About 3500 years ago, the Pharaoh of Egypt had declared himself Lord, ruling his nation as if life and death were in his hands. There were people in Egypt, mostly the Israelites, who believed in One God, but were made slaves and severely persecuted to the extent that their boys were killed as they were born. The land was also filled with magicians and witchcraft was the fashion of the day. Paganism was prevalent including the cow worship.
Centuries have passed since the Pharaohs ruled Egypt and much has changed. The scientific and technological advancements have made us live luxuriously in many ways. Many in America believe in One God, live in prosperity and are far removed from the like of the persecutions of the Pharaohs of the past. At the same time, magic and witchcraft still exist in the American life, but in ways which are very different from the time of the Pharaohs. An example of such presence can be seen in the Harry Potter books and paraphernalia. Paganism also has its presence, for example, in the customs of Halloween. The Holy scriptures acknowledge existence of magic, but forbid its practice.
"Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead." (Deuteronomy 18:10-11)
The story of Prophet Moses’ encounter with the magicians appears in several places in the Holy Scriptures. Below is one such narration:Read more...
In order to understand the message of Islam, it is first necessary to acquaint ourselves with the prophet of Islam. You cannot, as the popular saying goes, separate the message from the messenger. It is therefore only natural to wish to study the life of Muhammad (pbuh), his manners and his morals, and to see how Islam manifested itself in his person as a living example for all Muslims till the end of time.
Abu Hurairah described him as follows:
"He was of medium build, closer to being tall. His skin was extremely white, his beard was black, his mouth was pleasant, his eyebrows were long, and his shoulders were wide"
Ibne Malik said:
"I never touched silk or any soft fabric equal to the softness of his palm, and I never smelled a scent more pleasing than his."Read more...
Next after the people of Lot (p.b.u.h.) come the people of Madyan and of Aika (the ancient name of Tabuk), to whom Hazrat Shu'aib (peace be upon him) was sent as prophet. We know that these people were descendants of Hazrat Ibrahim (on whom be peace) and so there can be no question of their not knowing God of or not believing in him to be the Ilah and the Rabb. They were in fact a people who had originally been Muslims but whose beliefs as also conduct had become corrupted through the passage of time. It would even appear from the Qur'an, that they claimed to be believers, because Hazrat Shu'aib repeatedly says to them; "If you truly believe"; "If you truly are believers." An examination of his discourses and of their answers clearly shows that they both believed in Allah and acknowledged Him as the Ilah and the Rabb, but went wrong on two points. Firstly, in the supernatural sense they associated others with Him as also being ilahs and rabbs and so did not give Him their 'ibadah exclusively and, secondly, they held that His being the Rabb did not extend to His having authority to lay down the law for regulating moral, social, economic and cultural behavior, or they claimed freedom of action for themselves so far as these spheres were concerned:
And to (the people of) Madyan We sent their kinsman Shu'aib (who said to them): "O my people, give your 'ibadah to Allah (alone), for there is no ilah but He; verily, there has come to yon clear guidance from your Rabb, so give people just measure and weight and do not deprive them of their rightful due, nor (by these means) cause mischief in the land after it has been purged of corruption; this is the better course for you if you be true believers... And if a group among you believe in the guidance with which I have been sent, and another one not, then wait till God decides between us, and He alone is the best of all judges. (Quran 7:85-87)
(And Shu'aib said to them): "O' my people, give full measure and weigh justly, and do not cause loss to people, nor go about creating mischief in the land; the profit left to you through God's grace is more beneficial for you, if you (really) believe; and (of course) I am no guardian of your morals." All they could say was: "Does your praying to God (in your own special way) give you O Shu'aib the right to tell us to give up those whose worship has come down from our ancestors, or that we do not conduct our business transaction as we please? You are indeed the forbearing and right-minded one!" (Quran 11:85-87)The above words bring out clearly that the error of these people lay in misunderstanding the scope of God's rububiyyah, which they thought had limited scope.