WHAT WAS ISLAM’S FIRST MESSAGE TO HUMANITY? Print
Written by ramadan   
Friday, 13 April 2018 13:09

WHAT WAS ISLAM’S FIRST MESSAGE TO HUMANITY?


Jumuah lecture on Friday 13 April 2018 (26 Rajab 1439) at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town delivered by Brother Bashier Rahim

 

This Blessed month of Rajab is a month in which many significant events occurred in Islamic History. Among those most important events is the very birth of Islam itself on the 27th of Rajab which coincides with tomorrow and the Isra and Miraj which is recorded in some books to have occurred on the night of the 27th of Rajab.


 

Our program to elaborate more on the Isra and Miraj will take place tonight. However, in today’s jumuah khutbah I would like to examine the event of the Mab’ath or appointment of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) as the Messenger of Allah and the concomitant birth of Islam through the revelation of the first five verses of Surah Alaq and in so doing want to ask the question: WHAT WAS ISLAM’S FIRST MESSAGE TO MANKIND?

WHERE DOES THE QURAN COME FROM?

However, before I get into that, I would like to highlight something very important and that is that on the day of the 27th of Rajab, the first revelation of the actual Quran occurred and to remind ourselves of the reality of this Quran whose revelation to us human beings commenced on this date. And the purpose behind this reminder is not to sound academically smart, but it is to continously instill within us a better and higher appreciation for the Quran.

 

Without any elaborate discussion, the origin of the Quran is from the spiritual world, not this material world.

 

In fact all goodness that we enjoy in this world comes from that spiritual world. For example we enjoy knowledge, yet the source of knowledge is not from this material world - rather it comes from that world:

 

“Truly knowledge is only with Allah” (Surah Ahqaf Verse 23)

Or in another place in the Quran in Surah Isra Verse 85 we read:

 

“And you are not given of the knowledge except a little”.


 

And the same goes for rizq or sustainance – Lady Maryam (a.s) was asked where does the food come from that she had before her when she was praying in her mihrab and she replied “it is from Allah! Surely Allah gives rizq to whom He pleases without mesure” (Surah 3 verse 37).... In other words we might enjoy that rizq in this world but it originates from the spiritual world.

 

And the same goes for reward – we might enjoy reward in this world but it’s not from this world – it’s from that world!

 

“Whoever desires the reward of this world, then with Allah is the reward of this world and the next” (Surah Nisa Verse 134). Reward may be given here, but it’s not from here.

 

 

The Quran whose revelation started on the 27th Rajab in a step by step fashion (remember we believe the Reality of the Quran was revealed on the Night of Qadr in its totality) - it comes from that world.

 

Surah Zukhruf Verse 1 to 4:

“Ha Mim! By the Manifest Book. We made it an Arabic readable text so that you may understand. And it is in a Mother Book with"

 

As our Ulama explain, the source of the Quran is beyond the concept of chapters and verses and linguistic expression, but it is made into a text so that we understand.

 

But it’s origin is in a Mother Book or elsewhere in Surah Waqiah Verses 77 to 79 it’s described as being in a Hidden Book:

 

“Verily it is Noble Quran, inside a Hidden Book, none can touch it except the purified”.


 

Notice something in relation to the Reality of the Quran – the Ahlul Bait (a.s) who are the only ones who truly have access to that Reality are described as being able to just about “touch” it – they don’t own it – Allah is the owner.

 

So from that world without any limitation, it went through stages of simplification so that a select chosen person could handle it and that is Prophet Muhammad (sawa) who himself even while receiving revelation used to perspire heavily.

 

Revelation is said to have occurred in different ways, but sometimes it was very heavy as the Quran itself says in Surah Muzammil:

 

“Verily we shall send unto you a heavy word”.

 

 

If this word was revealed onto a mountain, it would be reduced to dust instantly.

WHAT WAS ISLAM’S FIRST MESSAGE TO MANKIND?


So what was the first message from that world to mankind? It is captured in the first 5 verses of Surah Alaq:

1. “Read! In the Name of your Lord Who created"
2. “Created man, out of a clot (of congealed blood).”
3. “Read! and your Lord is the Most Generous,"
4. “Who taught by the Pen,”

5. “Taught man that which he knew not.”

 

There are few surah’s in the Quran that commence with a command to do something. The very start of revelation was with a very important command to all of mankind:

 

Read!

And this command is repeated in verse 3:

Read!


And then verse 4 after the command to read, it indicates the outcome of reading and that is learning!

"Who taught by the Pen"


And then verse 5 reinforces the outcome of learning being knowledge of what you did not know.

"who taught mankind what he did not know"

 

This Arab society who were purely materialistic in nature and concerned about their material animalistic needs of eating and drinking and reproducing, just like life is today for a major part of the world - the first message to that community and to our times is to pursue the acquisition of knowledge as in essence, knowledge satisfies the needs of the soul. Just as we eat and drink each day to sustain our material life, so the acquisition of knowledge sustains our spiritual life - so actively seek knowledge on a continuous basis.

 

But the command does not just say read. When we look around us we see that people do spend time reading - but reading that which is valueless and of no benefit and merely amounts to useless information. I was once looking on Amazon's Kindle Books section and was amazed to notice that at the time if they had 15 million books for sale, that 14 million of these books were fiction, and only 1 million books were non-fiction or at least was based on something factual that you could learn from.

 

Why do they have more than 90% fiction books for sale? Because possibly 90% of what is bought to read is fiction! That's what human beings consume on a daily basis. Fiction!

 

The very first message of Islam which is to read - is not asking us to read fiction! Far be it from the Glory of Allah to even think that. The first message of Islam is to read and learn that which is meaningful - Thus "Read! In the Name of your Lord!"

 

We learn from the ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) with respect to the "Basmallah" that anything that is done in the Name of your Lord will have eternal value. And anything that is done without the name of your Lord is "cut off" and only momentary.

 

So when you read and learn - the primary purpose of that learning must be to find that which will give eternal purpose to your life and eternal value.


WHERE DO YOU COME FROM?

Having prompted the human being into reading and learning that which is meaningful, Almighty Allah immediately answers our very first fundamental question in life and that is "where do you come from"!
"He created the human being from a clot".


Without me going into philosophical details, the human being is made to consider how it is that a sperm and egg can mix and grow from there into a mature entity that is combined with a non-material reality (which is the soul) - is it possible that this can occur all by itself? NEVER!

If you are willing to read and learn and apply your intellect in the process, you come to no other conclusion except that your existence is from other than yourself or material matter but from a Supreme, Knowledgeable Creator.
So one gets to understand the Existence of Allah from the very first message of Islam. One also gets to understand the Creational Attribute of Allah and Tauheed of Action.

And then in relation to ourselves, by knowing where we come from, the very first message of Islam to the human being is that we should know our place in this world and know how to carry ourselves in this world as we come from nothing and are essentially nothing and thus need to have a humble existence in this world and not an arrogant one.

Another interesting point is that among all of Allah's creation, from the spectacular 7 heavens and planets and vast solar system and beyond, Almighty Allah draws our attention to the creation of His best creation and that is the very human being! This human being has a most impressive system like this vast solar system right inside himself in every cell of his body.

And then, even if you accept the Existence of Allah and the Creational power of Allah - just like the people of Jahiliyyah who accepted this and even non-religious people today accept it - Allah introduces Himself as "Rabb" or "Lord" who created. This is very important as it establishes Tauheed of Rububiyyah which means that in addition to Allah's Existence and Creational Power (that most would accept), only He is truly in control of everything (which is a matter that idol worshippers and materialists won't accept) and since only He is truly in control of everything - thus only He is Worthy of Being worshipped, not the idols of the time of Jaahiliyyah or the idols of today - they have no worth and thus are not worthy of bowing yourself in humility towards them.

 

THE HONOUR GRANTED TO HUMAN BEINGS

Almighty Allah also introduces Himself as a Lord who is "Honourable" or "Generous".

In another part of the Quran in Surah Isra verse 70 Almighty Allah declares who has been the primary recipient of this honour and that is the human being:

"And We certainly honoured the children of Adam".

What makes us so honoured?

It's due to us carrying the spirit of Allah within us, being the Representative of Allah on earth and being granted an intellect and free will with which we have amazing potentiality to determine our own destiny and spiritual perfection that we desire to reach.

Other creations of Almighty Allah (besides Jinn) do not have this ability to be masters of their own destiny. Thus we are the most honoured to Allah's creation.

So what destiny do we desire? A destiny in keeping with our human nature? Or one that lowers us to the status of the worst of creatures?

 

ALLAH'S METHODOLOGY OF TEACHING US

 

So reading and learning that which is meaningful establishes Tauheed of Allah and realising our purpose in this world of being humble servants of Allah with the ultimate aim of remaining the most honoured of Allah's creation in developing to become perfect human beings.

 

And in achieving this, Almighty Allah provided the human being, from the day of the very first revelation, His methodology of training us to achieve that perfection.
And what is that?

 

"Who taught by the Pen".

At face value we understand from this verse, that the Quran is a Book that is read, and you only read that which is written down.

Also we understand the centrality of being able to write in recording knowledge and sciences for future generations to benefit from - so knowledge and sciences are transmitted through the written word.

And all of these understandings are possible.

But there is something special about "the Pen" that needs to be considered. Just like Almighty Allah takes an oath in the Quran by various phenomenon to make a profound statement like:

"By Time! Man is at a loss"

Or Allah takes an oath by the Sun or the Moon and other natural phenomenon that we believe in without hesitation....

All of these oaths are for making profound statements.

So, in relation to the Pen, Almighty Allah takes an oath by this very Reality of the Pen!

"Nun! By the Pen and the (record) which (men/angels) write!

Why does Almighty Allah take this oath? It is to say something profound about the personality and Reality of Prophet Muhammad (sawa), the first recipient of this revelation.

"And most surely you shall have a reward never to be cut off".

"And most surely you conform to sublime morality."

The Pen is used as a Reality to declare the greatness of Prophet Muhammad (sawa).

In this journey to becoming a perfect human being, the Prophet (sawa) himself plays a central role as he is the standard and example who reflects that ultimate human perfection as he conforms to sublime morality.

 

HUMAN PERFECTION IS REACHED THROUGH PROPHET MUHAMMAD (SAWA)

 

And now for a more deeper appreciation of the methodology of Almighty Allah. Not only does Allah take an oath about the greatness of Prophet Muhammad (sawa), there is something more to consider.

There are narrations that state that:
"The first thing that Allah created was the Intellect"

Or another narration states
"The first thing that Allah created was my Light"

Or another narration states
"The first thing that Allah created was the Pen"

These narrations put together ALL relate to the same Reality of the Haqiqqati Muhammadiyya (sawa).

So when Almighty Allah introduces in the very first message of the Quran to the world about His methodology of teaching us to reach "that which we do not know" - which potentially reaches the secrets of the universe - His methodology of teaching us is through the Pen....

"Who taught by the Pen"

And that perfect Reality of the Pen is the Light of Muhammad (sawa), without which we can achieve nothing.

 

ISLAMS LAST MESSAGE - HUMAN PERFECTION IS REACHED THROUGH THE IMAMS

 

So this was Islam's first message to humanity, and after 23 years of establishing a sophisticated religion which would last to the Day of Judgement, Islam's last message 23 years later was that with the establishment of the Imamate of Imam Ali (a.s) after the Prophet (sawa), the system of Imamate becomes the one through which human beings travel to perfection and thus this message ends 23 years later with:

"Today I have perfected your religion for you" - which is with the establishment of the system of Imamate.

 

SECOND KHUTBAH

 

REALITY OF EDUCATION IN OUR COUNTRY

Our very first instruction is Read!

But before we consider what we read, lets ask the question "Can we read"??

What is the state of our education in our country?

As madressa teachers we experience on a weekly basis the reality that our learners DON'T have a solid basic education - their reading and comprehension of English is very weak and reading of any language in general is weak. Maths, which is a purely intellectual based discipline is another subject at which our learners are weak and even opt to completely avoid - either by not doing it or not being interested in additional help so that they can master it.

And the saddest thing of all is that it does not bother them or their parents. How can one learn and progress in any aspect of your life if you don't have mastery over the tools of learning?


But if you can read and comprehend, then in today's world of virtual free access to information,  it's possible for very young people to come up with the most amazing solutions to everyday problems and to be of benefit to humanity.
There are many fascinating stories on a daily basis of great strides that young human beings are making for the benefit of humanity, simply because they can read and comprehend.

 

Look at one example.  A few years ago an American boy called Jack Andraka who was only 14 years old at the time had a family friend who died from pancreatic cancer. For those of you who are aware, this is one of those very difficult cancers to detect and by the time it's confirmed then it's already in the final phases (stage 4) and more than 90 percent of patients die in a short space of time - maybe within 1 month.

 

This issue bothered this young boy. So with the assistance of READING free literature on the Internet together with some experiments over maybe 7 months, spending all his spare time after school and on weekends and even eating very basic food just to survive, he discovered a potentially revolutionary approach to early detection of this devastating cancer - at a fraction of the cost of these tests and managing such patients.
BUT it all starts with reading.... READING has resulted in this boy being able to assist to save human life..... what about saving our spiritual life?

 

REMEMBERING THE MARTYRDOM OF AYATULLAH MUHAMMAD BAQIR SADR AND HIS SISTER AMINA BINTUL HUDA

During these days of the second week of April, we also remember the historic martyrdom of Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir Sadr and his learned sister, Amina Bintul Huda.

We had a more detailed program last night speaking about this great personality, but for the sake of brevity, I will simply quote 2 paragraphs from a paper written by a scholar named Sayyid Ali Murtaza Zaidi. He says "If we want to talk about Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr’s personality, we could very easily say that he was without any doubt a genius, without a doubt a personality who was ahead of his time! If in the worldly sense we call Einstein a genius, or before him it is said that Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius, in the same sense we could very easily say with the complete consensus of the religious scholars that Shaheed al-Sadr was a man much ahead of his time.

Shaheed al-Sadr lived for 45 years, which according to the average life span of our scholars (ulama) is a very short period of time. In 45 years, anyone studying Islam is still considered “young”. But in these 45 short years, Shaheed al-Sadr revolutionized the academic and political aspects of his society in a way that very few do. Very rarely do personalities such as Shaheed al-Sadr’s appear in history. Rarely does anyone have such an impact in such a short period of time, at such a young age, and at a time that was one of the worst in the history of Islam."

May Almighty Allah bless his soul and that of his sister and grant us inspiration through their great work.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 April 2018 13:17