Critique of Prof. Toynbee's Understanding of
the Prophet Muhammad
By Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad Ahmadi H.A.
Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad, H.A.
Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad (born October 10, 1910 at Shujabad, District Multan, Pakistan), graduated with Honors in Arabic from the University of Punjab in 1931, and completed his religious studies and training as Missionary in 1933 at the Ahmadiyya Seminary, Qadian, India. From 1934 to 1962, he served as Missionary-in-Charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim missions in East Africa, and established Ahmadiyya Muslim outreach centers in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. During this period, Ahmadiyya mosques were constructed in several East African cities. He translated several Islamic religious books in Swahili; his most memorable achievement being the translation of the Holy Quran and commentary in that language. From 1962 to 1979, he served in various administrative capacities at the Ahmadiyya Jamaat's International Headquarters at Rabwah, Pakistan. His assignments included the offices of Nazir Islaho-Irshad, Secretary of Fazal-e-Umar Foundation and Secretary Hadiqatul Mubasherin. From 1979 to 1983, he served as Amir and the Missionary-in-Charge of the United Kingdom Ahmadiyya Jamaat where he established eleven new Ahmadiyya Muslim Missions in various counties. In November of 1983, he came to Washington, D.C. , as the Amir and Missionary-in- Charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in the United States and served in this capacity until his retirement in 1991. Several new Mosques, Ahmadiyya Centers and other properties were added to the branches of Ahmadiyya Muslim communities in various cities. Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad is a noted author and lecturer. He is now retired from the active duties of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat; yet in his retirement, he continues to engage himself in valuable literary work. He has translated Riyadh-as-Salihin (a book of Ahadith) and The Words of Wisdom And Purification in Swahili.
PLEASE NOTE: The author passed away in 2001.
May Allah bless his soul.
Many years ago, I read a brief note in a newspaper on Arnold Toynbee's A Study of History. The note commented that the famous British historian had a unique philosophy of history based on the analysis of the development and decline of many civilizations of the world. Toynbee's critical and philosophical Study, a voluminous work, also contained his understanding of the historical role of the Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (May peace and blessing of God be on him). Toynbee asserted that the Prophet of Islam discharged his sublime and purely prophetic duties in Makkah but after Hijra he abandoned his prophetic mission in Madinahh and his spirit succumbed to secular temptation of becoming a political monarch, being an Arabian Caesar. That note pertaining to Toynbee's unfounded and utterly false allegations against the noble person of the Holy Prophet of Islam got stuck in my mind and I decided to refute it whenever God granted me an opportunity.
Over the years I remained busy in preaching and administrative activities Of the Jamaat, but Toynbee's criticism did not leave my mind, and my determination to write a convincing rebuttal did not diminish - rather it continued to gain strength. For the last four or five years, after retirement from Jamaat's active duties I remained engaged in several religious assignments of my own: A translation in Sawahili of the voluminous book Riyadh as-Salihin of Imam Nawawi was done, and its publication completed. Moreover, Words of Wisdom and Purification - a 200 page book containing basic knowledge of Islam was also translated in Swahili. Similarly, several miscellaneous tasks were assigned to me by the Jamaat and I took them as God's favor to me and completed them in a spirit of gratitude. Then God the Exalted granted me the needed time, to fulfill my old desire to write a satisfactory response to Toynbee's critical, exaggerated and unrealistic account of the Holy Prophet in the light of historical facts and findings of other eminent scholars and orientalists. All praise is due to Allah.
This book was originally written in Urdu and published in the weekly, "Lahore", in four installments. For its English rendering, review and editing I would like to express my sincere thanks to a few friends. I am grateful to Mubasher Ahmad, M.A., LL.B., Regional missionary of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in the United States, for his review of the original manuscript in Urdu, its English translation and discussing with me some aspects of the subject. I owe a special debt to Dr. Waseem Ahmad Sayed for the English translation and to Sister Shakoora Nooria for editing the English draft. Above all, I am very grateful to Sahibzada Mirza Muzaffar Ahmad Sahib, the Amir of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, U.S.A. for his careful review of this book, wards of encouragement valuable suggestions and agreeing to write the foreword for this book. May Allah reward them all abundantly for their sincere help. May Allah accept my humble effort and establish the dignity, grandeur and understanding of the true exalted status of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be on him)
Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad
Jan. 30, 1996
Ramazan-ul-Mubarik 8, 1416.
The author has undertaken a daunting task of challenging a world renowned historian and author. Maulana Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad has succeeded admirably in showing how Professor Arnold G. Toynbee has misread the situation and has drawn conclusions which historical record of the Madinite Era of the Holy Prophet (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is unable to support.
The fact is that in Madinahh the Holy Prophet did not abandon or even subordinate his prophetical role but assumed additional responsibility as a statesman, an administrator, a general and indeed a supreme leader both in war and peace, in affluence and in poverty, in victory and hardship and in glorification of the Creator and in the service of mankind. This was indeed necessary if he was to prove the divine description that the Holy Prophet was a role model in every conceivable wholesome human activity and prove in his person the Quranic claim: "This day have I perfected your religion" (5:4).
This should be acknowledged as a service to Islam in pursuance of the divine mission of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, who claimed to the Promised Messiah and the latter day Reformer predicted by the old scriptures of the principal religions.
The book was written in Urdu and demonstrates the inherent difficulty in translation and in completely capturing the beauty and the spirit of the original.
The author of the book, Maulana Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad, is one of the prominent missionaries of the Ahmadiyyat who has dedicated his life to serve Islam in response to the call of the Promised Messiah and his successors. He has served in that capacity for close to half a century in Africa, U.K. and U.S.A.
Ameer Jamaat USA
January 26, 1996
We glorify Him and call down His Blessings on His Holy Messenger
Arnold Toynbee was a famous British historian who enjoys much support in America, although in Britain his English critics have subjected him to scathing criticismMany people consider him to be a leading authority in his field. The main reason for his fame is his thirteen volumes `A Study of History'. There is no doubt that he has accomplished a very great literary and historical feat. In these thirteen volumes, Toynbee has written on the philosophy of history and covered the rise and fall of 26 civilizations. This book was completed over a period of thirty years stretching from 1931 to 1961. Several of Taynbee's contemporaries and prominent religious leaders of his time have studied his book in great depth. They generally express the view that as far as the recording of historical details is concerned, Toynbee has, to a great extent, executed the task faithfully. On the other hand, wherever he has expressed his own views his personal prejudices are prominent. Indeed, some critics of Toynbee's historical research have expressed the view that his treatment of historical personalities is not only redundant, but also reflects personal enmity. For example:
"Toynbee has been severely criticized by other historians. In general, the critique has been leveled at his use of myths and metaphors as being of comparable value to factual data and at the soundness of his general argument about the rise and fall of civilizations, which relies to much on a view of religion as a regenerative force. Many critics complained that the conclusions he reached were those of a Christian moralist rather than of a historian." (The Encyclopedia Britwnica, Vol. Il, page 880 (Chicago, Encyclopedia Brittanica Inc. 1988)).
"The work provoked criticism from many quarters for its arbitrary hypotheses, factual errors, and over reliance an religion as a regenerative force." (The Encyclopedia Americana Vol. 26, page 889 (Danbury Connecticut, Grolier Inc. 1988)).
These critics have also stated that his comments and criticisms of Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam, are hostile, malicious, and contrary to the facts. It is essential for an authoritative and world renowned historian to keep in view, and take into full account, all the facts when expressing his own views. It appears as if Toynbee did not adequately study the religion of Islam. It also appears that he did not draw from any of the original biographies on the life of the Holy Prophet of Islam.
Toynbee's statements give the impression that his comments are based almost entirely on a book entitled Mohammadanism' written by a well known and hostile orientalist, D. S. Margoliouth. Toynbee has made references to Margoliouth in his book. It seems that Toynbee followed the footsteps of other prejudiced and hostile Christian historians. Apparently he did not do any independent research on his own part. Mr. Toynbee has thus made the Holy and blessed personage of the Holy Prophet of Islam, the target of his criticism and fault finding.
In Appendix II of the third volume of his famous book, under the title The Political Life of Muhammad, he writes: "Down to the thirteenth year of the mission, when Muhammad finally withdrew from Makkah to Madinah and abandoned the purely prophetic for the politico-religious career, ...(A Study of History, Vol. III, Page 469)
"Instead of sealing his prophetic message with his blood by becoming Caesar's victim, it was Muhammad's ironic destiny to compromise and debase his prophetic message by becoming an Arabian Caesar himself." (bid, p. 470)
"Muhammad ... embraced the opportunity, when it came his way, of arming himself in the panoply of political power and using this power as an instrument for imposing Islam upon Makkah by force." (Ibid. p. 471)
"The truth, then, seems to be that, in the invitation to Madinahh, Muhammad was confronted with a challenge to which his spirit failed to rise. In accepting the invitation, he was renouncing the sublime role of the nobly honoured prophet and contenting himself with the commonplace role of the magnificently successful statesman." (Ibtd 471-472)
The essence of Toynbee's criticism, comments, and impressions is that during the stay at Makkah (the historic city of Arabia where the Holy Prophet was born) the Holy Prophet continued discharging the great duties and obligations of a Prophet. When he arrived in Madinah, he became a Caesar and a King. He abandoned the high status of a Prophet and freed himself from the conduct of a Prophet. He adopted the ways and means of a King, and appeared to the world as a political personality. On the strength of his power, he forced Islam on the people of Makkah.
In refuting these criticisms, it seems appropriate to reproduce here the comments of eminent scholars and authorities on this subject, in particular, and about the character of the prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him), in general. These scholars, after diligent and fairminded research, have forcefully rejected and refuted the hostile criticism and faultfording of Toynbee. They have disproved Toynbee on the basis of irrefutable proofs and arguments, and presented facts and realities in support of their stance. They have written that the statement that the Holy Prophet became a political figure and a worldly king upon arriving in Madinah, and gave up the role of a Prophet, is completely contrary to the facts. It will become clear from the following opinions of these eminent authorities, how superficial and totally inaccurate Toynbee's views are about the Holy Prophet.
Margoliouth was an extremely prejudiced, hostile, and antagonistic orientalist opposed to Islam. In his book Mohammadanism, published in 1911, has made several allegations against the Holy Prophet. Nevertheless, he totally rejects the idea that upon arriving in Madinah, the Holy Prophet no longer remained the preacher, and the prophet. Margoliouth writes:
“But amid all the duties of general, legislator, judge, and diplomat, the Prophet did not neglect those of a preacher and a teacher." (Muhammadanism)
2. SIR THOMAS ARNOLD
Sir Thomas Arnold enjoys a special fame as an authority among the orientalists. Rejecting the criticism and faultfinding of Toynbee and his ilk, he writes in his book: The Preaching of Islam (1896):
"It has been frequently asserted by European writers that from the date of Muhammad's migration to Madinah, and from the altered circumstances of his life there, the Prophet appears in an entirely new character. He is no longer the preacher, the warner, the apostle of God to men, whom he would persuade of the truth of the religion revealed to him, but now he appears rather as the unscrupulous bigot, using all means at his disposal of force and statecraft to assert himself and his opinions.
But it is false to suppose that Muhammad in Madinah laid aside his role of preacher and missionary of Islam, or that when he had a large army at his command, he ceased to invite unbelievers to accept the faith. Ibn Sa'd gives a number of letters written by the Prophet from Madinah to chiefs and other members of different Arabian tribes, in addition to those addressed to potentates living beyond the limits of Arabia, inviting them to embrace Islam; and in the following pages will be found instances of his having sent missionaries to preach the faith to the unconverted members of their tribes, whose very ill-success in some cases is a sign of the genuinely missionary character of their efforts and the absence of an appeal to force." (The Preaching of Islam, p.28, published in London)
3. REVEREND BOSWORTH SMITH
Opposing the views expressed by Toynbee, Reverend Bosworth Smith comments on the events and circumstances of the blessed life of the Holy Prophet as follows: "Head of the state as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one, but he was Pope without the Pope pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without a standing army, without a body guard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue. If ever a man had the right to rule by a right divine, it was Muhammad for he had all the power without the instruments and without its supports." (Muhammad and Muhammadanism)
4. MAJOR A. LEONARD
Major A. Leonard stated that "If ever any man on this earth has found God; if ever any man has devoted his life for the sake of God with a pure and holy zeal then, without doubt, and most certainly that man was the Holy Prophet of Arabia." (Islam, its Moral and Spiritual Values, p. 9; 1909, London)
The opinions of Toynbee's contemporary French historian, Lamartine are also worth mentioning here. These opinions are decisive testimony and provide clear proof of the fact that the views of Toynbee are bigoted, hostile and completely contrary to the facts. This French historian writes in his book: Historie de la Turque:
"If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and outstanding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, and empires only. They founded, if any at all, no more than material power which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man merged not only armies, legislation, empires, peoples and dynasties but millions of men in one third of the inhabited world, and more than that, moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and the souls on the basis of a Book, every letter of which has become law. He created a spiritual nationality of every tongue and of every race." (Historie de la Turque, Vol. 2, page 76-77)
6. DR. MICHAEL H. HART: A WELL KNOWN MODERN HISTORIAN
Dr. Michael Hart, who considers the Holy Prophet to be the greatest man who ever lived, writes:
"I find in his character such diverse and manifold qualities as it would be impossible to find in any other man whose biography has been preserved by history. He is a king having a whole country under his control, but never claiming mastery even on his own self, ever taking pride in his being the serf of God." (The 100, A Ranking of the Most Influential Person in History).
7. KAREN ARMSTRONG
A modern research scholar of Islam Karen Armstrong, wrote in her book:
"Muhammad had to start virtually from scratch and work his way towards the radical monotheistic spirituality of his own. When he began his mission, a dispassionate observer would not have given him a chance. The Arabs, he might have objected, were just not ready for monotheism: they were not sufficiently developed for this sophisticated vision. In fact, to attempt to introduce it on a large scale in this violent, terrifying society could be extremely dangerous and Muhammad would be lucky to escape with his life.
Indeed, Muhammad was frequently in deadly peril and his survival was a near miracle. But he did succeed. By the end of his life he had laid an axe to the root of the chronic cycle tribal violence that afflicted the region and paganism was no longer a going concern. The Arabs were ready to embark on a new phase of their history." (Muhammad—A Biography of the Prophet page 53-54)
8. PRINGLE KENNEDY
Pringle Kennedy has observed (Arabian Society at the Time of Muhammad, pp.8-10, 18-21):
"Muhammad was, to use a striking expression, the man of the hour. In order to understand his wonderful success, one must study the conditions of his times. Five and half centuries and more had elapsedwhen he was born since Jesus had come into the world. At that time, the old religions of Greece and Rome, and of the hundred and one states along the Mediterranean, had lost their vitality. In their place, Caesarism had come as a living cult. The worship of the state as personified by the reigning Caesar, such was the religion of the Roman Empire. When Christianity conquered Caesarism at the commencement of the fourth century, it, in its turn, became Caesdrised. No longer was it the pure creed which had been taught some three centuries before. It had become largely de-spiritualised, ritualized, and materialized ......
How, in a few years, all this was changed, how, by 650 AD a great part of this world became a different world from what it had been before, is one of the most remarkable chapters in human history .... This wonderful change followed, if it was not mainly caused by, the life of one man, the Prophet of Mecca .... Whatever the opinion one may have of this extraordinary man, whether it be that of the devout Muslim who considers him the last and greatest herald of God's word, or of the fanatical Christian of former days, who considered him an emissary of the Evil One, or of certain modern Orientalists, who look on him rather as a politician than a saint, as an organizer of Asia in general and Arabia in particular, against Europe, rather than as a religious reformer; there can be no difference as to the immensity of the effect which his life has had on the history of the world. To those of us, to whom the man is everything, the milieu but little, he is the supreme instance of what can be done by one man. Even others, who hold that the conditions of time and place, the surroundings of every sort, the capacity of receptivity of the human mind, have, more than an individual effort, brought about the great steps in the world's history, cannot well deny, that even if this step were to come, without Muhammad, it would have been indefinitely delayed."
9. J. H. DENISON
J. H. Denison writes in his book, Emotions as the Basis of Civilization, pp. 265-9:
"In the fifth and sixth centuries, the civilized world stood on the verge of chaos. The old emotional cultures that had made civilization possible, since they had given to man a sense of unity and of reverence for their rulers, had broken down, and nothing had been found adequate to take their place . It seemed then that the great civilization which had taken four thousand years to construct was on the verge of disintegration, and that mankind was likely to return to that condition of barbarism where every tribe and sect was against the next, and law and order were unknown. The new sanctions created by Christianity were creating divisions and destruction instead of unity and order ...„ Civilization like a gigantic tree whose foliage had over reached the world stood tottering rotted to the core. Was there any emotional culture that could be brought in to gather mankind once mare to unity and to save civilization? It was among the Arabs that the man was born who was to unite the whole known world of the east and south."
10. S.P. SCOTT
S. P. Scott writes in, History of the Moorish Empire in Europe, p. 126:
"If the object of religion be the inculcation of morals, the diminution of evil, the promotion of human happiness, the expansion of the human intellect, if the performance of good works will avail in the great day when mankind shall be summoned to its final reckoning it is neither irreverent nor unreasonable to admit that Muhammad was indeed an Apostle of God".
11. MONTGOMERY WATT
W. Montgomery Watt, the well-known Orientalist, has said the following about his personality in general (Muhammad at Madinah, pp 335):
"The more one reflects on the history of Muhammad and of early Islam, the more one is amazed at the vastness of his achievement. Circumstances presented him with an opportunity such as few men have had, but the man was fully matched with the hour. Had it not been for his gifts as a seer, statesman, and administrator and, behind these, his trust in God and firm belief that God had sent him, a notable chapter in the history of mankind would have remained unwritten. It is my hope that this study of his life may contribute to a fresh appraisal and appreciation of one of the greatest of the sons of Adam. "
Such is a testimony of a biographer who is not favorably disposed towards the Holy Prophet.
12. SIR WILLIAM MUIR
The following description of the Holy Prophet's moral character and simplicity is taken from Sir William Muir (Life of Mohomet, pp. 510-13):
"If he turned in a conversation towards a friend, he turned not partially, but with his full face and his whole body. In shaking hands, he was not the first to withdraw his own; nor was he the first to break off in converse with a stranger, nor to turn away his ear. A patriarchal simplicity pervaded his life. His custom was to do everything for himself. If he gave an alms he would place it with his own hands in that of the petitioner. He aided his wives in their household duties, mended his clothes, tied up the goats, and even cobbled his sandals. His ordinary dress was of plain white cotton stuff, made like his neighbors."
All these renowned authorities express opinions that speak very highly of the prophet Muhammad. The character, features and inclinations of all these testimonies are in sharp contrast to the baseless assertions of Toynbee. These historians, in general, admit that the Holy Prophet had to take the role of a statesman after coming to Madinah. Yet, he remained completely pure of all those worldly traits and characteristics of pomp, show, pride, glory, arrogance, and pretense that is normally associated with kingship. He never allowed this role to color him in a manner that would indicate that he had moved away from his real mission of a prophet in the very least. Neither did the daily routine of his life become empty of spirituality after he became a king. All the blessings which are the hallmark of a prophet, and a friend of God never stopped being manifested through him.
From all these comments and opinions, it is clear that Tonybee's allegation that "Muhammad . . . embraced the opportunity. "hen it came his way, of arming himself in the panoply of political power and using this power as an instrument for imposing Islam upon Makkah by force" is completely contrary to the facts. His contemporaries and many other authorities have admitted openly that when the Holy Prophet conquered Makkah, he had full power and authority over the Makkans. In Madinah, he exercised total power, and was granted kingship from day one. Yet, not one person was ever forced to accept Islam in any of these cities. Sir William Muir. the well known orientalist, states in his famous book "Life of Mohomel" that from among the thousands of Muslim in the city of Madinah, not one had been made to accept Islam by force.
Historians and biographers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad have openly admitted that the Quraish and the members of the other tribes living in Makkah accepted Islam due to the Holy Prophet's kind treatment. They were attracted by his display of high moral qualities, general pardon and extraordinary display of forgiveness after the fall of Makkah. No historian has identified a single case of a person who could be said to have been forced or coerced into adopting Islam. Further details shall be provided in the following pages.
It is clear from the statements of these non-Muslim orientalists and authoritative historians that after arriving in Madinah the Holy Prophet had been granted full power and leadership and was acknowledged as the Head of State. Yet, he remained completely and absolutely free of all those worldly displays, and trappings: trademarks that normally develop in worldly kings after they have successfully obtained and secured great powers.
HOLY PROPHET'S TEMPORAL POWER
In view of the Holy Prophet's exalted status and elevated position and purpose for which he was raised, it is important to understand that although prophethood and kingship are to many Christians two very different offices, the Holy Prophet was bestowed the office of kingship for a very special purpose. His elevated position and status of a Perfect Prophet, and his being the Seal of the Prophets meant that Allah wanted him to be an example and a practical guide for every aspect of human life and for every sector of humanity. The words of God:
Verily you have in the Prophet of Allah an excellent model . . . (Holy Quran 33:22)
Meant that Allah had placed upon him the responsibility of providing a practical example for every aspect of human life. It was for this reason that he had to pass through all possible phases of human life. And in each phase he provided an excellent and complete example for all mankind for all time to come.
"Muhammad achieved an extraordinary political success and Christians tend to see such worldly triumph as of questionable godliness; but is a Christ like failure the only way to God?" (Karen Armstrong Muhammad. A Biography of the Holy Prophet. Page 15).
The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad says in this context:
"All aspects of moral development are not completed unless all conceivable circumstances are faced. The prophets and the messengers of God pass through periods of hardships and difficulties and these difficulties come so that they may perfect their moral qualities. No other prophet, however, was bestowed the opportunities to display every type of moral quality except the Holy Prophet. For as long as he lived in Makkah, he faced every type of ordeal, persecution, suffering and difficulty. Under these conditions were manifested his moral qualities of patience and submission to the will of God. Then, he entered Makkah victorious as a king. He could have put each and every one to the sword quite justifiably. Despite having the power to punish, he forgave them all. This displayed his great selflessness, generosity, mercy and forgiveness. Jesus was not bestowed such oppotunities, so he could not display both these aspects." (Alhakam, Vol. 9, No. 28, pp. 2-3, dated August 10, 1905)
He was given kingship so that he could teach the kings the paths by which they could receive spiritual blessings. As a result, they were taught the best ways of serving humanity. He lit up perfectly the paths in every situation and circumstance that all matters could be accomplished by exercising the highest of morals. The character of the Holy Prophet was completely free from the ways and means which develop in the political leaders and the worldly kings who are intoxicated by the lust for power and government. He continued to illumine the world by the light of his true mission of the Perfect Prophet and Khataman Nabiyyin, with which he had been bestowed.
The Holy Prophet was elevated to kingship in Madinah. Bid his daily life and activities and his behavior change in any way? Let us see what were his day to day activities, habits, deeds and sayings during his life in Madinah.
A learned Romanian orientalist, Mr. Konstin Virgil Georgiev, has written a book entitled: "Muhammad is a Prophet, to Recognize Whom We Need to Try Again Anew." This book has been translated into Persian, Arabic and many other languages. This orientalist has written extensively on the life of the Holy Prophet in Madinah. To a great extent his writing displays an attitude of fair-mindedness and sincere search for the truth. Some of his views are presented here for the benefit of the readers.
Konstin Gorgiev writes: "it was not difficult at all to try to assassinate Muhammad in Madinah, because the Prophet of Islam did not have any group of bodyguards safeguarding him. He left the door of his house open for everyone. Anyone who wished, could enter his house. Whenever anyone did so, he/she found him occupied in the repair of his shoes, his clothes, or in helping the members of his household with the daily chores." (Sayyarah Digest, Lahore, Special issue Aksi Seerat, page 300)
Mentioning a special incident, this learned Romanian orientalist writes in his book:
"Pursuant to a well laid out plan, Abu Lahab sent Umair Bin Wahab to Madinah for the purpose of killing the Holy Prophet. He had promised to pay Umair the expenses of his journey, and had promised to look after the needs of his family. Upon reaching Madinah, Umair entered the house of the prophet and saw that he was busy washing his clothes. Upon seeing Umair enter the house, the Holy Prophet lifted his head and asked: Is there anything that you wish of me'? Umair replied: O Muhammad! I see that you are busy washing your clothes. It is amazing for me to see a person who claims to be a prophet doing this. Smiling, the Holy Prophet replied: What is amazing in this? Umair said: A person who claims to be a prophet should not have to wash his own clothes. This work should be done by his servants or slaves. The Holy Prophet replied: I do not possess an army of servants or slaves. I do my work with my own hands. I assure you that if a prophet washes his own clothes, it does not diminish his status as a prophet in the least." (Ibid. P. 301)
This learned orientalist goes on to write:
"Changing the direction of the conversation, the Holy Prophet again asked Umair: Is there anything that you wish of me? Umair replied: Yes, actually I came to ask how much I shall have to pay to get my son freed? When the Holy Prophet heard this, he said: O man! You are lying. You have not come to pay to get your son released. You have come to kill me.
When Umair heard this he was shaken to the bones. He dropped the dagger hidden in his clothes to the ground and said: By my Lord, apart from myself and the three other men who had planned to kill you, no other human being knew that I was coming to kilt you. i am certain none of these three has told anyone of this secret. The fact that you have become aware of it tells me that you are a true prophet of God. I declare my faith in you this very instant, and accepting Islam I forever renounce disbelief and associating partners with God. (Ibid., p.302)
In his comments, Toynbee accused the Holy Prophet of converting Makkans to Islam by force. If only he could tell us what force or coercion made Umair of Makkah accept Islam! It was the power of the Holy Prophet's high moral and spiritual character which had established the truth of Islam in the hearts of the Makkans. Alt of them joyfully entered the fold of Islam in legions. History cannot present a single example of any Makkan who had been forced or coerced into accepting Islam. And how could this happen in anyway when the Holy Word of God was declaring openly to Muhammad: There shall be no compulsion in religion. (Holy Quran 2:257)
Anyone who wishes may believe and anyone who wishes may disbelieve. (Holy Quran 18:30)
What a wonderful announcement of freedom of conscience this is!
Karen Armstrong, in her biography of the Holy Prophet notes:
"Finally it was the West, not Islam, which forbade the open discussion of religious matters. At the time of the Crusades, Europe seemed obsessed by a craving for intellectual conformity and punished its deviants with a zeal that has been unique in the history of religion.
The witch hunts of the inquisitors and the persecution of Protestants by the Catholics and vice versa were inspired by abstruse theological opinions which in both Judaism and Islam were seen as private and optional matters. Neither Judaism nor Islam share the Christian conception of heresy, which raises human ideas about the divine to an unacceptably high level and almost makes them a form of idolatry. The period of the Crusades, when the fictional Mahound was established, was also a time of the great strain and denial in Europe. This is graphically expressed in the phobia about Islam." (Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, page 27).
FALL OF MAKKAH IN THE EYES OF OTHER HISTORIANS
The fall of Makkah took place towards the end of the Holy Prophet's ministry. Describing the situation that existed at the fall of Makkah, the prophet's role and its impact on the Makkans, the well known and highly respected British historian Stanley Lane Poole writes:
"But what is this? Is there no blood in the streets? Where are the bodies of the thousands that have been butchered? Facts are hard things; and it is a fact that the day of Muhammad's greatest triumph over his enemies was also the day of his grandest victory over himself. He freely forgave the Kureysh all the years of sorrow and cruel scorn they had inflicted on him; he gave an amnesty to the whole population of Makkah. Four criminals whom justice condemned, made up Muhatrunad's proscription list; no house was robbed, no woman insulted. It was thus that Muhammad entered again his native city. Through all the annals of conquest, there is no triumphant entry like unto this one." (Lane Poole, quoted in introduction to Higgins' Apology for Mohammad pp ixxi)
This opinion is not of Lane Poole alone. R. Bosworth Smith wrote in his book "Muhammad and Muhammadism":
"Now would have been the moment to gratify his ambition, to satiate his lust, to get his revenge. Read the account of Muhammad's entry into Makkah along with the account of Marius Sulla as he entered Rome, one would be in a position to recognize the magnanimity and moderation of the Prophet of Arabia. There were no proscription lists, no plunder, no wanton revenge. From a helpless orphan to the ruler of a big country was a great transition; yet the Holy Prophet retained the nobility of his character under all circumstances".
What did the famous biographer Sir William Muir had to write? The following description is borrowed from his book, "Life of Mahomet ", pp. 513):
"The long and obstinate struggle against his pretentions maintained by the inhabitants of Makkah might have induced its conqueror to mark his indignation in indelible traces of fire and blood. But Muhammad, excepting a few criminals, granted a universal pardon; and, nobly casting into oblivion the memory of the past, with all its mockery, its affronts and persecution, he treated even the foremost of his opponents with a gracious and even friendly consideration".
To make the tang story sham, let us see, the influence the above events had on those, who were life long enemies of the Prophet Muhammad. The example of incomparable tolerance and general amnesty impressed the people of Makkah tremendously. Within a few days, a very large number of them took refuge under the banner of Islam. This grand hearted forgiveness by the Holy Prophet worked magic that the wounds of thousand of swords could never have accomplished. How great an injustice is it for an authority such as Toynbee to allege that the Holy Prophet made the people of Makkah accept Islam by the use of force and coercion. Lt was easy, no doubt, for Toynbee to write this. But he failed to tell us the details of what force was used, and on whom, and by whom, and where, and when all this took place. It was the assault by the sword of high morals, forgiveness, mercy, benevolent treatment, kindness, and generosity. This assault won over the hearts of Makkans, and they had no other option but to accept the troth of Islam.
It was in reference to this great, miraculous change and amazing revolution that Lamartine, quoted earlier, had written so glowingly. He has acknowledged that the history of the world can present no one who can compare with the Holy Prophet. The manner in which he displayed his high moral qualities and good treatment, completely changed the people of Makkah.
So, it is amply clear that the prophet's success in conveying his message was due to his high moral qualities and coercion had no role to play in spread of Islam.
PROPHETIC GRANDNESS AT MADINAH
From the writings of these non-Muslim authorities and orientalists, it is established that Toynbee's criticism and fault finding is totally baseless and opposed by historical record. The truth is that by coming to Madinah, the Holy Prophet was able to fulfill the holy duties of his prophetic mission much more vigorously and comprehensively than in Makkah.
The first and most important duty of a prophet and a messenger of God is to continuously draw the attention of the people to the worship of God. To fulfill this purpose, the Holy Prophet spent every moment of his life, drawing the attention of the people to this most important duty, by his own pure and holy example. His very first act upon reaching Madinah was to build a mosque for the worship of Allah, the Exalted. He worked, with his own hands, along with the ordinary workers, lifting the bricks and placing them in the appropriate places, in the walls. With his own holy hands, he made mortar from earth and water, and took it to where it was needed. He helped in every other building work that was necessary to complete the mosque. That holy place of worship, exists even today, and is known as Masjid-e-Nabwi (The mosque of the Prophet). A special reward by Allah for praying in this mosque, so that there should develop a love for worship in the believers. Thousands, nay hundreds of thousands, of servants of God come to this place of worship every month, every week and every day to prostrate in front of the Almighty.
During the time of the Holy Prophet, the Muhajireen (migrants from Makkah) and the Ansar (natives of Madinah) used to occupy themselves day and night in the remembrance of God in this mosque. They illumined this place of worship with a special brilliance. Moreover, the Holy Prophet instructed the Muhajireen and the Ansar, in the methods of remembrance of Allah and the recitation of the Holy Quran. This process was continued, and was developed from many angles throughout his life.
The work of the completion of the shariah (the religious code of laws) took place during the Madinite period. The major portion of the commandments of the Holy Quran pertaining to the Shariah of Islam was revealed to the Holy Prophet during this period. The religious commandments and duties were progressively put into practice, and completed in this period. History bears witness that the obligation to fast, the commandments relating to Zakat and spending on the poor, the duties relating to the Pilgrimage (Hajj), the celebration of the two Eids (annual festivals), and the establishment of other acts of worship were finalized during this era. The obligation of the Jihad (striving in the way of Allah)—its importance and need—the prohibition of wine and liquor, and the prohibition of interest were also enjoined in Madinah. The change of the Qibla (the direction that Muslims face during prayers), the building of mosques and their sanctity and their upkeep, the beginning of the call to the prayer, the establishment of brotherhood amongst the Ansar and the Muhajireen were achievements of the Madinite period. The constant reminder of the importance of treating one's relative well, helping the poor, looking after the orphans, the needy and the helpless was also prescribed in Madinah, The obligation regarding the offering of the Friday afternoon prayer, the establishment of the rights of women, and dozens of other similar matters, which relate purely to the duties of a prophet, were achieved in the best possible manner, during the Madinite period. Who is unaware of the historical facts, that the timings of five deity prayers, and the number of raka'ats (various postures during the prayer) offered in each prayer, were also prescribed in Madinah?
The various schemes for calling unto Allah, and the discharge of the prophetic obligation to preach and instruct the people were completed with a degree of excellence in the Madinite period, If the Holy Prophet's achievements in this regard are compared to those of all other prophets that have gone before, it would become clear, how elevated a position, is occupied by the Holy Prophet. Who is unaware of the tremendous victory wrought by the Holy Prophet by accepting apparently humiliating terms at Hudaibiyya (a place near Madinah) with Makkans? It was an act of great wisdom and source of success in spreading the message of Islam. It was indeed during the Madinite period that the letters were sent to the heads of state inviting them to Islam. The Holy Prophet occupied himself in the discharge of all his prophetic mission related responsibilities and obligations, in particular, the duties related to the propagation and establishment of the commandments of God.
All of these are very well known, and easily discernible facts. Toynbee's statement that upon arrival in Madinah the Holy Prophet bid farewell to his Prophetic mission and obligations of his Messengership of God, displays a complete lack of judgment and is a serious misrepresentation of the true facts of the situation. It seems appropriate that this criticism be responded to by citing the events and circumstances from the life of the Holy Prophet. His sayings, deeds, his high morals, and the blessed personality show that indeed he continued to be engaged in the discharge of his great and noble duties as the Messenger of Allah till the last breath of his life.
Admittedly, in Madinah he was granted sovereignty by mutual consent. But he dispensed and established such moral rules and set such examples as only a Messenger of God could have done. Only a perfect Prophet could provide a living example. A worldly and politically motivated ruler could never display the kinds of characteristics and practices of the Holy Prophet. The following details from his life in Madinah provide manifest proof that the Holy Prophet was not a worldly king, nor a Caesar.
FREE OF GLAMOUR AND GLITTER
It is quite common to find showy displays of pomp and glory and exaggerated greatness in the life of kings and other rich people. And all this is considered a necessary part of maintaining their image and establishing their pride and greatness. The Holy Prophet was completely oblivious to these methods of display and fame seeking. Worldly display of greatness, achievement, glamour, and glitter were completely absent from the entire life of the Holy Prophet.
It is recorded in the Traditions of his life that once someone presented him with a gift of some silky garment. He accepted it, and offered a prayer wearing it. After the prayer he took it off in great disgust and dislike, and said: These clothes are not appropriate for the righteous. (Bokhari, Kitab-ul-Libaas, A book of Holy Prophet's sayings).
The state of his humility and lowliness may be gauged from the following incident. The Holy Prophet was often visited by the representatives of states and leaders of other tribes. On the occasions of the two Eids (annual Muslim festivals), he used to wear some very simple clothes despite his elevated status and position. Once, Hazrat Umar, his beloved disciple, and his second successor, was walking with the Holy Prophet. Hazrat Umar noticed some silky clothes, as they passed by a shop. On finding a suitable moment, he respectfully requested that the Holy Prophet buy that piece of silk and wear it during the Friday Sermons, and on the occasion of the reception of visiting diplomats. The Holy Prophet replied: Only such a person should wear this who has no share in the life of the Hereafter (Bokhari, Vol. N, Egyptian Edition, p. 31). Till the very last, this remained his practice. The Prophet continued to wear clothes made of a heavy yarn.
It is recorded that once he was resting on a mat made of palm leaves. When he got up, the Companions could plainly see the marks of the mat on his body. The Companions submitted: O Messenger of Allah! Could we have a cushion of some sort made and present it to you? He replied: What do I care for the world? I desire only so much of the world as a traveler riding an animal. The traveler stops for a little while under the shade of a tree and then he leaves, and moves on. (Jami'a Tirmidhi, Kitab-uz-Zuhd, A book of the sayings of the Holy Prophet).
Once Hazrat Umar entered the living quarters of the Holy Prophet. Seeing the simplicity of the room of the Messenger of Allah, for the first time, Hazrat Umar was completely amazed. The meager contents of this small closet like room presented a strange scene. The blessed body of the Holy Prophet was clad in a single sheet of cloth. A worn out bed made of yarn was laid out. There was a pillow at the head of this bed. The pillow was filled with date skin. On one side, there was a handful of barley. In one corner of the room, there was an animal's hide. Seeing the Holy Prophet, the Lord and Master of the Here and the Hereafter, in this state, Hazrat Umar, began to shed tears. Tears started flowing from his eyes and fell to the ground. The Holy Prophet asked: Umar, why are you crying so much? Hazrat Umar replied, O Messenger of Allah, "Why should I not cry? Your blessed body, has marks all over, from this bed that you lie on. The scarce contents of this small chamber seem to be all that you possess. The Chosroes and the Caesar should have their gardens and palaces to enjoy, and the Messenger of Allah should be in such circumstances. Alas! I cannot help crying." The Holy Prophet replied, "O Umar Ibn-e-Khataab! Is it not pleasing to you that the Caesars should have this world and we should have the Hereafter?" (Muslim, Baab fit Eelaa wa e'tezaal-inNisaa, a book of the sayings of the Holy Prophet).
The pure and holy life of the Holy Prophet is full of hundreds of such incidents which bear testimony to his simplicity, his informality and his humility. Only a few incidents have been selected for presentation here. There is no comparison of all this to the lives and practices of the kings: the arrangements for their entertainment, excitement and their precious, showy glittering forms of dress. When we compare the Holy Prophet's mode of living to that of the kings, do we find anything in the life of the Holy Prophet which comes even close? Can we find any king who could be compared in his behavior to the Holy Prophet? Do we find any example among them of the Holy Prophet's humility and lowliness? On one hand, there are those possessing thousands of suits of clothing; and on the other, we have one possessing a single cloth for wearing. Even, that is full of patches!
The manner in which the kings address others, and in the manner in which they deal with them, are clear signs of self aggrandizement, arrogance, pride and conceit. The Holy Prophet used to deal with thousands every day, yet, no trait can be found, whatsoever, of any arrogance, conceit or self aggrandizement, in him. Indeed, in every situation, it is clear from his speech that he considered himself a simple man, and no more.
The Holy Prophet owed a Jew some money. There had been some delay in payment. The Jew came to ask for it and acted with disdain and ill manners. He said accusingly, you of Bani Hashim (Holy Prophet's tribe), whenever you take something from someone, you never want to give it back. This happened in the Madinite period when the Holy Prophet had been acknowledged as the King. On noticing the disdain of the jew, Hazrat Umar became extremely agitated. He was about to strictly punish this person for his ill behavior towards the prophet. The Holy Prophet immediately stopped Hazrat Umar, and said: O Umar! You should have advised both of us, the lender that he should seek the return of his loan at a time of ease and in a goodly manner; and to me that I should return the loan in time. (Baehaqui).
A Bedouin (a nomad), came one day and asked the Holy Prophet for the return of a loan. He spoke harshly to the Holy Prophet. The Companions of the Holy Prophet became angered by the visitor's insolent manners, and spoke to him in a tone of severe reprimand. They asked, Do you even know whom you are addressing? The Bedouin replied: I am seeking what is mine by right. The Holy Prophet said to his Companions: The lender has a right to demand the return of his loan from the debtor. Do not behave this way and do not reprimand. (Bokhari, Vol. 11, Baab Ada-ud-deyoon).
It is recorded in history that once the Holy Prophet was in a jungle together with his Companions. It became necessary to cook something. To each he assigned one task or the other and said that I shall go and bring some wood for the fire (Lurqani).
Despite his very elevated status, he never hesitated the least from doing the lowliest of tasks. Like the most ordinary of people, he executed many types of chores. He helped in the daily chores of the house. His wife Hazrat Ayesha is reported in Bokhari and the other books of Traditions, to have said that the Holy Prophet used to help us in the household chores. It never even occurred to him that he was a great and very elevated being. (Bokahri, Kitab-ul-Adab).
Once he came out of the house and the Companions stood up in respect. He said: Do not stand up to honor someone as is the practice of some of the unlearned people. (Abu Daud, Vol. II, p. 363).
It is recorded in the traditions that once a person came to meet the Holy Prophet. He began to shake and shiver in anticipation of meeting the Prophet of God. The Holy Prophet, seeing this condition of the man, assured him: Do not be afraid. I am not an angel. I am the son of a Quraish (His tribe) woman who used to cook dried meat to eat. (Shama'el Tirmidhi).
What type of King or Caesar was this who left Makkah and came to Madinah, and forsook his Prophetic role and adopted the ways of a king? Does one find even the least iota of proof, in support of Toynbee's allegations, in the recorded events, in his appearances, habits, or customs? Do we see anywhere in the world, kings behaving in the manner, in which he did?
If the Holy Prophet had adopted the ways of a Caesar or the ways of a political leader, then his life would have some traits of arrogance and pride. It is written about Napoleon that in order to safeguard his own health, he desisted from doing even the slightest work and if an occasion arose, he would retort instantaneously, "Do you expect me to dig the earth?" But the King of Madinah, at the time of the Battle of the Ditch, was seen digging with his own blessed hands. He thus caused wonderment in the eyes of the world. He was seen breaking into pieces the hardest of the boulders and rocks. He too was a man. He too was in need of good health and strong body. But, for the sake of the defense of his people, and for the guidance of the people to come, it was destined, that he should leave behind a perfect example.
FULFILLMENT OF COVENANTS
It is very difficult for the worldly kings and heads of state to fulfill all the promises they make. It is written in history that Henry III, promised many times to fulfill the conditions of the Great Oath, but always broke his promise. (History of England, Col Garret).
Adolph Hitler always disregarded the agreements entered into by his country. He declared the papers on which these accords were signed as rubbish. He wanted to conquer France. While en route, he ran over Belgium, and thus devastated and plundered a sovereign country. In the life of the Holy Prophet, we find a completely different picture, witnessing which leaves a man amazed. Such personification of loyalty! Could any reasonable person dare to compare him who was so committed to the fulfillment of his oaths and pledges with worldly minded kings?
Abu Raf'e was a non Muslim slave. He presented himself to the Holy Prophet in his capacity as a representative of the Quraish tribe of Makkah. When his eyes beheld the brilliant blessed countenance of the Holy Prophet, the disbelieving heart of this slave suddenly became illumined with the light of truth. His heart that had been chained in the bondage of hundreds of idols, suddenly became free. He thus became a servant of the One God. The light of the truth of Islam and the Holy Prophet lighted up his heart. He told the Holy Prophet that he did not want to return to the disbelieving Makkans. The Holy Prophet instructed: I can not break my oath of Hudaibiyya by permitting an emissary to stay with me. You must return to Makkah at this time. If you still believe in Islam once you get there, then you may come back. Upon hearing this directive of the Holy Prophet, Abu Raf'e went back. (Abu Daud, Baab-ul-Wafa bil E'hd).
What happened at the time of the Truce of Hudaibiyya will remain unparalleled in human history. Soon after the treaty was signed, between the Muslims and the Makkans, Abu Jandal, son of Suhail (Makkan's emissary) staggered into the Muslim camp where the agreement had just been signed. He was wearing handcuffs and chains and was wounded and exhausted. He said, "O Prophet of God, I have embraced Islam, and because of my faith I am tortured by my father, as he is here today I got a chance to escape, and managed to come here". One of the clauses of the agreement between Makkans and the Muslims said that if any Makkan accepts Islam and comes to the prophet, he will be returned to Makkah, The Prophet was very moved to see this deplorable state of a newly converted Muslim, he had not yet spoken, when Suhail intervened and said that the agreement had been signed and Abu Jandal would have to go back with him. The Muslims saw this young convert, a brother of brothers, wounded, driven to desperation because of the ill treatment by his father; they could not endure to send him back. They unsheathed their swords and seemed determined to die or save this brother. Abu Jandal again and again implored the Prophet in a very moving manner not to hand him back to the tyrants. The Holy Prophet was very distressed by his plight and pleaded repeatedly with Suhail to let Abu Jandal stay, but Suhail was adamant. As Abu Jandal was dragged away, the Holy Prophet said to him in a distressed tone, "O my dear Abu Jandal, have patience and do not loose your composure. Put your trust in Allah, He will provide a way out for you and other victims. We are unable to help you as the treaty has been signed and prophets do not go back on their words". (Bokhari, Kirab-ul-Shoroot).
There is another incident of the fulfillment of oaths and pledges from the life of the Holy Prophet. It was the time of the Battle of Badr. The battle was raging on. The army of the disbelievers was fully armed with all their weapons, and was free of any worries. Their number exceeds one thousand. On the other hand, there are a much smaller number of Muslims, hungry for days and thirsty. They possess no spears. The swords that they had were made of wood. They possessed no horses or any other means of riding. But they did have Allah and His Holy Name. In this delicate situation two Muslims, Abu Huzaifa bin al-Yaman and a Companion of the Holy Prophet arrived from Makkah. They stated to the Holy Prophet that they had been permitted by the disbelievers to reach him on condition that they should not participate in the battle. Upon hearing this, despite the dire need of more men in his camp, the Holy Prophet declares; You must both go back. We shall fulfill our promise under every circumstance. We need only the support of God Almighty and nothing else. (Muslim, Baab-ulWafaa bit ehd, Vol It, p. 89).
The world has seen thousands of kings. Do we find in the reign of any of them an example of the fulfillment of an oath or a promise of this type at all? Especially under such circumstances?
The poison of personal vendetta, which keeps them uneasy and on edge every moment, is also found abundantly in worldly kings. After taking revenge, they still do not find peace and contentment. Then we study the life of the most highly dignified King of Madinah and Islam, who possessed an elevated position amongst the Prophets. We find that every event of his life bears testimony to the fact that he was completely free from and devoid of the slightest trace of this poisonous trait. A philosopher says: Revenge is a requirement of the nature of man, The one who is the target of injustice seeks revenge not only from his persecutor, but from humanity in general (Magazine Fasana, April 1433). The world has recorded the histories of the worldly kings. It is very rare to find a king who may not be affected by this negative emotion. History tells us about Napoleon, who directed his son to seek revenge simply to fulfill his own personal motives. In the life of the Holy Prophet we find forgiveness, instead of revenge. His Wife' Hazrat Ayesha says: the Holy Prophet never ever lock revenge in any personal matter, except on one who disobeyed a commandment or directive of God Almighty (Bokhari, Kitab-ul-Adab, vol. 2, p. 94).
There is an incident from the early days of his mission in Makkah. The Holy Prophet had gone to Taif, a small town near Makkah, for the purpose of preaching. The people of Taif welcomed him by raining stones on him. As a result his blessed feet were stained with his own blood. Despite severe physical harm, the Holy Prophet reacted by praying, for their guidance and improvement: O Lord grant them wisdom and give them understanding of the truth of Islam. (Bokhari, Ghuzva-e-Tail. Moreover, in the ninth year of Hijra, (the calendar that begins from the date of Holy Prophet's migration from Makkah to Madinah), a group from these very people came to visit Madinah. Disregarding the past completely, the Holy Prophet himself took care of all the obligations of a host. He arranged for all their needs and comforts, and made arrangements for them to stay in the Holy Mosque. All this was done with the greatest respect and dignity for the guests. (Abu Daud, Zikr Taif).
This was the King, who bestowed upon even those who were the enemies of his very life, goodly treatment, care, and comfort. The King of both the material and spiritual Worlds, had the courage to forgive and forget, the worst of offences against himself. What a glorious, merciful and gracious King indeed!
The history of the Holy Prophet is full of the accounts of his love even for blood thirsty enemies. The Holy Prophet was subjected to every suffering and pain during his stay in Makkah. Tyranny upon tyranny, and injustice upon injustice were heaped upon the Holy Prophet and his near and dear ones. The kind of sufferings he went through are difficult to find in human history. He was made to walk upon beds of thorns. Heaps of filth and dirt were thrown upon him. He was defiled by being called all kinds of abusive names. All kinds of nefarious schemes and plans were hatched and carried out to make him fail in his mission. His companions were dragged on the burning sands of Arabia. They were disfigured by having burning coals placed on their bodies. Ten years later, this King of both the Worlds, entered Makkah as a victorious commander. He possessed full power under the waving flag of success and accomplishment. He had power and capability to revenge, no disbeliever could utter a word against Him. He greeted these venomous enemies with the news of their complete forgiveness. He declared for all:
Go, today you are all forgiven and free. You shall not be subjected to any hardship today (Muslim, Fatah Makkah, Vol. ll, p. 86).
Can history present the instance of any king or Caesar, who might have presented to the world an example of such great forgiveness and mercy? Not only this, but every single prominent enemy of the Holy Prophet and of his followers were forgiven one by one. Abu Sufyan, who was the Head of the Makkans in each and every battle of the disbelievers against the Muslims, was arrested on this occasion, and came before the presence of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet treated him with great courtesy, love and affection. He declared his house as the abode of peace, that anyone who entered in the house of Abu Sufyaan shall be granted peace and safety (Muslim, Vol. 2, Fatah Makkah, p. 86).
The enmity of Abu Jahl towards the Holy Prophet was not hidden from anyone. When Abu Jahl's son, Akramah, was brought to the Holy Prophet by his wife, he declared: O you who migrated, blessed be your return (Mishkaat, Kitab-ul-Adab).
Toynbee accuses the Holy Prophet of having used force and pressure. He says that upon arrival in Madinah, he bid farewell to his elevated spiritual station of prophethood, and manifested himself as an ordinary king. He accused him of using force and coercion. How unjust and cruel an allegation this is! We have mentioned a few incidents above from the life of the Holy Prophet. They show his kind treatment and forgiveness of his bitterest enemies. The grand hearted gestures that the Holy Prophet displayed are reproduced above, and the testimony of Non-Muslim writers is mentioned above under the heading, "Fall of Makkah in the eyes of other historians". Can anyone show us any examples of such behavior anywhere else? He forgave at the time of fall of Makkah when the neck of every enemy of Islam was literally under the sword of Islam. The guarantee of their life at that time, was solely dependent on the forgiveness and mercy of the Holy Prophet. History bears witness that not one among his enemies was put to the sword in retaliation. No sign of any vengeance is visible anywhere. Contrast this with the account of William the Conqueror and some of the other worldly leaders that is preserved in the annals of history. 1t is recorded that despite the fact that it was the fault of his own men; William the Conqueror, put his opponents to the sword. The sharp contrast between the noble character of the Holy Prophet and the detestable and ugly example of injustice and cruelty of William the Conqueror is clear.
This is not a hidden or secret issue. Worldly kings and Caesars love money, and possess a great greed for wealth. For them, wealth is power. They keep thinking of getting richer and richer. Seeing any well off person among their own people displeases them. History records the incident of King Henry VII, when he went to meet the Earl of Oxford. After visiting the Earl, when the king was about to leave, the soldiers of the Earl of Oxford put on their uniforms and lined up in a straight line to show respect for the king. The King thanked his host for his hospitality, In addition, he ordered him to pay a large sum as a fine. (History of England, p. 70, Col Garrett).
In the last days of his rule, Henry VII had become extremely greedy. As a result he had become very unpopular. He always remained eager to snatch money from everyone. One of his Ministers named Martin, invented a scheme for extracting money from all the subject. The scheme was designed in such a way that neither the wasteful rich nor the miserly ones could escape. (Ibid. p. 73).
Contrast the attitude of Henry VII with the Holy Prophet. Towards the end of his ministry, when he ruled the whole of Arabia, sometimes so much of wealth and gold reached Madinah that it was heaped up in mounds. But, the night did not pass before all of it was distributed among the people by the prophet. Hazrat Abu Dhar, one of His companions (may Allah be pleased with him) was in the company of the Holy Prophet as they passed by mount Uhad. The Holy Prophet said, If the mountain of Uhad was to become gold for me, make sure all of it is distributed immediately. I would be very unhappy if even one dinar (coin) is left with me on the third night. (Bokhari, Vol. ll, p. 56)
Indeed, the habit of the Holy Prophet was precisely that if he had cash or ready money in his home, he would not rest till all of it was distributed. On one occasion, a tribal chief of Fadak, sent the Holy Prophet four camels laden with grain. Hazrat Bilal, sold the grain in the town. He repaid a loan of the Holy Prophet that was owed. He then informed the Holy Prophet about the remaining balance. The Holy Prophet replied: So long as anything remains, I cannot go home. Hazrat Bilal said: Your Holiness, what can I do, I cannot find any one in need. So the Holy Prophet spent that night in the Mosque. The next day, Hazrat Bilal informed: O Messenger of Allah! Allah has relieved you of the responsibility. The remainder has also been distributed. The Holy Prophet thanked Allah and went home, (Abu Daud, Baab Qabool Hidaya Almushrikeen).
This was the character of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon Him). Toynbee writes that after leaving Makkah, and arriving in Madinah, he acquired Caesar-like powers, that he became devoid and bereft of the high moral qualities and holy practices of a Prophet. Toynbee should have provided at least one example of a worldly king who displayed these types of moral qualities and adopted such practices: who may have cared for the poor in this manner, who may have distributed wealth among the poor in a similar way and who may have kept his own self so far away from the love of money.
AUSTERITY AND SIMPLICITY FOR RELATIVES
The Holy Prophet's treatment of his relatives and near and dear ones was also very different from worldly kings. Worldly kings adopt all variety of schemes and plans for their relations, children, and near relatives, both at the legislative level and otherwise. They spend every effort in ensuring that after their death, their children should also continue to enjoy the life of delight and luxury, that they be endowed with all worldly comforts and wealth just as they themselves are. But the practice and example of the Holy Prophet of Islam were quite different. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, had many children. He had several daughters and had grandchildren. He had several uncles, nephews and nieces also. All were obedient and fully devoted to him. Just as he enjoyed the life of contentment, he preferred the same for all of them. The Holy Quran established the foundation for the method of selecting his successor:
"Verily, the most honorable amongst you, in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous amongst you", (Holy Quran 49;14),
and this rule was implemented by the prophet. He had already forbidden his descendants to accept alms. He made sure that none of them would inherit anything from him upon his death. He instructed that no relative shall inherit from whatever I leave behind. It is written: Whatever I leave behind, no one shall inherit, rather, all of it should be given to the poor and needy (Muslim, Vol. 11, p. 243).
His daughter, Hazrat Fatima tuz Zuhra was very dear to him. Whenever she would come to him, he would stand up out of overflowing love and would seat her in his place. Such a beloved daughter came to her father arid opened her heart to him. She talked of all the chores of the house: the grinding of the grain and the need to go herself and bring water to the house with great difficulty. Then she requested that she be provided a servant to help her with the execution of these chores. He responded that no arrangements had yet been made for the Ashab-e-suffa (residents of the mosque). Till they were taken care of, he could not pay attention to any other matter. (Abu Daud, Vol. ll, p. 343). In another collection of his saying is also stated that the Holy Prophet said: The orphans of Badar have priority over you. (Abu Daud, Vol. 11, p.343). At last, he gave this advice to his daughter. Before going to sleep, you should recite 33 times SubhanAllah-a wa be hamde hee 33 times: Alhamdolillah; and 34 times Allaho-Akbar. Having a servant or slave cannot compare to this remembrance of Allah. He said: For you this remembrance of Allah shall he much better than a servant (Abu Daud, Vol. ll, p. 340).
This was the character of the king of the Here and the Hereafter. Can any king of the worlds be presented who bestowed upon his children and upon his near relations this type of devotion, and resignation as an inheritance? Who bestowed upon them the like of these spiritual material?
RESPECT FOR LAW
The worldly kings and their near and dear ones are normally considered above the law. In India, this was indeed the practice of local kings called Rajas and the Maharajas. Even today, to some extent, this continues to he the practice in England. The kings are considered to be above the binds and dictates of the law. On the other hand, the Holy Prophet of Islam did not consider himself to be above the law and its provisions. Once a Companion was slightly injured, because of the Holy Prophet. He immediately offered to pay the penalty to the injured Companion. (Abu Daud, Vol 4, page 182).
At the occasion of the Battle of Badar, the Holy Prophet's uncle, Abbas was taken as a prisoner. All prisoners were freed by taking the appropriate payment from them. Some good intentioned Companions asked the Holy Prophet, Should we forgive the sum due for releasing Abbas? The Holy Prophet responded: I swear to you in the name of God that not a single dirham (a local coin) shall be forgiven! (Bokhari, Baab Fida-ul-Mushrekeen)
On one occasion a case came before the Prophet Muhammad in which a young woman belonging to a highly respectable tribe of Makhzoom, was found to have committed a theft. This caused great concern among his followers. They felt that if the normal penalty of theft was imposed upon the young woman, a leading family would be humiliated and disgraced. Many were anxious to intercede with the Prophet on behalf of the offender but were afraid to do so. Eventually Usama, son of the prophet's adopted son was prevailed upon to undertake the mission. Usama went to the Holy Prophet, but the moment the latter perceived the trend of his submission he was much upset and said: "You should better desist from such recommendation. Nations have come to a bad end for showing favors to highly placed persons while pressing hard on the common people. Islam does not permit this and I will certainly not do it. Verily, if my own daughter, Fatima, were to commit an offence I would not hesitate to impose the appropriate penalty." (Bokhari, Kitab al-Hudud).
Do we see in any worldly king or Caesar such respect for the law and justice? Do we see such conformity to the rules of law in the behavior of any king? This was the special distinction of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah on him) alone and of no one else. It was his special character that under every circumstance and situation, he upheld the principles of justice and equity.
DISTASTE FOR SELF-AGGRANDIZEMENT
It is well known that worldly kings love to hear their own praise and acclamation. Hearing and receiving the most grandiose titles gives them no end of satisfaction. It is said that Elizabeth I and Henry VIII were very desirous of hearing their own praise and hungered after it. The other kings also are no different. But the manner in which the Holy Prophet reigned was completely different. There was no question of excessive praise being permitted. At times even permissible words of praise were forbidden by him. Abdullah bin Maskheer, one of his companions, relates that when we were given an audience upon the recommendation of Bani Aamir. we respectfully submitted: O Messenger of Allah, you are our Lord and Master. Upon hearing these terms, Holy Prophet prohibited the use of these epithets. The Holy Prophet of Islam is remembered by many names:
Muhammad, Ahmad, Bashir, Nazeer, Ta Ha etc. But we never see any terms like, Emperor, Caesar, Chosroes, the All Powerful, the King of Kings, King, Sultan etc. Similarly, many other adjuncts of regal life like palaces, halls, great buildings, edifices, thrones and crowns are not to be seen anywhere in Holy Prophet's life. There was no hall for royal audience, no bodyguards, or chamberlains, or door keepers. There was no hint of military or soldiers, no presence of any body of men or train of servants.
A FAMOUS CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY VIEWS
Reverend Ghulam Masih, editor of Noor Afshan, a newspaper published from India, writes about Holy Prophet in one of his essays:
"We learn about his character and life from his names and titles. From among his many names Muhammad, Shahid, Nazeer, Bashir are very famous and well known. We do, however, find it strange that we do not find the following titles among this list: Leader, Leader of the Quraish, Leader of the Arabs, Conqueror of Arabia, King of Arabia, etc. The history of Islam has preserved, in great detail, and without the slightest deficiency or error, the accounts of every aspect of the Holy Prophet's life, his service to humanity, his victories, of the battles in which he took part, and of his bravery and courage. And it has shown that before he passed away, he had become in every respect the complete and unopposed king of all of Arabia. But nowhere in the history of Islam is there to be found any account of him having sat on the throne of kingship or government. Nowhere is there an account to be found describing his regal dress. Nowhere is there any description of his having been crowned. Nowhere is there any account of palaces having been commissioned or built for him. In his whole life, the history of Islam tells us of him having constructed only one building, which today is known as the Prophet's Mosque. It was built as a House of God, a place of worship. Do these facts, not leave us completely awestruck?" (Alfazal, Khataman Nabeeyeen, Issue 1929)
Every one who studies with an unbiased mind the life and work of the Holy Prophet, will agree with the conclusion arrived by Reverend Ghulam Masih. He further writes:
"It should not be thought that being a Christian or keeping in mind the custom of the Christians, that I shall make use of exaggeration in my description of the qualities of the Holy Prophet. Or that I shall express some exaggerations in his praise which would be outside the realm of knowledge of the learned. You will find herein a fair-minded opinion on the blessed and holy qualities of the Holy Prophet. Same opinion is found amongst those Christians who have made : deep and profound study of the Islamic literature."
In the end, we shall deal with the wars that the Holy Prophet undertook. We will show that they were purely for the purpose of establishing peace, and freedom of conscience and that they were purely defensive in nature. Much fault finding has been done regarding the battles which the Holy Prophet had to fight. The question may be asked that if after arrival in Madinah, his focus did not change and he did not become a king, then why were these battles fought? A lot of historians and researchers have carefully studied the life of the Holy Prophet and the circumstances of the wars that he took part in. They have arrived at one conclusion unanimously. The circumstances under which he had to step into the field of war, and the needs under which he did so, were essential and unavoidable. The testimonies and facts presented below shall prove that the Holy Prophet did not undertake any battle for any worldly gain whatsoever. He did so purely for self defense, and for the sake of the establishment of peace and freedom of conscience. The very first verse of die Holy Quran in which permission was granted to take up arms is found in Sura Hajj (The chapter on Pilgrimage). Here the need and purpose for undertaking these wars is fully explained:
"Permission to take up arms is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged and Allah, indeed, has power to help them. —
Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly, only because they said, `Our Lord is Allah.' And if Allah had not repelled some people by means of others, cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is often remembered, would surely have been destroyed. And Allah will, surely, help him who helps Him. Allah is, indeed, Powerful, Mighty." (Holy Quran 22:40-41)
The words of the above verse fully explain to the Holy Prophet the need and purpose for undertaking these wars:
No worldly need or purpose is mentioned.
No expansion of the worldly empire is intended.
The intent is not to subjugate any nation or people.
This verse proves four things very clearly.
First, the wars could not be started by the Muslims, rather the disbelievers were the ones who lifted the sword against the Muslims. This is clear from the word: ".....those against whom war was made."
Second, the disbelievers were guilty of persecuting the Muslims. This is clear from the words: "because they have been wronged."
Third, the verse clearly indicates that the disbelievers intended to destroy Islam by force.
Fourth, by declaring war the Muslim's purpose was purely assurance of their own security and self defense.
This testimony of the Holy Quran tells us very clearly that all these wars were started by the disbelievers. They wanted to destroy Islam by force. The Muslims were the innocent persecuted party. They lifted the sword for their own security and self defense, for the purpose of establishing peace and freedom of conscience. They entered the field of combat with heavy and unwilling heart. (Muhammad Abu Zohra, Khatam-an-Nabiyyeen, Vol. II, p. 66).
The above position is further established by the ordinances that the Holy Prophet issued regarding the conduct of wars. It is recorded in the book of his sayings that whenever the Holy Prophet would send forth a body of men for the purpose of engaging the enemy, he would instruct them as follows:
"O ye Muslims! Go forth in the name of Allah. Fight purely for the sake of Allah, the Exalted. Beware! Do not be guilty of a breach of trust in the matter of the spoils of war. Do not defraud any nation nor become guilty of a breach of your covenant to anyone. And do not disfigure the dead enemy . And do not attack or kill children, women, religious leaders, mystics or the aged. Establish peace and accord among the people. Deal with the people in the best of manners and generosity. Allah, the Exalted, loves those who do good. (Seerat Khataman Nabiyyeen, Vol. II, p. 585).
It is stated with reference to Hazrat Abu Bakr, his first Successor, that whenever he sent forth an army, he directed them as follows:
Do not cut down any fruit-bearing tree nor lay waste any populated areas.
Do the worldly kings and Caesars and States conduct their wars along these lines? The only motive guiding the worldly kings is their own personal and nationalistic gains. The establishment of peace in the country is never their aim nor do they remain dedicated to this goal. Today, some nations call themselves civilized, and lecture the world on civilization. Their state of affairs in this regard must have been witnessed by Toynbee and his contemporaries during the First and Second World Wars. It is impossible for man to otherwise comprehend, and account for the death and destruction wreaked by these wars. Peace loving citizens, hospitals, schools, and even places of worship were made the target of bombs. Bombs were dropped with such hard-heartedness and barbarity that a mere thought of these events makes a dignified human being's head bow in shame and humiliation. If we overlook all other destruction, and focus merely on the estimates of the loss of human life, we begin to shiver at the cheapness of human life. What a doomsday was caused to descend upon Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan by the American atom bombs! Does anyone have the courage to hear this blood drenched story? The estimates of the loss of life suffered in the Second World War by just the Allies, (Great Britain, America etc.) is put at ten million six hundred and fifty thousand. And the total loss on both sides is put at around twenty million. Russia alone lost over seven and a half million soldiers. Over one million, five hundred and fifty thousand young Japanese were sent to their deaths. And over two million, eight hundred, and fifty thousand valuable German lives were thrown into the oven of war (Enryclopedia Brittanica, Vol, 23, p. 793, 1962 Edition). And on top of all this, incredible unemployment, backbreaking inflation, the spread of shamelessness, and decay of morals were also a consequence of the death and destruction of the Second World War.
Now let us take another look at the actions and achievements of the civilized nations of today. The destruction that was wrought by the Americans in Iraq during the Gulf War of 1991 . Did they take care not to attack the women, the children, the aged, the trees, the religious buildings, the schools, and the hospitals? Even today. They continue to find ways, means and excuses to continue the process of destroying this country. Although the war has come to an end long ago, the final figures of the destruction wreaked in this war are yet to come. How much loss was caused to human life? How much economic loss was inflicted not only on Iraq but on all the states of the region? This record has still be revealed to the world.
On the other hand, the total loss of human life, both Muslims and non-Muslims, during all the wars that took place in Arabia in the life time of the Holy Prophet, was no more than four hundred and forty (Badr-ulKubra, Shauqi, Abu Khalil, Vol. 1, pp. 17-19).
The benefits gained by mankind in comparison to the loss of so few lives are incomparable. The Holy Prophet forbade the execution of wars for the purpose of looting and plunder. He prohibited indiscriminate death, and destruction and useless building and maintaining of armies. He only fought wars for permitted purposes. Even then, he did not permit the destruction and desecration of human dignity.
In the matter of fighting, Allah, the Exalted, directed the Holy Prophet and thereby all the sons of Islam as follows:
"And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but do not transgress. Surely Allah loves not the transgressors." (Holy Quran 2:191).
Again Allah, the Exalted, commands:
"And fight them until there is no persecution, and religion is professed only for God. But if they desist, then remember that no hostility is allowed except against the wrongdoers." (Holy Quran 2:194)
In the light of these Quranic injunctions, the conduct of the Holy Prophet, and his guidelines are clear proof of the fact that the objective of his wars was not the establishment and strengthening of sovereignty.
It was not to satisfy his hunger for greater empires. It was to establish freedom of conscience, peace and to eliminate disorder and discord. Under the most severe conditions, it was his instruction that his commanders display generosity and kind treatment. In full compliance with these instructions of the Holy Prophet, Muslim Generals and Commanders established incomparable examples of generosity, and kind treatment during the conduct of their wars. Examples of such behavior cannot be found among the advanced nations of today, who insist on calling themselves civilized, advanced, well-bred, polite, courteous and generous. In the conduct of wars, their behavior is completely devoid of any decency and human sympathy. We are forced to admit that the reign of the Holy Prophet was lit by the light of Prophethood and the sun of Messengership. Every moment of his life, whether it was during the times of peace or war, was a manifestation of the godly attributes and morals. His kingship and government were also colored with the manifestation of God and spirituality. A famous Indian biographer, of the early 20th century, Maulana Shibli Numani, writes:
"Despite the fact that the treasures of Arabia were in his hands, the dwelling of the prophet possessed no soft bed, no fine food, and no regal dress with which to cover the Prophet's body. Neither did the Prophet's pockets or sleeves have a single coin. Exactly at the time when someone may consider him a Caesar, or a Chosroe, an orphan of Makkah, wrapped up in a blanket, appeared to be an angel of God." (Seeratun Nabi, Shibli, Vol. II)
As a matter of fact, the kingship of the Holy Prophet was the Khilafat (Vicegerent) of God. This is why he had to pass through every type of circumstances. He had to display clearly in his practice every type of godly attribute. When his life changed into the life of a sovereign in Madinah, the simplicity of Makkah could still be found in him. He had resignation and contentment to whatever he had been given. Justice and fairness, distaste of arrogance and pride, love of reconciliation and peace, doing good to others, generosity, and other praiseworthy characters are clearly visible in him. Despite being the Greatest statesman, nothing of the character of the worldly kings was to be found in him. All the signs of the elevated position of Prophethood were clearly visible in him with all their splendor and greatness. The famous German Professor and Christian Orientalist, Noldeke, an antagonist of Islam, is compelled to write on the Madinite period of the Holy Prophet's life:
"Although on the whole, even after he had become ruler of all Arabia he maintained the original poverty and simplicity of his establishment. He never set store by money and estate, eating and drinking and soft clothing. He strictly continued to fast and watch and pray after his first fashion and that too, plainly out of a heartfelt need and without any ostentation..." (Encyclopedia Brlttannica, Vol. 16, p.7561)
Another Orientalist, Mr. Sale writes: "I have carried out a great deal of research and investigation but have discovered no evidence to declare Muhammad's claim of prophethood false." (Alfazal, Khataman-Nabiyyeen, Issue 1931)
In the presence of these proofs and testimonies, can it be correct to state that: upon arrival in Madinah, he bid farewell to the elevated status of Prophethood that he put on the garb of kingship, and adopted an attitude of compulsion?
CONTINUATION OF PROPHETIC MISSION
Take an overall look at the Holy Prophet's life and circumstances, his sayings, deeds, morals and character. No researcher can even think of saying that upon arriving in Madinah, he abandoned his prophetic mission in favor of the office of king and head of state?
The circumstances of the entire life of the Holy Prophet, especially his life in Madinah, show clearly that he never left his true role of a Perfect Prophet. He was not a king in the manner in which one normally finds worldly kings to be. His kingship was a manifestation of the sovereignty of God. Being illumined with the divine light of Prophethood, his accepting to become the Head of State in the Madinite Era was not as a consequence of the weakness of his spirit. It was also not motivated by personal interest or great attraction of the office. Neither was it from a desire to escape from the discharge of his religious duties.
Laying the foundation of the Islamic State with the light of the sovereignty of God was a great help to establish in the world the freedom of faith, establish spirituality, and to give it life. It was necessary that later on Islamic kings and kingdoms could adopt these ways in their regimes, thereby enabling mankind to walk down the roads of peace and security, high morals and righteousness. Toynbee presents Jesus in comparison. No doubt, Jesus was a righteous Prophet of God. But he was never given the opportunity to establish the "kingdom of God' on earth. It was not destined for him. This was destined, in accord with previous prophecies, for the Holy Prophet. Therefore, Toynbee's comparison of Jesus with the Holy Prophet must either be a consequence of his lack of knowledge, or his lack of attention. A researcher historian such as Toynbee should have displayed knowledge of all that we find in the books of history and the biographies of the Holy Prophet written by fair-minded orientalists. Toynbee would surely not have had to hear this dangerous taunt from his contemporaries as far as his treatment of personalities is concerned. Bigotry not to be expected from an objective and fair-minded researcher is clearly visible in his writing about the Holy Prophet
LASTING IMPRESSIONS OF FORGIVENESS
The learned Romanian orientalist Konotin Virgil Georgieo has recorded many other incidents in his book from the life of the Holy Prophet. He has made it crystal clear that the general pardon promulgated by the Holy Prophet for the Makkans had a great impact on the Makkans. They flocked in multitudes with great pleasure and sincerity to announce their acceptance of Islam. He writes that according to the rules of the times, the Holy Prophet had the right to kill every male adult Makkan or enslave them. Instead, he announced a general pardon for all the people of Makkah. The truth is, that the Prophet's forgiveness granted the people of Makkah a new life. (Sayyara Digest, Seerat A'ks p. 447).
Sir William Muir, to whom reference has already been made earlier, has written a very copious book in a very scholarly manner. This book is entitled: Life of Mahomet. He adopted very biased and hostile attitudes on several occasions, but he felt compelled to admit:
"The conduct of Mahomet on the conquest of Makkah, was marked by singular magnanimity and moderation. It was indeed for his own interest to forgive the past, and to cast all its slights and injuries into oblivion. But it did not the less require a large and generous heart to do this. And he had his reward, for the whole population of his native city at once gave in their adhesion, and espoused his cause with alacrity and apparent devotion. There was no “disaffected' inhabitants at Makkah, as there had been at Madinah. Within a few weeks we find two thousand of the citizens fighting faithfully by his side." (Vol. IV, p. 133)
Moreover, describing the results left behind by the effective invitation to Islam that the Holy Prophet carried out, he writes: "And what have been the effects of the system which, established by such instrumentality, Mahomet has left behind him? We may freely concede that it banished for ever many of the darker elements of superstition which had for ages shrouded the Peninsula. Idolatry vanished before the battle-cry of Islam; the doctrine of unity and infinite perfections of God, and of a special all-pervading Providence, became a living principle in the hearts and lives of the followers of Mahomet, even as it had in his own. An absolute surrender and submission to the divine will (the very name of Islam) was demanded as the first requirement of the religion. Nor are social virtues wanting. Brotherly love is inculcated within the circle of the faith; orphans are to be protected, and slaves treated with consideration; intoxicating drinks are prohibited, and Mahomtanism may boast of a degree of temperance unknown to any other creed." (Ibid, pp. 320-321)
It can not be proven from the historical record that a single person entered the fold of Islam under the threat of force or coercion. There is not a single example. Writing on the topic of the grandness of Muhammad's Prophetic mission, and his successful discharge of his Prophetic duties and obligations, Muir writes: "The corrupt state to which mankind had sunk at the time of the Holy Prophet's advent had never been witnessed before. And the state to which mankind had been elevated at his demise too had never been witnessed before."
O ye thinkers of the West! did any worldly king or Caesar ever produce such an extraordinary revolution with his or her preaching?