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The Prophetic Mission: Light, Mercy, and Guidance

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Let us delve into the radiant beginnings of the prophethood of the Noble Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace be upon him). It was on the momentous day of Rajab 27, thirteen years before the Hijra, that Allah commanded the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) to commence his prophetic mission. With this divine call, a new era of enlightenment and benevolence was inaugurated, as the Prophet of mercy and compassion illuminated the darkness that had shrouded the hearts of humanity. In this article on Islam4u, we shall thoroughly explore this blessed occasion as we seek to understand its profound significance.

Glad Tidings of Mercy

Imam Ali (peace be upon him) describes the general state of the nation that the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) was sent to with the words, “He was sent at a time of a pause between prophets, amidst prolonged periods of nations, with the intention of trials and tribulations, amid the prevalence of chaos and the outbreak of wars. The world was devoid of its luminance; its superficiality and arrogance were at their peak, its leaves were turning yellow, and its fruits were losing their vitality.”[1] These are the portents of mercy.

It was a time when the world was immersed in the darkness of ignorance. The sky of the Arabian Peninsula was enveloped in the black clouds of ignorance in that tumultuous ocean of misguidance, deviation, bloody wars, plunder, theft, and burying of infant girls, killing of male children, death of conscience, and moral decay.

During such a time, the sun of happiness shone and illuminated the Arabian Peninsula. The world shone with the lights of divine mercy, which were embodied in the noble prophetic mission that encompassed all the meanings of Allah’s mercy to His servants.

Indeed, Allah sent His most honored prophet, Muhammad ibn Abdullah (peace be upon him), as a mercy to all the worlds, not only to the people of Mecca, the people of the Arabian Peninsula, or the Muslims, but as Allah says: “We have not sent you except as a mercy to the worlds.” (Quran 21:107)

Allah Almighty has granted the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) the honor of being the true embodiment of the mercy that manifests itself in various forms and titles. The Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) was sufficient as a source of safety for the people of the earth from the punishment of God Almighty for any disobedience or sin they committed. He prevented the punishment of God from falling upon people, as happened in the history of nations that disobeyed the prophets and messengers, such as the people of ‘Ad, Thamud, and others.

God has bestowed upon him this honor to demonstrate the vastness and magnitude of His mercy towards His creation and as an example for mankind to follow. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) was sent as a guide and mercy to all humanity, not just to a specific group or region. His message of love, compassion, and forgiveness has transcended time and space, inspiring millions to strive for a better world.

Imam Ali (AS) explained this concept by saying: “There were two sources of safety from Allah’s punishment on earth, and one of them has been lifted, leaving you with the other one, so hold onto it tightly. The one that has been lifted is the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his family), and the remaining one is seeking forgiveness.” Then Allah (SWT) says in the Quran: “And Allah would not punish them while you, [O Muhammad], are among them. And Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness.” (Quran 8:33)

In the well-established narrations, it is reported that Allah, the Sublime and Exalted, lifted the punishment of castration from the nation of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) by virtue of His presence and grace. In contrast, the previous nations were threatened and punished by this affliction.

The Ramifications of the Prophetic Mission

God, the Almighty, sent His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) forty years after the Year of the Elephant when he reached the noble age of forty. Before that, he used to hear voices but not see the speaker until Gabriel appeared to him at the age of forty.

The Prophetic mission began on the twenty-seventh day of the month of Rajab. Allah (SWT) prepared the Prophet (peace be upon him) to receive the Quranic revelation. The Quran began to be revealed to him gradually during the blessed month of Ramadan.

The truths and meanings of the Quran were revealed to him all at once and then revealed gradually, surah by surah. Then, events began to unfold, and Gabriel would bring him the verses related to the surahs that had been revealed all at once before.

It is known that the beginning of revelation occurred in the Cave of Hira, where the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to worship. Many historians and biographers have mentioned issues related to the way the revelation came down, including the fact that Gabriel visited (squashed) him three times, among other myths.

 It is also said that when the revelation came down, the Prophet (peace be upon him) returned to his family trembling with fear and that Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) took him to Waraqah bin Nawfal, a Christian, who told him that what he was seeing was an angel. This is one of the biggest lies fabricated about the Prophet. However, historical texts indicate that after receiving the revelation, the Prophet (peace be upon him) returned to his family full of joy and happiness, grateful for the honor that Allah had bestowed upon him and reassured about the mission that Allah had entrusted him with.

How did the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his family) not fear what Allah Almighty had in store for him, that it might be a means by which Satan could mislead him?” The Imam (peace be upon him) replied, “When Allah chooses a servant as His messenger, He bestows upon him tranquillity and dignity so that what comes to him from Allah is like what he sees with his own eyes.”[2]

Inviting to Allah (God Almighty)

The day of Mab’ath and the revelation of the Quran marks the beginning of Islamic history, initiated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) through his worship of Allah in the cave of Hira. There, he had been dedicating himself to his Lord with utmost care and preparation since his childhood, even before receiving the divine revelation. As Imam al-Baqir (peace be upon him) has stated, Allah entrusted Muhammad to a great angel since he was an infant, who guided him towards goodness and noble character and protected him from evil and bad behavior.”[3]

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) received the divine commandment to carry the message, Imam Ali (peace be upon him) was the first man to accept the Prophet’s invitation, believe in it, and have faith in it. No one preceded him in this matter except for Khadija. The Prophet’s statement indicated this, “No household came together in Islam on that day except the Prophet, Khadija, and I, the third.”[4]

He (peace be upon him) was the first to embrace Islam by the call of the Prophet (peace be upon him), in addition to being a Muslim by nature, and the first to pray with him. No one in this nation was known to worship Allah before him except the Prophet (peace be upon him), and he prayed before people for seven years. He (peace be upon him) said: “I was born on the natural disposition, and I preceded to faith and migration.”[5]

After three years of prophethood, Allah, the Most Blessed and Most High, commanded the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) to proclaim what he had been ordered to do. The following verse was revealed: “And warn your tribe (O Muhammad) of near kindred, and lower your wing to those who follow you from the believers, and if they disobey you, say: “Surely I am clear of what you do.” (Quran 26:214-216)

Based on this divine command, the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) requested Imam Ali (peace be upon him) to invite his relatives to a meal. So they came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his family), and they were forty men.

After they had finished eating, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his family) said to them: “O sons of Abd al-Muttalib, Allah has sent me to all of creation, and He has sent me to you specifically. He said: ‘And warn your closest relatives.’ And I invite you to two phrases that are light on the tongue but heavy on the scales, and that you will have dominion over the Arabs and non-Arabs, and by which the nations will be subjugated to you, and by which you will enter Paradise and be saved from the Fire: bearing witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah. So, who will support me in this matter and will be my brother, my executor, my minister, my successor, and my caliph after me?”[6]

Amidst the condemnation and warning of Abu Lahab to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) to cease his calling on the one hand, and the support of Abu Talib for him and his address to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, “Go ahead with what you have been commanded, and by Allah, I will continue to protect and defend you,” Imam Ali (peace be upon him) stood up, the youngest of those present, and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I support you in this matter.”

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered him to sit down, but when no one else responded, Imam Ali (peace be upon him) stood up again, and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) seated him. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) repeated his call to his people. Still, no one answered him, and only the voice of Ali (peace be upon him) answered the call. He shattered their silence with the firmness of his faith and the strength of his conviction.

When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) received no response for the third time, he turned to his only respondent and said, “Sit down, for you are my trustee, my successor, my minister, my heir, and my caliph after me.”[7]

This was merely the start of a long journey that the Prophet (peace be upon him) embarked upon with this nation, which was bestowed with the blessings of this world and the Hereafter, encompassing all the meanings of divine mercy and abundant goodness, if only they followed his teachings and emulated his words, actions, and commands. Alas, it was the very same nation that fought him, tortured him, displaced him, and rejected all of these noble values and principles embodied in his sacred mission.

Manifestations of Mercy in the Prophetic Mission

This pen and brief research are insufficient to fully comprehend and articulate the compassionate manifestations brought by the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him and his family). However, it is undeniable that in a relatively brief period of history, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) achieved the most remarkable of accomplishments, presenting the rejected good to the entire community. Among these accomplishments was a remarkable transformation that occurred throughout the community on all levels. To do justice to this topic with brevity, we refer to the words of Imam Ali (peace be upon him), who highlights some of the achievements and transformations that the community witnessed through the noble prophetic mission.

On the Doctrinal Level

The Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family) transferred them from idol worship to the worship of the One God after they were lost, misguided, and deviated, with no knowledge of guidance.

Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said: “He was sent when there was no established knowledge, no shining beacon, and no clear path of guidance.”[8] And he also said: “He was sent with the standards of guidance and the methods of religion that extinguished disbelief.”[9]

On the Social Level

The rulers during that period were guided by the values and judgments of pre-Islamic ignorance, as Imam Ali (peace be upon him) stated: “Verily Allah the Almighty sent Muhammad (may Allah bless him and his family) to you, while you, O Arabs, were in the evilest religion and the most miserable abode, living among rough stones and deaf serpents, drinking brackish water and eating desert plants, shedding your blood and severing your family ties…”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) eradicated all these ignorant values and elevated them to the ranks of the distinguished nations, where they possessed civilization and knowledge and led other nations. However, they soon fell into humiliation and disgrace when they abandoned their religion, heritage, and the message of their Prophet (peace be upon him).

On Level of Humanity

The people of the Arabian Peninsula were living in a state of estrangement and darkness. Then came Muhammad ibn Abdullah (peace be upon him) to be, as Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said, “the light that illuminated the lands after the dark misguidance, the prevailing ignorance, and the dryness of hearts.”[10]

Ali (peace be upon him) said, “He sent him with bright light, clear proof, manifest guidance, and a guiding book so that people entered Islam in groups.”[11] These were when Allah sent His beloved Messenger as a mercy, guidance, goodness, and light. Let every moment that followed and continues until the end of time be a precious opportunity to benefit from the ray of light with which Allah has blessed us, by the blessing of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his infallible progeny (peace be upon them).

[1] Nahj al-Balaghah, sermon 89.

[2] Tafsir Al-Ayashi 2:201.

[3] Bihar al-Anwar, al-Majlisi, vol. 10, p. 363.

[4] Nahj al-Balaghah, sermon: 234.

[5] The same source, sermon: 56.

[6] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 18, p. 164.

[7] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 18, p. 164.

[8] Nahj al-Balaghah, sermon: 196.

[9] Nahj al-Balaghah, sermon: 11.

[10] Ibid. sermon: 151.

[11] Ibid. sermon: 195.

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