The message of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) for the world
At the time when the noble Prophet (ﷺ) was sent to the world, there were no graveyards or desolation in the world. Everything was running more or less as usual. Trade, agriculture, business, and governments were all functioning, and the people leading these different aspects of life were content with their own ways of living. They did not feel the need for any change. Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala did not approve of this arrangement among the people at that time. That’s why Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala sent His last Prophet to establish a Muslim community.
If the Muslims were only born for trade, then the people of Mecca who were engaged in trade with Syria and Yemen had the right to ask what trade the Muslims were bringing that they were standing up for. If the only need was to be a cog in the machinery of the world and to manage offices for wages, then the people of Rome and Persia could ask what need there was for them because they had enough to manage their responsibilities. However, Muslims were actually being created for entirely new and distinct work that no one else in the world was offering or could offer. That’s why Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala said, ‘You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind. You enjoin good and forbid evil, and you believe in Allah.’ To achieve this purpose, the Companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) endured losses in business, gave up their farms, and accepted a life of hardship. They integrated their trade into the bigger picture, turned their farms into desolation, and called their comfort prosperity. For these goals and a comfortable life, there was no need for sacrifices. The path to these objectives was easy and without danger. There was no conflict with the world, nor was there any opposition to these goals among the people of Mecca. These are the things that were presented multiple times to the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and the Muslims and are the essence of today’s Muslims. Each time, the callers of Islam discouraged them from thinking. If today’s Muslims also wanted to return to this lifestyle and these goals, then those people who were ignorant at that time could have been convinced of success. It’s like overturning the initial history of Islam, and it is a proclamation that the invaluable blood that was shed at Badr, Hunain, and Qadisiyah was spilled unnecessarily. If the leaders of the Quraysh had the power to speak today, they would address the Muslims and say, ‘You are the same as before, and you have the same goals in life as before, so we cannot reply. Besides being ashamed, the Muslim community has no other choice.’ This was the concern of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) about the Muslims, that they should not be lost in the world and should not be seen on the general plane of the world. This is why he (ﷺ) said near his death in the sermon that the concern is not poverty and destitution, but the concern is that you do not lose the same opportunities in the world as the first people did.
In one’s life, certainty and merely a materialistic life is not an Islamic life
In any way, this cannot be the purpose of a Muslim’s life. Lawful occupations, a lawful means of livelihood, are by no means prohibited; rather, they are a means of worship and drawing close to Allah, as long as they are pursued with the intention of seeking reward, not merely as ends in themselves. This is the greatest message of the prophetic biography (Seerah) and it is for sincere Muslims. Neglecting it is a waste of its purpose, and turning a blind eye to it is the greatest reality presented by the prophetic biography (Seerah) to Muslims.
The era of the Prophet (ﷺ) in the contemporary context
What does the Prophet do that elevates him to such a high status?
Why is he necessary for human beings?
This narrative is filled with peril for the caravans of people traveling through the world. If they do not have the guidance of a prophet, a guide, then let’s understand this through a story. Once, the idea of a river journey struck some young people. They lived in a village near the river, and it was the rainy season. They were enthusiastic about taking a boat trip and enjoying the season. They arranged for a boat and embarked on the journey. They began conversing casually, and the river flowed smoothly. The atmosphere was imbued with the charm of the waves, affecting their mood.
They asked the boatman about his age, and he said he was 60 years old. One of the young men asked, “Have you studied anything?” The boatman replied, “I’ve been sailing boats since the beginning. I never had the opportunity to study.” In the midst of this conversation, another young man asked, “Uncle, have you studied geography?” The boatman touched his ears, feeling embarrassed, and said, “I’ve never even heard of it.”
The third one inquired, “Have you studied history?” The boatman, in a state of embarrassment, said, “What can I say? I’ve never heard of it.” They continued to ask about subjects like geometry and others, and the boatman was at a loss. He felt ashamed and embarrassed. One of the young men finally remarked, “Uncle, you have wasted your entire life.”
On hearing this, the boatman replied, “I have a question for all of you. Have you learned to swim?” They replied, “No, we haven’t learned to swim.” The boatman said, “Then, you have wasted your entire life. If the boat capsizes, I will swim to safety because the river is my home, and I am its fish. But what use are all the subjects you’ve studied if you can’t swim?”
So, the lesson here is that swimming is the only skill that will help you in this situation. All the other knowledge you’ve acquired will be of no use. This is a reflection of our entire life. We implore all the founders and creators of human knowledge, the scholars, philosophers, wise men, doctors, mathematicians, and scientists of the world. Oh, those who showcase the marvels of human intellect, those who unlock the treasures of the earth, those who break the stars of the sky, and those who reach the moon…
Understand that you are all in danger until you acquire the knowledge on which the foundation of life rests. It is due to the great purposes for which this human vessel is formed, the profound objectives on which the world stands. If you have not learned what the Prophet teaches, in addition to all that you have learned,
Then if he is an individual, he is in danger; if a nation, it is in danger; if civilization, it is in danger; if culture, it is in danger; if a center of knowledge, it is in danger; if leadership, it is in danger.
Although this example does not directly relate to the station of prophethood, its purpose is to convey that we lack the knowledge of our reality. We lack the knowledge of how vast and delicate life is. To navigate through the oceans of life, we need faith in fundamental truths and the strength to remain steadfast on them. We require cooperation and mutual support for our protection.
How to learn the art of crossing the seas of life is what the Prophets teach us. They do not make grand claims; instead, they say that the art of crossing the seas of life can be learned from us. If life is precious and if you want to live in this world like human beings, to understand the Creator of the universe, to be pleased with Him, then we are here. Allah has endowed us for this purpose.
The work of the Prophets is to announce that there is another world beyond this material one. The Creator of the universe is Allah. His essence is His attributes. His way is His system. If we have not understood all this in the way the Prophet has told us, then our lives will be in jeopardy, and certainly, all our achievements will be in vain.
Consider this: People in the world engage in various sciences, apply them in their lives, and confront the conflicting elements in the world. Why do they not clash with each other? Why does everything not deteriorate due to their contradictions? What is the role of reconciliation and cooperation in their protection? The Prophet does not make lofty claims; instead, he says that the art of crossing the seas of life can be learned from us.
If people like you who have immersed themselves in libraries and absorbed libraries into their minds are helpless in the face of the art of a sailor, then you were just as passive as the sailor in the face of the vast ocean of life. You were all passengers on the boat that the sailor knew how to navigate. You were unknown to this art.
The work of Prophethood, only the Prophet knows
The force behind all the sciences that people deride and acquire, that they apply in their lives, is a collaboration and cooperation. Why do they not collide with each other? Why does nothing go beyond its limits? There is a power behind all the created knowledge. The work of Prophethood is to announce that there is another world beyond this material one. The Creator of the universe is Allah. His essence is His attributes. His way is His system. If we have not understood all this as the Prophet has told us, then our lives will be in jeopardy, and certainly, all our achievements will be in vain.