In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate ---- Salaam everybody, and heartiest congratulations to you all on a very great day. Today is the day of resurgence of humanitarian values. It is the day of revival of monotheism. It is the day when virtue triumphed over vice. To be more precise, it is the 27th of Rajab, the day on which God formally appointed Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) as the Last and Greatest Prophet with the universal message of Islam.
Now we have a special feature on this glorious day, celebrated as Mab’ath or resurgence of good and righteousness.
The holy Qur’an informs us in ayah 164 of Surah Aal-e Imran:
"Allah certainly favoured the faithful when He raised up among them the Prophet from among themselves to recite to them His signs and to purify them, and to teach them the Book and wisdom, and earlier they had indeed been in manifest error."
The descent of Archangel Gabriel with the formal entrustment of the divine mission to the 40-year old Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) while he was engrossed in prayer and worship at Cave Hera on Mount Noor outside Mecca begins a new chapter in the history of civilization. It is the day that revolutionized the world, which was passing through a critical juncture, with ignorance and injustice spread all around. There was widespread oppression, violation of rights, discrimination against women, corruption, exploitation of the weak, pursuit of carnal desires and worship of idols, fire, spirits, and the forces of nature. The Arabian Peninsula had sunk to its lowest level. Superstition, including infanticide, was rife. The pathetic situation could be gauged from what a person named Qays ibn Assem, on being enlightened with the message of Islam, came to Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and admitted: O Messenger of God, in the days of Jahiliyya I buried alive eight of my daughters for fear of shame – since on growing up they might bring disgrace to me in that environment of immorality.
The Prophet was aggrieved on hearing this as tears flowed from his eyes. He was sent by God as “Mercy unto all the creation”, as the holy Qur’an informs us in ayah 107 of Surah Anbiya. He thus strove to dispel darkness from Mecca, Medina, Hijaz, the Arabian Peninsula, and eventually all the world, since ignorance, arrogance, irrationality, immorality, and idol-worship was not confined to the Arabs, but was also widespread in the supposed civilized lands. The situation of the Iranian society was chaotic with injustice everywhere as rulers rose and fell, and the Zoroastrian priestly class imposed fire-worship and heavy taxes on the people. In the Christianized Roman and Byzantine Empires, people had long deviated from the monotheistic message of the Virgin-born Messiah and were worshipping the Trinity. In India, the discriminatory caste system and the multiplicity of the pantheon of deities was on a par with the Arabs, if not worse. In China, the Sui Dynasty, claiming to follow the supposedly peaceful teachings of the Buddha had embarked on one of the worst bloodbaths in history. The Turks were immersed in Shamanism, and the Africans in the sub-Sahara region in animism. To quote Imam Ali (AS) from his sermon 89 of the Nahj al-Balagha:
“Allah sent the Prophet – Muhammad (SAWA) – after the mission of other Prophets had stopped and the peoples were in slumber for a long time. Evils were raising heads, all matters were under disruption and in flames of wars, while the world was devoid of brightness, and full of open deceitfulness. Its leaves had turned yellow and there was absence of hope about its fruits and its water had gone underground. The minarets of guidance had disappeared and signs of destruction had appeared. It was stern to its people and frowned in the face of its seeker. Its fruit was vice and its food was carcass. Its inner dress was fear and outer cover was sword.”
The invitation of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) to Islam was based on the intellect and reasoning. The holy Qur’an calls on all people to think, to ponder, and to accept what the intellect confirms. The Prophet thus instilled in the people the benefits of rationality, and to desist from superstitions. For instance, when his infant son, Ibrahim passed away, the Prophet wept and personally laid him to rest. When a solar eclipse occurred that day, he promptly said this is not a great calamity nor due to his son’s death, but is part of the laws of God pertaining to the phenomena of nature and the orbit of the earth around the sun – while the moon has its own orbital cycle around the earth, and periodically comes in between to briefly block sunshine. These are all signs of the Majesty of Allah. Through such words and his personal behaviour he set the precedent for proper pondering and thinking amongst Muslims so that they strive to discover the wonders of creation through study, research and analysis of the nature and the environment. It is the intellect and its proper use that teaches us to discover the Oneness of God Almighty, mission of the Prophet and revelation of the holy Qur’an. It is the intellect that helps us distinguish the truth from falsehood, right from wrong, and virtue from vice. This is the dynamism of Islam.
On the importance of the intellect in the light of the holy Qur’an, the Late Iranian Islamic Philosopher, Allamah Seyyed Mohammad Hussain Tabatabaie has said: “If we study the holy Qur’an we will see that over 300 ayahs invite people to think and ponder in order to discover the truth and to avoid evil. In view of this fact, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) laid emphasis on contemplation and the pursuit of knowledge even if it is found in a distant place. His famous expression still rings out clearly for us that “Seek knowledge, even if it is China – then a far off place from Arabia. The Prophet attached great significance to acquisition of knowledge. It has been narrated that once during a battle when the Muslims took several pagan Arabs and captives, including some literate persons amongst them, the Prophet promised to release the literate infidels on condition they taught reading and writing to the Muslims. So brilliant was his move that not only the Muslims started acquiring literacy but many of the freed polytheists, later decided to embrace the truth of Islam, impressed by its rationality. In view of these undeniable facts, it is rather unfortunate that some deviated elements, who call themselves Muslims, senselessly attack educational centers and prevent children and woman from learning. These deviated persons attribute their wrong deeds to the revival of the Prophet’s sunnah, while in fact they are following the evil ways of the pagan Arabs.
Recently a group in Nigeria has kidnapped around 300 innocent schoolgirls on the charge that their education was based on non-Muslim sources. These deviated elements seem to be oblivious of the fact that the Prophet hired the services of non-Muslims to teach Muslims reading and writing. Moreover, he called for seeking knowledge from China, a country which in those days was scientifically advanced, like today’s West, but was devoid of Muslims. True Muslims ought to shun such heretical groups like the Wahhabis, Salafis, and Takfiris, who are distorting the image of Islam. It is indeed a great honour for us to be Muslim adhering to the path of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and the Infallible Imams of his Ahl al-Bayt, who were beacons of light, and repositories of knowledge and wisdom. It is only genuine Islam which teaches us to build morally sound, healthy, and peaceful societies, where justice could be established and all forms of corruption and oppression are removed. Only then will Islam influence the hearts of non Muslims and all other seekers of truth. Once again we offer you heartiest felicitations on the Day of Mab’ath, the formal appointment of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) as the Last and Greatest Messenger of God with the universal message of Islam. Here we present you a poem from Iran’s English language poet, Dr. Hassan Najafi on this glorious occasion.
A peep into pre-Islamic Arabia
It was the society of Jahiliyya,
Morals had sunk low,
To the idols the Arabs did bow,
Sword alone decided disputes,
Blood flowed, no one refutes,
Revenge knew no bound no place
Generations passed a victim to trace.
When one had killed one’s hen
Five camels were killed and youths seven.
Thus the dispute ended after forty years,
In the tent none remained but a woman, her tears.
Gambling another aspect of life
Among old and young it was rife.
God was not one, several
In wood, stone, animal,
More than three hundred deities existed,
No one challenged nor resisted,
So, such the environment such the conditions
Such the circumstances, in such divisions
Ignorance not confined to Arabia,
Was rife in Rome, Iran, China, India
Fire worship and idolatry,
Christians immersed in trinity,
Humanity cried in desperation,
O God, send someone for mediation,
The Last Prophet raised in such a situation,
With the universal message of Islam for salvation
In the monotheistic clan of Bani Hashem
Descended from Abraham to end mayhem
Muhammad, the 40-year old gentleman,
God chose him as the universal helmsman,
His mission the previous prophets had foretold,
He destined to deliver humanity from the dark hold,
Pull people out from dark deep ignorance
Push them into moral, conduct, tolerance.
We can’t understand what extent he suffered
Now after centuries see Wahhabis how differed.
If only these ignorant heretics would understand,
It is the love of Ali that gives humanity the dignified stand
Din of clamour first from Saqifa arose,
Flames from the House of Zahra rose,
See how ungrateful is man
Even the direction of Qur’an overran.
“Say (O Prophet): I don’t want any wage from you
Just endear my family; this the only due.”