Editorial: Prophet’s Birthday and the Muslim Ummah
The Light (Pakistan), 8th/24th December 1983 Issue (Jalsa Issue) (Vol. 63, No. 23–24, pp. 1–2)
On the 12th of Rabi‘ al-Awwal, the Holy Prophet’s Birthday was celebrated throughout the Muslim world with unprecedented zeal and religious fervour. It is to give thanks to Allah for bestowing on us and for the benefit of the human race, the universal message of Islam that was revealed through the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The highest ideals of virtues, human dignity and service to mankind demonstrated by the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, have retained their uniqueness and universality for more than fourteen centuries and shall remain so for all times to come. The Holy Quran stands witness to it:
“And surely thine is a reward never to be cut off. And surely thou hast most sublime morals” (68:3, 4).
The turn of the 15th century Hijrah has seen the Muslim Ummah infused with a new awakening and enthusiasm to re-establish vitality and efficacy of the teachings of Islam. The fact remains that the Message of Islam and the dynamic spirituality of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, can once again usher in peace and happiness as it did in the early period of Islam.
But the question is, today, are we capable, as a nation, to demonstrate to the world that Islamic code of life and the precept of the Holy Prophet are in reality “a blessing for the nations”. Unfortunately, in spite of vigorous efforts on national and international levels for Islamisation, we are yet far away from the goal because we lack essential characteristics of unity and positive thinking. The present state of the Muslim Ummah presents a sad picture of mutual fighting, disunity, intolerance and lack of initiative. The one important factor which is hampering the Muslim Ummah from going along the path of development and progress is that whenever it yearns to adopt Islamic ideals the leadership passes on to the bigoted Mullah who lives in the past and does not possess the capability and open-mindedness to reinterpret Islam in view of the prevalent conditions and requirements. If Islam is a universal Message, then it can retain its universality only by providing guidance and incentive in all sorts of situations, otherwise it will become stagnant. The Muslim Ummah today is suffering from stagnancy. The only way to come out of this quagmire is to adopt the golden rule of “No compulsion in religion” (2:256). In other words, it means that openness is the basic element conducive to the development and progress of Islamic ideals of life. Freedom of thought and action is the hallmark of Islam. Unfortunately, Muslims today lack these characteristics and have, therefore, failed to make any significant headway in solving their economic, political and social problems in spite of possessing tremendous economic resources and man power.
An excellent example of positive thinking was the Truce of Hudaibiyya concluded by the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. In spite of the fact that his Companions were ready to sacrifice for the just cause, the Holy Prophet negotiated a humiliating truce with the enemy in view of future prospects of peace and human welfare. At the present critical juncture, the Muslim Ummah is required to show a similar positive attitude towards problems regarding Palestine, Afghanistan and the Super Powers’ tussle in the Middle East. On a national level as well, Muslim governments should show tolerance and compassion. Suppression and persecution of minorities, religious or otherwise, is by no means Islamic.
It is an undeniable fact that love and compassion were the two dominant traits of the Holy Prophet’s unique personality. It was through these qualities that he won even the hearts of his bitterest enemies. The Holy Quran alludes to the importance of these qualities for nation-building in the following verses:
“It is by Allah’s mercy that thou art gentle to them. And hast thou been rough and hard-hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around thee” (3:159).
“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and those with him are firm of heart against the disbelievers and compassionate among themselves” (48:29).
Major religious organisations in Pakistan have diverted most of their attention towards a malicious propaganda drive against Ahmadis, as if they are the main hurdle in the way of Islamisation and democratisation in the country. This is a negative attitude in tackling problems endangering the very existence of Pakistan. The lack of positive thinking and correct approach led to the creation of Bangladesh and declaration of Ahmadis as a non-Muslim minority. The solution does not lie in taking emotional decisions without trying to find out the “invisible hands” working to disturb peace and tranquillity of this region. It is high time that Muslims should realise the importance of positive thinking instead of throwing blame on others for their failings.
Let us devote this blessed month of Rabi‘ al-Awwal in moulding our thoughts and actions in accordance with the true spirit of the Message and Precept of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. And that is the proper way of celebrating the birthday of the most beloved Messenger of Allah and “a mercy to the nations”.