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Did the Holy Prophet profess any religion before his prophetic mission?

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For quite some time the question of the religion of the Holy Prophet before his appointment to the prophetic mission has been a matter of discussion between the Shi’ah and Sunni scholars. They have raised the following issues and given reply to each one of them:

1. Did the Holy Prophet profess any religion before his appointment to the prophetic mission?

2. Supposing that he was the follower of a religion, was it his own religion?

3. If he was the follower of any other religion was that religion revealed to him independently and he followed it independently or he was reckoned to be one of the followers of that religion?

4. If he acted on that religion independently or as a follower, to which of the former Prophets did that religion belong?

These are the four questions which come across in various books of Seerah (the Prophet’s biography), history, and interpretation. However, is it necessary that we should give definite replies to these questions? Is it basically necessary that we should study various books on history, exegesis and the Holy Prophet’s biography and collect the requisite answers?
We feel that discussion of these particular points is not at all necessary. Rather what is important is that we should conclusively prove that before his appointment to the prophetic mission the Holy Prophet believed in and worshipped only Allah the One, and was pious and chaste.

This can be proved by the following two methods:
Firstly by studying his forty years of life preceding his appointment to the prophetic mission, and secondly by examining what has been said on the subject by the leaders of Islam.

1 To sum up his forty years of life, it was a life of modesty and chastity, honesty and truthfulness, uprightness and righteousness, goodness and kindness to the oppressed and the needy and contempt toward the idols and the idol-worshippers. So much so that once, When he performed a journey to Syria in connection with trade and the other party, to a transaction, swore by idols he said: “The most obnoxious things which always arouse my wrath are these very ‘Lat’ and ‘Manat’ by which you are swearing”.
Besides this, he prayed continuously in the cave of Hira during the month of Ramadan and performed Haj time and again, for as the sixth Imam says, he (the Holy Prophet) performed Haj secretly ten times and according to another narration twenty times. And, as we know, all Haj ceremonies are the performance of rites to which Prophet Ibrahim invited people and wished that by this means those who believe in Allah, the One should assemble at one particular place during a fixed period.
Similarly, the Prophet always remembered Allah while taking his meals and refrained from eating meat of the animals which had been slaughtered in an unlawful manner, and was very much disturbed to see obscene scenes, wine-drinking and gambling; so much so that at times, he sought asylum in the mountains and returned home when a part of the night had passed. Now what demands our consideration is this:
Is it possible to doubt the faith of a man who has passed his life in the manner stated above and who does not possess even the smallest weak point from the very beginning of his life, and who passes a part of his life in hills and in secluded places to meditate upon the beautiful phenomena of the world. We consider an ordinary man to be pious, dutiful and righteous if we observe one tenth of these qualities in him, what to speak of the Holy Prophet?

2 The second method of finding out the real position, is the study of numerous documents and narratives which have reached us from the leaders of Islam. One of them is the discourse of Imam Ali, the chief of the monotheists, in ‘Khutbah-i Qasi’ah’:
“From the time the Holy Prophet had been weaned, the Almighty Allah had associated the most distinguished angel with him so that he might show him the path of magnanimity and goodness during day as well as night”

It all started in the Cave of Hira

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The Hira mountain is situated in the north of Makkah and one can reach its summit within half an hour. The surface at this mountain consists of slabs of black stone and no signs of life are found in it. In its northern point, there is a cave which can be approached by man after crossing the stones. Its height is about as much as the stature of a man. Sunlight penetrates into a part of this cave and its remaining part is always dark.
However. this very cave is a witness to such incidents about its close friend that even today people hasten to it with an ardent desire to hear about these incidents from its mute language and to reach its threshold, after undergoing many hardships, so as to enquire from it about the incident of ‘revelation’, as well as about a part of the life history of that great benefactor of mankind. And the cave also replies in its mute language:

“This is the place of worship by the honourable one of Quraish. Before he attained to the office of prophethood he spent many days and many nights in here. He had selected this spot, which was away from uproar, for the purpose of prayers and worship. He spent the entire month of Ramadan here, and at other times also he took asylum in this locality every now and then. So much so that his dear wife knew that as and when he did not come home he must be busy in prayers on the mountain of Hira. And when she sent people after him they found him meditating and praying at this place.”

Before Muhammad (pbuh) attained to the office of prophethood, he used to reflect much upon two matters:

1 He studied thoroughly the book of existence and observed the luminosity, power and craftsmanship of Allah in the features of every existing thing. By conducting deep study of the skies and the stars and prudently considering the creatures on earth he was approaching nearer to his target day after day.

2 He meditated upon the onerous responsibility which, he knew, he had to shoulder. With all the corruption and deterioration of the human society in that time, he did not consider its reformation to be something impossible. However, the enforcement of reformatory programme, too, was not devoid of difficulties and hardship. Hence, he observed the tumultuous life of the Makkans and the voluptuousness of Quraysh and reflected upon the ways and means of their reformation.
He wondered at the people worshipping the lifeless and ineffective idols and showing humility before them and signs of discomfort appeared on his face. However, as he had not been ordained to mention the realities, he refrained from pointing them out to those people.

Ethics of The Prophets – eBook

ethicsoftheprophets

This book shows some events that reveal the high traits and the wise behaviors of the prophets. It shows examples and lessons of the mannerism of the prophets.[divider]

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” width=”360px” ]Name: Ethics of The Prophets
Author: Muhammad Mehdi Taaj Langroodi
Translated by: Ali Akbar Aghili Ashtiani[/box]

[button color=”green” size=”medium” link=”http://www.byislam.com/en/egaxugli/2015/08/Ethics-of-The-Prophets.pdf” target=”blank” ]Download “Ethics of The Prophets” – PDF[/button]

Prophethood and the Prophet of Islam – eBook

Prophethood-and-the-Prophet-of-Islam

This book discusses about general prophethood and particularly to the prophethood of The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) and the description of his proclamation as well as a sketch of his character and life history.[divider]

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” width=”400px” ]Name: Prophethood and the Prophet of Islam
Author: Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini
Translated By: Sayyid Athar Husayn S.H. Rizvi[/box]

[button color=”green” size=”medium” link=”http://www.byislam.com/en/egaxugli/2015/04/Prophethood-and-the-Prophet-of-Islam.pdf” target=”blank” ]Download “Prophethood and the Prophet of Islam” – PDF[/button]

The whole world before the prophethood

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At that time, the whole world, especially Arabia, was steeped in ignorance, corruption, and turmoil. The Arabs were suffering immensely from superstitions and unchasteness. Ignorance had darkened the lives of the Arabs, who were leading tormented lives. Plunder and murder were quite prevalent – plunder of the people’s meager properties and unjust killing!

Most shameful of all was their worship of lifeless statues -idols. False beliefs and class differences were strong. What was lacking was law and justice. The apathetic, wealthy people amassed wealth by exploiting the weak and by overcharging the orphan and the widow. They lorded over the poor class and exploited them.

Their manners in business were so illogical and unjust that they would hold women responsible for their husbands’ debts and would detain the husbands for the indebtedness of their poor wives.

Instead of acquiring knowledge and virtue, they prided them­selves in their ancestors and in the large numbers of their relatives; sometimes they even went to cemeteries 4and counted the number of their dead relatives to prove there were more people in their tribe than in other tribes.

Murder, bloodshed, drinking, and illegitimate sexual intercourse were quite ordinary and commonplace. Amr ul-Qays, the famous Arab poet, discussed his satanic sexual relationships with his cousin `Anizah. Curiously, such poems were ranked among the greatest works of literature and were hung in the Ka’aba.

Such was the situation and moral conditions of a miserable society out of whose dark horizon came the light of Islam.

It is crystal clear that a person who not only is not affected by such a corrosive society, but also grieves over it and attempts to combat it, possesses a great divine character and is competent to lead people and guide them onto the path of salvation

All went to the idol-temples except the Prophet who, without being taught by anybody, made his way to Mount Hira, the mountain where he devotedly worshipped the Creator of the universe and praised His glory and power.

`And you did not recite before it any book, nor did you transcribe one with your right hand, for then could those who say untrue things have doubted (Holy Quran, 29:48).

Favored by Almighty God, he distinguished his path from the very beginning, denounced the wrong manners of his people without any hesitation or fear, and proceeded against those wrong deeds and beliefs.

Not only was not one single moment of his blessed life spent in idolatry, but, as we have already mentioned, he hated to hear the names of idols.

His chasteness and purity were known to all. His extreme honesty led the people to give him the title of `the Trustworthy’, and this great virtue led Khadija to trust him with her commercial property.

The behavior of the Prophet toward the people and his manners were so pleasant and excellent that they attracted all people. ‘Ammar said, `The Prophet and I were engaged as shepherds before the advent of the prophetic mission. One day I suggested to him, `Let’s go to the Fakh pasturage’. He agreed.

`The next day I went there and saw that he had preceded me but prevented his sheep from grazing there. I asked him the reason. He replied, `I did not wish my sheep to graze here before your sheep because we had taken this decision together’. (Bihar ul-Amrar, Vol. 16, p.224)

Thus the Prophet took a different direction than his people and was by no means infatuated with tribal customs and moods. In reality, under the control of the divine power, he advanced on his path of evolution and perfection.

For all these reasons, people had great respect for him and relied heavily on his views in solving their problems.