The Rational Evidence of Muhammad’s Prophethood part 2.

By Syed Abul A’lā Maudūdī,

Translated by Prof Syed Asim Ali

The Rise of a Personality:

He loses his mother, father, and grandfather even while quite young, on account of which he misses every chance of getting even that scanty training as would be available otherwise to an ordinary Arab child in a normal household. In his boyhood this person finds himself tending sheep and goats with other bedouin lads. As a young man he is seen in the company of traders. His days and nights are all spent in the company of the same Arabs whose condition has already been described above. He knows nothing in the name of education, so much so that he does not even read or write.

In such times and in such a land a person is born. He loses his mother, father, and grandfather even while quite young, on account of which he misses every chance of getting even that scanty training as would be available otherwise to an ordinary Arab child in a normal household. In his boyhood this person finds himself tending sheep and goats with other bedouin lads. As a young man he is seen in the company of traders. His days and nights are all spent in the company of the same Arabs whose condition has already been described above. He knows nothing in the name of education, so much so that he does not even read or write. He never gets a chance to sit at the feet of a scholar since this ‘species’ was nowhere to be found in the entire Arabia. He did get a chance though on a few occasions to set foot outside Arabia, but travels only as far as Syria. These tours to Syria were of the same nature as generally undertaken then by the trade caravans of the Arabs. Let us assume that he briefly observed some signs of knowledge and culture and encountered some men of knowledge en route. But, such sporadic observations and chance meetings, needless to say, are not sufficient in any way to build the whole character of a person. Their impact is not as enormous and long-lasting as to totally disentangle oneself from one’s immediate environs and be entirely different and so lofty in stature that there remains no linkage whatsoever between him and his surroundings. Culling such knowledge from them is not possible as would make an illiterate bedouin the leader of not only one country but of the whole world and not of one period but of all times. Even if he benefitted educationally from people abroad in some measure, so to speak, no source could be traced for his religious, moral, civilizational and cultural concepts and the models of human character non-existent in the contemporary world.

His Character

Bear in mind not just the atmosphere of Arabia but that of the whole world and consider the following.

Copy of a letter sent by Prophet Muhammad to Munzir Sawa, the ruler of the Eastern Flank of the Arabian Peninsula.

This person appears to be different in his habits and morals from all those amidst whom he was born, spent his childhood and attained his youth, whose companionship he kept, and with whom he had daily interactions. He never tells a lie and his entire nation bears witness to his trustworthiness. Even the worst of his adversaries never blame him of falsehood on any occasion. He never indulges in foul speech. None did ever hear him uttering abuses or obscenities. He has free interaction with people but without indulging once in indecent exchanges or rant and rave. He knows no harshness. He is honey-tongued to such an extent that one who meets him once becomes fond of him forever. He never indulges in unfair dealings and never impinges on anyone’s rights. He never takes a penny from anyone in an unjust way even though he has been in trading business for years together. All the people he deals with fully trust him as an absolutely upright person. The whole society identifies him as ‘trustworthy’. Even his enemies deposit their money with him for safekeeping which he diligently guards. Though he lives among indecent and shameless people, he himself is so decent that he is never seen improperly dressed. Though surrounded by immoral and debauched people, he is so pure in his morality that he never indulges in any iniquity. He never goes near drinking or gambling. Among uncouth people, he is one so sophisticated that he hates every shade of vulgarity and crassness. Each of his acts is marked by purity and candour. Though he lives among callous people, he is so kind-hearted that he stands by everyone in their hour of distress. He helps orphans and widows and takes good care of the traveller. He never hurts anyone, rather suffers hardship for the sake of others. Though he lives among violent savages, he is so peaceful and peace-loving that he is agonized to see violence and bloodshed rampant in his society. He keeps at bay from the wars of his tribe and is found in the forefront of conciliatory efforts. Though he lives among idol-worshippers, he is so reasonable and good-natured that he never considers anything worthy of worship between the earth and heaven. He never bows his head to any of the creatures. Neither does he partake of the food-offerings made to idols. His heart is naturally indisposed to polytheism and creature-worship. He appears as distinct in this environment as a candle lit in the midst of thick darkness or a diamond shining through a heap of pebbles.

This person appears to be different in his habits and morals from all those amidst whom he was born, spent his childhood and attained his youth, whose companionship he kept, and with whom he had daily interactions. He never tells a lie and his entire nation bears witness to his trustworthiness. Even the worst of his adversaries never blame him of falsehood on any occasion. He never indulges in foul speech. None did ever hear him uttering abuses or obscenities.

Mental and Spiritual Transformation

After leading such a clean, decent, gentle and pure life for about forty years, a radical change unfolds in his life. He loses patience with the profound darkness spread all around. In his world-weariness, he wants to get away from the dreadful sea of ignorance, immorality, indecency, characterlessness, chaos, polytheism and idolatry surrounding him. Nothing in his environment appears to him seemly to his temperament. He starts to isolate himself from all that, frequently seeking solitude in the quiet mountains away from the hustle and bustle of his township. There he would spend days together in the environs of peace and solitude. Through frequent fasting there, he would seek the purification of his heart and mind more and more. He contemplates, reflects, and ruminates. He is searching for a light whereby he may dispel the persisting sway of all-pervasive darkness. He is seeking some kind of power with which he may restructure this depraved world and restore it to its pristine glory.

 

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