From Tyranny to Liberty
Governments before Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, were absolute monarchies, dictatorships and tyrannies.
All the rights belonged to the rich and the powerful and none to the common people.
Most kings claimed to have the power of God behind their throne. And the claim of the kings to rule by Divine Right was never questioned.
Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, put an end to that nonsense too. He taught the world the lesson of Liberty and Human Equality.
“O People,” said the Qur’an that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, brought with him from God, in chapter 4 called “The Women.” “Fear your God, who created you all from one soul, and then from that one soul he created its mate, and then from the two of them he caused to spring forth many, many men and women.”
Can you imagine a more revolutionary message of human equality across race, class, gender and all other kinds of boundaries and barriers?
And all this not yesterday or today, but in the middle of the 7th Century!
Everyone knows what kind of a world it was in terms of race, class and gender disparity, discrimination and oppression. And yet this is the message Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, promulgated to the world.
This was also the divine blueprint on the basis of which Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, then set about building a most egalitarian society the world has never known.
If the European slave traders had mastered this message from the life of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, they would not have turned God’s world upside down by plying their evil trade in human flesh for centuries.
Government of the People by the People
That is one of the greatest legacies of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam: Government of the people by the people!
These beautiful words are attributed to Abraham Lincoln, an indomitable fighter for national unity and human liberty and equality. And rightly so, for, they are taken directly from his Gettysburg address.
Lincoln began his stunning address saying:
“… our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Here is what I want to ask everybody – Muslim or non-Muslim, American or otherwise: How would these words be different if a truly God-fearing Muslim had written them?
And how are these words not a reflection of, and a commentary upon, the words of the Qur’an – and of the Hadith: the most glorious and wondrous words and sayings of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam?
I am too stunned to speculate who took what from whom or how, but here, go read the words of the Qur’an yourself:
Wa inna haadhi-hi ummatukum ummatan waahidatan, wa ana rabbukum fa’budoon.
“Surely, this nation of yours is one nation, and I am your Lord, so worship me.”
Lincoln then goes on to end his address with the following words:
“…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
In many ways, these words capture the essence of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in this world.
They encapsulate his dealings with the people – his followers, whom he referred to as his Companions, Ashaab.
Though a message of mercy from God for all the worlds, he is ordered by God to say: Innamaa ana basharun mithlukum, yoohaa ilayya...
Paraphrase: “All I am is a human being just like you, even though I do receive revelation from God.”
Can anyone provide or point to a more solid or more iron-clad foundation of egalitarian republicanism and democracy than this?
And then these words of Abraham Lincoln embody the nature of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam’s dealings with other nations, peoples and societies, just as they reflect the nature and spirit of the rule of the four Rightly Guided Successors to the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, may God Almighty be pleased with them all.
So, this is what Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, gave the world in the realm of politics and government.
And it was this most glorious and divine dictum of human equality, limitless democracy, unbounded egalitarianism and universal republicanism that traveled down a most miraculous space-time continuum and found its echo in the words of Abraham Lincoln on the battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863, I think it was. No wonder an electrical charge runs down my spine every time I drive within touching distance of Gettysburg.
From Superstition to Rationality
Before Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, the world was steeped in superstition of every kind and description. Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, put an end to all that with a most powerful formula of no more than four words: No God but God.
Laa ilaaha Illaa Allah!
Prophet Abraham, may God bless him, taught that same message; as did Prophet Moses, may God bless him, in the Old Testament; and as did Prophet Jesus, son of Virgin Mary, may God bless them both, in the New Testament.
And then Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, changed the entire world using those same four words: Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allah!
No God but God!
And he made common sense and simple rationality, and not blind faith, the basis of belief in that proposition: No God but God.
Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, thus, abolished all religious tyrannies and priestly hierarchies and made every man – and, mark this, every woman – their own priest, fully qualified to and fully capable of shouldering that responsibility.
No revolution in human life was more profound or powerful than that.
May God Almighty bless him! Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
© 2012 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.