By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal
When he lived among men and walked in the inhospitable streets of Makkah, they called him a liar, a soothsayer, a poet, a man possessed. When he invited them to reflect on the Message revealed to him that he may call people to the Straight Path chosen by their Creator for their own success, they called him a forger. When he warned them of the consequences of their denial and arrogance, they taunted him: “Bring on that which you promise, so that we know you speak truth”.
They ridiculed him, called him names, tortured those who believed in his message, and finally drove him out of the sanctified city where his ancestors had lived for centuries. Then the One Who had sent him to all humanity with a final message helped him. He was invited to an oasis between the tracts of two lava hills where people flocked to him, loved and respected him, and where he lived among men and women who held him dearer than all else, men and women who were ready to sacrifice everything they had for his sake. “May my father and mother be thy ransom, O Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم,” they would habitually say. But he demanded nothing for himself; only fidelity to an uncompromising Unicity of the One Who had shaped them in their mother’s wombs and Who had provided sustenance for their lives and Who would resurrect them on the appointed day, to ask them how they had spent their fixed duration on this planet.
This is all he asked: an uncompromising fidelity to the One Who had sent him with the Book and Wisdom to purify them and lead them to a straight path filled with light, that he may give them an inkling of the bliss that awaits those who follow it and to warn those who wish instead to follow their own caprice. That is all. That is all he was to do in his life of sixty-three years, a life filled with intense devotion and prayers—a life whose every moment was filled with remembrance of the Supreme and All-Mighty, Who had charged him with a task so heavy that it broke his back and filled him with a humility the like of which has never been experienced by any mortal.
And one day, when he was made victorious and had returned to his beloved city to once again circumvent the House built by two of his ancestors upon the express command of the Owner of the House Who had desired to place on earth a Sanctified abode so that men, women, and children could come from far and near seeking His pleasure, he told the multitude gathered around him that he held no grudge against them, that all their crimes of the Jahiliyah, all their disdainful acts of torture, oppression, and insults had been forgiven.
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