Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Muhammad
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AsSalamu Alaikum and welcome you once again to establish focus. Today's program is show that will be our 32nd series on ethnic peace be upon him, the last messenger of Allah.
And we will continue the topic we started last week on the world at the advent of Muhammad May peace be upon. I'm your host. The Shawnee Mission here once again from St. Mary's University is Dr. Jamal better, as I like to actually
create a summary please of last week's program? Sure. We mentioned last week that at the time of the coming of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in the sixth century when he was born, the world can be described as one which was on the course of self destruction. We indicated that the human civilization was in a stage of severe decay and disintegration.
We tried to survey briefly the situation in the super powers of the world at that time, the Persian and Byzantine empires and also some other important places like in India.
And in all of these we found a number of common problems. One was the spiritual decay, the fading away of the influence of great world religions. The fact that there was a great deal of confusion and conflict at times in theological matters. Many times the theological differences took a violent manifestation.
Secondly, social decay seem to have been common also, in all places surveyed, lack of justice, oppression of women, and all kinds of more than license in vices around
political decay, thirdly, the tyranny, exploitation, extravagance, and extreme luxury in which rulers were living at the expense of the toil of the miserable masses. In general, we can say that there was a chronic absence of peace on individual and collective level. In fact, one of the writers of the biography of the Prophet, Dr. Hamad Syed Ramadan and booty
tried to give the reason for this dilemma. And he says that, apparently, that is because these civilizations were materialistic civilizations lacking the spiritual and moral guidance, when you get the temporary or material powers, without this directing force of moral, ethical and spiritual
outline, boundaries, things are likely to go in the wrong direction. And they wonder whether that description is only a description of the past, or whether it may have relevance to what is happening. In our
previous program, you survey the situation, several nations we talked about the Persians to design him to talk about India. And maybe now I would like to switch the focus to Europe. What was the situation like of Europe? How was Europe in the sixth century? One of the best sources of bet is a reference that I mentioned last time, but we didn't even quote from it. That's HG Wells, the outline of history, a very famous and standard
book on history. I'm not necessarily agreeing with him, everything that she writes, I understand he makes several mistakes, but at least one would not expect him to be biased when he writes about the history of his own continent, and his own people.
But he says, and especially this can be found in Volume One, page 442 through 449. That's in the book club edition,
describing the sixth century situation and he says, I quote, the daily life of that time, was going on at a very low level indeed.
Physically, intellectually, and morally. And then he continues to indicate that many times it is commonly said that Europe in
The sixth and seventh century of the Common Era
relapsed into barbarism.
And he said, barbarism even might not be the appropriate or correct term currencies. And they quote, that the civilizations in the civilization of the Roman Empire had passed into a phase of extreme demoralization. And later he says, barbarism is a social order, in an elementary type, another way to some kind of order but Elementary,
orderly within its limits. But the state of Europe, beneath its political fragmentation, was a social disorder.
nessa he goes on to say that the social and economic structure of the Roman Empire was in ruins. That civilization had been a civilization of one and political power, sustain notice here sustained by the limitation and slavery of the great mass of mankind.
It is not perhaps true to say that the world became miserable in these dark ages, to which we have now come much nearer to the truth is to say that the violent and vulgar fraud of Roman imperialism, that word of politicians, adventurers,
land owners, and finances collapsed into a sea of misery that was already there.
Then he continues later to say, this age was an age, not merely of war, and robbery, but of famine, and pestilence. Even when he gives the description in the material, physical sense, he says that the sanitary conditions were non existent. And he said this resulted into the outbreak of many fevers and plugs,
which lead according to the estimate of some historians like given of as many as 10,000 people dying in one day, from this epidemics. And then he says, I quote, too many. In those dark days, it seemed that all learning and all that made life seemingly undesirable, was perishing. It must have seemed indeed, as if the light of civilization was waning, and near extinction. We can go on, of course, you can provide more detailed information. That's not the focus of the program anyway, but I think that was quite
descriptive, as he puts it, exactly. It gives a very nice essence of what the political situation in Europe was the lack of a better way. Let's now examine the immediate environment of which our Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was born. What was the predominant religion at that time?
Well, let us remember first that like the Jews, the Arabs, also our semi people,
because both Jews and Arabs, as you know, descended from Abraham, Prophet Abraham, through the son of Ishmael, but the Arabs came through the son Ishmael, the Israelites came through Isaac.
And Ishmael is the first son, that in person
lived in Mecca, which is now an area where he helped his father Abraham in building the Kaaba, the holy shrines which are visited, which is visited
every year by nearly 2 million Muslims from all over the world.
And since both Abraham and Ishmael were prophets of monotheism,
the original religion and faith of their descendants, the nanites, or the Arabs, in fact, was also monotheism, the worship of the one true God.
But as we have seen, the same thing, more or less that happened in other communities, the same kind of change, loss of purity that took place in the teaching of other previous prophets, the mixing of the pure teachings of the prophets, with philosophies and theologies, and sometimes even mythical ideas. The problem with some of the teachings being at least partly forgotten, of other prophets also happened with the Arabs as well.
With the coming of the century in which Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him was born. That's the sixth century, idolatry. worship of idols, was quite common. We must say, however, that they were very
Select few, very few, who still believe absolutely in the one God, but they would like a drop in an ocean with very limited number. They did not have any organized religion, they did not have any particular book of reference or holy book, or doctrines of teaching were just like a sort of loose kind of
notion that they have in mind and the worship of the worship of the one God.
At the same time, the great mass of people was sunk in either worship, something that kept being practiced generation after generation. Some historians wonder or ask, as to how was this ideology introduced to the people who are basically monotheism, the Arabs, children of Israel. And some historians say that the first one who introduced either way, worship was a man by the name of Amish, it knew that
this man was an Arabian, he was traveling north to Syria. And he passed by some of the townships of the Amalekites. He found them worshipping ibonds.
So he said, you know, why don't you give me one to take to my pupil. So they gave him one and that one was called Hoban. And that was the beginning of perversion, they say, of the true monotheistic faith of the herbs into this idea of either worship.
But we must say, however, that initially, when the idol worship was introduced, in the Arabian Peninsula, it was introduced basically as a devotion and medium. In other words, they still believed in God. But this were, these ideas were regarded more as intermediary between man and God. That's what they started to believe in. But in some cases, actually, those idols were so much elevated, that they themselves became objects of worship, and appeasement. And in spite of that, as another way, explains, homage, was still paid to the one transcendent god, this is the kind of contradiction that exists in their minds. But there's homage to the one true God, something that's linked out from
the religion of Abraham and Ishmael with them, in many, many cases was lip service, because their involvement and their ties with the idea was so strong, that they tried their best to please those items, or avoid anything that would cause any displeasure to them, I suppose were so spread, maybe not as much as was an Indian in terms of millions of objects of worship. But they say that every tribe had its idol. Every city, sometimes even every locality may have a special guide for that area, which people in that area considered to be their own God.
As in the collection of Buhari,
he refers to one of the early companions of the Prophet peace be upon him who became Muslim later, but of course, he describes the days of ignorance are the pre Islamic days. And they say that they used to worship stones, the best people at that time. And if, if they find a bitter stone, they throw away the old one.
In addition to this, he says that
some people, for example, when they travel, would go around and pick four stones. And then he find out which one is the most beautiful, and make it an idol worship, and use the other three to rest his pots on for cooking.
In addition, some tribes even though this was not necessarily common practice, but some tribes worship angels. And they used to believe that angels are the daughters of God.
Some tribes worship the sun, the moon, or Jupiter, in imitation, perhaps some of the some of the ideas and Persian other places.
However, there are some scholars who make a good point like chef Mohammed Abu Zahra, in his book also called Fatima V in the seat of profits, through volume,
good work on the subject in volume one in page 68. He says that, in spite of that, we can also say that ideology was not so much
imbued in the hearts of the herbs, the pagan herbs, he says because they still had the strong belief in the one true God who is the creator and
10 out of the anniversary, it was more of you might say, a deviation from the state of monotheism rather than, like in some other nations something which is really inherent in the nature of their religious practices sort of as the Quran correct shift, associating others with God in His divine attributes, but not rejecting God. statues
about the social life of Arabia again, in the sixth century, any major features we should be aware of?
Well, as many historians know, the Arabian Peninsula was essentially a tribal society.
So the tribal ties were very, very strong. Of course, the tribal ties in themselves was not bad. It could also be a source of social cohesiveness. But unfortunately, those virtues or those
cohesive elements in their existence were misdirected.
Because the tribal prejudice was also going hand in hand was very strong, and every tribe seem to think like nothing we say that they are been most nobly stuck
the sorts of pride.
Partly, this was because the Arabs also had a warlike temperament many times as naturally notice, the most trivial incident, most trivial incident that take place between two clans or two tribes could touch off a bitter in protracted wars, never ending war.
For example, He says that there was this famous war historians speak about the war between the clans of y in bucks in Tagalog,
that was dragged on for full 40 years, which means that not only the original participants participated, but their descendants kept cutting this
and the area of social behavior.
The drinking was so common, and the Arabs passionately were in love of wine, and drinks.
Sometimes the banners would throw over the liquor shops, they're their own non official liquor commission stores.
In fact, I remember one ceding that one point
in the pre Islamic days was so much in love with wine, drinking, that he made a whim that when I died, plant, a vine yard, on top of my grave, so that made at least a feeling or a sense of drinking amazing. Other social vices including
gambling, to the point that some people even use to lose their own households in gambling, usually in the worst form was practiced. Adultery was rampant. The state of women was not very happy. They were quite oppressed, except maybe for a few in the aristocracy. But otherwise, the masses were not treated properly.
A woman did not have any rights at all, in inheritance.
In fact, they were inherited themselves they were regarded as objects of inheritance. There were cases for example, where if the father dies, and many worlds polygamists have many wives, the son, the eldest son, would take the wives of his father, as his own property as part of the state really kick them for wives,
in some cases and the divorce, she was not allowed to marry again. If there is nobody, for example, I can enter some to take her.
There was another very cruel practice, according to some Historians estimate that 10% of men were guilty of it, and that is female infanticide, burying germs alive for whatever reason, economic fear of shame or combination. Whatever the motive, it was definitely one of the most heinous crimes.
Some historian also say that they were some kind hearted tribal chiefs who used to
buy the infant girls in order to save their lives. And one man by the name of Safar reported that he saved as many as 300 girls from this bleak kind of festive
by buying them.
In spite of that, there was no
revolution really, that was brewing, there was no indication at all of something that's just about
explode, and generally speaking, the It seems that life was going on with all of this faults and corruptions and difficulties.
And everybody seemed to somehow accept the situation as it goes on. This is a matter that's not only admitted by some Muslim writers, but
many of the or some non Muslim writers like Bosworth Smith, in his book, Muhammad and Muhammad and Islam says that the emergence of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula was something that would have not, would have never been expected. And that causes a great deal of wonder, in the mind of historians, of course, there were many other places in the world, where the situation was much more conducive for a new revolution, a new change to take place, or the wonder how could Islam emerged with better power all of a sudden, in such a remote place, like Arabia, but in any case, the time apparently, was ripe anyway, in the world, just like it happened in the history of previous prophets, there was
so much need, that God would send another prophet to guide humanity.
Talk about the terminal and the problems, more or less in the area, and about the despair and declination of both moral and social fiber. Now, the common question that seems to pop up is, why was the Arabian Peninsula chosen for the birth of the last prophet out of all other places? Well, there are a number of reasons maybe you can start, for example, with some obvious ones.
For one, because an Arabian Mecca in particular was the first house on earth that was built for the worship of the one true God by Prophet Abraham, the Kaaba shrine.
Secondly, that NACA was his township or city, in the heart of the desert of Arabia. And in spite of that, it was a very important city. It was Trade Centers, it was literally centers. And it was also some extent, you can say, a religious center because the Kaaba was a stent reviewed by the Arabs, even though they descended, in their practice to the worship of idols, but the Kaaba was still very much revealed because of its connection with Abraham.
And some scholars comment on this and say that this might give a good beginning point, for the spread of the the new faith, it's not totally new, I mean, new in its final form, because all prophets taught Islam anyway.
To give a place where news are spreading information seem to be somewhat second.
A third element is that in Mecca, the tribe of Quraysh was there. And those were known to be the most eloquent among all the other tribes, the purity of the language. And the Quran, of course, was revealed in that language and that helped to provide the highest standard of eloquence and unite even the various
dialects you might say of Arabic under the banner or leadership or the most eloquent decoration, Karachi dialect in which the Quran was revealed.
But there are some more important reasons for example, Dr. Raja, and karate.
He says that, if Islam, for example, emerged in Persian, that time, the Romans would have fought it as a Christian religion because of their antagonism with the Christian, they were in constant conflict. And if Islam appeared in anywhere in the Byzantine Empire, the persons would afford it as a dimension religion again because of that antagonism. But the fact that Islam emerged in a free independent country in the heart of the desert,
might have provided it with a sort of, you might say, nursery or nursing period, where it could grow free from any pressure
free and away from all this ideological conflicts and the bloody fights that was going on between the two superpowers. And as such, instead of Islam coming being identified, with one or the other, of the fighting superpowers of the world. It appears as an independent,
an alternative that is presented to the world to save it from its decay independent from both east and west from both civilizations
Include beneath spiritual and, above all, to give a political alternative to the kind of injustice and oppression and
turmoil that is going on between the powers that time. And as we know, the humanity at that time, basically was, if not exactly part of the one superpower or the other.
You had the, you might call it in modern terms, perhaps the sphere of influence still there. And many other nations had two nations or tribes, townships, has to align themselves with one side or the other in order to protect their interest. And that was not very much conducive, of course, Islam emerged in the middle of this kind of alliances. The other thing which is very interesting also, is that, in spite of the fact that the Arabs, before Islam, deviated and worship idols, is still the life of the desert, give them certain characteristics, which are very useful. They still have some kind of innate purity, clarity of thinking to life in that there's a simplicity and clarity might
have been a useful thing. Then Islam emerging in places where there was so much obsession with theological and philosophical religious argument. So it comes as a basic faith without,
you know, returns or problems. In addition to that, with all their faults, the pre Islamic Arabs had some good qualities
and on the support of what they believe is right, generosity, dignity, and willing to defend what they believe is right.
And in fact, many times there actually was misdirection of those good qualities. So the alliance with the tribe becomes,
as a good characters, a matter of reason to participate in fighting, which is unjust, which is unfair.
Another aspect also, is that if Islam emerged in a place where there was lots of learning, and previous civilization, and religious people who would have suspected that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him might have just copied that from from previous revelations. And this is testified to in the Quran in surah 2948 that addresses the Prophet that you never recited any book before the Quran was revealed to you, nor did you write anything, or else those who are promoter of falsehood would have suspected or said you know, where he got that from, geographically speaking, also Arabia seem to have been in the middle of video centers of the known word of the time. In addition to that
Cheb azada adds that he also was the seed of mini Arabia and the immediate surrounding was the seat of many of the prophetic missions. And with the exception of David, Solomon, and Jesus, we lived in Jerusalem, other prophets did not actually live in Jerusalem, but they came from the vicinity in that area, several prophets, in fact.
But one final point I just like to add Rosada makes is that the nature of the people in Arabia was courage and freedom as you compare it with nations that used to be under the yoke of heavy rulership that they developed the attitude of just going with the atmosphere, the Arabs were independent, we're proud of their freedom. And as such, when they embrace Islam, they become very effective elements in defending it with the sincerity and zeal that they had. Because as the Prophet said, the best of you, in Islam are the best in pre Islamic days when they are improved when they understand. So there were 16 qualities and people geographically and others other ways which was quite
conducive. And now we are ready, perhaps to move to the specific events this year. Thank you very much. That could be the right thing to offer. Joining us here in this time and focus. Our former address will be appearing on your screen. We would appreciate your comments and questions from all of us. Assalamu alaikum. Hope to see you next week.