Sunday, April 22, 2012

Centrality of Prophet Mohammad to Islam

Islam means submission.

But what does this submission means? How to be a submitter? Muslims having to submit to the guidance of Allah as it exists in Koran makes them submitters. In addition to accepting guidance through Koran, Muslims also get the guidance from teachings and lived example of Prophet Mohammad.

Where do Muslims find Prophet Mohammad’s teaching and how he lived (traditions), collectively called Sunna? They find them in Hadith and Sira (Biography of Prophet Mohammad) collected and wrtten by pious Muslims themselves. [Sunna = Sayings of Prophet + Lived Example of Prophet]

Before one moves to study Sunna, they need to be firm about basis of authority of Prophet Mohammad as part of guidance and also as part of founadation and basics of Islam.

And Koran itself is the basis of authority of Prophet Mohammad. In no less than 90 verses, Koran repeatedly exhorts Muslims to obey and follow Prophet Mohammad and believe in him. It literally states that true submission to Allah and his guidance is achieved only when Muslims believe and accept Prophet’s commands. And these commands of Prophet Mohammad are to be obeyed by Muslims without regard to their personal opinions. Instructions of Prophet are same as instructions of Allah as following Koranic verses show:
004.059 (YUSUFALI):    O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination.
004.080 (YUSUFALI):     He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah: But if any turn away, We have not sent thee to watch over their (evil deeds).
i.e. obeying Prophet means obeying Allah. This theme of ‘obey Allah’ and ‘obey messenger’ appearing together as one unit is found in about 20 verses:  4.13, 4.14, 8.1, ,8.12-13, 8.20, 8.46, 9.71, 24.52, 33.31, 33.33, 33.36, 33.66, 33.71, 48.17, 49.14, 58.13, 72.23.

The verse 4:69 says that those who obey Prophet are among the most virtous and the most blessed:
004.069 (YUSUFALI):   All who obey Allah and the messenger are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah,- of the prophets (who teach), the sincere (lovers of Truth), the witnesses (who testify), and the Righteous (who do good): Ah! what a beautiful fellowship!
The verse 24:52 says who follow Prophet will be successful and victoorius against Non-Muslims in this world:
YUSUFALI:     It is such as obey Allah and His Messenger, and fear Allah and do right, that will win (in the end),
PICKTHAL:    He who obeyeth Allah and His messenger, and feareth Allah, and keepeth duty (unto Him): such indeed are the victorious.
SHAKIR:       And he who obeys Allah and His Messenger, and fears Allah, and is careful of (his duty to) Him, these it is that are the achievers.
Koran clealry states that for Muslims obeying Prophet Mohammad is not optional, as the below verse shows:
033.036 (YUSUFALI):     It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.
Koran equally states that it is must for Muslims to believe in Prophet Mohammad too in the verses 3.179, 4.136, 4.171, 7.158, 9.80, 24.62, 48.9, 48.13, 49.15, 57.7, 57.19, 57.21, 58.4, 61.11 and 64.8.
004.136 (YUSUFALI):       O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him).
057.007 (SHAKIR):          Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and spend out of what He has made you to be successors of; for those of you who believe and spend shall have a great reward.
033.021 (PICKTHAL):  Verily in the messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembereth Allah much.
068:002 AND 004 (SHAKIR): By the grace of your Lord you are not mad.......And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublime morality.
053.002 (SHAKIR) :  Your companion does not err, nor does he go astray;
In the abobe three verses, Allah stamps his approval of deeds of Prophet, what ever they be, and also tells Muslims to follow the example of Prophet in their life.

We see that Muslim men grow beards, even though Koran never tells them to do, because Prophet has beard. So is the case with Muslims applying perfume. They do because Mohammad liked and applied perfumes.

But the issue is not these. Some of the things Prophet did can only be condemned and can only be called criminal and inhuman by any standards. Yet Koran saying Prophet’s character as mighty and his actions are never wrong and Allah legislating Prophet’s life as the best model to be followed for Muslims has massive implications for theworld and Non-Muslims in general.

Few examples of sayings of Prophet Mohammad will illustrate the problem:
(Sahih Bukhari; Volume 1, Book 2, Number 25) Allah's Apostle said: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah."
(Tabari volume 9; page 69)   Prophet said, “Killing unbelievers is a small matter to us.
Any rational mind can easily see the connection between intolerance and violence towards Non-Muslims present in above hadith and those violent Koranic verses. One can also understand why population of Non-Muslims is dropping like a rock in Muslim nations as the abobve hadith indicates the only way for any person to be secura of their life and property is by converting to Islam. Muslims attacking Non-Muslims are just imitating the life of Prophet.

Understanding Koran may not be difficult but it is also not easy. Because of this Muslims conveniently sugar quote some Koranic verses to Non-Muslims to show Islam means tolerance - the 'tolerance' is completely different from equality. But if a knowledgeable Non-Muslim shows true nature of  these verses and inherent intolerant by giving context, some Muslims react by disowning Sunna; Hadith and Sira (Biography of Prophet). 

It is obvious that when we take a look at some episodes in the life of Prophet Mohammad taken from Hadith and Sira, any one can feel that a person like Mohammad can never be a Prophet of God in any way. To come around this problem of Prophet Mohammad's immoral life, a branch of Islam has come out which rejects Hadith and Sira i.e. if they take out Prophet Mohammad's life from equation, Islam becomes sane. These Muslims who reject Hadith and Sira are called Koran only Muslims.

But what I presented above shows that there can never be Islam with out Prophet Mohammad. And real life examples corroborate this e.g How Muslims should conduct their daily prayers is not found in Koran but Sunna.

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