How Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, Changed the World

 

How Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, Changed the World

Dr. Pasha

(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur’an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It —
And which One Does Not?)

 

The World Before and After Prophet Muhammad,
Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam

Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, came into this world in the 7th Century. He changed that world, from the way it was to pretty much the way it is today.

That means a lot of the things that you see in the world today, and you think they are all good, and you like them, chances are many of them are traceable to the teachings and legacy of Prophet, Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.

What I am about to say here is not an expression of my faith as a Muslim, but a simple statement of empirical truth. That means anyone anywhere can take any of what I am saying here and subject it to a Truth-Test of their own.

By that I mean they can go and do their own independent research and decide if what I am saying is true or not.

So all you need to do is to see the world the way it was before Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and compare that world to the way it became after Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. The change is attributable in large part to Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and his teachings.

So, here is a simple enumeration of some of the ways in which Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, changed the world.

After reading every point or argument I make, ask yourself whether what I am saying is true or not true.

Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam,
Gave the World the Gift of Reading

That is right. In the world before Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, reading generally used to be the prerogative of the royal family; of the families of the nobles and aristocrats; and of the clerical and priestly classes.

Others were often discouraged or even prevented from learning to read and write. In some instances, they were punished. That is how the world was before Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.

That situation changed completely after Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. The very first word that he brought from God in the Qur’an commanded everyone everywhere, male as well as female, to read.

“Read! Iqra’,” said the Qur’an to the world, in the middle of the 7th Century, and the world never looked back. Today, in the 21st Century, learning to read and write is one of the most pressing and popular priorities throughout the world, no matter what one’s race, religion, class, age or gender.

So, the gift of universal male-female literacy, across races and classes, is one of the most profound ways in which Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, changed the world.

Female Liberation

Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, gave women their freedom and dignity.

Before Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, women everywhere were in bondage.

Europeans wondered if women had a soul. They called women the Instrument of the Devil and Gateway to Hell.

They denied women the right to inherit their parents’ or husbands’ property.

In Arabia, fathers buried their own daughters alive.

The Qur’an put an end to all this nonsense. It promulgated the principle of male-female parity in reward and punishment – worldly and other-worldly. And it made women partners of males in the inheritance process.      

Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, thus gave women their liberty and dignity.

Qur’an, the book that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, brought from God, does not have a chapter called “Arabs,” even though the desert-dwelling Arabs were its first addressees and the Qur’an was revealed in their language – Arabic.

Nor does the Qur’an have a chapter called “The Men,” even though the whole world sang the praises of men all the time, and even though our own language until yesterday, through the 1970s, and even through the 1980s, shall we say, continued to be male-centric and male-gendered.

And yet, the Qur’an has a chapter called “The Women” – Annisaa’ – going back 1400 years.

Annisaa’ or “The Women” is the fourth chapter of the Qur’an and it is also one of the longest chapters of the Qur’an.

This is the kind of glorious revolution that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, brought about in the status of women in the world.

 Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, Set Humanity Free

Before Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, humanity was in chains.

The world belonged to the kings and to the rich. And ordinary human beings were their property.

The broad mass of humanity was called serfs, riffraff, villains, peasants and everything else. Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, set human beings free and gave them the most honored title of “The People.”

America ought to be proud, and rightly so, for having used in her Constitution the words “We the People.” That expression, the People, is a direct throwback to the Qur’an.

I am providing below the words of the Constitution of the United States of America. But I want to know if anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, American or otherwise, ever wondered how supremely suffused these words are with the spirit of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, from the middle of the 7th Century.

So, here is the Constitution of the United States:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” (I have let the original spelling stand in the quote).

Which part of this paragraph is not a direct throwback to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam?

Did anyone ever wonder where America got her Golden Fleece from? From the Qur’an of course, from the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, from where else?

Just go and check: the Qur’an uses the word Annaas over 200 times to connote the concept of “The People.

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.

Paraphrase:

“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!

END

© 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.