The 20th century witnessed a profound “explosion” in every walk of life. Be it ‘knowledge explosion’, ‘technological explosion’, ‘information explosion’ or ‘population explosion’. Go further and you will discover that it was not only knowledge or population that exploded but some “little boy” and “fat man” also exploded (in Hiroshima and Nagasaki). Besides two horrendous world wars, peace was constantly threatened during the ‘cold war’. Some areas like Palestine and Chechnya are permanently under threat. The vulnerability of even the super power of unipolar world was exposed through 9/11. The ‘drama’ of state terrorism, its implication and brutalities, its counter retaliation and consequences need no description. The so-called noble organisations like the League of Nations and the United Nations Organisation fell very short of expectations and did little to minimise the rumpus that prevailed throughout the globe. In a nutshell, “Peace is not at all a contemporary phenomenon, it is either mere hearsay or history.”
We cannot wholly discard Marx’s observations that, “All hitherto history is the history of class struggles.” In every era, in every epoch with some minor exceptions, violence, bloodshed, arson existed. What is the cause of such commotion? A bird’s eye view over the conflicts which arose in the world, will ultimately lead us to the conclusion that denial of rights to a person or group or concerned society is the root of all dissensions such as exploitation of labourers – proletariat and bourgeoisie conflict, colonial exploitation – black and white races conflict, denial of right to self rule in Palestine and Chechnya, etc.
So it is crystal clear that if peace has to prevail, wilful respect for others’ rights is indispensable.
Now briefly scan through all theories and practices of the world or every man-made law and you will certainly discern that such laws guarantee privileges to some and at the same time deny those privileges to some others. They are bound to do justice with ‘some’ and injustice with ‘some others’ because man lacks universal outlook and neutrality which is prerequisite for a just law. If a capitalist has to make a law, he will legitimise all the exploitation of workers, and if vice versa labourers will seize even capitalists’ minimal right to property. Hitler believed that he along with his Aryan German race was destined to rule the world. No human being is exempt from such bias that’s why no theory is pure and perfectly just. As a student of political science I am compelled to confess and as a Muslim proud to declare that the revolution which Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be with him) has brought, the theory which he propounded (the Qur’an and Sunnah), the system that he evolved (Islami Nizam) was far more superior to, far more just and peaceful than all other theories, ideas and concepts of the world put together.
ISLAM AND OTHER REVOLUTIONS
§ The French Revolution is put at a high pedestal by all those who eulogise the values of democracy. The Revolution proved to be just a ‘change of power’ – replacement of a tyranny by another and the price of such change of guard was at least 66 lakh of lives killed by the weapons especially invented for collective slaughter of humans.
§ Communism was perceived as Messiah of the poor and downtrodden. It claimed the echelon of ultimate solution for human miseries. To accomplish this “landmark” revolution more than one crore people were done to death. Thousands were transported to the chilly Siberia where they themselves were frozen to death. For what? To experience the tyranny of state communism that history had never seen before. Hence its collapse within 90 years of its inception despite being co-superpower of the world.
§ Needless to elaborate the losses of world wars which were fought insanely and to achieve no good by European countries. Crores of people lost their lives and still at several places children are born deaf and blind and with several other congenital defects due to radiation generated in these wars. These monstrous wars which were fought for “peace” were followed by “cold war” and now a ‘Third world war’ seems inevitable due to the paranoia of U.S.
§ Contrary to all the above, the revolution which Prophet Muhammad (peace to him) brought within a short span of 23 years was far more ‘comprehensive’, ‘all inclusive’ and ‘all encompassing’ – a revolution which altered the socio-economic and political life of the people. The most bloodless revolution history has ever witnessed. As Sayyed Asad Geelani would argue through statistics that the Prophet participated in 27 ghazwats and sent 55 siryas – a sum total of 82 confrontations with the opponent. To calculate mathematically on every 35th day there was some clash or the other with opponents in the Prophet’s Medinite life. But what about the casualties? Geelani then presents the most stunning statistics:
imprisoned wounded killed
Muslims 11 127 459
Opponents 6564 – 459
Leave the wounded aside, the total price that the propagators of this revolution had to pay was 918 lives and the vicissitude which it brought was exorbitant.
THE MESSENGER OF PEACE
Muhammad (peace to him) was the messenger of peace. As articulated in the Qur’an that he was “nothing else but a mercy for the universe”. He took war (qital) as not the first but the last resort. The system which he executed on earth was “just” not only for Arabs, not only for Muslims but for the whole humanity. Even during wars he maintained a high code of conduct and urged his followers also to do the same as per the injunctions of the Quran. “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah does not love transgressors.” (2:190) His endeavour, toil and all the sufferings of warfare was not for any personal gains but for the eradication of evil. No personal enmity or hatred was the motive factor “And fight them on until there is no tumult or oppressions and there prevail justice and faith in Allah.” (Anfal-39)
Thus the whole life of the Prophet is a living embodiment of a person who adored peace, who tried to sort out problems through peaceful measures, but one who did not compromise with wrong even for peace at any cost.
Although the Holy Prophet’s whole life is overflowing with the incidents when he had the power to crush his enemies but he hated sin and not the sinners. So we find him on one hand forgiving a Bedouin who attempted to kill him, or respecting a Jew who was ruthlessly demanding his due before the specified time. But the following three instances are the replica of his commitment to the cause of peace.
1) The Holy Prophet (peace to him) was more or less dejected about the barren hearts of Makkan people when he visited Taif in the hope of establishing his Dawah centre there. The three most influential persons whom the Prophet had met gave hopeless replies and urged scoundrels and rogues to pelt stones on him. His shoes were spilling with blood. When he sat to have a rest, those bullies forced him to stand and walk and again stoned his body targeting his knees and ankle. Finally when this game of heartlessness ended the angel of rocks and hills came upon him with Gabriel and sought his permission to intermingle the two hills surrounding Taif such that the trace of the city could not be found in future. The Prophet replied in the words which are worth writing in gold. “Why should I curse them and pray for their extinction? If they have not accepted Islam their future generations may do so!” – Humanity salutes you O’ Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah with you).
2) One thousand four hundred Companions were sitting round the Prophet (peace to him) waiting for the slightest intimation to take their swords out and attack Makkah to take the revenge of Uthaman. The Prophet was silently listening to the Qureyshi Ambassador Suhail Bin Amr to reach upon a truce. Needless to say Muslims at that time had an upper hand over infidels. They had won most of the clashes with Qureysh and even once had thwarted out an attempt by the entire Arab to exterminate the tiny state of Medina in the Battle of Ahzab. The following conditions of Qureysh were considered a blasphemy by many of the Companions which were
i) There will be no war between parties for ten years and they will live at peace.
ii) Muslims should return this year and come for pilgrimage of Ka’aba next year keeping their swords sheathed and stay for just three days.
iii) All tribes will be free to conclude alliance with any party.
iv) Trade Caravans of Qureysh passing through Medina will not be molested.
v) If anyone from the Qureysh goes to Medinah without consent of Qureysh he should be returned, but a Muslim coming to Makkah from Medinah will not be returned.
But the wisdom of the Prophet was such that he acquiesced all the conditions of Qureysh, and even urged Abū Jandel, who had fled from his house in Makkah, to keep patience, and finally endorsed for peace.
Later it was as bright as the shining sun that it was the fruits of Dawah sown in those hiatus years after the Hudaibiyah Treaty that the whole of Arab so soon sought asylum in the exalted way of life called Islam.
3) Readers know that the Qureysh had tormented the Prophet and his companions both physically and mentally throughout the 13 years of his Prophethood. They threw dust upon him, mischievously put the wastes of camel on his back while prostrating, called him with several filthy names like magician, nonsense, insane, ill, etc. They urged husbands of his newly wed daughters to divorce them, socially boycotted him and his clan for three years. More than all they forced him out of his native land. After his migration also they waged wars to uproot his newly acquired destination, fomented other tribes against him and conspired with them.
Still on the occasion of Makkan victory, when all those tormentors and strategists of his murder and wars, conspiracies and cheats were standing before him helpless, the judgment of even the noblest persons we could think of would have been to decapitate all of them without any delay – but the judgment pronounced by the Holy Prophet on that day reads: “This day let no reproach be (cast) on you; Allah will forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.”
THE LAST SERMONS
Louis Henkin, like many westerners, believe that “human rights is an idea of our time.” But Tahir Mahmood was precise about rejecting this unscientific claim, in his own words, “Anybody who makes a dispassionate and unbiased study of Prophet’s teachings would be convinced that the claim of modern westerners to be the inventor of Human Rights must be rejected for its historical inaccuracy.”
In his last sermon, the Prophet propounded the whole humanity with a doctrine that was most compact and all inclusive.
All the “modern” principles such as right to life, right to equality, right to justice, fair trial, trial by jury, rule of law, equality before law seem to have been extracted from the Last Sermon of the Holy Prophet. All of them so conspicuously mentioned and so vehemently practised for a millennium that it put to shame not only Magna Carta of 1225 but Petition of Rights 1672, Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, Bill of Rights of 1689 and let me say United Nations Charter of Human Rights declaration of 1948 as well.
M. I. Patwari illustrated the real status of U.N. Charter when he said, “All these rights contained in the universal declaration of Human Rights are declaratory because the declaration is not a legally binding treaty. It has only moral and political significance.”
Here are some extracts from the last sermon of the Prophet which will speak for themselves how far they are relevant in modern context and how the solution lies in its implementation and execution of the world’s miseries and distress.
“…O’ ye people! Allah says We created you from one male and one female …. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for the white over the black nor vice versa except in God-Consciousness…. Verily your blood, your property and your honour are sacred and inviolable….O’ people you have got certain rights over your women and your women have certain rights over you… Allah, the mighty and exalted, has ordained to every one his due share (of inheritance).… All debts must be repaid…. Beware! No one committing a crime is responsible for it but himself…. And your Slaves; see that you feed them with such food as you eat yourselves, and clothe them with the cloths that you yourself wear.”
After this precise and all encompassing lecture he addressed the congregation in words that will continue to inspire humanity till the Doomsday. It is certain that he was addressing not only the congregation but his discourse was also for us and for our generations. He proclaimed “O’ people! No Prophet would be raised after me and no new Ummah (would be formed) after you… beware of transgressing the limits set in the matters of religion… Let him that is present, convey it unto him who is absent, for many people to whom the message is conveyed may be more mindful of it…”
May Allah give us courage and capability to discharge the duty of standing as witness unto mankind.