THE PROPHETHOOD OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD, HIS RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONVEYING AND HIS TEACHINGS
There was once a respected and trustworthy young man with a noble character who was assigned to convey a word, a word that was difficult to convey, a word which was unique, the like of which could never be uttered by humans; he was startled by an unexpected voice at an unexpected time “And thou hadst not expected that the Book would be sent to thee except as a Mercy from thy Lord: Therefore lend not thou support in any way to those who reject ((Allah)’s Message)” (Al-Qasas, 28/86).
“Soon shall We send down to thee a weighty Message” (Al-Muzzammil, 73/5). “Say: “If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Quran, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support” (Al-Isra, 17/88). Moreover, the first order given to this illiterate young man is very significant and striking “And thou wast not (able) to recite a Book before this (Book came), nor art thou (able) to transcribe it with thy right hand: In that case, indeed, would the talkers of vanities have doubted” (Al-Ankabut 29/48). This call for Ikra (to read) signifies that Allah will teach His prophet those things he does not know. It also means that the duty of prophethood starts with placing knowledge on the basis of the faith. From the fact that the word ikra is also used to mean “sending one’s regards” we can understand that the Creator was sending His regards to the people, making the beginning of the message warmer and more meaningful:
“Read: in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood” (Al-Alaq, 96/1, 2).
“Read: And thy Lord is Most Bountiful, He Who taught (the use of) the pen, taught man that which he knew not” (Al-Alaq, 96/3, 4, 5).
His Responsibility for Conveying the Message
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) always emphasized that he expected no interest or rewards, that he did not want payment, that he was not seeking immunity, that he was like everyone else, that he had no supernatural powers or authority, that he did not have any powers that would benefit or hurt himself, other than Allah’s blessings. He was the hero chosen to convey the concept of A Single God and to convey the orders Allah sent to Him.
“Those were the (prophets) who received Allah.s guidance: Copy the guidance they received; Say: “No reward for this do I ask of you: This is no less than a message for the nations” (Al-Anaam, 6/90).
The Prophet’s (pbuh) teachings were designed to form a society which would avoid idolatry, one that believes in a single God, one which has a mission to earn an identity in the framework of not obeying anyone other than Allah, one which is self-reliant, one that avoids the extreme, that is moderate, that understands that this world is a place of trial, that praises and glorifies every good deed, that criticizes and rejects every bad deed, that raises patient believers, that is influenced by the virtues of the same source in the social framework, that has balanced relations and that is sensible. To obey the messenger who conveys these orders in the name of Allah is considered to be the most fundamental concept of such teachings. As a matter of fact, the most important element of dialogue between the Creator and the people are the Prophets. Otherwise, it would not be possible to establish dialogue with the Creator. The following verse perfectly summarizes the theme of Prophet Muhammad’s message and it defines the immutable principles of social agreements. It is very much like a manifesto in its style and rhetoric:
Say: Come, I will recite unto you that which your Lord hath made a sacred duty for you:
That you ascribe no thing as partner unto Him
And that you do good to parents,
And that you slay not your children because of penury
That you draw not nigh to lewd things whether open or concealed.
And that you slay not the life which Allah have made sacred, save in the course of justice. This He has command you, in order that you may discern. (Al-Anaam, 6/151)
It is possible to summarize the five basic principles that constitute this social agreement as follows:
The Family and Individual
It is possible to characterize Prophet Muhammad’s prophethood, responsibility of conveyance and principles of teachings found in the verses of the Quran as follows:
I am not the first messenger.
I do not know what will happen to me or to you.
I do not possess the treasures of Allah.
I am not an angel.
I do not know when the Day of Judgment is.
I have no power to harm myself or to help myself outside of the will of Allah.
Miracles and disasters only come from Allah.
I have no power to harm anyone, even myself or to help anyone, even myself.
All prophets before me were humans. They had wives and children.
To those who told me to change the message I will say, “I do not have the power to do this.”
Allah considers clean things to be halal (permitted), and filthy things to be haram (forbidden).
I expect nothing from you but to believe in Allah.
Prophets will also be judged (They have no immunity).
Prophets are messengers and warners.
And finally, the feature peculiar only to Prophet Muhammad: I was sent to all people, and I am the last messenger.
(Resistance against His Message, Social Oppression and Reactions)
As with other prophets, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was subjected to a variety of harsh reactions by the society to which he conveyed the message; these ranged from not being taken seriously, being exiled, receiving death threats and assassination attempts.
Without making any comment, we would like to reflect, as expressed with clear statements in the Quran, some of the acts of intimidation and repression which were directed against Prophet Muhammad by those who rejected his Message: They were baffled by the coming of a prophet. They despised God. They ridiculed and they slandered the Prophet saying: We shall not accept such a human; these are only muddled dreams which he has invented. He is a poet; there is no doubt that he is insane. He is a man who attempts to prevail over us. Had Allah wished, He would have sent an angel prophet. This is magic, nothing but the word of a man. There is another who is teaching him the Quran. This man is a lying sorcerer; this is obvious magic. He is a mad poet and conveys the tales of old civilizations.
The following examples were some of the hardships encountered by the Prophet: The people perceived Allah in a way that was different from the revelation and put pressure on the Prophet to change the revelation; the people who supported the Prophet were abhorred and disdained, and those opposed attempted to turn others against them. They showed a lack of tolerance in listening to the Prophet, acted with animosity, humiliated and tormented the Prophet in an extreme manner so as to drive him into exile, constantly concocted lies, attacked the Prophet and the leaders, physically and verbally, directing the social reaction against the Prophet until it escalated to the level of a lynch-mob.
Despite the excessive resistance and suppression, which were unprincipled and highly unethical, lacking humane dignity and honor, disrespecting all universal norms, and violating the rules and values of society, Prophet Muhammad succeeded in continuing his conveyance by means of his sincere commitment and fidelity to the divine message
Great suffering is the unchanging rule of prophethood;
“And their purpose was to tempt thee away from that which We had revealed unto thee, to substitute in our name something quite different; (in that case), behold! they would certainly have made thee (their) friend!” (Al-Isra,17/73).
“And had We not given thee strength, thou wouldst nearly have inclined to them a little” (Al-Isra,17/74).
“In that case We should have made thee taste an equal portion (of punishment) in this life, and an equal portion in death: and moreover thou wouldst have found none to help thee against Us!” (Al-Isra,17/75).
“Their purpose was to scare thee off the land, in order to expel thee; but in that case they would not have stayed (therein) after thee, except for a little while” (Al-Isra,17/76).
“(This was Our) way with the apostles We sent before thee: thou wilt find no change in Our ways” (Al-Isra,17/77).
Some of the Revelations Indicating the Hardships, Reactions and Slander Encountered by Prophet Muhammad:
“And We have explained to man, in this Qur’an, every kind of similitude: yet the greater part of men refuse (to receive it) except with ingratitude!” (Al-Isra,17/89).
“They say: “We shall not believe in thee, until thou cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth” (Al-Isra,17/90).
“Or (until) thou have a garden of date trees and vines, and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst, carrying abundant water;” (Al-Isra,17/91).
“Or thou cause the sky to fall in pieces, as thou sayest (will happen), against us; or thou bring Allah and the angels before (us) face to face” (Al-Isra,17/92).
“Or thou have a house adorned with gold, or thou mount a ladder right into the skies. No, we shall not even believe in thy mounting until thou send down to us a book that we could read.” Say: “Glory to my Lord! Am I aught but a man,- an apostle?” (Al-Isra,17/93).
“Never comes (aught) to them of a renewed Message from their Lord, but they listen to it as in jest,their hearts toying as with trifles. The wrong-doers conceal their private counsels, (saying), “Is this (one) more than a man like yourselves? Will ye go to witchcraft with your eyes open?” (Al-Anbiyaa 21/2, 3).
“When Our Clear Signs are rehearsed to them, thou wilt notice a denial on the faces of the Unbelievers! they nearly attack with violence those who rehearse Our Signs to them. Say, “Shall I tell you of something (far) worse than these Signs? It is the Fire (of Hell)! Allah has promised it to the Unbelievers! and evil is that destination!” (Al-Hajj, 22/72)
“Ye they say: ‘Why are not Signs sent down to him from his Lord?’ Say: “The signs are indeed with Allah. and I am indeed a clear Warner” (Al-Ankabut, 29/50).
“Even if We did send unto them angels, and the dead did speak unto them, and We gathered together all things before their very eyes, they are not the ones to believe, unless it is in Allah.s plan. But most of them ignore (the truth)” (Al-Anaam, 6/111).
HIS DIVINE PROTECTION AND SUCCESS
(The Road to Victory)
Despite all the oppression, slanders and humiliation, the Prophet had faith in Allah; His Lord did not forsake him. Allah did not withhold help and made clear the lies and slander encountered by the Prophet. Allah openly heralded that the Prophet was under the protection of Allah, like all other prophets.
Allah also consoled the Prophet, announcing that He was going to support him with the help of angels and help those who had helped him; Allah informed the Prophet that he should not fear no one but Him and that all the prophets, who were under His protection, had never feared anyone and that He had not withdrawn from the promise given to the Prophet. Allah and the angels sent the Prophet regards and prayers, and finally the Prophet was informed by Allah that he would be given easy success and victory was nigh. (Allah has decreed: “It is I and My apostles who must prevail”: For Allah is One full of strength, able to enforce His Will” Al-Mujadala 58/21)
The following statement clearly shows that Allah would never allow anyone to malign the Prophet, and that those who acted in such a way would be punished in the afterlife: “Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment” (Al-Ahzab, 33/57).
Revelations Showing that Allah Almighty Refutes the Slander against Prophet Muhammad and that He Shall Protect the Prophet and all Other Prophets:
“Let not those grieve thee who rush headlong into Unbelief: Not the least harm will they do to Allah. Allah.s plan is that He will give them no portion in the Hereafter, but a severe punishment” (Al-Imran, 3/176).
“”For my Protector is Allah, Who revealed the Book (from time to time), and He will choose and befriend the righteous” (Al-Araf, 7/196).
“Should they intend to deceive thee,- verily Allah sufficeth thee: He it is That hath strengthened thee with His aid and with (the company of) the Believers” (Al-Anfal, 8/62).
“O Messenger. sufficient unto thee is Allah,- (unto thee) and unto those who follow thee among the Believers” (Al-Anfal, 8/64).
“Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment” (Al-Ahzab, 33/57).
“”For my Protector is Allah, Who revealed the Book (from time to time), and He will choose and befriend the righteous ” (Al-Araf, 7/196).
“And do thou be patient, for thy patience is but from Allah. nor grieve over them: and distress not thyself because of their plots” (An-Nahl, 16/127).
“But grieve not over them, nor distress thyself because of their plots” (An-Naml, 27/70).
“But for the Grace of Allah to thee and his Mercy, a party of them would certainly have plotted to lead thee astray. But (in fact) they will only Lead their own souls astray, and to thee they can do no harm in the least. For Allah hath sent down to thee the Book and wisdom and taught thee what thou Knewest not (before): And great is the Grace of Allah unto thee” (An-Nisaa, 4/113).
“Those men,-(Allah) knows what is in their hearts; so keep clear of them, but admonish them, and speak to them a word to reach their very souls” (An-Nisaa, 4/63).