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  • Date :
  • 4/12/2006

Prophet's Birthday Ushers In Unity Week

``... Truth has come and Falsehood has vanished; surely Falsehood was [a thing by nature] vanishing.'' (Holy Qur'an 17:81)

 It had been foretold in all heavenly scriptures. The prophets of the yore had given the glad tidings of the man to come with the universal message. And when that promised ``Mercy to the Creation'' (Holy Qur'an 21:107) did finally arrive by the will of the Almighty Creator in Mecca on the 17th of Rabi'-ul-Awwal, truth became fully manifest and Falsehood fizzled out.

The idols, the products of the backward minds, which filled the House (Ka'ba)- set up by Prophet Abraham (pbuh) the Iconoclast - fell down head to the ground. For the Arabs in the time of Jahiliya, this may have been an ill omen, but for Abdul Muttalib, the direct descendant of Abraham, the birth of his grandson Muhammad (pbuh) was surely a day to celebrate.

The rays of truth that burst on the day of his birth some 1428 solar years ago were not confined to noncosmopolitan Mecca. Like a bolt of lightning, they struck the superpower of that day, the Persian Empire, snuffing out the sacred flame that had been kept burning in theAzargoshasb fire temple for well over a thousand years.

The bewilderment of the court priests was only matched with the wild-eyed astonishment of Emperor Anushirvan who saw cracks appear on his giant archway (Taq-e Kasra) and 14 parapets come crashing down from his castle at Ctesiphon.

The wise men among Persians told the king and his court that the era of ignorance was over, and the promised messenger had been born who would transform religion from narrow nationalistic cults to a universal faith for the benefit of all humanity.

The message entrusted to Muhammad (pbuh) would be of a universal nature with the Prophet himself putting into practice the principles of humanitarianism. For him, it did not matter from which class, color, language or nationality his followers came.Suhayl the Roman would be among his honored companions;Bilal the Abyssinian who could not properly pronounce many Arabic sounds would have the honor of calling the faithful to the prayer, andSalman the Persian would be referred to as ``from us the Ahul-ul-Bayt,'' an honor which no aristocratic Qurayshite Arab would have.

Thus as Jewish rabbis and Christian hermits were to acknowledge after consulting their sacred texts, truth became manifest with the birth of Muhammad Mustafa (the Chosen), who had been predicted in both the Torah and the New Testament (Deuteronomy 21:15-17 and John 14:16)

``Hold fast to the Rope of Allah, all of you together, and do not be divided... (Holy Qur'an 3:103)

Over 14 centuries have passed since the Prophet's birthday. Are we Muslims really holding fast to the ``Rope of Allah'' as commanded by the Holy Book? Then why the deep differences among us, with each denomination claming that its version of the Prophet's Sunna is genuine?

The claims, counter claims and the differences in jurisprudential matters are mind-boggling, especially since all Muslims believe in the indivisible Unity of the Al-mighty Creator, have only one version of the Holy Qur'an, bow towards the same Qibla (the Ka'ba in Mecca) for the daily prayers, and all, without exception, believe that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.A.) was the Seal of Prophethod.

So how did these splintering differences croup up? Why there are different versions on the Prophet's words and deeds? Wasn’t the person for whose integrity even the infidels of Mecca had vouched, calling him Sadiq (Truthful) and Amin (Trustworthy)? Does it mean that something might have gone awry in the early days of Islam following the departure of the great man?

These are the questions that come to the modern Muslim man’s mind, as he stands bewildered at the crossroads, not knowing what will be the destiny of his soul after the life of the mortal world. He knows that bigotry only results in loss of faith and reason, and that fractured social fabric of the Muslim Umma at present is because of the inability to find the underlying truth.

Truth, of course, is not that elusive. All that is needed is some courage to lift oneself above the `holy prejudices' that have been passed on from father to son over the centuries, confounding generations in the process. What is needed is a scientific probe of the bulky material of Hadiths with an open mind to find concrete evidence.

The `Unity Week’ affords us the chance again this year to take a step nearer to that absolute truth. The week begins and ends with the two dates believed to be the two reported birth anniversaries of the Prophet. The two dates are in the month of Rabi`ul-Awwal (12th for the Sunnis who rely on the narrations of the companions of the Prophet and 17th for the Shi'as who regard the Household of the Prophet to be more accurate).

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