The Religion Of Islam vol.1


  • bookcover

  • The Religion Of Islam vol.1


  • XIV

    The Social Organisation of Islam

    The Prophet Mohammed did not only promulgate a religion, but he also laid down a complete social system, containing minute regulations for a man’s conduct in all circumstances of life, with due remarks and penalties, according to his fulfillment or otherwise of these rules. The social and the religious parts of Islam are so inseparably bound up that it is impossible to cut off the one from the other without destroying both. Religion according to Islam should not only lay down the law of relation of man to God, but should also regulate and distinctly define the proper relation between man and his fellow-creatures.

    The Holy Koran inculcates the softer virtues, such as friendliness, good temper, affability of manners, hospitality, forgiveness, fairness, in dealing, regard for superiors, kind treatment of inferiors, respect for women, care of orphans, tending the sick, helping the helpless and the destitute, with a force and persuasion which it is difficult to find elsewhere. The critics of Islam have for most part expressed their unstinted admiration for the heroic, or sterner virtues, to wit: patient endurance, fortitude, love of truth under personal risk, courage and manly independence, which Islam has always exalted and in the practice of which the Prophet himself and the early Moslems were so marvelously distinguished; but these critics often forget that Islam enjoins with equal emphasis the cultivation of the gentler virtues too. Lessons of modesty and benevolence and charity have been so often reiterated in the Koran; and again, these virtues form so conspicuous an element in the life and conduct of the Prophet and his companions, that Islam can justly claim to be ranked as a Religion of Love. Every chapter of the Holy Koran begins with the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.” [1]

    The Prophet of Islam has been denominated in the Koran as “the tender, the compassionate,’ and ‘the mercy for the universe.’ Himself the tenderest and the most loving of men, he was never tired of preaching to his followers the brotherhood of man and humanity to all God’s creatures. “How do you think,” he asks, “God will know you when you are in His presence? “By your love of your children, by your love of your kin, of your neighbours, of fellow- creatures.” He displayed the greatest consideration for the feelings and sensibilities of others. He loved his wives, and was kind to his servants. He was particularly fond of little children and discouraged the use of the rod for their correction. He enjoined humanity even to dumb animals.

    Such being the ethics of the Koran and the teachings of the Apostle of Islam, it is easy to form some idea of the exact nature and extent of the change wrought thereby in the life and thought of the Arabs. Some of the first few converts to Islam, unable to bear persecutions at the hands of the idolaters, sought refuge in Abyssinia. When asked by the Negus as to the reason why they had left country, Jaafar, a cousin of the Prophet, spoke thus as the mouthpiece of the small band of refugees: “O King, we lived in ignorance, idolatry and unchastity; the strong oppressed the weak, we spoke untruth; we violated the duties of hospitality. Then a prophet arose, one whom we know from our youth, with whose descent and conduct and good faith we are all acquainted. He told us to worship one God, to keep good faith to, assist our relatives, to fulfill the rights of hospitality, and to abstain from all things impure ungodly, unrighteous. And he ordered us to say prayers, give alms, and to fast. We believed in him; we followed him. But our countrymen persecuted us, tortured us and tried to cause us to forsake our religion; and now we throw ourselves upon thy protection. Wilt thou not protect us?”

     

    Dealing with this great spiritual revolution, Sir William Muir observes as follows:- “Never since the days when primitive Christianity startled the world from its sleep, had men seen the like arousing of spiritual life…Thirteen years before the “Hijra’, Mecca lay lifeless in its debased state. What a change had those thirteen years now produced. A band of several hundred persons had rejected idolatry, adopted the worship of one God, and surrendered themselves implicitly to the guidance of what they believed a Revelation from Him; praying to the Almighty with frequency and fervour, looking for pardon through His Mercy and striving to follow after good works, alms–giving, purity and justice. They now lived under the constant sense of the omnipotent power of God and of His providential care over the minutest of their concerns. In all the gifts of nature, in every relation of life, at each turn of their affairs, individual or public, they saw His hand. Mohammed was minister of life to them, the source under God of their new–born hopes, and to Him they yielded an implicit submission.” [2]

     

    ([1]) Stanley Lane Poole. 

    ([2]) Sir William Muir’s “Life of Mohammed.”

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