The Prophet (PBUH) faced intense confrontation from the opponents for his revolutionary call to establish Allah’s Deen. But he faced the opponents with extraordinary patience and fortitude. Facing these heart-wrenching events wasn’t the only task before the Prophet (PBUH). A far more difficult task in front of him was to form a coherent organization and to teach and to train its members.
Actually, the confrontation was just the first step towards the creation of this constructive goal. The goal was to construct such a resilient and sturdy organization that it could provide protection, peace, and tranquility to suffering humanity. It is obvious that building and constructing such a system is a much harder task and requires much more patience than demolishing a wrong system.
The Prophet’s ultimate goal was to establish a system of life where human thoughts and deeds could be advanced in sync with the Truth. It was necessary therefore to set up an organization to achieve this goal. The Prophet’s entire struggle and all his efforts were devoted towards forming and establishing this organization.
The Prophet (PBUH) was told by Allah to spread His message of Truth no matter how detestable it may feel to the Mushrikun (61:9)
وَلَوْ كَرِهَ ٱلْمُشْرِكُونَ
The purpose was to attract anyone to the message of Truth who had even the slightest of opening in his heart for it, and who was sincere enough to ponder objectively on this message; and as a result therefore, he could come to the path of Truth. So that:
لِّيَهْلِكَ مَنْ هَلَكَ عَن بَيِّنَةٍ وَيَحْيَىٰ مَنْ حَيَّ عَن بَيِّنَةٍ
(8:42) – He who would perish might perish in clear evidence of the truth, and that he who would remain alive might live in clear evidence of the truth. [Asad]
The Prophet’s call was to attract those who have any sign of life left within their souls for accepting the message of Truth, whereas it left aside those whose souls had become completely dead for accepting the Truth:
لِيَمِيزَ اللَّـهُ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ وَيَجْعَلَ الْخَبِيثَ بَعْضَهُ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ
(8:37) – so that God might separate the bad from the good, and join the bad with one another, and link them all together. [Asad]
Two different groups
This is the practical method by which humans are divided into two groups: one group who is determined to lead its life according to the Truth (حق – Haq). This group has been called by the Quran the group of Believers (مؤمنین – Momineen) or the Party of Allah (الله حزبٌ – Hizbullah). The other group does not accept this ideology of life but leads its life under a non-divine (i.e., non-Quranic) ideology.
If we look at the life history of Prophets (PBUT) described in the Quran then we find that every Prophet divided humans based only on this standard, and created an organization whose aim of life was to live and to die for the Truth (حق – Haq). Our Prophet’s (PBUH) goal was to create a similar organization. Anyone who came into the fold of Iman – that is, wished to lead life according to the Divine code – became a member of this organization (of new brotherhood of humankind) severing all previous ties.
Those who believed in the Truth and got convinced by the Prophet’s (PBUH) message joined his movement. But there was much more to do beyond joining the movement. Their Quranic education and training was of immediate necessity, because they came from a societal background that was steeped in ignorance. This was a difficult task since their Jahiliyyah-based tribal mentality and behavior had taken deep roots inside their hearts.
Period of education and training
Reforming their personality through Quranic education and training was an important urgent task before the Prophet (PBUH). Some of them were so naïve that while Prophet (PBUH) was addressing a meeting they will run out of the meeting if they heard some showman’s sound of drumbeat or bell ringing:
وَإِذَا رَأَوْا تِجَارَةً أَوْ لَهْوًا انفَضُّوا إِلَيْهَا وَتَرَكُوكَ قَائِمًا ۚ قُلْ مَا عِندَ اللَّـهِ خَيْرٌ مِّنَ اللَّـهْوِ وَمِنَ التِّجَارَةِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ
(62:11) – Yet when people become aware of [an occasion for] worldly gain or a passing delight, they rush headlong towards it, and leave thee standing. Say: That which is with God is far better than all passing delight and all gain! And God is the best of providers! [Asad]
When these people who had recently converted to Islam and thus lacked proper training, saw an opportunity for a good business or some amusement, then they ran toward it leaving the Prophet (PBUH) standing alone. So, Allah told the Prophet (PBUH) to tell them that whatever they get by following the Divine Law is far better and beneficial than all other business; that it is also much more attractive than any other amusement. Remember! The means of livelihood that you get according to Divine Laws are most pleasant as well as highly beneficial.
To make these types of people worthy of leadership of the world was like extracting a river of milk from a mountain. These people who didn’t even know the basics of social etiquette had to be taught that:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتَ النَّبِيِّ إِلَّا أَن يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ إِلَىٰ طَعَامٍ غَيْرَ نَاظِرِينَ إِنَاهُ وَلَـٰكِنْ إِذَا دُعِيتُمْ فَادْخُلُوا فَإِذَا طَعِمْتُمْ فَانتَشِرُوا وَلَا مُسْتَأْنِسِينَ لِحَدِيثٍ ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكُمْ كَانَ يُؤْذِي النَّبِيَّ فَيَسْتَحْيِي مِنكُمْ ۖ وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ
(33:53) – Do not enter the house of the Prophet (PBUH) without a proper invitation and permission as this unnecessarily interferes with his privacy. If he invites you for a meal do go there; but not so early that the meal is still being prepared and you have to wait for it. It is better that whenever you are invited, enter at the proper time, but when you have finished the meal leave without lingering on for the sake of mere conversation. If you do this, it will annoy the Messenger, but he may be embarrassed about telling you to leave. However, Allah is not shy of telling the truth. And if you have to take anything from the Prophet's house, do not enter casually; but ask for it from behind the screen: that is purer for both your heart as well as for the residents of Messenger’s household. It is not right that you should annoy the Messenger in any way.
To take these people under his wings and to transform them into world leaders who would provide code of life and constitution for running human affairs that could uplift the human world to the pinnacle of civilization was indeed a daunting task. This is the great duty and responsibility that Allah tells: understand the Quran with knowledge and wisdom, and with purity of hearts and minds:
هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ
(62:2) – He it is who has sent unto the unlettered people an apostle from among themselves, to convey unto them His messages, and to cause them to grow in purity, and to impart unto them the divine writ as well as wisdom - whereas before that they were indeed, most obviously, lost in error. [Asad]
In order to enforce a Divine System in the human world, similar to the one in the universe where everything functions according to the Divine Law, Allah the Almighty started sending His Divine Guidance through a chain of messengers. The last link of that chain was the Prophet (PBUH) who has come to a people who had previously never received any Divine Book (36:6). The Prophet (PBUH) presented the Divine Laws to the people and then explained the objective and the wisdom behind them. At the same time he gave them a program of action that would help develop their potentialities. Hence, as a result of his teaching of the Divine Message and his training, a nation that was previously totally lost in error came over to the right path.
With respect to the aforementioned duty of the Prophet (PBUH) it is worth pondering on words “وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ” – “presents the Divine Laws to the people and then explains the objective and the wisdom behind them.” Knowledge is usually related to human cognitive abilities. But wisdom is related to the human heart. To explain the reality of something in such a way that could be understood by others is part of teaching and learning. But to create revolution in the world only spurring human cognitive abilities is not enough. It also requires stimulating and transforming human self, which in fact is the fountainhead of human action. The driving force behind action is willpower and the essence of willpower is the heart. This is called the development and nourishment of the “self” or personality – that is, development of those human abilities that are essential to advancing humankind’s dignity and self-respect. It is this development of human personality that is called purification of the heart or transformation of the mindset. The Quran has termed it as changing human “self” (13:11). The result of this change is that human intention always points in the right direction. What is called a righteous deed is nothing but the expression of pious intention. In the words of Kant: “It is impossible to think of anything at all in the world, or indeed even beyond it, that could be considered good without limitation except a good will.”
Transforming hearts is necessary
This is the foundation of the entire structure of morality. An action without intention doesn’t have any moral value. A society that is not founded on purifying hearts and transforming mindset can never lead to development and evolution of humanity; and the result will be chaos and destruction.
No constitution, no matter how good it may be, can produce good results unless the people who will implement it and the people who will lead their lives under it have gone through the reforming process of purification of their hearts or transformation of their minds.
This is what the Quran calls تزکیہ (Tazkiyah) – which means to grow, to develop. It was the result of this تزکیہ (Tazkiyah) that a Bedouin camel-herding people not only became the owners of new civilization but they changed the standard for measuring world civilization and progress.
Through Revelation, Allah tells the person who is chosen as His Messenger, only what He wants to tell. Allah’s final Revelation is now preserved in the Quran; and its protection has been undertaken by Allah Himself (15:9). The Prophet (PBUH) fully conveyed the Revelation to the people. Now it is up to the people to either obey or ignore the Divine Law and the results of their actions shall be adjudged accordingly. Allah’s Law of Requital encompasses everything that people do. And it takes account of everything for nothing is beyond or outside the ambit of this Law of Requital. This is how even the Bedouin Arabs of the desert understood the Quran and lived according to it.
How beautifully the Prophet (PBUH) fulfilled his Messenger’s duty of fully and completely conveying the Divine revelation is evidenced by his proclamation at an open public forum during his last Hajj pilgrimage.
He asked the audience: Have I conveyed the Divine message? The audience, with one voice, responded: Definitely you have conveyed it all. On this the Prophet (PBUH) raised his face towards heaven and said to Allah: O Allah! You are a witness that I have conveyed Your message to all. Then he addressed the audience thus: Those who are present here it is obligatory on them to convey this message to those who are not present.
The tasks assigned were carried out by respective members with utmost sincerity; and with impeccable character and integrity. This was the result of the Prophet's teaching and training of members of his organization. Everyone had brotherly relations with each other. The Quran provides the evidence:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
(49:10) – All believers are but brethren. Hence, [whenever they are at odds,] make peace between your two brethren, and remain conscious of God, so that you might be graced with His mercy. [Asad]
Those who joined this organization the majority of them were poor and helpless. The life of this organization was tough and full of hardships but the Prophet (PBUH) taught that by sharing in a spirit of brotherhood any hardship can be overcome. Both Bukhari and Muslim have this narration of Abu Musa Al-Ashari: “When the people of Ashari tribe ran short of food during battles, or the food of their families ran short, they would collect all their remaining food in one sheet and then distribute it among themselves equally by measuring it with a bowl.” On hearing this the Prophet (PBUH) said: “These people are from me, and I am from them.”
This was the life of the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions (R). This is the way to lead a collective life – of sharing and caring.