What was the “Message of Islam”?…i.e. The True Message of Islam? What was the purpose of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) on this earth regarding that ‘Message’? And why was there a necessity for a religion like Islam?
Is there a clear-cut answer to all these questions?
However to try and answer some, or all of the above, one cannot do otherwise but to trace back and look at what we have discussed so far.
We have spoken of how Islam began: the Prophet’s(pbuh) meditation in the “Cave of Hira” on the “Mountain of Light”; his inner turmoil at trying to understand why he was not like the majority of the Arabs of Mecca who believed in idols and ill-treated their women-folk, even to the extent of burying their female off-spring, alive! And how he encountered the Archangel Gabriel who had commanded him to ‘Read!’
We have discussed (at length!) how the Archangel had persisted that he “Read!” and, when he couldn’t, how the Angel had embraced him and the “First Revelation of Al-Quran” was manifested.
Then there were the trials of Islam and how the Prophet(pbuh) endured endless ridicule and scorn at the hands of not only the clansmen of Mecca, but his own family as he went on his mission of preaching Islam.
We spoke of how the Prophet’s (pbuh) uncle, Abu Lahab, went around telling people that Muhammed (pbuh) was a mad man and that nobody should listen to his rantings of the One true God, Allah, and that he, Muhammed (pbuh) was the Messenger of Allah! Even Bilal, a black Abyssinian slave, was placed in the hot desert sun with a huge stone on his chest for embracing the religion of Islam and proclaiming the sovereignty of God.
History taught us that when the clansmen of Qureish (the ruling clan of Mecca) had had enough of Muhammed (pbuh) and his rebellious ways (as they put it) they banished the Prophet(pbuh) and 40 of his followers to a valley outside Mecca, where they were forbidden to have any contact with anyone, or re-enter Mecca for any reason whatsoever. There in that valley the Muslims were cut off from the rest of society—no trade, no food, nothing—just their companionship and their infallible belief in the One Allah, which was being tested to its ultimate limit!
And, as the weeks turned into months and months into years, Qureish grew confident that the Muslims weren’t going to last for very long, some even partying late into the night, offering extra rations of food to their idols, for the imminent demise of Islam!
We learnt of how the parchment—on which the injunction of the ban had been written—got eaten by white ants (even though it had been closely guarded) and the ban was lifted—after two years!
It was during the fifth year of Prophet-hood that Muhammed(pbuh) decided to send some of his followers—about 80 of them—to Abyssinia (today known as Ethiopia) because conditions in Mecca were becoming very alarming indeed.
In the streets of the City, women and children were being flogged openly for proclaiming their belief in the One God of Muhammed(pbuh); children were separated from their mothers while the latter were taken into the desert to be defiled and tortured.
One woman was tied to a stake while a red-hot poker was driven through her body—and all the while she kept mumbling the sovereignty of Allah, over and over, as her life blood oozed from her. Qureish was beside themselves with exasperation.
When Qureish learnt about the Muslims’ sojourn to Abysinnia, they quickly dispatched a deputation to that country and tried to get the Muslims back.
The Negus (Christian king) of Abyssinia found it strange that the Muslims, with whose religion he wasn’t very familiar, could revere the Prophet Jesus and all the other Prophets that the Bible spoke about—this after the deputation of Qureish had been laying it on thick that Islam did not recognize any other religion except Islam and that it did not accept Jesus as the ‘Son of God’.
One of the Muslims explained to the Negus what Islam really stood for—that it did away with oppression; that it gave women the right to decide for themselves, to be recognized as worthy human beings and not to be treated like animals by their husbands; that all men were equal in the sight of God. And, after listening to what was being explained, the King granted the Muslims permission to stay as long as they wanted to and the deputation of Qureish had to leave empty-handed.
Thus a vital part of the ‘Message of Islam’ unfolded.