Prophet Muhammad As An Educator
The Educational Atmosphere
Consider the following verse:
It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger of their own, to recite to them His signs, to purify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, although they had been, before, in manifest error. (62:2)
Some of these words are very interesting. God is mentioned in the third person, because the ignorant, primitive, and savage Arabs did not know Him. As there was no “He” in their minds, God first emphasizes the darkness of their nature, their great distance from Him, and indicates that they cannot be addressed directly by Him.
Then God calls them unlettered. They were not all illiterate, but they had no knowledge of God and the Messenger. God, by His infinite Power, sent to this trifling community a Messenger with the greatest willpower, the most sublime nature, the deepest spirituality, and the highest morality, by means of whom He would instruct them in how to become geniuses who would one day govern humanity.
The word among shows that the Messenger was one of them, but only in the sense of being unlettered. Being chosen by God, he could not possibly belong to the Age of Ignorance (pre-Islamic Arabia). However, he had to be unlettered so that God would teach him what he needed to know. God would remove him from his people, educate him, and make him a teacher for all unlettered people.
The phrases to recite to them His signs and to purify them point out that He teaches them about the meanings of the Qur’an and of creation in a gradual manner, and informs them how to become perfect human beings by striving for spiritual perfection. He guides them to higher ranks by explaining the Qur’an and the universe to them, and showing them in minute detail how to lead a balanced and exemplary life in every sphere of activity.
The sentence although they had been, before, in manifest error indicates that God would purify and educate them even though they had gone astray. He did all of this through an unlettered Messenger and by teaching them the Qur’an. Throughout history and even today, this Book has met the needs of countless brilliant scientists, scholars, and saints.
After the Prophet, humanity saw his flag waving everywhere for centuries. Those who follow him, both now and in the past, reach the highest spiritual realms on wings of sainthood, piety, righteousness, knowledge, and science. Those who climbed the steps of good conduct and spirituality, and knowledge and science, both now and in the past, saw in each step the “footprints” of Prophet Muhammad and greet him with “God bless you.”
They will do the same again in the near future. All so-called original ideas will disappear one by one, like candles blown out, leaving only one “sun”—the Qur’an—that will never set. Its flag will be the only one waving on the horizon, and every generation will rush to it, breaking the chains around their necks.
Islam Addresses All Human Faculties
As is explicit in the above-mentioned verse, the Messenger’s method of education does not just purify our evil-commanding selves; rather, it is universal in nature and raises human hearts, spirits, minds, and souls to their ideal level. He respected and inspired reason; in fact, he led it to the highest rank under the intellect of Revelation.
The universal truths of the Qur’an also state this fact. Moreover, the Message touches all of our inner and outer senses, makes its followers rise on the wings of love and compassion, and takes them to places beyond their imagination. His universal call encompasses, in addition to the rules of good conduct and spirituality, all principles of economics, finance, administration, education, justice, and international law. He opened the doors of economic, social, administrative, military, political, and scientific institutions to his students, whose minds and spirits he trained and developed to become perfect administrators, the best economists, the most successful politicians, and unique military geniuses.
If there had been any lack in his teaching of humanity, the aim of his Prophethood could not have been realized so fully. He said:
Each Prophet before me built some part of this marvelous building, but there was a gap that needed to be closed. Every person passing by would say: “I wonder when this building will be completed.” The one who completes it is me. After me, there is no longer any defect in the structure.1
The Qur’an affirms this:
This day I have completed your religion for you (5:3).
In short, the Prophet reformed, completed, and perfected the ways of life that had been lacking, had become deficient, or had deviated from the Will of God.
All previous Prophets were sent to a certain people and for a fixed time. However, as God chose Prophet Muhammad and Islam for all times and peoples, Islam is the perfection of His universal favor upon His creation. He fashioned Islam in such a way that it pleases everybody. Therefore, rather than trying to find fault with the Message and the principles relayed by the Messenger, people should seek these truths and principles in order to design their lives according to them.
The Prophet was a man who completed, perfected, and reformed. He transformed an illiterate, savage people into an army of blessed saints, illustrious educators, invincible commanders, eminent statesmen, and praiseworthy founders of the most magnificent civilization in history.
An educator’s perfection depends on the greatness of his or her ideal and the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of his or her listeners. Even before Prophet Muhammad’s death, the instructors and spiritual guides he dispatched were traveling from Egypt to Iran and from Yemen to Caucasia to spread what they had learned from him. In succeeding centuries, peoples of different traditions, conventions, and cultures (e.g., Persians and Turanians, Chinese and Indians, Romans and Abyssinians, Arabs and some Europeans) rushed to Islam. An educator’s greatness also depends on the continuation of his or her principles. No one can deny that people all over the world accept Islam and adopt his principles. By God’s Will and Power, most of humanity will embrace Islam soon.
Remember that the Messenger appeared among a wild and primitive people. They drank alcohol, gambled, and indulged in adultery without shame. Prostitution was legal, and brothels were indicated by a special flag. Indecency was so extreme that a man would be embarrassed to be called human. People were constantly fighting among themselves, and no one had ever been able to unify them into a strong nation. Everything evil could be found in Arabia. However, the Prophet eradicated these evils and replaced them with such deep-rooted values and virtues that his people became the leaders and teachers of the civilized world.
Even today we cannot reach their ranks. This has been acknowledged by such Western intellectuals as Isaac Taylor,2 Robert Briffault, John Davenport, M. Pickhtall, P. Bayle, and Lamartine.3
God creates living things from lifeless things. He grants life to soil and rock. The Prophet transformed “rocks, soil, coal, and copper” into “gold and diamonds.” Just consider the cases of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Khalid, ‘Uqba ibn Nafi‘, Tariq ibn Ziyad, Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi‘i, Bayazid al-Bistami, Muhyi al-Din ibn al-‘Arabi, Biruni, Zahrawi, and hundreds of thousands of others, all of whom were brought up in his school. The Messenger never allowed human faculties to remain undeveloped. He developed them and replaced weakness with marvelous competency. As a great thinker recalled:
‘Umar had the potential to be a great man even before he embraced Islam. After his conversion, he became a powerful yet very gentle man who would not step on an ant or kill even a grasshopper.
We cannot eradicate such a small habit as smoking, despite all our modern facilities and practically daily symposia and conferences to combat it. Medical science says smoking causes cancer of the larynx, mouth, esophagus, windpipe, and lungs; however, people insist on smoking. On the other hand, the Messenger eradicated countless ingrained bad habits and replaced them with laudable virtues and habits. Those who saw them used to say: “My God, his followers are superior even to the angels.” When these people pass over the Bridge above Hell with their light spreading everywhere, even the angels will ask in awe: “Are they Prophets or angels?” In fact, they are neither Prophets nor angels; they are the educated people of the Prophet’s nation.
Prophet Muhammad had a holistic view of each individual. He took all of their mental and spiritual capacities and developed them, turning his own wretched people into paragons of virtue. His wisdom in assessing such potential is another proof of his Prophethood.
Educating By Example
God’s Messenger represented and expressed what he wanted to teach through his actions, and then translated his actions into words. How to be in awe of God, how to be humble, how to prostrate with deep feelings, how to bow, how to sit in prayer, how to cry to God at night—all of these he first did himself and then taught to others. As a result, whatever he preached was accepted immediately in his house and by his followers, for his words penetrated all of their hearts. After him, humanity saw his standard carried everywhere by people raised on the wings of sainthood, purification, devotion to God, and desire to be close to Him. Wherever they went, they walked in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad. Others will do so in the future.
In the house of the Messenger there was a permanent sense of awe. Those who caught a glimpse of him could feel the allure of Heaven and the terror of Hell. He swayed to and fro during prayer, trembling with the fear of Hell and flying on wings of the desire of Heaven. All who saw him remembered God. Imam al-Nasa’i narrates: “While the Messenger was praying, a sound, like a boiling pot, was heard.”4 He always prayed with a burning and weeping heart. ‘A’isha often found him in the presence of his Master, prostrating and trembling.5
His behavior inspired and benefited everyone around him. The children and wives of every Messenger had the same awe and fear, as the Messengers preached, ordered, related what they practiced and experienced, and gave examples through their actions. We can assess a person’s impact through his or her behavior while at home. If all pedagogues gathered and merged their acquired knowledge about education, they could not be as effective as a Prophet.
Many of his descendants have shone among their respective generations like a sun, a moon, or a star. He brought up his Companions so perfectly that almost none of them became heretics.6 None of his progeny has ever become a heretic, which is a distinction unique to him. Heretics and apostates have appeared among the households and descendants of many saintly people, but none of Muhammad’s descendants have betrayed the roots of their household. If there have been a few exceptions unknown to us and history, they do not negate the rule.7
Essentials of A Good Education
A real educator must have several virtues, among them the following:
First: Give due importance to all aspects of a person’s mind, spirit, and self, and to raise each to its proper perfection. The Qur’an mentions the evil-commanding self that drags people, like beasts with ropes around their necks, wherever it wants to go, and goads them to obey their bodily desires. In effect, the evil-commanding self wants people to ignore their God-given ability to elevate their feelings, thoughts, and spirits.
The Qur’an quotes the Prophet Joseph as saying: Surely the self commands evil, unless my Lord has mercy (12:53). Commanding evil is inherent in the self ’s nature. However, through worship and discipline, the self can be raised to higher ranks, to a position where it accuses itself for its evils and shortcomings (75:2), and then still higher where God says to it: O self at peace! Return unto your Lord, well-pleased, well-pleasing (89:27-28).
Higher than the self at peace (at rest and contented) is the self perfectly purified. Those who rise to this degree of attainment are the nearest to God. When you look at them you remember God, for they are like polished mirrors in which all of His attributes are reflected. The Companions’ desire to follow the training provided by Prophet Muhammad enabled almost all of them to reach this degree of moral and spiritual perfection; millions of people have followed and continue to follow their example.
Second: An education system is judged by its universality, comprehensiveness, and quality of its students. The students of the Prophet were ready to convey his Message throughout the world. The Message they conveyed, being universal in nature and valid for all times and places, found a ready acceptance among people of different races, religious background, intellectual levels, and age differences from modern-day Morocco and Spain to the Philippines, from the Russian steppes to the heart of Africa. Its principles remain valid. Despite numerous upheavals and changes, as well as social, economic, intellectual, scientific, and technological revolutions, his system remains the most unique and original, so much so that it is the hope of the future of humanity.
Third: An education system is judged by its ability to change its students. The example of smoking was mentioned earlier, as was that of how Islam and the Prophet’s spread of it transformed the tribes of Arabia into their exact opposite within the space of just two or three decades. To those who deny or question his Prophethood, we challenge them to go anywhere in the world and accomplish, within 100 years, even one-hundredth of what he accomplished in the deserts of Arabia 1,400 years ago. Let them take all of the experts they can gather, and then we will wait to see their results.
When Prophet Muhammad was conveying the Message, Arabia was isolated from its neighbors by vast deserts. In terms of its cultural, intellectual, and moral life, it rightfully could be considered one of the most backward areas of the world. The Hijaz region, where the Prophet was born, had experienced no social evolution and had attained no intellectual development worthy of mention. Dominated by superstitions, barbarous and violent customs, and degraded moral standards, people lived in savagery. They drank wine, gambled, and indulged in what even average societies consider immoral sexual activities. Prostitutes advertised their services by hanging a flag on the doors of their houses.8
It was a land without law and a government. Might was right, as in many areas today, and looting, arson, and murder were common. Any trivial incident could provoke intertribal feuding, which sometimes grew into peninsula-wide wars.
These were the people Prophet Muhammad appeared among. With the Message he relayed from God and his way of preaching it, he eradicated barbarism and savagery, adorned Arabia’s wild and unyielding peoples with all praiseworthy virtues, and made them teachers of the world. His domination was not physical or military; rather, he conquered and subjugated them by becoming the beloved of their hearts, the teacher of their minds, the trainer of their souls, and the ruler of their spirits. He eradicated their evil qualities, and implanted and inculcated in his followers’ hearts exalted qualities in such a way that they became second nature to all of his followers.
But this transformation was not limited only to the people of his own time and place, for this process continues even today wherever his Message spreads. It was not only quickly accepted in Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Persia, Egypt, North Africa, and Spain at its first outburst, but, with the exception of the now-vanished brilliant civilization of Islamic Spain, it has never lost its vantage ground. Since it first appeared, it has never stopped spreading.9
Many world-renowned individuals have been raised in the school of Muhammad. Certainly, we come across numerous great historical figures in other schools of education as well. God has honored humanity with great heroes, eminent statesmen, invincible commanders, inspired saints, and great scientists. However, most of them have not made a deep impression on more than one or two aspects of human life, for they confine themselves to those fields.
But since Islam is a Divine way for all fields of life, a Divine system encompassing all aspects of life—“like a perfect work of architecture all of whose parts are harmoniously conceived to complement and support each other, nothing lacking, with the result of an absolute balance and solid composure,” according the Muhammad Asad,10 a Jewish convert—its students usually combine within themselves the spiritual and the rational, the intellectual and the material, the worldly with the otherworldly, the ideal with the real, and the scientific and the revealed (by God).
At its very outset, Islam abolished tribal conflicts and condemned racial and ethnic discrimination. The Prophet put the Qurayshi chiefs under Zayd’s command (an emancipated slave), and innumerable scholars, scientists, commanders, and saints appeared among conquered peoples. Among them was Tariq ibn Ziyad, an emancipated Berber slave who conquered Spain with 90,000 valiant warriors and laid the foundations of one of the most splendid civilizations of world history. After this victory, he went to the palace where the defeated king’s treasury was kept. He said to himself:
Be careful, Tariq. Yesterday you were a slave with a chain around your neck. God emancipated you, and today you are a victorious commander. However, you will change tomorrow into flesh rotting under earth. Finally, a day will come when you will stand in the Presence of God.
The world and its pomp could not attract him, and he continued to live a very simple life. What kind of education could transform a slave into such a dignified and honorable person?
However, his conquest of Spain was not his real victory. This came when he stood before the treasury of the Spanish king and reminded himself that one day he would die and face God. As a result of this self-advice, he took none of the treasure for himself.
‘Uqba ibn Nafi‘ was another great commander who conquered northern Africa and reached the Atlantic coast. There he stood and said: “O God, if this sea of darkness did not appear before me, I would convey Your Name, the source of light, to the remotest corners of the world.”11
Before his conversion, ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud took care of ‘Uqba ibn Abi Mu‘ayt’s sheep. He was a weak, little man who everyone ignored.12 After becoming a Muslim, however, he was one of the most senior Companions. During his caliphate, ‘Umar sent him to Kufa as a teacher. In the scholarly climate he established there, the greatest figures of Islamic jurisprudence grew up, among them Alqama, Ibrahim al-Nakha’i, Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman, Sufyan al-Thawri, and especially Imam Abu Hanifa, the founder of the largest Islamic legal school.
Ikrima was the son of Abu Jahl, the harsh and inflexible leader of the Qurayshi unbelievers. Finally, after the Conquest of Makka, he converted to Islam. This event so changed him that he welcomed martyrdom three years later at the Battle of Yarmuk. His son, Amir, was martyred with him, as well.
Hansa was one of the finest poetesses before Islam. Becoming a Muslim, she abandoned poetry because: “While we have the Qur’an, I cannot write poems.” She lost her four sons at the Battle of Qadisiyya. This great woman, who had lamented her brother’s death before the appearance of Islam with a great poem, did not lament this loss. Instead, she deepened her submission to God and said only: “O God, all praise be to You. You have bestowed on me while alive the possibility of offering You as martyrs my four sons that You gave me.”13
The school of Prophet Muhammad also produced the most just rulers in history. Besides Abu Bakr, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali and many others who succeeded them, ‘Umar has been recognized in almost every age as one of the world’s most just and greatest statesmen. He used to say: “If a sheep falls from a bridge even on the river Euphrates and dies, God will call me to account for it on the Day of Judgment.”14 When you compare the pagan ‘Umar to the Muslim ‘Umar, you easily see the sharp contrast between the two and understand how radically Islam changes people.
Due to misconceptions and secular tendencies, especially in the West in recent centuries, most people define religion as blind faith, meaningless acts of worship, a consolation for life’s problems. Such mistaken ideas have developed in Christendom partly due to Christianity’s historical mistakes and shortcomings. Some secularized, worldly Muslims have compounded this mistake by reducing Islam to an ideology, a social, economic, and political system. They ignore one fact stated in the Qur’an, the Traditions, and throughout Islamic history: Islam, the middle way between all extremes, addresses itself to all human faculties and senses, as well as to each individual’s mind, heart, and feelings, and encompasses every aspect of human life. That is why Prophet Muhammad stressed learning, trading, agriculture, action, and thought.
Moreover, he encouraged his people to do perfectly whatever they did, and condemned inaction and begging. For example, he said: “God loves a believing, skillful servant.”15 The Qur’an declares: Say: “Work; and God will surely see your work, and the Messenger and the believers” (9:105). As all of our actions will be displayed on the Day of Judgment, we cannot be careless and do something halfheartedly just to get rid of it. Moreover, the Messenger declares: “When you do something, God likes you to do it perfectly.”16
Islam encourages people to work, and considers our lawful attempts to earn our living and support our family acts of worship. Unlike medieval Christianity, it does not idealize (nor even advise) life as a hermit. It forbids dissipation and luxury on the grounds that if we live a self-indulgent life here and neglect our religious duties, our prosperity in both worlds will be in jeopardy. The Messenger declares, in a concise saying that summarizes the essentials of a happy economic and social life and prosperity in both this world and the next:
When you are involved in speculative transactions, occupied only with animal-breeding, content with agriculture, and abandon striving in the way of God to preach His religion, God will subject you to such a humiliation. He will not remove it until you return to your religion.17
This hadith gives a very accurate description of the pitiable condition of Muslims over the last few centuries. Speculative transactions signify the dying of a healthy economic life and the resort to unlawful, self-abandoned ways of earning one’s living. Contentment with agriculture and animal breeding is the sign of laziness and abandoning scientific investigation—the Qur’an explicitly states that God created humanity as His vicegerent and entrusted us with knowledge of the names of things.
This means that we are to establish science and exploit natural resources by discovering the Divine laws of nature and reflecting on natural phenomena. However, while doing this, we should seek God’s good pleasure and practice Islam.
The Qur’an contains many verses, such as: Say: “Are they equal—those who know and those who don’t know?” (39:9), that emphasize the importance of knowledge and learning. It also warns that among His servants, only those who have knowledge truly fear God (35:28), meaning that true piety and worship is possible only through knowledge. Confining knowledge to religious sciences devoid of reflection and investigation inevitably results in contentment with animal breeding and agriculture, in idleness and the neglect of striving in the way of God. The ultimate result is misery, poverty, and humiliation.
The Messenger drew attention to this important fact in some other Traditions, such as: “An hour of reflection and contemplation is better than a year of (supererogatory) religious worship,”18 and “A powerful believer is better and more lovable to God than a weak one.”19 Being powerful requires both spiritual and physical health as well as scientific and technical competence. Restricting the meaning of being powerful to physical strength shows one’s total lack of understanding of what true power is based on.
In conclusion, being a good Muslim is possible only through being a good student in the school of Prophet Muhammad. This attitude was displayed by Ja‘far ibn Abi Talib, the Prophet’s cousin, who emigrated to Abyssinia to escape severe Qurayshi persecution. He once told the Negus, ruler of Abyssinia: “O king, we used to drink blood, eat carrion, fornicate, steal, kill each other, and plunder. The powerful used to oppress the weak. We used to do many other shameful and despicable things.”20
Prophet Muhammad set the best example for his people in belief, worship, and good conduct—in short, in all aspects of life. His people considered having daughters a source of shame, and so buried them alive. When the Prophet came with the Divine Message, women enjoyed their rights fully. Once a girl came to The Messenger and complained: “O Messenger of God, my father is trying to force me to marry my uncle’s son. I don’t want to marry him.” The Messenger sent for her father and warned him not to do this. The man promised that he would not do so. The girl then stood up and said: “O Messenger of God, I didn’t intend to oppose my father. I came here only to find out whether Islam allows a father to marry his daughter to somebody without her consent.”21
The Messenger warned his Companions not to beg. However poor and needy they were, the Companions did not beg from anybody. They were so sensitive in this matter that they even refrained from asking help. If, for example, one of them dropped his whip while on a mount, he would dismount and pick it up himself rather than ask someone to pick it up and hand it to him.22
Prior to Islam, people worshipped idols and did not give due respect to their parents. God’s Message told them: Your Lord has decreed that you shall not worship any but Him, and to be good to parents (17:23). This Divine decree changed them so radically that they began asking the Messenger if they would be punished if they did not return the looks of their parents’ with a smile. The Qur’an ordered them not to usurp an orphan’s property (17:34) and forbade theft. This made them so sensitive to others’ rights that history does not record more than one or two thefts in that blessed period of the Prophet’s rule.
Murder was extremely widespread in pre-Islamic Arabia. However, when the Prophet came with the prohibition: Do not kill any soul, which God has forbidden (17:33), this evil was all but eradicated. The Messenger also forbade fornication. This ended all kinds of sexual immorality. However, we do find one incident of fornication during that period. It is as follows:
One day a pale and exhausted man came to the Messenger and exclaimed: “O Messenger of God, cleanse me!” The Messenger turned his face from him, but the man insisted, repeating his demand four times. At last, the Messenger asked: “Of what sin shall I cleanse you?” The man replied that he had fornicated. This sin weighed so heavily on his conscience that he desired to be punished. The Messenger asked those present: “Is he insane?” When told he was not, he told them to see if he was drunk. They examined him and found him sober. In the face of his insistent confession, the Messenger had to order the man to be punished. After it, he sat and wept.
A few days later, the man’s partner appealed to the Messenger to cleanse her. Many times he turned away from her and sent her back. In utmost remorse, she insisted on being punished. The Messenger sent her back once more, saying: “You may be pregnant. Go and give birth to your child.” The woman did so, and then returned with the same request. The Messenger excused her: “Go back, for perhaps your child needs feeding.” After the child had been weaned, the woman came again. When someone reproved her while the punishment was being carried out, the Prophet frowned at him and said: “By God, this woman repented of her sin so much that if her repentance were shared out among all the people of Madina, it would be enough to cover them with forgiveness also.”23
Prophet Muhammad established such a magnificent system and formed such an excellent community that not even a Plato, a Thomas Moore, a Campanella, or any other Utopian has been able to imagine its equal. Among thousands of other examples, the following illustrates this fact:
Abu Hurayra, one of the poorest Companions, came to the Messenger. He had not eaten anything for some days. Abu Talha (an Ansari) took him home to feed him. But there was no food in his house except some soup that his wife had made for the children. She asked her husband what she should do, and they decided upon the following: They would put their children to bed without feeding them. As the soup was too little to satisfy all of them, only the guest should have it. While they were sitting at the table and getting ready to eat, Abu Talha’s wife would knock the candle over, extinguishing it apparently by mistake. In the resulting darkness, they would act as if they were eating, although Abu Hurayra would be the only one eating. This is what they did. Abu Hurayra ate until he was satisfied, and then left, unaware of what had really happened.
The following day, they went to pray the morning prayer in the mosque. At the end of the prayer, the Messenger turned to them and asked:
“What did you do last night, that caused this verse to be revealed in praise of you: They prefer others above themselves, even though poverty be their portion. (59:9)?”24
By M. Fethullah Gülen
- Bukhari, “Manaqib,” 18; Muslim, “Fada’il,” 20-23.
- Isaac Taylor, who spoke at the Church Congress of England, relates how Islam changes the people who accept it: The virtues which Islam inculcates are temperance, cleanliness, chastity, justice, fortitude, courage, benevolence, hospitality, veracity, and resignation… Islam preaches a practical brotherhood, the social equality of all Muslims. Slavery is not part of the creed of Islam. Polygamy is a more difficult question. Moses did not prohibit it. It was practiced by David and is not directly forbidden in the New Testament. Muhammad limited the unbounded license of polygamy. It is the exception rather than the rule… (Abu’l-Fazl Ezzati, An Introduction to the History of the Spread of Islam, London) (Tr.)
- To give just one example, Lamartine asks Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial states and of one spiritual state, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask: Is there any man greater than he? (Historie de la Turquie, 2:276-77.) (Tr.)
- Nasa’i, “Shaw,” 18.
- Ibid., “Ishrat al-Nisa,” 4.
- Those who became apostates after the Prophet’s death were not Companions. (Tr.)
- There is a rule in logic: Exceptions do not invalidate the rule. We do not know of any heretics among his descendants. But this does not mean that there will not be, because it is possible. Considering this possibility, we speak with caution.
- Bukhari, “Nikah,” 36; Abu Dawud, “Talaq,” 33.
- A nineteenth-century Western writer notes his impressions of the influence of Islamic moral values on Africans: As to the effects of Islam when first embraced by a Negro tribe, can there when viewed as a whole, be any reasonable doubt? Polytheism disappears almost instantaneously; sorcery, with its attendant evils, gradually dies away; human sacrifice becomes a thing of the past. The general moral elevation is most marked; the natives begin for the first time in their history to dress, and that neatly. Squalid filth is replaced by some approach to personal cleanliness; hospitality becomes a religious duty; drunkenness, instead of the rule, becomes a comparatively rare exception. Chastity is looked upon as one of the highest, and becomes, in fact, one of the commoner virtues. It is idleness that henceforward degrades, and industry that elevates, instead of the reverse. Offenses are henceforward measured by a written code instead of the arbitrary caprice of a chieftain—a step, as every one will admit—of vast importance in the progress of a tribe. The mosque gives an idea of architecture at all events higher than any the Negro has yet had. A thirst for literature is created for works of science and philosophy as well as for commentaries on the Qur’an. (Waitz quoted by B. Smith, Muhammad, and Muhammadanism, 42-3.) (Tr.)
- Al-Ezzati, An Introduction to the History of the Spread of Islam.
- Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, 4:106.
- Kufa, a famous city in the early history of Islam, is located on the west branch of the river Euphrates, south of the ruins of Babel (Iraq). (Tr.)
- Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghaba, 7:88-90; Ibn Hajar, Al-Isaba, 4:287.
- Tabari, Tarikh, 5:195; Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, 3:305; Abu Nu‘aym, Hilya, 1:53.
- Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, 2:290.
- Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-‘Ummal, 3:907.
- Abu Dawud, “Buyu‘,” 54; Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 2:84.
- ‘Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa’, 1:370.
- Muslim, “Qadar,” 34; Ibn Maja, “Muqaddima,” 10; Ibn Hanbal, 3:366.
- Bukhari, “Wasaya,” 9.
- Nasa’i, “Nikah,” 36.
- Muslim, “Zakat,” 108; Ibn Maja, “Jihad,” 41.
- Muslim, “Hudud,” 22-23.
- Bukhari, “Tafsir,” 6; Muslim, “Ashriba,” 172.