since we are on the threshold of the auspicious birth anniversary of God’s Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) which falls on Rabi al-Awwal 17 next Sunday, and are celebrating the Islamic Unit Week, now we present the first part of a special three-part feature on the state of Arabia and the world before the birth and mission of the Mercy unto the creation.
He did not speak or advocate the cause of some particular race or ethnic group, but stood up for all humanity irrespective of race, colour, class, language or geographical barriers. The Message he preached was universal, transgressing all obstacles whether artificial or otherwise. A Message so complete and comprehensive that it not only revolutionised the era in which it was proclaimed, but even today its timeless beauty has lost none of the original charm and continues its profound appeal to the human intellect. What was that unique Message and who was the Messenger? Is it capable of solving the modern world's myriad problem? Will it cater to the complicated aspects, characteristics and needs of human beings, especially those of contemporary man? Does it provide political or social answers? Can it stimulate the intellect for scientific and technical discoveries? How about morals and spiritual aspects? Did the Messenger set any worthy example by practicing what he preached, or was he just one of those fanciful visionaries?
The answer to all the above mentioned questions and even many more is, YES, it does. If the principles of this immortal message are sincerely observed, and if we are ready to tread the footsteps of that fantastic man, not only does it guarantee us a harmonious co-existence on this earth but also a blissful life in the hereafter. The moment modern man is ready to cast aside his bunkered lenses of prejudice and vain pride, he will understand that the eternal truth called 'Islam' and the final Prophet named MOHAMMAD were not something special or essential to the Arabia of 14 centuries ago, but are capable of remarkably solving the complex issues of our era, the Space Age. Islam is a derivative of the word 'Salaam' (or peace) and literally means submission. Submission to none except the One and only Allah, Who designed this vast universe, shaped the human race as the most excellent form of life, and moreover endowed them the power of intellect. Wonderful indeed! Because this unique submission frees mankind from all other forms of submission to idols, objects, ideas and the supposedly mysterious powers of nature. As it is quite clear, Islam was not just some spontaneous burst or mirage on the burning sands of Arabia. In fact it marks the culmination and perfection of all previous divine messages ever revealed. And to carry out the great task of proclaiming His final message, the Almighty chose Mohammad (the Admirable) as the last Prophet, who was prophesied in all earlier Scriptures and whose life-style serves as a perfect model for us.
What can we say about a man who changed the destiny of the world and saved the human race from sure disaster! The loss in words becomes more apparent when we consider that he was divinely chosen for this great task and carried out the mission entrusted, in a most impeccable and flawless manner. He was every inch a perfect man, so complete that even his detractors and enemies could not find the smallest fault in his glowing personality. When the Qur'an describes him as the "Noblest Exemplar" for the human race including generations to come, it becomes all the more obvious that Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) was something extraordinary and endowed with all fine qualities such as patience, courage, wisdom, generosity, intelligence, love and magnanimity - to cite a few - which show us how to mold our own lives. When Almighty Allah sent His last and greatest Prophet, Mohammad (SAWA), mankind was immersed in a state of degeneration. The messages of the past prophets had been distorted and ignored, civilisation was on the decline and humanity had slumped into an age of darkness, with disbelief, oppression and corruption rife everywhere. The whole world presented the gloomiest picture ever of human history. Hence, the terming by the Qur’an of this chaotic state of affairs as 'Ignorance', or to put it exactly in the words the Holy Book has used 'Jahiliyah'.
Consequently it is incorrect to view 'Jahiliyah' as something of the remote past, for it is quite clear from the terminology of the Qur’an that any people rejecting Divine Messengers, turning a deaf ear to the Almighty's revelations and overcome with carnal desires, can aptly be termed an ignorant lot. Therefore broadly speaking, the term 'Jahiliyah' is not limited to any particular era cut can also be applied to all similar societies irrespective of whether they existed in the past or are still found in our contemporary era, the so-called, Space Age. Accordingly, it is easy to recognise the symptoms of 'Jahiliyah', because the salient features of such a society are disbelief, deviation, breach of divine commandments, spread of injustice and vices such as usury, drinking alcohol, adultery, gambling, bloodshed, moral decadence, etc. Thus any society in which such perversions prevail is without doubt 'Jahiliyah'. Such was the sad state of affairs in which mankind lived, before Allah sent them a Prophet, describing him as a 'Mercy for the creation'. The Arabs among whom Mohammad (SAWA) was born were fragmented into a number of heterogeneous tribes constantly engaged in internecine bloodshed. They had replaced Abraham's monotheism with the worship of idols, stars, angels and demons, turning the Ka'ba built for the One and Only Creator, into a pantheon of idols. Tribal rivalries and blood feuds, fuelled among them like the burning desert sands of Arabia.