Muhammad the Prophet by Prof. K. S. Ramakrishna Rao

By Prof. K. S. Ramakrishna Rao, Head of the Department of Philosophy,

Government College for Women University of Mysore, Mandya-571401 (Karnatika).

Re-printed from "Islam and Modern age", Hydrabad, March 1978.

In the desert of Arabia was Mohammad born, according to Muslim historians, on April 20, 571. The name means highly praised. He is to me the greatest mind among all the sons of Arabia. He means so much more than all the poets and kings that preceded him in that impenetrable desert of red sand.

When he appeared Arabia was a desert -- a nothing. Out of nothing a new world was fashioned by the mighty spirit of Mohammad -- a new life, a new culture, a new civilization, a new kingdom which extended from Morocco to Indies and influenced the thought and life of three continents -- Asia, Africa and Europe.

When I thought of writing on Mohammad the prophet, I was a bit hesitant because it was to write about a religion I do not profess and it is a delicate matter to do so for there are many persons professing various religions and belonging to diverse school of thought and denominations even in same religion. Though it is sometimes, claimed that religion is entirely personal yet it can not be gain-said that it has a tendency to envelop the whole universe seen as well unseen. It somehow permeates something or other our hearts, our souls, our minds their conscious as well as subconscious and unconscious levels too. The problem assumes overwhelming importance when there is a deep conviction that our past, present and future all hang by the soft delicate, tender silked cord. If we further happen to be highly sensitive, the center of gravity is very likely to be always in a state of extreme tension. Looked at from this point of view, the less said about other religion the better. Let our religions be deeply hidden and embedded in the resistance of our innermost hearts fortified by unbroken seals on our lips.

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Dress

 Can dress be so important that its violations may put a man or a woman into hellfire? Let us read.

Allah T'ala says in the Holy Quran:

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ قَدْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَارِي سَوْءَاتِكُمْ وَرِيشًا وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَىَ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ ذَلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللّهِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ

(7:26) 0 Children of Adam!  Indeed We have sent down to you a garment which covers your shame and provides protection and adornment. But the finest of all is the garment of piety. That is one of the signs of Allah so that they may take heed.
By referring to an important aspect of Adam and Eve's story, the attention of the people of Arabia of those days was drawn to the evil influence of Satan upon their lives. Under Satan's influence they had begun to see dress merely as a shield of protection against the inclemencies of the weather and as a means of adornment. The basic purpose of dress to cover the private parts of the body - had receded into the background. People had no inhibition about the immodest exposure of the private parts of their body in public. To publicly take a bath absolutely naked, to attend to the call of nature on thoroughfares, were the order of the day. To crown it all, in the course of Pilgrimage they used to circumambulate around the Ka'bah in stark nakedness. Women even surpassed men in immodesty. In their view, the performance of religious rites in complete nudity was an act of religious merit.
Immodesty, however, was not an exclusive characteristic of the people of Arabia. Many nations indulged in it in the past, and many nations continue to indulge in it even now. Hence the message embodied in these verses is not directed just to the people of Arabia. It is rather directed to all men. Mankind, which is the progeny of Adam, is warned against this particular aspect of Satanic influence on their lives. When men show indifference to God's Guidance and turn away from the Message of the Prophets, they virtually place themselves at the mercy of Satan. For it is Satan who makes them abandon way's that are consistent with true human nature and who leads them to immodesty in the same way he did with Adam and Eve. Were man to reflect on this, it would become quite evident that when he is deprived of the guidance of the Prophets, he cannot even appreciate, let alone fulfil, the primary requirements of his true nature.
يَا بَنِي آدَمَ لاَ يَفْتِنَنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ كَمَا أَخْرَجَ أَبَوَيْكُم مِّنَ الْجَنَّةِ يَنزِعُ عَنْهُمَا لِبَاسَهُمَا لِيُرِيَهُمَا سَوْءَاتِهِمَا

إِنَّهُ يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لاَ تَرَوْنَهُمْ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا الشَّيَاطِينَ أَوْلِيَاء لِلَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ
(7:27) Children of Adam! Let not Satan deceive you in the manner he deceived your parents out of Paradise, pulling off from them their clothing to reveal to them their shame. He and his host surely see you from whence you do not see them. We have made satans the guardians of those who do not believe.
These verses bring into focus several important points.
First, that the need to cover oneself is not an artificial urge in man; rather it is an important dictate of human nature. Unlike animals, God did not provide man with the protective covering that He provided to animals. God rather endowed man with the natural instincts of modesty and bashfulness. Moreover, the private parts of the body are not only, related to sex, but also constitute 'sawat' that is, something the exposure of which is felt to be shameful. Also, God did not provide man with a natural covering in response to man's modesty and bashfulness, but has inspired in him (see verse 26) the urge to cover himself. This is in order that man might use his reason to understand the requirements of his nature, use the resources made available by God, and provide himself a dress.

Second, man instinctively knows that the moral purpose behind the use of dress takes precedence over the physical purpose. Hence the idea that man should resort to dress in order to cover his private parts precedes the mention of dress as a means of providing protection and adornment to the human body. In this connection man is altogether different from animals, With regard to the latter, the natural covering that has been granted serves to protect them from the inclemencies of weather and also to beautify their bodies. However, that natural covering is altogether unrelated to the purpose of concealing their sexual organs. The exposure of those organs is not a matter of shame for them and hence their nature is altogether devoid of the urge to cover them. However, as men fell prey to Satanic influences, they developed a false and unhealthy notion about the function of dress. They were led to believe that the function of dress for human beings is no different from that for animals, viz., to protect them from the inclemencies of weather and to make them look attractive. As for concealing the private parts of the body, the importance of that function has been belittled. For men have been misled into believing that their private parts are, in fact, like other organs of their body. As in the case of animals, there is little need for human beings to conceal their sex organs.

Third, the Qur'an emphasizes that it is not enough for the dress to cover the private parts and to provide protection and adornment to the human body. Man's dress ought to be the dress of piety. This means that a man's dress ought to conceal his private parts. It should also render a man reasonably presentable - the dress being neither too shabby and cheap nor overly expensive and extravagant relative to his financial standing. Nor should dress smack of pride or hauteur, or reflect that pathological mental state in which men prefer characteristically feminine dresses and vice versa: or that the people belonging to one nation mimic people of other nations so as to resemble them, thereby becoming a living emblem of collective humiliation and abasement. The Qur'anic ideal can only be achieved by those who truly believe in the Prophets and sincerely try to follow God's Guidance. For as soon as man decides to reject God's Guidance, Satan assumes his patronage and by one means or another manages to lead him into error after error.

Fourth, the question of dress constitutes one of the numerous signs of God which is visible virtually throughout the world. When the facts mentioned above are carefully considered it will be quite clear as to why dress is an important sign of God. (Tafheemul Quran)
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ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION AND THE WESTERN ORIENTALISTS

 

ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION AND THE WESTERN ORIENTALISTS

Taken from "The Life of Muhammad"  by Muhammad Husayn Haykal,
translated by Dr. Ismail Ragi A. al Faruqi

 

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ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION AS DEPICTED IN THE QUR'AN

 

Islamic Civilization as Depicted in the Quran

Taken from "The Life of Muhammad"  by Muhammad Husayn Haykal,
translated by Dr. Ismail Ragi A. al Faruqi

 

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The Forty-fourth Discourse by Shaihk Jelani

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Advice of Hadhrat Sheikh

The Forty-fourth Discourse (From Jala' al-Khawatir

[The Removal of Cares])

 Hadhrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA)

              A certain righteous man is reported as having said: "The hypocrite [munafiq] remains in one and the same spiritual condition for forty years at a stretch, while the champion of truth [siddiq] experiences transformation forty times every single day."

              The hypocrite is totally involved with his lower self [nafs], his passions [hawa], his natural inclinations [tab'], his devil [shaitan] and his interest in the things of this world [dunya]. He is committed to their service, from which he never takes a break. He is never known to disagree with their point of view, and he will never say a word to contradict them. His only interests are food and drink, clothes, sexual intercourse and the accumulation of wordly goods, and he does not care how he comes by them. He cultivates his physical body and his worldly affairs, but he lets his heart and his religion [din] go to waste. He tries to please his fellow creatures [khalq], but he gives offense to the Creator [Khaliq]. The longer his hypocrisy [nifaq] continues, the harder and darker his heart becomes, so he is quite unmoved and unaffected by any spiritual counsel [maw'iza], takes no notice of any admonition ['iza], and pays no attention to any reminder. Thus it is undoubtedly a fact that he remains in one and the same spiritual condition for forty years at a stretch.

The champion of truth [siddiq] cannot possibly remain in such a static condition, because he is entirely at the disposal of the Transformer of hearts [Muqallib al-qulub], immersed in the ocean of His power, so that one wave raises him up and another sends him down. He is moved this way and that by the operations [tasarif] and transformations [taqalib] of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), like a feather in a windswept desert, like a fresh stalk [khama] in the farmer's field, like the corpse in the hands of the ritual washer of the dead [ghasil], like the baby in the hands of the wet nurse [zi'r] or the midwife, like the ball on the receiving end of the polo player's mallet. He has surrendered both his outer [zahir] and his inner being [batin] to Him, and he is completely satisfied with His management. Far from taking any interest in his eating, his sleeping and his carnal appetites, he is interested only in the service of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) and in earning His good pleasure. This is why a certain righteous man once said: "As for the people [of the Lord], their approach to eating is that of the sick, their form of sleep is the sleep of the drowned, and if they speak it is only out of sheer necessity." How could they not be like this? In their hearts there is something that is quite invisible to others. They have ceased to be aware of anything apart from their Lord. They have absented themselves from this world, the hereafter, and everything else apart from Him. They have settled humbly at His door. They have rested their heads on the threshold of His doorway, in readiness to comply with His orders. They have become accustomed to being contented, to needing nothing. Fate and destiny [al-qada' wa 'l-qadar] are now their servants, and these two approach them in visible form and then carry them on their heads.

If you are not one of the people [of the Lord], they are the people you must serve. You must befriend them, sit in their company and draw close to them. Put your material goods at their disposal. Follow them by emulating their actions, not by repeating their words and saying how excellent and wonderful they are. Carry your righteousness [salah] in your heart; do not wear it as part of your outer clothing. Dress as ordinary people dress, but do not behave as they behave. We Muslims do not recognize monasticism where food, clothing and marriage are concerned. As Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said: But monasticism they invented; We did not prescribe it for them. (57:27)

In the words of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):  There is no such thing as monasticism in Islam.

Those who are sincere in their devotion [mukhlisun] have their hermitages [sawami'] inside their hearts, while their harsh austerity is imposed on their lower selves [anfus], their passionate desires [ahwiya] and their natural inclinations [taba'i']. When they are alone in their private quarters, they experience the intimate friendship [uns] of their Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) in confidential converse [munajat] with Him.

Since the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) is using my tongue to inform you about the spiritual state of the righteous [salihun], one of you may be used as a channel to convey such information to another. You must pay attention and take notice. It is He who is calling you through that person's mouth, so you must respond to the one who is transmitting His invitation. He is inviting you to pure serenity [safa']. He is urging you to abstain from His creation and to be satisfied with Him. He is urging you to be among those who remember Him, so that you may come to be among those who are remembered in His presence. In the quest for his Master [Mawla], the honest servant must remember Him constantly, both outwardly [zahiran] and inwardly [batinan], both privately and publicly, by night and by day, in hardship and in ease, in bliss and in agony, until he comes to be one who is remembered by Him. That servant must remember Him audibly, by pronouncing His name aloud, and silently within his heart.

You are too sound asleep to realize that you are letting the bliss of the people [of the Lord] slip by you. O you who are so heedless of that bliss, will you not come to your senses? You are out of touch with that which should really concern you. You are very clever at dealing with the affairs of this world, but when it comes to the affairs of the hereafter you are sheer ignoramuses. You are bogged down in mud, so that with every move you make you sink deeper and deeper. Stretch out your hands toward Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) with an honest plea for salvation, offering repentance and an apology, so that He may deliver you from the mess you are in.

Here I am, calling upon you to resist the demands of your lower selves [nufus], your passionate desires [ahwiya], your natural inclinations [taba'i'] and your carnal appetites [shahawat], and to bear with patience the disappointments you suffer. Respond to my call, for you will see the benefit of doing so, sooner or later.

Here I am, summoning you to violent death [al-mawt al-ahmar] in the Name of Allah. Who will dare to respond? Who will step forward to meet the challenge? Who will show that he has the courage for it? Who will be prepared to take the risk? This means death, but then life everlasting. Do not run away! Endure with patience, and then with still more patience. Courage [shaja'a] is an hour's patience. You must be patient in your compliance with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). If there is one among you who can bear the burden of readiness to accept the divine decree [qada'], Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will relieve him of it, and He will inscribe him in the register of the brave [diwan ash-shuj'an]. When someone is ready to sacrifice himself, he acquires a sense of certainty [yaqin]. When someone knows what he is looking for, he attaches little importance to what he must spend in order to attain his goal.

Be sure of where you stand, and then make haste. Come here on the footing of sincerity [sidq], so that you may knock at the door of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). You must stay there as long as it takes, until the door is opened for you and the angelic escorts [mawakib] come forth to welcome you. You may as well be importunate in asking Him for the things you need, since this will do you more good than your importunity [tawaquh] toward your kings and potentates and wealthy patrons.

Follow the example set by your predecessors in their quest for their Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) and their total absorption [fana'] in Him.

O Allah, You are our Lord [Rabb] and their Lord, our Creator [Khaliq] and their Creator, our Provider [Raziq] and their Provider, so deal with us as You dealt with them! Bring us out of us, away from us, toward You! Cause us to forget the kings and their slaves, the sultans and their subjects, the rich and the poor, the elite and the masses, the rise and fall of market prices, affluence and scarcity. Remind us to remember You. Treat us gently in Your workings. Bring us close to Your nearness, and let our hearts enjoy Your intimate friendship [uns]. Keep us safe from the evil of Your cities and Your servants, and from the evil of every crawling creature that You grasp by the forelock and seize by the tail. Keep us safe from the evil of the evildoers [sharr al-ashrar], and from the cunning deceptions of the morally corrupt [kaid al-fujjar]. Let us be members of Your party [hizb], guiding others to You while abasing ourselves before You, summoning others to You while humbling ourselves before You, but standing tall against those who behave with arrogance toward You and toward the true believers among Your creatures. Amin.

Short Quotes

Disposition by Ali

He was the most generous of heart, truthful of tongue, softest in disposition, and noble in relationship. He who first set eyes upon him feared him, but he who associated with him loved him. Those who described him would say: 'I have never seen before or after him anyone similar to him, peace be upon him.'