â€œO followers of the Book! Indeed Our Prophet has come to you making clear to you much of what you concealed of the Book and passing over much. Indeed there has come to you light and a clear Book from Allah. With it Allah guides him who will follow His pleasure into the ways of safety and brings them out of utter darkness into light by His will and guides them to the right path.â€
Those were verses 15 and 16 of the Holy Qurâ€™an which we recited to you concerning the advent of the Prophet of Peace whom God has sent as Mercy to the entire creation. Thus, while introducing the advent of His Last and Greatest Messenger, the Almighty Creator is rather critical of the habits of the followers of the earlier revealed scriptures. It seems they used to conceal the truth, perhaps to satisfy their carnal desires or racial bias against other ethnic groups. By indulging in such narrow-minded behaviour they deprived themselves and their followers of divine mercy. God is All-Merciful and by proclaiming the coming of the promised Prophet, He exposes their plots so that they repent and seek guidance through the Light of Mohammad (SAWA). The Almighty also intends to warn Muslims against any attempt to distort the meaning and purport of the wording of God as the Israelites and other nations had done to their peril.
These points are worth pondering upon while we celebrate the formal proclamation of the message of Islam by Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). It was an enlightened day when stars dazzled brightly and celestial beams of light flashed across the skies. The angels were certainly celebrating by Godâ€™s command while Satan hung his head in gloom. It is also worth recalling that some 40 years earlier on the 17th of Rabi al-Awwal, the birth anniversary of this great person, satanic instruments, like the idols that the Arab infidels had installed in Abrahamâ€™s edifice the Holy Kaâ€™ba, fell headlong. In Iran, the fire at the main Zoroastrian temple that had reportedly been kept burning for almost a thousand years suddenly died out. At the same time, as a warning to the arrogant that their time was over, the main arch at the palace of the â€˜king of kingsâ€™, Anushirvan, in Cteisphon (near present day Baghdad) developed a crack. Simultaneously 14 parapets also came crashing down.
These miraculous occurrences are wonderful reflections on the auspicious day of Mab’as when the 40-year old Prophet announced his mission after Archangel Gabriel had brought to him near Cave Hera on Mount Noor near Mecca the first verses of Surah Iqra of the holy Qur’an, which read: â€œIn the Name of Allah the All-Merciful the All-Compassionate. Read in the Name of your Lord Who created; Created man from a clot; Read and your Lord is Most Honourable; Who taught (to write) with the pen; Taught man what he knew not?â€
These are indeed food for thought in order to determine the straight and unwavering path to the One and Only God. So also are those passages in the Old and New Testaments, especially verse 18 of chapter 18 of Deuteronomy where Prophet Moses (PBUH) is told by God of the raising of the Prophet among the Arabs, â€œlike unto thee and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.â€
In the Gospel of St. John, chapter 15, Prophet Jesus (PBUH) also tells something interesting about the coming of the Comforter â€“ called Hmda in Hebrew and Aramaic and Parecletos in the Greek translation â€“ which remarkably corroborates to the wording of verse 6 of Surah Saff of the Holy Qurâ€™an, where the son of the Virgin Mary says: â€œthe good news of the Prophet to come after me whose name is Ahmad.â€
The sacred books of other religions such as those of the Zoroastrians, and the Hindus, also have references to the universal mission of the last Prophet, who would be born in Arabia. But, why were these interesting facts concealed? Do the Muslims also conceal something or have distorted certain words of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA)? The venerable scholars of hadith can shed light on this topic. However, since we are celebrating Mab’as or the resurgence of monotheism, we better do some soul-searching by analysing the hopeless situation of humanity over a millennium and four centuries ago. There was idolatry in Arabia, India, and Africa; the weird duality of the fire-worshippers in Persia; the irrational concept of Trinity in the Roman World â€“ coined by the Hellenistic Jew, Paul, for ‘Christianizing’ the pagans of Europe through distortion of the teachings of Jesus â€“ the sinister Shamanist practices of the Turks and other races in the vast steppes of Central Asia; and the bewildered belief called Buddhism in China, and most of east and southeast Asia. It was in such a situation that God Almighty ordained Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Humanity had to be reformed, and through a peerless person whose coming was foretold by all Prophets and heavenly scriptures of the past. That is why God says in verse 157 of Surah Aaraaf: â€œThose who follow the Apostle-Prophet, the Ummi, whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Evangel (who), enjoins them good and forbids them evil, and makes lawful to them the good deeds and makes unlawful to them the impure things, and removes from them their burdens and the shackles that were upon them; so (as for) those who believe in him and honour him and help him, and follow the light, which has been sent down with him these it is that are the successful.”
God hails him in verse 107 of Surah Anbiya with the words: â€œWe have sent you but as a Mercy to the creation.â€ The Almighty also tells mankind in verse 21 of Surah Ahzab that “In Allah’s Prophet there is certainly for you a good exemplar, for those who look forward to Allah and the Last dayâ€¦”
Thus in view of these facts, the anniversary of Mab’as ought to remain a constant reminder to human societies of the covenant of God, and the fact that the Almighty never leaves His creatures in the dark. In other words, Mabâ€™as is not a spontaneous occurrence in the barren landscape of the Arabian Peninsula. It is in fact the highest water mark in history that separates good from evil and sifts right from wrong; for which mankind was being prepared through a long and unbroken chain of divine messengers spanning different eras and various geographical regions in order to build the mindset for the single universal message, Islam.
The set of belief called Islam, which means peace, submission to none except the Unseen but Omnipresent God, virtue, and healthy way of life, is not solely an individual or personal creed. It is in fact the multi-dimensional interacting with all spheres of life, whether social, economic, cultural, scientific, political, etc.
In a very short time, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) worked wonders. So dynamic was his personality that not only did he reform the society of his times and made Muslims into torch-bearers of science and civilization, but his magnetism, despite the plots of the enemies and the hypocrites to tarnish the humanitarian image of Islam, has made his creed the fastest growing religion of the modern world. To ensure the eternity of Islam, the Prophet, by Divine commandment, bequeathed his legacy â€“ that is, Godâ€™s Revealed Word, the Holy Qurâ€™an and his Sunnah or practice â€“ to his Ahl al-Bayt, the first of whom was Imam Ali (PBUH), who as a 10-year boy was present on Mount Hera on the Day of Mabâ€™as. The Imam says in sermon 91 of the Nahj al-Balagha: “When the revelation descended on the Prophet of Allah (SAWA), I heard the moan of Satan. I asked: O Prophet of Allah, what is this moan? He replied: This is Satan who has lost all hope of being worshipped. O Ali! You see all that I see and you hear all that I hear, except that you are not a Prophet, but you are the vicegerentâ€¦â€