2nd Conference: To the Muslims of the World

ICSFP

This is an open letter from the Muslim World to all humanity. We, the followers of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), are a nation that is not bound to, or represented by, any state or country. We do not identify ourselves with any race, color, or language. We do not call to any ideology or belief system of our own manufacture, nor do we wish to impose upon the world the norms and customs that stem from our history and our unique cultural perspective. Instead, we are a nation that wishes to call humanity to God and convey to them the message of their Creator.

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  1. Preamble

  2. The Messengers and the Message

  3. Who is Gods Final Messenger?

  4. Muhammad the Prophet(pbuh)

  5. Persecution Suffered by Muslims

  6. Emigration from Mecca to Madina

  7. Permission to Fight

  8. The Campaigns of the Prophet

  9. Muhammad(pbuh) being a Messenger of God

  10. Conclusion

In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful

Preamble
This is an open letter from the Muslim World to all humanity. We, the followers of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), are a nation that is not bound to, or represented by, any state or country. We do not identify ourselves with any race, color, or language. We do not call to any ideology or belief system of our own manufacture, nor do we wish to impose upon the world the norms and customs that stem from our history and our unique cultural perspective. Instead, we are a nation that wishes to call humanity to God and convey to them the message of their Creator.

We do not presume to have the right to concoct such a message on our own and present it to humanity, since no human being is capable of bringing forth a message that encompasses a sure promise of both worldly prosperity and eternal reward. No human being can think to say of his own accord: “Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has faith, verily, to him will We give a new life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions.” To do so would be to claim divinity for oneself, like Pharaoh did, and set oneself above the rest of humanity. We affirm that it is the right of all people to reject such a presumptuous claim. No one needs ever to submit himself to the worship of another human being.

Therefore, we do not present this letter to the world on behalf of our heritage, our civilization, or ourselves. We advance no economic or political agenda. We present this letter as a nation who follows the religion of the Creator besides whom there is no God.

We are the followers of the religion of Islam. It is the religion that God has chosen for His creatures, by which He brings them from darkness into light and through which He offers to them both success in this world and felicity in the Hereafter. Islam is the only religion that can offer such a promise, since it is the religion that God sent with His final Messenger to humanity, Muhammad (peace be upon him). Since it is the religion sent by the Creator, it can ensure human welfare, for the Creator knows best what is good for His creation. “Should He not know,- He that created?” To Him alone belong the world and its affairs. It is He alone who possesses the ability to reward the righteous and punish the iniquitous.

We see it as a self-evident fact that the religion that the Creator establishes for His creatures and by which He makes clear to them the path to success is the only true way to achieve success. Humanity cannot hope to find any alternative.

We also see as self-evident the existence of God. The universe is a most eloquent testimony to His existence. In its precision, detail, and wondrous variety, it is an expression of His greatness and of His unlimited knowledge and wisdom. Humanity still endeavors to unlock its unlimited secrets. It is inconceivable that this universe was created in vain and without purpose. “Did ye then think that We had created you in jest, and that ye would not be brought back to Us (for account)?”

God created this universe for a purpose. There must be a purpose for humanity as well, since He blessed us with the gift of reason by which we have been able to gain mastery over much of the physical world. Do we, then, have the right to define our own purpose for existence when we did not have a hand in it? Furthermore, since defining that purpose is the right of God alone, can we even hope to know what that purpose is on our own?

For this reason, it is clear that humanity needs to have this purpose presented to him. It is from the wisdom and mercy of God that He does not leave us without guidance. This is why God sent us His Messengers. They conveyed to us the true religion and taught us how to attain success in both this world and the Hereafter. They informed us of the purpose for our existence and how we can fulfill it. We would have never been able to learn all of this on our own. It follows, then, that it is the obligation of humanity to believe in the Messengers and to obey them.

The purpose for sending the Messengers is clearly stated in the Qur’ân: “Messengers who gave good news as well as warning, that mankind, after (the coming) of the messengers, should have no plea against God: For God is Exalted in Power, Wise.”

We assert that God sent Messengers to many nations to convey to them His Message, and that Noah, Moses, Abraham, and Jesus (peace be upon them all) were among the many Messengers that He sent. Then God sent Muhammad (peace be upon him). His mission, therefore, was nothing new.

The Qur’ân states this fact explicitly. “We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms. Of some messengers We have already told thee the story; of others We have not;- and to Moses God spoke direct;- Messengers who gave good news as well as warning, that mankind, after (the coming) of the messengers, should have no plea against God: For God is Exalted in Power, Wise.”

Anyone who accepts in principle that God sent Messengers to humanity cannot reject Muhammad (peace be upon him) simply because he claims to be a Messenger.

It is unlikely that someone who believes in God would reject the idea that God sent Messengers, since God would certainly convey to us the purpose for our existence.

Someone might, however, try to reject the Message of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on the grounds that there is insufficient proof for his being a Messenger. We maintain that the evidence for this is more than sufficient and that anyone who comes to know this evidence will find that the truth of his being a Messenger to be among the clearest of facts. Our purpose in conveying this message is to present in brief some of this evidence, inviting those who sincerely seek the truth to explore the matter further.

Before doing so, we would like to pose the following question to those who accept the Messengers who came before Muhammad (peace be upon him), namely the Jews and the Christians: What evidence do you have for the true claim that Moses or Jesus (peace be upon them) were Messengers? We are confident that whatever you offer as evidence, we will be able to provide something similar and even more decisive as evidence for the Messengership of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Moreover, we can provide stronger and more varied evidence for the Messengership of Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) than the Jews and Christians themselves will be able to muster.

Though what we will mention will be brief, we believe it to be sufficient as a starting place for a sincere and objective seeker of truth. The message that we want to present to humanity is that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of God and that he was sent with the religion of Islam and the Word of God embodied in the Qur’ân, in the same way that the Torah was sent with Moses and the Gospel with Jesus (peace be upon them both).

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The Messengers and the Message
The Messengers were sent only to convey to humanity the religion given to them by God. We were created to worship God. Our worship, however, is of no benefit to God. Instead, it benefits us. We are commanded to worship God so we may reap the benefits that worshipping Him provides for us.

In spite of the fact that God is the one who sent these Messengers to humanity, there are people who turn away from the guidance that they brought. They not only reject the Message, they try to suppress it and fight against those who wish to follow it. In the past, some of these people had gone so far as to kill the Messengers of God. Can we reasonably assume that God will just leave such people alone and not hold them accountable for what they do?

This question is addressed in the Qur’ân: “What! Do those who seek after evil ways think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous deeds,- that equal will be their life and their death? Ill is the judgment that they make. God created the heavens and the earth for just ends, and in order that each soul may find the recompense of what it has earned, and none of them be wronged.”

We must all recognize that God, in His wisdom, has made this worldly life a transient one. He has decreed for us another life to follow this one. It is in that life that the reckoning will take place. It is therein that the righteous who adhere to God’s religion shall receive there reward and the iniquitous who go against it shall be punished.

We proclaim that God chose Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be His final Messenger, the last in a long line of Messengers, and that He chose the religion of Islam to be the religion until the end of time.

The Qur’ân says the following in this regard: “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of God, and the Seal of the Prophets: and God has full knowledge of all things.”

Muhammad (peace be upon him) described his relationship to the previous Messengers in the following way:

My relationship to the Prophets who came before me can be compared to a house that a man built in a perfect and complete manner, except that one brick was missing. People began going into the house and were impressed by it, but they would say: “It would be perfect if it was not for that missing brick.” I am that brick. I have come as the final Prophet.

He also said: “I have been sent to all humanity, and I am the last of the Prophets.”

We as Muslims, therefore, believe that the Message that was sent with all the Messengers throughout time is the truth from God. We assert that all of them taught the same basic principles. They all called to monotheism. They all called to the omnipotence of the Creator who has absolute control of all of the affairs of Creation. They all taught that nothing takes place in Creation except with His knowledge and by His will. All of them called humanity to proper moral conduct and prohibited lewdness and indecency. These teachings form the basis of the Divine Message throughout the ages.

There was a succession of Prophets who came to the people of old. For as soon as one Prophet died, the people quickly turned away from his teachings and from their faith. They would often go so far as to tamper with their scriptures and sometimes introduced things that were diametrically opposed to the principles of the religion, like the idea that God has partners in His divinity or even children. Whenever this happened, God would send another Messenger to bring them back to the truth. This is what Moses did after the people deviated from the teachings of Jacob and Joseph (peace be upon them all). This is what Jesus (peace be upon him) was sent for. This is, finally, why Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent to humanity.

We maintain, however, that belief in the earlier Prophets is to no avail to those who reject the latest Prophet who was sent to them. For example, those among the Children of Israel who rejected Moses (peace be upon him) were unbelievers, no matter how much faith they might have had in the teachings of Jacob or Joseph (peace be upon them). Likewise, whoever rejects Muhammad (peace be upon him) after his Message comes to them; they are unbelievers, whether they are Jews, Christians, or adherents of some other faith.

It follows that the Qur’ân takes precedence over all the previous scriptures and abrogates them, even if some of those scriptures were to reach us in their original form without any alterations or corruptions.

Therefore, we see it as our duty as the followers of the final Prophet to convey the religion of God to humanity.

We see it as the right of every living person to hear this Message. They must be given the opportunity to understand it correctly, to contemplate it, and look into every aspect of it. The decision that we make regarding our relationship to God is the greatest decision that we make in our lives, since our success in this world and the Hereafter hinges upon it.

For this reason, we assert that no one has the right to prevent others from hearing this Message or giving it their full consideration. We maintain that this is necessary so that people can make their own decision about it, free from any constraint or compulsion.

We ask everyone to think carefully about what we are saying in this letter and to explore further the matters touched upon herein, so that they can make an informed decision. We wish to do our duty of conveying the Message clearly, accurately, and in all frankness.

We maintain that the Message of Islam is the truth in the most absolute possible meaning of the word and that it is from God. However, we also believe that it is the right of every person to be completely free in making his or her decision about it. It is within our power to embellish what we are saying and make it more agreeable to a wide spectrum of people, as it is also within our power to present Islam as just one option among a number of equally alluring alternatives. However, we recognize that, though such an approach is recommended for certain matters of human interest, it would be a dereliction of our duty to God and to humanity to do so here. We are here conveying the Message of our Creator, not our own thoughts and opinions.

It is our duty to our Lord, to our Messenger, and to all humanity that we tell the people about the Messenger who was sent with the final Message. Whoever believes in this Messenger thereby believes the religion that he brought from his Lord and whoever rejects him rejects that religion.

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Who is God’s Final Messenger?
God selected for His Messenger Muhammad the son of `Abd Allah the son of `Abd al-Muttalib. He was from the clan of Banû Hâshim within the tribe of Quraysh, the noblest house in Arabia, a lineage that stretched back to the Prophets Ishmael and Abraham (peace be upon them both). He was known by his people for his impeccable character and sharp intellect as well as for his honorable bloodline.

Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born in Mecca in the lunar month of Rabî` al-Awwal during the year 570 AD. He was born an orphan. His grandfather `Abd al-Muttalib, who was at that time Mecca’s leading nobleman, assumed custody of him.

When he was only six years of age, his mother passed away. Soon afterwards his grandfather died. Abû Tâlib, his uncle, then assumed custody of Muhammad (peace be upon him). He loved his nephew immensely.

Muhammad (peace be upon him) grew up in his uncle’s care. As a child, he worked as a shepherd. Then as he grew older, he worked with his uncle as a merchant. During his childhood, it became evident that God took special care of him.

He earned the respect of his people. He was known for his blessed character, his noble behavior, his impeccable manners, his honesty, his trustworthiness, and his unwavering justice. He was respected for his manliness, his insights, and his keen intellect.

God protected him from the deplorable customs and idolatry of his people who were steeped in ignorance. His people had originally been on the monotheistic religion of Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them both), but they had long since corrupted their faith just like the Christians and Jews had done.

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Muhammad the Prophet
In the year 610 AD, when Muhammad reached the age of forty, he began loving solitude. He would go to a cave outside of Mecca and worship his Lord. Though he did not realize it at the time, God was preparing him for the great burdens that he was going to have to assume.

In the month of Ramadan of that year, the angel Gabriel approached him while he was in seclusion in the cave with prophecy from his Lord as that angel had done for the Messengers who came before him. Gabriel recited to him some verses of the Qur’ân. It was the first time the word of God was heard on Earth since the departure of Jesus (peace be upon him).

“Read in the name of your Lord who created, created the human being from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. He who teaches by way of the pen; Who teaches man what he knew not.”

These verses proclaimed at the dawn of this religion that it would be a religion of knowledge, of culture, and of civilization. Its first command was to “read” and it extolled the use of the pen, reading and writing being the two skills that enable humanity to learn and teach and build their civilizations.

This turn of events was quite frightening to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He returned home and his wife consoled him, reassuring him that God would never abandon a man like him who upheld his ties of kinship, helped the poor and destitute, was generous to his guests, and came to the aid of those in distress.

He was then consoled by Waraqah b. Nawfal who was a man from his people who had knowledge of the previous religions and knew that those religions foretold his coming.

Revelation continued to come to Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the form of verses from the Qur’ân. Among these verses were those commanding him to covey the Message to others and to bear patiently the abuses he was to receive from the people when he did so. At first, he conveyed his Message discreetly. Those who knew him the best were the most ready to accept Islam, because they knew more than anyone else how honest, trustworthy, and intelligent he was and they were aware of how blessed his life was. Among these first Muslims were his wife Khadîjah, his close friend Abû Bakr, and his cousin `Alî the son of Abû Tâlib.

Thereafter, he proclaimed his Message openly in the markets and other places of public assembly. He called to Islam, reciting the Qur’ân. He commanded them to believe in God alone and to worship no one else. He spoke against the evils of idolatry and the falsehood of their belief that God had partners and children. He also called them to wholesome living and spoke against immoral behavior. He called them to honesty, generosity, justice, mercy, and forgiveness. He taught them that people must fulfill their trusts, be modest and chaste, honor their parents, be charitable, and help the weak and oppressed.

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The Persecution Suffered by the Muslims
Though his followers increased daily, so did his enemies. As their hatred grew, they worked increasingly to suppress his Message. Fearing that more people would accept the new faith, they began to lie about him, calling his a magician, a soothsayer, and a poet. They started persecuting those who accepted Islam, torturing and killing many of them. Matters grew so severe that many were forced to emigrate to Ethiopia as refugees.

The unbelievers of Mecca then placed a strict boycott on the Muslims and anyone who tried to help them or protect them. No one was allowed to buy anything from them or sell anything to them. No one was allowed to contract a marriage with any one of them. They were confined to one small area of Mecca. This boycott lasted for three years. It was so severe that the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers were often forced by hunger to eat the leaves off the trees and the bones of animals.

In spite of all the abuse, the slanders, the mockery, and the torture that the unbelievers in Mecca meted out, nothing grieved the Prophet (peace be upon him) more than their persistence in unbelief. In the Qur’ân, God speaks about the state the Prophet (peace be upon him) was in during this time.

“Then maybe you will kill yourself with grief, sorrowing after them, if they do not believe in this Message.”

God, in the Qur’ân, consoles him, telling him that their rejection is not because they truly disbelieve, but it is their pride and arrogance that prevents them from accepting faith. God then tells him that this is the way it always was whenever a Messenger came to his people.

“We know indeed the grief which their words cause you. It is not you they reject, but the signs of God which the wicked condemn. Messengers indeed have been denied before you, and they were patient under the denial and the persecution until Our help reached them. There is none who can alter the words of God. Already there has reached you some of the tidings of the Messengers We sent before).”

His people did everything in their power to deter him from his Message. They tried persecution and torture. They demanded miracles from him. Then, when some of these miracles took place, they just demanded even more.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) merely grew in patience and resolve. He continued to show mercy to his tormenters, hoping that faith would enter their hearts. He never once wished God to send down His punishment upon them.

Both his wife Khadijah and his uncle Abû Tâlib died during the boycott. They had been his strongest supporters. Khadîjah had been the first person to believe in him. She assisted him with her good counsel and financial support. Abû Tâlib had used his considerable power and prestige within the tribe to protect his nephew. Their deaths grieved the Prophet (peace be upon him) and caused the persecution from his enemies to grow even stronger.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) started reaching out to the other Arab tribes that came to Mecca and called them to Islam. He met with nothing but rejection, because of the strong opposition that came from his own people who made sure to spread their lies to the other tribes before the Prophet (peace be upon him) had a chance to meet with them.

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Emigration from Mecca to Madinah
The Prophet (peace be upon him) spent ten years like this without finding support from any of the Arab tribes. Then during the pilgrimage season, he was approached by a delegation from the tribes of al-Aws and al-Khazraj from the city of Madinah which was situated a little more than 400 kilometers north of Mecca. The prophet (peace be upon him) presented Islam to them and they accepted it and they pledged their allegiance to him on the basis of the Message that he brought from their Creator. After performing the pilgrimage, they returned to Madinah and began calling their people to Islam with considerable success. The following year, a much larger delegation came to the Prophet, accepted Islam, and pledged their support.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) then commanded his followers in Mecca to emigrate to Madinah where they could escape the persecution that had become unbearable to them and practice their religion freely. They also went to teach Islam to their new brethren in faith in Madinah and to call others to it.

This was the third time that Muslims emigrated from Mecca. Twice before, some Muslims were forced to immigrate to Ethiopia. Now they were all going to Madinah.

The Muslims of Mecca left their beloved homeland, leaving behind their homes, their families, and their property. They sacrificed their worldly concerns for the opportunity to live according to their faith, please their Lord, and attain salvation and the rewards of the Hereafter.

They had to leave Mecca stealthily, individually and in small groups, since the unbelievers of Mecca had every intention of preventing them from doing so. The Meccans were well aware that the consequence of the emigration would be the establishment of a state based on Islam in Madinah.

After most of the Muslims had immigrated to Madinah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was permitted by God to do so as well. He had spent thirteen years in Mecca calling people to Islam.

The Meccans were very concerned about his attempting to emigrate and did everything in their power to prevent him from doing so. They went so far as to try and assassinate him. God, however, protected him and made it possible for him to leave Mecca accompanied by his dearest friend Abû Bakr.

They reached the outskirts of Madinah at a place known as Qubâ’ on the morning of Monday, the 12th of the lunar month of Rabî` al-Awwal, corresponding to September 20, 622 AD. The Muslims received them there, both the emigrants and the native al-Aws and al-Khazraj. They had heard about his successful departure from Mecca and were waiting expectantly for his arrival. The day of his arrival was an auspicious and historical day for the Muslims. The year of his emigration marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.

The first thing he did when he arrived in Madinah was to build a mosque and his house beside it. He instructed his companions to make neither the house nor the mosque luxurious, but to build them like the mud hut that Moses (peace be upon him) lived in. The Prophet (peace be upon him) worked alongside his companions in the construction effort, carrying the mud bricks and setting them in place.

The Islamic state was established in Madinah. The call to prayer was first made from its mosque, heralding the founding of a nation that pleased the Lord. This call was tied in with prayer, one of the five pillars of the religion of Islam. The first pillar of Islam is the testimony that there is no God but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God. The second is prayer. The others are alms, fasting during the lunar month of Ramadan, and making pilgrimage to the house of God in Mecca.

Shortly after his arrival, most of the inhabitants of Madinah who had not yet embraced Islam entered into the faith. There were two groups who did not accept Islam. The first of these were the hypocrites who embraced Islam openly while secretly harboring unbelief in their hearts. They hid their unbelief because of Islam’s strength but made every clandestine effort to work against it. Though they were few in number, they were very dangerous to the Muslims. They were like a hidden sickness and they were always willing to act in collusion with the Muslims’ external enemies, acting as spies and sources of intelligence.

The other groups of non-Muslims were the Jewish tribes who inhabited Madinah. They recognized the Prophet (peace be upon him) for who he was and had no doubt that he was the final Messenger of God, since this had been foretold to them in their scriptures. However, they were taken aback that this Messenger came from the progeny of Ishmael instead of from themselves. They saw themselves as God’s chosen people and that all other people were supposed to be servile to them. They had consequently been heedless of the description of the Prophet found in their own scriptures. They were equally heedless of the fact that they were obliged to accept the Prophet chosen by God no matter what ethnic group or lineage he came from. They also failed to grasp that there was no relationship between the ethnicity of this Messenger and his universal Message that was meant for all humanity without making any distinctions on the basis of color, nationality, or language. Out of bigotry, envy and rancor, the Jews became some of Islam ’s most ardent enemies, except for a handful of them whose eyes and hearts became open to the truth so they embraced Islam, seeking the good of both this life and the Hereafter.

All this meant that the difficulties of conveying the Message did not decrease after the Muslims emigrated to Madinah. The Meccans were still doing whatever they could to hinder Islam. They were now being assisted in their efforts by the hypocrites and the Jews in Madinah. The Prophet, in turn, was no less concerned about the guidance and salvation of all of these people. He expended every effort to guide them, showing the utmost mercy and wisdom in doing so. He presented the arguments that his Lord revealed to them and was supported by the miracles that God brought forth at his hands.

With the continued aggression being meted out to the Muslims, they felt that it was time that they were allowed to defend themselves. After coming to Madinah, they were united and were stronger than before. During their thirteen years of persecution in Mecca, they were not allowed to lift a finger against their enemies, even when they themselves were being killed. They knew that conflict was inevitable, since they knew from history that the people of falsehood would never leave the people of truth in peace, and the people of truth would have no recourse but to defend themselves. They also knew that it was their duty to spread the truth to those who were ignorant of it and who would readily accept if once they come to know of it. As for the truth itself, they knew that it was supported by God, for He says:

“Fain would they put out the light of God with their mouths, but God will perfect His light however much the unbelievers may detest it. It is He Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that He may proclaim it over all religions, even though the idolaters may detest it.”

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Permission to Fight
After the emigration from Mecca to Madinah, God permitted the Muslims to fight. This permission was revealed in the most eloquent manner in a number of verses of the Qur’ân that show the justice behind the permission to fight. It is clarified that the reason for this permission is the aggression from which the Muslims had to suffer and from which they were still suffering, though they did nothing to deserve this aggression but to say “Our Lord is God” without lifting a finger against anyone, though they were in the right. After establishing the justice for their right to fight, the Qur’ân goes on to say that the fight between truth and falsehood is the natural order of the world and that it is not something new. Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, and many other Prophets (peace be upon them all) had fighting enjoined upon them. This is a point of faith shared by the Jews, Christians, and Muslims. It is mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel that is read by the Jews and Christians up to this day. Then, most importantly, the objective of fighting is stated and that is so the religion of God may be allowed to flourish on Earth. No worldly objective is allowed. Then it concludes with mentioning that all the Prophets faced the same rejection and resistance and that success was ultimately theirs.

“Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely God is well able to assist them; Those who have been expelled from their homes without a just cause except that they say: ‘Our Lord is God’. And were it not for God repelling some people by others, certainly monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques in which Gods name is much remembered would have surely been pulled down; and surely God will help those who help His cause; most surely God is Strong, Mighty. Those who, should We establish them in the land, will keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and enjoin good and forbid evil; and to God is the end of affairs. If they reject you, so did the peoples before them (reject their Prophets),- the People of Noah, and Âd and Thamûd; and the people of Abraham and Lot; And) the dwellers in Midian. And Moses was denied; but I indulged the disbelievers a long while, then I seized them, and how terrible was My rejection of them.”

These are the circumstances under which jihad was permitted. The verses mentioned above are the verses that revealed this permission. From them it is clear that jihad only exists so people can defend themselves against falsehood and be free to disseminate the truth.

Jihad is for two reasons and two reasons only:

1. Defending the inalienable rights of the human being. These include life, religion, honor, wealth, and a homeland. No one can object to the legitimacy and justice of these rights except those who desire to enslave others and deny them their freedom.

2. Spreading the message of truth to those who are prevented from hearing it. It is the duty of the nation established on truth to ensure that others have the right to hear the Message. A nation established on falsehood works hard to suppress what they know to be the truth from their Lord. They deny this truth out of arrogance and are unwilling to allow a nation established on truth to thrive or to spread the Message of their Lord while they have the power to prevent it. This is because they are aware that they are on falsehood and that their falsehood will not survive when exposed to the light of truth. Therefore, they make sure that the people are prevented from hearing the message of truth, fearing that many of them will accept it. Under such circumstances, it becomes the duty of a nation established on truth to confront those that suppress the truth and ensure that people will be able to freely learn about the true religion of God.

The conquests of Islam have never been to coerce people into changing their religion. As Muslims, we believe it is wrong to do so. We believe it is as wrong to coerce people into accepting Islam as it is for other nations to repress it.

Islam forbids us to force people to abandon their faith. This is not because we accept those other faiths to be legitimate. It is our belief that all other religions beside Islam are unacceptable. However, a person cannot be forced to change what he believes in his heart. Enticement and coercion are not the means by which a person attains faith. True faith can only come about by way of personal conviction; therefore, a person must be free to choose what he believes. He must have the opportunity to ponder the evidence and make an informed decision.

The campaigns that took place in Islam were only against those nations that prevented their people from hearing about Islam or accepting it. The objective of jihad in this case was merely to give people access to the Message and afford them the opportunity to make their own decision in an atmosphere of religious freedom where they would not be pressured by anyone. This is the meaning of the verse: “And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for God. But if they cease, then truly God sees all that they do.”

The overarching principle governing these matters is articulated by the following verses of the Qur’ân:

“There is no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error. So whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things. God is the Protector of those who have faith. From the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light. Those who reject faith, their patrons are the evil ones. From light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness. They will be denizens of the fire, to dwell therein.”

These verses make it quite clear that there is no role for coercion in a person’s acceptance of faith. However, it also makes it clear that the reason for this is that truth is clear. Therefore, a free choice can only be made in the presence of choices. For people to choose truth, the Message of truth must be freely accessible. When the truth is not made clear, then there really is no choice to be made. In circumstances where people are prevented access to the truth, they are being compelled in their beliefs though they are most probably unaware of it.

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The Campaigns of the Prophet
The first armed conflict between truth and falsehood occurred a roughly year and a half after the Muslims emigrated from Mecca to Madinah. The battle took place about 155 kilometers south of Madinah in a place called Badr.

To understand the reason this battle took place, we must be aware of the fact that when the Muslims left for Madinah, the Meccans unlawfully confiscated all of their wealth and property, adding it to their own wealth and taking a good portion of the Muslims’ wealth along with them for sale on their annual caravan journey to Syria. We must also keep in mind that there were still a number of Muslims in Mecca who were not able to emigrate and continued to suffer considerable abuse.

Madinah, wherein the Muslims had become a united force, was situated very close to the trade route between Mecca and Syria. The Prophet (peace be upon him) saw it as appropriate to attack them on the economic front by targeting this important trade route while at the same time reclaiming for the Muslims some of the property that was taken from them. If they could teach the Meccans a lesson and expose to them their economic vulnerability, it might cause the Meccans to decrease the injustices that they were still carrying out against the Muslims.

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) learned that the Meccan trade caravan was nearing Madinah on its way back from Syria, he commanded his companions to go out and meet it. However, the Meccans got word of the Muslims’ advance and were able to divert their caravan in time. When news of this reached Mecca, it was not well received. They considered the Muslims’ attempt to reclaim their property a presumptuous insult. The Meccans did not permit the caravan to return, but instead mobilized an army to meet the Muslims.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) learned of their advance and remained in Badr. The Meccan army was considerable and it advanced with great pomp and circumstance. They vastly outnumbered the Muslims, but in spite of this were decisively defeated. This was the first military victory of Islam.

A year later, the Meccans mobilized a force to attack Madinah directly, seeking revenge for their defeat at Badr. The advancing Meccan army that the Muslims went out to meet at the mountain of Uhud was three times as large as the Muslim army. Initially, the Muslims were able to drive the Meccans back with ease, but the Meccans were ultimately able to inflict heavy casualties on the Muslims before returning back to Mecca.

In this was a lesson for the Muslims: that people on the truth can face material defeat. Christians may well remember the persecution that they suffered at the hands of the pagan Roman Caesars in the early years of Christianity. The Christians were slandered and accused of the most atrocious things and the Romans used their considerable wealth and the machinery of state to justify their cruelty, but this did not make the pagan religion of the Romans true or the faith of the Christians false. We must also recall what the Jews suffered at the hands of the Pharaoh.

The weakness exhibited by the Muslims in Uhud emboldened their enemies throughout Arabia. Many Muslims who had gone out to propagate the faith among the various tribes were killed.

During this time, the Jewish tribe of Banû al-Nadîr in Madinah broke their treaty with the Muslims and turned against them. The Muslims were able to contain this threat that erupted within Madinah and lay siege to Banû al-Nadîr until they agreed to leave Madinah. A similar attempt at treachery had already been attempted by the Jewish tribe of Banû Qaynuqâ’ after the Muslims returned from Badr, which also resulted in that tribe being expelled from Madinah.

In the fifth year of after the emigration, the Arab tribe of Banû al-Mustalaq decided to advance against the Muslims. This tribe lived roughly 100 kilometers north of Mecca. They were allied to the Meccans, and had participated in the Battle of Uhud. The tribe was prestigious among the pagan Arabs since they were the custodians of one of the Arab’s chief idols, Manâh. The Prophet (peace be upon him) decided to make a preemptive strike against them in which the Muslims were victorious. This battle again made the Muslims a force to reckon with in Arabia.

The Meccans reacted to this by calling upon all the tribes of Arabia to join with them in a decisive attack on the Muslims in Madinah that would put an end to the Muslims once and for all. They managed in this way to mobilize the massive army that they wanted. The army was united only by the tribes’ commitment to idolatry and was ten times larger than the army that had gone to Badr.

The Muslims learned from Uhud that the zeal which caused them to go out to meet the enemy was going to be of no benefit to them, so they decided to stay in Madinah and benefit from the protective ring of mountains that surrounded it. Madinah was only exposed on one side and the Muslims decided to dig a trench between the mountains on that side of the city to completely fortify it. Everyone, including the Prophet, participated in digging the trench and it was completed in an astoundingly short time.

The battle that ensued is known in history as the Battle of the Trench, or alternatively, the Battle of the Confederate Tribes. The trench took the confederate army by surprise. Whenever any of them tried to breach the trench, they were driven back by a volley of arrows from the Muslim archers. Nevertheless, the Arabs continued the siege of Madinah for 24 days. During this time the Muslims suffered from hunger and more seriously from the insurrection of the remaining Jewish tribe in Madinah, Banû Qurayzah. Banû Qurayzah decided to wage war against the Muslims from their position within the protective ring of mountains surrounding Madinah. They also attempted to facilitate entry of the Arab army from their location.

The Muslims remained resolute and put their faith in God. The Arab tribal army ultimately wearied of the siege, especially after being forced to endure a long spell of harsh weather. Their alliance broke up and tribe after tribe departed for home. The Meccans were among the last to leave.

The Muslims, against all odds, were victorious. The Meccans showed themselves to be incapable of defeating the Muslims. The only thing that remained was to deal with Banû Qurayzah.

That tribe had broken its treaty with the Muslims in the most horrible way possible. They had clearly attempted to eradicate the Muslims and had come close to realizing their goal. They were clearly the most dangerous threat the Muslims had to deal with simply because of their proximity to Madinah.

The Muslims laid siege to Banû Qurayzah for 25 days until they finally surrendered, agreeing to allow a Muslim who had a covenant with them to decide their affair. They assumed that this man, Sa`d b. Mu`âdh, would show them more mercy than anyone else. However, he decreed what they deserved to receive for their treason. He ruled that every man among them capable of bearing arms should be killed and that the women and children should be taken as captives. In total, about 400 men were killed.

It should come as no surprise that the Jews objected to this sentence. Few criminals are pleased with the punishments they receive for their crimes, no matter how just that punishment might be. The situation becomes more aggravated when the parties concerned are enemies. What is surprising, however, is that objective people could raise any objection to what happened in spite of what is mentioned in the Torah about the battles of the Prophets (peace be upon them) and the number of people that the Torah claims were killed at their hands and in spite of the number of civilian casualties, including women and children, that have been justified during wars in recent history.

A year after the Battle of the Trench, the Prophet (peace be upon him) departed to Mecca with 1,400 of his companions with the intention of making pilgrimage. When the Meccans heard of this, they considered it a great insult and an attempt to belittle them, especially considering the humiliating defeat they suffered the previous year. At the same time, they were cognizant of the fact that they had no right to prevent people from visiting the Sacred House and knew that the other Arabs would take objection to their doing so.

When the Muslims reached Hudaybiyah which was roughly 22 kilometers from Mecca, the Meccans declared that they were forbidden from entering the city, but they entered into negotiations with the Prophet (peace be upon him). This was the first time the Meccans gave any formal recognition to the Muslim presence in Arabia. The Meccans had formerly rejected any concession to the Prophet (peace be upon him), but now circumstances forced them to initiate negotiations.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was more than pleased with this concession itself and contented himself with the severe wound to their pride and reputation that their negotiating with him brought them. He, therefore, accepted in the treaty that was drawn up conditions that appeared very harsh towards the Muslims. In fact, it was a moral victory for the Muslims since it dispelled the notions that the unbelievers had been advancing for so long and opened the door for the Muslims to freely propagate Islam.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) made use of this opportunity to expand the reach of Islam’s message. During this time, he even called the kings of foreign lands to Islam.

In the eighth year of after the emigration from Mecca, the Romans began massing a number of forces in their Arab satellite state that was situated in what is now Syria and Jordan and that exhibited hostility towards the Muslims. The Prophet (peace be upon him) organized a force of three thousand men under the leadership of Usâmah b. Zayd to deal with this new threat. The two armies met in Mu’tah in what is now southern Jordan. The combined Roman and Arab forces numbered 200,000 to the Muslims’ 3,000. The Muslims fought fiercely and heroically. After the death of three generals, leadership of the Muslim army was assumed by Khâlid b. Walîd who saw that continuing to fight would only result in the small Muslim army being exterminated. He crafted his retreat that made it seem like he was baiting them and had reinforcements waiting to attack. Because of this, the enemy army did not pursue them and the Muslims were able to return from such an ominous confrontation with minimal casualties.

Later the same year, the Meccans broke their treaty with the Muslims by assisting some of their allies in attacking a tribe aligned with the Muslims. Moreover, the Meccans did not even attempt to make amends and renew the treaty until much later after learning that the Muslims were mobilizing an army against them.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was able to mobilize an army of ten thousand men, indicating just how many people converted to Islam since the treaty of Hudaybiyah. He managed to keep the Meccans in ignorance of how large the army was.

When the Meccans became aware of the army advancing towards them, they pleaded for the treaty to be renewed. Some of them came forward and announced their acceptance of Islam.

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his army arrived at Mecca, he dispatched a message to them that he would not fight anyone who did not attack them. He announced that whoever entered his home, the mosque, or Abû Sufyân’s house would be safe. Abû Sufyân was at that time the leader of Quraysh.

In 630 AD, the Prophet (peace be upon him) entered Mecca with his army and met with almost no resistance. He did not enter Mecca as a conqueror, but he entered it humbly with his head bowed. He announced that all hostilities must cease. He stood in front of the Sacred House with his enemies of more than twenty years gathered around him, all of them fearing revenge. He addressed them saying: “What do you expect me to do with you?”

They replied in fear and trepidation: “Good. You are a noble brother and the son of a noble brother.”

He replied: “There will be no reproach on you today. May God forgive you all.”

These were the battles of the Prophet (peace be upon him). They were not fought for revenge or to enslave or break the will of the people. They were not waged for worldly gain. If he had responded in kind to the Meccans, it would have been just. But the Prophet (peace be upon him) preferred forbearance.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) returned to Madinah and continued to convey the Message of his Lord. He passed away on the ninth of June, 632 AD at he age of 63. He had spent 23 of those years calling people to Islam.

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Some Evidence for Muhammad Being a Messenger of God
All Prophets come with signs and evidences furnished by God that they truly are what they claim to be. Among these signs are miracles witnessed by the people that defy the laws of nature.

Generally, miracles are experienced only by the people who were there when the miracle actually occurred. God, however, furnished the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with a miracle that would endure for all time. That miracle is the Qur’ân. It is appropriate that the final Messenger should have an enduring miracle, since his Message is binding on Creation until the Last Day.

The Qur’ân is the revealed word of God that God has preserved from corruption. The Qur’ân reads: “Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian.” “No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it. It is sent down by One Full of Wisdom, Worthy of Praise.”

In the Qur’ân, God challenges the Arabs to produce something like it. “Say: ‘If the whole of humanity and the Jinn were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’ân, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.”

This challenge was reduced even further to the point where only one chapter of the Qur’ân was needed: “And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides God if you are truthful. But if you do not do it, and never shall you do it, then fear the fire whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the unbelievers.”

This is Islam’s eternal miracle. The challenge remains open and unmet to this very day. There are many aspects of the Qur’ân’s miraculous inimitability. Among these are its eloquence and its style.

The Arabs were given this challenge and they were the masters of their language and were well known for their eloquence. Not one of them, however, could produce a single chapter comparable to the Qur’ân.

Today, we are conveying this challenge once again to all humanity. This challenge has stood for over 1400 years and continues to be a testimony to the truth of the Qur’ân and the Messenger who brought it. The enemies of Islam have always had in this challenge a perfect opportunity to prove Islam false. They definitely had enough reason to try. It would have surely been much less strenuous for them to pick up the pen and write then to pick up the sword and die trying to suppress Islam. It would have been far less costly than the time and money they spent on fighting against Islam.

We feel that by conveying this challenge we have done our duty. It becomes the duty of the one who hears it to hear the Qur’ân in its entirety and not to rely on unbelievers for their information but go directly to the source.

Another proof that Muhammad (peace be upon his) is God’s Messenger is the strength of the religion that he was sent with and the fact that it has been preserved from corruption. We can see all the scholarly disciplines that developed around it over the ages and how Islam was able to respond to all the changes that took place throughout history. Islam has retained its strength while the Muslim world has passed through periods of strength and weakness and of freedom and occupation.

Among the evidence that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a Prophet of God is the fact that his coming was foretold by the Prophets who came before. In their books and their statements they described him and his followers. They even mentioned him by name. The Qur’ân states this fact in the following verses:

“And when Jesus the son of Mary said: ‘O Children of Israel! Lo! I am the Messenger of God unto you, confirming that which was revealed before me in the Torah and bringing glad tidings of a Messenger who cometh after me, whose name shall be the Praised One.’ Yet when he hath come unto them with clear proofs, they say: This is mere magic.”

“Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel which are with them. He will enjoin on them that which is right and forbid them that which is wrong. He will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit for them only the foul; and he will relieve them of their burden and the fetters that they used to wear. Then those who believe in him, and honor him, and help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him: they will be the ones to prosper.”

In spite of the distortions and deletions made by some Jewish rabbis and Christian priests to their sacred texts, and in spite of the incorrect interpretations they imposed on them, there still remains within those texts enough to establish the proof of Muhammad (peace be upon him) being a prophet of God. To highlight a few of the places in their texts wherein his coming is foretold, we request from you to look at the following: Deuteronomy [33:1] and [18:15-19], Isaiah [42:1-5], Habakkuk [3:3], Song of Solomon [72:1-19], John [14:16] and [14:26], and 1John [2:1].

Another proof that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a prophet of God is the history of his mission, the events of his life, the success of his followers, and how swiftly Islam spread throughout the nations of the world.

The attributes of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his mode of conduct show us that he was truly a prophet of God. He was, in every aspect of his character, an exemplary human being and history has never witnessed anyone else like him.

He was of good appearance and was always neatly dressed, preferring to wear white. He was clean and commanded others to observe cleanliness. When a person approached him and told him that he liked to wear nice clothes and nice shoes, the prophet (peace be upon him) replied by saying: “God is beautiful and He loves beauty.” He was of impeccable taste and had a discriminating palate, but was never ostentatious or frivolous. He said: “A son of Adam can fill no vessel worse than his stomach It is enough for him to eat enough to keep him standing straight. If he must consume more, then he may fill a third of his stomach with food, a third with drink, and a third should be left for air.” His manners were refined and he was well spoken. He was cheerful and would greet people with a smile. Those who met him liked him instantly and would never tire of his company or conversation. In fact, those who sat in his company would often forget everything else in the world while they were with him. They felt in awe of his presence, not because he was powerful like a king or despot, but because of the strength of his character and his devotion to God.

One of his most pronounced character traits was his capacity for mercy. He had great love and compassion for the poor and preferred to sit and partake of meals in their company. He showed great empathy for the sick and would go out of his way to help them. He would not leave a sick person or a child in need without fulfilling that need. He showed mercy to the orphans and encouraged people to care for them. He had great affection for children and would often carry babies and make them laugh. He taught his followers that children had the right to play and to be humored.

His mercy extended even to animals. He commanded his followers to be kind to the animals in their care and prohibited abusing them He instructed that animals used for food should be slaughtered carefully and with compassion. He reprimanded a man for overburdening his camel and failing to give it sufficient nourishment. He also informed us that a woman once was consigned to Hell for her mistreatment of a cat. She had locked it up and denied it food until it starved to death. Conversely, a prostitute received God’s forgiveness and entered heaven because she showed pity on a thirsty dog and gave it water. Once he was asked if people were rewarded for the good treatment they gave to animals. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “For every creature possessing a liver there is a reward.”

Added to his mercy was his courage. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was among the most courageous of people. His was not the courage of tyrants but a courage that stemmed from faith in the promise of God. It was the courage of someone who lived according to the religion of God and considered the pleasure of God more important than life itself. He was always present in the battlefield during war, and when things became severe, he would be seen fighting in the front lines. He would remain firm even when other brave men would turn to flee.

He never hesitated in the face of falsehood and never ceased to call to the truth, even when most of the people of the Earth were opposed to him. He never wavered on any of his principles but continued to enjoin what was right and forbid what was wrong.

He was also very forgiving to those who wronged him. He never became angry or hateful on a personal level. No matter how greatly someone wronged him when he was weak, he would show that person clemency when he was in a position of power. He would accept excuses even when he knew that the one making the excuse was lying. He would even make excuses for those who wronged him and did not offer excuses of their own.

He was the most generous of people. He gave in charity like a person who had no fear of poverty. He never once refused to give to someone who asked. He gave everything that came into his possession to the poor and the needy. He would prefer his guests to himself and the members of his household. He usually sufficed himself and his family with dates and water and months would sometimes go by without a cooking fire being lit in his house.

He was at the same time a most exemplary husband. He was very affectionate and caring. He was quick to overlooked mistakes. He never once hit one of his wives, nor did he ever raise his voice to them or ridicule them. He always showed kindness. He would indulge them in anything that was not sinful. He shared in the housework and took care of himself. He mended his own clothes and shoes. He always exhorted his male followers to be good to their wives and warned them against mistreating them. He made sure to do so during his greatest sermon which he gave during his farewell pilgrimage.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was kind to his servants. He commanded his followers not to overwork their servants and commanded that they must eat the same food that the members of the household eat and wear clothing of the same quality. Anas b. Mâlik said: “I worked as a servant for the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his residence and on his journeys. No matter what I did, he never once said to me: “Now why did you do that?” Likewise, no matter what I might have failed to do, he never once said to me: “Now why didn’t you do that?”

Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a man beating his slave. The Prophet said to him: “God is more capable of punishing you than you are of punishing him.”

Upon hearing this, the man stopped and said: “I set him free for the sake of God.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: “If you did not free him, you would have been touched by the fire.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was extremely shy and modest. He hated foul speech He never once uttered a foul word. He said: “A strong sense of shame is a good quality in every way.” He also said: “Nothing but good comes from having a strong sense of shame.”

He was also very humble. He taught his followers: “None will enter Paradise who has within his heart an atom’s weight of pride.” He used to sit on the floor and eat. He forbade his companions from standing in honor when he entered the room. When he walked, he never expected anyone to move out of the way. He never allowed himself to stand out in his dress or his steed. He never seated himself in a place of honor when he was in the company of others.

Above all of these qualities was his devotion to God. He immersed himself in worship and eschewed the pleasures of the world. The remembrance and praise of God was always on his lips. He always sought the forgiveness of his Lord. His reverence of God often brought him to tears. He fasted so much that it sometimes seemed that he never went a day without fasting. He spent long stretches of the night standing in prayer until his ankles would swell. When he was asked why he worshipped so much when God had forgiven him all of his past and future sins, he replied: “Should I not then be a grateful servant?”

These are just a few of his noble qualities. There is no way we can do justice to him in such a short time. The combination of worldly and spiritual perfection that he exhibited was a miracle in and of itself and a testimony to his truly being a prophet of God.

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Conclusion
What we have just presented is an extremely brief account of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the life that he led. It is what we wish to present to the world. Some people may find it surprising that they never knew these things about Muhammad (peace be upon him) before reading this. One reason for this is our being deficient in our duty to spread the Message. Another factor, however, is that there are those who wish to keep this truth from the people, who do everything they can to misinform them and keep them away from it.

We would like to remind all people that among the obstacles that keep people from accepting the truth are treating traditions and customs as sacred, harboring bigotry for one’s own people, and being unable to admit to one’s mistakes. We must be objective in our decisions and not allow ourselves to be prejudiced.

We must also be aware that our vain desires and the pursuit of pleasure can distract us from the truth or make us averse to accepting it. We need to bear in mind that God did not create us in vain. He knows what is best for us and has brought us Islam as the only means of attaining true and enduring happiness.

Whoever is concerned with attaining true success should consider well what is written here and do justice to it. We are confident that whoever studies this matter properly and seeks the help of God to overcome all obstacles will find the truth and, by the grace of God, accept it.

Whoever embraces Islam, regardless of his or her ethnicity, race, or country of origin, should help to share this Message with the rest of humanity.

“This is a clear Message for humanity in order that they may be warned thereby, and that they may know that He is only One God, and that people of understanding may take heed.”

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