The Prophet of Islam by Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah

[Taken from Introduction to Islam by Muhammad Hamidullah (Centre Culturel Islamique, Paris, 1969), with some changes to make it more readable. The changes are marked by pairs of brackets like around this paragraph.]

The Prophet of Islam - His Biography


IN the annals of men, individuals have not been lacking who conspicuously devoted their lives to the socio-religious reform of their connected peoples. We find them in every epoch and in all lands. In India, there lived those who transmitted to the world the Vedas, and there was also the great Gautama Buddha; China had its Confucius; the Avesta was produced in Iran. Babylonia gave to the world one of the greatest reformers, the Prophet Abraham (not to speak of such of his ancestors as Enoch and Noah about whom we have very scanty information). The Jewish people may rightly be proud of a long series of reformers: Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, and Jesus among others.

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Forgiveness by the Prophet

A Jewess came to Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) with poisoned mutton and he took of what had been brought to him. (When the effect of his poison were felt by him) he called for her and asked her about that, whereupon she said: I had determined to kill you. Thereupon he said: Allah will never give you the power to do it. He (the narrator) said that they (the Companions of the Holy Prophet) said: Should we not kill her? Thereupon he said: No. He said: I felt (the effects of this poison) on the uvula of Allah's Messenger. (Sahih Muslim)

It has been narrated on the authority of Hadrat Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that eighty persons from the inhabitants of Makka swooped down upon Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) from the mountain of Tan'im. They were armed and wanted to attack the Holy Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) and his Companions unawares. He (the Holy Prophet) captured them but spared their lives. So, Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted) revealed the verse:

"And It is He Who restrained your hands from them and their hands from you in the valley of Makkah after He had given you a victory over them." (48:24)
(Sahih Muslim)

Life Here is but Sport and Pastime

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Allah T'ala says in the Holy Quran:

وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلاَّ لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَلَلدَّارُ الآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ

(6:32) The life of this world is nothing but a sport and a pastime, and the life of the Hereafter is far better for those who seek to ward off their ruin. Will you not, then, understand?
This does not mean that earthly life has nothing serious about it and that it has been brought into being merely as a sport and pastime. What this observation means is that, compared with the true and abiding life of the Hereafter, earthly life seems, as it were, a sport, a transient pastime with which to amuse oneself before turning to serious business.
Earthly life has been likened to a sport and pastime for another reason as well. Since Ultimate Reality is hidden in this world, the superficially minded ones, who lack true perception, encounter many a thing which causes them to fall a prey to misconceptions. As a result of these misconceptions such persons indulge in a variety of actions which are so blatantly opposed to reality that their life seems to consist merely of sport and pastime.
One who assumes the position of a king in this world, for instance, is no different from the person who plays the part of a king on the stage of a theatre. His head is bedecked with a crown and he goes about commanding people as if he were a king, even though he has no royal authority. He may later, if the director of the theatre wishes, be either dismissed from his royal office, put into prison or even be sentenced to death.
Plays of this kind go on all over the world. Saints and man-made deities are deemed to respond to human supplications even though they do not have a shred of authority to do so. Again, some people try to unravel the Unseen even though to do so lies altogether beyond their reach. There are those who claim to provide sustenance to others despite the fact that they are themselves dependent on others for their own sustenance. There are still others who think that they have the power either to bestow honour and dignity on human beings or to degrade them, either to confer benefits or to harm them. Such people go about trumpeting their own glory but their own foreheads bear the stamp of their humble bondage to their Creator. By just one twist of fortune such people may fall of their pededstrals and be trampled under the feet of those upon whom they have been imposing their God-like authority.
All these people come to a suden end with death. As soon as man crosses the boundaries of this world and steps into the Next, the reality will be fully manifest, all the misconceptions that he has entertained will be peeled away, and he will be shown the true worth of his belief and actions. (Tafheemul Quran)
Compiled by Dr. Ishaq Zahid
Dec. 13, 2007

Short Quotes

Gentle

"By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people; if you had been stern and ill-tempered, they would have dispersed from round about you" [Qur'an 3:159]