Written by: Abdul Qadeer Shahid
This speech was delivered by Mr. Shahid in one of the monthly meetings of Jama’at Ahmadiyya Toronto. It was published in the December 1991 issue of the Ahmadiyya Gazette.
We have assembled this evening to enliven the blessed remembrance of the chosen one of God, the crown of all the prophets, Mohammad (peace be upon him), whose status is so high that one cannot perceive the ultimate limit of his station.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was born in Arabia. The Arabs at that time worshiped hundreds of idols. They indulged in crimes and immoral life of various kinds. They knew nothing of civilized life. Kindness and consideration for others were unknown to them. Women had no status or rights in their society. In some families, the baby girls were killed or buried alive.
They were a people who, when they came in the companionship of the Holy Prophetsaw, were totally transformed. They became the torch bearers of divine wisdom and knowledge and got such animation and strength that within a short time they shattered the super powers of the time. I mean, the Roman and Persian empires.
The Holy Prophetsaw gave the world the most perfect and the purest teachings and exhibited in his person the noble human qualities. The sanctifying and animating power of the Holy Prophetsaw gave them a new life and they became the best of all peoples.
The Promised Messiah (peace be on him) has beautifully described this event in his Arabic Qaseedah, saying:
O beloved Mohammad, you met a people servile and obsequious like droppings of the animals but you made them clean and precious like ingots of pure gold. With one transfiguration you raised the dead of centuries to life. Who can match you in this situation.
Jesus (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “A tree is known by its fruit”. I would like to discuss about the fruits of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him), I mean the companions of the Holy Prophet of Islam.
It is not possible to speak about all aspects of the companions or enumerate all the high qualities they attained. I shall discuss about one aspect only and that is their love and loyalty to the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) and their sacrifices for Islam.
In the early days of Islam, due to persecution of Quraish, some Muslims migrated to seek refuge in Abysinnia. Young Uthman bin Maz’oon, the son of a Meccan chief, was one of them. On a false rumour, Uthman with a party of Muslims returned to Mecca. Uthman was given protection by a friend of his father. He realized that he was in peace while the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) and other Muslims suffered. He went to Walid bin Mugheera, who had given him protection and renounced it. One day Labid – the Poet Laureate of Arabia was sitting with the chiefs of Mecca, reciting his poem. He recited the verse:
Everything beside Allah is vain and all graces must ultimately come to an end.
Uthman confirmed the first line, but contradicted the second saying that the graces of paradise are everlasting and will not come to an end. Labid, who was not used to such criticism, lost his temper and became furious. One of the Qureshites sprang upon Uthman and gave him a sharp blow, knocking out one of his eyes. Walid, the friend of his father, came to Uthman and said, “My nephew, had you not renounced my protection, you would not have lost your eye”. Uthman replied, “Uncle! You lament the loss of one eye. By God, my second eye also longs for the same fate. Remember, while the Holy Prophet suffers, we want no comfort.”
In the Battle of Badr, the Muslims were in 313 in number. They had to fight a seasoned army of one thousand soldiers. The Holy Prophetsaw asked his companions for their opinion about the fight. After the Meccan Muslims had expressed their view, a Medinite Muslim chief stood up and said,
O Prophet of Allah! We shall stand by you and do whatever you ask us to do. We shall not say like the followers of Moses: ‘Go ye and your Lord and fight the enemy, and we remain behind.’ O Prophet of God, we shall fight to the right of you and to the left of you, in front of you and behind you. The enemy will reach you only by stepping over our dead bodies”.
Again, during the same battle, a Muslim Meccan General, Abdul Rahman bin Auf, relates the following incident.
“When the battle began, I looked to my right and left to see what support I had on my flanks. I saw two young boys of Medina on either side. I thought that my flanks were weak. Suddenly the boy on my right touched my side with his elbow and said, “Uncle, we have heard of one Abu Jahl who used to torment our Holy Prophet”. I had not yet replied when the boy on the left asked the same question. I just raised my finger to point at Abu Jahl, armed to the teeth, guarded by two senior generals with drawn swords”. Abdul Rahman further relates, “I had not dropped my finger when the two boys dashed into the enemy ranks with the speed of an eagle and attacked Abu Jahl who fell to the ground fatally wounded.”
In the Battle of Uhud, when victory was converted into defeat, the rumour of the death of the Prophetsaw reached Medina. The women and children rushed to Uhud. A woman from Bani Dinar ran in anguish to the battle field. A returning soldier met her and told her that her husband, her father and her brother, and according to some reports her son also, had died in the battle. She said to the soldier, “I care not for any of them. Tell me about the Prophet of God”. When she was told that the Prophetsaw was all right as she wished, she went to the Prophetsaw and said to him, “O Prophet of God, if you are alive, I care not who else dies”.
In the fourth year of Hijra, two Arab tribes, Adl and Qara, sent their representatives asking the Prophetsaw to send some of his well versed companions to teach them about Islam. The Prophetsaw sent ten companions to teach them about Islam. Upon reaching there they came to know that they were betrayed. Two hundred armed people attacked them. They fought the enemy and eight of them fell in the encounter. Two Muslims, Khubail and Zaid, were taken prisoners and sold to the Quraish of Mecca. The purchaser of Khubail wanted to kill him to avenge his father. He was taken to an open field to celebrate his murder in public. Khubail asked leave to perform two Rak’ats of prayer. Given permission, he performed his prayer quickly lest the enemy think he was afraid of dying. When he submitted his neck to the executioner he recited:
“When I die a Muslim, I care not which side my headless body falls in the way of Allah.”
The second prisoner, Zaid, was also taken to be murdered. Abu Sufyan, the Chief of Mecca asked him if he preferred Mohammad to be in his place that day. Zaid boldly replied, “What are you talking, Abu Sufyan? By God I would rather die than Mohammad tread upon a thorn in the streets of Medina.” Abu Sufyan said in amazement, “I have not known any one who loved any others as much as the companions of Mohammad loved him.”
The sanctifying and animating power of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) and the strength of the faith of his companions has no parallel in the history of the world. The example of the followers of Mosesas has been cited earlier. About the disciples of Jesusas also, we read in the Bible that they abandoned him at the most critical time of his life. One of them sold him for a paltry sum of thirty pieces of silver. Peter, who was promised the keys of paradise denied and even cursed him and the remaining ten ran away.
The life giving and sanctifying powers of the Holy Prophetsaw is not a story off the past only. It continues to the last day. The greatest manifestation of this miracle of the Holy Prophetsaw appeared in the person of the Promised Messiahas who declared:
Surely I have been quickened by the animating power of Mohammadsaw. What a great miracle and how wonderfully he brought me to life.