Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), the Radiance that Shone Forth in the Darkness
In this article you can read these subjects as follow:
1. The World before Islam
2. The Situation of Women in Pre-Islamic Society
3. The Birth of the Person Whose Light was the First-ever Thing Created
4. The Holy Prophet's Migration (Hijrah)
The World before Islam
The chaotic situation of the world prior to Islam is clearly reflected in the accurate mirror of history. The outline of decline, oppression, bloodshed, idol-worship is evident in this mirror.
Before Islam, it was as if mankind were leaning over the edge of the precipice of ruin and destruction, and there was the fear that at any moment it could roll down and be annihilated in it.
The Religions and Beliefs of the Peoples
a) In the Arabian Peninsula.
The Arabs prior to Islam were committed in their hearts to idols, and what they saw around themselves with their own eyes they made into idols. Not only did they lower their heads and prostrate before them, but also they donated everything they had, even gifts of agricultural produce, to their idols (see VI: 137).
They believed that apart from the life of this world there was no other life (see XLV: 24). Obviously those who did not see the wretchedness of their idols whom they had chosen as their gods could not grasp the idea and truth of the resurrection.
So it was no wonder that they turned the House, which Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) had built at the command of and in the name of Allah into quarters for their idols.
As for the origins of idol-worship in the Hejaz, some believe that the first person to introduce it was 'Amr ibn Luhayy.
Al-Ya'qubi writes in his history: "He (ibn Luhayy) journeyed to Syria and saw all of the inhabitants worshipping idols. When he asked about the virtues of the idols, they told him, 'They have befriended us, and they bring down rain for us.' He took a liking to them and asked them to give him an idol. They gave him Hubal and he took him to Mecca." Ibu Hisham writes that 'Amr ibn Luhayy brought this idol from Mu'ab. In any case,Hubal was the most famous of the gods in the Ka'bah; he was built in the form of man, and holy arrows, which the diviners used for casting auguries, were set in front of him.
The influence of idol-worship grew to the point where idols were built in the form of animals, plants, men, jinn, angels and stars; even stones were the objects of worship.
'Al-Lat' was in Ta'if in the form of a cubic stone, and had a special field and meadow near Ta'if which was a holy place, and cutting trees, hunting and the spilling of blood were not lawful in its vicinity; the people of Mecca and other places made pilgrimage to it.
'Al-uzza' was a very powerful god equivalent to the planet Venus, and was situated in Nakhlah east much more honour than the other idols. The sanctuary of al-'Uzza took the form of three trees and human sacrifices were offered to it.
Manat was the god of predestination, and its original place of worship was a black stone at Qudayd (on the road between Mecca and Medina).
It belonged specially to the tribes of Aws and Khazraj (see lesson 20).
Ba'1 was the embodiment of the spirit of wells and underground waters.
Sometimes a well with clean, invigorating water became worshipped in the dry desert a cave, when it had connections with the gods and the underground powers, was also sanctified. The temple of Ghabghab in Nakhlah (see above) was in such a place.
In Nakhlah, and in some years the Meccans made pilgrimage there.
Dhu 'sh-shara was respected in the form of a heap of black shining cubic stones.
The spirit of arable lands was the god of good works and sacrifices had to be made to it. The spirit of barren land was a wicked devil that had to be avoided.
They had idols made of wood or metal or stones with no definite form round which they made several turns whenever they went into their houses, and from which they took permission when they went out on a journey, and then took with themselves.
The town of Harran, where Ibrahim had started his campaign against star-worship, was the centre of the Sabians. In this town, stars were the objects connection between the movements of the stars and earthly destiny was very strong. Each star was the god of one event. Images of Mars, Jupiter, Venus, etc. were erected in the temples, and they asked for help from them, and sometimes sacrificed to them.
The thoughts of the Sabians sometimes turned to angels and jinn. The angels were the daughters of god, and were thought to influence events. They imagined that god had a wife who was one of the jinn.
b) In Iran
In Iran also many religions were being practiced, but the one which most people followed was Zoroastrianism, the official religion.
If we accept that Zoroaster was a true prophet acknowledge that his true teachings had been changed by the passage of time. Gradually, they changed their direction and even their form and identity to the benefit of the ruling classes.
It’s very general and pleasant maxims were covered by a veil behind which the foundations and principles were transformed by the Magi and the priests to the advantage of themselves and the ruling classes. Thus it was that tawhid became polytheism, and the pure sweet and excellent teachings did not stay: the shell remained, but the nut was thrown out, and the empty shells were filled with the ancient gods of the first times of the Aryan tribes.
c) In Europe
The religious situation in Europe was like it was in Iran. Christianity had given up its original form, and had become stuck in polytheism and the dogma of the Trinity.
In France, Britain and Spain, people did not believe in a Unique God.
d) In India: There were various religions, but idolatry prevailed.
Class and Racial Differences.
In Iran people were divided into classes, and each class had special restrictions and privileges. The class connected with the ruling council had the most privileges. Similarly in Europe and India, society was divided into classes and the right to possess land, to trade, and the exemption from taxes was the prerogative of the nobility.
Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Mercy unto the Creation
The Necessity for sending the Messengers (Part 1)
The Necessity for sending the Messengers (Part 2)
The Necessity for sending the Messengers (Part 3)