is a saying of the Prophet Muhammad. Life may be likened to a journey starting from a certain point and ending at a certain destination. It is a transitory stage, an introduction to the eternal life in the Hereafter.
According to Islamic teaching, the best use of life is to live it according to the guidance of God and perform good deeds in order to ensure a place in Paradise. As life is a means to an ultimate end, Islam has laid down a comprehensive system of principles and regulations on how to lead it. Muslims believe that we all belong to God and to Him is our final return. Life, therefore, is a complete circle and death is a doorway that leads to the true eternal existence.
The Quran states that men and women were created to be equal parts of a pair [51:49] and that their relationship is one of love and mercy such that they are like garments to one another. The revelation of the Quran elevated the status of women throughout society via numerous means: abolishing the status of women as property, allowing them to retain their maiden name after marriage, furnishing them the right to vote – thirteen centuries before women attained the right to vote in the UK, and the right to inheritance and owning property and businesses.
In Islam, education, social and political participation is a duty on both women and men. Early Islamic history saw the rise of Muslim women as scholars, politicians, businesswomen, jurists and doctors at a time when Europe still regarded women as a commodity.
Some verses of the Quran have been quoted to suggest gender discrimination, but there is a clear distinction to be drawn between verses that respond to specific social and cultural contexts and those that represent universal principles. A common area of confusion is the stipulation regarding polygamy, which actually restricted the practice rather than encouraging it at a time when Arabs in seventh century society married many women and being monogamous was not the norm, “if you will not be able to deal justly [with them, marry] only one” [4:3]. It may be noted here that today more than 99% of Muslim marriages are monogamous, polygamy being the exception rather than the rule.
Hijab is another source of interest and has been victim to much criticism and debate. Modesty in Islam is something that is stressed for both sexes, “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty, and say to the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty” [24:30–31]. Hijab literally means ‘veil’, ‘covering’ or, barrier’, while the Arabic word ‘khimar’ refers to the head scarf, however hijab has come to take on the meaning of a Muslim woman’s head-dress. Hijab symbolises many things: religious devotion, discipline, respect, identity and modesty. It is viewed by many Muslim women as another part of their ‘ibadah’ or worship of God since worship in Islam can be seen in a holistic sense, for example, giving charity or helping a neighbour is also seen as acts of worship.
Shariah covers all laws and governance pertaining to a Muslim’s life. The Arabic word literally refers to a waterway that leads to a main water source. Just as following all laws and principles set out by Islam, Muslims ultimately submit to the will of God, the source of life. Shariah is a framework that governs interactions between the individual and God, and between human beings. Both have public and private dimensions and both give Islam a prominent role on Muslim community life. Shariah is only applied to Muslims and not to people of other faiths and beliefs.
The Islamic civilisation nurtured genuine social equality irrespective of colour or race. During his final sermon, Prophet Muhammad said, All men are from Adam, and Adam is from clay. There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor a white person over a black person except in God-consciousness. These principles were implemented throughout daily life: in the mosques people of all colours and races met to pray shoulder to shoulder, they worked together in government and academia.
Among the closest companions of the Prophet was the former Abyssinian slave, Bilal who became the first man to call people to prayer, the first muezzin. Prophet Muhammad had ordered him to scale the Kabah on the day of the peaceful conquest of Mecca to call people to prayer. That this man could stand with the divine sanctuary under his feet was a declaration that piety transcends all things and it sent a powerful message to all that racism has no place in Islam.
Medical science made extraordinary progress during the Islamic civilisation and formed much of the basis of western healthcare today. Muslim experts pioneered in all areas of medicine including surgery, anatomy, ophthalmology, pharmacology, and physiology. The great Translation movement which began in the ninth century initiated under the Caliph Mamun in Baghdad, led to thousands of Greek works by Aristotle, Plato, Hippocrates, Ptolemy and Galen being translated into Arabic, and this knowledge was later transferred to Europe. Medical texts were not only translated, but their concepts and methods were further developed by the Muslims who pioneered in medical progress. Ibn Sina who was born in the tenth century, known as Avicenna in Europe, became renowned for his magnum opus, the cannon of Medicine – an encyclopaedia covering all aspects of medical practice which was used in the universities of Montpellier and Louvain as late as the seventeenth century. The thirteenth century medic Ibn Nafis discovered pulmonary circulation in contradiction to Galen’s view that blood was continually being made and used up, nearly four centuries before William Harvey announced his discovery that blood circulated around the body in 1616.
Scientific discovery and learning flourished under Islamic civilisations for centuries. The remarkable leap in science between the eighth and twelfth centuries was known as the Golden Age of Islam. Today many words from the Arabic language enter the sciences, words like alchemy, algebra, algorithm and alkali. Muslims pioneered in fields of astronomy, mathematics, physics. Muslim astronomers established large observatories and produced highly sophisticated and accurate devices such as the astrolabe which was used in navigation through celestial calculation.
Quranic verses allude to scientific phenomena, like the cosmology: “And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit. ‘(God is) the one who created the night, the day, the sun and the moon. Each one is travelling in an orbit with its own motion” [21: 33], and to embryology: “We created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then out of a leech-like clot, then out of a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed” [22:5].
Islam is not at odds with science that has been soundly established, and it is clear that the sciences have enjoyed a thriving development under the Islamic ethos enjoining the pursuit of knowledge and learning.