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 The Second Lecture Signs of Relaxation and Generosity of History (1

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ذكر عدد المساهمات : 8518
تاريخ التسجيل : 20/12/2010
العمر : 47

مُساهمةموضوع: The Second Lecture Signs of Relaxation and Generosity of History (1   الخميس يونيو 21, 2012 8:32 pm

date and topic of the new lecture
was announced. Dr. Adam will lecture on Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, in the
University Cultural Season.After welcoming and thanking the audience,
she said that she had chosen for her topic Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, .
She went on to say, “You might ask why I have chosen Prophet Muhammad,
pbuh? What are the justifications for distinguishing him from those we
have mentioned in the previous lecture?”She heard whispers and saw
looks on the faces of the audience, which indicated, as a whole her
true intuition, proper expression and correctapt assumption.She began
saying, in complete confidence, “As a result of my research, I have
discovered four facts, which, I believe, provide, as a whole,
satisfactory answers to the questions raised in the previous lecture. I
leave it to you to judge, after hearing them.”“The first is the
abundance of detailed and factual information on the life of Prophet
Muhammad, pbuh, in all phases of his life.. There is no missing link in
his life, which lasted sixty three years. Neither are there any of the
questions that were raised in the previous lecture when talking about
his predecessors among the great figures.All those who read his life
story, and I am one of them, are agreed that it is an open book, before
both his followers and his enemies.
The most conspicuous of this description is that a researcher hardly
encounters a question mark throughout his life story as a whole, in its
most delicate and private aspects. In this respect, I find that I must
open the index of the smallest book my hands could lay on, concerning
an aspect of the character and manners of the Prophet, pbuh, in order
to acquaint ourselves with the details it contains. I must confess that
I was almost bored with these details, although you accuse me of being
keen on them and seek them. This book is “The Character and Ethics of
the Prophet, pbuh,”, which was written by Jaafar bin Hayyan
Al-Asfahani, who died in the year 369 H. corresponding to 952 G.This
book contained an accurate description of all the clothes of Prophet
Muhammad, pbuh, a description of all the tools he used, a minute
description of his table manners, his drinks, sleep, entering, leaving,
sitting, speech, laughter, tears, dialogue and the way he treated
people.There was also an accurate description of all the members of his
body that were visible to his companions, and included an account of
the mounts he used to ride and their names and other things, which we
need not mention in this context.Such information was not confined to
one or two books. It occurs in hundreds of reliable books, whose
authors are well known for their scientific rigor, truthfulness and
honesty. I invite any one who wishes to consult these books. This
justly confirms that we are here concerned with a personality that is
considered an open book in all its pages.”
She went on to say, “It is quite in order, in this context, that I
quote some testimonies of my predecessors, who wrote on Prophet
Muhammad, pbuh. Thus R. F. Bodley, the contemporary English author
said, ‘We find that the story of Muhammad is abundantly clear.’[1]
History has pronounced its verdict on the life story of the Prophet,
pbuh, which story is far beyond legends and forgery. Claude Cahen,
Professor of Islamic History at the University of Paris, said, ‘the
personality of Muhammad has a historical character that is not found in
the case of any other founder of other religions.’[2] Prophet Muhammad
lived in Mecca for more than fifty years, the major part of his life,
and his enemies there were by far more numerous than his followers, and
none of his enemies denied anything in his eventful life, or claimed
that there were obscure pages therein.History has recorded a dialogue
between Abu Sufyan, Mecca’s leader and the notorious enemy of Muhammad,
pbuh, before the former had embraced Islam, and the Roman Emperor, in
which dialogue Abu Sufyan could not change any facts or change any
data, for fear that history would record that he told lies before the
Roman Emperor[3], because Muhammad’s life was too well known to be
distorted or concealed.” “ The Second: The great many books that were
written on his life story throughout 1400 years. There are hundreds of
them; anyone can make use of the data-base at the University and
benefit from the links connecting the University with other
universities to ascertain the truthfulness of this fact. The number he
finds may reach four digits, provided one is patient and willing to
search. Moreover, if I did not dare to give a firm figure because I
have no documented data, let me quote from the great historian, Durant,
who said in his book on the Story of Civilization that ‘the stories
reported of Muhammad may fill ten thousand volumes’[4].
An examination of these works will reveal that they have written at
different times, places, and by various authors, with different
approaches, but all of them contain almost the same facts.Any
difference between them is a matter of drafting, focus, expansion and
analysis, as well as the attitude of each author towards these facts,
all of which relate to differences in opinion, and are not problematic
in the majority of cases.”“The third: The great number of followers
round him. Reliable books which deal with the classification of men in
terms of their character and reliability, and have had wide
circulation, have mentioned that about ten thousand men have kept the
company of Muhammad, pbuh, though this companionship varied in terms of
duration and nature.It is fortunate that Anas bin Malek, who kept the
company of the Prophet, pbuh, for ten consecutive years, was the last
companion to die. It is established that he died in 93 H., which means
he lived almost 80 years after the death of the Prophet, pbuh. Moreover,
his wife Aisha, his closest spouse, lived after him for almost 45
year, having died in 58 H. There is also his cousin Abdullah bin Abbas,
who was close to him, lived 55 years after his death and died in 68 H.
There are many others who had ample opportunity to report on the life
of the Prophet, pbuh - all that they remembered of him and saw of him,
in addition to others whose number was in the thousands.
There is no doubt that there was a great number of people round him,
watching every minor or major thing in his life, even the most intimate
aspects of a man’s life with his wife.These details were reported in
authentic traditions through uninterrupted, reliable and trustworthy
sources. Thanks to such reports all question marks regarding his life
were removed.This fact did not escape the professor of Islamic
civilization, Professor Hamilton Jep, who said, ‘If it had not been for
the traditions, Muhammad’s picture would have been , at least general
if not remote , at least, in its historical and religious origins.
These traditions have portrayed his human aspect, in an abundant
collection of living and tangible details.’[5]This has also prompted
the scholar Lora Vencia Vaglery to say, in his reference to the social
and economic condition of prophets, ‘It would seem that we have no
details of the daily life of Moses and Jesus, while we know everything
on Muhammad’s family life.’[6]A similar testimony is given by Monte,
Professor of Oriental languages at the University of Geneva: ‘Rare are
the reformers, the details of whose lives are known as those pertaining
to Muhammad.’[7]Such information is corroborated by the fact that they
are reported by more than one source, and under various circumstances.
In light of the science of Isnad (attribution) and the science which
scrutinizes men (ílm naqd al-rijaal), the like of which
humanity has not known, nor do I pretend to have a wide knowledge of,
those acquainted with the principles of these two sciences will be
amazed to witness such scrupulous accuracy and impartiality that
characterize them.It is worth pointing out that the Arabs, the nation
to whom Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, belongs, are well known for their
strong memory among nations. Thus, the great historian George Zaidan,
testifies to the strong memory of the Arabs and says that they have
conserved, in addition to their annals, those of previous nations, such
as those of the people of Áad and Thamud;[8] no wonder they
have preserved the details of the life of their Prophet Muhammad, pbuh,
who loved them and whom they loved, a love that has no parallel
throughout history.”“The Fourth: is that Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, has
laid down for his followers a meticulous scientific methodology in the
reporting of information. Thus he warned against lying, particularly in
reporting facts concerning him, telling them: ‘He who reports lies
about me shall occupy a place in hell.’[9] This is a severe warning by
the Prophet, pbuh, to his followers, urging them to stick to accuracy
and to admit only such information as is firmly established as being
correct and true, and to shun conjectures, against which he also warns,
saying, ‘Conjecture is the phoniest type of lying.’ [10]
There remains, dear audience, a fifth fact to complete the series of
justifications. This relates to the nature of the life story of Prophet
Muhammad, pbuh. A consideration of this life story will amply reveal
its realism; it is easy for anyone to understand, accept and emulate,
if they so desire, without feeling embarrassed or going against
instinctive disposition, as is happening and witnessed in the hundreds
of millions of Muslims, who follow on the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad,
pbuh.While this, for example, is not possible for the followers of
Buddha, of whom there are hundreds of millions, the scanty information
that has reached us on Buddha is confined to the facts that he was a
prince living in a palace, that he had a wife and a son, that he
abandoned his palace, leaving his wife and son alone, and wandered in
the deserts and forests, until he died, a lonely ascetic.[11] One may
ask whether this culture of asceticism still prevails among the nations
that believe in him among the Chinese, the Japanese and the Koreans.
These nations have set up gigantic industrial states, which means that
almost none of them thinks of reviving this culture of asceticism,
because following it would paralyze life and take humanity back to
centuries of primitive life.I have come across a statement reported of
Buddha, which I do not like his followers to hear from me in these major
industrial states: ‘My Code is a universal blessing. It is like the
sky; there is room in it for all people. However, it is difficult for
the rich to follow its path.’[12]
Christ, pbuh, is well known for inviting people to practice tolerance,
forgiveness and forbearance. He is reported to have said, while
preaching to his followers: “You have heard the statement: ‘Any eye for
an eye; a tooth for a tooth,’ but I tell you not to resist evil, but
rather, he who slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other
cheek, as well; he who wishes to take your garment, let him have it as
well; he who exploited you one mile, go with him two miles; he who asks
you, give him; and he who wants to borrow from you, do not turn him
down.”“You have heard others say, ‘Love thy relative and hate thy
enemy’, but I tell you: love thy enemy, bless those who curse you; be
charitable towards those who hate you, and pray to those who wrong you
and expel you.”Dr. Adam gave a significant smile and asked the
audience, “Which of the Western or Eastern states, have invariably
adopted these teachings, or thought one day to partially apply them,
even once in their long history, particularly towards their
adversaries? We leave it to ancient and modern history to answer this
question. But as far as we are concerned, we proceed with our
lecture.Let me point out, in this context, that these teachings of
Christ, pbuh, are not detrimental to his reputation and no one must
criticize him on their account. No, and a thousand times no. This is
because they emanated from Christ under special circumstances in order
to deal with special circumstances. They are teachings springing from
their environment, and were successful, at that time, in curbing
injustice and revenge, and in restricting the evil among the Israelis in
the midst of whom Christ was preaching.
Christ has also attempted to establish a balance in Roman society, in
which he lived, for the culture of that society was confined to
nurturing the body only at the expense of the spirit. It was a warlike
and bloody culture, and it was this that prompted Christ to adopt such
principles, which circumstances strongly called for. Hence, the
followers of Christ did not assimilate these teachings and were unable
to put them into practice.I have read something interesting in this
respect, which I propose to report to you. It was written by the great
scholar Jameel Baiham, who wrote, “When, before the advent of Christ,
moral chaos was exacerbated, and reached alarming proportions as a
result of the corruption that prevailed among both the Jews and the
Romans, Christ came as a social reformer and not as a legislator,
because neither the Jews nor the Romans lacked legislation. Hence, his
message was a call for virtues and a warning against vices, and a
promotion of love and peace.[13]I am also impressed by statements that
are appropriate in this context, which were made by the great scholar
Sulaiman Al-Nadawi, who divided virtues into two categories: a negative
category and a positive one.[14]
He said that secluding oneself from people is a negative virtue,
because the person concerned does not harm any of them, but, at the
same time, he does not offer any positive good. Moreover, forgiving the
mistakes of people is also a negative virtue, but does not offer any
positive good, such as giving advice and coming to the rescue of the
wronged people. It must be pointed out that such virtues were
propagated by reformers who antedated Prophet Muhammad pbuh.In fact they
lack universality and balance, which are clearly manifested in the
character of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, as I shall soon demonstrate after a
short break.Dr. Adam was more than terrific. She delivered her lecture
in full confidence, steadfastness and optimism. She looked happy in
her exposition.What contributed more to her happiness, is her feeling
that the audience shared her feelings, and what made her even more
pleased and amused was the statement by one who never missed any of her
lectures, who said, “One of the five justifications you have touched
on would have been enough to show the importance of the study of the
life story of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, but it seems you are keen on
making us tired in listening, and yet, we greatly appreciate what you
say. In any case, I hope you will stick to this method, which is both
tiring and enjoyable.”
After the break, Dr. Adam began by saying:
“I have noticed a phenomenon, an aspect of which I have touched on a
short while ago, namely, that the great figures we have considered had
one distinctive quality that was associated with them and on account of
which they won the respect of people and became famous. Thus Christ
was tolerant, Buddha was ascetic, Alexander the Macedonian was strong,
Aristotle was a philosopher, and none of them is known to have another
distinctive attribute.But what is really striking is the fact all these
virtues, and others, converged in the person of Prophet Muhammad
pbuh.A consideration of the life story of this Prophet, and going
through the pages of his life will certainly discover conclusive
evidence that corroborate this fact. This fact I have reached after
reading many and variegated books, which I approached, as much as
possible without prejudices, though biased towards the true
facts.Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, was the most courageous of men, the
most forbearing, the most generous, the most ascetic. He was merciful,
just, forgiving, sincere, continent, trustworthy, dignified, smiling,
modest, unyielding in matters of principle, and at the same he was even
more shy than an innocent young girl.
A reflective, analytic consideration of all these combined virtues that
characterize the Prophet, pbuh, clearly indicates that the attribute
of greatness is justified only when all of them are combined in a
person, because fractional values cannot make greatness, nor can they
contribute to the happiness of humanity.This view has been reinforced
when I recollected the views of certain specialists in ethics, to the
effect that “Each virtue is reinforced by other virtues.”[15] When a
person combines all these virtues – which is the case in Prophet
Muhammad, pbuh, one of these virtues stands out and comes to be
associated with a person more than others. This fact is also
established by the discipline of ethics. In this respect, the great
scholar Draz says, “The human soul must practice all these virtues,
before specializing in one of them[16] ,without such attribute
predominating on other ones that weaken its effect and reduce its
standing, so that all of them remain at their highest degrees, and the
most perfect of their qualities.

Dr. Adam paused for a while and went on to say, “I
have always been keen on making my lectures smoothly going and easily
understood, unlike the academic lectures in the classes. However, it
seems that, at times, we have no choice, in view of the nature of the
subject. But I promise you to make abundant use of realistic stories
and interesting and well established facts.This being so, and it seems
that it is so, at least on certain occasions, I shall do my best to
make this lecture as brief as possible, lest the lectures should
contribute to mutual oblivion. I shall end my lecture by dealing with
an important matter that is closely linked to our subject, though I
shall not elaborate too much in respect thereto. I refer to the motives
underlying the cultivation of virtuous attributes.Ethics scholars have
considered this matter; and their overwhelming view was that these
motives are material benefit, personal happiness, the environment,
conscience or power.[17]
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The Second Lecture Signs of Relaxation and Generosity of History (1
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