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Prophet Muhammad ﷺ the Champion of Universal Brotherhood

When the Prophet ﷺ entered Makkah, he forgave all the Makkans. This created love and trust in the hearts of those who were full of hate for the Prophet.

Prof. Mohammed Salim Engineer

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is the Last Prophet of Allah, sent to convey the divine guidance to the whole human society. He not only conveyed the message of Islam i.e. complete submission to the Will of Allah (the Creator and Sustainer of this universe) but he practiced it and presented the practical model of Islam. All the Prophets (more than one lakh) who were selected to convey the same message of Islam in various parts of the globe in different periods conveyed the same message of Islam. The Qur’ān is the last revelation of Allah for the guidance of humankind and the life of the Last Prophet ﷺ is Ideal for all human beings.

Once some Companions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ asked Hazrat Ayesha, the wife of the Prophet, “How was the life of the Prophet?” Hazrat Ayesha said, “Have you not read the Qur’ān, his life was nothing but the Qur’ān.”

Islam, its message, the revealed books and lives of Prophets strengthen universal brotherhood among all human beings. Since the last revealed book, the Qur’ān, and the life and sayings of the Last Prophet Muhammad ﷺ are fully preserved and intact, it can easily be established, for the message and the life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ gives a strong foundation of Universal Brotherhood.

Honor for the Progeny of Adam
All the Prophets have mentioned the fact that all human beings are progeny of Adam and Eve. This is the strongest bond of universal brotherhood, despite of different faiths they follow, living in different places on earth, different languages they speak and different colors of skin and facial features. The Qur’ān says that Allah has honored the whole progeny of Adam.

“Indeed, We have honoured the progeny of Adam, and bore them across land and sea and provided them with good things for their sustenance, and exalted them above many of Our creatures”. (Surah Bani Israel, Verse 70)

Therefore, the life of each human being is important and equal, it should be respected and protected, its dignity should be upheld. The Qur’ān also says in Surah Muaidah (5) Verse 32:

“He who slays a soul unless it be (in punishment) for murder or for spreading mischief on earth shall be as if he had slain all mankind; and he who saves a life shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.”

All Human Beings have been created Equal
Another strong base for universal brotherhood is establishing equality among human beings. Justifying superiority and privileges of one group over another and considering others to be low and denying them their due rights creates enmity and confrontation. The Qur’ān has explicitly rejected any privilege for any group based on ethnicity, color of skin or nationality.

Surah Al-Hujurat (49) Verse 13:

“Human beings, We created you all from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Verily the noblest of you in the Sight of Allah is the most God-fearing of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”

The most popular sermon of the Prophet ﷺ is at the time of last Hajj he performed with huge numbers of his followers. He said:

“O people, your Lord is one, your father (Adam) is one, beware that an Arab has no superiority over a foreigner, nor does a foreigner have superiority over an Arab. No red-skinned is superior to black and no black is superior to red-skinned except in the form of piety. The most honorable among you before Allah is the one who is most pious.”

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in his entire life has not only preached this value of equality but established in the society. The Prophet had given due respect and position to Hazrat Bilal, Hazrat Salman Farsi, Zaid bin Haritha despite of their being black, foreigner and slave. The Prophet ﷺ himself bought and freed slaves, he encouraged others to free slaves. His companions also followed the same. Freeing slaves became a movement for several years and this very serious social evil was completely eradicated in a few years.

No compulsion in religion
Allah has sent His Messengers to convey the message and guidance for human beings to reach to the truth. Allah has clarified to all Prophets that their duty is to clarify and convey the message. Even though the message is truth yet it cannot be imposed as there is no compulsion in religion. Our Creator has given this freedom to all human beings. This freedom has to be respected and protected. The rationale behind this is that there is no meaning of reward and punishment and examination unless there is freedom to accept or reject the truth. Respect and protection of this freedom of choice becomes the strong basis for Human Brotherhood despite of differences in faiths and beliefs. In the Qur’ān Surah Al-Baqarah (2) Verse 256 it is mentioned:

“There is no compulsion in religion.”

Respect for All the Prophets
It is the basic part of Islamic faith that a Muslim has to believe and respect all the Prophets of Allah and does not differentiate between them. In the Qur’ān Surah Al-Baqarah (2) Verse 285, our Creator says:

“The Messenger believes, and so do the believers, in the guidance sent down upon him from his Lord: each of them believes in Allah, and in His angels, and in His Books, and in His Messengers. They say: ‘We make no distinction between any of His Messengers’.”

Hazrat Aadam was the first human being and the first Prophet and Muhammad ﷺ was the last Prophet. In between there came more than one lakh messengers and prophets. Only a few names have been mentioned in the Qur’ān. A Muslim believes in all those (whose names are mentioned and also those whose names are not mentioned) and respect them. Since all the prophets are the messengers appointed by Allah, and their message and objective was the same, they have been called one Ummah (a group with common mission). Verse 92-93 of Surah Al-Anbiyah clarifies it:

“Verily this community of yours (the Prophets) is a single community, and I am your Lord; so worship Me.”

It has also been instructed to Muslims not to revile the deities people have made other than Allah. In the Qur’ān Surah Al-An’am (6) verse 108:

“Do not revile those whom they invoke other than Allah, because they will revile Allah in ignorance out of spite.”

These guidelines and the practical example set by the Prophet ﷺ have helped in strengthening the respect and brotherhood among the people of different religions.

In Sahih Bukhari (Hadeeth No. 1312) it has been narrated that,

“A funeral procession passed in front of the Prophet and he stood up. When he was told that it was the coffin of a Jew, he said, Is it not a living being (soul)?”

Justice the basis for Brotherhood
The Qur’ān mentions that the purpose of appointing Prophets and sending divine revelations is to establish Justice in the Human Society. It has been instructed to the believers that they should do even to those who are enemies.

In Surah Al-Maidah (5) verse 8, Allah says:

“Believers! Be upright bearers of witness for Allah, and do not let the enmity of any people move you to deviate from justice. Act justly, that is nearer to God-fearing. And fear Allah. Surely Allah is well aware of what you do.”

Even at times of war, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ set example to ensure that injustice is not done to anyone. The Prophet ﷺ instructed his companions that during war time,

  • Not to fight those who are not fighting with you and are confined in their homes.
  • Not to attack children, women and elderly persons.
  • Not to attack to those who are confined and praying in their places of worship.
  • Not to cut trees and jungles unnecessarily.
  • Not to destroy crops.

The Conquest of Makkah established that hate can only be conquered by Love, evil can be eradicated only by Doing Good to evildoers and injustice can be wiped out only by Doing Justice even to enemies.

Peace and Reconciliation the top priority
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ gave peace and reconciliation top priority to avoid confrontation and set examples and also gave instructions to his followers always to give priority to peace and reconciliation even if they fear that the other group would not stick to the covenant. In the Qur’ān Surah Al-Anfal (8), verse 61 we find clear instruction,

“If they incline to peace, incline you as well to it, and trust in Allah. Surely, He is All-Hearing. All-Knowing.”

The Treaty of Hudaibiyah is a very famous treaty in which despite of having enough strength the Prophet ﷺ preferred peace by agreeing to many of the unjustified demands of the other group.

Another example is of the Treaty of Madinah known as Mīsaq-i-Madinah, between Muslims and Jews in Madinah.

A historic agreement was made by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ between Muslims and Jew Tribes according to which, Jews were allowed to perform their religious practices in Madinah and no one would be forced to accept Islam. The life, wealth and property of the Jews were declared safe.

There were provisions for all people to grow their businesses with each other.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ a Mercy to Mankind
Allah says in the Qur’ān Surah Al-Anbiya (21) verse 107:

“We have sent you forth as nothing but mercy to people of the whole world.”

Allah is Most Merciful, His Mercy dominates over everything. Mechanism of divine guidance and appointing messengers and prophets to Guide the humankind towards the truth is nothing but due to the mercy and love of our Creator for humankind. The message of Islam (the complete way of life prescribed by our Creator) is based on Peace and Justice. The Prophet’s life is the practical demonstration of this system. It is because of this that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ has been called Mercy to the whole world.

One of the most powerful aspects which attracted people towards the Prophet ﷺ and the message of Islam was his generosity in Forgiving. Very prominent example of this was the declaration of general and special forgiveness after the Conquest of Makkah. When Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his Companions entered Makkah, he announced general forgiveness to all the people of Makkah who had put all their efforts to suppress and persecute the Prophet ﷺ and those who believed and followed him.

The Treaty of Hudaibiyah is a very famous treaty in which despite of having enough strength the Prophet ﷺ preferred peace by agreeing to many of the unjustified demands of the other group.

Some of those people in Makkah who conspired and committed heinous crimes were also forgiven. This created love and trust in the hearts of those who were full of hate for the Prophet. This was not the conquest of the land of Makkah but the conquest of hearts, the victory of love and mercy over hate and enmity. It established that hate can only be conquered by love, evil can be eradicated only by doing good to evildoers and Injustice can be wiped out only by doing Justice even to enemies.

In Surah Fussilat /Ha Mim As-Sajdah (41) verse 34, Allah shows the way to eradicate evil, hate and animosity and strengthen Love, Brotherhood and Harmony in the society.

“(O Prophet), good and evil are not equal. Repel (evil) with that which is good, and you will see that he, between whom and you there was enmity, shall become as if he were a bosom friend (of yours).”

Another heart-winning example and the practical solution to the problem of huge inflow of migrants (as a result of persecution in Makkah) in a small town of Madinah with limited resources was Establishing Brotherhood between Muhajireen (Migrants) and Ansar (The Locals).

All the Ansar (Locals) accepted one family or one person as their brother. The houses were distributed in two parts. Ansar offered the half share of their businesses to Muhajireen. The farmlands were also distributed into two halves. These were the examples of brotherhood and harmony the world has ever witnessed in the whole human history.

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