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THE EDUCATIONAL ATMOSPHERE IN THE TIME OF HAPPINESS

In the house of the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, there was a permanent awe. Every action was awesome. It was possible for those who caught a glance of him to feel the allure of Heaven and horror of Hell. His shivering while performing the prayer, swaying to and fro, trembling with the fear of Hell and ‘flying’ on wings of the desire of Heaven and fear of Hell were known and seen in his house. Yes, those who looked at him, remembered God. Imam al-Nasa’i narrates:

While the Messenger was praying, a sound, like a boiling pot, was heard.1

He always prayed with a burning and weeping heart. Our mother ‘A’isha often found him in the presence of his Lord, prostrating and trembling.2

His behavior had an inspiring effect on everyone around and they all benefited. The children and wives of every Messenger had the same awe and fear, as they preached, ordered and advised what they had experienced and gave examples through their actions. We can assess the impact of an individual through his behavior in his house. If all the pedagogues with all their acquired knowledge about education joined together, they could not be as effective as a Prophet.

The Messenger represented and expressed what he wanted to teach through his actions, and then he translated his actions into words. How to be full of awe before God, how to be humble, how to prostrate with deep feelings, how to bow, how to sit in prayer, how to cry out at night - the Messenger first did all of them himself and then taught the others. So, whatever he preached was immediately accepted both in his house and outside it, and his words penetrated the hearts of the believers. After all, he was a unique father and grandfather. This is an important fact which is, however, often overlooked and neglected; it is indeed one of the most important roles we all have to fulfill.

Many illustrious persons have appeared in his progeny that each one shone among his generation like a sun, or moon or a star. He also brought up a generation - the Companions - so perfectly that among them almost no one turned to be a heretic. It can, additionally, be said that also among his progeny no heretic has ever emerged. This fact is a unique distinction of the Messenger. While there have appeared heretics and apostates among the household and descendants of many saintly people, none of Muhammad’s descendants have betrayed the roots of their household. A few exceptions, if there are, do not negate the rule.

Here is another proof of Muhammad’s Prophethood. This was more than just pedagogical genius. The following verse may shed light on this:

It is He who has sent amongst the unlettered, a Messenger of their own, to recite to them His signs, to purify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, although they had been, before, in manifest error. (al-Jumu‘a, 62:2)

Some of the words in the verse are very interesting. He refers to God, who is mentioned, in the verse, in the third person, because people did not know Him. They were ignorant, primitive and savage people. There was no ‘He’ in their minds, so God, first, emphasizes the darkness of their nature and how away from God they were and shows that they cannot be addressed directly by Him.

Then God calls them unlettered. They were not all illiterate, but they had no knowledge about God and the Messenger. God, by His infinite Power, sent this trifling community the one with a greatest will-power, with the most sublime nature and the deepest spirituality and highest morality, and He instructed them in how to become geniuses who would go on to govern all of humanity.

The word amongst shows that the Messenger was one of them in the sense of being unlettered. Yet, the Messenger was not a man of the Age of Ignorance. It was necessary for him to be unlettered, as God would teach him what he needed to know. He would take him apart from them, educate him and make him a teacher for the unlettered peoples.

To recite to them His signs, to purify them points out that He instructs them in the meanings of the Book and the creation gradually, and explains to them how to become perfect human beings. He educates and guides them to spiritual perfection. He guides them to higher ranks by instructing them in the Book, the Qur’an, in the universe and in the way of leading a balanced, exemplary life.

Although they had been, before, in manifest error explains that God would purify and educate them even though they were astray. He did all of this through an unlettered Messenger.

God taught them the Book, that is the glorious Qur’an. Hundreds of thousands of brilliant scientists, scholars and saints have found their source in this Book. It will also educate the brilliant generations of the future and elevate them to ‘the highest of the high’. All of the so-called original ideas will disappear one by one, like candles blown out, and there will be only one ‘sun’ left - the Qur’an - which will never set. Its flag will be the only one waving on the horizon, and every generation will rush to it, breaking the chains around their necks. The signs have already appeared. Despite the despotism, tyranny, cruelty and harsh reactions of the modern world, the Islamic spirit, with its freshness, allures hearts and minds all over the world.

After the Prophet, mankind saw his flag waving everywhere for succeeding centuries. Those who followed him flew to the highest ‘realms’ on the wings of sainthood, God-fearing, uprightness and knowledge and science. Those who have climbed the steps of good conduct and spirituality, and knowledge and science, have all seen in each step the ‘footprints’ of the Prophet Muhammad and saluted him with ‘God bless you!’. They will do the same again in a near future.

The education of the Messenger is not just the purification of the evil-commanding selves. He came with a universal system of education and presented a message that would raise all the hearts, all the spirits, all the minds and all the souls to their ideals. The universal truths of the Qur’an also state this fact. Moreover, he came with the Message that would touch human senses, outer and inner, make its followers rise on the wings of love and compassion, and would take them to the places where imaginations wander. The Prophet opened and again will open the doors of economic, social, administrative, military, political and scientific institutions to his students whose minds and spirits he trained and developed to become perfect administrators, the best economists, the most successful politicians and unique military geniuses. The Messenger came with a universal call encompassing, in addition to the rules of good conduct and spirituality, the principles of economics, finance, administration, education and justice and international law. He came with a perfect Message, as confirmed by the Qur’an: Today I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you, and I have been pleased with Islam for you as religion (al-Ma’ida, 5.3).

That is to say, all the previous Prophets were sent each to a certain people and for a fixed time. But God chose the Prophet Muhammad and the Religion of Islam for all times and peoples, thus perfecting, through Islam, His universal favor upon His creation. He adorned Islam with the principles that everybody would be pleased with. Therefore, those who try to find fault in the Message and principles God’s Messenger brought, should rather seek them in their own minds and souls. He was a man who completed, perfected and reformed.

He educated his people not only spiritually and morally but also intellectually, scientifically, socially and economically. He made an illiterate, savage people into an army of most blessed saints, illustrious educators, invincible commanders, most eminent statesmen and praiseworthy founders of the most magnificent civilization of human history.

The perfection of an educator depends on the greatness of his ideal and the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of his listeners. Even before Prophet Muhammad’s demise, the blessed instructors and spiritual guides he dispatched were traveling in a vast area stretching from Egypt to Iran, from the Yemen to Caucasia to teach what they learned from their excellent master. In succeeding centuries, peoples of different traditions and conventions and different cultures - the Persians and Turanians, the Chinese and Indians, Romans and Abyssinians as well as all of the Arabs and some of the Europeans - rushed to his Message.

The greatness of an educator also depends on the continuation of his principles. Now, as anyone can see, people all over the world accept his Message and adopt his principles, and the religion he preached will embrace, by God’s Will and Power, almost the whole of mankind in a near future.

Remember that God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, appeared among a wild and primitive people. They used to drink alcohol, gamble and commit adultery without shame. Prostitution was legal and whorehouses were indicated by a special flag. Indecency was so extreme that man would be embarrassed to be called a man. They frequently fought with each other. It was impossible to unite them into a strong nation. Everything evil could be found in the land in which he appeared. Yet he eradicated all of those evils. Further, he encouraged in them such virtues that they became the leaders and teachers of the civilized world. He built a civilized nation from a savage people. Even today, we can not reach their ranks. This has been acknowledged even by some intellectuals of the West such as Isaac Taylor, Robert Briffault, John Davenport, M. Pickhtal, P. Bayle and Lamartine. Only as an example, Lamartine asks: ‘Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial states and of one spiritual state, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask: is there any man greater than he?’3

God creates living things from lifeless things. He grants life to soil and rock. The Prophet worked ‘rock, soil, coal, copper’ and transformed them into ‘gold and diamond’ - Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Khalid, ‘Uqba ibn Nafi’, Tariq ibn Ziyad, Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi‘i, Bayazid al-Bistami, Muhyi al-Din al-‘Arabi, Biruni, Zahrawi and hundreds of thousands of others have all been brought up in his school. The Messenger never allowed human faculties to remain undeveloped. He developed them and replaced any weakness in them with marvellous competencies. As a great thinker recalled, ‘Umar, before becoming a Muslim, had the potential to be a great man. After embracing Islam, he became a powerful, yet very gentle man who would not step on an ant, who would not kill even a grasshopper. Such was his compassion, sensitivity and understanding of justice and administration that he used to say: ‘If a sheep falls into the river Tigris because of a destroyed bridge over it, God will interrogate Umar for this.’

We cannot eradicate so small a habit as smoking from our society despite having all modern facilities and holding, almost every day, symposiums and conferences against it. Medical science says that it causes larynx, mouth, oesophagus and windpipe and lung cancer; however, this is not enough to make people give up this bad habit. On the other hand, the Messenger of God eradicated many bad habits ingrained in his people. He replaced them with most laudable virtues and habits. He did it in a way that even angels in the sky watched on enviously. Those who saw them used to say: ‘Oh God! These are not angels, but more superior than angels’. Angels will say in awe, ‘We wonder whether these are Prophets or angels’, as they are passing over the Bridge over Hell with their lights spread everywhere. In fact, they are neither Prophets nor angels. They are the nation of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. They were educated by him.

‘Adbullah ibn Mas‘ud, may God be pleased with him, was a shepherd looking after the flocks of ‘Uqba ibn Abi Muayt. The Messenger of God took this man into his circle and made him the cornerstone of the Kufan School of Islamic Jurisprudence. Remember that Alqama al-Nahai, Hammad, Sufyan al-Thawri, and Abu Hanifa were all the students of this school. These men, each a specialist in their own field, received their knowledge indirectly from Ibn Mas‘ud, may our souls be sacrificed to this shepherd! The Messenger made ordinary people into geniuses.

Through this education, a Barbarian slave, Tariq ibn Ziyad, conquered Spain with a handful of valiants and laid the foundations of one of the most splendid civilizations of world history. After the victory, Tariq went to the palace where the treasuries of the defeated Spanish king were kept. He said to himself: ‘Tariq, be careful! Yesterday you were a slave with a chain around your neck. God emancipated you and today you are a victorious commander. However, you will change tomorrow into flesh rotting away under earth. Finally, a day will come when you will stand in the Presence of God!’ The world and its pomp were not able to allure Tariq. That great commander lived a very simple life. What kind of education was it which made a slave into a man of such dignity and honor?

The Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, considered human beings with all their mental and spiritual capacities. He did not leave any of those capacities undeveloped. He developed them, and transformed the most evil-natured nomads into the most virtuous people. His wisdom in assessing the potentials of people is another proof of his Prophethood.

1. Nasa’i, Sahw, 18.
2. Nasa’i, Ishrat al-Nisa’, 4.
3. Lamartine, Historie de la Turquie, vol. 2, pp. 276-7.


Recommended Reading:
The reasons behind the several marriages of the Prophet Muhammad

Last Updated on October 09, 2000

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