In a word....the world

By: Ubedur Rahman Arain

"La Ilaha Il-lillah, Mohammed ur-Rasool Allah." These are a few words, which the Muslims call "Kalima." These few words, however, encompass within them all there is to say or believe about Islam, about the rules according to which Islam was ordained and the rules according to which the whole universe is run. This also includes a direct instruction to how mankind should live their lives and whom they should follow as an ideal (2:107) (2:163).

The first word "La" is a negation of the second word "Ilaha." Ilah in Arabic means one who rules, one who is sovereign and has the power to implement His laws. "Il-lillah" means "except Allah", and everyone knows that Allah is the proper name of God. Some scholars consider the word "Allah" to be derived from Al-Ilaha meaning the "Only Ilah", meaning the only sovereign. Therefore, these three words essentially mean that there is no sovereign, no one rules, and no one is in power except one and only "Allah" who is all powerful and who rules all aspects of man on earth and in the hereafter and all that is happening in the whole universe (9:116).

The next three words declare that Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is Allah's Messenger. One wonders why this declaration has been singled out. We will try to find the reason in the next few lines.
There were Messengers before Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) who brought great religions on earth, but Allah, the all Knowing, found it necessary to send one last Messenger to deliver His final message. With him, Allah completed His promise of the eternal availability of His guidance to man. On the other hand, by his conduct and character, Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) set such an example that his life became forever a model for all human beings from 600 AD to eternity (2:137). Accordingly, Allah's message cannot be fully understood unless one has Prophet Mohammed's (PBUH) true position in front of them.

The aspects of Prophet Mohammed's (PBUH) life as a Nabi where he was receiving Wahi (revelation) from God is beyond our comprehension (20:110). That position can only be understood by a Prophet of God as that is a metaphysical phenomenon and since Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was the last Prophet, no man can explain or understand this aspect now (53:7-10) (6:125). Man by himself does not possess and will never attain that level of intellect to understand the nature of revelation and exactly how it was revealed to the Prophet. Our only exposure comes from the verses of the Holy Quran where Allah Himself has described what Wahi is and why it was necessary (3:108). I am not going to go into more details about this aspect of Prophet's life at the present, as this is not the subject of my article.

I want to talk about the other position of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and that is of Rasool, the Messenger. The life of the messenger becomes more meaningful when he himself lives by the message he delivers. This is exactly what Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) did. The message he got was from Allah but his contribution was that he not only delivered the message to the mankind but implemented it himself and so did his pious companions. That made the message self-evident and thus he became a living example of the message. As has been narrated by Ayesha (R), that Prophet's lifestyle was the best example of Quran (Bukhari).

It is very important to understand the position of a Rasool in the eyes of God; for example in verses (20:41-43), Allah has talked about Prophet Moses and says that "I have opted you for Myself" and later on He asks Prophet Moses to go to the Pharaoh who has become "limitless". Here it is interesting to note that if the Pharaoh had become "limitless", God could have eliminated him, as the Pharaoh was a human and his life was in Allah's hands. But No! Allah does not interfere in human affairs directly. He wants to resolve the situation by means of other human beings. That is why God had used the words "for Myself" for Prophet Moses. In other words, the Prophets practically did the work, which God wanted to do in the human world, thus fulfilling the program of God. From this example, it infers that obedience to the Prophets is obedience to God Himself (4:80).

Although all messengers of God were sent to guide their people, to make their life on earth blissful as well as to prepare them for the life of heaven in the hereafter, there is a fundamental difference between all the previous prophets and Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). In the olden days, when nations had limited population and the means of communications were also scarce, the messengers used to work within one region and had a limited sphere of influence. However Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was sent at a time that was between the old and the new. God knew very well that the populations would not stay limited to the localities. They will expand and the whole world will become one nation. Therefore Prophet Mohammed's (PBUH) prophethood was not limited to one nation or a particular region. That is why the Prophet had declared that he was the prophet for the whole mankind (4:79, 4:17, and 7:158). At another place in the Holy Quran, God says that "Oh Rasool! We have sent you for the whole mankind" (33:28). Elsewhere in the Quran it is said that he has been sent even for those people who will come afterwards (66:3). Since this will include all mankind till the end of human life on earth, therefore Prophet Mohammed's (PBUH) Messengerhood is forever, just like Quran is the final book of God and is forever.

The changes brought about to the ethical, social, cultural, political and economic basis of this world by Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was so profound that this fact is also accepted by independent western scholars. For example, Mr. Pringle Kennedy in his book entitled "Arabian Society at the time of Prophet Mohammed" (PBUH) writes on page 18 "In few years the whole mankind changed. The world uptil 650 AD completely changed to a New World."  This is the most significant chapter in human history. Such was the life of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

No doubt that as a recipient of Wahi he had a unique position which no human being can have, but his practical life was that of a man. After all he was a human being just like all other human beings (18:110). Therefore his life model of how he lived by that divine message is something which can be adopted by all human beings. This is the need of our times. The divine message, which he received, has been preserved in the form of Holy Quran and his way of living (Sunnah) was according to the principles of Quran. His Sunnah tells you the way he applied the Quran on himself and created a society based on the values enshrined in the divine message. It is these divine values which are of fundamental importance for a society to live by (6:19) (17:19).

These values alone can ensure peace and prosperity - most wanted in the present times (41:31) (36:58). Indeed, it is an uphill task to create a society based on the Quranic values and deserves full appreciation. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) has done this miracle and got full appreciation from God and we should follow suite. "A man can do what a man has done". "In-Allaha Wa Malaikatahu Yasal-loon Ala Nabi, Ya Ayuhal Lazeena Amno Salo Alehe Wa Salemo Tasleema" (33:56). (Allah and His angels send greetings and support the Prophet, Oh! Who believe you should also send your greetings and follow him and submit yourself to him as is worthy of submission).

Ramadan Kareem.