A hard state of affairs stood in the
face of the Prophet of Islam r. The existing state of
the Arabian Peninsula, of the whole earth.1
It was overcome with flawed, deeply-rooted beliefs, concepts,
values, standards, systems, and laws of life.
A long history, overlapping interests, and diverse powers
backed this established state of affairs, which stood as a barrier in the face
of Islam. Islam is not satisfied with only changing beliefs, goals, manners,
feelings, values, principles, and customs, but insists on changing regimes,
laws, systems, status quo, distribution of wealth, and acting for the good of
the earth. It also insists on grasping away the leadership of humanity from the
hands of false gods and handing it back to Allah and Islam.
Truly, the gap between Islam the day it came and the people was
abysmal, and the spiritual uplift it wanted to provide was a long way from
where they were.
How was one man, Muhammad bin Abdullah r, able to stand alone in
the face of the whole world – or at least in the face of the Arabian Peninsula
– at the beginning of the Islamic Call?
With what power was he r able to stand alone
in the face of all the chiefs of Quraish and their body of beliefs, laws, and
interests, and then to change all this and establish the new system?
He r did not compliment their beliefs and ideologies.
He r did not flatter their feelings and thoughts.
He r did
not make peace with their idols and masters.
He r did
not soften in his position or allow any compromises.
Rather, he r was commanded to tell them right from the first days, while
still in Makkah, where all forces were rallying and conspiring against him: (Say, “O disbelievers! I
do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshipers of what I worship. Nor
will I be a worshiper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshipers of what I
worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”)2
r not only declared his
religion and worship to be completely separate from theirs, stressing an
absolute disunity devoid of any chance of ever meeting, but was also commanded
to make them despair of any future prospect of agreeing, repeating to them: (“Nor
will I be a worshiper of what you worship.”) He r persisted in stressing
absolute separation in this matter, without any possibility of their beliefs
you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”)
r did not dazzle them
with a claim of secret power, or superhuman qualities, or mystic sources;
rather, he r was commanded to tell
them: (Say (O Muhammad), “I do
not tell you that with me are the Treasures of Allah, nor (that) I know the
Unseen; nor do I tell you that I am an angel. I but follow what is revealed to
(Say (O Muhammad), “I
possess no power of benefit or harm to myself except as Allah wills. If I had
the knowledge of the Unseen, I should have secured for myself an abundance of
wealth, and no evil should have touched me. I am but a warner, and a bringer of
glad tidings unto people who believe.”)4
(Say (O Muhammad),
“Indeed, I do not possess for you (the power of) harm or right direction.” Say,
“Indeed, nobody will ever protect me from Allah (if I should disobey), nor will
I find in other than Him a refuge.”)5
did he r position himself as the intermediary
between the worshipers and their Lord through whom worship, prayers,
supplications, and sacrifices are offered. Or a bestower of blessings and
forgiveness, sitting to hear people lay bare their faults and sins and then
administering sacraments of penance, for: (Who can forgive sins
mission r was just to show the
way for each individual to personally call upon the Lord of Existence, praying
directly to Him Alone: (It is You we worship
and You we ask for help. Guide us to the Straight Path. The Path of those upon
whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the path) of those who have earned Your
Anger, nor of those who have gone astray.)7
he r did not distribute
promises of special titles, authority, or riches to those who may choose to
follow him when he r triumphed over his
opponents; rather, they would just be believers, just be Muslims. Ibn Ishaq
The Prophet r used
to present himself to the tribes during the Hajj season, saying, “O people
of so-and-so! I am the Messenger of Allah to you, Who commands that you worship
Allah and associate nothing with Him; that you cast off the rivals (false
idols) you worship instead of (or besides) Him; and that you believe in me,
affirm your faith in me, and protect me until I clarify on behalf of Allah what
(the Message) He sent me with.”
He r presented himself to
the tribe of Amir bin Sa‘sa‘ah and called them to believe in Allah U. A man among them, named Bahirah bin
Firas, said, “By Allah, if I take this youth from Quraish, I will master the
Arabs by him.”
Then he said,
“Tell me, if we pledge allegiance to you regarding your matter, then Allah
grants you victory over those who oppose you, will the matter be ours after you?”
The Prophet r said, “The matter
belongs to Allah. He places it wherever (with whom) He likes.”
replied, “Will our chests be aimed at by the Arabs for your sake, then when
Allah grants you victory the matter goes to other than us? We have no need of
your matter.” And they rejected him.8
is simply the work of the invincible power of truth: (Truth has come and falsehood
has vanished. Surely, falsehood is ever bound to vanish.)9
is simply the work of the invincible power of the True Word “لا إله إلا الله (There is no god but
that Prophet Muhammad r cried
out, which naturally makes its way into the human soul with an awakening
stimulus to the human Fitrah (pure inborn nature), calling it back to
its Creator after straying and error. For the Word and Meaning
are ingrained by the Maker into the soul’s very being. It innately knows and
accepts no other God than Him as innately as it knows to breathe. (“Am
I not your Lord?” They said. “Yes. We testify,” lest you should say on the Day
of Resurrection, “Verily, we have been unaware of this.”)10
It is the Good Word, “لا إله إلا الله”, the branches of which reach heaven and yields
continual blessings and benefits. (A good word is as a
good tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (high) in the sky. It
gives its fruit at all times, by the Leave of its Lord. And Allah sets forth
parables for mankind in order that they may remember.)11
is the Firm Word, “لا إله إلا
roots of which anchor humanity firmly in the life of this world and in the
hereafter. (Allah keeps firm those
who believe, with the Firm Word, in worldly life and in the hereafter.)12
This chapter is adapted from Sayyid Qutb, Hadha Adin (This Religion),
chapter of Fund of Fitrah, Dar Al-Shorouk.
Translated meanings of Al-Kafirun 109: 1-6.
Translated meanings of Al-An‘am 6: 50.
Translated meanings of Al-A‘raf 7: 188.
Translated meanings of Al-Jinn 72: 21-22.
Translated meanings of Al-‘Imran 3: 135.
Translated meanings of Al-Fatihah 1: 5-7.
8 Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah, The Messenger of Allah r Presenting Himself to
the Tribes, vol. 2,
Translated meanings of Al-Isra’ 17: 81.
meanings of Al-A‘raf 7: 172.
Translated meanings of Ibrahim 14: 24-25.
Translated meanings of Ibrahim 14: 27.