MUHAMMAD, HOLY PROPHET (571-632 A.D.)
"Ismael, the son of Abraham had a son, Kaidar whose progeny spread over the Arabian province of Hijaz. Adnan, to whom the Prophet traced his descent, was also a scion of Ismael in about the fortieth generations. Further down, in the ninth descent from Adnan, there followed Nadar bin Kinana. Another descent in the genealogical scale and then comes in the ninth place, one, Qassi by name. The supreme charge of the Kaba fell into the hands of Qassi (d. 480 A.D.). He collected the scattered tribe, which gave him the title of Qoraish, and from him the charge of the Kaba descended to his eldest son, Abdul Dar, from whom the chief offices were transferred to his brother, Abd Munaf, and after his death, his son Hashim was consigned the charge of Sicaya and Rifada (the exclusive privilege of supply water and food to the pilgrims). Hashim married a girl from his own family and she gave birth to his son, Asad, who in due course became the maternal grandfather of Ali bin Abu Talib, as Asad's daughter, Fatima bint Asad was Ali's mother. Hashim's second marriage actualized with a girl of Banu Najjar, and she gave birth to a son, called Abdul Muttalib. Hashim died in 510 A.D., who left his dignities to his elder brother, Almutallib, after whom his nephew, Abdul Muttalib, the son of Hashim, succeeded to his paternal offices.
It was also in the time of Abdul Muttalib that the Yamenite king, Abraha invaded Mecca, but was discomfited in his attempt and made a disgraceful retreat. Abdul Muttalib died in the height of his glory and left indelible marks of greatness. Abdullah, the son of Abdul Muttalib, married to Amina bint Wahab. To this noble couple was born Muhammad (peace be upon him), but before he was born his father, leaving the young pregnant wife. On the morning of Monday, April 22, 571 A.D., a grandson was born to Abdul Muttalib, who named him Muhammad (the extolled one).
Mecca, about forty miles from the Red Sea embosomed with torrid rocks, where the air was heavy and the children there grew up pale, weak and sickly. All about and around Mecca was desert, whose air was limpid. For this reason, it was a custom of the Arab nobility that the mother did not nurse their children. They would give their infants into the charge of Bedouin women to suckle and nourish them. Abdul Muttalib assigned his grandson into the care of Halima al-Sadiyyah, near Mount Taif. Having nurtured for five years, the wet nurse Halima gave him back to his mother, Amina, who also died after one year. Henceforward, Abdul Muttalib was both mother and father to the orphaned child. But this was not to be for long either. The old man died when the Prophet was eight. The dying Abdul Muttalib consigned the guardianship of the Prophet to his son, Abu Talib, whose fondness for his charge equalled that of Abdul Muttalib. At this early age, the Prophet's integrity had already won household fame in the town. He was commonly known as al-Amin (the trustworthy). The epithet does not imply honesty alone, but is all-comprehensive, denoting righteousness in every form.
A high-placed widow, Khadija, who had acquired by her virtue the titles of Tahira (the virtuous) and Saiyyadah-i Qoraish (the princess of the Qoraish), hearing of the righteousness of the Prophet, entrusted to him the charge of her business. He accepted an office in the service of Khadija and was placed at the head of a caravan and sent to Syria. Before long much profit accrued to her through his honest dealings. The personal attributes and moral grace in Prophet attracted the attention and won the admiration of Khadija. So honestly the Prophet did transact the widow's trade that she caused a proposal of marriage, which met the approval of Abu Talib. Thus was he married, at the age of twenty-five, to a widow, fifteen years older than himself.
Four years after his marriage, the Prophet would frequently take a provision and retire for days into a cave at the top of a cone-shaped mountain, called Hira, some three miles from Mecca. He used to spend night after night in that solitary cave far away from all the worldly turmoil. Here he eagerly pondered and contemplated in long and lonely vigils to search after One and Only God. He prayed ardently, opening his whole heart to his Creator Whom his soul longed to meet. He became so fully absorbed in the ecstasy of his devotions that he would remain for days in the mountain cavern. This went on for a considerable length of time, till at last, in his fortieth year, a great unseen was revealed to him. The light of God was fully reflected in the Prophet. He had reached the stage of self-elevation when duality becomes non-existent and only One remains.
Khadija was sorely worried at first, but soon regained her composure and comforted him. "Fear not, my noble one", she said, "but rejoice. God will not forsake you in this affair nor expose you to shame. For you are good and kind and truthful. You are hospitable to the passing stranger, you aid and comfort the poor and the lowly, and support the virtuous in righteous deeds." Waraqa bin Naufal was Khadija's cousin, and she took him to her cousin. No sooner did Waraqa hear what inspiration the Prophet had received and how, than he spontaneously exclaimed: "This is the very angel Jibrail that God sent down to Moses." Hence, the foremost to profess faith in the truth of the Prophet's mission was his wife Khadija.
For the first three years, the Prophet kept his missionary activities underground. Neither the rancor of Arab chiefs nor the antagonism of other opponents in Qoraish prevented the secret mission of Islam. To those who did harm him, the Prophet prayed for guidance, for liberation from the yoke of vile paganism. The more they persecuted, the more patience and resolve the Prophet showed in his mission.
The Prophet received a divine command in the fourth year to operate his mission in the public. In compliance, he invited his kinsmen to a feast exclusively arranged for them. Tabari (d. 310/922) in Tarikh al-Rusul wa'l Muluk (Leiden, 1879-1901, 2:63) and Ibn Sa'd (d. 230/845) in Kitab at-Tabaqat (Leiden, 1905, 1:171) write that after the feast was over, the Prophet addressed the participants, "Friends and Kinsmen! I hereby declare that I have brought unto you a blessing in this world and in the world to come. I do not think there could be anyone else throughout the whole of Arabia, to come out with a better and more precious offer towards this nation than that of mine. I am commanded by my Lord to invite you all towards Him. Tell me! who amongst you will come forward to help me and to be my vicegerent? The spell of hush prevailing over the audience, was broken by impatient courage of Ali, the son of Abu Talib, who responded with enthusiasm and said, "O Prophet of God! I am the youngest of all here, yet I beg to offer myself to stand by you and to share all your burdens and earn the great privilege of being your vicegerent." The Prophet caused Ali to sit down. Again he put the question to the assemblage. All remained silent but Ali rose for a second time to repeat his fidelity, and was again ordered to sit down. When the Prophet repeated the same question to the congregation third time, he got no response. Ali again stood up and repeated his fidelity on which the Prophet remarked, "You are my brother, my collateral and vicegerent." This evoked the hostility of the Qoraish tribe towards the Prophet and his followers. They leapt angrily to their feet and walked out, and their murmurings and protests echoed back into the house as they passed through the courtyard into the street. On the following day, when the Prophet went to the Kaba, he was greeted with scornful gestures. "This is the man who claims to bring us messages from the heaven," they shouted and began to joke at him.
When the sufferings of the Muslims at the hands of the Meccans reached to its extreme in 615 A.D., the Prophet directed that those of them who could afford it should migrate to Abyssinia across the Red Sea, whose kings were known as the Negus (Najashi). As-Hama, the then Negus was a Christian. Under the direction of the Prophet, eleven men and four women from among the Muslims migrated to Abyssinia. The Abyssinian emigration gave the Meccans a conclusive proof that the Muslims were ready to run all risks, and undergo every form of hardship in the cause of Islam. The Meccans did their utmost to check the tide of emigration, but all in vain. It was not until seven years after the Prophet's flight from Mecca that they rejoined their Muslim brethren at Medina.
Having failed in all their attempts to impede the progress of Islamic mission, the Qoraish of Mecca called a summit conference and pledged themselves to a policy of social boycott of the Hashimites on a large scale. This implied the severance of all social, matrimonial and commercial ties of Meccans with Hashimites. The decree was written by Mansur bin Akrama and the scroll hung up on the wall of Kaba. On hearing of this, Abu Talib was thereby obliged to shift along with the entire family of Hashimites to a secluded valley fastness, known as Shib (quarter) of Abu Talib, on the eastern skirts of Mecca, cut off by rocks from the city except for one narrow gateway. The provisions, which they had carried with them, were soon exhausted. For days they went without food; water was scare; infants and children almost died of hunger. The sick and the infirm breathed their last painful breath without succour or sustenance. There was much weeping and wailing in the Muslim camp but there were no betrayers.
The pitiable condition of the Hashimites continued for a period of three years, till the Qoraish were awakened to a sense of remorse on their dealings with the Hashimites. All at once it was discovered that the parchment in the Kaba, on which the decree was written, was eaten up by termites and only the words, "In the name of the Lord" (with which the Qoraish commenced their writings) had survived. The decree was, therefore, declared to be annulled, and was torn off, and approaching Abu Talib, the Meccan leaders requested him to come back to his original abode. Abu Talib accepted to resume his civic life along with all members of Hashimites. During the period the Prophet was shut up in the Shib of Abu Talib, Islam virtually made no progress outside.
In the year 619 A.D., not long after annulment of the social boycott, the Prophet suffered a great loss of Abu Talib and Khadija, who followed each other to meet their deaths within a short interval, which was a severe blow. One protected him with the influence that derived from his noble rank, while the other guarded him with her material and wealth. It was during this period that the miraj (ascension) had taken place.
Weighed down by the loss of his venerable protector and of his cherished wife, the Prophet turned to some other field for the exercise of his ministry, because the Meccans had rejected the words of God. Taif was about 75 miles south-east of Mecca, and a famous home of Banu Thaqif. Accompanied by Zaid, he arrived in Taif, and invited at first the three brothers of Umayr family to adore One God. His words caused a storm of indignation and his voice was drowned by clamours. He was wounded by stones, and Zaid endeavoured in vain to ward off. They incited to ruffians of the town to ridicule him. The ruffians drove him from the town, and the rabble and the slaves too followed, hooting, reviling and pelting him with stones for a distance of three miles, until they quitted the Prophet to pursue his way alone. Blood flowed from his both legs. He, wearied and mortified, took refuge in one of the numerous orchards, and rested under a vine.
On his return to Mecca during the night, the Prophet arrived at Nakhlah, and thence he moved to Hira. According to Ibn Sa'd (1:212), the Prophet sent words to Mutim bin Adi that he desired to return to Mecca, if he was assured protection. Mutim, although a non-believer, was a gentleman. He not only assured the Prophet of his protection according to Arabian custom, but called all of his sons who went to Kaba and remained on guard till he finished his religious obligations. Mutim also declared in Mecca that the Prophet was under his protection. He was sorely stricken in heart and lived in Mecca for some time, retired from his people, preaching occasionally, but confining his mission mainly to the strangers who congregated in Mecca and its vicinity during the season of the annual pilgrimage.
A ray of hope beamed in the interim in the north. At a distance of about 250 miles from Mecca was a town then known as Yathirab, and later as Medina. Its population was divided into two groups, the Jews and pagans. The pagans had two clans, Aws and Khazraj, who were generally at loggerheads with each other. Every year in the month of Rajab, the Arabs swarmed like locusts into Mecca. One day in Mecca, whilst sadly but yet hopefully working among the half-traders and half-pilgrims, the Prophet came upon a group of six men who were of Khazraj. Meeting them perchance, the Prophet led them to a declivity and recited to them the verses from Koran, enumerated the blessings of a good and pious life and beckoned them to the fold. Struck by his earnestness and the truth of his words, they embraced Islam. When they returned to their native Yathirab, they spread the news, with lightning rapidity that a Prophet had arisen among the Arabs in Mecca. The town was soon agog with stories of the new faith and its wonderful leader. So in the ensuing year another twelve pilgrims came to Mecca and made their vows at the same spot, which had witnessed the conversion of the former six. This is called the first pledge of Aqaba, from the name of the hill on which the conference was held. The following year, 622 A.D., the Yathirabites who had adopted the new religion repaired to Mecca. In the stillness of night, when all inimical elements appeared slumbering, these seventy-two pioneers of the new faith met under the same hill. The Prophet appeared among them, and vividly described to them the risk they incurred by adopting Islam. They replied with one voice that they adopted the religion fully conscious of the dangers that surrounding them. Thus was concluded the second pledge of Aqaba.
It was the 13th year of the Prophet's mission when the clouds had gathered fast. The Meccan chiefs centered in their Council Hall (darun-nadwa), a chamber inside Kaba, to deliberate over what might be done with the Prophet. Stormy was the meeting, for fear had entered their hearts. Imprisonment for life, expulsion from the city, each was debated in turn for the Prophet. They decided then on a final and desperate remedy, namely to murder the Prophet. Murder by one man would have exposed him and his family to the vengeance of blood. The difficulty was at last solved by Abu Jahl, who suggested that a number of courageous men, chosen from different families, should sheathe their swords simultaneously in the Prophet's bosom, in order that the responsibility of the deed might rest upon all, and the relations of the Prophet might consequently be unable to avenge it. The proposal was accepted, and forty youths were selected for the sanguinary deed. As the night advanced, and it was against the Arab sense of chivalry to kill any one within the four walls of his house at night hour. Hence, the assassins posted themselves round the Prophet's dwelling, and watched all night long, peeping now and then through a hole in the door to make sure that the Prophet still lay on his bed. In order to keep the attention of the assassins fixed upon the bed, the Prophet put his own green coverlet upon Ali, and bade him to lie on his bed; so as to fail the scheme of his enemies, and himself escaped.
The Prophet had guessed exactly what would be the reactions of the Meccans when they found he had gone. He had, therefore, not started for Yathirab with camel. He had gone on foot with Abu Bakr to Mount Thaur, about one hour's walk from Mecca. They reached Mount Thaur while it was still dark and concealed themselves in the innermost recess of a cave in the rocky hillside. A tracking party, following the footprints of the fugitives, reached the mouth of the cave. Abu Bakr, hearing the sound of their footsteps, grieved within himself. It was a critical moment when the sword of the blood-thirsty enemy was hanging on their heads. The Prophet quieted the fears of Abu Bakr with the words: "Do no be grieved, for surely God is with us." For full three days, the Prophet remained in the cave.
On the third night, they came out with two camels. Quickly the Prophet mounted and followed by Abu Bakr, rode into the desert night. They took a certain Abdullah bin Uraiqi, a non-Muslim as their guide. In order to avoid the main caravan tracks, they struck a diagonal course northwest toward the Red Sea. For nearly a week the journey continued over the parched, barren, mournful wasteland. On the seventh morning after the start of the flight, the oasis of Kuba, a few miles from Yathirab, was sighted. This flight from Mecca to Yathirab (Medina) is called the Hijra and when the Prophet entered Kuba, with it commenced the Islamic era on 1st Muharram (lunar month) of the Hijra, or on the date corresponding to July 16, 622 C.E. in the Julian calendar.
On the other side in Mecca, Ali slept fearlessly whole night on the Prophet's bed. R.V.C. Bodely writes in The Messenger (London, 1946, p. 113) that, "The morning breeze whispered over the desert. The dawn came mauvely from the east and showed the assassins braced to strike. As the first white rays of the rising sun hit the flat roofs of Mecca, the door of Muhammad's house opened. The men stood ready to spring. They then held back as their astonished eyes rested on the burly figure of Ali standing on the threshold carrying Muhammad's cloak over his arms." The assassins at first thought of killing him, but when they found him ready to defend himself, they gave up the idea and dispersed in search of the Prophet. Discomfited and unhappy, they immediately dispatched their best riders in pursuit of the fugitive. Up and down they hunted over all the tracks and passes leading out of Mecca, but found no trace of the Prophet.
Ali stayed three days at Mecca and handed back all the articles, which were entrusted, to the Prophet for safe custody, mostly by his enemies. He was also assigned for safe transport of the Prophet's daughter Fatima, the daughter of Hamza, another Fatima, his own mother, Fatima bint Asad, and his aunt, that was the daughter of Abdul Mutalib, a fourth Fatima. On account of scarcity of mounts, Ali had to travel on foot, and reached Kuba with bleeding feet. The Prophet embraced him, and dressed his feet. The Prophet stayed with the clan of Umar bin Auf at Kuba for 14 days, and during which time he laid foundation of the first mosque of Islam.
The news of the Prophet's arrival at Kuba soon reached Yathirab and the city had been in eager expectation of his arrival. Each morning some people would go out on the outskirts to watch the appearance of their revered master. The tedious hours of impatient expectancy were at last over, and the illustrious visitor appeared on the horizon of Yathirab. News was brought to Yathirab that the Prophet was on his way. He entered the city on September 22, 622. Yathirab was wearing to look of jubilation all round. People came out to greet the Prophet, clad in their gayest attire. Women climbed to the tops of their houses and sang in chorus to welcome their noble guest. Young girls played on their tambourines and sang songs of welcome. There was an unprecedented merry-making, and when the Prophet came to the group of Umar bin Awf Najjari, the well-dressed girls came out of seclusion, danced and sang to the tune of music a ballad
Each tribe, which the Prophet passed through in the city, very eagerly desired the honour of his presence and requested him to take up his abode with them. He, refusing all these offers, said that the camel, which he rode on, was inspired and would take him to the proper quarter. The camel proceeded on to the eastern quarter, and knelt down in the open courtyard of the Banu Najjar, near the house of Abu Ayub Ansari. He took up his temporary residence in his house for about seven months, until a mosque with proper quarters for him was built.
After the Prophet's arrival in Yathirab, now known as Medina, the first thing to be done was to build a cathedral mosque. It was constructed on a plot with unbaked bricks and mud, and was roofed with palm-wood rafters. This mosque became known as the Prophet's Mosque (masjid-i-nabwi) was free from all kinds of artificialities and was a monument of simplicity.
Five months after his arrival in Medina, it was the Prophet's next task to find shelter and livelihood for the men who had accompanied him from Mecca. In their own home-town many of them were prosperous, but now they were all equally destitute. As a preliminary step, the Prophet enjoined the Muslims of Medina, now known as Ansar (the helpers) to adopt as brothers their co-religionists from Mecca, now known as Muhajir (the refugees), to share with them like their own kith and kin whatever they possessed, in prosperity and in want. He thus created in Anas's house a bond of brotherhood, known as "Fraternization" (muwakhah), comprising forty-five (or according to another authority, seventy-five) pairs between the Ansars and Muhajirs.
Another important task before the Prophet was to determine and clarify the relations between the various tribes and the Muslims in Medina. The Jews were a considerable power in Medina. It appears that they were Arabs by descent, but formed a distinct unit by reason of their adoption of Judaism. They were subdivided into three clans, the Banu Qainuqa, Banu Nazir and Banu Quraiza. The other inhabitants of the town were the Aws and Khazraj, always at war with each other. Of the two chief clans of the Jews, the Quraiza were the allies of the Aws, while Banu Nazir joined the Khazraj. Now it so happened that the major portion of the Khazraj and Aws embraced Islam. So the Prophet concluded a pact with the Jews, known as the Covenant of Medina (mithaq-i-Medina).
The Prophet had hardly breathed a sigh of relief in Medina when he was confronted with the series of military expeditions against the fronts of the heathen Meccans, known as the battle of Badr, Uhud and Ditch, which are described elsewhere.
In 6/628, the Prophet marched from Medina with 1400 Muslims for the purpose of performing pilgrimage in Mecca. They went unarmed, clad in the ritual dresses. When this caravan approached its destination, tidings came that the Meccans were bent on mischief, and might stop their entry into the town by force. So, the Prophet halted his followers at a place, called Hudaibia, and his men encamped round a well. From here he sent a message to the Qoraish of Mecca, saying that, "We have come on a peaceful and religious mission. We have come only to perform the sacred pilgrimage. We desire neither bloodshed nor war, and we shall be glad if the Meccans agree to a truce for a limited period." When the Muslim messenger was sent to Qoraish, he failed to return, so another was dispatched. The enemies killed his mount and he did not return either. Finally, the Prophet sent one of his companions, Uthman to negotiate with the Qoraish. He too was detained and to provoke the Muslims, the Qoraish engineered a rumour that he had been slain. So, the Prophet collected all his followers and asked them to swear that if God demanded of them the supreme sacrifice they would lay down their lives without demur. One by one they came and touched his hand and swore to die willingly, if such was the will of God. This oath or pledge became famous in the annals of Islam as the Baiyt al-Ridwan (the pledge of God's pleasure). The Meccans heard of this and were afraid. Instead of directly attacking the pilgrim party as they originally intended, they now sent a messenger, named Suhail, to negotiate with the Prophet.
The time had now arrived for the Islamic mission to travel beyond the confines of the Arabian peninsula. So the Prophet dispatched his messengers to all the kingdoms known to his people, to the Roman Caesar, and the emperor of Iran, the governor of Egypt and the Negus of Abyssinia, the king of Ghassan, and the chief of Yamama. The message was identical to them all and neither political nor diplomatic expedients dictated either the choice or the status of the powers addressed.
With the violation of the term of the Treaty of Hudaibia on the side of the Meccans, it paved way to the Muslims to conquer Mecca. The Prophet was impelled to march with a force of ten thousand Muslims. The move of the army started from Medina on 10th Ramzan, 8/January 1, 630. Having no courage to resist, the Meccans laid down their arms. The Prophet triumphantly entered Mecca at the head of a formidable force after a banishment lasting for years, on 20th Ramzan, 8/January 11, 630. Many had lost their nearest and dearest at the hands of the people now completely at their mercy. All of them carried in their hearts bitter memories of cruelty, persecution and pain inflicted by their now humble enemies. Yet none thought of vengeance or retribution, and none raised his arm against a defenseless foe.
The Prophet entered Kaba with Ali and saw the idols and deities arranged along its walls. In and around the Kaba, there were 360 idols which had long polluted its sanctity; being carved of wood or hewn out of stone, including a statue of Abraham holding divining arrows. The Kaba was cleansed of the false gods; now only the true God would be worshipped in the House of God.
After the conquest of Mecca, the Muslims stayed in the city for two weeks when a news soon broke out that a big army had been mobilized in the valley of Hunain to attack Mecca and to undo the victory of the Muslims. This time the Prophet assembled a force of twelve thousand warriors, which included two thousand non-Muslim Meccans, which is mentioned elsewhere.
The fate of the Muslims in the battle of Mauta also emboldened the Arabs and Romans of the frontier regions to enhance their mischief-mongering towards the Muslims. Thus, to restore the loss of prestige and to teach lesson, the Prophet marched with an army of thirty thousand from Medina to Tabuk, a well known place about midway between Medina and Damascus. He on that very occasion, appointed Ali as his caliph in Medina, and as a result, Ali did not take part in the battle of Tabuk. In the mid-Rajab, 9/late October, 630, the Muslims set out for Tabuk. This was the largest army that had ever mustered under the command of the Prophet. The army drawn up for the battle of Tabuk, known as the Jaish al-Usrah (the army of difficulty). So called because in the first place the journey had to be undertaken in the scorching heat of the summer and secondly, it was the time of reaping the harvest and ripening of fruit which made it very difficult to proceed.
Reaching the field of Tabuk, the Prophet encamped his army, where he came to know that the Romans in Jordan had withdrawn to Damascus, and dared not to come to arms with the Muslims, and therefore, the Prophet returned to Medina after a couple of days. This was the last campaign commanded by the Prophet.
When peace and order had been restored throughout the Muslim realm and the period of warfare was over and the people joined Islam in multitude, till in the course of some two years, there was one and but one religion - Islam - throughout the vast Arabian peninsula with a few Jewish and Christian exceptions here and there. The cry of Allah-u-Akbar resounded on all sides. Now it took the Prophet but two brief years, not only to bring the whole of Arabia under the banner of Islam, but at the same time to work a mighty transformation, sweeping away all corruptions and uplifting the nation to the lifties height of spirituality.
In 10/632, the Prophet set forth with a large concourse of Muslims, ranging in strength between ninety to one lac and twenty thousand bound on a farewell pilgrimage to Mecca. On his arrival at Mecca, and before completing all the rites, he addressed the assembled multitude from the top of the Jabal-ul-Arafat in words, which yet live in the hearts of all Muslims. This is called hajjatul wida (the farewell pilgrimage) and at times it is also named hajjatul balagha (the pilgrimage of the delivery of message). On 18th Zilhaja, 10/March 16, 632, the Prophet after performing farewell pilgrimage, halted at the plain of Ghadir Khum, where he declared Ali bin Abu Talib as his successor.
At about the middle of the month of Safar, in the 11th A.H., on Monday, the Prophet ordered his followers to make speedy preparations for an expedition against the people of Mauta in the Byzantine territory, and the sources go to say, to avenge the massacre of the soldiers, who had fallen in recent skirmishes.
The Prophet was seriously taken ill for several days. At noon on Monday (12th Rabi I, 11/June 8, 632), whilst praying earnestly in whisper, the spirit of the great Prophet took flight to the "blessed companionship on high." So ended a life consecrated from first to last to the service of God and humanity. His apostleship lasted for 23 years, 2 months and 21 days (13 years, 5 months and 13 days in Mecca and 9 years, 9 months and 8 days in Medina).
The Prophet was an embodiment or rather an institution by himself of many ethical code. No doubt, when a fair-minded person studies various aspects of the life of the Prophet as a man, head of family, a member of the society, a judge, an administrator, a teacher, a military commander and a guide, he comes to the conclusion that his all round perfection is a definite proof of his being a Divine Messenger. The Prophet made wonderful contributions for the welfare of humanity at large. First, he himself acted upon the divine message and then he asked to follow him. He established the rights of the people when rights were being usurped; he administered justice when tyranny was rampant everywhere; he introduced equality when undue discrimination was so common; and he gave freedom to the people when they were groaning under oppression, cruelty and injustice. He brought a message which taught man to obey and fear God only, and seek help from Him alone. His universal message covers all the aspects of human life, including rights, justice, equality and freedom. Edward Gibbon writes in The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire (London, 1848, 5:487) that, "More pure than the system of Zoroaster, more liberal than the law of Moses, the religion of Mahomet might seem less inconsistent with reason than the creed of mystery and superstition which, in the seventh century, disgraced the simplicity of the gospels."