The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is a mercy for the whole humanity. Before His coming, ignorance was rampant. Including Arabia, the whole world was steeped in apostasy, polytheism and blind beliefs.
Oppression, exploitation, etc. was common. Usury and gambling were commonplace. Public consumption of alcohol was alcohol and public shedding of blood was routine. There was no love between people. Instead, enmity with each other was far more common. One tribe would hate the other. One family would dislike the other. The hate and opposition would lead to war between 2 tribes and each of them would call upon their allies for help. In this way, war would break out between various tribes. War broke out between ‘Aus and Khazraj on a small matter and this war lasted for 120 years!
How could human life be safe in this atmosphere? If human value was so worthless, then what remains to be said about safety of property and wealth? People would consider pride, selfishness and deceit to be worth prided upon.
In these precarious circumstances, Allah Ta’ala sent the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) to guide humanity from out of the darkness of disbelief and polytheism to the light of faith and Islam and to wipe out ignorance and grant knowledge to one and all.
The universality of the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam):
Allah Ta’ala has made the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) universal. He (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is not a Prophet for any particular nation, tribe or the like, but is a Prophet and guide for the whole of humanity.
Blessed is He (Allah) Who sent down to His (most beloved and most intimate) servant the Criterion (the Qur’an) that (draws the difference between right and wrong and) gives judgment in order that he may be a Warner to all the worlds; (Surah Furqan-1)
The message of the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is multifaceted. His message is equally solacing for each and every group and sect of humanity. After His arrival, those who used to worship their false idols started worshipping the Lord Almighty. He protected human values. He granted the weak their rights. He gave humanity itself, which was chained in shackles, the right to be free. Those who committed inhuman and indecent acts, He (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) made them exemplars of pure etiquette and good manners. He blessed those with prayers, who placed thorns in His path. Due to His teachings, avowed enemies became brothers. Allah Ta’ala has mentioned this in Surah Al Imran:
And hold fast to the rope of Allah all of you together and do not generate dissension and factions. But call to mind the blessing of Allah upon you when you were enemies (one to another). Then He created the bond of love among your hearts, and by His blessing you became brothers. And you (had reached) the brink of a pit of Fire (of Hell) but He rescued you from it. That is how Allah elaborates His Signs to you so that you may take guidance to the right path. Surah Al Imran-103.
Before declaring Prophethood, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) had spent 40 years of His life in Makkah. Looking at His life, the purity of His manners, the fairness of dealings, His high character and His truth-loving nature, even those who did not accept His message were forced to accept Him as the Sadiq (truthful) and Ameen (trustworthy).
For this reason, Allah Ta’ala has declared His very presence to be a great ni’mah and His Prophethood as a great favor, as given in Surah Al Imran:
Indeed Allah conferred a great favour on the believers that He raised among them (the most eminent) Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) from among themselves who recites to them His Revelations, purifies them and educates them on the Book and Wisdom though, before that, they were in manifest error. Surah Al Imran 164.
A great example of mercy:
The disbelievers of Makkah are those people who, from Makkah to Madina and from Madina to Hudaibiyah, had troubled the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and the Muslims to no end, who had spared no effort in torturing Muslims, who had conspired time and again to assassinate the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), who had incited other clans of Arabia against the Muslims. When the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) had dominance over them, then the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) gave a message brimming over with peace:
Translation: Today you will not be asked to account (for your past misdeeds). (Subul Ul Huda War Rashad, Vol. 5, Pg. No. 242)
The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) gave a general declaration:
Today is the day of mercy and benevolence. (Jame’ Ul Ahadith, Hadith No. 38481)
When human beings take the reins of rule in their hands, they fail to differentiate between justice and oppression. All the superpowers of the world celebrate their victories by shedding blood of the defeated. Whenever great conquests have occurred in the world, after the conquest, blood has flown in rivers down the streets. When the Tartars, the Mongolians, entered Baghdad, they destroyed the whole city. They started a deluge of human blood. When the crusaders got Syria, they drenched the city with blood. At that time, the knees of the horses in Masjid Aqsa were covered with blood. The world has seen the rule of the crusaders in which humanity itself dies a lingering death. At the time of the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) set a great example for all rulers and gave them a timeless message. Makkah was conquered. The avowed enemies of Islam were at His mercy. If He (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) had wanted, He could have killed all of them. But the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: This day there is no reproof against you; Go your way, for you are free.
The world was steeped in ignorance and was lost in darkness. The Lord of the Worlds sent His Beloved Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) who illuminated the whole world. Allah Ta’ala says about the Prophet about who gave the message of peace to the whole world, who taught the meaning of life to humanity, who granted the creation their rights and granted them the discernment (Irfan) of their Creator, in the Holy Quran:
Alif, Lam, Ra. (Only Allah and the Messenger know the real meanings.) It is a (glorious) Book which We have revealed to you so that you may bring mankind out of the darkness (of disbelief) to the light (of faith. And moreover) by the Command of their Lord (lead them) to the path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy — Surah Ibrahim-1
Hardships are removed:
The past nations had very strict rules. If their clothes got dirty, they had to be torn away. On Saturday, they could not do worldly work. In the Shariah of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), all these difficult to follow rules are removed. Earlier, to pray everyone would have to gather in a particular place, now prayer can be performed at any place in the whole world. Earlier, war booty was forbidden. In this Shariah, it is not. Earlier to purify oneself, there was no other way other than to use water. Now, at times of need, Tayammum can also be performed. Earlier, there were a lot of prohibitions for the menstruating woman. Now, excepting sexual intercourse, every other kind of relation has been declared as permissible.
Many other stringent rules were removed through the coming of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). This is all the blessing of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) as Allah Ta’ala says:
(They are the people) who follow the Messenger, the Prophet (titled as) al-Ummi (who imparts to the people from Allah the news of the unseen and knowledge and secrets of socio-economic disciplines of life without himself being taught by any human in the world); whose (eminent attributes and exquisite powers) these people find written in the Torah and the Injil (Gospel); who enjoins on them virtues and forbids them vices, declares wholesome things lawful and impure ones unlawful for them and removes from them their heavy burdens and yokes (shackles) weighing upon them (due to their acts of disobedience and blesses them with freedom). So those who will believe in this (most exalted Messenger) and will venerate and revere him and serve and support him (in his Din [Religion]) and follow this light (the Qur’an) that has been sent down with him, it is they who will flourish and prosper.’ Surah A’araaf-157.
Freedom from slavery:
With the arrival of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), the shackles of slavery were broken. Thus, as soon as the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), Hadhrat Thuwayba (May Allah be well pleased with her) was set free. (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2, Pg. No. 764)
Freedom from the fetters of oppression:
The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) freed humanity from the fetters of oppression and exploitation. He (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) freed human thought from prejudice and gave their limited relations a universality, as evidenced by this Hadith from Sunan Abu Dawood:
Translation of Hadith: Beware! If anyone oppresses a non-Muslim, with whom Muslims have an agreement, extorts his right, makes him work more than his ability or takes any of his belongings without his express wish, then on the Day of Judgment, I will present his case (before Almighty Allah). (Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith No. 3054).
Helping those who are in need:
Translation of Hadith: It has been narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (May Allah be well pleased with him) that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: Whoever removes a small difficulty of the difficulties of a believer in this world, Allah Ta’ala will remove the big difficulty of Qiyamah of this person. Who proved ease for a person in a difficulty, Allah Ta’ala will provide ease for that person in this world and the hereafter. Whoever hides the shortcoming of a Muslim, Allah Ta’ala will veil that person in this world and the hereafter. Allah Ta’ala especially helps a person as long as the person is in the act of helping a brother. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 7028).
Thus, this is the code of life of peace. This is the code of life, which grants security. These teachings are the ones, which teach manners and etiquette and these guidelines are pure guidelines.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the guidance to follow and act upon these teachings. May the Lord Almighty grant us the blessings of the Milad of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and illuminate our lives and our faith with it.
Mufti Syed Ziauddin Naqshbandi Qadri,
[Professor, Islamic Law, Jamia Nizamia,
Founder/Director, Abul Hasanaat Islamic Research Center]