study of value, conditions and method of propagation according to the prophet’s manner -4

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Another condition for invitation to Islam is the issue of fear of Allah and dread. The Holy Quran says: “….Who delivered the message of Allah and feared Him, and feared none save Allah.”

This is one of the verses which breakes one’s back with the heavy burden of responsibility. It explains that propagators of religion, who convey God’s message to people, should essentially possess two qualifications: First they should themselves fear God: “….The learned or erudite among His servants fear Allah alone.” The Holy Quran ( 35:28)

One of the prayers of the Holy Prophet (S), recommended for recitation on the night of the 15 Shaban, the birth anniversary of the twelfth Imam is this:

“O God! distribute to use Thy fear so that it stands between us and doing any wrong, and Thy obedience so that it leads us to your Paradise, and Thy faith so that we bear with ease the hardships in this world.” (Mafaith –al- Jinan)

A propagator should himself fear Allah in a way that the fear and greatness of God should overpower his heart, so as to control and restrain him the instant he intends to do something wrong.

The second qualification for a propagator is to fear none but God.

The Difference Between Fear and Dread
There is a nuance or difference between fear of God and dread. Dread concerns one’s future and end. Fear of God is a state of mind in which one dares not commit wrong. The Holy Quran says the propagators for Allah’s cause fear Him so much that they dare not do wrong, or even show the slightest disobedience to Him. On the other hand, when they face anyone other than God they are quite brave and dauntless.

Steadfastness
Another characteristic of the Prophet, and especially of the Holy Prophet, Muhammad (S), is their steadfastness and courage.

A western writer has written a book entitled: “Muhammad (S), Prophet whom we should know again”, which despite its flaws, contains two points worthy mentioning. These two points have been well- presented in this book and probably no other book has been able to depict them so well. The first point is the Holy Prophet’s even the non- Muslims can’t deny. The second characteristic is the his steadfastness, that is persisted in his decisions and policies under all conditions. Many happenings during his lifetime apparently seemed so pessimistic that anybody else would have lost hope and surrendered, but the Holy Prophet (S) remained steady and stable like a mountain.

Reminding
The other issue in invitation ( to Islam) and propagation is the issue of reminding. The Holy Quran mention this: “…And continue to remind them, for reminding profiteth believers.” The Holy Quran .( 51: 55)

In another verse It says: “ Remind them, for thou art but a remembrancer, thou art not at all a watcher over them. But Whosoever turns back and disbelieves, Allah will punish him with severe punishment”. The Holy Quran, ( 83: 21-24)

Provoking Thought and Reminding
Two subjects have been mentioned side by side in the Holy Quran: Provoking thought and reminding.
Provoking thought means thinking about something that one doesn’t know and discovering something which one was ignorant of.

Reminding means bringing to remembrance what one already knows. In other words, there are two states of mind viz ignorance and sleepiness. Sometimes one is ignorant of his environment because he is unaware and not awake. sometimes one is ignorant of his environment because he is in a state of sleep or dream, and therefore can not make use of his knowledge. This is apparently condition of dream. God reminds His Holy Prophet that he is not only faced with ignorant people but with negligent ones too. Then He orders him to provoke thought in the ignorant to acquire knowledge, but to remind the negligent and the learned. People are generally negligent, but the ignorant are few. He tells the Prophet to remind those who are negligent and provoke thought in those who are ignorant so that when they become aware, they will tackle their own problems. Suppose a man is asleep and his train is about to leave. If you awaken such a person he will hurriedly run for his train and you need not remind him of the disadvantages of sleeping. The hidden sentiments are like that too. That Holy Prophet came to awaken such feeling. Faith is aroused by self vigilance of one’s hidden sentiments, and therefore in Islam there is no compulsion in faith:

“ There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from the wrong. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah has grasped a firm handle which will never break or yield. Allah is Hearer, Knower.” The Holy Quran, (2: 256)

There is no compulsion in religion and what the Prophets are after is faith, not apparent and coercive religion. Faith is belief, interest and tendency, and this can’t be achieved through force. The correct way is to appeal to wisdom and fair exhortation.

Ali (A.S) once said, “Ask me before you lose me! O people! Ask me question and I will Answer it. I know the answers to the heavenly ways better that the worldly ones. At that point, an Arab Jew rose in protest and rudely said, you don’t. Can you answer any question you are asked “Some of Ali ‘s companions wanted to give him a rude answer, but Ali stopped them and said, “The ways of God could not be implemented through force. If this man has questions let him ask me. If I answer his question, he will be ashamed of his rude behaviour and will change.”

The Key to implement and establish divine knowledge with reason is gentleness and to appeal to heart ,soul and thought. This is how invitation should be.

Whenever Hussain (A.S) ecountered an enemy, he would fight bravely. But while facing people whom he intended to guide to the right path, he would use humility and ignore their lack of attention.

Many bring up the question as to whether calling unto God in Islam is based on compulsion or free will. This is an issue used by Christian priests to criticize Islam, calling it “religion of sword”. They have mistaken Islam for a religion based on mere force. The Holy Quran, however, says:

“ Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and discuss and reason with them in the best manner”. The Holy Quran, ( 16: 125)

Even is some of their books, they have caricatures depicting a man with the Holy Quran in one hand and a sword in the other, while he is standing over someone, implying that either one should accept Islam or have his head cut off. Unfortunately, some ignorant Muslims say things which are not in accord with history nor with the Holy Quran. Thus, they confirm the enemies’ criticism.

They misinterpret thing and mention what is party true, reflecting upon only one aspect of Islam, and provide pretexts for enemies. To condemn Islam for example, they say that two factors were effective in Islam’s victory: the wealth of Khadija and the sword of Ali ( A.S). Mark the words: wealth! and force! If a religion spreads with wealth and force, what kind of religion will it be?

The Holy Quran never mentions even once that Islam progressed in this way. There is no doubt that the wealth of Khadija was effective in propagation Islam, but it does not mean that money was paid to people to become Muslims. She never did so, but she gave all her property to the Holy Prophet (S) to help the needy. Muslims in their daily life. She was a wealthy woman in comparison to others, but she was not capitalist, or a millionaire, as the terms are applied today. Mecca was a small town then and were it not for the wealth of Khadija, probably poverty would have rooted out the Muslims. The wealth of Khadija helped, but not in the sense of bribing people to become Muslims. It saved the life of the poverty- stricken muslims. Ali ‘s sword, no doubt helped in propagating Islam, too. Were it into for the sword of Ali (A.S), Islam would have had a different fate.

This, however, does not mean that (A.S) forced people with his sword to become Muslims. On the contrary, it means that while the enemy prepared to root out Islam by force, Ali (A.S) faced them bravely in defence. To give but a few examples, the Battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq may be mentioned where the sword of Ali (A.S) rescued Islam from defeat.

In the war of Khandaq, when the Quraish infidels, and other tribes that had joined hands with them, besieged or surrounded the Muslims with ten thousand soldiers, the Muslims were in a very difficult situation. The conditions were so bad, economically and socially, that appearntly there was no hope.

‘ Amru- bin-‘ Abbuwud and his companies circled the ditch that Muslims has dug around the city, found a place where they could jump over on horseback and face the Muslims. Then they asked for combatants but only Ali (A.S) a youth in his twenties, rose and asked permission of the Holy Prophet(S) to fight them. The Holy Prophet did not permit him, because he wanted to give a chance to his other companions. On the other side, ‘Amru –Ibu. ‘ Abduwud was parading on his horse, and challenging an opponent. The Holy Prophet (S) once again asked companions if any of them was ready to fight, but nobody dared getup. Ali (A.S) asked permission again but the Holy Prophet (S) did not permit him. This happened thrice or more until Amur – Ibn- Abduwud said something which upset and touched the Muslims to their bones. He said:

“ I am tried of calling for opponents to fight me but I see nobody. Isn’t there a man amongst you? O Muslims! You claim your martyrs Will go to paradise and our deads to Hell! If so, why doesn’t someone venture to fight me and either kill me and send me to Hell or I kill him and send him to Paradise?

At this point, Ali ( A.S) stood up and said, “ Do not be impatient! Here I am you opponent, and a capable warrior too.”

Umar- Ibn- Khattab presented and excuse for the Muslims who did not rise, saying: “ O Messenger of God! If our men did not rise it is because they knew their challenger is equall to one thousand warriors. Any body who faces him will surely be killed”.

Finally the Holy Prophet declared: “ The entire faith of Islam is faced with entire infidelity or disbelief.” Then Ali ( A.S) faced Amru- Ibn- Abduwud and killed him. This way, Islam was rescued. Therefore, when they say Ali’s sword spread Islam and were it not for his sword there would have become Muslims under his sword, but they mean that if Islam was not defended by Ali’s sword, it would have been rooted out by its enemies. Islam is the religion of sword, but a sword which is always ready to defend the Muslims, their land and their Monotheism.

This issue has been properly dealt with by the late scholar Tabatabai under the verses about war and also the verse: “ There is no compulsion in religion. The right way is henceforth distinct from the wrong” The Holy Quran, ( 2:256)

He says that whenever Monotheism is in danger, Islam tries to save it, because Monotheism is the most precious human value. Those who talk about freedom and indepdence are not aware that Monotheism, is far superior to freedom. Defending one’s life, property, honor and land is surely the right thing to do, but defending and oppressed person is much more sacred. This is because defending what is sacred to human being is valuable. Defending knowledge and learning, for example, is sacred and honorable. Monotheism is also not related to one particular person but is related to the entire humanity. It is a part of human nature, and man’s thought never guides him against monotheism. The Holy Quran had been sent guidelines to release monotheism from all factors which cause it to vanish. When these are removed, monotheism manifests itself. In the story of Abraham, the Holy Quran says:

“ And We verily gave Abraham of old his proper course, and We Were aware of him. When he said to his father and his folk: What are these images unto which ye pay devotion? They said: We found our feathers worshipping them. He said: Verily ye and your father were in manifest error. They said: Have you brought us to the truth, or art thou some jester? He said: Nay, but your Lord is the lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them, and I am of those who testify to that. And by Allah, I shall deal against your idols after ye have gone away turning your backs. Then he reduced them to fragments, all save the chief of them, haply they might have recourse to it. They said: Who hath done this to our gods? Surely it must be an unjust
evil- doer.

They said: We head a youth make mention of them who is called Abraham. They said: Then bring him ( hither) before the people’s eyes that they may testify. They said: Is it thou who hast done this to our gods, O Abraham? He said: But this, their chief hath done it. So question them, if they can speak. Then gathered they apart and said: Lo! Ye yourselves are the wrong-doers. And they were utterly confounded, and they said: Well thou knowest that these speak not. He said: Worship ye then instead of Allah that which can not profit you at all, nor harm you? Fie on you and all that ye Worship instead of Allah! Have ye then no sense? They cried: Burn him and help your gods, if ye will be doing. We said: O fire, be cool and peace and (health) giving for Abraham. And they wished to set a snare for him, but We made them the greater losers.” The HolyQuran, ( 21:51-70)
So it was that Abraham removed all hindrances and people regained their own nature recognizing their mistake. People who enter temples having idols do not utter a word against idolatry because man has a free will to follow any ideology. The Queen of Britian, for example, travels to India to pay her respect to the beliefs of the Hindus, while such beliefs are not ideology but blind imitation of forefathers and a chain of superstitions which has clasped human hands and feet.

A man who talks from his heart will win the hearts of others. And whoever talks from his mouth, his words will not penetrate hearts. In the message delivered by Men of God, this point, is clearly observed but not in the messages of other leaders of the world.

Those who traveled to India from Iran could not from an active group to propagate Zoroastrianism there. Islam is similar to Christianity from the point that it opened new horizons and was not limited to the borders of Arabia, Where it first manifested itself. Today, Islam has found its way throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and America, and among different races, so that the number of Muslims is greater than the number of Christians. Although the Christians try to underestimate the number of Muslims, and most of our statistics come from Western sources, the researches do show that the number of Muslims is greater than number of Christians. This characteristic of rapid spread of Islam is not witnessed in Christianity. Christianity has progressed very slowly, while Islam’s progress has been extremely fast in Arabia, and elsewhere, in Asia, Africa and in other countries. Many researchers have wondered how Islam has progressed so quickly, so much so that a famous French Poet says, “ The Holy Prophet of Islam was unique in three aspects:

1- Lack of materials. A man rises and called people to God, while he has no power and authority, and even those closet to him become his sworn enemies and rise against him. He is alone and has no help. He starts alone, all by himself. Then his wife joins him and his cousin, Ali follows. Gradually, more people turn to Islam and live under difficult conditions:

2- The factor or rapidity of progress and the factor time.

3- The magnitude of the goal. considering the importance of the goal and inspite of the lack of means to reach it and the speed with which the goal was attained, we should declare that the Holy Prophet of Islam is unique in the world.

Sources

noble character of the Holy prophet of islam- pages:143to157

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