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Modern Miracles of Muhammad S.A.W.

Dr. Asad Zaman

1. Introduction
Prophets a.s. were given miracles appropriate for their times, according to the sensibilities of their people. Since our prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was sent for all times, he was given miracles for all times. This article collects some of the miracles of our prophet which are striking to the modern mind, which is not much taken b the standard miracles involving violations of natural laws. !deas are born in the conte"t of histor , and respond to needs of the situations. #owever, our Prophet brought to the world, and demonstrated with his life, ideas completel outside the range of e"isting thought. These ideas changed the course of histor for all time to come. $nfortunatel , as prophesied b our Prophet, !slam came as a stranger and will become a stranger. Toda , these ideas have the same power as the did fourteen centuries ago, and the can bring about the same miracle that the did when the were first introduced to mankind. The collection of ideas to be discussed are miracles of Muhammad s.a.w. in several senses. Several civili%ations had e"isted, each with its philosophers and thinkers, but none had presented such ideas to the world. !n particular, no such idea was present in the Arab culture of the &ahilli a. So where did Muhammad s.a.w. get these ideas' !mplementation of these ideas changed the course of histor . As we shall see, these ideas continue to have the same power. !f the Muslims implement them in their lives and communities, the can again change the course of histor . These ideas are far reaching, deep, and of permanent value ( the appl with the same force toda as the did under the radicall different conditions of fourteen centuries ago.

)e will now e"amine *ust three of the several ma*or changes in thinking and acting brought about b the work of our prophet Muhammad s.a.w. The depth and reach of the revolutionar teachings of !slam makes it impossible to encompass all of the changes. +ven the three we have chosen can onl be inade,uatel sketched within a short article.

2. Equality of Men
!n the last Sermon, the Prophet s.a.w. declared thatAll mankind is from Adam and +ve, an Arab has no superiorit over a non.Arab nor a non.Arab has an superiorit over an Arab/ also a white has no superiorit over black nor a black has an superiorit over white e"cept b piet and good action. )here did this radical idea originate' 0one of the e"tant books of 1hinese, 2reeks, 3omans, and !ndian philosophers state an thing like this. !n fact, leading wise men state the opposite, with each nation claiming superiorit for itself. The word for foreigner in most of the languages is derogator , meaning barbarian or some e,uivalent. The same is true of the Arabs, who prided themselves on their linguistic abilities, and used the word 4A*am5 meaning one who is unable to speak, for non.Arabs. +ven the revealed religions had been corrupted, and had lost this message. 6or e"ample, Matthew 789-:;< 4!t is not meet to take the children=s bread, and to cast it to dogs.5 compares a non.&ewish believing woman to a dog. The effect of this !slamic teaching was to create a racial harmon not seen an where else, in an other civili%ation. 6amous historian To nbee testified to the uni,ueness of this aspect of !slam in the following wordsThe e"tinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of the outstanding moral achievements of !slam. !n the contemporar world there is, as it happens, a cr ing need for the propagation of this !slamic virtue !n The Enlightenment Quran, Ziad +lmasraf has documented how adoption of >uranic ideas b leading intellectuals like ?oltaire and 3ousseau led to the +nlightenment, an end of the Dark Ages of +urope . +ven though the idea of racial e,ualit eventuall became widel accepted among the +uropean nations, the practice continues to elude them. !n his autobiograph , Malcolm @ writes that in his travels among Muslims, he e"perienced 4a spirit of unit and brotherhood that m e"periences in America had led me to believe never could e"ist between the white and non.whiteA5 This brotherhood e"perienced b Malcolm @ is onl a weak reflection of the much stronger feeling of communit ( the $mmah ( that e"isted among the Muslims earlier. There is a strong need to forget national, linguistic, regional and cultural differences and forge the bonds of communit which were an essential ingredient of the message of our prophet Mohammad s.a.w.

3. The Brotherhood of Men

!n addition to e,ualit , our common descent from Adam a.s. also makes all human beings brothers. The idea of unit , and love for all human beings, is central to !slamic teachings. The >uran documents the love of the prophet for all the $mmah-

Q9:128 INDEED, there has come unto you [O mankind] an Apostle from among yourselves: heavily weighs -upon him [the thought] that you might suffer [in the hereafter]; full of concern for you [is he, and] full of compassion and mercy towards the believers. The concern of the Prophet for the potential fate of the non.Muslims was so great that the >uran 7>8B-;< asks him not to 4kill himself with sorrow5 on their behalf. !n other verses, the >uran e"presses disapproval of the e"aggerations of poets, so we ma consider this an accurate description of the love of the Prophet s.a.w. for all mankind. This vision of uniting all human beings under a common goal is so large that no one has had the courage to even conceive of it before our Prophet s.a.w. Again, this is miracle of our prophet ( how could a mortal man conceive of such an enormousl grand vision. An even greater miracle is that he succeeded in transmitting this vision, and the means to carr it out, to his followers. #istorian 1harles #odgson writes in The ?enture of !slam that the !slamic 1ivili%ation came closer than an had ever come to uniting all mankind under its ideals. Cecause of this uni,ue feature of !slamic teachings, the con,uests of !slam were motivated b the desire to bring the benefits of !slam to all, rather than the desire for power, glor and wealth. The politics of Machiavelli has become so dominant that these ideals appear naDve ( modern minds are unwilling to believe in the possibilit that human beings can act according to higher spiritual motives rather than the baser ones. #owever, this is a 7sad< reflection on the nature of modernit , rather than on !slam. There is plent of evidence to *ustif the verse of !,bal regarding the motivations of Muslim con,uerorsWe did not wield our swords for power and territory Nor did we roam the Earth in search of riches. )hen the Persians asked the Muslims wh the had come, the Muslim envo 73abEi bin Aamir< responded b sa ing that it was to free them from the slaver of humans, and to bring them the light of !slam. The underl ing theme of #odgsonEs book on The Venture of Islam is the Muslim vision to be the best of communities, to invite the entire mankind towards the good and to prevent the evil. This vision, and the hopes and efforts to live the godl life as a communit is crucial to the revival of !slam in the modern world. Cecause of this motivation for the welfare of all, Muslim con,uering armies behaved distinctl differentl from all others. Ff course the pattern was set b our Prophet s.a.w. on his con,uest of Mecca. A sworn enem of the Muslims, who had cut out and chewed the liver of #am%a, r.a., #ind testified that she had never seen a con,uering arm like the one led b the Prophet s.a.w. into Mecca. !nstead of en*o ing the glor of con,uest, e"acting revenge for the countless wrongs done to them, pillaging, looting or humiliating the losers, the winning arm bowed their heads in humilit , attributed success to Allah alone, and spent the night in worship at the Gaabah.

Cecause of the global vision of !slam, the Muslim world was uni,uel cosmopolitan. Scholars, pilgrims, and seekers of spiritual knowledge traveled throughout the !slamic world in comfort and safet , as taking care of travelers was one of the !slamic duties. +ver one who accepted !slam was welcomed into the communit without regards to his origins or race. 3osa Menocal in The Ornament of the World: ow !uslims, "ews and #hristians #reated a #ulture of Tolerance in !edie$al %pain has documented how !slamic mandates of tolerance and good behavior towards minorities created a golden age of peaceful coe"istence. The modern world, with racist wars destro ing millions of lives, and increasing hate crimes towards minorities, cannot show an parallels to these past achievements of the !slamic civili%ation. The challenge for us Muslims is to recreate these achievements as a living realit .

4. The Value of Human Live

Fne of the most important lessons taught b our Prophet s.a.w. was that ever human being is infinitel precious. To kill one person is like killing all of mankind, while to save one is like saving all of mankindQ5:32 if anyone slays a human being-unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth-it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind. This was news to the Arabs, who killed each other for trivialities, and buried daughters alive. The implementation of this respect for human lives led to several Muslim innovations, including orphanages, hospitals, and securit arrangements for travelers. Another vivid e"ample was furnished b the crusades, where the stark contrast between Muslim con,uerors humane treatment of civilians and the 1hristian con,uerors wholesale slaughters was remarked b observers on both sides. Ama%ingl , this lesson regarding the value of human lives is *ust as fresh toda as it was fourteen centuries ago. The burning in gas chambers of millions of innocent civilians b #itler is well known. !t is not so well known that about a million 2erman civilians starved to death due to continuation of a Critish embargo for seven months after the surrender of 2erman . Hives and livelihoods of millions of civilian non.combatants in ?ietnam were destro ed as 4collateral damage5 without concern b $S. The pattern was repeated in !ra, and Afghanistan. Cefore the !ra, wars, $S Ambassador Madeleine Albright declared in a public interview on 0ightline that price of the lives of a half a million !ra,i children 7lost due to $S +mbargo< was a worth it, for the attainment of $S political goals in the Middle +ast. This continues to be official $S Polic as two million civilians have been killed and fourt million have been reduced to miser to gain access to !ra,i oil resources in the wake of IJ88. Toda , the Muslims who gave the light of civili%ation to the world have forgotten their own traditions. The need of the hour is to revive these traditions to serve as a model for guiding the world out of the current darkness. As !,bal has said-

I lament the loss of the treasures of the tra$elers I lament the loss of the sense of the loss.

!. "hat i to #e done$
The #adeeth contains the prophec that4There will remain nothing of !slam but the name and nothing of the >uran but its writing.5 Throughout the !slamic world, there is little that conforms to !slamic models. Fur governments and political institutions are t picall based on western models designed for secular societies. 1onflicting interests and views are resolved via political power/ whoever succeeds imposes their will on others without reference to common interests. !slam teaches consultation 7>K:-LB ( shoora< for decision making, which is designed to produce participation and cooperation on common goals provided b our religion. !n the educational, health, and market institutions, the motive of naked pursuit of profits has graduall come to the fore in the west. !mitative institutions in the !slamic world are replicating these values. The spirit that motivated !slamic institutions has been lost from view. 0owada s the ideas that doctors save lives to serve humanit and 2od, that education is a sacred trust and should be freel available to all, seem hopelessl idealistic even to Muslims. The idea that traders follow a code of ethics which turns trading activit into worship is ver remote from current practice in Muslim societies. Most Muslims do not even know what the !slamic ideals are in these areas, and have forgotten their own histor , which shows how the Muslims implemented these ideals in practice. +ducation was freel available to all who desired it, and institutions for health and social welfare funded b private citi%ens eager to earn the profits of the hereafter dotted the landscape. Toda , the message of !slam brought and demonstrated b our prophet Mohammad s.a.w. is as fresh and relevant, and has the same potential to revolutioni%e the world, as it did when it first came. 2odEs greatest gift to man is complete and perfect toda , as it was when it was first given to us(Q5:3) This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. The greatest miracle of our Prophet s.a.w. was to translate the message of the >uran into a living realit . The greatest challenge facing the Muslims toda is to recreate this realit in our lives and societies.