THE PROPHET OF HUMANITY
2/20/2014 3:41 AM
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent to this world as a mercy for humankind. He reminded human beings of their forgotten status and taught them values that were ignored for a long time. People were victims of superstitions, misconceptions, immorality, social disaster and darkness of infidelity. He warned them against all of the things that could damage humanity. He preached to them and urged them to have a sense of dignity, unity of purpose, equality and respect.
1. STATUS OF HUMANITY:
When some people actually posses a high social status but are not aware of it, their thoughts and deeds get influenced by the low and inferior atmosphere in which they live. Their low company can easily drive them to cheap and mean activities. But when they become aware of their status, and achieve a sense of greatness, a wonderful change begins in their thoughts and actions. They turn away from lowness and start walking on the track of nobility. The same situation exists for human society as a whole; its ignorance about its true status allows it to indulge in lowness, while its awareness makes it walk on the track of greatness.
The Holy Prophet found people unmindful of their real status. As a result they were drowned in savagery, superstition, infidelity and many inhuman activities. He informed them about their real status, and thus he brought a remarkable change in human society. He conveyed to them the Divine teaching that reads:
a. The human beings are vicegerents of their Creator ( Qur' an 2:30).
b. Allah has granted humankind a unique intellect and vast knowledge even more than the angels (Qur'an 2:31-33).
c. He has made humankind great and honorable (Qur'an 17:70).
d. He has honored the human beings by calling their soul His own Soul (Qur'an 15:29).
e. He has created the human beings with a pure nature, and honored them by calling it His own Nature (Qur'an 30:30).
f. Allah has granted the human beings a most beautiful shape (Qur'an 95:4).
In one of his sayings, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
" Indeed Allah has created Adam on His own Image ."(Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmad).
Allah has granted human beings the quality and capability of mastery over the whole universe (Qur'an 2:29; 16:12; 45:13).
The status and great qualities of humankind require them to bow only before Allah, obey His commands and worship Him alone. They must not insult themselves by worshipping anyone else. They should consider His pleasure superior to every other thing. It is incumbent on them to realize their status. This will be a source of their love towards humanity, and a means of closeness to their Lord, Almighty.
2. NATURE OF HUMANITY:
The ideas are like a foundation, and actions are like a construction erected on them. As the good ideas are a source of good practices, in the same way, the bad ideas are springhead for evil activities.
Now, when someone believes that he is originally free from sin, that his nature is pure and enlightened by the eternal divine light, and that he is not the bearer of any original sin, instead, sin comes after his birth, through wrong company and bad ideas, this belief will urge him to protect his pure nature, and will create in his heart and mind a sense of obligation to secure his purity from the filth of sin to the best of his ability. As a result of this feeling, he will find a voice of divine call in the depth of his soul that could protect him against the evils, and lead him toward the path of a righteous life contributing to a blissful human society.
Contrarily, if someone believes that he is born carrying the filth of original sin, that his nature is impure, and that he is a sinner by birth, this concept may result in negligence about the differentiation between sin and virtue; and weaken the hatred against evil deeds. Then, whenever he commits any sin, he may feel unconsciously that he is not doing any wrong thing, instead, he is following what his human nature demands. This feeling can deprive him of that inner voice which scolds bad deeds and protects against evils. As a result, the evil activities will poison his life, as well as, the life of the society.
There are two forces to prevent criminal activities: the voice of human conscience and law of the state. When prohibitive voice of conscience gets diminished, the state law remains the only preventive force against evils. Now, when a law is legislated, the people who are deprived of the hindering inner voice, open another door for their deviations. The legislator enforces one law after the other but the mischief continues to spread everywhere, and poisons every aspect of life.
It should be kept in mind that crimes can not be stopped by relying on outer sources only. It is necessary, for the achievement of this goal, to close the springhead of evil. Unrealistic ideas are fountainheads for bad deeds. When sin is regarded as a part of human nature, and every human being is considered contaminated with original sin, the hatred against evil will almost be wiped out, and the door will be open for a storm of bad deeds.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) rejected this illogical, unrealistic, and damaging concept of original sin. He informed humankind of the fact that their nature is pure and free from sin. Their nature is so pure that Almighty Allah has honored humanity by calling it His own Nature:
The Nature of Allah upon which He has created humankind (Qur'an 30:30).
In one of his sayings, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said that:
“Every child is born with the pure nature of submission to Allah, but his parents turn him to other ways” (al-Bukhariand Muslim).
Therefore, every human being, regardless of his family or ethnic background, is born sinless bearing a pure nature; the evil convictions and sinful activities come later as a result of bad company and unhealthy circumstances. This great teaching creates .in the depth of the hearts of a people love for goodness and hatred against sin. Thus it provides for human society a most important source of protection against the storm of evils.
3. UNITY OF HUMANITY:
Our physical structure, in general, comprises various parts such as a head, eyes, face, ears, mouth, arms, hands, legs and feet. The size, shape and color of each part are not the same. The shape and size of hands and arms are different from that of feet and legs. Likewise, the color of hair and eyes is different from that of skin and teeth. In spite of these differences there is unity between these parts in that they are organs of the same body. As a result they all have been loved and taken care of; there is no discrimination between them; every part can get what it deserves and needs. The color of hair and eyes does not cause hatred against color of teeth and skin, the highness of the head does not cause discrimination against the lowness of the feet, and the largeness of the arms does not create hard feelings against the shortness of the fingers. They all are so united that each one's comfort is comfort for the whole body, and each one's pain is pain for the whole body.
As each person has an individual body, he also has a collective body, and all human beings are parts of that body which is humanity. As the different parts of a body, in spite of their variety, have unity; likewise all human beings are connected to each other by the string of unity through their collective body of humanity. Therefore, it is incumbent on every person to consider the pain and harm of the other parts of this collective body as his own pain and harm, and their happiness and benefit as his own happiness and benefit. He should respect and protect other human beings as he respects and protects his own self. And as he considers the disaster or security of any part of his individual body as a disaster or security for his whole, likewise he should consider the disaster or security of any part of his collective body as a disaster or security for this whole body.
The Master of humanity, Muhammad (PBUH) the Messenger of Allah, has reminded humankind about this lesson of human unity through conveying the following beautiful Divine revelation:
"Anyone who kills any person without (his murdering) another person or ( causing) any mischief in the land ( it will be) as if he has killed all humankind, and anyone who saves the life of one person ( it will be) as if he has saved life of all humankind." (Qur'an 5:32)
4. EQUALITY OF HUMANITY:
Almighty Allah has created human beings in such a way that their diet, climate and origin affect them. The good and fresh diet makes the body sound and healthy, while bad food destroys health and ruins strength. Likewise, different types of food have different kinds of impact on the body, both outwardly and inwardly. Its outward impact appears in the shape, size and color of the body, while inwardly it affects the inner qualities such as thinking, patience, lust, anger and pleasure.
Climate also has a great effect on the body. People, who live in hot climates and work continuously in the blazing sun, get dark color skin. Likewise, those who live in cool or less hot climates have fair color skin. When they live in the same climate for centuries their color becomes so accustomed to their environment that even if they move and get established in a land of a different climatic and temperature, the skin color of their offspring remains the same for several generations.
Family origin has a profound inward, as well as, outward impact. A child is born with a specific body shape, facial features, and color of hair, skin and eyes, similar to that of his parents. Likewise, he bears their intellectual and professional tendencies, as well as, several of their qualities and conditions. After the child's birth, climate, diet and society begin to influence him, and he becomes both outwardly and inwardly different from his parents.
These varieties, based on coincidental biological origin, diet or climate cannot be everlasting phenomena. There is a continuous interchanging process among humans in these aspects. Therefore, they cannot be criteria for superiority or inferiority. It is a great pity that many people have focused on these coincidental and changeable phenomena, and consider some persons, based on their race or color, superior to others. Relying on this false base, they commit crimes of hatred and discrimination between one group and another, and deprive many people of their human rights.
In fact, human beings share many everlasting and unchangeable qualities that make them equal. They all are created by one Almighty God. They all are offspring of the same father, Adam. They all are children of one mother, Eve. They all are born sinless with a pure nature. They all are endowed with the duty of the vicegerency of Allah. And they all are endowed with special human qualities of knowledge, judgment, choice and accountability. But if someone ignores his status of vicegerency, overlooks his pure nature and acts like devils and animals; he insults and humiliates his own self.
The Prophet of Islam has taught the lesson of equality. He has preached that all human beings are the creation of Allah, all are born with a pure nature, all have the responsibility of vicegerency, and all are children of one father and one mother. Therefore, there is no place for the discrimination on the basis of race, color or gender. Superior are those who have God- consciousness and good character.
" O humankind, We have created you from a male ( Adam ) and a female (Eve), and have made you tribes and sub-tribes so that you may recognize one another: Surely, the most honored of you with Allah is the one who is most pious among you."
In one of his sayings, the Holy Prophet said that there is no superiority for any Arab over any non-Arab, nor for any non-Arab over any Arab; neither for any white over black, nor for any black over white. All human beings are children of Adam, and Adam was created from dust (Ahamd).
5. RESPECT OF HUMANITY:
The status and qualities that Allah has granted human beings have made them noble and honored. Therefore, every person as a human being, regardless of his race, color, ethnicity, creed or gender, deserves respect. This respect has three categories: words, actions and heart. These all are equally important and essential.
a. RESPECT BY WORDS:
Humankind, the most beloved and superior creation of -t Allah, should be addressed in appropriate words and nice language. This mode of address, along with pleasing Almighty Allah, will create harmony, peace and love among human society. It is essential to avoid insulting words; they ruin unity and cause hatred and animosity. Abusive language toward other people is not an insult for them only; it is an insult for the abusers themselves as well, because they are causing damage to their own collective body. The wounds of words are deeper than the wounds of knives. Therefore, to every possible extent, they should be avoided, and only nice words should be uttered. Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) conveyed the following message:
"And say to humankind good words." (Qur'an 2:83).
In one of his sayings the Holy Prophet said:
" Allah has commanded me to treat humankind with gentle " courtesy as He has commanded me to perform the obligatory prayers." (Ibn Kathir)
b. RESPECT BY ACTIONS:
Respect for humanity is to be performed by actions that can be verbal as well as physical and financial. This duty should be fulfilled according to the situation and circumstances of the people. If there is someone who needs any kind of help he should be supported. It should be regarded as a duty not just as a favor. Whenever someone serves any part of his body he does not consider it a favor, instead, regards it a right of the body, and a duty on his part. Likewise, when any help is done for any other person it should be considered his right, not just a favor. Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has taught us through his Divine revelation:
"And in their wealth was a right for one who asked for help, and (for) the destitute (who could not ask)." (Qur'an 51:19).
"So give the relative his right, and the poor and the wayfarer" (Qur'an 30:38).
Sometimes, some parts of the body might be afflicted with some minor or even fatal disease both ideological, as well as, physical, but these ill parts should not be targeted by hatred. If the doctors started hating their patients it would be a calamity for humanity. The target of hatred should be the disease, not the patients. They deserve sympathy and support. If circumstances necessitate a hard and tough attitude towards them, it should be utilized as the knife of a doctor and not as the sword of a destroyer.
c. RESPECT BY HEART:
Respect by the heart means to have nice, kind, sympathetic and affectionate feelings about other human beings, In fact, the human heart is the foundation for human conduct. If it is adorned with feelings of love, sympathy and kindness, the body will work accordingly. If it is poisoned by hatred, animosity and cruelty the deeds will go on that way. As its good feelings promote righteous actions, similarly its evil feelings cause sinful actions. The Holy Prophet Muhammad ( PBUH) said:
" Indeed there is a piece in the body, when it is right, the whole body is right, and when it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt. Beware that piece is the heart."
(al-Bukhari and Muslim)".
I It is necessary to purify the heart by the light of divine instructions, and to make it the place of love, sympathy and '1" kindness for humanity. It will establish the way to peace and love in society, and will promote a sense of universal brotherhood in which all human beings are brethren to each other. Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to repeat these words:
"O Allah! O our Lord, and Lord of everything, I am witness that all human beings are brethren to each other" (Ahmad).
In short, according to the teachings of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) humankind has the following characteristics:
a. Every human being is born with the pure nature of submission to Allah. Therefore, everyone came to this world as innocent and sinless; no one is a sinner by birth
b. Allah has granted human beings honor and greatness.
c. Allah has granted human beings the best shape among all of His creations, and has honored humanity by calling the human shape His own Image.
d. Allah has honored humanity by calling the human soul His own Soul, and human nature His own nature.
e. Allah has endowed human beings with unique qualities so hat they may master the universe.
f. Allah has granted human begins the duty of His vicegerency, and has given them qualities to be His vicegerents.
g. All the children of Adam are endowed with the gift of honor and dignity. There is no place for discrimination on the basis of race, color or gender.
h. The criteria of superiority are not race, color, gender or ethnicity; the criteria are God-consciousness and good character.
i. Human beings are so close to each other that they are like parts of one body.
j. All human beings are brethren to each other.