INTRODUCING THE TEXT BOOK OF PROPHETOLOGY
All praises be to Allah and His highest blessings and choicest greetings be on His last, final and greatest prophet and Messenger Muhammad. We thank Allah the Most Gracious for inspiring and helping us in introducing a new and holistic science of spirituality to begin its investigations and discoveries with the worthiest subject of study pursuable by man: The incomparable nature and qualities of the most perfectly created, most accomplished and successful of men ever: MUHAMMAD the son of Abdullah the son of Abdulmuttalib of the seventh century Mecca in Arabia may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him where and whenever his name is written, mentioned or remembered, in the course of this article and all articles to follow as well as at all times and places. Why the Prophet of Islam and why a holistic new science to study him? As to the first question, because if God exists and He is Perfect and He did send inspired messengers with spiritual powers and binding messages for our guidance and ultimate happiness (the answer to all of which must be ‘yes’) then the prophets can only the best examples of what can be achieved by a correct understanding and application of such Divine messages and inspiration behind them. In other words they can only be the best exemplars of living a godly or saintly life during which one’s actions can only be the wisest and most decent under all circumstances although to the ignorant some of them may look either too hard or too soft. If that is the case or to find out whether it is, we have to select at least one prophet generally thought to be recognised and influential and of antiquity enough (because he must have stood the test of time) and study him in as much and as authentic detail as possible. If we become truly impressed with his marvellous nature and miraculous achievements as well as the awe inspiring moral stature then we may care to emulate him in order to improve our own condition in as godly/saintly direction as possible. For it is not possible to improve the usual (and present as well) human condition without improving individual moral conditions. We in the West may be proud of our achievements not only in technology and economy but also our social justice and care standards but that these constitute a mere intelligent and well-informed form of collective selfishness in each advanced Western nation becomes clear when the treatment meted out to non-westerners. Let one of the most disturbing and telling of examples suffice: The cold blooded massacre of eight thousand Bosnian men in the Yugoslav conflict in 1990s while the armed representatives of the Western powers were instructed to look the other way! One can imagine the heartlessness that may fall to the lot of other victims in other continents and of other races and cultures than the European. THIS CANNOT BE TRUE HUMAN CIVILIZATION EVEN BY A LONG SHOT! This is only tribal civilization overgrown and run to seed: inside the tribe there is social cohesion and morality; outside there is only predatory opportunism and abandonment of human responsibilities. Well, it may not be that bad but it is still bad enough. Against this we may look at the potentialities of a godly civilization and this author believes that its best and fullest and most authentic example exists in the historical record of Muhammad’s character, teaching and achievements. Now, please do not put forward Jesus Christ. Although exceedingly honoured in Islam as the penultimate messenger of God he is too deeply buried under the rubble of historical authenticity and detail to offer any detailed and reliable guidance. Additionally his supposed champions doctored both his image and teachings that they barely bear resemblance to what one would expect from his Jewish and Mosaic background. So without being his own fault in the slightest, he has been ruled out as all prophets before him have. We have only Muhammad with full historical credentials as a real and almost fully documented overall teacher of mankind and being realists we shall concentrate on him to paint a picture of the perfect man: a MAN in every sense and not a false god created in the imagination of too ambitious and silly theologians to keep in thrall the people and rule grandly in the name of. A man of flesh, blood and bone, of tears and laughter and women and children and of hunger and thirst and fear and hope… yet able to see through all the fog and mist of usual human life the Divine Face and do his very best in causing a constant smile and approval in that Face by being morally at his best under any and every circumstances whatever the pain or the sacrifice necessary. It was not then for nothing that he turned most of his worst enemies into adoring friends and motivated thousands and then millions and now keeps more than a billion under his spell and imposes on them highest values and causes them worry about their Creator’s approval of their every move and thought. Accordingly it has long been appreciated among the Sufis, the wisdom and love mystics of Islam that studying, contemplating and emulating the Prophet is the only way to attain godliness and live as saints full of benevolence towards and benefit for all the God’s creatures big and small. Only this path can and shall save us and to provide the most comprehensive, accurate and stimulating and motivating blueprint heare we are at the Prophet’s academy. As to the second question, i.e., why a holistic science? Well, till now our scientists thought of and took pride in science as a discipline of investigation and discovery totally ignoring subjective and especially emotional components of reality as we experience it. They stressed that laphotographic camera with a lens called ‘the objective’ as if no higher human virtue was available. This silly affectation made some scientists virtually so unemotional that they could carry out the most inhuman experiments or enunciate the most ruthless social principles which reduced in their eyes their fellow men to the bolts, nuts and wheels, some good some defective, of a machine called the society for whose supposed good they could deal with them any contemptuous and inhuman way they wished. Hence the Nazis’ extermination of the jewry or the Communists’ extermination of the bourgeoisie and the kulaks for example. We of course admit that religious people have had their own share of ideological psychopathic perversion and wanton cruelty proceeding from that but at least it is beyond doubt that both the founders of the religions in question and their enlightened saints were totally opposed to such abuses of faith. For example both muslims and Christians did things throughout their respective histories things that neither the teachings of their prophets nor their more enlightened followers could condone or failed to deplore. It is a matter of vigilance on the part of the genuinely godly people to check the abusers in their ranks check such inadequates getting their way. Our Academy shall try to contribute to that vigilance except that we have no physical means to use and will have to make do with verbal measures. By holism in science we mean taking into account all facets of experienced reality be it objective facts or emotions and moral values that we care about. This all inclusive outlook should be so well harmonised that justice will be done to objective facts, emotions and moral values naturally coalescing into holistic scientific conclusions. For example had communists been holistic in their outlook they could never kill all those men, women and children labelled as of the bourgeois or kulak class in such cold blood and mad triumphalism; nor could the Crusaders of the First Crusade put to sword all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and then boast of “riding our horses through the streets in rivers of muslim and jewish blood with blood up to the horses knees”. And then go and insult that kindest of men Jesus by declaring at his supposed sepulchre that they did all they did for his sake. We are therefore determined to establish in the minds of men the most realistic and practical scientific attitude of holism so that before they do anything to anybody they take into account not only the crass material benefits to them of the contemplated act but all the humanitarian and godly responsibilities that are involved. We need the best exemplar of this science to demonstrate all the best and noblest examples of human behaviour in concrete form and all the emotionalism and moralism to motivate man to achieve his highest spiritual potential on top of providing him with the historical facts themselves. Back to our task then. Muhammad the Prophet of Allah being the best of creation as we propose to demonstrate holistically (because our research is already done for over more than five decades both intellectually and spiritually being on the sufi path) shall be our subject and shown for what he is in character and worth and glory from many sources like the Qur’an and the Hadith and history and sufi insights based on spiritual instincts and realizations on the part of greatest saints of Islam which include some contemporaries. We do not ask our readers to take our word for it but promise to deliver the proofs as never before. God help us all to the straight path. Amen.
THE TEN INCOMPARABLE MERITS OF MUHAMMAD sws
Muhammad the Messenger of Allah holds a unique position among all prophets and spiritual masters in general. Unless we become totally able to keep in mind at all times the following ten incomparable merits accruing to Muhammad we cannot deprogram our minds from the deleterious yet compelling influence of inadequate beliefs sown into our minds before we could know better. Before saying anything else we should realize the unique position Muhammad the Messenger of Allah holds among all prophets and spiritual masters in general. Unless we become totally able to keep in mind at all times the following ten incomparable merits accruing to Muhammad we cannot deprogram our minds from the deleterious yet compelling influence of inadequate beliefs sown into our minds before we could know better.
He is the only, repeat ONLY prophet who enjoys the full light of historicity with an enormous mass of researched and recorded detail as if he is a very recent modern figure like, say, Churchill or Ghandi. His biography began to be compiled within the first century of Islam based on an already well established verbal science of it begun by his companions numbering in thousands and their pupils all of whom thanks to the traditional Arab memorizing skills as a mainly illiterate race and their predilection for accurate and realistic reporting of important events aided and abetted by the extra demand for truthfulness by their new religion Islam. Unlike Greeks who were very prone to weaving myths from ostensibly historical events Arabs were stark realists and delighted in memorising and passing on information from the genealogies and histories of persons and tribes to their poetry, oratory and anecdotes in great and palpably realistic detail. Unlike Greek or Indian heroes, Arab heroes did not descent from gods or demons nor did they fight winged monsters or walked on the stars. Arabs simply described their heroes as so and so son of so… who were full-blooded, unidealised humans and as such fought for honour or their ordinary interests with all the ordinary humanness underlining them. Unlike again Persians they did not embellish or exaggerate. All figures they give on and descriptions they provide of the persons and events look perfectly natural and comfortably believable. This does not mean that there were no discrepancies between the various reports from various sources on the same subject. But these reflected more the misunderstandings and memory lapses (and some tribal partisanship) natural to all such reports than deliberate lying or bending facts too much for sectarian reasons. Among all races, Arabs had a very well developed sense of objectivity and fairness and took great pride in admitting to their faults when properly challenged. Benefiting from this Arab realism no other prophet has had such historicity even distantly comparable to Muhammad’s. Only the Jewish lore approaches this realism (Jews being cousins and fellow Semites of Arabs) although the Jewish lore found in the Bible has far less historical reliability than the Islamic, not for least the reason that Islamic belongs to a much later time.
If nothing else, it should be obvious to all sane and sincere students that such an incomparable distinction and merit can only mean this: The Creator chose this creature of His named Muhammad son of Abdullah son of Abdulmuttalib son of Hashim… to be the model of human perfection (not a god or demi-god but fully human) for all future generations. To know more about him we do not need to climb the Himalayas like in search of Buddha or dig caves in Palestine like in the case of Jesus to find more shreds and fragments or molecules of evidence. With Muhammad we have plain sailing in the oceans of lucid evidence while with others we are faced with dark caves and gloomy tunnels often leading nowhere or to further blind alleys. Why ignore the choices of the Wise and Truthful and Just Creator and go against His choices for the sake of proud obstinacy and infatuation with an inadequate heritage? 2
Equally brilliantly, it is only Muhammad’s Revelation that survived all the centuries since its descent from Heaven which Revelation is the only fully and accurately preserved one, preserved in the holy book called the Qur’an. One has only to read it once and from cover to cover with an open mind and one will find it totally unlike anything else whether written before or after it. Sure, like every holy scripture it has its share of myth and legend since these are the only means to suggest profound spiritual secrets from which suggestions the reader is expected to receive his share of spiritual light. Yet unlike other scriptures it admits upfront that such verses are not meant literally but metaphorically and are designed to contribute to one’s faith and to be used as vehicles of generating corrupting spiritual disputes or sowing doubts in believing hearts . This is what God says about the matter:
“It is He Who sent down the Scripture to thee (o Muhammad). In it are verses literally meant. They are the foundation of the Scripture. The rest are metaphorical. Those in whose heart is a disease pursue the metaphorically meant (verses) seeking trouble by going after their ultimate interpretation. (In fact) nobody knows their ultimate interpretation except God. Those profound in knowledge say “We just believe, all (its verses) are from God”. None contemplate (thus) except those possessed of deep wisdom (3: 7)
Which means the verses of the Qur’an speaking of extraordinary matters like the ultimate creation processes, the soul, the angels, the Revelations to prophets, the Last Judgment and Paradise and Hell etc. are not open to scientific enquiry; nor science and even philosophy can evaluate and judge them. All such pursuits engaged in by people unsympathetic to God in particular and to spiritual matters in general are called ‘people with a disease in their hearts’ (i.e., in their psychology) and the net result of their poking their noses in spiritual Scriptural matters lead (and are intended to lead) to corruption of hearts as well as social relations since religious believers will feel offended and insulted and may want to hit back. The full and ultimate explanation of these matters only in the Province of the Divine and only He may and can disclose anything about them to any fit person if He will disclose at all. God also reminds us in His Qur’an that after death all will come to know them but that will be too late for the unbelievers.
The Qur’an has none of the accumulated confusions and contradictions of millennia old scriptures contributed to by hundreds if not thousands of mostly unknown writers and ever error-prone and at times falsifying scribes as a results of which variants of these scriptures as different as heaven and earth emerge to compete with one another for acceptance. For example each Christian sect have their own Bible translation into which sectarian commentary is often squeezed without any indication that they are commentaries. Such integrated insertions are nothing compared to all the accumulations of errors and deliberate corruption of the sacred texts which gradually and naturally become less and less Divine and more are more profane human. The most well-known and proven example of this is the conversion of the Law-observing Jewish prophet Jesus into God in the evolving Christian scriptures. Actually what these scriptures fell short of unambiguously deifying Jesus later Christian writers and church councils completed! All considered only the Qur’an can be ascribed and traced back to a Single Author and only the Qur’an given to Muhammad contains everything a proper religion needs: effective myths expressing the secrets of existence and fate through truthful metaphors and moral lessons through truthful parables as well as graphic stories without going into irrelevant details.
Then come laws, commands and psychological and social commentaries which are embodied in the literally-meant verses. The most wonderful side to these literally-meant verses is that commands, prohibitions and promises and threats related to them are almost regularly supported by descriptions of and appeals high moral and spiritual teachings in very compelling emotional and spiritual words so that a sincere reader is made to scrutinise his heart, to examine his life and every act and thought and repent from his wrongs and make haste to self purification and improvement. As very often is the case in Qur’anic verses comprehensiveness, compactness, economy, elegance and highest wisdom characterise the statements. Look at the following verse for example:
“Allah surely commands you to act justly, to be gracious (on top of being just) and to render charity to those near (all people you can reach, beginning with your relations and neighbours) while He prohibits you committing indecencies, disreputable acts and aggression, thus admonishing you in order that you take heed” (16: 90)
Has anything of moral and social principle left out? What evil can come from a believer who takes heed of this single verse with understanding? Of course examples of what constitutes justice or injustice, decency and indecency, reputable and disreputable conduct and aggression are amply detailed in many other verses.
Then the Qur’an teaches faith, the best and most effective as well as easiest ways of serving and worshipping the Divine, helping fellow men, achieving and maintaining justice and promoting and lavishing kindness as well as dispensing the most realistic and effective justice no matter the pain. We shall give ample examples and demonstrations of all such incomparable merits of the Qur’an in later lessons.
Lastly the Qur’an has proven itself to be the only Holy Scripture which is both positive towards science and motivates towards scientific accomplishment. It was only Islamic civilization that soon after its debut sent its men in search of both wisdom and material learning and technical skills and helped them to become, based on a thorough study of the works of ancient learned men like the Greek and Indian philosophers, very great scientists and philosophers in their own right. Today’s scholars usually admit that the present Western civilization is but a first Christianized and then secularised extension of the Islamic civilization and not a direct and seamless continuation of the Greek and Roman. Although Muslims drew heavily on the latter two, they both added to their heritage a lot and improved vastly over them by making them more humane and egalitarian as well as godly thanks to Islam. For example, Islam could never emulate Roman brutality towards the slaves or the Greek duplicity and again brutality towards barbarians (non-Greeks). On the more original side we can take modern welfare state. Do you think it is a recent Western invention? It has been with Islam from the word go. It is generally admitted that the real state builder of Islam was Umar the second caliph of the messenger of Allah. He established and regulated pensions for all who once served the muslim community, prescribed regular social benefits for the poor and the disabled and also paid what we today in the UK call Child Benefit to all children who were Islam’s subjects. And he did not pay these with the cynicism of today’s chancellors with a wary eye on the next elections and planning ways of recouping the cost by more taxes. Umar was weeping with compassion for the needy and the fear of the Almighty in case he failed to execute his responsibilities towards the servants of Allah under his care. Only the Qur’an could produce such saints and such a fortunate community and such all inclusive, caring, non-cynical civilization. We shall see more about these later until the reader cannot resist recognising the generous grace of Allah towards him and rushing into His arms through His greatest of Prophet’s loving and waiting arms. Amen.
Can any other prophet compare with this? What other proof will do better to prove that the Creator of all nature and natural laws chose Muhammad’s whole scripture and a bedrock-like large portion of his traditions to survive intact in order to provide for us a comprehensive teaching of all good and wisdom and a personal full exemplar than the Creator’s causing the scriptures and traditions of all teachers/prophets who came before Muhammad to suffer great losses and undergo even greater distortions?
Who can resent and fight against this Divine choice except the servants of their egos who can’t be sincere towards the truth as a result? Godliness is squarely based on sincerity towards the truth which is in God’s choices at His absolute discretion and nothing less than this sincerity will do. Love of habituated and addicted myths and rituals stand no chance as excuses in front of God and attempting to discredit God’s choice can only complicates the problem of the Truth evader.3
It is only Muhammad who started from a most disadvantageous base and ended up as the most rapidly and brilliantly successful prophet ever. He didn’t for example begin as a well educated sort of prince of either Egypt (like Moses) or India (like Gautama Buddha), the two great civilizations of antiquity nor from Palestine where both Roman and Jewish cultures provided a glorious cultural backdrop and data bank of concepts, words and skills. He began from that most backward and detested desert Arabia so sunken in a primitive idolatrous culture, endemic poverty, tribal warfare, almost universal illiteracy and total blindness to any advanced or sophisticated philosophical and spiritual concepts. Their only graces were traditions of chivalry and hospitality and only their pride lied in oratory and poetry. How unreceptive the Arabs of Muhammad’s time to monotheism is more than amply demonstrated by the record of arguments and counter- arguments in the Qur’an and also the many battles fought over them some of which brought Muhammad and his handful of followers only too dangerously near extinction. Perhaps surprisingly his own kith and kin, alongside with his dominant tribe Quraish (who, despite boasting of descent from Abraham through Ishmael, were idolaters) were almost universally opposed to him in his prophet’s claims and even more surprisingly the Arabian Jewry who were not only strict monotheists and professing a hatred for idolatry more than anything else and were awaiting a prophet of the last days to arrive soon were equally discomfited and alarmed. Nor did he have any appreciable allies from among the Christians but had to battle for monotheism in Arabia entirely on his own. Despite all such handicaps and disadvantages the quality of the revelations he claimed to have received from God is so superior in every respect to all that were in the hands of Christians and Jews that one wonders how come these two literate monotheistic communities failed to appreciate and recognise him. One must just open the older scriptures and the Qur’an and see the trans-oceanic distance of scope, content, language, style, relevance, practicality and sublimity. Just as an example let us see how the Qur’an states the theological ultimate. The following chapter was revealed in response to a question about the nature of God posed by his Quraishite opponents who had consulted the Jews to help them find such a question:
“In the Name of God, the All-Gracious, the Mercifully Forgiving. Say: God is Unique. God is Self-Sufficient. He never begat nor was begotten and none can ever be an equal to Him” (Qur’an, Chapter 112)
Fully paralleling this we find Muhammad’s multifarious success in winning the arguments, battles and hearts and minds as no other before him or after! What is more his triumphs did not die with him and if anything just exploded like the Big Bang which produced a whole universe from a dense but small point as the theory goes. Within a generation or two Islam spread both physically and spiritually from the Atlantic to the Indian oceans and soon afterwards to the Pacific shores. And what is more, the Islam he taught remained the same, surviving and weathering every threat, discord and subversion thrown at it. It did not confine itself to a small nation as in the case of Judaism nor it did undergo centuries of brutalisation in the hands of a great power until it and the great power came into a midway compromise as in the case of Christianity. To win Roman favour Christianity had to sacrifice its Semitic monotheism and law and incorporate a lot of pagan mysticism and ritual. In fact the seeds of this derailment were already sown by St Paul who looks like more like a traitor to the true Church under the true historical disciples of the true historical Christ than an exponent and populariser of it. Muhammad’s followers could not be deceived by anybody and any deviants were doomed to remain a minority and split out.
Considering all these unpreventable successes which other prophet’s record and legacy can compare with Muhammad’s even by a far far margin?
What invincible power could be behind him who could give him all this success without a comparable rival in any other mortal if not the Sole Creator of All Beings and Happenings?
If we make a list of the most successful men in history we see, with the exception of Muhammad and only Muhammad, that each has been great only in one or two departments of human endeavour. For the rest they have been either meagre or negatively great, i.e., horrible and disgraceful. Take Plato or Alexander or Caesar or any other superlative historical personality for example. Plato was a great philosopher- which means a logical dreamer equipped with too few facts to arrive at any testable conclusions- and nothing else really. He did not run a country to prove his wisdom and virtues in practice. In one instance he was given a chance to implement his ‘Republic’, in Syracuse actually, but he failed miserably. Alexander was a superb general and motivator of men but he was both vain and often disgraceful in many other things. Caesar was again a great general and political genius but suffered from many of the moral defects ordinary mortals are known to suffer, like cheating, treachery and injustice and outright unmitigated cruelty. He was so spiteful that he could not wait to avenge any past wrongs to him with incredible brutality. True forgiveness was not in his vocabulary. He was assassinated equally brutally. As for the spiritual masters, the Buddha was only a wandering wise monk dispensing verbal wisdom without showing or proving anything in the hands-on running of the notoriously difficult and treacherous human affairs and especially that devil called politics. He preached an almost nihilistic benevolent if misguided atheism and was soon added to the Hindu gods to become another stone god for magical manipulative rituals. Moses, although coming in a small way near Muhammad’s total leadership could hardly impress his small nation Israel during his lifetime and died disillusioned with their intractable, fickle and small-minded foolish attitudes and behaviours. Jesus Christ for his part was a tragic failure in terms of his actual contribution to human betterment in his lifetime; only a handful followed him and even less understood him beyond magical possibilities he seemed to offer. After his departure only a distorted, displaced and badly abused myth and life-negating zeal followed in his name. His supposed church (believers’ community, ‘ummah’) proved to be a hotbed of both bloody and treacherous strife and incurable factionalism and committed in his name perhaps the wantonnest and longest-lasting persecutions and cruelties associated with any religion until it gave to the concept of religion a very bad name as a result of which atheism for the first time in history assumed the appearance of real salvation for learned men who ultimately founded modernism and secularism. Medieval Christianity as an incredibly distorted and abused advocacy of Christ left such a grievance in the hearts and minds of many great souls in the West that they could not wait to discredit and demote it through challenges of their science and political thought. No other religion left such a disappointment and bitter taste as Medieval Christianity in the hearts and minds of its more intelligent and perceptive inheritors. This result can only be a crushing disappointment to good, very good Jesus who anyhow has always been a tragic figure.
Against all these we have in Muhammad such an all-blessed, fortunate, multi-departmental, superlative genius in both ‘theory’ and practice that it makes all his rivals (if there has been any really) look like his humble subjects in need of his favours. Prophethood? He has been the most brilliant and successful of prophets speaking in the name of the Creator, Cherisher, Sustainer and Judge of the Whole Creation, having put forward that incomparable Qur’an whose directness, scope and compelling power no other scripture could ever rival even by a far margin. Social reformer? Who could transform the most barbarous and superstitious as well as illiterate society at the margins of civilization in the course of a decade or two so much and give them all the moral power and spiritual capital to burst out from their barren peninsula and within a generation or two reach the Pacific in the East and the Atlantic in the West not as barbarous invaders but civilizers and humanizers? A ruler of men, a head of state? Nobody could be more competent to begin with and also juster, humbler, more prepared to listen to his subjects and to remove their grievances and disagreements more wisely and adequately than him. Certainly he was the first and only ruler who deliberately lived as poorly (and with full pleasure) as his poorest subject yet did not lose his dignity; instead he only inspired loving and awe-inspiring admiration. Politician? He was the supreme master exemplar of realistic policies yet totally angelic, including the harsher wisdoms of the angels, and therefore absolutely firm when necessary. He could forgive his worst enemies no matter what they did to him and his loved ones (for example he forgave a woman who had his dear uncle Hamza assassinated and then slit his belly chewed his liver); yet he could punish far less offenders one way or another who could benefit more from a retribution than a forgiveness, all so wisely. You see sometimes for spiritual health reasons forgiveness as a remedy is contra-indicated. That is one of the things some dreamy mystics aspiring at a wrong angelic image are deceived in. He has been the unprecedented and since then the unequalled handler of men softening their resistance to his just and wise will or apparently letting them be so skilfully that they eventually served his purpose as good as before. However intelligent and crafty, all born politicians who dealt with or associated with him was sweetly and gratefully beaten by him without being offended. Philosopher? The most down-to-earth philosopher the world has ever seen pouring out both aphorisms and advice with precision, economy and simplicity and immediate practical use which even the most uneducated and unsophisticated could understand and appreciate. Spouse? Kindest of husbands to his women, a husband who, despite his admitted Divine backing most tolerantly bore with their female teasings, manipulations and objections and never touched any of them in anger even for once as was the habit of the times and cultures and is still the case in only too many families here in the West as much as in the East. In an age of crassest misogyny among all religions, cultures and civilizations where both wives and daughters suffered he was the only man who adored women in every sense and took all steps and pains to make them happy to the limits of his means. Parent? No parent adored his children more without spoiling them. His three sons did not survive babyhood and his four daughters enjoyed his total love and devotion. No son-in-law could sadden any of his daughters and as worthy sons-in-law they basically did not. He heartily hugged and kissed his daughters and grandchildren whom he called perfumes from Paradise. Simply the most charitable man ever, he never ever said “No” to any request whether monetary or else and invariably gave what was asked provided he had it. When he didn’t have he borrowed or at least promised which promise he invariably kept. So long it was something which was givable he gave except to his near and dear. For them he chose frugal ascetic lives as for himself. That is to say he would give to Mr A or Ms B but often not to his daughters and wives and the dearest of his disciples explaining that as his dear ones they should rather be ascetics like him only making do with the minimum from this world and keep their desires for the world to come. One is tempted to compare this to the habit of almost all other rulers who distinguish themselves by helping themselves and their dear ones and cronies to the grosser possibilities of their office. Of all political leaders in history Muhammad stands out as the most undoubtedly honest and uncorrupted as well as incorruptible. Why? Because HE WAS ALLAH’s MESSENGER AND SUPREME EXAMPLE OF UNIMPEACHABLE, MOST IMPECCABLE MORAL AND ETHICAL MAN EVER! Military commander? Both in defeat and victory he was brilliant to the extreme and no war he lost because of his own misjudgement or loss of courage. In fact his only stalling was at the battle of Uhud when he fought at a disadvantage of three to one, nearly won by his ever brilliant tactics but was frustrated simply because one critical defensive unit abandoned their position prematurely without the Prophet’s knowledge and permission from where an enemy cavalry unit penetrated Muslim defences and some reverse was suffered. Yet he had already so impressed his enemy with his generalship that rather than pursuing the advantage further he consoled himself with the accidental gain made and fearing a reverse in the hands of such a formidable general he couldn’t head for home sooner. Overall, he won his war only too brilliantly and relatively bloodlessly despite being stalled in some battles as in every war. And in victory nobody has been as magnanimous before or after. His enemies had only to apologise to him to be forgiven and get away with almost anything. What is more he often additionally rewarded them with incredibly handsome rewards like huge grants of benefits or high office according to their abilities. We then find these ex-enemies as adoring admirers ready to die for him. Please remember, we promise to give full proofs for all the claims we are making in this lesson in other lessons.
The Creator first time ever in history inspired his community to report and record almost everything he did, said and displayed and implied in vast, well-researched and verified scholarly works called the Hadith literature. Nearest to this collection in religious lore may be the New Testament or rather the Gospels but when one studies the two one clearly sees that the Gospels can only be dwarfed shadows of the Hadith literature. Firstly the Gospels are far far shorter than the Hadith and secondly and immensely more importantly they have none of the scholarly quality like research, documentation, analysis, proving and disproving comments and the eventual reliability and compass and scope. If that does not mean that it was Muhammad who was chosen to teach God’s servants God’s ways nothing else can. Thanks to the Hadith reportage we know exactly how the Prophet looked like down to his body hair, teeth, voice, gait and diction. We know his genealogy at least to eight generations with all the branches branching out and studded with uncles, aunts, cousins, in-laws and even non-related dependants. We then find this person in full view of our mind’s eye and almost touchable by us walk the earth, mix and talk with people, hunger and thirst and fear and cheer and pour out the verses revealed to and wisdoms inspired to him and licking his fingers after eating some simple delicacy like buttered dates and blush or go ashen when rudely challenged and control his temper for God’s sake despite the insult or pass one of his disarmingly just and well-stated judgments between a pair of disputants or throw a javelin to an attacking horseman etc. etc. History to this day records no such man who can be so fully and flesh and blood and moment by moment be visualised before our eyes to love and adoringly emulate and delight in. This fact also explains why Sufism of all esoteric schools among all religions stands out head and shoulders as the most endearingly spiritual and salvific. I mean real, reputable Sufism like that of major orders such as the Naqshibandi and Qadiri and they when in good hands of course. You see, good sufis benefit very greatly from the ability of Islam to provide them as an almost directly visible and studiable model of sainthood which the Messenger of Allah represent. With no myth or arbitrary and often misleading imagination substituting fact the good and able sufi has just to keep image of the moving and talking and behaving Prophet in his heart’s eye to almost become like one of his immediate disciple-companions (sahaba) and benefit from his spiritual power at all times under all circumstances. No other prophet’s followers have such ample luxury. Hence no such benefit is available to them. If this merit of Muhammad’s isn’t a spiritual proof of his chosenness what is?
Among all the leaders of men he is the supreme realist without being ruthless and unscrupulous. We are excepting the prophets before him because they aren’t historical enough to pass judgment on. And in any case Muhammad as the last and universal messenger of God to all mankind vouchsafed for his predecessors perfect credentials and out of exemplary humility and did not ask to be regarded higher than they. We are only taking historical figures with relatively ample detail like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Constantine the Great, Charlemagne, Frederick the Great and all Renaissance and Enlightenment leaders that held political power down to the moderns. So far as we know none of these has been able to be realists without going overboard and becoming also ruthless and unscrupulous. Unlike Muhammad for example they held personal grudges and did not miss any opportunity to exact their revenge. Even more disturbingly, they at times perpetrated wanton acts of terror to keep their subjects or rivals in line or else eliminate them. And still even more regrettably they succumbed to their crude lusts and committed loathsome felonies and crimes of all sorts from sexual to financial. In other words and briefly speaking they would not hesitate to sacrifice justice to selfish political and tactical expediency. In constrast, the Prophet has never been known to break any promise to anybody in any camp (friend or foe) or fail to respond to any appeal for justice even when he or his near and dear was the accused, rightly or wrongly. He especially insisted that any claims or complaints against him be openly declared and settled or avenged as the case might be. In some cases total strangers grabbed him in public from his collar, criticised him rudely for failing to pay up some small loan or promise and when his adoring and zealous companions tried to put down the accusers he stopped them saying “Every claimant has the right to heard and if right satisfied even in the case of I being the accused. He then spoke to the plaintive in kind and apologising words and ordered the claim to be settled in more than full. He then admonished his companions in words like “there is no good in a community among which their weak cannot make successful claims on their strong”. He did not enrich himself or his relations and friends nor did he appoint any to high office. On the contrary he deliberately chose for himself and them a life of utter simplicity and poverty. His unspoken motto was the famous sufi dictum “When we haven’t got we bear patiently, when we have we give away in charity”. With such uncompromising and unrelaxing godliness the Prophet all the same never failed recognising realities and never fell into the delusional trap almost all reformers and revolutionaries fall: Enunciating and sticking to some untouchable abstract behavioural principles and floating in a cloud of romantic assumptions and expectations. Accordingly he saw both the cynical and sincere sides of human nature and the true meaning and dangers and promises of unfolding events and acted with impeccable realism in each case whether it made necessary a sacrifice or a severe punishment of an involved party. With this godly and not unscrupulous realism he cast a compelling image of true prophetic stature and status and the love and respect he thus inspired was the envy of kings and emperors. His greatness in just realism was such that even his worst enemies had to concede that his nobility and justice of behaviour couldn’t be faulted as distinct from his prophetic claims. In one particular instance a group made up of his greatest adversaries had to admit “O Muhammad, we are not saying that you are lying about having revelations from God. What we are denying is that God is not revealing to you the truth (but untruth)”. That was because Muhammad’s truthfulness and honesty were legendary among his community. Please remember- we are promising to give all the proofs and details of all claims made in this lesson in lessons to come. His combining godly justice with sanest realism has never been matched. Hence his unrivalled success both worldly and spiritually. Hence his being the top exemplar for mankind.
His religion is the most perfect and practical of all religions and the only one suitable for modern man and men of future because it has an in-built and inexhaustible capacity to adapt to and accommodate all morally justifiable advances and ideas. We shall of course go into details in our lessons to follow but the subject is too important not to be said on a few words in the way of appetising. Firstly Islam’s creed is the simplest and most rational and practical of all. Simplest because it consists of recognising the Creator as One and Perfect and immediately shows the door of Muhammad as His messenger given His full and final message for us. Thus we are saved from wondering who said what on what religious subject either before him or after and fall in a goose chase. God assures us that everything truly said to other true prophets are contained in what is said to Muhammad. Simplest because Islam bans theorising and speculating on God or any claims on the part of any man being or becoming God or in any way sharing with or dictating anything to God. As a result spiritual neither ‘godmen’ nor any other kind of spiritual conmen are welcome among muslims. Most rational because it avoids illogical statements like plague and labours to discredit all such statements made in other religions. The Qur’an are full of splendid refuters of some theological claims made by the advocates of earlier religions taking care to politely (and truthfully) point out that the error was not part of the earlier Divine scriptures but was made by the subsequent generations of warring theologians. It for example rejects that a man may be or become god by any means in any sense or that one race may be so elected as to boss over others as a matter of birthright and whether just or unjust. Lastly Islam’s creed adds to God’s qualifications and man’s prospects the only precaution that may stop man’s evil in the bud: An inescapable responsibility for everything done in this world, big or small, in front of no other than God Himself. Incredible? We promise to lift a veil or two from the doubters’ eyes if they really would like to see. Practical because firstly it enforces the practicing of what we preach and ignores mere preaching as a merit. Secondly all practices of Islam either devotional or legal are utterly utilitarian and egalitarian. As for the devotional, we have the examples of ‘salat’ the muslim prayer and ‘sawm’ the fast of Ramadan. Salat involves washing hands, face and feet and then contemplating and commemorating God both in the form of reciting stimulating glorifications and prayers to God as well as some verses from the Qur’an and simultaneously moving the body in various solemn postures like standing in front of, bowing with respect to and form salat is a spectacle to see, a spectacle which never fails to impress and inspire awe into any watcher who is not morbidly cynical. As such it is both a physical and spiritual exercise of utmost grace and harmony and economy no other religion’s form of worship can match. Furthermore, being obligatory from puberty to death without breaks and holidays whatsoever it is the most serious and committed celebration of God’s servanthood by man. As for the fasting, nothing touches the heart of a perceptive and conscientious observer the deliberate self-sacrifice of a muslim from dawn to sunset who shuns all food and drink and sexual urge however lawful for the sake of God’s pleasure which in practical terms means for achieving self-control in the matter of making the self subservient to the Universal Self: The good of everybody and everything. Yet, despite its austerities, sawm is a very rewarding experience. When the sun at long last sets, one must only be a faster to feel how great the joy and gratefulness to God tastes. One feels justly triumphant and in retrospect the whole month passes almost in a flash and the muslim feels as if orphaned despite the relief to the senses the end of Ramadan brings. As such, Islamic devotions hold the ideal middle point between the too easy devotions of some almost lawless religions and the brutal hardships imposed by some too ascetic ones. And lastly, Islam devotions can never go out of date because they are so naturally useful and bearable and flexible (if need be much may be waived and abbreviated or times shifted). As for the flexibility of Islam as a whole, this is an unequalled merit of Islam among all religions. A careful study of the Qur’an and the Sunna (the reported and repeated practices of the Prophet recorded in the Hadith literature) shows only too clearly that the purpose of every commandment and sanction and injunction of Islam is the real benefit of the people and as such any commandment, sanction or injunction could be abandoned in favour of an alternative which could better serve its ascertainable purpose. To give just one example, initially God ruled in the Qur’an that if one clan killed a member of another the wronged clan were entitled to kill any one member of similar status to the original victim (e.g. freeman for freeman, slave for slave etc.). That was because in the early days of Islam the tribal system was still too strong to be challenged and there yet existed no central police force to investigate crime, arrest culprits etc. So, just to keep a minimum semblance of law and order the tribal system of rough justice was temporarily endorsed. But later on the both Prophet’s authority and territory increased clannish responsibility was replaced by individual- and more civilised- option so that only the actual killer was to be found and tried are the hallmarks of Islamic legislation. Let it suffice at the present to point out that both the Qur’an and the Sunna overruled themselves only too many times to make this point. The point that laws are for us and not us for laws. It is not abstract principles that were to be upheld but the actual and practical necessities of life and real justice. This compares favourably with even the best legal philosophy and practices of modern Western law. To give just one example, a food company was in the news for sacking an employee for theft who dared to eat a tiny part of thrown away grapes, i.e. rotten grapes already thrown into refuse bin among which he discovered a few not too bad berries simply because he thought it would be fun. While this humble man was so severely punished (losing his job, his future prospects of finding another job and a criminal record) no doubt dozens of other employees high and low were not missing any opportunity to cheat, pilfer (prevalent white collar practices) or commit other treasonable acts with impunity. Against this we have second caliph Umar’s ruling that for a misbehaviour to be regarded as punishable theft the asset taken should be above a certain limit of worth and no mistake, error of judgement, extreme need or mental defect should be involved. In other words, under Umar the same employee would be answerable for nothing to nobody because needs and realities and compassion and tolerance and not artificial abstract principles would be served. Such humane and realistic justice, unlike the one based on artificial abstract principles and literality is not open to loopholes because in every case under consideration the judge understands that his duty is to achieve real justice and not the upholding the letter of the law however unfair the outcome.
The Prophet’s absolute goodwill and overruling compassion places him beyond comparison to all historically documented great leaders. A leader may have all the intelligence, knowledge, clear vision, determination, courage, verbal, theatrical and political skills and may move millions to great efforts and sacrifices to bring about the conquests and/or reforms the leader wants but without the absolute, infallible, non-compromising goodwill like Muhammad’s he is bound to succumb to mean temptations and failing in justice and compassion commit atrocious and disgraceful acts, like lining his pocket at public expense, looking after relations and cronies, destroying rival talent that may do better than him and betraying loyal friends shamelessly. All these poison his image, reduce his stature and leave a taste of disappointment and disillusionment both as regards to his personal worth and the justice of his achievements. To take one recent example, who can doubt the genius and leadership talents of Mao Tse Tung who inspired hundreds of millions Chinese with his ideas and moved them by millions to first expel the corrupt nationalist regime and built in its place a socialist one with socialist economy and institutions? But at the same time his own associates and his country’s many best intellectuals became increasingly disgusted, horrified and critical of him because of his frequent crazy and grandiose and silly demands, their too quick and ill-thought mass implementation always involving massive wanton cruelty as well as his increasing encouragement of cultish worship of himself and his indulgence in various disgraceful acts and pastimes walled off from public view. All in all he sure achieved enormously big things but they involved so much madness, cruelty and treachery and self-indulgence that the overall result has been a giant with badly infected blood and festering tissues fed on lies and reared on servility. No surprise he is greatly discredited both at home and abroad. It is obvious then that to be great, very great in terms of visible and relatively durable achievement (like changing the world scene or the course of world events) is one thing while achieving justice and bringing happiness (as distinct from forcing or deceiving people to thank for things) is quite another. Among all great achievers Muhammad stands out unrivalled as one winning all winnable hearts and inspiring awe-struck love and overwhelming devotion. Why? Because of unverifiable spiritual claims which many spiritual conmen made throughout history and are making in our age, conmen who persuade others to worship them and in general are takers and not givers and certainly not forgivers? One may build a cult attracting millions in its spiritual and organisational mazes but improving his believers morals and serving their best interests is only possible when the leader himself is a moral giant with impeccable honesty, humility, self-sacrifice and universal compassion. Both the great Buddha and great Christ pass this test spectacularly but unfortunately for them and us we have not reliable information and adequate details about them or their way. To both were added many subsequent additions as well as made retouches and injected distortions until they became not just good men to lead other well-meaning mortals but gods, stern as often as kind, coldly and unconcernedly distant as often as near and caring. It is only in Muhammad that we have a really well-known figure and most-detailed character and actor that we feel we are in the presence a real and and not invented and embellished idol busy with superhuman business we have no hope of either deciphering or joining. Only in him we see the full and moving image of God’s human exemplar for us who is subject to all the needs and sufferings as unmitigatedly as we are, needs like food, shelter, company, human love and appreciation, interest in the opposite sex and having children and suffering because of deprivation, fatigue, disappointment, rude treatment, having doubts and pangs of conscience… all the myriads of human states and conditions we are genetically and socially heir to. Burdened and shackled with all these if one is able humbly and realistically to recognise and admit one’s weakness and shows the will and the ability to beat and conquer all that and speak the truth and deal honestly and kindly with all around him no matter the cost to his own demanding ego, abhors the suffering of and violence towards others as he abhors them for himself and resorts to fighting only when the compassionate benefits to all outweighs the loss and suffering to others and is only too ready to stop, forgive, forget and even REWARD the repentant… in fact often reward them more than his own loyal allies… all these are steeped in and ooze both kindness and wisdom of most unusual and greatest kind. In other words we have in our dear, humble and most disarmingly lovely mortal fully human Muhammad our ideal exemplar whose merits and achievements we ourselves can hope to duplicate at least in principle, like bearing with adversity, remaining honest and just under hopefully all circumstances, acting charitably and that with joy and despite our own need and if necessary fight and sacrifice in the way of truth and justice and overall good of fellow men. Equally, losing our myriad of prejudices and corrupting complexes and honouring all fellow men as our equals irrespective of race, country or creed so long they don’t reject or abuse the gesture or return it even with more prejudiced behaviour. And what is more, sincerely wishing that they are won over to the truth that we men and even all other fellow creatures are in the same boat sharing a nature that bears the hallmarks and trademark of a Single Creator Whose overruling attribute is kindness to all. In the religion of Muhammad kindness is a realistic kind of kindness and therefore not simplistic and absurd. We are required to show kindness to those who would truly benefit from it one particular benefit being their acquisition of kindness. If the recipient of our kindness becomes cynically unimpressed and even worse becomes more unkind or dangerous then that is where the Satan (pure, unmitigated human evil) is lurking and the Satan should be shown no kindness and given no quarter. Showing the Satan kindness, letting it be is a pious delusion on par with showing kindness to microbes that are definitely causing a child’s death, microbes like of hydrophobia, AIDS or tetanus. No doubts there are enough pious fools among us the moderns who lobby for the ‘rights’ of all sorts of human or animal pests disastrously blind to the cost of such kindness to the far more valuable beings like the more innocent and saner human beings. One particularly nasty example may be the extraordinary pains taken to protect criminals’ rights at the expense of making their apprehension, conviction and then punishment as difficult as they can be made with no regard for the suffering and despair caused to the victims and their friends or the same criminals’ potential for doing even worse in future. Such over- or rather pervert kind of kind people seem to suffer from a unbalanced and too intense imagination which works eccentrically and like a pus-sucking parasite cannot help looking for and landing and sucking at pustules and pimples to the exclusion of the vast healthy body who is suffering from these lesions. They want the lesions protected no matter how badly infected and how gravely threatening the rest of the body. Why? Because their too intense and laser-thin morbid imagination dwells too badly on the unlikely possibility that they may one day commit a crime and face its consequences. Therefore the more difficult they make the detection, apprehension, trial and punishment of criminals the less futuristic fear they will have to harbour and bear. As silly and primal and primitive as that despite the academic intelligence of at least some of them. I believe it is just the right opportunity to state an often unrecognised truth: Intelligence (‘dhaka’ in Arabic) is not the same as wisdom (‘aql) . Intelligence is like a computer which solves isolated problems. For its part wisdom is recognising the overall best course of action when the genuine, worthy interests of all concerned are objectively and fairly considered and as such it is the machine which shapes virtuous acts and emotions. For example a criminal may be so intelligent that he can outwit the best brains behind the law and order institutions of a country and avoid punishment. But had he been wise as well he could see that it is totally inhuman, unfair and disgraceful to act like he wants to or did act. And a True Religion and its True Prophet cannot fail to recognise this Satanical failing of men. That is why the Last and Greatest of the Messengers of and exemplars from God said “Deen al mar’u aqluhu, man la aqla lahu la deena lahu” , i.e. man’s religion consists of his wisdom. One who lacks wisdom lacks religion. That perhaps explains also why there are so many muslims professing religion but so few having the goods really and delivering the same. The same goes for all other great religions. Otherwise we could not have those intractable problems like the Kashmir, Palestine or Cyprus. In most cases the religious sections of such warring enemies are the worst instigators and most unwise policy advisers. And please note the designation ‘unwise’ and the irony: The top authority had said that religion consisted of wisdom. Why people fail so persistently to understand what faith and religion are rally all about we shall explore later.