Darkness Before the Arrival of the Noor of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam
It is worth knowing the state of the people around the world before the arrival of the Final Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. As such there were many tribes and religions inhabiting the world. But there were few prominent ones namely the Jews, the Christians, the fireworshippers, the idol-worshippers and the Arabs. We will see the state of each of them separately.
They were the descendants of the son of Yaqoob Alaihis Salaam called Yahood. They started worshipping idols and drifting away from their religion as early as in the era of Hazrat Sulaiman Alaihis Salaam. Therefore Allah Almighty imposed Bakht Nasr upon them, who imprisoned them, tortured them and made them slaves. They were forced to move from one place to another. When Constantinople the first embraced Christianity, the state of the Jews turned from bad to worse. They had no land of their own and no country wanted to adopt them. Wherever they went they were treated as slaves. According to the verse of the Holy Quran they lived in complete humiliation and disgrace. And as for their faith, they had divided into many sect and groups.
From the era of Hazrat Moosa Alaihis Salaam to that of Hazrat Isa Alaihis Salaam, there were numerous Prophets sent down by Allah Almighty. The Jews constantly rejected them and gave them trouble.
They not only refuted the Holy Books but also made grave changes to it, thus incurring the severe Wrath of Allah Almighty. They were left with no authentic Book for guidance and so were misguided and misled by their leaders and scholars.
“And because they used to take usury while they were forbidden from it, and they used to wrongfully devour people’s wealth; and for the disbelievers among them, We have kept prepared a painful punishment.”
It was for the above mentioned atrocities that Allah Almighty subjected the Jews to such degree of humiliation and disgrace. Allah sent Prophets one after the other for their guidance but they neither respected them nor helped them. In fact they stained their hands with the innocent blood of the Prophets. Hazrat Zakaria, Hazrat Yahya, Hazrat Shu’ya and many other Prophets were unjustly killed (Alaihimus Salaam).
Allah Almighty portrays their dark history in these words, “And disgrace and misery were destined for them; and they returned towards Allah’s wrath; that was because they disbelieved in Allah’s signs and wrongfully martyred the Prophets; that was for their disobedience and transgression.”
This was the situation of the Jews until the arrival of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. Then RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam decided to liberate the Jews from their own misguidance and mischief. He desired to give them their lost glory and respect. For this reason when the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam arrived in Madina he entered into a treaty with the Jews who were living there and gave them the status of respectable citizens. He also presented the invitation towards Islam in order to end their misguidance and set them free from the curse of denying the Word of Allah.
The State of the Christians
Hazrat Isa, the son of Maryam Alaihimus Salaam had chosen twelve of his disciples to guide the twelve groups of the Children of Israeel. But after Hazrat Isa Alaihis Salaam was lifted towards the skies, there were major conflicts amongst his followers. In this disruption, a major role was played by a Jew called Boulis. He used to trouble Hazrat Isa and his followers but after Hazrat Isa Alaihis Salaam was elevated, he disguised himself as a Christian and divided them internally. Now each new sect developed a new faith about Hazrat Isa Alaihis Salaam.
Hazrat Naeemuddin Muradabadi, a khalifa of Sayyedi Aala Hazrat, states in his explanation of the Holy Quran: Nastoori believed that Hazrat Isa was a son of God. And Marqoosi believed that gods were three and Hazrat Isa was one of them. There was again great confusion in these theories. Some believed that the three gods were father, son and ‘Ruhul Quds’, the pure spirit. Father was god, son was Hazrat Isa and the third was spirit. But they in turn took all three as one - One in three and three in one! Some believed that Hazrat Isa was in between human and God. He inherited the former from his mother and the latter from God! May Allah forbid.
The Holy Quran describes them in these words,
‘They have indeed become disbelievers who say, “Messiah, the son of Maryam is certainly Allah”;’
‘They are certainly disbelievers who say, “Indeed Allah is the third of the three Gods”;’
Apart from all this the system of confession was killing their religion. Taking the edge of the false belief that Hazrat Isa will be our saviour and his sufferings have become compensation for us, they became heavily involved in following their desires and lead a sinful life. There was no goodness or modesty left in the society. Some of them believed that there will be no punishment at all whilst others, like the Jews, believed that they will taste punishment for a very short period of time and then will enjoy the fruits of paradise for ever.
This was the fantasy that the Christians lived in when the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam arrived. But with his struggles and teachings he managed to revert a large part of their communities towards the true path of Islam.
State of the Majoos (Fire-Worshippers)
Yafis, the son of Nooh Alaihis Salaam, had a son who was born with very small ears and long hair. That is why he was called ‘meekh kosh’ which was translated as ‘majoos’ in Arabic. He became the founder of this religion. He claimed that he was a divine being and that fire was a manifestation of God. He was thus called the Prophet of Fire. Gradually people started worshipping fire as god. They believed fire was the creator of light and all other goodness and that darkness was the creator of all the evil. When the flames were high they believed that god was awake and when they were down they believed that god was asleep. The fire remained lit all the time and they kept feeding wood to the fire in order to avoid it being extinguished.
Majoos lived in Babil and that is where this faith originated. It then moved on to Iran where it was only practiced by commoners. But soon it made its place in the palaces of kings and Gostashop became the first king to adopt it and also made it a state religion. The king had a vizier who later claimed to be a prophet and had a huge fire lit for people to worship. People had to come on a special days and stand in rows before prostrating to the fire. They would then turn to the self proclaimed prophet for prayers.
He even wrote a book called Aartha, in which he modified some principles of his own religion. This way he became the second originator of the religion. The new faith grew stronger by the day and spread to Rome and as far as America. The followers of this religion shaved their beards and left their moustaches to grow. They positioned their hairs to their ears, wore a gown with a belt around their waist.
After the arrival of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, all their power vanished. Most of them were impressed by the teachings of the Final Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam and entered into the folds of Islam.
The State of the People of the Indian Subcontinent
The situation of the people of the subcontinent before the arrival of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam was that of chaos and uncertainty. The people there had deep roots in polytheism and so could not be content in believing in one God. They had different gods for different tasks. They worshipped anything and everything like the sun, the trees, cows, monkeys, snakes and numerous idols with different names, forms and gender. Around 600 years before Isa Alaihis Salaam, Buddhism was founded as a religion in India. The new religion did manage to attract some followers initially but it soon lost its appeal. There was also the curse of caste ystem prevailing in the region. People were treated according to their class. They were four major classes, the Brahmins, the Shatriyas, the Vaishyas and the Shudras. The Shudras was the lowest class and they were literally considered as untouchables. The upper classes treated them as slaves and did not even drink water from the same well as them.
But when the Arab was illuminated with the light of Islam by the teachings of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, its followers helped to spread it far and wide. They came through sea routes to the southern coastal region of India as businessmen but also brought their religion with them. They did not return back to their homeland but settled there to preach the teachings of their beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. Soon the people found themselves attracted to the message and slowly but steadily Islam spread through the whole region.
The State of the Arabs
The condition of the Arabs was the worst of all. They lived in Hijaz and boasted about their religious link with Hazrat Ibrahim Alaihis Salaam. There were some traditions which they inherited from Hazrat Ibrahim Alaihis Salaam but they were now modified beyond recognition. For example they performed Hajj but naked. They also inherited the tradition of sacrifice and looking after the pilgrims who visited the Holy city of Makkah. Thus overall the inheritance was only in name; in reality they had developed their own evil and immodest society and a false religion.
Fornication and adultery were a norm and they took pride in committing them. The use of wine and other intoxicants were common and not considered bad. Women were kept as slaves and were made to dance and used to satisfy desires. They were even used as prostitutes with the proceeds going to the owner. In general women had no rights. They were deprived of any share in inheritance, from their parents as well as from their husbands. Only men could become inheritors. When a husband died, the wife would be passed over to a close relative and this could sometime be the woman’s own stepson. Indecency and immodesty prevailed all through the society. The so called higher class were involved in even more gruesome activities. If a daughter was born to them they would bury her alive or throw her in a dark well. And they did this not with contempt but with pride.
One of the best pastimes was gambling. The people were extremely superstitious and believed in spirits and evil souls. They had made numerous deities of different shapes and sizes and worshipped them. Each tribe would have their own idol and animals would be sacrificed on them.
Wars would start on trivial matters and would continue for generations. Each tribe and family would do everything to dominate over the other tribe.
Thus we see that the state of Arabs was no better than that of other nations, in fact it was even more appalling. The Holy Ka’ba itself had become a refuge for about three hundred and fifty idols. But all this changed at the arrival of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, the darkness of ignorance turned into light of guidance. Ka’ba became pure once again and the land of Arabs was freed forever from all their evil practices. The glad tidings of the earlier Divine Books, that the Final Prophet will eliminate the darkness of Polytheism (Shirk) and illuminate the world with the light of Faith (Iman), had come true. And the Arabs became the first beneficiaries of this divine task. "Those who will obey this Noble Messenger (Prophet Mohammed - peace and blessings be upon him), the Herald of the Hidden who is untutored * (except by Allah), whom they will find mentioned in the Taurat and the Injeel with them; he will command them to do good and forbid them from wrong, and he will make lawful for them the good clean things and prohibit the foul for them, and he will unburden the loads and the neck chains which were upon them; so those who believe in him, and revere him, and help him, and follow the light which came down with him - it is they who have succeeded."