On the Eve of the Proclamation of His Mission
Notwithstanding the fact that Arabia was a pit of
iniquity and the bastion of idolatry and polytheism, Muhammad himself was never
contaminated by any vice or sin, and he never bowed before any idol. Even before he
formally declared that he came to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, his own
conduct and character were a reflection of Quran the glorious. Even his
critics have not been able to point out any divergence between his conduct and the
precepts of Quran at any time, before or after the Proclamation. After the
Proclamation of his mission as the Messenger of God, he placed pagan practices and customs
under proscription, but there is no evidence that before doing so, he himself ever
committed a pagan act, or indeed any act repugnant to Quran.
It appears that Quran, the Book of God, was
etched on the heart of Muhammad from the beginning, and it also appears that he
"preached" Islam even before the Proclamation but only through his deeds and not
with words. His deeds were just as eloquent as his speeches, and they proclaimed to the
world what manner of man he was. After all, it were the pagans who called him Amin (the
trusted one) and Sadiq (the truthful), and they were the same people who, in later years,
persecuted him, hunted him, Banushed him, and set a price on his head.
Depraved and wanton as the pagan Arabs were, they
admired truthfulness, even in an enemy. Yet their admiration for Muhammad's truthfulness
did not inhibit them from seeking his destruction when he denounced their idolatry and
polytheism. They thirsted for his blood ever since he invited them to Islam but never
questioned his trustworthiness. On this point there cannot be a testimony more
unimpeachable than theirs.
The citizens of Makkah admired not only Muhammad's
integrity but also his judgment. At one time, the Quraysh were rebuilding the Kaaba, and
in one of the walls they had to fit the Black Stone. Someone had to bring the Black Stone
to the site of construction, lift it from the ground, and put it in its place in the wall.
Who was going to do it?
Each clan claimed the honor for itself but the other
clans were not willing to yield to anyone in this matter. The disagreement led to violent
speeches, and hotheads threatened to decide with the sword who would place the Black Stone
in its place in the wall.
At that moment, an old Arab intervened, and
suggested that instead of fighting against and killing each other, the chiefs of the clans
ought to wait and see who would be the first man to enter the precincts of the Kaaba on
the following morning, and then submit the case for adjudication to him.
It was a wise suggestion, and the chiefs wisely
accepted it. Next morning when the gate of Kaaba was opened, they saw Muhammad entering
through it. They were all glad that it was he, and they all agreed to refer their dispute
to him, and to abide by his decision.
Muhammad ordered a sheet of cloth to be brought, and
to be spread on the ground. He then placed the Stone on it, and he asked each chief to
lift one of its corners and to carry it to the foot of the wall of Kaaba. When it was
done, he himself lifted the Stone and placed it in position.
Muhammad's decision satisfied everyone. By his
wisdom, he had saved faces and he had obviated bloodshed. The incident also proved that in
moments of crisis, the Arabs deferred to his opinion. He was a charismatic leader of