THE SAVIOUR OF MANKIND
Arabia is a land of unparalleled charm and beauty, with its trackless deserts of sand dunes in the dazzling rays of a tropical sun. Its starry sky has excited the imagination of poets and travellers. It was in this land that the Rasool (SAW) was born, in the city of Makkah, which is about fifty miles from the Red Sea.
The Arabs possessed a remarkable memory and were an eloquent people. Their eloquence and memory found expression in their poetry. Every year a fair was held for poetical competitions at Ukaz. It is narrated that Hammad said to Caliph Walid bin Yazid: "I can recite to you, for each letter of the alphabet, one hundred long poems, without taking into account short pieces, and all of that composed exclusively by poets before the promulgation of Islam." It is no small wonder that Allah Almighty chose the Arabic language for His final dispensation and preservation of His Word.
(iii)In the fifth and sixth centuries, mankind stood on the verge of chaos. It seemed that the civilization which had taken four thousand years to grow had started crumbling. At this point in time, Allah Almighty raised a Rasool from among themselves who was to lift the humanity from ignorance into the light of faith. When Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) was thirty-eight years of age, he spent most of his time in solitude and meditation. In the cave of Hira, he used to retire with food and water and spend days and weeks in remembrance of Allah Almighty.
(iv)The period of waiting had come to a close. His heart was overflowing with profound compassion for humanity. He had a pressing urge to eradicate wrong beliefs, social evils, cruelty and injustice. The moment had arrived when he was to be bestowed with nabuwat. One day, when he was in the cave of Hira, Hazrat Jibril (Gabriel) (AS) came and conveyed him the following message of Allah Almighty: Read in the name of thy Lord Who created; created man from a clot (of congealed blood): Read and thy Lord is most Bountiful, Who taught (the use of) the pen, taught man that which he not not. (Quran, 96: 1-5)
(v)The revelation of the Divine message which continued for the next twenty-three years had begun, and the Rasool (SAW) had arisen to proclaim Oneness of Allah (Tauheed) and the unity of mankind. His mission was to destroy the nexus of superstition, ignorance, and disbelief, set up a noble conception of life and lead mankind to the light of faith and divine bliss.
(vi)Since this belief was threatening their dominance in the society, the pagan Arabs started to mount pressure on the Rasool (SAW) and his followers. They wanted them to renounce their cause and take to idol-worshipping. On one occasion, they sent a delegation to the Rasool's (SAW) kind and caring uncle, Abu Talib. They told him to restrain the Rasool (SAW) from preaching Allah Almighty's message, or face their enmity. Finding himself in a dilemma, he sent for his nephew, and explained to him the situation. The Rasool (SAW) responded with these memorable words:My dear uncle, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, even then I shall not abandon the proclamation of the Oneness of Allah (Tauheed). I shall set up the true faith upon the earth or perish in the attempt.
(vii)The Rasool's (SAW) uncle was so impressed with his nephew's firm determination that he replied, "Son of my brother, go thy way, none will dare touch thee. I shall never forsake thee." And the Rasool (SAW) did go the way Allah Almighty had chosen for mankind. Imbued with Divine Guidance and firm resolve, the Rasool (SAW) encountered all the challenges with grace and dignity. In no time he elevated man to the highest possible level in both spiritual and worldly domains. He was also a driving force behind Arab conquests, which have created an everlasting impression on human history. No wonder, he is universally acknowledged as the most influential figure in history. In the words of Michael Hart, a great historian:
(viii)"Muhammad (SAW), however, was responsible for both the theology of Islam and its main ethical and moral principles. In addition he played a key role in proselytizing the new faith, and in establishing the religious practices ... In fact as the driving force behind the Arab conquests, he may well rank as the most influential political leader of all time ... The Arab conquests of the seventh century have continued to play an important role in human history, down to the present day."
(ix)Such a thorough transformation of man and society owes to the Rasool's (SAW) deep faith in Allah Almighty, to his love for humanity, and to the nobility of his character. Indeed, his life is a perfect model to follow. In reply to a question about the life of the Rasool (SAW), Hazrat Ayesha (RA) said, "His morals and character are an embodiment of the Holy Quran." The final word about the saviour of mankind goes to the Holy Quran: O Nabi! Surely, We have sent you as a witness, and as a bearer of good news and as a warner. And as one inviting to Allah by His permission, and as a light-giving torch. (Quran, 33: 45-46)